Wandering the Gulf on the Wonder-Inaugural Bahamas-Galveston 9/28/13 - COMPLETE
Hello to anyone that might follow along as I attempt to make this a fairly short (I say that now...but I am not the best at using one word when ten will do :lmao:) trip report of our Inaugural sailing on the Disney Wonder from Galveston to the Bahamas. :wave2: This trip was a “bonus” trip for us in that it wasn’t one of our planned trips, but I had been browsing the DCL site and found too good of a price to pass up, especially given that DCL are leaving Galveston and so our opportunity for great prices and convenience is closing in on us! :goodvibes Also, this time around it was just DH and I, and I had promised him that it would be more of a relaxed trip with no real plans to speak of and more of a go-with-the-flow type of vacation. I did plan a Palo brunch and dinner ahead of time, but eating is a necessity and so I don’t consider those real plans. popcorn::
We live just outside of Houston and are both working bees with no kiddos, which equals lots of vacations. :thumbsup2
This is us – the happy vacationers. :beach:
Coming up....Pre-Cruise yumminess in Galveston.
Friday, September 27th – Pre-Cruise
So a few weeks before our cruise, both of us started to ponder the idea of staying in Galveston overnight. :scratchin Even though we live less than 2 hours away, it is a really nice way to officially be DONE with work and start the vacation just those few hours sooner and that's always a good thing. :cool1:
We ended up going back to Harbor House at the Pier, even though we have stayed there the past couple of times. The decision was an easy one in the end because I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I would want to be up bright and early to watch the Wonder sail in for the first time, and DH knew without a shadow of a doubt, that he would not!! At Harbor House you have a view of the cruise ship channel from your room, and so it was a great way to compromise. The shrimp festival was going on in Galveston that weekend so when we arrived there were several roads blocked off, but nothing that was too difficult to navigate around. First stop was to park near the Strand area and head to La Kings Confectionary. This is where the pre-cruise yumminess began. This was the first time we had been here and it was AWESOME I highly recommend it. We decided that life was too short for lunch and moved right on to sundaes and chocolates instead. :goodvibes
My strawberry sundae
The counter where said sundaes are made...incidentally DH got hot fudge and it was equally awesome.
Counter of yumminess....this is all handmade chocolates. If it were not for the fact that we had 7 nights of overindulging ahead of us on the cruise, I would have gone crazy here. As it was we got one peanut butter cup and some milk chocolate covered caramels with sea salt. :dance3:
After stuffing ourselves we decided we needed to check into the hotel before the inevitable sugar crash. I had ended up having to pay rack rate at Harbor House by the time we had dithered about with booking but they did upgrade us to a suite which was right at the end of the building and had several windows, so we were happy that we at least got a nicer room for the higher price. :cheer2:
We had some happy hour drinks at a couple of nearby restaurants and just ordered an appetizer in each one, then went to bed at about 10 pm to await the arrival of the Wonder early the next morning.
Saturday - Arrival of the Wonder
At just before 6 am the Wonder showed up on Marine Tracker and so I sat peering through the window of our hotel room to wait for her. There were a few people outside waiting as well.
At 6:10 am she was showing as turning into the channel.
Of course it was pitch black dark, and it was hard to pick her out from all the lights but I finally got a glimpse of the two red stacks in the distance. I should mention that Mr. Imnotgettingupforthat was also sitting in the window with his camera at the ready. ;)
This picture is of her turning before backing the rest of the way in.
Backing past us
Name lit up, hopefully this shows up OK on here - it's kind of hard to see
After some maneuvering she finally made it to port. We got dressed and headed out to Starbucks to get some go-juice running the system. As we got back it had just turned daylight and we went to the dock by the hotel to get some better pictures. While we were there we were pleasantly surprised to meet a fellow Diser “Sullins5” who was also out doing some Wonder-watching. It’s always so nice to put faces to names and we enjoyed a chat for a little while. :goodvibes
We had already planned to go and eat breakfast somewhere and ended up at Denny’s on the seawall. We had arranged to pick up Sullins5 on our way back from breakfast and drop her off at the port as she was dealing with the rental car/shuttle/parking nightmare that has sadly become the bane of Galveston sailings for a lot of people flying in. :rolleyes: I think we got to the port about 11 am or thereabouts and dropped our luggage and then went off to find Lighthouse Parking. Their system was easy and they told us that as we had no luggage we could get on the Carnival shuttle bus to port. Our plan was to just get off at the Carnival terminal and take the short walk down to the DCL terminal, but the shuttle driver was convinced that he needed to show us where they would pick us up, so by the time we had waited for all of the Carnival luggage and people to be offloaded and then get to the DCL terminal it was just gone 11:30 am.
Just subscribed. I was hoping you'd do a trip report. :banana: Your report link is posted to our Oct 26 Facebook group because we're all in planning overload now and reading everything we can get our hands on about Galveston, the Wonder, the itinerary, etc! :coffee:
YEY! I am excited to read this. We are on the Dec 14th Bahamian cruise so I am waiting on tenderhooks for updates ;)
Welcome and thanks for following along...en masse no less! :rotfl: I decided to try and get this done, and try to get it done fairly quickly and with as much "stuff" in there that I can think of that might be helpful to others. :thumbsup2
The planning is so much fun, especially when you are getting close! :cheer2:
We too are parking at Lighthouse.
