This was my seventh cruise, my husband's fifth, (our second on NCL) and my 3 kids' first. Overall it was an awesome experience from start to finish.
Arrival in New Orleans: We drove to New Orleans the day before and stayed at the Hampton Inn-French Quarter. My DH dropped us off at the hotel, parked at the Fulton Place Garage (leaving most of the luggage in the car) and walked back to the hotel. We walked to the French Quarter and looked around for awhile. It was the day before St. Patrick's day so the streets were hopping. We ate at the Gumbo Shop (DELICIOUS), stopped by Cafe Du Monde for dessert, and headed back to the hotel.
Embarkation: We walked to the Fulton Street Gargage, collected our luggage, and took the shuttle to the ship, arriving about noon. We were sent to VIP check-in (5 minutes) and escorted to the Concierge's Lounge. It was PACKED but fortunately as soon as we got there the concierge received a call that we could board the ship. We were escorted to the ship and straight up to Cagneys for lunch. Very smooth so far!
Cabin: We were in a Family Suite, which was on deck 12 right down the hall from the pool. I felt that there was plenty of room and storage for our family of 5. The bathroom was also fairly large, but I was disappointed that the shower was not bigger. Also, the shower had NO shelf of any kind to put your toiletries. We had the mini-bar emptied so we could use it as a refrigerator, but found it did not keep our things very cold. The sleeping areas could be separated by curtains and sliding walls, but the walls rattled at night when opened so we did not use them.
Food: I thought the food was good. We ate in Versailles every night. For lunch and breakfast we either ate at Cagneys or the Market Cafe. It seems that for every cruise you will find people that loved the food, people that hated the food, and people in between. To each his own...I had no complaints.
Service: Sometimes slow in the dining room. Our room steward, Oscar, and Butler Mansur were awesome.
Entertainment: I love Second City, so this is always my favorite part of an NCL cruise. Band on the Run was good, Elements was excellent. We saw the juggler which was a great show to see as a family. My kids loved Splash Academy and the Teen Club, and were constantly begging to go.
Public Areas: The pool area was loud and crowded, as usual. The forward deck had a quiet area that was a great place to relax.
Costa Maya-we did the Mayan Experience Tour offered by Native Choice Tours. This is a must do! We saw the ruins and had lunch with a mayan family-the kids learned to make tortillas as well as chocolate from cocoa beans. It was quite a memorable experience.
Belize-Cave tubing with cavetubing.bz This company is top notch and they did everything they could to make it a good experience for us.
Roatan-Gumbalimba and Tabyana Beach. This was the highlight of the cruise. The kids LOVED the monkeys and I thought the snorkeling at Tabyana was incredible.
Cozumel-We were sunburned so just shopped around the port. I have been to Cozumel 3 times and this is not my favorite port-much too touristy IMO-so I was fine with spending only an hour there.
Disembarkation-We had too much luggage to do walk-off, but since we got priority disembarkation we were the first group off the ship, and thus encountered no line at customs. Return to Fulton Place was uneventful, and we collected our car and was on our way. Our return home was remarkable for running into the biggest snow storm our city had seen in over 30 years..which we encountered while wearing shorts and sandals as it was 70 degrees when we left NOLA!
Summary: Overall a great trip! I would definitely cruise with NCL again.