Year Entered Service: 2016
Class of Ships: Carnival's Vista Class
Number of Guest Decks: 15 Decks
Length: 1055 feet
Ship's Draft: 27 feet
Approx. Gross Tonnage: 133,500
Cruising Speed: 18 Knots
Capacity & Staterooms
Double Occupancy Capacity: 3,934 people
Full Guest Capacity: 4,977 people
Total Crew: 1,450 people
Total # of Staterooms: 1,967 staterooms
Amenities & Attractions
Click Here For Information
The link above will take you to the Carnival Vista's profile on Carnival Cruise Line's website.
Docking in Galveston
The Carnival Vista will begin sailing from Galveston on Sunday, September 23, 2018. For 2018, the ship will primarily sail 7 night cruises that depart on Sundays from Galveston's Cruise Terminal 1. Starting in late spring 2019, the ship will primarily begin sailing 7 night cruises that depart Galveston's Cruise Terminal 1 on Saturdays.
Liberty of the Seas
Year Entered Service: 2007
Class of Ships: Royal Caribbean's Freedom Class
Number of Guest Decks: 14 Decks
Length: 1,112 feet
Ship's Draft: 28 feet
Approx. Gross Tonnage: 154,407
Cruising Speed: 21.6 Knots
Capacity & Staterooms
Double Occupancy Capacity: 3,634 people
Full Guest Capacity: 4,375
Total Crew: 1,360 people
Total # of Staterooms: 1,817 staterooms
Amenities & Attractions
Click Here For Information
The link above will take you to the Liberty of the Seas' profile on Royal Caribbean's website.
Docking in Galveston
It is very typical for Royal Caribbean ships to dock at Galveston's Cruise Terminal 2. The Liberty of the Seas began docking in Galveston in November 2015 and is currently sailing from Galveston.
Starting in late September 2018, the Carnival Vista will begin sailing from Galveston. The ship will be replacing the Carnival Breeze and will mark a capacity increase for the Port of Galveston. The Carnival Vista will be directly competing with Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas, which has been departing Galveston since November 2015. The goal of this post is to provide some basic information about each of these ships and allow you to compare/contrast both of these ships.
While both of these ships are of two different cruise lines, both have exciting things to offer Galveston's cruisers. I will be writing more on Galveston's cruise industry as time continues.
Following a major dry-dock in 2019, the Carnival Triumph will become the Carnival Sunrise. Many features on the ship will be changing because Carnival is adding features that can be found on some of the newer Vista Class ships. In March 2019 the Carnival Triumph will go to Cadiz, Spain, for a two month dry-dock. When the ship emerges from dry-dock it will sail from Norfolk and then do summer 2019 sailings from New York City. In the fall of 2019, the Carnival Triumph will reposition to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Here are my observations of all the changes the ship will be receiving, based on Carnival's dry-docks:
CHANGE: Deck 3 Level Of The Main Show Lounge Will Become Staterooms...
Carnival Triumph: On the Carnival Triumph, the front of Deck 3 is the lower level of the Rome Lounge. The Rome Lounge is the Carnival Triumph's main show lounge.
Carnival Sunrise: The former Deck 3 area of the Rome Lounge will be converted to 42 staterooms.
KEEP: The Guest Services and Shore Excursions desks will remain on Deck 3 in the atrium lobby. Furthermore, the glass elevators and atrium bar will remain. However, the decor of this area will very likely change.
CHANGE: Deck 3 Atrium Lobby Port (Left) Side...
Carnival Triumph: This space was used as atrium seating.
Carnival Sunrise: The Dreams Studio will be in this space. Starboard (right) side seating will remain the atrium lobby.
CHANGE: Reconfiguration Of The Forward Dining Room & Addition Of A Chef's Table Space
Carnival Triumph: The forward dining room on the Carnival Triumph is the London Dining Room. The back corner that will become the Chef's Table on the Carnival Sunrise was a part of the ship's galley.
Carnival Sunrise: The forward dining room's name on the Carnival Sunrise will be the Radiance Restaurant. The dining room will be reconfigured. A new space for the Chef's Table will be added to the back of the forward dining room. This will take some space away from the ship's main galley.
