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Have you ever been to a cookout, boat ride, pool party, music festival, family reunion, old school basement party and sorority/fraternity conference all at the same time? Then you haven’t been to the Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage presented by Denny’s. There’s a reason why it’s a bucket list item for so many people. As a first-timer myself, I’m not sure I was ready.

Join us for our daily diaries from the cruise and if you’re smart, you’ll go right on ahead and make that deposit to secure your spot for next year, because you’ll going to want to be here.

Here are the Day 1 highlights:


While some folks drove directly to this year’s departure port in Galveston, Texas, Houston was the epicenter of cruise travelers who arrived early for a night of pre-cruise partying in Houston, Texas. Houston was poppin’ and much of the activity centered around two host hotels, the Westin Oaks and the Royal Sonesta. Shuttles from both hotels took people down the road to Galveston, where the Carnival Breeze awaited.

And don’t think the party starts on the ship. Oh no. The party stars on the shuttle bus. My bus featured a sing-along and some enthusiastic sailors who were ready to turn up even before the ship sailed. For some of the group, this was their first time and when one expressed fear about cruising for the first time.

Given the size of the ship, loading was pretty quick. You had to be onboard by 4 p.m., but the ship wasn’t scheduled to sail until about 9:30 p.m. Some experienced sailors were already in bikinis by the pool deck, while others just waited in the lobby of the ship, which conveniently has a bar (and fruity-looking drinks were being handed out) for bags (which you could hold onto, but for ease, many chose to check. Bags arrive at your door hours later).


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