Saturday, March 16, 2024

Carnival Jubilee B2B Cruise Review - March 16th & 23rd, 2024

Carnival Jubilee B2B Cruise Review - March 16th & 23rd, 2024

Just the Facts:
Ship: Carnival Jubilee, 3rd of the Excel Class ships launched in late 2023 at 183,500 Tons & 6500 max guest capacity.
Captain:  Stefano Bonico - Hotel Director: Lars Juel - Cruise Director: Kendell Fire Wk1, Louie Clare Wk2
Ports:  Galveston TX - Mahogany Bay, Roatan, Honduras - Costa Maya, MX - Cozumel, MX  - Repeated

This is the inaugural season of the new Carnival Jubilee and of course my 1st cruise on her. I’m cruising with the Dear Wife (DW) on a B2B (back2back) and have friends and clients on these two cruises.  This is my 112-113th Carnival cruise, and 208th and 209th cruises overall.
Saturday / March 16th, 2024 Embarkation / Day 1 
We were up very early (3:00 am) for our Lyft drive to the Tampa Airport arriving at about 4:45 am for our 6:00 am flight. Smooth security and check-in in Miami for our 8:30 AM flight to Houston IAH. We arrived in Houston at about 11:30 am. We then waited over an hour for the Carnival Shuttle bus. Once on board, the bus stopped twice on the way. We spent more time with the Shuttle than any other segment of travel…four hours counting wait times and travel. Once we arrived at the pier at about 2:00 pm it was smooth sailing onto the ship. No lines anywhere along the way…even security. We were in our cabin on Lido Deck and unpacked by 2:30 pm as we rolled on our bags ourselves. I find it much easier to board late and have done so on the last several cruises. We have an interior cabin as I originally booked as a solo then added the DW afterward for the first week. The cabin is adequate for both of us, we each have a wardrobe and the cabin is nice and clean. No worn carpet, lots of hangers, no scratches or stains…very nice. We went out through the secret door to the Lido deck to eat, I had an MDE Big Chicken Sandwich, Chicken Tenders, and Potato Fries. It was very good,..Big Chicken is a favorite. They were making final requests for guests to report to their muster stations so that was our next stop…ours was B-8 located on Deck 8 in ChiBang. We returned to the cabin for some much-needed rest and met our Cabin Steward Danu. We requested bath robes, ice, and extra towels. At about 4:30 PM, we sailed away into some brisk weather. The DW went up to deck 12 to meet the girls and I did a walkabout to see where the veteran Alchemy-trained bartenders were working. I had a beer at Summer Landing then went up to the Alchemy Bar. Three of my favorites were there: The Two Nicks together again, and Daniel. Wow! All Alchemy All-Stars. I then went by the new Golden Mermaid and saw CJ and Jason, two more All-Stars. I can’t wait to try some of the new menu cocktails at the GM. Very tempting to start but I knew I needed rest tonight and retired to the cabin. It was a busy travel and embark day for the new Carnival Jubilee.
Sunday / March 17th  /  Fun Day at Sea  /  Day 2
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. At about 8:00 am I went around the corner to the Blue Iguana for my favorite Carnival breakfast. I had my usual: Huevos Rancheros with Pico de Gallo, Shredded Cheese, Salsas, Arepas, and Watermelon. It was excellent. So convenient as our cabin location is basically behind the Blue Iguana. We did a brief walkabout and the outer decks are packed. We made a mistake booking during spring break, but I underestimated the effect of higher fares would be on the new Jubilee. We originally had planned on sailing earlier, but Carnival canceled the first month of cruises so we ended up with March dates. Our Snoozemate’s cruise will be back in February next year on the Pacific coast. The main pool and hot tub were packed with children…oh my. We met our group in the Golden Mermaid at about noon. The Diamond Luncheon was held next door in the Atlantic Restaurant at 12:30. We had a ten-top table and excellent service from bar servers to waiters. The Captain and senior officers were introduced by Kendall Fire the cruise director. She announced as suspected a full ship with over 6250 guests, but only 62 Diamonds. This is my first Diamond Luncheon since they introduced the new menu. I had my doubts when I saw it, but it’s a very good menu for this function. DW approved and complimented the vegetarian choices, she ordered the Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Feta and Almonds, the Artichoke Blue Cheese Fettuccine entree, and the Chocolate Crema dessert. I ordered the Teriyaki Pork Bites (excellent), and two entrees: Grilled Jumbo Shrimp (a Rudi’s Seagrill selection) and the Petit Steak and Fries (Emeril’s Bistro selection). Both were very good. For dessert, I had a very nice Five Layered Pistachio Cake. We never ran out of complementary cocktails including enough to continue the party back into the Golden Mermaid. This has become our SOP following the luncheon…this time it’s a St. Patrick's Day celebration. We stayed all afternoon and through their scheduled mixers: The Independent Travelers, the Singles, and the over-40s. I will have to say that this is the first time that I have seen one of these mixers hosted. The host did a very good job with humor, we even offered up one of our senior solos…his humorous selling point was that he could pay off student loans. It was funny. After a full day of celebrations, I knew dinner was out of the question, but I made it to Guy’s Burgers before they closed (barely) for a double burger & fries. Then it was back to the cabin for a full evening of rest. A great St. Patrick Sea Day on the Jubilee.