KEEP: The aft dining room will remain the same on Deck 3. On the Carnival Triumph this space is known as the Paris Dining Room. On the Carnival Sunrise this space will be called the Sunshine Restaurant However, the dining room decor will likely change and the tables/table layout will also probably change.
CHANGE: Deck 4 Level Of The Rome Lounge Will Become The Lower Level Of The Liquid Lounge
Carnival Triumph: On the Carnival Triumph, the deck 4 level of the Rome Lounge was an open to below with very little seating compared to deck 3 and deck 5.
Carnival Sunrise: The Carnival Sunrise's Deck 4 will the location of the lower level of the Liquid Lounge. The Liquid Lounge is where Playlist Productions shows and other events will take place.
KEEP: In general, the photo gallery will remain in the Deck 4 area of the ship's atrium.
CHANGE: Carnival Triumph's Washington Library Will Become JavaBlue Cafe on the Carnival Sunrise
Carnival Triumph: On Deck 4 in the atrium area was the Washington Library.
Carnival Sunrise: This space will become the JavaBlue Cafe. This venue will cost extra.
CHANGE: Deck 4 Level Of The Forward Dining Room Will Be Partially Converted To The Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse
Carnival Triumph: Deck 4 mid-ship contained the upper level of the forward dining room (London Dining Room).
Carnival Sunrise: Part of this area will be converted into the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse. This venue will cost extra. However, part of this area will remain an upper level of the forward dining room. The dining room's former look to below will be reduced to allow for more seating and layout changes on the Deck 4 level.
CHANGE: Carnival Triumph's Oxford Bar Will Become The Limelight Lounge
Carnival Triumph: The Oxford Bar was located on Deck 4 near the back of the ship. This lounge contained seating, a piano, and a bar area.
Carnival Sunrise: The Limelight Lounge will replace the Carnival Triumph's Oxford Bar. This lounge will be used for the Punchliner Comedy Club as well as other events. At night, this space is used as the ship's nightclub. This space will essentially serve as both the replacement for the Carnival Triumph's aft lounge and Hollywood Dance Club. Both of these former spaces were on the Promenade Deck.
KEEP: The Deck 4 level of the aft dining room will remain in the same place. Decor, tables, and the layout could change. On the Carnival Triumph this was the Paris Dining Room, but the space's name will likely change.
KEEP: The front of Deck 5 on the Carnival Triumph was home to the Rome Lounge. This was the highest level of the ship's show lounge and contained many balcony seats. The Carnival Sunrise's Liquid Lounge will occupy this space and will also serve as the show lounge's balcony seating.
KEEP: The Fun Shops will generally remain in the same places on Deck 5. However, Carnival's press release said some additional retail spaces will be added. The new spaces will likely be incorporated into this area. The layout within the individual shops will probably change as well.
KEEP: The Skybox Sports Bar will remain in the same place. Based on the deck plans, the layout of the bar area is not changing.
KEEP: Cherry On Top will remain in the same place.
CHANGE: Casino Change & Promenade Walkway Change
Carnival Triumph: The ship's casino was the Club Monaco Casino and this was located on the port side of the Promenade Deck right by the ship's Promenade walkway.
Carnival Sunrise: The old Promenade Deck walkway will no longer exist. The new Promenade Walkway will be in the middle of the casino, instead of being to one side of the ship. Essentially, a cruiser will have to walk through the casino when going from the atrium area to the middle of the Promenade Deck. As a result of these changes, the casino layout will change. However, the casino cashier station will remain in the same place.
KEEP: The casino bar area will remain in the same place.
CHANGE: Arcade Location Change
Carnival Triumph: The Underground Tokyo Video Arcade was located on Deck 5 mid-ship.
Carnival Sunrise: The arcade will come The Warehouse and will be moved to Deck 5 forward right by the atrium's area of Deck 5. For those that were familiar with the Carnival Triumph, this new space will be where the Carnival Triumph's promenade walkway began in the atrium. The arcade costs extra.
CHANGE: Vienna Cafe area will become Bonsai Express...
