The drive from home to Galveston took about 5 hours but it was a great drive. No traffic. Straight shot down the highway. Definitely more convenient than having to fly to Orlando!
When we got to the port, we used EZ Cruise Parking. I would highly recommend using their service again (and we will when we cruise out of Galveston in a few months). They have gated parking for a reasonable fee. For an additional fee, you can have your car covered or washed while you are gone. We made our reservation ahead of time online which saved money, and they offer a free shuttle to the cruise terminal which is just a few blocks away. The only negative about EZ Cruise Parking was that the parking spaces were small. We drive a Mazda CX9 crossover SUV and when we returned to the car after the cruise, Jeff had to crawl over the passenger side seat because a huge pick up truck had parked too close to the driver's door.
Since we were limited on our time choices (the girls had to be back for school), we went with the 5 day cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy. We had 5 people and didn't want to split into two rooms (I wasn't comfortable taking someone else's child along and putting two teen girls in a room across the hall!), so we were left with the Penthouse Suite as our only option. Poor, poor me...I know. *wink*
We have cruised a handful of times and I had no idea what to expect from a Penthouse Suite. When Reese, Jeff, & I cruise we get a balcony room, and it's fine for the three of us. But I was concerned about us all being on top of each other now that we had 5 people.
Boy was I wrong!
This room was the biggest cruise ship room I've seen! We had two Queen beds (the second bed was the couch that folded down) and Reese's roll away twin bed, and there was still ample room for walking around. During the day, the room steward folded Reese's bed up and moved it to the side (you can see it in the far left corner) which left even more room.
The other thing I wasn't sure about was storage space...especially since we were bringing two girls with lots of clothes, shoes, & accessories! No worries though here either...there was a walk in closet. Wowza!
That picture was only half of the storage space...there was more on the other side! Even though this cruise cost about 3 times what we typically pay (we cruise off-season and don't bring 5 people!) I felt like the room was worth the extra cost.
Our cruise itenerary took us to the ports of Progresso & Cozumel, Mexico. I suppose we aren't typical cruisers, because we don't get off the boat. We love port days, when the ship is empty and there aren't many people in the pool, at the restauraunts, or just around the ship in general. It almost feels like we have the whole boat to ourselves!
Day 1 was port day & at sea, Dayy 2 at sea, Day 3 Progresso, Day 4 Cozumel, Day 5 at sea.
Reese relaxing and watching a movie before going back to Camp Carnival.The beds were amazingly comfortable & we all slept like rocks.
Well, the above is true for Carnival cruise lines. On the Disney cruises, the kids club was packed all the time with lots of kids!
By the second day though he decided we were too boring and that he'd give Camp Carnival another try. Lo and behold, it was better :) From then on out, we brought him back with us for meals and some afternoon resting time but that was about it!
The girls were completely entertained as well. I was thrilled as they searched out every free activity they could find...samples of makeup & perfume at the shops, tasting rum cake samples, eating sushi, singing kareoke, taking naps on deck, playing tag with the walkie talkies, trying on jewlery at the jewlery shop, taking in shows, ordering room service, going to high tea...and these were just the stories we heard about.
We don't ever go to the sit-down dinners, because frankly, they take too long and we don't like to eat a 2 hour dinner! But the girls enjoyed getting dressed up and going to dinner...