Drove to New Orleans from Birmingham for a seven-day cruise with six friends from around the country. All of us enjoyed it.
A few notes:
Embarkation: Very easy; we arrived Saturday at about noon and walked right onto the ship. By 1 p.m., all the staterooms were available for occupancy.
The rooms: The cabin was great, particularly because this time I was sailing alone. Plenty of room for two, though, and the storage (in the closet mainly) is more than I remember on any other ship. Next time,I'll choose a cabin nearer the stairs or elevator, but other than long walks to get somewhere, it was nice.
The ports: The ports were pretty standard -- Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica. We chose a fun shore excursion in Cozumel, Salsa and Salsa, which had us making our own salsas and margaritas and then later learning to dance the salsa. In Grand Cayman, I swam with the stingrays; in Jamaica, just a terrible port, had a nice trip to GOod Hope, a historic plantation home.
The entertainment: The singers and dancers were no better than what I'd find in Birmingham, but the ice show was well worth waiting in line to get tickets.
The food: Not great, but I've come not to expect great things from cruise ship food. The kitchen is feeding a lot of people, so the food isn't going to be top-notch. The two specialty restaurants, Chops and Portofina, were well worth the up charge.
The service: Great service from start to finish. Some of the friendliest workers I've encountered anywhere.