Pre-cruise: Drove to NOLA from Minnesota. Stayed at the Prytania Park hotel two nights before the cruise. Second time staying there and would do it again! Very good value and were able to park there too.
Embarkation: Got there about 11am via taxi, $7/person. Went very smoothly even though some just had birth certificates. Because some had been on NCL before we were in boarding group A. I would say we were on the ship with in an hour. Went to Versailles for lunch and when we were done our rooms were ready.
Rooms: DH and I had room 10230 an Aft facing balcony. Loved the balcony, room was pretty standard. Room steward wasn't very visible at first but became more helpful. He added a memory foam topper to our bed which helped it out a lot. Nice linens. Others in our group had inside & ocean view staterooms and a mini-suite.
Food: Cagney's and LeBistro very good! MDRs mostly just average with a few highlights. Lobster first night was good for a cruise, More
not overcooked. Souffle on last night was very good. Mahi mahi not good, also some of the ribeyes! In the future we would just plan on another night in a specialty restaurant. Very good sushi. Ate in the Market Cafe for several breakfasts, very good considering the cafeteria style.
Restaurant service: Mostly very good in Versailles, Cagney's, LeBistro. With our group we were unable to get reservations in Versailles later in the week, which was disappointing. Our second night in Aqua the service was horrible. Very slow (an hour from when we finished the meal and dessert!) and disjointed. The maitre De seemed to be searching for the waiter several times. At the end of the meal I complained to the maitre De. We received a call in our stateroom to resolve the issue. From them on we had the same table each night and one night we got complimentary wine and soda. The waiters were much better! All the staff took very good care on the kids as well as one of us who had special diet issues.
Photo: Very helpful people in this department. Sarah and Darwin gave excellent service. Took a lot of care in dealing with our large group. Photos came out very nice.
Entertainment: Sharkbait very good as well as the show "Band on the Run". Elements was good but didn't live up to the hype. Didn't really find great music on the ship.
Pool: Very small and the water slides were described as lame. Some in our group really enjoyed the hot tubs.
Ship: Lay out of the ship isn't very smooth. Lots of dead ends, having to go up or down and around to get to things. Did not like walking through Market Cafe to get to the pool from our aft location. Not a good layout with in Market Cafe either. Strange that some areas seemed new and well cared for and others showed a lot of wear. Less
Went to Chankanaab because some had booked dolphin swim. Unfortunately it was cloudy and windy. They still loved the dolphin swim but it wasn't the best beach day. Because the dolphin swim was so long, we didn't have a lot of time to shop and felt very rushed. Don't know if we would go to Chankanaab again.
Booked beach and monkey zoo with Carlos at Islander Tours. He is so accommodating. Will arrange whatever you want to do. Even if all you do is the beach it is still the best, most reliable and cheapest way to go.