It was a little stressful the week before our trip waiting to see what Hurricane Isaac was going to do. Everything actually worked out just fine though. We flew into New Orleans the day before. The city of New Orleans was in pretty good shape after the storm but some of the outlying areas still did not have power back on.
Embarkation went very smoothly the next morning. We found our room as soon as it was ready and we met the cabin steward who was very nice. We had an inside room which was ok because we spent very little time in it except to sleep. Our room was directly above the casino which would have been ok except for the band that played in the casino nightly. Most nights they played until 11:30 or 12:00. We usually tried to go to bed earlier than that but I told my husband we should just go down there and join them since we can't sleep anyway. Next time I will be a little more careful about my cabin choice but it didn't bother us too much.
We had early dining and were seated with another couple from Richmond Texas which is not too far from where we live. Food in the dining room was wonderful. The service was excellent. The food in the buffet was ok but I definitely preferred the dining room. The Mongolian Stir Fry was also very good for lunch.
We did a few excursions. In Key West we did the CityView trolley. We visited some very interesting places there. We stopped at Capt. Tony's (the original Sloppy Joe's). If you go there, try the Pirate's Punch. It was $7.00 and comes in a 24 ounce souvenier cup. It was very good.
In Freeport we did a tour that went to the beach and a shopping area. It included lunch. It was ok. There was not much that was very nice about Freeport. The ship docks in an industrial area and you have to drive quite a way to get to an area that has a nice beach. We went through a commercial and residential area and saw many businesses that were closed. The tour ended and we still had a couple of hours before we had to be back on board. Right at the dock there is a bar called Sharkey's. They had a great DJ and party atmosphere. Their drinks were great and very cheap compared to the prices on board. The best deal was their $1 shots. They had a variety of flavored rums and flavored vodka. Of course we had a few of those. The bar was literally steps from the ship (thank goodness).
In Nassau we did a little shopping and then walked over to the British Colonial Hilton where we bought a day pass for $55 each. That included $29 food and drink credit. The food was excellent and the pina coladas were wonderful. The beach there is nice and clean and you can use their beach chairs. Around the pool and lawn they have beds and loungers that were very comfortable. The staff there was very friendly and helpful.
On one of the sea days we spent most of the day by the pool relaxing. The last day at sea was a little rocky and it rained for a few hours but then cleared up in the late afternoon.
We found that there was plenty to do on board the ship. We enjoyed the comedy shows and the Love & Marriage show. We enjoyed the casino and were fairly lucky there. The ship was beautiful, the food was very good, the staff was friendly, overall we had a wonderful cruise and met some very nice people. Can't wait to do it again. This was our first cruise but I knew it would not be our last. We are hooked now. We bought the future cruise credit so I know for sure we will do it again. Hope this was helpful.