This was my 1st time on a cruise. I usually go to the all-inclusives in Mexico. I traveled solo on this trip so here are my thoughts. Just got back yesterday. I chose this trip because of the price. The single supplement was waived, therefore 5 nights cost $326, with a room with a window. It would have cost over double to get a inside room. My room was R88, fourth deck at the bottom of the ship, slightly towards the front. From the beginning. I paid $50 extra for the "Faster to fun" package where you get to go to the front of the line both getting on and off the ship. You also get to bypass everyone at the guest services counter. Was it worth $50? Single wise no, except I have a temp injury so I didn't want to wait in lines. But it's $50 per cabin so for others it may be $50 well spent.
The ship sailed from New Orleans, shuttles from the airport cost $20 one way or $38 round trip. No need to reserve in advance. Just walk up to the counter and pay. Very easy. Cabs cost $33 for up to 2 people, or $14 per person if more than 2. At the cruise terminal they were already boarding. A porter meets you outside and take your bags and delivers them outside your room. Check in was fast, but I also got to by-pass the lines, but they were not long. The cruise line allows you to bring up to 12 20 oz. bottles of drinks on (except alcohol) and 1 bottle of wine. There is no corkage fee for the wine if you consume it in your cabin. Other people sneak alcohol on but that is for another forum. For the 1st time cruiser I was lost, once you actually get on the ship, you are on your own. No info, nada. I asked one of the help people what to do. He suggested I go to my cabin on the fourth deck. Then I had to ask someone else how to get there. You are totally on your own. My cabin was small, but not bad. Very dated and beat up but I paid $326 for 5 nights, what can I expect.
My main complaint was the old tube t.v. with the bad picture. How old is this? For them to replace this they would have to send someone down to Goodwill. The first night was cold leaving port, no heat on the ship, so to warm my cabin up I turned the shower on scalding hot and let the steam warm the cabin up. Sorry didn't bring sweats with me. My cabin steward was Adi. He was great, I had a small cooler with me and he refreshed it everyday. He took care of any concern in my cabin right away. Five stars for him. Leaving New Orleans is a experience. For those who don't realize it, the ship is 8 hours from open water. We were suppose to leave at 4. At midnight you are still in the bayou.
Now the food and drink. A beer cost a total of $6.61, Margarita $10.06. The food was interesting. I only ate in the main dining room once. I had the salmon. The people sitting next to me were from Alaska, and they questioned if that was salmon. I knew it was, typical farm raised salmon, frozen, color added. The presentation was good. People keep coming around trying to sell bottles of water and after dinner drinks. If you ask for a latte, extra charge. Overall I liked the dining room, should have ate there more often. The buffet, if you can call it that, was a embarrassment. Think grade school food line with frozen boxed things heated in a oven. Enough said. Other people who have been on cruises say the buffet is a version of the dining room. Not here. The salad bar was good and they had pizza 24/7 that was good even in the middle of the night. Room service was mainly sandwiches, salads and juice. I ordered room service alot. Good food, good presentation, very fast (5-15 minutes) just tip. I did not go to the nightclubs on board. There were several but seem to open late and close early. I did go out about 1am and it seemed only the casino bar (Drama Bar) was open. Closed it down at 3:15.
Side trips, Cozumel. Been to Cozumel before. Either have a plan or buy an excursion. If you get off the ship and want to wander around, not much there except for the usual tourist traps that can be found anywhere. No real beach bars to speak of. If you drink beer, there are $1 bottles just off the ship, small store on the left. Fill up before returning to the ship. Progreso was different. The ships pier is about 4 miles out in the gulf on a man made pier/levee. There are free shuttles that take you to town. Not much in Progreso, just an worn out depressed Mexican town. Some people said they went to the beach where the shuttle drops off at. Everyone said they were bothered the whole time by vendors. One guy described them as fleas. Everyone said no peace and quiet, just one vendor after another. Too bad, Progreso looks like it doesn't need to drive the tourists off. At the shuttle drop off point which is a flea market there's a little shopping there, or walk to the back and there are shops and places to eat and drink. I wanted to go into Merida, The capital city about a half hour away. I bought a tour from the shuttle company there at the flea market for $25. It was a modern bus that drove around Merida with a guide which showed the sight and monuments. Ended up in the town square and toured a museum and the Governors house. Had a hour and a half free time for lunch and then a ride directly back to the ship. Good deal. In Progreso, either stay on the ship, visit the flea market for a bit or get a organized tour. This is pretty much my whole review of the journey. I would go back, maybe not Carnival. Definitely New Orleans again because of the cruise down the Mississippi. Cozumel is alright and Progreso has potential.