BC9: Part 1

On Friday, February 19th, my family and I flew to Texas in preparation of our upcoming cruise aboard the Carnival Freedom. This cruise ship was hosting the annual Bloggers Cruise, an event hosted by John Heald, senior cruise director and brand ambassador for Carnival. By joining, you get to participate in exclusive events and it provides you with the perfect opportunity to meet new people (and reunite with old friends).  My family and I have traveled on several bloggers cruises in the past and have always enjoyed our experience. Since this is the first year I've had a blog and been on the bloggers cruise at the same time, I felt it was fitting that I share my experience.

On the 19th, my family and I woke up at two a.m. to catch our flight in Detroit. Since our flight was so early, we got to see the sun rise from above. This is one of my favorite experiences and part of the reason why I love flying so early.


We flew from Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) to Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL). From Dallas we took a short plane ride to William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) in Houston. 

After arriving in Houston, we took a shuttle bus with a few of our friends to Galveston, TX. The rest of the day was spent at the hotel (by the swimming pool) and nearby food restaurants (IHOP and The Spot, but mostly IHOP), reuniting with friends and beginning our vacation. One of the coolest things about our hotel was that it was directly across from the beach. In the evening we took some time to explore the beach.

The following morning, my family woke up early to watch the sunrise over the gulf. I, on the other hand, slept in a little while longer. After they got back from the sunrise and breakfast at IHOP, we got on a bus that took us to the embarkation terminal. We had an earlier embarkation check-in time (10:30 a.m.), so we didn't have to wait in many lines for very long and got board the ship pretty early.

Sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico

After boarding, our first task, naturally, was to find some food to eat. While my parents went to the buffets, I made a beeline towards my favorite burger joint, Guy's Burgers. I swear I've never tasted a burger so good in my life.

Once we were finished eating, we went to the room and dropped off our carry-on bags; then, Arabella and I explored the ship and played putt putt (which is right next to the whale tail on this ship) and my parents went to Red Frog Pub to meet up with our cruise friends. Bella and I later joined them and attempted to played shuffleboard for the first time (we struggled). Some time later, we all went back to our room. While there, we spent time on the balcony as a family. After the muster drill, we returned to our balcony where we spotted dolphins as we were pulling away from the dock.

Later, we went to John Heald's Welcome Aboard Party (below), followed by dinner, where we met our fabulous wait staff.

The first full day of our cruise was a fun day at sea. The rest of my family got up early, again. I woke up, took this picture of the sunrise, then went right back to sleep for a few more hours.

The Gulf of Mexico from our balcony

When I awoke again I headed to the Lido deck with breakfast in mind. I brought a book with me and read poolside after eating. Around 10, I met my family at the casino for the casino slot pull we were participating in with our cruising group. Since it officially started at 10:30, my dad and I played a few slots games. This was my first time ever in a casino! No one in my family scored any money on the slot pull, but a couple of our friends did. Afterwards, my dad and I played roulette, which I liked and was surprisingly good at.

This was also the first elegant night aboard the cruise! On all Carnival ships there is at least one night where everyone dresses super fancy (this one has two). My family and our cruising friends planned ahead and brought color coordinating outfits.