This was our ninth cruise. Now that the kids are in college, just my wife and I took this trip. Flew into New Orleans on Saturday morning. Attended the final four games on Saturday night and enjoyed the French Quarter. On Sunday morning we grabbed a cab down to the cruise port. The traffic was heavy at the port, because of where the parking garage is located. Cab driver was getting frustrated. At about 11 a.m. they let people begin to board and by 11:45 we were on board. The staff at the port were very helpful and friendly.
As soon as we got on we headed to Lido deck and grabbed two beach chairs right next to the pool. We then got some food, changed into our suits and began to relax. As always the waiters were pushing drinks. I found a waiter I liked, ordered some beer and tipped him with some cash so he would take care of us the rest of the week. He did!
Our room was a balcony on Lido deck, three from the pool. In the past we had tried every type of room and generally I have found that my best bet was to get a cheap room. We usually don't spend much time there. For this cruise I got a cheap upgrade to a balcony and took the one on Lido. From now on I will always get a room on Lido, as close to the pool as possible. The Balcony was nice, and I used it a lot during the cruise. The ability to go back to the room from the pool to mix a drink or get a book or anything else was perfect.
Monday was a sea day. They showed the NCAA championship game on the seaside theater screen. It was great. This was great for me since I went to the University of Kentucky and they won the championship that night. Lots of drinks and celebration.
Tuesday was Key West. I had not been there since I was a kid so we got on the tour trolley to see the whole island. If I went there again I would simply go down and walk Duvall Street. A lot of shopping, fun bars with entertainment. On tuesday night we went to the steak house. The $30 per person is well worth the price. Maybe the best dining experience I have ever had. Food and service is out of this world.
Wednesday was Freeport. We went to the all-inclusive Viva Wyndham Resort. It is on a beach. My wife loves beaches. There was also a nice pool. The all you could eat and drink was a lot of fun. Would do this or a similar excursion again.
Thursday was Nassau. I have never been a big fan of Nassau, so we took the excursion to Atlantis. It is a beautiful resort, but I thought the price ($179) was too high and would not do this again.
Friday and Saturday were both at sea days. I love at sea days. These were no exception. On Monday we had met a couple with a 7 year old girl. We spent these two days at the pool with them. I read a lot, drank and enjoyed the sun.
Sunday's debarkation was very easy and we easily were at the airport well before our 11:00 a.m. flight. We paid $10 each for a transfer back to the airport.
Some general comments:
It is amazing how informal the dining rooms have become. I make no comment as to whether this is good or bad. I personally think it doesn't take a lot to put on a pair of pants and collared shirt but the casualness didn't ruin our experience.
The steak house is well worth the extra bit of money. I usually only go once although I thought about going a second time on this trip. Going once a cruise makes it special for me.
The balcony on Lido was well worth the price for us. I have already booked our next cruise for 2014 and booked a similar room.