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First impression of cruising the high Gulf seas

By John Toth

The Bulletin

The big day had arrived. We were packed and ready to go on our first cruise ever. It was raining.

After all these weeks of dryness, it had to rain on our embarkation day. But I did not let it rain on my parade. Onward, to the ship.

My greater concern was a tropical system or two developing in the Atlantic. Why not? I was more concerned about this than our luggage getting wet.

We decided to take the first cruise of our lives near the peak of Hurricane Season, so this was not that surprising. I calculated that we’d be able to finish the cruise and still have plenty of time to evacuate, should things become too stormy.

Parking at the Galveston Terminal was a little tricky for us first-timers. We finally found our express parking lot, but from there we had to walk quite a distance. We were told that it would have been better to use off-site cheaper parking and take a shuttle bus to the terminal.

But this being our first-time cruising, I didn’t want to take any chances. I’d rather walk to my car than wait for a shuttle bus. As we walked past the hordes of people waiting for shuttles after our return, spending the extra money on parking turned out to be a good decision.

The rest was a breeze, so to speak. We got on the Carnival Breeze in about a half hour. It was a momentous occasion when we stepped foot on the ship. We did it. Another bucket list item was checked off and digitized by the GoPro.

I know that we were on board as working journalists, but some assignments are different from others. I looked forward to the research and also to finding one of the restaurants. We wound up at a Deck 10 buffet, which was not such a bad way to start the cruise.

Time came to find our cabin on Deck 1. That’s right above Deck 0. We wound up on Deck 1 because we booked an ocean-view cabin. It had a good-sized window, but no balcony.

The first thing I did, of course, was to look out the window as we were moving. I could not do it earlier because I was researching the sail-away party on Deck 10.

Looking at the moving water was not such a good idea. Motion sickness has haunted me all my life. I didn’t worry about it much, thinking that the ship is so big that there would hardly be any movement.

I was right about the movement part, but my inner ear started to complain when it received the information from my eyes. I had to pop one of those pills we got at the last minute from our doctor.

With that problem solved, we went to get some more food.

Our dinner seating was scheduled for 6 p.m. The food was delicious, the service exquisite, but the company, well, limited – just the two of us at a table for eight. As it turned out, a couple also seated at our table could not make it until the last night. The husband was sick and spent most of the cruise in the infirmary or their cabin.

After another belt-busting meal, it was time to research the entertainment available on the Breeze. We found Mexican music, violinists, retro rock, and a very nice dance and song presentation.

I had to pass through the casino area a few times as I went from performance to performance, but I resisted the call of the one-armed bandit. Many others didn’t. I’m not much of a gambler.

All in all, it was a very productive embarkation day. I am an amateur cruiser, I admit. I’m not at the level of some of the people who looked like they knew exactly what they were doing, and where they were going. They probably just looked the part and were just as lost as I was at times.

I acted like a tourist, taking photos and videos of everything, even of the moment we stepped foot on the ship. I videoed the glass elevators as they scooted up and down between 12 decks. I was fascinated with all the different parts of this massive ship.

My first impression of cruising: It’s like an adult summer camp with the convenience of a floating resort. I’ll give it a 5 out of 5 on the first day. Now, if they only had archery and wood shop.

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