This was my seventh cruise (6th with Carnival).
Parking: We arrived and parked in the New Orleans port parking. The fee was $16/night. We had read about some less expensive structures, but reviews were not good, so we decided to go with the more trusted source. Attendants take care of your luggage, you just park and take carry on items with you.
Embarkation: Very short walk from parking structure. Embarkation process was smooth. There is a table to check beverages bringing on board. We had soda, water and protein drinks. We were on the ship within a few minutes, and ready to drop by the cabin prior to going to lunch on the Lido deck.
Cabin: Our stateroom was an outside cabin near the aft on the Riviera deck. The room was close to the elevators. Stateroom clean and spacious. Room steward had beds connected for queen bed. Bed was comfortable and provided us with a good night's rest. Room had a new flat screen TV. Usually on cruises, we see a steward a lot and develop a relationship with him/her. We did not see this steward until mid-way through the cruise. I took post it notes and wrote requests as needed and they were always completed in a timely manner. Rooms were cleaned twice per day. They only leave ice during the morning round, but once seeing we also liked it in the evening, our ice bucket was replenished twice a day. We requested items be removed from mini fridge, so we could put our own drink items in the refrigerator. The toilet made a loud rumbling noise throughout the cruise. We did not complain, and you could not hear it unless in the bathroom as long as door was closed. I am sure steward had to hear when cleaning bathroom. Must have items to take in room: power strip, air freshener, post it notes to write to cabin steward, extra bags, zip lock bags.
Food/Dining: Guy's Burger: great burgers with topping bar. Easily make special requests such as burgers without buns or extra fries. Blue Iguana: I did not eat there, but husband said his taco was good. Like Guy's you get basic food (burrito or taco) and finish it off at topping bar. They also serve breakfast, but we did not eat there then. Fish and Chips: located in secluded corner above Lido deck...un-crowded place to eat and excellent food and service. One of our favorite spots! Deli: excellent cold and heated sandwiches and wonderful chili dogs (only hot dogs on ship). We did not eat at the Pizzeria although good on other cruises nor did we eat at the Taste bar. We did not have lunch or dinner on the Lido deck, but did eat breakfast there on sea days. Food was good. Includes fresh omelets made to order. On sea days in the Renoir dining room is Comedy Brunch, and port days is breakfast. We enjoy breakfast in the dining room as there is a variety of breakfast meats including turkey bacon and chicken sausage. We did not eat at the Comedy Brunch as we like to eat early, but we heard it was very good. We did early dining in the Monet dining room. Food and service were excellent. Don't be shy about ordering multiple dishes or asking for another dish if you do not care for something. Be brave and try the Didja selections on the menu. We very much enjoyed our waiter Yona and our table mates. We used room service once and found the service to be quick and efficient.
Entertainment/Life on Board: Remember this is your cruise. Do as much or as little if you want to. As long as you enjoy that is all that matters. We went to the gym daily. Cardio equipment and weight machines are plentiful. We also spent a lot of time at the EA sports bar as my husband is an avid sports fan. They held sports trivia there daily. Many games were also showed on the large Seaside Theatre screen on the Lido deck. Lido deck was crowded at times, often "empty" chairs remained "reserved" with towels. Many activities were available including pool, water slide, hot tubs, basketball, volley ball, chess, putt-putt golf and a jogging/walking track. We attended a veteran's meet and greet in the library which was nice. I must watch the always tacky but entertaining "hairy chest contest" each cruise. I did feel entertainment was somewhat lacking, especially on sea days when people just walk around trying to find something...a lot of trivia and bingo (for a fee). Most of the main entertainment was either musicals or Hasbro the game show that I did not find entertaining at all. We did enjoy the comedy club though and really liked 3 of the 4 comedians. The past cruiser celebration for gold+ holders was very nice. There is a night club, casino and several bars available although we did not use those services. Drink prices seem to go up on every cruise. Fortunately we are not much of drinkers, but cost of cruise can go up greatly if you are.
Ports of Call: We had been to all ports multiple times, so our biggest treat was just the cruise, being on board a ship we had not sailed on, and spending time together. We do not do shore excursions, so if you like that sort of thing...this part is not for you. Isle Roatan is my least favorite port. We had planned on just staying aboard, but after being on ship 3 days, were ready to get off. We only went to the small shopping area immediately off port. Nothing spectacular. There is a small flea market with some locally crafted items. We did not go out of gates, last time we did...we wish we hadn't. I must say I did take some beautiful pictures of Roatan from walking to various parts of the deck onboard the ship. Port 2 is Belize. We like Belize. Good shopping at decent prices. We formed a group of 10 and took a tour van to explore the city. The price was $20/per person, but we negotiated down to $10/per person. For additional fee would go to beach and rum factory. We just went to north and south side of town and shopping district. Guide, Henri was very knowledgeable of culture and history and he showed us many things including places that a normal tour may not go to. He would even stop and take pictures for you if you saw something you wanted a photo of. Upon return, we walked around a bit, prior to returning to our ship. Final port was Cozumel. Cozumel is a large port with a lot of shopping at good prices and some beautiful beaches. Having been there multiple times, we just walked around. It was warmer than some trips there...the walk from the ship to the end of town is about 6 miles....after 12 miles round trip...running out of water, I was happy to be back on ship....note for those not fitness freaks: share a taxi with a group at least one way. When walking in Cozumel be prepared to say "no" to the multitude of locals wanting you to go into their shops.
Debarkation: We did self assist. From start to finish, we were off boat in about 30 minutes and in our car heading home. No issues at all.
Again, a cruise is what you make of it. If you look for the worst you will find it, but we enjoyed our time, and felt it was a wonderful ship, wonderful cruise and wonderful staff.