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Monday, April 18, 2011

Galveston in the Sunset

Day 1:  Galveston in the Sunset
Mary Alice (MA) and I finished packing Sunday morning, got and loaded up the car.  We also made sure to bring 8 bottles of water. Its 4 bucks a liter on the ship!
We had pre-paid our parking, so I entered their address into the GPS and we were off to Galveston about 11:00 am.  As we got closer to the dock area the GPS showed we still had a ways to go. I realized that I had entered the incorrect address of the parking lot.  We quickly made a u-turn and found the “Cruise Parking” lot and the end of Harborside Drive.  I ducked into a convenience store and while MA pulled into the adjacent parking lot. “Jose” quickly showed up to load our stuff into the shuttle. I got my camera case and the bag with all the water and we were off. 
Our van driver introduced himself as Jack Morgan and I thought he said “Jack Kevorkian”.  I said, “This is a round trip cruise isn’t it? Because I thought you said Kevorkian.”  He thought that was funny and asked if he could use it.  Jack never met a traffic law he like and this included the turning lane, red lights, and the speed limit, but we arrived at the cruise terminal in one piece.
As we were loading out luggage on the cart with the ship’s porter we realized that we were missing one suitcase. Panic was my first reaction and then I did a mental inventory distinctly remembering loading all our bags into the car. (I missed one once and let’s just say MA had a lot of fun going shopping!)
But what I hadn’t done was to make sure “Jose” got all the bags out of the car.  I left MA at the dock and quickly headed back to the parking lot.  I opened the truck of the car and there it was: one very lonesome suitcase. Whew! I hate to go shopping!
Back at the terminal we started the check-in process. The security line wasn’t too bad and we got through only to be escorted to the bottled water table where they confiscated all our water until we return to Galveston.  Princess doesn’t have this problem.  First comparative observation!
We rounded the corner from there and to our dismay we encountered a sea of at least 500-700 people slowly moving in very long winding lines to the ship check-in counter. This is where they check your passport again, take your credit card information for onboard charges and give you your cruise card.
Our spot in the line waited, at the very end! Honestly, it was unlike anything you’ve ever seen, even in Disneyland. We also noticed almost everybody was speaking Spanish. MA eavesdropped long enough to recognize the folks as families from Mexico, big families, and she told me they love to travel and usually pick Easter week for one of their vacations.
This part of the process started at 2pm and we finally walked aboard over two hours later. MA was busy working out a better check in system in her mind and she plans to write NCL!
  I was not in the mood to let anyone take my picture but there they were, the cheery ship’s photographers, wanting to take our “happy boarding experience photo”.  We were polite, smiled as best we could and then walked up the gangway.  While waiting to step aboard I asked the gentleman behind us to take a photo of us.  I handed him my little Canon G9 and to my surprise we both really did look happy in the photo. 
We are on Deck 6 in room 6634.  It is aft and on the port side (left).  At about 6PM the ship pulled away from the dock, made a u-turn and traversed the Galveston ship channel and into the Gulf. My last sight of Galveston was the sun going down behind it. 
We are at sea for two days.  Our first port of call is Roatan, Honduras.

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