We arrived in Houston via Kelowna, BC Canada and Seattle Washington on December 7th and spent 3 days travelling around. We really enjoyed going to San Antonio except for the crummy weather. We weren't expecting hail that's for sure. Our last day in Texas was spent at the Houston space station - AWESOME but cold. We stayed at the Quality Inn just down the road - Ok, clean but nothing fancy. Then we drove back to IAH Airport dropped off our rental car and headed to terminal C to pick up our coach for the ride to the terminal. The bus was there at 11:30 and loaded us up quickly and we were off.
We arrived at the terminal at about 1:00 and got into the huge line up that actually moved relatively quickly. As we are from Canada we got to jump to the Non - US line so got on a little quicker. After having our picture taken we were off to the next line up to get on board.
Once on board we headed to our room and dropped off our stuff then off for some lunch. The food was good and filling. Weather was rainy and cold but we stood on the deck to watch ourselves leave the terminal.
First night we didn't go to the dinning room as the sign up for the 12-14 year olds at camp carnival was at 8:00 - our dinner time. Only 2 kids showed up which was very disappointing and even after that there was only about 6 kids that took part in most activities.
Our bags were finally in our room around 8:30ish which was a bit late but really we didn't need them. My daughter was disappointed that she didn't get an animal towel the first night as she was looking forward to it. The room was made up of all single beds so we asked our cabin steward Ramil to make up the beds together which made for a tight room and a bit tough with the bunk down to make up the bed but really we are a married couple so why we would want bunks is beyond me. We had a similar room on the Paradise and they made the beds up together. The room was also very noisy - squeaky actually. the picture above the bed was not attached properly so it kept hitting the wall and the bed had a loose spring or something cause it creaked whenever I turned over. Also the showerhead adjustment didn't work so my husband had to "fix" it so we didn't have to be on our knees for a shower. Final thing was the Menu button on our remote didn't work so we weren't able to order excursions or check our bill on line.
First night's welcome show was not too bad and Mark Price the CD was fantastic. He was way better than the comedian Greg Rey.
With the bad weather the first night was pretty rocky and by 5:00 am I couldn't stand it anymore and headed up to the lido to get some air. A few people were up and about but not many.
1st and 2nd day we enjoyed exploring the ship and watching the evening shows. The dancers were pretty good and the shows were better than on the Paradise. Since the weather was so bad there wasn't much to do outside but we were able to use the Aft pool since it was covered and the hot tub's there were way warmer than on the lido deck.
Our daughter met up with some nice girls and off she went to Camp Carnival so that was about it with her for the day. We went to dinner in the Monet Dining room and Winie was our Head Waiter and Adam was his helper. We were a little disappointed that we were at our own table as both our other cruises we were always at a table of 8. Thankfully we had a nice group beside us so there was some conversation each night. Winie was great but not very talkative at first and I felt that he had too much to do and not enough help. Adam was promoted to Head waiter 3rd night due to illness so we had multiple helpers through the week and there really wasn't any consistency in the serving. I felt that too much time was spent changing cutlery instead of having the table preset like it has been done on other cruises. Food was Ok not as good as on the Paradise and a little to fancy. Example the last night my husband had prime rib and the potato cup that came with it was smaller than the butter cup we had for our bread. The last nights meal was almost like having left overs as there was a lot of food that had been on the menu earlier int he week.
The worst - for me - was the Beef ribs. No ribs just grainy slabs of beef that were supposed to taste like terriaki. Didn't like those but the fillet my hubby had was very good.
Most nights our daughter left at 9:00 for the teen disco and then cought up with us for the evening shows.
there was only around 5 on them in the Henri's disco but they seemed to have fun and Danni thier director did her best with the little group she had.
We found that dinner and desert were always served so quickly there wasn't much down time between the courses to relax. Also on other ships the dessert was served after the "show" so that you had a little more time to enjoy it. We didn't even realize that they were doing the "show's" till the 4th night. I was disappointed in the state of the dining room as the one chair at our table had stuffing coming out the back as did numerous chairs in the dining room and a chair we had at breakfast in the Monet wasn't attached to the frame and kept sliding.
We did attend the past-cruisers party which was great and the Blood power band were really good.
Most days we relaxed and read and had down time which was exactly what we needed and wanted as neither of us are real party people so going to all the disco's is not our thing. We got the realxation we needed and that was the best thing ever.
A couple of disgusting things happened which I put on my comment card. I turned the bath mat over in the shower and it was BLACK with mold - So gross. I brought it to the attention of Ramil and it was replaced and one morning in the Cezzanne buffet the juice was really strong and people were taking a sip and putting the cups on the side by the juice bar and I witnessed a staff member open up the container holding the different juices and dump them back into the containers. Needless to say I NEVER drank from that end of the buffet again.
The food in the buffet was so so. I found that there was a little too much ethnic stuff as did a few others and not enough "normal" food. Not sure what normal is I guess but just a little too much stuff I didn't like.
We quickly realized that the coffee on the lido was GROSS and bought latte's for the most part or had coffee at dinner as the dinning room was a bit better. Yo9u do get tired of the same thing for breakfast though so the last few days we went to the monet for something different although the waiter we had - didn't get his name, made a mistake on almost every one of 7 orders. Either forgot something or brought the wrong item.
Overall Camp Carnival was boring for my daughter as there wasn't enough going on but she did meet some kids so that was good. I think if they had announced more of what was happening and the sign ups maybe there would have been more kids attending. The 12-14 year old counselor Danni was great and the girls all really liked her.
The shows were really good except for the comedian Greg Rey - Not too funny.
We enjoyed Jamaica and went on the Catamaran, Snorkel and Doctor's Beach tour. Beautiful beach and the water was so nice. The group on the tour were really nice and a few girls got their hair braided. Of course there is always an upcharge to everything. In Grand Cayman we did the 7 mile beach break with transport only to find out afterward that the beach is Free and only a $4.00/pp cab ride. Only bad thing was that the beach is right on the main drag so you had the cars going by all the time. Water was great but I probably would do a different excursion next time. Daughter doesn't like fish so stingray tour was out. HA HA.
Cozumel was typical Mexico. it rained but at least it was still warm. The good thing about the rain as it pushed inside a lot of the people standing on the street trying to get us to come in their shops. We loved the pick up line "Where have you been we were wondering when you were going to get here". Bought a few souvenirs and mostly just walked in the rain. Wouldn't go back to Mexico at all not my thing I guess. I don't like the pushy people and the Police and Army driving down the road with Machine guns.
Last day at sea it was not too bad but everyone was starting to get testy cause they had to go home and there were a lot of pushy and rude people.
We arrived in Galveston at 6:30 - well close to it anyway, the port was closed due to the heavy fog so we sat and waited till almost 10:00 and then once we were docked Mark Price did a great job of getting us early flight people off in time ad the customs was a very quick thing. We took longer getting the darm Coach transfer to get their butts in gear and get us to the airport. 1 couple missed their 1:00 flight by 10 minutes which had the busses left right away they probably would have made it.
We enjoyed ourselves and it was very relaxing but I think I would like to try a different line next time. The food wasnot up to the quality I have had on NCL or on the CCL Paradise however the entertainment was WAY better. A room with a window next time for sure.