Hubby and I met his brother and family for a week long get away. We flew to New Orleans from Oklashoma City on Friday before embarkation on Saturday. Taxi fare from airport to Embassy Suites cost $35 for us both and took about 25 minutes. Saturday, we drove two blocks from the hotel to the cruise ship terminal parking lot, parked, went thru the check in lines (previous RC cruisers have faster lines) and were on board within an hour! We were NOT allowed into our cabins until 1:00 even though we tried to get in at 12:15. A polite, yet firm RC employee was guarding the area. At 1:00 an announcement was made that the cabins were ready. Lunch was in the Windjammer dining area which is buffet style. Total chaos finding a table but the employees were very helpful clearing dirty tables and helping us find a seat. We ate in the WJ several times for lunch during the week and once at night. Overall, the selection of food was good, but the quality was so-so at best.
Day 1 was a chilly, rainy day at sea. Nothing much to report. Dinner was formal. We saw a mixture of people dressed very formal (tuxes and long evening gowns), dressy (suits and cocktail dresses) and nice (slacks and sundresses)
Days 5 & 6 were sea days. Day 7 was disembarkation. We used the self assist departure program which means we took all our luggage and left when we needed to. It took about 45 minutes to get off and thru customs. No problems there.
We were at Cafe du Mond by 10:00 which was crazy crowded!
Overall, I'd give this cruise an 8 out of 10. I missed the in-cabin robes I was used to on Carnival. Room service for breakfast was average but always arrived on time. Breakfast in the Nutcracker two mornings. One morning, it was super fast and the next day it took forever! Our cabin steward did a nice job, but we hardly ever saw him. We used my time dining and LOVED our waitstaff. We tipped them extra the last night because we felt like they worked their tails off to keep our table of 6 (including 2 teenage girls) happy all week long. The refrigerator in the cabin was stocked with soda, snacks and water. There's a price list inside. No alcohol was included. We tried to visit every bar at least once and have to say this ship has many of them! Plenty of places to sit and relax. A few of them are smoking including one in the Royal Promenade that allows the smoke to drift into the public areas. I didn't much enjoy that. The only downer of the week was our noisy neighbors. They opened the door between their two balconies and the four of them sat outside talking so loudly we felt like we should join in the conversation!
We love to cruise and will choose the next cruise based on itinerary and cost. We honestly didn't see much different between RC and Carnival. My port reviews are below.