We arrived back in Galveston on Thursday from a 5-day cruise on the Dream. We were delayed leaving by about 6 hours due to fog. This exact same thing happened a couple of years ago on the Breeze - fog. It's a cuss word in Galveston they hate it so bad. So - lesson learned. From now on we will ONLY cruise out of Galveston during warmer months when fog isn't so common. Hats off to our captain though, the itinerary was only changed one hour (we arrive in Cozumel at 9:30 instead of 8:30 a.m.). We were very much impressed!!!
Here are some things we learned - we wish we had known before this cruise:
1. When you get the email from Carnival that states the boarding process has been delayed due to fog and to come 6 hours later - DISREGARD it!!! As soon as you see that ship pull in head to the pier. We arrived at 6:00 p.m. as they stated and they said they actually started boarding at 4:00 p.m. as soon as the ship was cleared. So we sat in our hotel lobby for two hours longer than needed. WOW!
2. If you have FFTF and you can manage it - take your luggage on with you if your boat is delayed for any reason. When we were on the Breeze two years ago we did not get our luggage until mid-night. Very stressful. Also - you can carry on large luggage (ours is that largest Samsonite soft-sided and it went right through the machine with no problem). We walked onto the ship, walked to our rooms and dropped our luggage and went right up and ate our first Guys Burger - granted it was dinner-time instead of the traditional lunch time but it was still delicious!!
3. Gift cards are awesome and we typically use them instead of a credit card on our account. Whatever we don't use from the gift card balance we cash out in the casino. If you only use gift cards now you are sent to an additional line on your way in. This is probably not as big of a deal at a normal boarding time but by 6:15 we were pretty spent and then were sent to another line. Once we showed him our gift cards ($400) and assured him we would go to guest services to put them on our card he stamped us through.
4. My TIme Dining - if you have My Time Dining on our next cruise beware of the changes. Typically, we line up around 5:30 p.m. for dinner. They throw open the doors at 5:45 and you are warmly welcomed into the dining room. This cruise was different - the doors stayed closed and at 5:40 a couple of ladies came out to explain to us that we would need to check-in on the ap and come back when our table was ready. If you said you did not have the ap you were allowed to stay in line where you were and ushered in and assigned a table the old fashioned way. We always request a table by a window and then request the same one each evening. Our table assigned to us from the app had us in the middle. We stopped to ask if they could change it - they were pleased to help us but it took a moment to make the change. Lesson learned - do NOT take your phone to dinner and just get in the line on the right (for non-ap users) and be seated normally. IF you plan on arriving after 6:00 p.m. and there is a line - defninely use the ap - log in, request a table and then sit in the atrium until your phone dings that your table is ready. Very convenient for those folks!!!
5. Dive-In Movies. If there is even a HINT of rain snag one of the wicker chairs up under the awning on deck 10 (of the Dream) - half-way through our movie it started pouring - hard! Everyone ran for cover except for a few of us sitting in those coveted wicker chairs (with cusions!) - we enjoyed the rest of the movie (although we had to go down to 10 and get blankets as we got a bit chilly).
6. Dive-In Movies - the popcorn is TERRIBLE but free. We started bringing our own shaker full of salt/butter (our favorite is "Flavocol" from Amazon - cheap and makes the popcorn so much better!!) We also share with anyone sitting around us - fun to do!
Hope these small tips help. (=