Monday / March 18th  /  Fun Day at Sea  /  Day 3 
Smooth seas overnight and I successfully slept off the St. Patrick's Day shenanigans from yesterday. At about 8:30 am, I went around the corner to 
Blue Iguana for my favorite Carnival breakfast: Huevos Rancheros with Pico de Gallo, Shredded Cheese, Salsas, Arepas, and Watermelon. The Pool Deck was already packed with guests. I took an Arepa and watermelon back to the cabin for the DW. Markets opened early in the Central Timezone so work started early…Good Day too. I prepared a laundry bag for Danu before we went on a walkabout. At about 12:45 we went to Cucina De Capitano for lunch. We had Mozzarella Sticks as an appetizer and ordered Pasta Bowls from the varied selections of pastas, sauces, and ingredients then desserts. I had a Limoncello Pie and DW an Orange Gelato. After lunch, we went to the Casino to get our $25 Diamond free-play. We’re not real gamblers but we did well at roulette, we ended up with $65 in real chips…I consider changing the play chips for real value at one-to-one a success and we did that and more. That will be our casino time for the cruise. We returned to the cabin and I updated my blog reviews and monitored the closing Market while watching three Errol Flynn movies on TCM. At about 6:00 pm I went to the Golden Mermaid for a very nice cocktail made by CJ Cornelius. For dinner tonight, I had Fish & Chips at The Seafood Shack on Lido Deck. It looked like two nice large pieces of fish, but it was pretty much all batter and little fish. Disappointing, I used to like the Seafood Shack. We went down to the Center Stage at about 9:00 pm for the 9:30 show The Residency. It was songs from various stars who resided in Vegas; Sinatra, Newton, Elvis, Tina, and more. We had great center area seats and enjoyed it. Following the show we retired to the cabin.

Tuesday, March 19th / Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan, Honduras / Day 4