Carnival Triumph: Deck 5 mid-ship contained the Vienna Cafe. The Vienna Cafe served specialty coffees and sweets for an additional charge.
Carnival Sunrise: The area that used to contain the Vienna Cafe will come Bonsai Express. Bonsai Express will serve sushi, sashimi, rolls, and more. This venue will cost extra.
CHANGE: Carnival Triumph's current arcade space and nightclub will be converted into several different lounges.
Carnival Triumph: The middle to back area of Deck 5 contains the Hollywood Dance Club and Underground Tokyo Arcade. These two areas were side by side.
Carnival Sunrise: This area will be converted into the Red Frog Pub and Piano Bar 88.
KEEP: The Alchemy Bar will remain in the same general area. However, based on the deck plan the space may be a little bigger.
CHANGE: Carnival Triumph's AFT Lounge To Be Converted To Staterooms on the Carnival Sunrise
Carnival Triumph: The very back of Deck 5 contained the Club Rio Aft Lounge.
Carnival Sunrise: This area will be converted into staterooms, both windowed and interior rooms.
CHANGE: Front Of Deck 9
Carnival Triumph: The front of Deck 9 was an exterior deck space that allowed for looking down at the ship's front.
Carnival Sunrise: This space will be converted to Captain's Suites and Scenic Ocean view staterooms.
KEEP: The Blue Iguana Tequila Bar and Red Frog Rum Bar will remain in the same place.
KEEP: The Lido Main pool will remain the same place.
KEEP: The Blue Iguana Cantina and Guy's Burger Joint will remain the same place. However, it appears the restrooms that were located by these places will have some changes made to their location.
CHANGE: The South Beach Club Lido Buffet will be converted to the Lido Marketplace buffet concept...
Carnival Triumph: The Carnival Triumph's buffet is known as the South Beach Club. This space contains the ship's deli, Chopsticks, main buffet lines, and dessert station. There are two stairwells that lead to the upper level of the South Beach Club because the buffet is two stories.
Carnival Sunrise: The Carnival Sunrise's buffet will be the Lido Marketplace. For the most part, it appears the general layout of the buffet will remain the same, but the decor will change. Furthermore, one of the stairwells to go up will be removed. The buffet will no longer be two stories because the upper level of the buffet will change to Cucina Del Capitano (free at lunch, costa extra at dinner).
The Lido Marketplace will also contain the ship's deli and Chopsticks. It appears both of these venues will remain in the same exact place.
KEEP: The aft pool area will still contain the pizzeria and Seafood Shack (costa extra). Furthermore, the aft pool will continue to exist as well as the aft pool bar area.
Possible Change: The retractable roof that was over the Carnival Triumph's aft pool could be removed, but I have not been able to confirm this yet.
CHANGE: Stateroom Additions At The Front Of Deck 10, But An Outside Deck Space Will Remain
Carnival Triumph: The front of Deck 10 was mostly an outside area with obstructed ocean view staterooms located at the very front of the deck.
Carnival Sunrise: The forward staterooms will be reconfigured to allow for a few more staterooms. However, the outside front area will remain! The stateroom numbering will change some in this area.
CHANGE: Deck 10 Waterslide Landing & Pool Area Will Become The WaterWork's Landing
Carnival Triumph: Deck 10 outside was the Carnival Triumph's Twister Waterslide landing and where a pool was located.
Carnival Sunrise: This space will be the landing of the Carnival Triumph's Twister Waterslide and Aqua Tunnel. The 75 gallon PowerDrencher Tipping bucket will be located in this space as well as a kid area.
CHANGE: Guy's Pig & Anchor BBQ Will Be Added Outside On Deck 10
Carnival Triumph: This space was used for deck chairs.
Carnival Sunrise: The Deck 10 outside port side (in between the middle & back of the ship) will be home to Guy's Pig & Anchor BBQ. Some tables will be located outside.
CHANGE: 2nd Level Of Carnival Triumph's Buffet Will Be Carnival Sunrise's Cucina Del Capitano
Carnival Triumph: This area was the 2nd level of the South Beach Club Lido Buffet. Essentially, this area contained additional seating and 1 drink station.
