Spent three days in NOLA prior to cruise allowing us a vacation before the vacation and we had a wonderful time, there is so much to see and do there.
Checking in was fairly easy - although confusing as to which line we were supposed to go in. Sail away was cold and windy, weather really does come to play into enjoyment level, we were so excited to be cruising again but it was no fun being on deck at that time.
Ship is very pretty - decorated with the Mardi Gras theme. Overall it's a beautiful ship with some signs of wear such as rust on the balcony and faded carpet and plastic plants on the mini golf course.
Our cabin was great, we had a junior suite at the back of the boat, although not the view we had hoped for as there is an extension off the back of the balcony that blocks your view of that beautiful water churning. Would opt for cabin on the side next time.
We had two sea days up front which was nice coming off of busy days prior in NOLA, but this being our 4th cruise on this class we were finding a lot of the same old same old and not a lot to do. Weather was just not cooperating with us and sitting outside was not much of an option.
We ate in the dining room every night and the waiter and assistant waiter were friendly, attentive and very helpful. Could not say anything bad about the service we received in the dining room. We were told they were working with a new menu, each night centered around a different spice. Food was fine but I never really had a meal I was excited about, even the lobster just seemed fine.
I was feeling however that there were some cutbacks - for example - at our first crown and anchor event cocktails were served but no hors d'oeuvres. This was even brought up by one of the guests to the captain at the second crown and anchor event. I'm not sure the captain understood the question though. We used to get nice tote bags delivered to our cabins and now it is a box with some dried fruit and cookies, which is nice, but again, feels like a cutback.
First port was Falmouth. We had purchased the day pass to the Iberostar resort which included the transportation. Lovely resort, did not realize that alcohol was included with this day pass but you can enjoy the resort and all food and drink is included. Beach was ok, water was not the pretty blue color and was not that clean, may have just been the day we were there. The area outside the terminal shopping is very iffy - I would not feel safe on my own there at all.
Next stop was Cozumel. We had pre booked the Cozumel Bar Hop and I would highly recommend this. I am forever grateful having been able to experience the other side of the island - mostly untouched and so beautiful. Our tour guide was very friendly and nice and funny. There are four stops, each "bar" has a different personality and we thoroughly enjoyed each one. I would do that again in a heartbeat. Cost is 54.00 pp, includes a small drink at each stop, buy as they say, have enough cash because there is no electricity, you cannot use credit cards and there is no ATM. We did not have as much cash as we needed and found ourselves penny pinching - we ordered tacos at the second stop, one plate to share two tacos but we were fine. I highly recommend this tour.
Grand Cayman - we took a taxi to seven mile beach, the water was beautiful. Decided to each lunch at Margaritaville, our first visit to this franchise and it was a lot of fun.
Our last sea day we did something we have never done - we woke up early and went down to the Solarium to put our towels on two chairs and ran to the Windjammer to eat a quick breakfast and went right back. We were there so early we had the chance to watch those who plunk their towels down and our gone for hours. We watched a woman come in and save eight deck chairs in a row and she said alone for hours. Four of the chairs never did get used but her party, eventually they packed their stuff up and left, it was another chilly, windy and cloudy day with periods of rain. So disappointing for the last day.
We tried to do the shows - but mostly I think they were horrid. Kenny James was the guest artist and I enjoyed every minute of his show, but the ones featuring the RC singers and dancers were sad. We would sit at the back so we could exit when we had had enough.
Overall - we really did have a wonderful time, looking back - we decided maybe it would be better to try the second dinner so we could lay down a bit before dinner. We found ourselves so tired by the end of the day it was hard to stay up late.
Leaving the ship seemed like it was going to be easy until we got to the section our luggage was supposed to be in and all four pieces were missing as were a handful of other cruiser's. We filled out a form to have it shipped to our home so we could get to the airport but my husband caught a glimpse of one of our luggage tags on a cart that hadn't been unloaded yet and lucky the others were with it.