This cruise was a celebration of two high school graduations. My son and another young lady from our church. Our group consisted of 17 total friends and family, 6 of which were cruising for their very first time.
We stayed at the Windsor Court hotel in New Orleans. What an incredibly great hotel. The rooms were huge! This was definitely a highlight of our trip. We showed up in jeans and t-shirts and felt underdressed as a wedding party was just leaving the hotel.
Embarkation - the baggage porter immediately noticed my father-in-laws crutches and got us a parking place within a few feet of the elevator. He was quick, efficient and polite. The check-in was quick. We were in boarding group 1. Glad I did not spring for the FTTF program. My father-in-law and wife were allowed to board directly behind the FTTF folks. We were allowed to board about 10 minutes later. We stepped on board around 11:15 and we were told all cabins would be ready at 12:30. We made it down to our cabin about 12:45 and all was ready. Our cabin steward was great.
Food - Guys burgers were great! Street tacos were great! Pizza was annoying. The only make pepperoni in advance. You stand in line to order a special pizza (5-10 minutes depending on the length of the line) and then have to wait an additional 5 minutes for the pizza. NOT worth the wait in my opinion. MDR service was great. I have not been on a cruise in several years. This is my first experience with the new staffing system in the MDR. It sucks! Our waiter was extremely overworked trying to keep up with the demands. No more getting to know your waiter as in the past. Despite all of this our waiter did a great job. The food in the MDR was another story. Some nights were GREAT! Other nights were inedible. You could smell our crab cakes from the other tables. They were gross! The first night of prime rib tasted like it was left over from the prior cruise. One night the chocolate melting cake was the best thing ever created the next night it was WAY undercooked. There did not seem to be any quality control coming out of the kitchen.
Jamaica - we went with Jamaica for a Day to the Hilton Rose Hall. Hanif was our waiter. I cannot say enough good things about him or the Hilton. We are seriously looking at taking a multiday trip back to Jamaica just because of this resort.
Grand Cayman - we went with a Carnival excursion to the Turtle farm. MEH. We were on the second tender boat. The Conquest was the only ship in port. No need for FTTF here either. If there are more ships in port, then it could get interesting.
Cozumel - swimming with the dolphins through Carnival. The kids loved it. Probably not a repeat excursion, but definitely worth the time and money.
Shows - I am not a fan of shows but our group wanted to attend. The Brits was boring. I did not like it and the group did not return for any of the other shows that week. Safe to say none of our group was impressed.
Disembarkation - we did not self-assist. We were in the last group to leave. It was shockingly easy and quick. We were off the boat and in our truck within 30 minutes.
We got our first inside cabin ever. We always booked balcony. Unless I am cruising in Alaska, I am sticking with the inside cabins.