Carnival Sunrise: This area will become Cucina Del Capitano, which serves italian food for an additional charge. On other Carnival ships this venue did serve pasta free at lunch.
CHANGE: Complete Redesign Of The Deck 11 SPA Stateroom Area & Fitness Center
Carnival Triumph: The front of Deck 11 contained the SPA, gym, staterooms, and Camp Ocean.
Carnival Sunrise: At least seven additional staterooms are being added. The layout of the SPA will change and according to the current deck plans the fitness center can be accessed without going through the ship's locker rooms. Furthermore, Camp Ocean will no longer be located in this area and this will give the SPA additional space for facilities and staterooms.
KEEP: The atrium will continue to have a skylight that is located on Deck 11.
KEEP: The aft part of Deck 11 will continue to have the ship's jogging track.
CHANGE: The aft part of Deck 11 will be redesigned...
Carnival Triumph: This space contained the ship's jogging track and the skylight for the buffet.
Carnival Sunrise: SportsSquare will be added in this area. This will include a suspended ropes course, basketball court, the jogging track, ping-pong, foosball, and pool tables. The mini-golf course that is part of SportsSquare will be on Deck 12 aft. The Carnival Triumph's buffet skylight will no longer exist.
CHANGE: Reconfiguration Of Youth Program Facilities
Carnival Triumph: The front of Deck 12 contained Circle C and Club 02.
Carnival Sunrise: The Carnival Sunrise's Deck 12 forward area will contain Circle C, Club 02, and Camp Ocean.
CHANGE: Mini Golf Course Location Change Will Allow For Serenity Adults Only Retreat
Carnival Triumph: The Carnival Triumph's mini golf course was located on the starboard (right) side of the Deck 12. This was on the exterior adjacent to Circle C.
Carnival Sunrise: This area will become the lower level of the Serenity Adults Only Retreat. The mini golf course will be moving to Deck 12's back area.
CHANGE: Addition Of The Serenity Adults Only Retreat
Carnival Triumph: This deck space was mostly empty and was home to the waterslide's entrance.
Carnival Sunrise: This area will become the upper level of the Serenity Adults Only Retreat, which is for adults 21 & older. The WaterWorks entrance will be on this deck.
Please note plans could be modified or change. I did my best to catch all changes, but I cannot guarantee that I did not make any mistakes. Please let me know if you think I am wrong about something or if part of wording is not 100% accurate. I want this to be as helpful as possible!
Sources: www.carnival.com (Carnival Triumph's Deck Plan & Carnival Sunrise's Deck Plan)
RyG's Cruise Guide
Five Year Anniversary!
Five years ago today on March 11, 2013, RyG's Cruise Guide officially became a website! Throughout these five years, I have enjoyed writing cruise tips, articles, and reviews. Thank you to everyone that has visited throughout these years as well as sent me questions, comments, and information about dry-docks. Also, thank you to my family that has offered ideas, suggestions, and edits to improve the website.
When I created RyG's Cruise Guide I wanted to have a place where I could help as many cruisers and potential cruisers learn about the cruise industry. This has been a fun hobby for me and I have greatly enjoyed helping people plan & prepare for their upcoming cruise vacations. I hope to continue writing more cruise tips, reviews, and answering questions as time continues. Thank you again to everyone for their support!
Highlights Of The Past Five Years
Coming To RyG's Cruise Guide From The Past
Cruise Ship Spottings
Prior to creating RyG's Cruise Guide, I created a website called RyG's Cruise and Vacation Travel Review. This website lasted only a year because I wanted to focus my attention on this website. However, one of the features of RyG's Cruise and Vacation Travel Review was called "Cruise Ship Spottings". This was a place for me to post pictures of cruise ships I saw, but was not actively cruising on. I decided to bring this feature back and it will now be available on RyG's Cruise Guide for you to see what cruise ships I have seen, but at the time was not cruising on.
Click Here To View Cruise Ship Spottings
Thank You To Everyone For Visiting RyG's Cruise Guide!
