New Orleans: We arrived in New Orleans 2 days prior to the cruise. We stayed at the Renaissance Arts Hotel that I had booked on Hotwire overall a nice hotel.. Within walking distance to Canal street and very friendly staff. Cost us 15$ for a cab to the port (for four).
Embarkation: Simple easy, no stress and very little waiting. Very streamlined and it was obvious they have done this a few thousand times! They really checked the carry on liquids so beware. Opened cases of soda etc.
Rooms: Really what we expected. We had a balcony and the kids had an interior. The balcony room was not the cleanest and it was obvious the ship is older. The interior room was actually pretty good sized and the kids loved that it was so dark and they slept well. The beds were amazingly comfortable.
Ship: I would say Average. One thing I was pleasantly surprised by the elevators. Very little waiting and centrally located. Just was a good layout. I thought the Club O2 area was really "cool" (15-17 years) and it made that age group feel like they were at a club. The seaside cinema needs some work!! That should have been fixed with the 2.0 upgrades. It was quite windy on the Lido deck not sure if it was time of year or bad design. Not enough hot tubs!!
Service: Again average. Really go tired of the "sell" after a while. Pictures, drinks, shots at dinner etc. We did the my time dining, and would do it again if I had to. Only waited a few times. The biggest issue was the inconsistency of service in dining room. One night in and out in 45 min and the last night of the cruise was 2 hours and a lot of waiting. It was hard to plan for shows etc.
Entertainment: Needed more daily activities!! The comedy shows were actually pretty good. I looked forward to them and always laughed. New Years Party was good, but how about some ice sculptures or midnight buffet or something? Our biggest problem was the ages of our kids (19 and 17) one was too old for club o2 but really not old enough for the other clubs. Maybe something more geared to that age 18-21? Not sure how that would look, maybe a meet and greet or something to get them started?
Debarkation: Way too fast and ahead of schedule. Made our ground transportation difficult and hard to schedule.
Ports: Really enjoyed them all. Will post in specific Ports.
Overall good cruise for the money. Lots of families, younger crowd.