Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vacation all I ever wanted....(part 2)

At the end of June/beginning of July, we took a much needed vacation, and it was WONDERFUL!

Here's a glimpse of our itinerary:
Tuesday, June 28 - San Antonio/New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys Concert
Wednesday, June 29 - Galveston
Thursday, June 30-Monday July, 4 - 4-day cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy to Cozumel

Yesterday, I posted about San Antonio and Galveston, which you can find here.

Today, I'm going to talk about our cruise.  We had a great time!!  We were on the Carnival Ecstasy, and the itinerary was:
Thursday, June 30 - Set sail!!  Wooh!!  :o)
Friday, July 1 - Sea Day
Saturday, July 2 - Cozumel
Sunday, July 3 - Sea Day
Monday, July 4 - Disembark (Boo!)

When we woke up Thursday morning, I looked out our hotel window and saw this:

It was the funnel for our ship!!!  All the way across the island.  Now you know how narrow Galveston really is.  I was so excited!

We got to the port and checked in by 11:30, and we were boarding by about noon, so we didn't have to wait long at all.  We did have to wait until 1:30 to get into our room, though, so if you are taking a cruise, be sure your carryon bags are light.

We chose an outside view room, because we didn't really feel like we needed a balcony, but I just couldn't deal with the idea of not being able to at least see outside.  Our room was small, but it was all we needed, really.  We didn't spend too much time in there.  The bathroom was tiny, which I was expecting, so that wasn't so bad.  Here's a picture of our cabin:

 The ship was really cool, and I was amazed how big it was and how much there was to do between meals.  LOL!  Here are some pics of the ship itself:
Grand Atrium

Sun deck overlooking the pool stage area

Waterworks, which is like a mini-waterpark

I can't believe I didn't take more pictures of the ship then that.  The food was amazingly good, with so much to choose from.  We generally ate breakfast and lunch in the Lido (which was the buffet), and dinner in the dining room.  I could not get enough of the shrimp cocktails.  I wish I had one now!  I don't know why they were so good, but they were!

The only port we went to was Cozumel, and it was absolutely beautiful.  The shore excursion we did was the Mayan Ruins and Beach Break.  They took us to the Mayan Ruins at San Gervasio, which is a temple to a fertility goddess, and then we went to Punta Morena where we ate an incredible lunch before spending a few minutes on the beach.  The only thing I wish is they would have built in time for lunch without cutting into your beach time. There was one other thing I didn't like/didn't consider.  Being in a jungle during rainy season means one thing:  mosquitos!!  They were awful!  And we even brought bug spray and practically bathed in it.  It was great fun, though!  Here are some pictures:
The original entrance to the city

There were iguanas running wild

This iguana didn't want to let us by.  Notice he is nearly as long as the path is wide.

Punta Morena

Punta Morena

 Overall, we had a great time.  I totally want to go again, and I would really like to take a Northern European cruise.  I highly recommend considering a cruise, if you don't get seasick.  We were both fine, except the first night was a little rough getting used to it.

One final word of advice:  No, you do not HAVE to have a passport for this cruise, BUT the U.S. Customs line for those without passports was probably a good hour and a half to 2 hour wait to get through, and we walked right up to the customs agent, and went on through.  So I highly recommend getting a passport!

 That's all for today.  Have you taken a cruise?  How has your experience been?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vacation all I ever wanted....

It seems like it's been forever since I've posted, and it really has been over a month.  I need to do better.

At the end of June/beginning of July, we took a much needed vacation, and it was WONDERFUL!

Here's a glimpse of our itinerary:
Tuesday, June 28 - San Antonio/New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys Concert
Wednesday, June 29 - Galveston
Thursday, June 30-Monday July, 4 - 4-day cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy to Cozumel

We had a great time!!  Today I will post about San Antonio and Galveston, and tomorrow, I will post about the cruise.

Tuesday, June 28
This morning was a little rushed, because, well, I didn't start packing until about 10:00 Monday night.  I think I did manage to have all of my laundry already done, though, which was good.  After dropping Sugar off at PetSmart, we had breakfast at the Monument Cafe in Georgetown (love that place!!) even though it was going the wrong way on IH-35 from San Antonio (yes, we ARE crazy, and we do detour for food.  Bad, I know).
From there, we ran to Target for a few last minute items, and then home to throw our stuff in the car, and we were on our way!  For some reason, we did not take 130 down to Buda, and for the life of me, I cannot remember why.  Luckily, though, we did not run into any traffic on 35, since it was mid-morning, and we were getting into San Antonio in just a little over an hour.  This was when we took detour #2 for food (last one, I promise!)  We wanted to eat lunch at Earl of Sandwich, one of our favorite counter service restaurants at Disney World.  Well, come to find out, they are a chain, and they have a few locations in San Antonio.  Woo hoo!  It was only about 15 miles out of our way, though, so not too bad.

After lunch, we headed straight to the hotel.  We stayed at La Mansion Del Rio, and it was very lovely.  I don't know that we will stay here again, because it's very pricey, but we had a great time! Here are some pictures:
Our room from the entrance

The view from our balcony



Before the concert, we decided to take a little walk around the Riverwalk, and have dinner at the Rainforest Cafe.  We've eaten at several Landry's-owned restaurants, and have never been too impressed with the food, but we were pleasantly surprised with this location.  It was delicious!  After that, it was time to head to the concert.  Here are a couple of pictures, for anyone who may be interested.  It was a great concert!

Jordin Sparks opened


After the concert, we hit the sack.  We had to wake up and drive to Galveston the next day.

Wednesday, June 29
This morning, we had breakfast at Las Canarias, which is the hotel's restaurant, and then we headed east on I-10.  Traffic was backed up in a couple of spots, due to construction, but not too bad.  We got into Galveston around 2 or 3, checked in at our hotel, the Hotel Galvez, and headed straight for the beach.  We walked around and picked up some shells, and then we were starting to get hungry.  We had dinner at Benno's, which had really good seafood.  Then we drove around a little bit, and walked to Murdoch's to see all the fun souvenirs.  By then, we were ready to head back to the hotel, and go to bed.  Tomorrow would be a big day!  Here are a few pictures of the Hotel Galvez:
Our room (it was not very large at all, but it was nice)

We only had a shower, but it was an awesome one!  It had a rainfall shower head and a hand held shower head, which was handy for getting sand off your feet.

Our hotel from the fishing pier across the street

The lobby

Tomorrow, I'll be back with the rest of our trip!