Your cruise vacation is a time meant for fun, relaxation, and time away from the troubles of the world found on land. When most people are on a cruise ship they can let their guard down and think some of the problems of the "real world" on land don't apply anymore. However, as guests and crew cross the gangway, various germs and pathogens can cross the gangway too. No matter what vacation destination a person chooses he or she will be exposed to germs and pathogens. Taking a cruise does not exempt anyone from this risk of exposure. Even though there is no way to completely protect yourself from getting sick, there are some precautions that one can take to protect themselves from sickness.
What You Can Do When Boarding The Cruise Ship
1. Filling Out Your Health Questionnaire (If Asked)
Many cruise lines require passengers to fill out a health questionnaire during embarkation. It is important to fill out this form honestly to the best of your knowledge. If you are dishonest and lie that you were not sick or in contact with someone with a highly infectious disease you could be putting yourself and your fellow passengers in danger of getting ill. Questions on these questionnaires may vary. These questionnaires will help a cruise line determine if you are a high risk to the safety of other passengers and people in the foreign ports of call you will be visiting. Cruise lines may have you further screened by medical staff or denied boarding depending on the answers you provide. Some passengers lie to prevent a possibility of being denied boarding. Please don't lie. By being honest you could be protecting the lives and well being of up to thousands of other passengers.
What You Can Do Onboard During Your Cruise Vacation
1. Wash Your Hands Often
This may seem like common sense, but it can help. Wash your hands with warm water and soap prior to eating, drinking, after touching any surface, and after using the restroom. Some cruise lines provide hand sanitizer in dining areas. This is a good attempt on the cruise line's part to prevent the spread of germs, but hand sanitizer does not kill all germs. Washing hands is the best way to kill germs.
2. Feeling Sick? Visit or Call The Infirmary
If you believe that you are sick (whether you are contagious or not) you should speak with the infirmary. The infirmary may be able to give you medication or treatment that will help you. By doing this you are also giving the ship's infirmary staff a record that you are not feeling well and they can determine whether or not you are a threat to the health of others on board.
If you are contagious or don't have enough strength to walk to the infirmary you should call the infirmary from your stateroom phone. Tell them what is wrong and most likely they will send someone to your stateroom. This would allow you to keep from spreading germs in an elevator or in the cruise ship's public areas.
For those that walk to the infirmary, try to avoid crowded elevators and areas. Crowded environments make it easier for germs to spread quickly.
3. Report Unsanitary Behavior By Other Passengers
Just like on land, passengers can do gross things. There are some people who break health regulations by using the same cup twice at a drink machine. There are also some people that will use a cup and then put it back with the clean ones (witnessed this before). Consider telling a staff member discreetly that this happened. This could help stop the spread of germs from contaminated dishes.
4. Comply With Health Regulations Onboard
In the event you are quarantined or the ship is placed on "code red" because of an illness outbreak you should comply with the measures that have been put in place. If quarantined, you should stay in your quarantined environment. It probably won't be a fun time, but you were placed on quarantine for some specific reason that was determined by the ship. If your ship has a major illness outbreak the staff members may have to abide by specific buffet regulations (such as serving food). Follow all directions from the staff on the cruise ship.
Keeping Yourself Healthy - Additional Tips:
1. Stay Physically Active
Try to work off some of your food or calories in the gym or on the jogging track. Depending on the weather, I like to walk on the jogging track in the evening after dinner and watch the sunset. I carry a camera and snap pictures as I go around in a circle. However, be careful onboard not to overwork yourself, pull a muscle, or get sick from trying to burn off your food/calories.
2. Don't Overeat
At meal times don't eat an outrageous amount of food or drink. If you are over-stuffed you could get sick and vomit. Be careful not to eat more greasy foods or rich foods than you can handle. Overall, watch what you eat and how much you eat.
There is not a way to 100% protect yourself from getting sick. Always be careful and use common sense while you are on a cruise.
