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Everything posted by BallFour4

  1. You'd make it with time to get coffee and powder your nose. Self-debark, grab a taxi and roll. We were at the airport at 8:20 AM through TSA (with Pre-Check) last fall. Ft Lauderdale weighs luggage at the curbside. Check in via the phone app, show them your DL and they can even print your boarding passes outside. Go to the gate and relax. There's a good chance you will have 90 min left. .
  2. My preface is we are on our second passport. We also travel international via air and cruises so for us it makes sense. What might not make sense is a family of four, first cruise or a cruise every few years from lets say Galveston where they drive to the port. For them the costs of passports that aren't required are a big budget item. December 2018, Carnival Valor, a couple without passports assigned to our dinner table received a call about her father passing away that day. Carnival had the shore agent meet them at the pier in Cozumel and they were headed home to Houston before the ship sailed for home. That's the second time we have experienced that in the past two or three years with people we know or have met aboard. Sensationalism is telling someone "it takes days" or "you are stranded and can't get home." We've cruised thirty-six times from Galveston alone, and the No Passport line is always large at debark. At some point a few of those families had a medical or family emergency and they got home. I'm 5'11" or not that tall. .
  3. Two terminals will serve them fine. The Royal terminal will solve the need for a third. .
  4. Really? We've been on all of them and I don't remember which ones don't have the retractable roof. I did a quick review of the PDFs from Carnival on the Conquest, Glory, Freedom, Valor and Liberty and all show the sliding Sky Dome roof as I remember. Our favorite aft pool on ships from here in Galveston was aboard the Rhapsody. Remind me which ones don't.
  5. I was wondering the same thing. Even on our most busy Saturdays getting on the island by noon is rarely a problem. Summer weekends are the most busy and even then taking the Harborside Drive exit solves most of that. .
  6. Well.. we are saying the same thing. They are huge diesel generators producing electricity. .
  7. It hasn't changed and you are right. The Control Room is what the tour gets to see. I'm sure Chief will chime in. One day I might see him running to the East Jetties here in Galveston bay for trout.
  8. Conquest Class ships are our favorite after the Breeze, and we've been on all of them. Here is my Google Photos link from the Valor from last New Years Eve. Some are attached! https://photos.app.goo.gl/88CEW8ETKMeM49E48 Some tips: 1) If you have fixed time dining go down to Deck 2 and go to the next to last set of stairs. Then go up one to the dining room. You can't pass from stern to aft on decks 3 or 4. 2) Go to the Lido Deck (9) and walk all the way forward on the left side. At the end of the hall is a wooden door that leads to a really cool place to watch the bow of the ship especially when you are coming into ports. 3) Grab a drink or soda and go to deck 5 and enjoy the lounge seating by the passage on the port side. One of the best people watching spots in the evening! 4) Don't settle for the pre-cooked eggs on the buffet. The omelets are really good and you can get one from several places. 5) Guys Burgers are great, and there are two lines. Some are confused and line up on just one side. 6) The burrito bar (and the tables right by) are also a favorite for people watching. The watermelon at the salsa bar nearby is the best on the ship. 7) Even though desserts are plentiful try a cookie or carrot cake from the coffee bar on Deck 5 right past the casino. Reasonable in cost and great! 8)Find the well hidden stairs right by the coffee bar. You can avoid the crowds by the piano bar and traverse to the aft of the ship on Deck 4 by using this stairs 9) People line up at dinner on deck 3. Go up to Deck 4 even if your table is on 3 in the dining room. Go in the dining room and then down the stairs in the middle of the seating area. 10) Main Show Theatre. People sometimes line up on Deck 3 and 5. Don't. Go to the doors on Deck 4 and waltz right in when they open. Works every single cruise. 11) Get the HUB App. It's free, the daily schedule is online and you can plan your day from it. Usually the entire cruise is loaded by day by the first sea day 12) Enjoy the vacation. Cruises can be like summer camp where you try to do everything. Some of our best evenings are spent on the balcony with a drink and on bad weather days watching a movie from iTunes on the MacBook.
  9. All the smoke you see are from fuel powered generators. The actual drive motors for the ship are electric. Beyond that, the true marine experts will answer. Take a Behind The Scenes Tour, you will love it. .
  10. Jim, I think the Sheraton Hotel is right across the street from Pier 4. I would email or call them and see for how much $ they would store luggage. Just a thought. Hope you are well! lee
  11. About a mile on roadways. The buses are plentiful. .
  12. We use one of the Yeti soft-side and I pack it as a camera and gear bag. It sails through.
  13. Never. Depends on the ship how they divide you as for debarkation. Conquest class ships hustle all of us in the dining room and then at some fashion sent you out by groups and we've been aboard all in that class. The rest are a mix; depends on the number of plats and diamonds I'd suggest. You ask for opinions, and while not one is wrong, I'm saying no change or at the very least nothing taken away. .
  14. At Peggy's Cove go to the little shop down the hill from the lighthouse and watch them make pewter sand dollars. They will stamp your passport too. I didn't get one of the sand dollars when we went and wished I had!
