Sunday, October 15, 2017

Girls Gone Cruising- Disembarkation

All the Fun is Done... FOR NOW!
Galveston, TX
Monday, October 2, 2017

It's been FUN... Let's Do it AGAIN! 

It truly was the cruise of the lifetime and the memories made were PRICELESS but it was time to go home! 

Morning
The alarm went off (on purpose) and that meant we had to get up and get off. I got ready and of course went to the balcony. I was able to see the sunrise over Galveston before the other girls got up. I spent about an hour out there and even was able to call Chris and Luke since we were within land range. I found out that Chris walked WITHOUT crutches several times in my absence. This was HUGE ordeal at this point. I was so PROUD OF HIM! I ran down to the nightclub and picked out my purchases of adult beverages before we left for breakfast. Tip- Many Carnival ships deliver to your stateroom the night before but the Valor had them available to pick up from 6AM-9AM in the nightclub.


A very hazy sunrise of Galveston island! 

The Galveston Cruise terminal #1. 

One more morning on our balcony! 

We made our way to breakfast as we were docking and pulling into the terminal. Tip- I hate the last morning on the ship. Everyone has their bags and are cramming into the buffet area. Seats are really hard to come by so be sure to have 1 person in your party to save seats.

We opted to do the "zone" debarkation and since we were in a suite we had zone 3. Although the debarkation was not the smoothest I have encountered, we were able to get in line to get off the ship at 8:44AM. By 8:56AM were were off the ship and had our luggage in hand. Tip- I opted to pack a small suitcase and then had 3 shoulder bags. Next time I will just use the LARGER suitcase so I have space and do not have to hassle with the shoulder bags.  We were through the customs line and walking to our car by 9:13AM. We pulled into my driveway in The Woodlands at 10:50AM, which is a new record (thank you Gigi). 


It was a very SPECIAL cruise indeed and one we will surely never forget! Memories were made that will last a lifetime! We are already planning our next #GirlsGoneCruising for August 2019. 


Up next... Girls Gone Cruising #2- August 2019!

What's Next? 
 Chris and I will be sailing on the NCL Pearl in March 2018 for our 12th anniversary and a party cruise for Chris's 40th birthday! 

We have 2 other cruises on the horizon and are awaiting final details to book. But this is NOT ENOUGH... I am thinking a last minute cruise may happen in the near future! I am getting the FEVER! 
Our upcoming other cruises:
Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas- June 2018
(Gotta get on her before she leaves Galveston- there IS gossip)
NCL Breakaway (welcome to NOLA)- March 2019


This was one of my favorite cruise experiences all around and I am so lucky and blessed to have been able to share it with Natalie and my mom and sister! Thank you to Jackie and Dan for helping take care of "my boys" while I was off having fun! 

Thank you once again for following along! This blog would not be all it is today without your following and support! I LOVE cruising and I LOVE blogging! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask!

Thank you all for following along but it is not over yet... We still have a FOOD BLOG, Carnival Valor pictorial review and the FunTimes scans! Be sure to check back for those!

Girls Gone Cruising- FOOD

This Ain't My First Rodeo
Carnival Valor 2017

We are true foodies and love trying new things while on a cruise ship as well as enjoy our favorites. The Carnival Valor offered the FunShip 2.0 upgrades including Guy's Burger Joint and Blue Iguana Cantina but it also had Mongolian Wok, Good Ole' Fashioned BBQ and the new Sushi at Sea and Seafood Shack (a la carte prices). This made for an amazing dining experience throughout the cruise. In addition, the Valor had the American Table and American Feast menus in the Main Dining Room. 

I am going to highlight all of the Lido deck offerings individually as well as each night's menu from the MDR. We tried to eat at as many venues as possible but even with a 7 night sailing, it is difficult to get to it all! 

Lido Deck and Various Lunch Offerings


Rosie's Cafe Buffet- Deck 9 Lido mid-ship
This is the main buffet and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with various hours during sea days and port days. As usual, we did not eat here very much but we LOVED the set-up and d├ęcor of this buffet. Tip- There is AMPLE seating between the front and back buffets on each side of the ship! Also, the back buffet is ALWAYS less crowded than the front!  


I LOVE this area and mural! 


Typical breakfast options on the Lido Buffet!


This was a lunch "theme" option! Check your FunTimes for more specifics! 


Guy's Burgers and Fries- Deck 9 Lido mid-ship
This NEVER disappoints and is EASILY the best burger at sea!  This is open everyday from 12 (noon) to 6PM (port or sea day), although I really wish it would stay open later as a burger would be a perfect late night snack!