The year 2018 is here and for Galveston it looks like it will be another one filled with cruise ship departures! Here is an overview of what to expect from cruise lines that sail from Galveston in 2018:
Carnival Cruise Line
Just like 2017, Carnival Cruise Line will continue having three year round ships departing Galveston. However, there will be a major change to Galveston's Carnival Cruise ship lineup in September 2018! The Carnival Freedom will primarily sail 7 night cruises that depart on Saturdays from Galveston. The itinerary for these seven night cruises will vary depending on the departure date. The Carnival Valor will primarily sail 4 & 5 night cruises that alternate between departing on Thursdays, Mondays, and Saturdays. Both of the Carnival Freedom and Carnival Valor sailed from Galveston in 2017 and will essentially continue doing the same cruises in 2018. The Carnival Freedom and Carnival Valor are both Conquest Class vessel and have many similarities (in terms of layout) because they are members of the same ship class.
The Carnival Breeze will sail 7 night cruises from Galveston through mid-September 2018. After leaving Galveston, the Carnival Breeze will be replaced with the Carnival Vista. During the Carnival Vista's time sailing from Galveston, it will primarily sail seven night cruises that depart on Sundays. The cruise itinerary will vary depending on departure date. Although the Carnival Vista was launched into service in 2016, it is still considered one of Carnival's largest and newer ships.
Just like 2017, Royal Caribbean will continue having the Liberty of the Seas sailing from Galveston in 2018. The Liberty of the Seas will continue primarily sailing 7 night cruises from Galveston that depart on Sundays. In late 2017, Royal Caribbean deployed the Vision of the Seas to Galveston to sail 4 & 5 night cruises. The Vision of the Seas' 4 & 5 night cruises will continue through April 2018. These 4 & 5 night cruises will primarily depart on Mondays, Fridays, and Wednesdays. Previously, Royal Caribbean had cruises extending into summer 2018, but this is no longer the case due to some changes announced in November 2017 by Royal Caribbean.
Disney Cruise Line
Disney Cruise Line will once again sail seasonally from Galveston in 2018. The year will start with the Disney Wonder sailing from Galveston, but in mid-January the ship will reposition. However, in November 2018 the Disney Wonder will return to sail more seasonal cruises from Galveston. It appears the majority of the Disney Wonder's cruises from Galveston are seven night cruises that sail to the Bahamas.
For more information about itineraries, sailing dates, and for the most up to date information please visit each respective cruise line's website. Please keep in mind information is subject to change!
As the year 2017 comes to a close, it is time to look towards 2018 which will bring another year of cruising to the New Orleans cruise industry Here is an overview of what to expect from cruise lines that sail from New Orleans in 2018:
Carnival Cruise Line
Once again in 2018, Carnival Cruise Line will have two year round cruise ships sailing from New Orleans. The Carnival Triumph will primarily sail 4 and 5 night cruises from New Orleans. The Carnival Triumph's 4 night cruises leave on alternating Thursdays and sail to Cozumel, Mexico. The Carnival Triumph's 5 night cruises alternate between Mondays and Saturdays. These 5 night cruises are primarily scheduled to sail to Cozumel and Progreso. In addition to the Carnival Triumph, the Carnival Dream also sails from New Orleans. The Carnival Dream primarily sails 7 night cruises that depart on Sundays from New Orleans. The Carnival Dream alternates between three different Caribbean or Bahamas itineraries.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line will not sail year round from New Orleans in 2018, but the cruise line does sail from New Orleans for a large part of the year. When 2018 begins, the Norwegian Pearl will be sailing from New Orleans. The Norwegian Pearl will primarily be sailing 7 night cruises from New Orleans that depart on Sundays. However, the ship will have a few 5 night cruises too during its time from New Orleans. The Norwegian Dawn is scheduled to reposition from New Orleans in early April 2018.
In 2018, the Norwegian Breakaway will come to New Orleans. According to Norwegian Cruise Line's press release, the Norwegian Breakaway will be the largest cruise ship to sail from New Orleans and will sail a variety of different seven, ten, or eleven night cruise itineraries. As of the time of writing this article, bookings for the Norwegian Breakaway from New Orleans are open through March 2019.
At the very end of 2018, Royal Caribbean will return to New Orleans after a several year break. The Vision of the Seas will start sailing 7 night cruises at the very end of 2018.
