Carnival Breeze – Repo / Journeys / Casino Premier Cruise…whew, I’m gonna need a vacation!

I booked this trip in March of 2017…eighteen months ahead of time.  A two week cruise from Galveston, TX to Port Canaveral, FL.  Our stops were:

Grand Cayman
Aruba
Curacao
Grenada
Barbados
Dominica
St. Maarten

With six sea days sprinkled in. This will be my longest cruise to date.  Too Long?  We will see.  My travel companions for this one…my father and my mother.   They have been divorced since the late 70’s but we all still do holidays and Sunday dinners and such together.  This would just be the three of us though, not the whole family.

Breeze Rout Map

Since booking in early 2017, there had been several price drops to the tune of about $1500 each cabin.  Then, I received an upgrade offer to a balcony cabin for about $100 which I took.  Then, I received notification from the casino that this cruise had been designated a Premier Cruise so I called my PVP and got switched to Premier.  It cost me a bit more, but the casino was offering several perks that made it worth it.  In case casino’s aren’t your thing, the Premier perks included: Priority boarding, free drinks in the casino, an invite only cocktail party, Premier only drawings throughout the cruise, special gifts delivered to the cabin, and most importantly: House Money to start. My offer was for $600 in Casino Cash.  Pretty good way to start the cruise.

As you know, I am a compulsive planner and have to have everything planned out and set in stone months in advance.  This cruise was especially challenging because we were sailing out of Galveston, TX on September 16 and disembarking at Port Canaveral, FL on September 30.  Port Canaveral is drivable for me, but since we weren’t leaving from there, my car wouldn’t be there. So my plan was to fly to Galveston (actually found decent one way airfare!), then rent a car in Port Canaveral and drive home.  That is not how it happened.

First, hurricane season.  Its always a risk to travel during hurricane season, but it is also much more affordable so I’m willing to take the risk…with travel insurance of course (I may be a gambler, but I’m not crazy!). So far, in the 8 or so years I have cruised during hurricane season, I have never had an issue but this year my time was up.

The week before we were to fly to Houston, Hurricane Florence starting hinting that she might be a problem for the Carolinas.  I anxiously watched the forecasts, which as always, looked something like this:

hurricane

But then it became apparent that North Carolina was in trouble.  Now I was scrambling to get out before the storm hit.  On Friday I received notification from the airlines that I could change with no fees so I called and moved my flight to that night.  I had a hotel for Saturday and transportation from the hotel to the port on Sunday, but now I was scrambling for a place for the three of us to stay on Friday night.  Fortunately, I have the most amazing family friend who now lives in Houston and she graciously offered her home as well as picking us up at the airport after our very late arrival.

After a very hectic series of phone calls/packing/ubering, we were all finally at the airport gratefully sipping (gulping) a glass (3) of wine. After a relatively uneventful flight we were safely in Houston and ready to cruise!

After a lovely evening and day with our friend, we headed to the hotel to spend the night and catch our shuttle to the Port of Galveston.  I used Galveston Express as our transportation option from the hotel in Houston to the port.  They were on time, comfortable and professional.  Not much more you can ask for in a shuttle service!

As a side note, I would like to sail from Galveston again, just for the chance to spend some time in Galveston.  Because it was more important to see friends, we stayed in Houston and only saw as much of Galveston as we saw on the drive to port.  It looks cute so maybe I will sail from there again!

Once at the port, we handed our luggage to the porter, flagged down a special needs porter with a wheelchair and were on our way to check in.  We did get stopped and asked about our wine, but were quickly waved through after that.  With the Priority boarding that came with my Premier invite, we were on board with our first drinks in hand within 30 minutes of being dropped off by the shuttle.  Not too shabby at all!

The Carnival Breeze was a new ship for me, so I spent some time exploring.

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And then we said good bye to Galveston.  Kind of strange as I had never sailed away from a port that I was not going to be sailing back to at the end.

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And then we were off.  For 14 days we would sail all around the Southern and Eastern Caribbean before returning to Florida.  What a Journey it was…More to come!

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Next up?  Grand Cayman, Aruba and Curacao.

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