Smooth seas overnight and we slept very well. We were docked in Mahogany Bay by 8:00 am and it was a beautiful day. When we went up to the Lido Marketplace at about 9:30 am there were few guests on the pool deck, I guess most are getting off today. It was nice. It’s also bacon day (Carnival only serves bacon every other day) so we ate in the Lido Marketplace this morning, it was an adequate breakfast. We only intended to walk off the ship just to get in some steps for exercise today and so did so before it got too hot. It made it to 91° and very heavy humidity so those at the beach were fine but for others it was hot. We got in our steps and stopped for a real Coca-Cola (the ship has Pepsi) at Fat Tuesdays before returning to the ship. At about 1:00 pm we had a nice luncheon…I had a Big Chicken lunch and DW had a Blue Iguana lunch. We sat in between the two inside with cool air. Guests were already returning by the time we returned to the cabin for an afternoon rest. Updated the Blog and Photos as we shared our WiFi to check on the dog and grandchild. All well. We met the group at Golden Mermaid for cocktails at about 6:00 pm, but before we did we stopped at Dr. Inks Ph.D. for a new favorite cocktail. It’s a Crimson Catch: Swedish Fish candy-infused Tito’s Vodka, lime juice, Papa pomegranate liqueur, white Cranberry juice, and Swedish Fish Candy. Excellent. We enjoyed a nice cocktail hour+ before going to Emeril’s Bistro 717 for dinner. The DW ordered the Baked Brie with Croutons & Grapes, I ordered Red Beans & Rice and Roasted Chicken & Andouille Sausage Gumbo. Shared Beignets for dessert. All was very good. Emeril’s dining area is the best of the three Excel class ships, more refined in taste and area. Owen Stephen the solo guitar feature began his set at Dr.Inks, next door during dinner, very nice. I met Owen many times previously on the Mardi Gras, he is a very nice guy and very talented. We did a walkabout stopping at Pixels on deck 8 to pick up the Diamond gifts; Pins and small toiletry bags. We then retired to the cabin. It was a FUN first port day on the Jubilee.

Wednesday, March 20th  /  Costa Maya, Mexico  /  Day 5 
Calm seas overnight and I slept well although woke too early. We went out at about 9:00ish and it was the opposite of yesterday. The pool deck was packed. The lines for my Blue Iguana were the longest I have ever seen at any time…from BI beyond the elevator doors. Maybe they read this blog? We went into the busy Lido Marketplace and made do with various breakfast selections. Danu had again done his magic and cleaned our cabin while we were away. We went up to the Serenity Deck and it wasn’t busy, we had a nice shared lounger in the shade. The pool water was rather chilly but great for cooling off. I was able to do some work as I have two-factor identification in Mexico. It became busier after a few hours, but we broke for lunch at about 1:30. We did the same lunch as yesterday, Big Chicken for me and Blue Iguana for the DW. We then retired for cabin time and a long nap until my Oklahoma Softball game @ 6:00 pm. We did see a guest with an OU NCAA Championship T-shirt today… a good omen as the girls did win 12-1 over UTA. At about 8:15 pm I went down to Deck 8 to ChiBang for dinner. It’s been a while since I’ve eaten ChiBang so I ordered my favorites: Egg Drop Soup, Lettuce Wraps, Beef & Broccoli, and spicy Kung Pow Chicken…all very good. It was a very nice relaxing day on the Carnival Jubilee.
Thursday  March 21st  /  Cozumel, Mexico  /  Day 6 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well.  We docked early well before I went for breakfast at about 7:10 am.  I had my favorite Blue Iguana breakfast then took some assorted breads back to the cabin for the DW.  Knowing that Woody’s is now open early for breakfast we decided to get an early start and left the ship at 8:00 am.  We took a taxi ($10) to the Iglesia de San Miguel church and reflected for a while then off to Woody’s Bar & Grill.  We had Coca-Colas and access to the best WiFi in town.  At 10:00 am I went to Antonio’s Barber Shop while the DW visited with Nelly. I had a nice trim then went to Sensi Spa for my usual 
pedicure.  Already a productive day for me.  Good friends had arrived by the time I got back to Woody’s. The rest of the day was visiting Friends, Guacamole, Food, Cervezas, Shopping, Live Music, and more. At about 2:00 pm we returned to Puerto Maya and went to Pancho’s Backyard for a couple of Mango Margaritas and some shopping at Cinco Soles.  We watched guests returning to the three Carnival Ships and timed our return to the pier and ship accordingly to avoid crowds and the 90° heat. It was great getting refreshed once back onboard in the cabin.  We met the group for cocktails at about 6:00 pm in the Golden Mermaid then later had dinner at the Marketplace buffet.  Lots of good choices including Prime Rib at the carving station, Chicken Cordon Blu, a Vegetarian Lasagna for the DW, a Pork Steak, and more.  We retired to the cabin soon after dinner I was soon asleep.  It was a FUN Cozumel Day.

