Note: Before the good stuff from the 2016 Cruise to Mexico Trip Report begins, I thought it was a good idea to present some background information, so that you will know who we are (if you didn’t already) and why we chose to do what we did. And since there aren’t any photos that go along with this part, I am including photos of us from our previous cruises. Just because. - Steve
For the past several years, we have been in sort of a vacation rut, doing mostly the same things every year. By “we” I mean me (Steve) and my lovely wife Laura, both in our early to mid 40s, if you really must know our ages. And our teenage son Jaylin, who obviously goes with us on many of our trips. But we try to take a trip for just the adults once a year, and this time around I thought it was a good time to do something different for a change. Hopefully that isn’t a midlife crisis starting to set in, but if that’s as bad as it gets, that’s a good kind of crisis to have, right?
Here we are on our first cruise, way back in 2003 for our 10th wedding anniversary. Look at those kids!
We looked at several options for something different that we would enjoy. Several of our past adult trips have involved spending several days at Cocoa Beach, Florida, so I thought we might look in another direction. One option was flying out west somewhere to go to a national park, which I have wanted to do more of. But another option that popped up was the possibility of a cruise.
We have been on four cruises in the past, all of them Disney Cruises, with the most recent one being just last year. But why not try something else? There are other cruise lines out there, and people seem to have fun on those cruises as well, judging by the photos and such that I see on social media while they are there or after they get back. So I started kicking that around, too. And then I started checking prices for flights versus prices for a cruise that we would drive to, and the cruise was almost working out to be cheaper than just the flight, not to mention adding in hotel stays and meals and a car rental once we got to where ever we would be going.
I presented all of that to Laura, while trying not to lean one way or another myself, so as not to influence her decision. She immediately said she somewhat preferred the cruise idea, so I set to work on that.
The closest cruises to us were all from Carnival, with several cruises leaving from New Orleans. I found a five night cruise to Mexico that I liked, and an inside stateroom price that I liked. It would leave the day after our 23rd anniversary, which would be cool. But by the time I got around to trying to book it, that cruise was already filled up, at least for the inside staterooms. And since we were trying to be as efficient as possible, I didn’t really consider moving up to a room with a balcony.
Our second cruise in 2007.
Instead, I looked a little more, and I found that Carnival had the same cruise leaving out of Galveston, Texas. Except that it left two days earlier than the one from New Orleans. Some of our church friends have gone to Galveston for cruises in the past, so I knew it wasn’t that much farther. Our other option would have been to leave from Tampa. But Galveston is closer to home, and Laura liked that idea so because we haven’t been there before. Plus, for this cruise the first day at sea would be on our anniversary. It would be even better to celebrate by being on the ship than by driving to the ship on the actual day of our anniversary, so that put us over the top. Well that, and the fact that they still had inside staterooms available. Soon, we were all booked and ready to do.
Did I mention that we didn’t put a lot of time into this plan? I had kicked around the idea both in my own mind and with Laura for about a week before booking it. And then from the time that I booked it until the time that we would sail was only three weeks! Who needs a long term plan?
ur third cruise in 2013 for our 20th wedding anniversary.
So we quickly began to learn what we could about Carnival Cruises and how they were different from what we had done before. And we looked at which way we would drive to get to Galveston, although we were still up in the air about which route we would take until the day we left. And I began to look for my passport.
I knew there were two passports in my dresser drawer, which should have been mine and Jaylin’s, and Laura’s would have been in one of her drawers. I took them out, and the first one I looked at was Jaylin’s. But then the second one was Laura’s! What? I had her check to see if she happened to have mine in her drawer where she usually keeps hers, but she didn’t. So I started going through all of the drawers that I have and other places that I would put such a thing, but it wasn’t there, no matter how many times I looked. I started looking at what to do for a lost passport, just in case I needed to try to get one quickly or just cancel the cruise, which would have been really, really sad.
Our most recent cruise in 2015.
But then I finally thought to look in the backpack that I took to Bangkok last year, which was before our cruise of last year. And surprisingly, there it was. I forgot that I had also taken that backpack on our cruise, so I didn’t expect it to be there. But there it was, with it’s matte finish blue cover and shiny page with my photo, and I was relieved. I guess I never had completely cleaned out my backpack after that trip. Note to future self: Be sure to put your passport where it goes as soon as you get back from this trip, and any future trips, too. You will save yourself a lot of headache and heartburn later on.
After that, I had done all of the online check-in stuff and read things here and there. I also booked a couple of shore excursions, which was a first for us, because on our previous cruises we had always just explored the ports on our own. But more about those later on. And with that, we were ready to go, except for the waiting, which wouldn’t take too long.
Watch for more from the 2016 Cruise to Mexico Trip Report soon!