This is what it looked like on embarkation day at 11AM.
(Easily the least crowded I have seen it on day 1 at this time. )



The Guy's Burgers Menu


The "Ringer" with extra donkey sauce! 

Blue Iguana Cantina- Deck 9 Lido mid-ship
This is available DAILY for breakfast until 10:30AM and lunch from 12PM to 2:30PM.  I LOVE the breakfast burritos and I enjoy the lunch burritos and taco salads. Tip- The line moves quickly so don't be frightened by the long line!


Blue Iguana on a sea day morning is usually not busy (port days, that's a different story)


The Blue Iguana Menu *lunch


My taco salad! I really like this new addition

Mongolian Wok- Deck 9 Lido mid-ship
This is Chris's favorite place to eat on the ship and offers made to order Asian food. I did not have any Mongolian Wok this trip but Allison did and LOVED it!  It is open from 12PM to 2:30PM daily. Tip- Eat here on the 1st day as it is usually unknown by most passengers. As the week progresses the line will get longer and longer! 


I enjoy this venue but I have yet to find MY perfect bowl! 


Good Ole' Fashioned BBQ- Deck 10 aft (above the buffet)
This is a newer addition to the Valor, just added during dry-dock December 2016. This features delicious BBQ meats and all of the fixin's and sides. Tip- It is not well known at the beginning of the cruise and there is hardly a line. Also, you can bring food from other lunch options upstairs to eat with your group. Finally, this is where the Kids Club meets for dinners at 6PM.  
The BBQ Menu


The workers and servers were fantastic! 


The Mac-n-Cheese was not as good as the last time I was on the Valor

Sushi at Sea- Deck 9 Lido (headed towards the aft on the starboard side)
This is an a la carte eating venue that is open daily from 12 to 10PM (although we passed by during these hours and it was closed). This was very good sushi and the presentation was superb but it is not near as good as the Bonsai Sushi offered on other Carnival ships.

The Sushi at Sea a la carte menu! 


The California roll from the menu. 
For $5 (plus tip) it is not the worst sushi I have ever had but not near as good as Bonsai. 


Seafood Shack- Deck 19 Lido aft (starboard)
This is a newer option on the Valor since it's December 2016 drydock. It offers a wide variety of seafood options both fried and grilled as well as fresh Lobster rolls and New England Clam Chowder. The prices are a la carte but very reasonable for the amount of food you get. Tip It is only open from 12PM to 2:30PM daily! 



The Seafood Shack menu. 



This is the lobster roll (which comes with 2 rolls). It was buttered to perfection and the meat was tender and flaky. Again, not the best I have ever had but really good! 


Pizza Pirate- Deck 9 Lido Aft (port) 
This venue ALWAYS has a line (day or night) and the pizza is RARELY worth it for the time you spend in line. We did not eat any pizza on this trip, and that is OK with me!

Pizza Pirate Menu!

Taste Bar- Deck 5 Promenade (Starboard side) near the nightclub
This is a sample size appetizer of various "Additional Fee" dinner options on board Carnival Ships. It is open on SeaDays and Embarkation day from 5PM to 8PM. We only managed to eat here 1 time in our 4 days but it did not disappoint.

The Formal Night Taste Bar featured Cucina del Capitano
(The Italian restaurant on Dream class ships) 

SeaDay Brunch- Washington Dining Room Deck 4 (aft)
This is an excellent way to start your day on board a cruise ship. It is offered as a brunch option from 8AM to 1PM. We arrived around 9AM and had a great breakfast. Be advised, the service is TERRIBLY slow. You can easily take an entire morning waiting for food in there. I personally do not like it as much as I used to because the service is so slow. However, the food, and especially the dessert, is FANTASTIC! 


Natalie's Ham and Cheese omelet 


French Toast- This was a little bit of a disappointment. I guess it NEEDS the Fruit Loops to be tasty! 


My omelet... Again, it is not better than the Lido offerings so in my opinion it is not worth the 1.5 hour time it takes. 


THIS... This right here is Carnival's BEST dessert!
(The only one I REALLY like)
Banana Cream Pie with butterscotch ice cream.
It is delicious and for whatever reason only offered at SeaDay Brunch! 



Main Dining Room- Lincoln Dining Room- Deck 3 forward
Tip- We had Your Time Dining and could eat anytime from 5:45 to 9:30PM. If you have set dining times you will be eating in the Washington Dining Room (deck 4 aft) OR Lincoln Dining Room deck 4 forward.


