Sunday, April 29, 2012

Carnial Triumph Cruise Day 1: April 14th

We left  Austin at 7:15 and headed towards Galveston.   Even without speeding (we were going 60 most of the time because we couldn’t ever find a speed limit sign, later we found out it is a 70 zone- don’t worry, we stayed in the right lane, and no one ever seemed to be stuck behind us) we were making great time, so we stopped in Katy for some Whataburger.  I sure miss it in Iowa.  My nostalgia was bigger than my stomach, as I could barely finish a breakfast taquito, and I had ordered two!  Then we continued the drive” $4.50 in tolls later, we were in Galveston around 11:15. 
Not the prettiest port in the world...
Lighthouse parking was easy to find, and I won “first to spot the whale tail”!  (You can tell this is a drive-in port, as there were people everywhere with signs trying to lure you into the parking lot.  Lighthouse was very easy- we pulled in, they took our bags from the trunk to the bus, we didn’t wait for anyone (just us on the bus) and they took us to the Triumph, and got our bags off the bus for us.  A porter took our bag (shocked we just had one) and pointed us in the right direction to check in.  (I loved the floral shirts all the porters wore.)  We booked online, so parking was only $35 for the entire week.  We tipped the driver, but there was no pressure or hands out to do so!
Not the first view of the whale tail, but I have no pictures for this part of the story!
 Check in was a BREEZE. Short line for ID check, short line for security, quick beverage check (person in front of us had 3 water bottles make it through and one get taken for “not bubbling the same when shaken. That said- she didn’t notice our 12-pack had been doctored. Although we weren’t smuggling beer, Kevin had put Ginger Ale in the bottom row and glued it back together just to make it easier to carry. They poked open the perforation, but didn’t notice it had been opened. So that may have worked with beer…) Then it was upstairs to get sign and sale cards. It was about 11:45 and we expected to board at 12:30, but the signs said now embarking zones 1-43- so we hoped right on the ship. This was actually the slowest part, as we got behind a person pushing a woman in a wheelchair up the ramps…. Next thing we knew, we were up on the Lido deck and it wasn’t quite noon yet!
Girls only cruise shirts. And Paul- the sole man in the group.
We didn’t go get food right away, but instead met some new friends and chatted (we only saw them briefly during the cruise), and hung out in the sun- got a little burned on my forehead, despite sunscreen.  There was no live band- but the DJ was fantastic.  It wasn't too crowded up there, and I really enjoyed being outside.  Rooms were opened at 1:30, where we went and settled our carry ons and to our shock received our bag at about 1:40!  The port of Galveston is quick.

 Because this was a shorter cruise we got the balcony.  Per day, I think this cruise was our most expensive actually, but we've always done 8 day cruises before.  It was nice to have the balcony again, but I am just as happy in an oceanview.

Then we went up to the Lido for lemonade (YUM!) and our first pizza and ice cream of the cruise (yum again!) I tried another Caesar salad, as the one on the spirit was too fishy. Cruise Critic told me I must have got a dud, so I gave it another chance- verdict: too fishy.



Then, we wandered around the ship.  Kevin didn't get many pictures of the ship.  I'm not sure why- he tells me it is because he was worn out from chatting on the Lido deck.  

Some art near the wine bar

Oystered ceiling in the piano bar

Ghetto Map of our course.  This is one area the ship showed its age.

Hanging out on the balcony for sail away.  You can tell it is a little chilly- I have socks on.
 So then we unpacked, got some excellent sushi.  We really enjoyed the sushi on the Triumph.  It was fresh with good fish.  I remember it being "weird" on the Spirit- obscure vegetables stuffed into rice.  Here it still had a different take, but things we recognized.  We really enjoyed it this trip, and got it every opportunity, except one.



Sushi for two.



Oh, but there was a hair on the plate. That was gross.
Then we headed to the bar for sports trivia. That did not go so well, but was great fun.   We usually avoid the sports bar, but there was not too much smoking on this ship.  It is right by the smoking area of the casino, but we still went to sports trivia frequently.




This man did songs in the lobby each day. He was fabulous. He sang in all kinds of accents- the first time we heard him it was doing Johnny Cash- and we both thought "I need to see what that man looks like".  It was such a funny twang.

We ate dinner at about 6:15- super quick service, and very good food.  The maitre’d is hysterical.  He first started by welcoming us to the London dining room noting that the other “sucks” – then laughing and saying “they are pretty much the same”   He then introduced his staff, finishing up with himself and saying “I’m from Dallas Texas” to huge applause- then he says “no not really, I’m from Transylvania, but no one claps for that.”   Finally he informed us that no “motherbeaters” are allowed for formal night and got corrected to wifebeater and said “eh, I knew it had to do with domestic violence”.  Sure, jokes he does every week- but they were funny.
Didja- Ceviche

Spa menu fruit plate

Can't recall what this dish was, the table beside us was suprised to see it had pasta. Maybe Kevin will comment.

Plate one of Indian Vegetarian Dish.  Love it all except the "pickle".  Way too sour.

Plate two of the Indian Vegetarian Dish.  Was very yummy, but not really 'hot'.

Warm chocolate melting cake and cappuccino!
 Up next was movie trivia, where we did well, but the couple behind us did better.  I think this may have been when Kevin turned around to them and said that if they are frequent trivia players they should meet up with us the next day for Progressive Trivia.  And they did :)  More on that later.

Next was Karaoke, and it was surprisingly uncrowded so I actually sang: Jolene.  I sing faster than Dolly (probably because she can hold the notes) so I kept getting ahead.  The crowd was probably pleased I didn’t sing another song!  There were more bad singers than good though, so it was fun.  (It was also very uncrowded with almost no wait to sing!)
Kevin and I also brought card games to play and I kicked butt in Monopoly cards.  He wasn't very happy about that, but I can't help it that I have really good luck (and strategy?)  We played a few more times, but not much, as I kept winning and he wasn't enjoying that.  Cruises are about being happy and having fun.


Then we went to game show mania where we met the couple from movie trivia. It was awful- hard to hear any of the sound bites and they were out of date. I went up for the third game, and did TERRIBLY. The guy playing on my right rang my buzzer for me! On something I had no clue about. So I did the same for him on the next question before they played it! Unfortunately, I did not get any right…




Kevin went up on the next round, and he did just as badly as I did (we both played the “quick” games…we’ll blame that, fewer questions.  Surely we would have gotten some right in a long game...). 
 BUT you get medals for playing- so we are proud owners of Carnival medals. Our cruise goal was a ship on a stick, and if we didn't make it- we would be pleased with this.


 Our new friends then went with us to listen to Karaoke, then we went to the welcome aboard show (same as always, not fantastic), and called it a night.   The cruise director is pretty funny.  His best joke "What happens on a cruise..." Audience: Stays on a cruise!!!!!  Cruise director: "Shows up on youtube two days later."

The ship is moving a good amount- enough that everyone with a microphone at the show mentioned it, but it doesn’t feel that bad, at least not yet.


Minor complaint of the day: Our hallway smells like sweat. Yuck.



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