Had 17 of us go out of New Orleans on Jan 11th. 12 first-time cruisers. 9 of them flew to New Orleans & spent several days there - loved it! Boarding was not lengthy or a problem - only thing I found different (13 cruises) was water/soda. We brought it w/us & after processing in, had to go thru a separate line where a Security person cut the soda 12-pack apart & checked every can, then re-taped. Same w/water. Only took a few minutes.
Ship was small, but nice. Food was OK the first night, in the MDR. Had a Coast Guard rescue the next morning - straight out of "Coast Guard Alaska," which was pretty exciting.
PRO's: we thought the food in the Imagination MDR (mid-ship, anytime dining) was very good, as well as the buffet....the kids (9 to 20) loved it. Armon (waiter in Imagination) was the best I've encountered! Ship was fairly clean - no major problems. Staff was friendly, rooms were clean, etc.
CON's: Agree w/previous review re: smoke on Deck 9 outside Casino. You could smell it from 100 feet away & from decks above & below. I smoke & it still bothered me! Had heard "bad" things from CC members re: Cruise Director & my experiences agreed w/theirs - lots of staff didn't know what they were doing; nothing started on time, etc. Also - lots of drunk 20-something's around the Pool Bars & Staff did NOTHING re: multiple complaints. Lots of adults w/families/children avoided it all cruise, which was a shame. Excursions (Uxmal & Swim w/Dolphins) were wonderful, with no problems. Several of the children did the "clubs" & all were VERY positive. Disembarkation went well, w/no problems. All in all, not a bad cruise for the money. My wife & I would give it an overall 3.5 of 5, while the first-timers ALL gave it 5's!