So there I was, embarking on a grand maritime adventure with my lovely wife, Becky, starting with a 32-minute, yawn-inducing drive from Friendswood to Galveston. We reached the Carnival terminal, where a professional bag-wrangler promptly relieved us of our luggage. Becky stayed behind with our carry-ons, while I took off to park the car.
Now, you’d think the Galveston Park n Cruise lot, being right across the street from the Carnival terminal, would be a hop, skip, and a jump away. But oh, no. Instead, I found myself stuck in a soul-sucking loop of traffic congestion, taking me eight whole minutes to escape the port and cover that one-mile stretch back to the terminal.
Finally, I checked in at the parking lot, crossed the street with the help of a friendly traffic-directing officer who wished me a great cruise (Good cop!) and began my quest to locate my redhead.
Walking along the path, eyes glued to the terminal in search of Becky, I suddenly heard a piercing shriek: “You can’t do that!” A young policewoman was scolding me, as I had unwittingly ventured into the path of an oncoming parking shuttle. (Mad cop!)
Surviving my near-death experience with a shuttle bus, I reunited with Becky, and we breezed through the terminal’s check-in and security. Along the way, no fewer than five employees thoroughly inspected our boarding passes to ensure we were, in fact, supposed to be there.
Finally, our boarding group was called, and after yet another two rigorous boarding pass inspections, we commenced our journey onto the ship. But instead of the usual awe-inspiring entrance onto the promenade deck and the majestic atrium, we found ourselves in a more pedestrian part of the vessel. Bummer.
However, we were immediately greeted by a legion of enthusiastic staff, offering us express elevators to the land of lunch. In a mere 10 minutes, we were delighting in plate-sized salads smothered with cheese, capicola, and salami.
Now, the post-lunch, pre-cabin time on embarkation day is one of cruising’s rare irritations. Forced to kill over an hour, we embarked on a desperate search for a quiet nook in which to bide our time.
We tried the deck, but the sun was a merciless inferno, and with the ship docked, there wasn’t even a gentle ocean breeze to soothe our scorched souls.
In the end, we stumbled upon an unusually tranquil atrium, where we nestled ourselves on a couch, patiently waiting for the real adventure to begin.