Mom couldn’t go with us on this one, so the 3 of us set out on our adventure all by ourselves. To make this vacation time work… I had to work a 12 hours shift the day we were leaving for Galveston. By the grace of God, I was able to leave work early. I headed home, the boys loaded up the car while I changed clothes… we packed up the hedgehog and were off to Mom’s house to drop Pudge off to spend a week with his Maw-Maw.
In this process we discovered Trenton had turned off the lights in the house Mark meant to leave on… and didn’t unplug his Christmas tree in his room… so back home for that. 2 minutes later down the road I realized I forgot my watch, so we turned around again. Only instead of grabbing my watch I got side tracked grabbing more stuff I thought we forgot and we left again… 2 minutes later, I remembered my watch again, so we turned around for a 3rd time and that was a success. I thought Mark was going to strangle me, but he only smiled :)
Our drive to Galveston was uneventful. We made good time and hit little traffic. I had booked us a room at the Holiday Inn Resort on the Seawall. 2 queen beds on the executive floor with an oceanview balcony.
Red Flag #1. There was one gentleman in line in front of us. He didn’t seem to be the happiest of fellows and eventually stormed out the door…
Red Flag #2. Instead of assisting us the girl said she would be with us in a moment and picked up the phone. She told the caller on the other line she would have to go as she had guests in front of her. Then she picked up the phone again and called a guest at the hotel… telling him if he would pack up all his things and come back down to the lobby she would see what she could do to get him another room. Then she picked up the phone again and called someone about a reservation…. Really? Hello? Standing right here in front of you! Finally, she ran out of things to do and decided she would check us in. As she hands over the paperwork she thanks Mark for being an IHG Gold Member and tells him because he is such a valued customer they have upgraded us to a room on the executive floor. Mark says “Umm… unless you are giving me a refund, no you didn’t… that’s the room we reserved.” She says “Oh… well, here are your room keys” Customer Service Rating – 0
Red Flag #3. We were not given any direction in finding our rooms so we wandered around the lobby looking for the elevators… ended up wandering down a hallway and finally found an elevator… outside! As we reached the “executive floor” we stepped off the elevator and I thought good gracious it is cold! What happened to the heater? Then I realized it was cold because we were surrounded by concrete… and we were still OUTSIDE!
Now… I am not quoting Wikipedia or Webster’s here, but as a college educated adult, it has been my understanding it is a …
Motel- if you enter your room from the outside of the building
Hotel- if you enter your room from the inside of the building
Resort- is a hotel with a lot more cool shit so that if you didn’t want to leave the premises you don’t have too. In my observation this Holiday Inn Resort …. Is an over-priced Motel. What in the world gave them the idea they could advertise themselves as a resort? Was it because they have a restaurant and a pool attached? Guess what… almost every Motel 6 is next to a Waffle House and has a pool… you don’t see them advertising a fabulous stay at the Motel 6 Resort?! At least they leave the light on for you… the chick at the front desk of the Holiday Inn won’t even check you in until she is through making all her phone calls for the night!
Oh… I almost left out the best part. We made it to our rooms… they were clean. It had a balcony and we could see the ocean. Fine. I picked up the phone and dialed the button labeled “room service” … and got the chick at the front desk. When I inquired on placing my order she said she would have to transfer me. So we ordered room service and patiently waited for dinner to be delivered. Next thing we know amidst the howling wind outside the door we hear a guying calling “Rooomm Serrrvice” over and over. We opened the door and stuck our head out… He was 2 doors down and said “Oh, there you are.” He didn’t even know who had ordered the food… he was just walking up and down the hallway hollering and hoping some hungry fool would open the door! We ate our dinner and crawled into bed for a well deserved nights rest!
Embarkation: We arrived to the port about 11:45am. Besides booking the Suite we also had Faster to the Fun. The priority line was short, but they were having problems scanning the passports. We were held up there maybe 10 minutes. After that we breezed through the security scanners and walked up to check in at the Captain’s Lounge. They had already started boarding so we walked up to the counter with no wait and got our Sign and Sail cards and then walked straight on to the ship!
With Faster to the Fun our room was ready when we boarded the ship and all our luggage was delivered before 1:00pm. We were able to get everything unpacked and put away… and the cabin fully decorated before we headed upstairs to our Facebook Meet N Greet.
We were lucky enough to have another fun and active Facebook group. It was such a joy to meet everyone in person. You guys really help me pass the days counting down :)
The Suite: It was everything we had hoped for and more. With 3 of us in the room it really helped having the extra space. There were 2 closets and set of drawers (1 of the closets had shelves). There was more than enough room for all our clothes and to put away all our luggage. They made the couch into a bed for Trenton. We each had our own “nightstand” and there was still an extra chair to sit in. The extra dressing area was perfect. I could take a shower and then get out of everyone’s way getting ready. The cabinet with the safe had 2 extra shelves below it. We also had a fridge in our room. A big surprise was the extra plug in outlets. There were 2 in the dressing area part and 1 over the little set of drawers so we had an outlet to plug our Christmas tree into which was perfect! The balcony was twice the size of a regular balcony. We had 4 chairs and 2 small tables.
Of course… I can’t finish talking about the suite without mentioning the bathtub! We had a full size bathtub with jets. The very first night Trenton informs us… he is taking a bath. The water ran for a while and then all of a sudden we heard the loudest noise. It was the equivalent to the toilets flushing on the ships… the extremely loud sucking noise… only it just kept going… over and over. I heard Trenton start screaming so I ran to the bathroom and I am trying to yell through the door over the noise to find out what in the devil is going on in there. Trenton comes barreling out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel…white as a ghost. There is water spraying all over the bathroom! The sound is still continuing over and over again. I finally made my way in the bathroom and slammed the shower doors shut to stop the spray of water before I could compose myself to figure out what was going wrong. I finally reached back in the shower and turned off the jets. …. Apparently… If you don’t have enough water in the tub and you turn on the jets it makes a horrendous noise and shoots water all over the place. Some of the jets start sucking if they can’t blow out… so one of the jets sucked up against Trenton’s leg, while the rest of the started blowing and spraying water. It was hilarious! Mark and I laughed so hard we cried! Trenton was not particularly amused. So… you have been warned. Make sure you have enough water in the tub to fully cover the jets before you turn them on :)
Christmas dinner was wonderful. We sang Christmas Carols in the lobby. There were snow machines that made it snow. Jingle bell braclets were handed out to everyone. The captain and his crew were hanging out.
Totally sorry about the Creme Brulee above. I was so excited it was offered, because it is not usually on short cruises. .... and it was really, really good! LOL I dove right in until I remembered "Crap... I didn't take a picture!"
Overall… the Christmas Cruise was a total success! No cooking… no cleaning… no relatives that wouldn’t leave. Just a wonderful relaxing time. Santa does visit cruise ships if any of your kids are wondering… I think he saves the boats for last so he can rest a bit when it’s over.