  15. You can expect temps from 60's to near 80. When we fish the bay we dress for 10 degrees cooler than the posted temps. A windbreaker is a must, sweatshirts can get wet rendering them useless. It will be windy on the island and offshore. Expect some rolling seas for the fishing trip. If you are on the New Buccaneer it handles seas well. Don't load up on a big breakfast, the trip out is right into the wind. Been there! .
  16. You are correct. The package starts at 6:00am on the second day, your first day at sea. Texas beverage laws aren't new, but enforcement of them has been relaxed for decades. It's a revenue grab for those returning with alcohol, and you can see the ships selection of cheap booze has dwindled. Prior to enforcement the racks and stacks of cheap flavored rum were everywhere. Now the duty or tax that is added on makes it not such a deal to carry off. When you board the ship the bars are in full force with both beer and mixed drinks. They mix and serve from separate coolers and cabinets that are locked up once the ship gets into international water. That happens in the first hour or so, and they close the bars for about ten minutes to lock up all the bottles that have the tax stamp on them. Then they open up with a full variety to serve tax free. We haven't bought bottles to carry home since they started putting the banquet table after US Customs and just prior to exit. They stand there like someone at Costco trying to sell me home improvement services asking about alcohol purchases. No, no and no I'm not slowing down for your questions. I live dangerous (said a man that wears a bike helmet even for a casual ride around the block) so I can do that... .
  17. 600 people and a premier were the difference. We haven't cruised on one of those. Our past few years experience has been here in Galveston, Miami and Ft Lauderdale. Even on the New Years Eve cruises they were in the aft lounge. I replied to your "They always are held in the theater." comment, and they answer is it varies. .
  18. We did. Cruised to Canada from Boston a few years back and flew direct from here in Houston. We did pay for the Carnival transfers and I am glad we did. They held the embarkation crew for all of us on the bus. We had time to drop our carry-on luggage in the cabin and were late to muster. I made the decision to not fly in the day before as rooms in the Boston harbor area were $400 a night. Being cheap made my wife not a happy cruiser. It cost me good wine that night at dinner to right that wrong. .
  19. No attempt to change your mind, we have both brands of mugs and coolers, but Yeti made a blanket announcement to stop in their words "to eliminate the outdated discounts that had expanded to a unimaginable list." The one group that you and I might/might not belong too called off the dogs on Yeti. RTIC business was launched at the hands of Buc ees and then they yanked their contract from them. Their online and retail store business has grown to a monster level. Whatever you mug choice, fill it up with something, join me on the lido aft area in the shade and let's sit and relax on the next cruise. The shade is my only option, this week involved derm surgery that got ugly from all those days fishing Galveston Bay. .
  20. Not in several years. Once they limited the guests to diamond and platinum it moved to the aft lounge on the Promenade deck in the same lounge where the comedy club is held. At least for the past four our five years where we cruised. I think about seven trips, I could be wrong. They did step up the quality and quantity of drinks, and in the past have encouraged us to take beer with us when we left. The bad news is it moved to the last sea day at 5:00pm and the officer staff are worn out. They look like they'd rather be anywhere else. The entire event lasts about 30-40 min max now.
  21. Get down here to the island. There is much to do, see and just enjoy. Check with your hotel and see if early check-in is available. There are some really neat free things to do like Bolivar Ferry. Don't drive your car on, the wait is too long. Instead, park at the lot you enter from the right lane and walk on. The dolphins have been amazing this summer as we watch them when ships and other ferries pass. Stay on board for the return trip. It takes about an hour total. Drive down to Beachtown on the East End. Texas Open Beaches requires beach access and it's a nice walk over to the beach from the free parking. Take in The Bryan Museum. It's a fantastic collection of Texas history, and reasonably priced. The Railroad Museum is a nice stop, but their rolling stock is aging poorly. Seawall Blvd is lined with restaurants and shops as is The Strand area. Tola's Market is a nice place to grab a beer and sit on The Strand and people watch. In August it's a little hot. There are many restaurant choices ranging from $10 a meal to major $$$$. If you see a couple in their 60's walking a Golden Retriever on the Strand stop us and say hello. .
  22. From the nitpick department here in Houston, the home of RTIC, they don't have a contract with Walmart. You bought yours (and saved a ton of $$$) somewhere else. RTIC cancelled their contract with Bucee's too. See ya at sea. .
  23. Alcohol pre-purchased through The Fun Shops, for onboard consumption, is designed for in-stateroom entertainment only. Guests cannot take liquor bottles to public areas. Only wine or champagne that is ordered through The Fun Shops can be served in the dining room or Steakhouse. If the item is not consumed on board during the cruise, the guest may take it home provided the bottle has not been opened. https://www.carnival.com/help .
  24. Your question is worded any chance, and the answer is yes. You'd need to be one of the first off, use self-assist and have your transportation ready to go. The second part is your airfare should have a bail out option if you missed the flight. The ship has been docking really early, you can see in on the webcams, and some have left by 8:00 - 8:15. That would put you at Hobby at 9:00 or a little later.
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