Friday March 22nd  /  Fun Day at Sea   /  Day 7 
Rolling seas overnight and I slept well, although I was up during the night so I updated this blog…just too tired to do it last night. Overcast and rolling seas today as I went to Blue Iguana for my usual breakfast. The Watermelon & Jicama salsa and Salsa Verde accentuate the Huevos Rancheros. BTW-they are calling them Tacos consistent with the change of signage a few years ago. I took another selection of Breads from the Marketplace back to the cabin for the DW. Soon the weather improved and the pool deck was again very busy. We did a walk about and it’s hard to imagine 6500 guests onboard. At about 1:00 pm I had a very nice Guy’s Burger with French Fries for lunch then we went to the Diamond/Platinum Reception at 2:00 pm in the Theater. It was hosted by CD Kendall Fire and she did a great and humorous job. Two bonuses as Owen was the musical entertainer and a Pilsner Urquill beer. I wasn’t the high cruiser but a distant second of the 79 Diamonds on board. The interesting fact I learned was the geographical distribution of guests. For the first time ever on a ship sailing from Galveston Texas was not the primary home for guests, in fact, they were third behind Arkansas and Oklahoma. Spring Break in those states was a determining factor. At about 5:00 pm we went to Dr. Inks for my new favorite drink: the Crimson Catch. We also discovered that Milo the Bartender there is the younger brother of Lydia one of my favorite Alchemists. We then met our group at the Golden Mermaid (photo) for an extended Happy Hour. The Ruby Rapture has been my drink of choice there. We all had dinner at Cucina de Capitano this evening. I ordered: Arancini, Nonna’s Meatball, the Pork Chop entree, and Baba Napoletano for dessert. Three very good entertainment choices tonight with shows in the Theater, Grand Central, and the Havana Bar. DW finished packing tonight as she is riding back to Fort Worth with friends to visit family. A busy last sea day on the Carnival Jubilee.

Saturday /  March 23rd  /  Galveston, Texas /  Day 8 of B2B 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well.  We were docked in Galveston early.  DW leaves the ship and I stay on today.  At about 7:00 am I went to Blue Iguana for my usual favorite breakfast…just so easy being around the corner on the same deck as our cabin.  DW finished packing and at about 8:30 took her to the Golden Mermaid the staging area for wheelchairs to meet friends driving to Fort Worth.  At about 9:30 I went to the Atlantic Restaurant the staging area for B2B guests. Debarkation slowed and it was after 11:00 am before they had everyone off the ship.  The good part of the delay was that the TSA Agent came on board to check us in the MDR.  We then went about our way…I took some photos while the ship was empty and did the Muster Station check-in @ ChiBang for B-8. Soon a big Travel Agent group boarded, followed by a Wedding party.  Then the masses began boarding so I quickly had Blue Iguana for lunch as it was easy and no line.  My burrito was excellent.  Within half an hour it was very busy so I retired to the cabin to do some work before my OU softball game @ 2:00 pm. I discovered during the game that due to weather the Sunday game will be today @ 5:30 pm so I made it to Big Chicken before they closed at 5:00 for dinner.  I always like an MDE chicken sandwich. OU won both games so 31-1 for the year and ranked #1.  We sailed away while I was on deck 16 so I got a different unique view of the Battleship Texas, a rare site in the Port of Galveston. I also had a small fruit bowl and Champagne delivered today as a B2B guest…thanks Carnival.  It was a very easy turnaround day on the Jubilee.