River Cruises That Depart & Have Port of Call Stops In New Orleans
New Orleans has many river cruises that depart New Orleans and/or use New Orleans as a port of call. I do not usually cover river cruises on RyG's Cruise Guide, but I wanted to make everyone aware that the major large cruise lines are not the only cruise lines that depart from New Orleans.
The first day of a cruise can be very exciting, but before you can enjoy the food, fun, and excitement of your cruise you have to check-in and actually board your cruise ship. Throughout my years of cruising, Carnival Cruise Line has implemented changes to their check-in procedures that have made check-in a little easier and more efficient. Here are some tips and things to keep in mind when checking in for your Carnival Cruise that could make your first day much easier:
1. Secure Your Luggage Tags To Your Luggage Prior to Arriving At The Cruise Terminal
In Carnival's online booking manager, you will have the ability to print luggage tags. I recommend taking time to secure these to your suitcase prior to arriving at the cruise terminal. When you get to the cruise terminal or parking lot that will shuttle you to the cruise terminal, there may not be enough time to put your luggage tags on.
If you happen to forget to print your luggage tags, typically someone working at the cruise terminal will be able to provide you with a generic luggage tag that you will write your name and stateroom number on.
2. Have Your Boarding Pass and Required ID Ready When You Get To The Cruise Terminal
Before your cruise actually begins, it will feel like you show your boarding pass and required identification a million times. When you turn over your luggage to a porter, you will have to show your boarding pass & id. As you try to enter the cruise terminal building, you will have to show your boarding pass. When you check-in for the cruise inside the terminal, you will once again have to show these two things. Have your boarding pass and acceptable ID ready when you get the cruise terminal. It is not fun to have to step out of line because you can't find one of these things, so make sure you know where yours is and keep it handy!
3. Complete Your Health Questionnaire Prior To Arriving At The Cruise Terminal
You can make your check-in process faster inside the cruise terminal if you print and complete the required health questionnaire prior to arriving at the cruise terminal. For women, a pregnancy questionnaire is required too.
4. When Going Through Security In The Cruise Terminal...
Make sure you listen and follow written instructions provided by the security staff members in the cruise terminal. Failure to follow directions could result in your carry on bags being searched because you didn't take out your laptop or getting a pat down because you left something in your pocket.
5. Do Not Take Pictures Inside The Cruise Terminal
Taking pictures or video inside the cruise terminal is not allowed and terminal staff members will tell people to stop taking pictures/videos if they are caught. This is something I am not very good at following! I typically try to get pictures of my cruise ship from the terminal for the cruise reviews I write on here. I have been told several times to stop taking pictures! If you don't want to be yelled at our get in trouble for your cruise, don't take pictures in the cruise terminal!
6. Knowing The Order Of Boarding Will Make Waiting No Seem As Long
When you know which group of cruisers is in front of you for boarding you can have a mini countdown in your head of how much longer you have until your group gets to board. Carnival starts with VIFP Diamond guests. These guests have sailed 200+ days with Carnival. Next is Carnival's VIFP Platinum guests. These guests have sailed 75+ days with Carnival or were grandfathered in under an old loyalty program. The next group of guests is Faster to the Fun. These guests paid for early boarding as well as priority luggage delivery. Following Faster to the Fun guests, will be the numbered zones. Guests with zone 1 are first and the process continues from there.
Galveston has two cruise ship terminals that are located next door to each other. Typically, the first cruise terminal is used by Carnival Cruise ships. When two Carnival ships are docked in port one will be at each terminal. Royal Caribbean ships as well as Disney Cruise ships almost always use Cruise Terminal #2. In June 2017, I cruised on the Carnival Valor and we used Cruise Terminal #2 for embarking and debarking in Galveston.
Upon arriving at Cruise Terminal #2 we found an area that was for luggage drop off. Several luggage porters were around taking luggage from cruisers. After checking in our luggage we headed to the main entrance of the cruise terminal. We walked into the cruise terminal building and got in line to get our passports scanned and boarding passes checked.
Following this check, we were directed to the security checkpoint. There were several security lines opened up to minimize congestion.