I think I will give in to temptation and follow along too. :thumbsup2
I am torn between finding out as much as possible and wanting to be surprised. Am also on the Oct 26th cruise. On an unrelated note, Magnolia huh? My family keeps our horses out in Waller. They used to be in Magnolia. Long story short, we are out that way a lot.
We're almost on....annnnnnd...we're ON!!
Despite the longer shuttle excursion, we still got through the scanner security check fairly quickly. While we were still in line checking in they announced the Family of the Day and started boarding at about 11:45 am. They gave us Boarding Group #3 but our check in took a little while as there was a problem with my green card :scared: I'm still not sure what happened, but it had to do with the order of the swiping by the CM vs swiping the passport. Anyway, by the time that was all straightened out they were already calling for boarding group 3 and so we were able to walk straight over to get in line to get on the ship. :thumbsup2
This is the check in area.
Over to the right (where the entryway is below the portholes) is the kids club check in area, you can either check the kids in here, or if the line is fairly long, check them in when you get on board. (I know this because we sailed with friends with children in April ;))
The overall boarding system was a little more chaotic than we had experienced with the Magic and we stood in line to get through the embarkation photo lines and then a fairly long line to get through the second security check where they swipe you KTTW card. Once through there though we got onto the ship quickly, I recall it being a little before 12:30 pm. I am sure now that the Wonder has been through this a couple of times the system will be smoothed out. :hippie:
These are taken from the gangway where you get your first good glimpse.
We wandered around the ship and got some photos of things that we thought were different from the Magic. Vibe could be the same, to be honest weve never been outside it before!
Outlook Cafe from the outside
We stumbled across Vibe :rotfl:
Entrance to Outlook Cafe from Deck 10
I don't remember seeing the buttons on the Mickey Slide on the Magic :confused3
Loved the theming of the adult areas on the Wonder.
I know this guy looks the same but he's so cute!
We finally stopped by Pinocchio's and decided that with all that walking around we were thirsty. Hellooooooo Bahama Mama!! :woohoo: Shiner for DH as that is all that they sell on draft until they get out into deeper water (about 7 miles I think).
We had managed to kill enough time that it was now 1:30 pm and our room was going to be ready. We had booked a 7A GTY and got pixie dusted to a 5B (I think...now I'm questioning that) ...anyway it was cabin 7100.
I had to admit to not missing the polyester comforter on the Magic. ;) Our CC gift was the standard blue back pack, 1 DCL key chain and 2 containers of Cheddar Mickey Puffs.
I had some problems with my magnets on this trip. Some of them are magnets that I have used on all the other ships with no problems, but they didn't want to stick this time around. :confused3 By the time we'd fumbled around with the magnets, taken photos and enjoyed the view, we were about to head out again, when to our HUGE suprise our luggage was outside! I think this is the first time we've actually had our luggage before muster drill. We managed to get everything put up before we had to head down to deck 4 for drill. :thumbsup2
Right after drill was the sailaway party. We were suprised to see Simon, as he had been on our cruise on the Magic in April - we think he's great and does a great job. :goodvibes
We were told that this sailing was almost at capacity, although it didn't feel that it was, but you never know if you are getting "good" information. ;)
Right before they started the sail away party the captain came on to say that we would be late leaving as they were waiting on people who where stuck in traffic. I figured they had to be on a DCL transfer bus or there's no way they would be waiting on them. We never did see a bus arrive though, so no telling what the story was in the end.
We decided to go to the front of the ship and wait it out, even though we were going to be a bit late.
The Carnival Triumph (famous for its lack of propulsion last year and bobbing around the Gulf of Mexico for several days :scared1:) was also in port that day and pulled out a little before us.
We also had a nice flyover while we were waiting. I think I read on some literature in Galveston that these vintage planes are available for hire to do a ride along type deal.
Captain Thord waiting patiently...actually, in the end they gave up and went inside for a while.
At about 5:10 pm we finally got underway and headed out from the port. When we got closer to the entrance of the channel, we could see the Carnival ship in front of us, which was wierd because they had left a while ago.
And then we all realized that she had turned around and was heading back into port. :eek: Now you KNOW that this about killed anybody that was halfway nosey! :rotfl2: But, sure enough, she sailed on past us and headed back.
We were later told that there was a medical emergency, but it was still a bit strange as they were close enough to the port that the Coast Guard could have easily gone out to them rather than them turned around. I'm sure there was a good reason, we were just really glad it wasn't us!!
We went back to the room and this is showing our position etc at just before 6:00 pm. Pretty breezy!!
We were on late dining and our rotation was PTAPTAP. We hung out in our room for a little while before dinner and watched the world go by.
Up next...dinner in PC.
We live on the Hockley side of Magnolia. Waller and Hockley are all "out our way". :thumbsup2
I am going to have tons of questions :) Sorry in advance.
I saw the beer mug. What draft beers do they have on the ship?
Awesome! So glad you are doing a trip report!
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