We took a 5 day cruise from New Orleans to Cozumel and Progreso Mexico. This is our 2nd cruise out of NOLA. This time we decided to drive instead of fly and stay in NOLA the night before.
Boarding - For this cruise we bought the Faster to the Fun (F2F) package because I hate waiting in lines and did not want to carry my luggage around till my room was ready. We decided to park at the port which was $80.00. Well worth the money in my opinion. You pulled in and stopped at the porters who took 1 bag for me and my wife and told them F2F and they put a sticker on my bag and off we went to park the car. We arrive around 10ish and was not many people so far so we got through security real quick the only thing they wanted to check was the soda. No problem there. We told them we had F2F and they took us to a separate line with a attendant that walked us to the check in desk. Check in took about 5 - 10 minutes and then we waited in the waiting area till about 11ish when they started calling the boarding process. The F2F was boarded just after Diamond and Platinum guests. Once we boarded we went right to our room where our luggage was already outside our door waiting for us and our room was ready. Unpacked and went up to the Lido deck for Lunch.
Ship - Ship was older but still in good condition. Everything was clean and nice. Has pretty much everything a cruise ship would have. This is a smaller ship and not one of the big ships out there right now. Did not seem crowed during the cruise. No balcony rooms on this ship except for the suites.
Room - Room was in good condition. The decor is a little dated. I wish there was a small couch instead one stool in the room. I liked the bathroom in this ship compared to the one we had on the Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas we traveled on last year. It had a walk in shower instead of the tube shower. We had a Ocean View on the Riviera Deck. The window on the outside could of used a wash but it was nice to have some natural light in the room. We only met our steward once but we left a note for him to leave ice for our soda and he brought a big bucket to put our soda in and kept it filled the entire cruise. He also kept the room nice for us the entire cruise and had the towel animals out each night which my wife loves.
Dining - The Tiffany Dining Area (Buffet Lido Deck) was the standard buffet food with each day having a separate theme for lunch plus the grill area (hamburger, hotdogs, etc...) and the Mongolian wok. It was ok food. The wok was not to bad. We loved the ice cream cones. Had plenty of them on this cruise. The ice cream was available 24/7. We had the Pizza Pirate. Pretty standard pizza. Probably 3 out of 5 on the pizza. Had a sandwich from the deli and it was ok as well. So for the Lido dining I would say good but not great. We had dinner every night in the Imagination dining room. We had wonderful waiters (Dwipo and Prang). They took very good care of us and new our names from the first night on. Everything was first name basis. I loved it. These guys were way better than the waiters we had on the Royal Caribbean. The food is the same dining room food that you see on all the ships and everything was very good. A few things we ate were Prime Rib, Lobster, Escargot, shrimp, salmon, Warm Chocolate Melting cake, cheesecake. With thing of note is that we were celebrating my birthday and anniversary on this cruise even though my birthday and anniversary were in October and September they still celebrated it on the ship during the first night of dining. They brought cake and sang happy birthday and happy anniversary to us. Very Nice. They also had nightly shows by the waiters. Just a little dance nothing much.
Entertainment - The entertainment was average on this cruise. They had the nightly shows in the theater and had a comedy show a few nights as well. The shows we saw in the theater was just average and kind of boring. The singers were just average. There are better singers on American Idol and The Voice than what they had on this ship. They had a Rock show and another song and dance show based on a game show. They had two comedians on the ship. A man and woman. They had family and adult comedy shows. We only went to the family shows. Not really fond of comedians who have to cuss all during the show to try and make it funny. The man was mostly funny and the woman was ok but just down right rude during her set. The wife and I could not hardly stand the show just because of her attitude and all she did was bad mouth children through the whole routine. Went to the paino bar one night and the guy was a good piano player but he was an average singer. Did not go back after one night there.
Activities - I thought the activities were limited during this cruise. Some of the late night activities on the lido deck were cancelled due to the weather. There was also not much going on the pool deck during the day which to me at sea you should have things going on. I expect not much while you are at port but at sea it should be a lot going on. We did a lot of trivia with Chad who was a good host during the cruise. Won a ship on a stick trophy once. Did the casino thing and came out $10 ahead. Did some dance lessons with the wife. She also did some morning exercises in the gym in the morning which she liked. Thank goodness for the funtimes which gave us ideas on what to do during the day. In my opinion stay away from the Bingo. Just a rip off in my opinion. Had tea time on the last day which was nice.
Ports of call - We did not do any shore excursions this time so the review is just a general about the port.
Cozumel - We have been to Cozumel many times so this time we decided to go to the shops at the port and then go back to the boat. The shops at the port are the same basic Mexican shops setup for the tourist. The Carnival dock also had a big duty free shop that you had to walk through first before you got to the little mall with the shops and a couple restaurants.
Progreso - This was our first time to Progreso and probably the last time to Progreso if I can help it. First off, the place where the ship docks is 5 to 10 miles from the actual town out in the ocean. There is a shipping dock and the ship dock. There is a small shopping area that is just for the people getting off the ship because it is so far from shore. I heard from other passengers it is the same shops that you found in Cozumel. There is a free shuttle to the town if you want to go but 15 -20 minute ride. No Thanks!! So we just stayed on the boat. I want to get off the boat and start doing my thing not take a long bus ride to town. We just stayed on the boat and had fun for this day.
Debarkation - Again this is where F2F was worth the money. We did the self assist and was told to meet at a lounge at 7:30. We had breakfast on the Lido deck and then went back to our room and got our luggage and went to the lounge around 7:15. About 5 minutes of waiting they came and got us and told us we could debark. Went down to the gangway and went through customs and out to our car. We were pulling out of the garage at 7:35. That is why I would recommend F2F and the port garage. This was a lot better than our last cruise which the debarking process was a mess.
Overall - We had about 2 1/2 days of sun during the cruise which was disappointing but we still had a good time. The sea was a little rough most of the time and could feel the boat moving. Glad we had a lower deck room because we met some people who rooms on deck 11 and they said it was really moving up there. For the price we paid for the cruise it was well worth it and I would do it again. It is a day's drive to NOLA so we like going out of this port and we plan to do it for future cruises if possible. Would I recommend this Cruise to a friend? YES! With all the weather and problems we had it was still a fun time and I was not a work which makes it way better. I would not spend extra money on room on higher decks the riviera deck was just fine.