We are mid 60's and retired. This was our 29th cruise. We are Diamond level on RCCL. We chose this cruise because we had never been to New Orleans and wanted to "experience" it prior to the cruise.
Pre-Cruise: We booked this cruise 7 months prior to embarkation, and then had some difficulty booking a hotel room and flights, as it turned out to be WRESTLEMANIA weekend in New Orleans. Got room for 2 nights at Embassy Suites near to the Convention Center, which was hosting the wrestle festivities and 3 conventions at the same time. New Orleans has a good thing going for itself. We were very pleased with the hotel. We did a couple days of sightseeing, "experienced" Bourbon Street for a couple of hours in the afternoon (that was enough) and heard some great music.
Embarkation: We walked out of the hotel, turned left, pulled our bags 3 short blocks, gave them to the porters, registered, and got on the ship. The entire time, from when we left the hotel, took about 30 More
Passengers: There was a group of approximately 500 "Cajun Cruisers". Fun, laid back people. Some people wore dress clothes to dinner and some wore shorts. Everyone seem to have a good time. If you are bothered by jerseys, tee shirts, and baseball caps, I advise you not to sail from New Orleans. But we thought it was different and enjoyed it.
Ports: We only did Key West for about 5 hours and Nassau for too long. Cocoa Cay was missed due to high winds so that we could not tender. I guess this happens quite often, but no one seemed too upset, and the comedian even had jokes about it. In Nassau, we joined with some other CC members to do a walking tour of various food places. We really enjoyed this.
Food: We ate 2 nights in the dining room, 2 nights on the back open deck with Windjammer, 2 nights in Giovanni's and 1 night in Izuma. Enjoyed all of it.
Entertainment: Pretty good. Comedian made me laugh, which is saying something after 29 cruises.
Service: OUTSTANDING, especially the staff in the Diamond Lounge. Great fun every afternoon. Being Diamond level creates an entirely different cruise experience.
Dis-embarkation; Our flight was at 3:00 pm. We skipped breakfast. Walked off at 8:00 am, got our luggage, through customs; Gave our luggage to Courier Direct in the terminal ($40 for up to 4 pieces). They had it waiting for us at the airport at 1:30. Made arrangements with KLM transportation to pick us up at 1:00 in the French Quarter. ($14 pp, cheaper than a taxi) Then we caught the trolley right outside the terminal and went to Cafe DuMonde for beignets and coffee. We were there by 8:45. EASY PEASY. We then enjoyed some of the French Quarter Festival (21 stages, hundreds of food booths and drink stands) until our pick up at 1:00. The whole thing worked out wonderfully.
Summary: As we are retired, and have to fly to all of the ports, we normally do longer cruisers. We only did this 7 day to see New Orleans. But the whole trip was great. We are planning to do it again, but there won't be a Wrestlemania next year. Less