Saturday, November 12, 2016

Day 1 - Houston to Embarkation

Our tummies were full, our bags packed and we were waiting for 0900 shuttle back to the Houston Airport. It was a good way to start the day. Unfortunately, our travel partner was an anti-military retirement gentlemen and I had words with him...until Michael squeezed my leg. He seems to think that "we the people" should not have to pay for "they the lazy" military's retirement.  It turns out our driver is just getting ready to go into the Navy.  He was thankful for our words and Michael also had some great encouragement to share with him.

We met all sorts of fun and interesting people on the bus and in the Carnival boarding terminal. Our early morning friend did apologize and we were friendly - well Michael is mostly friendly. I'm trying.

It was so fun to pull away from Galveston. 

I love this man! 

Loved the various vessels

The first order of the day was to begin learning where things are located on the ship. We are sailing on the Carnival Freedom. It's a 7 day cruise to the Caribbean - with port of calls in Cozumel, Belize and Mahogany Bay, Isle of Roatan.

Before we could really get down to enjoying the cruise, we all practiced mustering....3000 people racing to the lifeboats. We were informed, in case of EMERGENCY, we are to all go to our staterooms, grab out life vests and THEN go to the lifeboats. I'm imagining fighting the crowds on stairs and elevators to the room and to the 4th deck and thinking there might be a better system...
Safety Briefing was first up on Day 1

  Our room reminds us of a Japanese hotel. This is a good thing. We like things small - and it seems much bigger now that we live in The Caboose.  Truth be known, it seems huge. The big difference is we have a king size bed in our stateroom and we never had bigger than a double in Japan.

Our Japanese hotel rooms did not have cute towel animals! 

I had ordered a few sailing gifts and they were delivered. We are a bit alarmed at the noise level of our neighbors. We went up on deck and realized most had started drinking the minute they came aboard....there are a LOT of people on this ship. I'm an extrovert, Michael is an introvert - but we both craved a bit more isolation than it appeared we would have.....

It was great fun to get under way!  The Serenity Retreat is a GREAT spot to relax and watch the ocean go by. We discovered QUICKLY,  if you snag a big, shaded, double lounge and leave your shoes and water bottles on the table for a minute to take a picture at the railing -  others will JUMP RIGHT INTO THE CHAIR. Not to worry, I reached around them and retrieved my Contiga water bottle and shoes and we headed elsewhere.

We were late to dinner as we got a bit lost - had a few adventures. When we finally arrived we met Sheldon & Melinda from Waco, TX. This is their 6th cruise.  Our meal was excellent - well the vegetarian was SPICY - but the melted chocolate cake for dessert was heavenly. ::wink:: Sheldon and Melinda were happy to share their cruising tips. We began to catch a vision of how to make this a vacation with enough isolation to refresh us.

We discovered the shops and LIBRARY after dinner. This vacation is looking better all the time. Our plan is to enjoy the crowds and busyness - but then escape to our room and private balcony to read, talk, play games and relax.  

The balcony is amazing. We are so thankful to have it! 

Late at night, evidently about the time the bars close on ship, the hallways got rather noisy. My personal favorite was the couple staggering down our hallway. He was singing the National Anthem at the top of his lungs. It was a bit alarming to wake up to, but he did a fairly good job. The lady with him was screaming at the top of her lungs telling him to, "SHUT UP!" and he kept singing.

"SHUT UP - people are SLEEPING!"

He kept singing.

"SHUT UP  - there are families with kids here. Shut the BLANK BLEEP up."

He kept singing as I laughed. I'd rather my kids hear a boisterous man singing his national anthem than a woman yelling profanities - but I may be the odd man out in this opinion.

We are so appreciative of this amazing retirement gift from the Gherkins.