1. Disney Wonder Very Merrytime Cruise: Back in Galveston

    It was 5:45am on disembarkation day when we were woken up early by the thrusters of the ship as we docked back into the Port of Galveston on a freezing cold December morning. Who would have thought that exactly one week after we left Galveston on a hot and sunny day with blue skies that we would arrive back to freezing cold temperatures and snow across Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia? But that is exactly what happened. I was happy to have docked back in Galveston on time as it did cross my mind that we would be delayed given the weather conditions.

    It was impossible to fall back asleep once we had docked but it did feel nice for the ship to not be rolling from side to side anymore. After getting a cup of tea from Deck 9, we both showered and got dressed ready for the day ahead. Luckily we had packed some winter clothes as we were flying back to London via Boston but we never thought in a million years we would need them in Texas! Once ready, we finished packing our bags and checked all the drawers and cupboards in the room to make sure we had not left anything behind and said goodbye to Murti our amazing stateroom host who had looked after us so well during our week onboard.

    Express Walk Off in Galveston was from 7:45am so we left our room about ten minutes before that with our luggage to be met with a ridiculous line for the aft elevators. The line had still not moved after a few minutes of waiting so we decided to walk down the stairs with our luggage. It only took a few minutes to carry a giant suitcase, a smaller wheelie bag and a backpack down the stairs from Deck 7 to Deck 3 – it would have been a lot quicker but there was a lot of people sitting on the stairs and blocking the way for others trying to use them.

    Getting to the lobby atrium from the aft elevators was no easy process – it seemed like there was a lot of people who had absolutely no idea how disembarkation worked and had not read the letter that was left in the staterooms the day before. People were all trying to get into Animator’s Palate and Tritons with their giant suitcases and hundreds of other bags and blocking the corridors when they could not get in. If you want to have breakfast in one of the dining rooms then should get your bags taken off the ship for you as there is no room for them anywhere during breakfast. It was even a struggle trying to walk through the Promenade Lounge as people had just dumped their bags which were getting in the way of everyone. It brought back memories of the last time we disembarked from the Disney Wonder in Vancouver which was equally as chaotic – on both of our other cruises on the Disney Magic and the Disney Dream, disembarkation could not have been easier.

    It was a little quieter (but not much) in the lobby atrium but there were lots of people being turned away from disembarking as their luggage tags had not been called yet or they had not yet settled their account and instead of standing to one side, just stood in the way of everyone else. There were also a few people shouting at the crew asking them for a different luggage tag so they could get off the ship quicker. It just does not work like that and if you want to be first off the ship, then you have to carry your own bags off yourself – it was also obvious that so many people had never cruised before.

    After dropping off our cruise questionnaire, we tapped our Key to the World cards for the final time and stepped onto a freezing cold gangway. After the chaos of Deck 3 of the Disney Wonder, the Port of Galveston seemed like an oasis of calm. All the port staff were smiling, laughing and welcoming everyone to their “Winter Wonderland”. We arrived into immigration and absolutely loved that there was a non-US passport line which had no one in it given the majority of the people on the ship were US citizens. It only took a few minutes to get through and all the immigration officer wanted to see was the entry stamp in our passports from when we had arrived in the United States the week before. We were also asked if we had any alcohol with us as tax needs to be paid to the State of Texas by everyone for any alcohol brought into the state.

    Right outside the door, there was a line of buses waiting to take people back to the official Port of Galveston parking lot. Less than five minutes later, we were back at our car looking at the ice on the windscreen. It was still bizarre to think how hot the weather had been exactly a week beforehand and now we were standing shivvering in the freezing cold.

    Before leaving Galveston, we made a quick detour to Strand Street close to the port as I wanted to take a photo of the “Greetings from Galveston” sign before driving onto the I-45 towards Houston. We stopped at a Starbucks close to the Johnson Space Center for breakfast before joining the I-10 and driving to Slidell in Louisiana. We had been expecting this drive to take ages (Google Maps was showing nearly six hours) and thought that the weather conditions would make the journey even worse but it was a surprisingly easy day.

    We even made another stop at the Texas State Line just to get the photo of the welcome sign in the snow which was the complete opposite to the week before.

    The next day we drove from Slidell to Montgomery in Alabama. It was on this journey that we started to think and talk about what cruise we would like to do next. Despite preferring the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder over our cruise on the Disney Dream, we talked about wanting to dine in Remy which is only on the Dream and the Fantasy as well as preferring the Mickey’s Pirates in the Caribbean party on the newer ships. By the time the day was over, we had booked a seven night cruise for 2019 on the Disney Fantasy which will mean we will have sailed on all four Disney Cruise Line ships.

    We woke up early (an hour earlier than we wanted due to the time difference between Montgomery and Atlanta) on our last day on holiday as we had to drive back to Atlanta Airport to catch our Delta flight to Boston. Once again paying for Delta Comfort+ seats on the flight was one of the best decisions we made as it meant we had priority boarding so we knew we would have space for our hand luggage in the overhead lockers on a very busy flight.

    We landed back into Boston which actually felt warmer than Galveston to find out that our flight home to London was delayed over four hours. What else could you do apart from laugh at this news once again. Thankfully I was upgraded to Upper Class again on the flight home and I slept the entire way as I was that tired!

    From flight cancellations, nearly missing the start of my holiday, bad weather and another flight delay, there were a few little things that went wrong on this trip to make it eventful. Roll on our next cruise on the Disney Fantasy with hopefully no long road trip, flight cancellations or delays to deal with!

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