Sunday,  March 24th  /  Fun Day at Sea /  Day 9 of B2B
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well.  At 7:50 am I was in line at Blue Iguana.  I guess they read my blog as I saw them turn the sign around for breakfast: Huevos Rancheros - Arepas…they had not been doing that.  Breakfast was excellent as usual, that’s why it’s my favorite. I did a walkabout the ship stopping at the Casino for my Diamond Chips and at Pixels for the same pin and ditty bag as Diamond gifts.  I met our now smaller group at Golden Mermaid at about noon for the Diamond Luncheon.  I ordered the same thing as last week:  Teriyaki Pork Bites (excellent), and two entrees: Grilled Jumbo Shrimp (a Rudi’s Seagrill selection) and the Petit Steak and Fries (Emeril’s Bistro selection). Both were very good. For dessert, I had a very nice Five Layered Pistachio Cake.  Again we never ran out of complementary cocktails including enough to continue the party back into the Golden Mermaid. This is our SOP following the luncheon and this week the scheduled activities were different.  The solo gatherings were not hosted…only a sign was up acknowledging the location. Stephanie who hosted it last week and CD Kindell left us on Saturday. Not as fun for the solos or us, but Owen Stephen, my favorite entertainer on board, performed two full sets of his guitar and singing talents.  We broke up the little party at about 6:00 pm and I went up to the Lido Marketplace for dinner.  Very good selections including a very nice Baked Ham at the carving station.  The Mashed Potatoes were also excellent so I was very pleased with dinner.  I then retired to the cabin to recover from a full afternoon of professional day drinking, fortunately, that’s limited to only one day per cruise.  It was a FUN day on the Jubilee.

Monday,  March 25th  /  Fun Day at Sea /  Day 10 of B2B 
Rolling seas overnight, I had to get up and move the hangers in the closet, they were rocking away, but I slept well.  I was at the Blue Iguana by 8:00 am again for a great breakfast, good to beat the line on this overly full cruise. Although the Burrito line is usually 3x longer than my Huevos Rancheros line in the mornings.  Monday mornings are business mornings but no projects this morning.  My Florida Assumed name registration project has been resolved and the forms are in my home mailbox.  I’m registering as a Travel Agent in Florida so I can finalize moving Bosque Travel from Texas to Florida. I considered fully retiring but will continue for a couple more years. At noon I met friends on Lido deck.  The goal was to drink the Champagne we all received, but none of us was in a drinking mood from yesterday.  We watched the loooong line for Big Chicken, the longest I have seen on any of the three Excel class ships, that lasted for two full hours.  We all had Shawarma for lunch.  There is a station in the Lido Marketplace next to the Sea Dogs and Gelato stations.  I had two Beef & Lamb and one Chicken.  It was very good and only a short line. Reminded me of the recent Red Sea cruise in the Middle East…that was good Shawarma.  At about 2:30 pm I returned to the cabin for an afternoon nap and also booked an excursion for Costa Maya.  At about 5:00 pm I went up to Dr. Inks for my Crimson Catch cocktail.  I used my B2B drink voucher.  Then I met the group at Golden Mermaid at 6:00 pm as usual.  Tonight we ate at Guy’s Pig & Anchor BBQ located in Summer Landing on Deck 8 aft.  We had only a very short wait before we were seated.  I ordered the Brisket, Pulled Pork, St. Louis Ribs ($), Onion Straws, French Fries, and the Banana Pie for dessert.  It was excellent. At about 8:00 pm, as we had dessert, the Backyard Band began their set and we were seated in front of the stage.  They were very good and I’m glad we could see their first set.  I retired to the cabin and watched some NCAA March Madness basketball.  It was another FUN Seaday on the Jubilee.

Tuesday / March 26th / Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan, Honduras / Day 11 of B2B 