After security we continued walking into what is considered part of the new area of cruise terminal #2. The bottom floor of this new part was setup with several check-in area counters. We checked in and were directed to an escalator that took us up one floor and into the second level of this area. During check in we were given zone numbers and told to sit by the seats that had our zone. The waiting area had several chairs that were lined up in rows. Restrooms were available as well as vending machines that were located close to the restrooms. There were some circular windows to look while we waited.
When it was time for boarding and our zone was called, we were directed to get in line. We got our shipboard cards (Sail & Sign card) scanned and then proceeded down a hallway. We were not at the gangway yet, but were getting close. We continued walking down this somewhat long hallway and then we finally got to the gangway. Once we were up the gangway we were on our ship!
After we debarked our cruise ship, we headed back down the gangway and into the cruise terminal. We headed back down the same hallway that we entered, but instead of going into the check in area we were directed down a long ramp. This long ramp took us to the terminal's bottom level and then we walked across the cruise terminal in order to get to Customs & Immigration. Since I took all my luggage with me I do not know about people needing to get luggage. Customs & Immigration had several lines open and once we were through this checkpoint we were allowed to head towards the cruise terminal's exit. The TABC had a table setup for cruisers to declare their alcoholic purchases that were getting brought back into Texas.
Galveston has two cruise ship terminals that are located next door to each other. Cruise Terminal 1 is primarily used by Carnival ships and Cruise Terminal 2 is used by Carnival when two Carnival ships are in Galveston, but is almost always used by Royal Caribbean & Disney ships. Since my first cruise out of Galveston in 2007, each of my Carnival Cruises out of Galveston (with 1 exception) have used Cruise Terminal 1.
Boarding The Ship:
When we arrived at the cruise terminal we found a porter to take our luggage. We then followed signage that said "Entrance/Check-In". Several terminal staff members were outside to give directions and answer questions. There was a separate line for VIP guests. When we got to enter the cruise terminal we had to immediately show our boarding passes. After our boarding pass was quickly examined we got in line to get our passports scanned & boarding passes checked again. This process did not take too long.
Following this check, we were directed to the security checkpoint. There were several security lines open to minimize congestion.
After the security checkpoint we were told to continue walking until we reached an escalator that would take us up the 2nd floor. At the top of the escalator (on the 2nd floor) several terminal staff members were there to tell us where to go. This area was filled with crowd control ropes for lines as well as numerous check in desks. We went to our designated line (general check-in) and were told which check-in representative to go to. During this part of the check in process we had to turn in our health questionnaire as well as receive our Sail & Sign cards. Please note, recently Carnival has implemented a new procedure out of Galveston that has changed how Sail & Sign card distribution works. This process may be different if you are cruising out of Galveston on a Carnival ship that has the new procedure that was scheduled to begin late July. For my cruise, our boarding passes were stamped with a zone number that would be used for boarding.
When it was time for boarding and our zone was called, we were directed to get in line. We got our shipboard cards (Sail & Sign card) scanned and then proceeded down a hallway that would take us to the gangway. There were a few windows located along this hallway so we were able to see the ship as we got closer to the gangway. Once on the gangway we walked up and were finally on the ship!
After we debarked our cruise ship, we headed back down the gangway and into the cruise terminal. After exiting the gangway we were almost immediately directed down a ramp that took us into one large room on the bottom floor of the cruise terminal. There were two long lines for Customs & Immigration that would be subdivided into counters once we got closer. One line was for Passports Only & the other line was for those with birth certificates. Once we got closer, cruisers were divided into about 13 or 14 different lines. Several lines were open and each moved at a varying speed. After getting through this checkpoint, TABC was collecting taxes on alcoholic beverages being brought into Texas. Since this did not apply to us, we proceeded to the cruise terminal's exit.
The Carnival Freedom and Carnival Valor are two of Carnival's Conquest Class vessels. While the ships have several common features and very similar layouts, there are some differences between the two ships. I recently sailed on both the Carnival Valor and Carnival Freedom from Galveston. The Carnival Valor currently does 4 & 5 night cruises from Galveston and the Carnival Freedom does 7 night cruises from Galveston. This is a photo comparison of the public areas of each of the two ships:
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RyG's Cruise Guide