Chris and I cruise frequently and enjoy "rating" each menu item from 1-5 with 2.5 being what you would expect from a restaurant on land. We consider a 4.0 to be about standard for most cruise food! I realize that food is VERY subjective but we enjoy reviewing these menu items to help us remember what we do like for future voyages. 

RATING SYSTEM
1- awful and would be fast-food level quality (McDonald's or Taco Bell)
2- decent on land offering 
2.5- par for land meals (Chili's and Red Lobster) 
3- Upscale land restaurant quality 
4.0- standard for cruise industry food 
5.0- One of the best foods (of the corresponding category) we have ever had

Thursday, September 28, 2017- Embarkation/ Day 1
American Table Menu
 



Night #1 Menu (American Table) 


Nightly bread basket!

Cream of Ripened Tomatoes- 4.0


Calamari- 2.5 
This was awful and not cooked very well at all. This was very disappointing since it has been my favorite appetizer the past 2-3 cruises. 

Jalepeno Poppers (port of call menu)- 4.5
These were fantastic and I enjoyed them very much! 

Fried Shrimp- 4.5
This is never a disappointment. The accompanying rice is fantastic! 



Honey Glazed Pork Loin
I did not order this but Allison spoke very highly of it! 

American Table #1 dessert menu

Nutella Tiramisu- 4.0
This is SO RICH! 



Friday, September 29, 2017- Sea Day #1/ Formal Night
American Feast 



The American Feast menu 


Baked Stuff Mushrooms- 4.5
EXCELLENT


Scallops with Risotto- 4.0
The texture of the scallops was great. The risotto was not as good as usual. 


Heart of Iceberg Salad- 3.0
This was new for me and it was tasty but again the Davis motto is
"YOU DON'T WIN FRIENDS WITH SALAD" at least on a cruise! 


Kids Spaghetti- 4.0
This was very tasty! Natalie ordered but I tasted her left overs and it was fabulous! 


Blue Crab Ravioli- 4.5
It makes me sad that they took away the Formal Night Lobsters on 5 day cruises or less but this was a fantastic substitute. 


Grilled Shrimp- 4.5
This hardly ever disappoints and it was excellent once again. The mustard potatoes really complete the dish in my opinion. 


Creme Brulee- 5.0
Wow... just wow! 

Saturday, September 30, 2017- Cozumel (Port Day)
American Table Menu

(EASILY THE WORST NIGHT OF MENUS... IT IS JUST AWFUL)



American Table Menu 


Port of Call- Cozumel 


Tortilla Soup- 4.0
This was great and had fantastic spice to it... But the Tex-Mex person in me needs CHEESE! 


Mac-N-Cheese (Especially made for Natalie)


Greek Salad- 4.5
This is my favorite salad on Carnival and even though I try not to eat this salads, I could not pass this one up! 
  

Port of Call Entree/ Steak Tacos- 4.0
These were better than usual and the meat was very tender and seasoned well. 


American Table #3 dessert menu!


Vanilla Ice Cream for me- 2.5
Carnival needs BLUE BELL! 


Sunday, October 1, 2017- Sea Day #2
American Table Menu
 



American Table Menu 


Western Caribbean Port of Call Menu


Escargot- 4.5
Excellent as usual! 


Fried Shrimp-2.0
This was about as good or worse than Red Lobster quality, which was very disappointing! 


Shrimp Ceviche (from the port of call menu)- 3.5
Interesting! It was not near as 'fresh" as I have had in the past BUT I have literally watched locals catch conch for me and then make ceviche so I do have a VERY high standard. 


Penne Mariscos- 4.5
This is always a pleaser and has become of my favorite dishes Carnival serves. 


Beef Lasagna- 4.0
This was very good and BEEFY but a HUGE portion! 


Night #3 dessert menu! 


Buttered Popcorn Pot de Crema- 4.0
This is always a unique dish with a custard base and then buttered caramel popcorn on top and then of all things... a blueberry marmalade. 


I decided to go ahead and choose my favorites from this trip, as each trip is different. 

Kellie
Favorite Appetizer- Escargot
Favorite Entree- TIE- Blue Crab Ravioli AND Penne Mariscos
Favorite Dessert- Creme Brulee (hands down)   
Biggest Surprise- Jalepeno Poppers (these seemed so much better than other ships)
Biggest Disappointment- Night #3 menu (I know better...)


We love cruising and EATING on cruises. We use this blog as means for us to know what to order on future cruises and it is fun to look through and get our mouth watering while we are dieting! 

Thanks for following along! 

Until we meet again... Keep calm and CRUISE ON!