Rolling seas overnight…enough to rock one to sleep. We were docked early. I had every intention of going to the main MDR for breakfast but when I walked by Blue Iguana with no line I had to stop. It’s just so convent for me being just around the corner from my cabin on Lido Deck. I had the usual and it was very good as always. Guests are getting off early and enjoying the beach that is walkable from the ship. As last week was not busy this morning on Lido. After breakfast, I went up to the Serenity Deck and enjoyed the Hot Tub for about an hour. It was nice. It’s very warm and so much humidity that it’s almost a visible fog. I’m not even going to try to go off the ship today.  I did a walkabout sat in on some trivia and visited Guest Services.  I went to Big Chicken for lunch and it was a small line.  I ordered my MDE sandwich and fries and sat outside despite of the humidity.  There was one brief moment when there was no line at Big Chicken…there were a lot of staff and crew going through, they are allowed on port days.  I had a relaxing afternoon streaming some news, sports highlights, and old shows…did you know there were Dobie Gillis movies prior to Dewayne Hickman?  Most featured Doris Day.  At 5:00 pm I went to Dr.Inks to have a Crimson Catch my favorite new drink.  Then I met the group at Golden Mermaid for another round of drinks.  We made reservations at ChiBang for dinner.  I ordered the Lettuce Wraps, Spring Rolls, Hakka Noodles, Cantonese Pork, Kung Poa Chicken, and Vanilla Ice Creme for dessert.  It was very good.  I retired to the cabin and watched some videos before bedtime.  I needed rest before my excursion tomorrow.  It was an easy port day for me on the Jubilee.


Wednesday,  March 27th  /  Costa Maya, Mexico  /  Day 12 of B2B 

Rolling seas overnight, just enough action to rock you asleep.  I was awake early and had breakfast as usual just after 7:00 am…Blue Iguana of course.  I was able to speak with Lars the Hotel Director about Norwegians in Texas.  At about 8:30 debarked and walked the long pier down to where the Ship Excursions meet.  Today I have the Chaachoben Mayan Ruins & Beach Break Tour.  I have been coming to Costa Maya for so long that there was no Zone Archeological Park.  There were small unofficial tours offered by a local family you could take from Mahahual before the State opened Chaachoben Archeological Park.  I wanted to see how much has been cleared and cleaned and how touristy it has become.  Very much is the answer.  These are not major ruins but nice for cruise guests who have never seen any Mayan Ruins and very convenient to the port.  There were dozens of buses and vans so yes commercialized and so very different.  Progress?  Perhaps, but Costa Maya has become a major port so more attractions are needed for guests… Mahahual alone is not enough.  I loved our guide, Daniel Balam, he was my guide at the Kohunlich ruins back in November and known for his Jaguar call.  Our next stop was at Uchbenkah, a beach pavilion along Balacar  Lagoon. Here we had 90+ minutes to relax with access to Fresh Water, an Open Bar, Snacks, or a Buffet lunch option.  It was primitive but very clean and nice.  We were returned to the dock at about 3:10 pm so time for shopping for those who wanted.  I returned straightaway to the ship and cleaned up from the hot and humid day.  I was too tired from a day of walking for cocktails or evening activities so made it to Big Chicken before they closed at 5:00 for dinner.  It was just what was needed before retiring.  It was a very interesting day in the Jungles of the Balacar area.

Thursday, March 28th / Cozumel, Mexico / Day 13 of B2B 

Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well.  I was up early and had a bit of a change for breakfast as the tortilla maker is caput so no Huevos Rancheros this morning.  I had Arepas and Watermelon Salsa which is fine as I’m going to an all-inclusive today so can eat there.  I left the ship at about 8:00 am and did the 15-20 minute walk to Del Mar Latino Beach Club.  A longer walk from Puerto Maya than from RCL’s International Pier but easy once outside of the pier and vendors.  I started with a Coca-Cola and soon two friends came.  Very breezy and Caribbean waves are breaking over the wall so that’s different.  It was quite a show for several hours, the water would really do different things…very high over the height of buildings, or throw up a lot of seaweed similar to an explosion.  It reminded me of watching a fireworks show…waiting for the next display.  Photo is of HAL Nieuw Amsterdam, docking in rough seas. The weather somewhat cleared, but still breezy and cooler than normal.  Pleasant in fact.  Of course, I enjoyed the drinks and good food: Coca-Cola, Mojitos, Guacamole, Pico de Gallo, Coconut Shrimp, Chicken Tacos, Shrimp Cocktail, and more.  Only eleven people were there today so attentive service from Jassy and staff.  I went up to Guy’s Burgers for an always good Cheeseburger & French fries so that I could watch OU vs KU softball @ 5:00 pm. OU won.  I updated this blog and streamed other Sports and News before retiring.  It was a FUN Cozumel Mojito day.


Friday, March 29th / Fun Day at Sea / Day 14 of B2B 

Rolling seas overnight especially when we transitioned from the Caribbean into the Gulf of Mexico.  I did sleep well.  At about 8:10 am I went for my final Blue Iguana breakfast: One Huevos Rancheros with two eggs, Arepas, Watermelon & Jicama Salsa, Pico de Gallo, Queso fresco (cheese), and Salsa Verde.  Excellent.  I do believe this is a record for me with the number of times for this breakfast, but my cabin is next to Blue Iguana…so easy.  I went to the Casino to play my $25 free play…I did get $25 in real chips so 1for1 and happy with the $90 I’ll be taking home.  Nice weather and a bit cooler so the outer decks are full and busy.  At noon I went to Bonsi Tappenyaki on deck 8 for lunch (photo), I ordered the Filet Mignon and Lobster combination…it was very good. IMHO better than the Steak House or Seafood experience on the ship.  At 2:00 pm I attended the Platinum and Diamond event in the Theater, I appreciated the Pilsner Urquell beer and entertainment by Owen Stephen.  Following I went to the Alchemy Bar to see some of my favorite Bartenders and make new friends.  It was enjoyable with some custom cocktails as well.  At about 5:00 pm I went to the cabin to watch game two of the OU vs. Kansas softball game.  I was able to leave early as Oklahoma won 17-0 so a run rule stoppage.  I met my friends at about 6:30 in the Golden Mermaid for cocktails and to hear Owen do a great musical set.  By 8:00 I said my goodbyes to good friends, bartenders, and bar servers.  I then stopped at the Seafood Shack on Lido Deck for Lobster Rolls...they were great.  This was my busiest day of the two weeks but finally retired to the cabin to pack for an early debarkation in the morning. It was a busy last sea day on the Jubilee.
Saturday,  March 30th  /  Galveston Debarkation  
Smooth seas overnight and slept well.  I was on Deck 6 with my bag in the Diamond waiting area by 6:50 am.  Soon after 7:00 am the Diamonds led the way off the ship.  The debark was well organized by Carnival staff.  Louie himself is active in the Diamond area.  Face recognition at Customs was easy. I found the Hobby Airport bus and was the second guest on it.  My goal was to be on the first and I was however they waited until it was full before departing…that took over half an hour.  We were off at about 9:00 am arriving just after 9:30 am.  Hobby is easy to maneuver and I was through security and at the gate well before boarding for my 11:20 am direct flight to Tampa.

The newest ship in the fleet with that new ship smell, so to speak. The Excel (XL) class is a great improvement for Carnival. The same basic design as the Mardi Gras and Celebration with a few minor changes…very well designed and two new Bars with new specialty cocktails.
We/I had cabin 16282 an interior on Lido deck.  We/I loved the location…using the secret door you are out on the Pool Deck in one minute. The cabin has the usual push button safe, queen bed, two shelves, reading lamps at the bedside, a nice small refrigerator, a small bench at the dresser/desk, and a large screen TV. There are two large wardrobes and one set of drawers at the dresser. The bathroom is small and compact, but glass doors at the shower.

Loved seeing all the veteran Alchemists on board. Our cabin steward Danu was very good and friendly. The wait staff in the specialty restaurants were also friendly and did a good job serving us. They usually do have the best crew members on the newest flagship.

Dining / Food / Bars / Entertainment
The MDR food is the long-time standard Carnival menu, but we never ate in the MDR for dinner with so many other options.  The Specialty Restaurants are numerous and very good. My favorites were Big Chicken, ChiBang, and Cucina de Capitano.  The Tappenyaki lunch was my best meal on the cruise.

Highlights of the Cruise
Extended Diamond Luncheons
Good friends on board
Cozumel: Woody’s Day
Blue Iguana breakfasts
Chaachoben excursion day
Dr. Inks cocktail:  Crimson Catch:
The Tappenyaki lunch
Big Chicken