I am 66, my DW is 62. DW has a disability that limits our activities to those with minimal physical activities.
We arrived in NOLA the Thursday before the cruise, and stayed at the St. Ann/Marie Antionette Hotel. This is an older hotel, and doesn't have many of the amenities you would find at newer ones, but the location and price were very good. It is located in the heart of the French Quarter, and was $260., for the three days with a convention and football game in town.
The room was small, but clean, they provided a nice continental breakfast, and the staff was great. We had lunch and dinner most times at Monty's which was 2 doors down. Their food and service were top notch.
Went to Jackson Square, Cafe Monde, a carriage ride, and a steamboat tour. All were fun and interesting, and worth the money.
Sunday was cruise day. We left the hotel around 12:15. The cab ride was only about 10 minutes, but the traffic at the port was terrible. Never saw anything like it at any other port we've been to. Took another 10-15 minutes just to be able to get to a point were we could get out of the cab, then another 15 minutes to get a porter and a wheelchair for the DW.
Inside the terminal, it was an even bigger mess. Crowded, poor signage, and even the man pushing the wheelchair, a NCL employee, got confused. Since the DW was in a wheelchair, we had priority boarding, and it still took 45 min to board. Some people told us it took them 3.5 hrs so I guess we didn't do too bad.
Mimosas or oj were given out upon entering the ship, but once you were on, you were on your own. The cabins weren't ready, and we went to the pool deck for a drink and lunch. Buffet with hamburgers, etc were served. Cabins were ready around 2:30 and off we went.
We had a balcony cabin on deck 11, under the Raffles Buffet. It was small compared to balconies on HAL, or Carnival, but about the same as on Princess. No refrigerator though, first time that's happened in a balcony cabin. We were told by the hotel director they were available on request, but were would they put it? Cabin steward, Marion, introduced herself, and we hardly saw her for the rest of the cruise, but the cabin was always clean, and coffee and ice were always well stocked.
First nights dinner was at Cagney's with a 2-4-1 coupon. Appetizers, entree, and desert were outstanding, but soup (lobster bisque), and salad (Caesars) were just o.k.
Day one : At sea. Highlight of the day was the Meet & Greet at Henry's Pub. Met many of the ship's officers, but the most fun was meeting other CCers, and sharing experiences. Do the roll call for your cruise and join the M&G if you can. Lunch at Blue Lagoon was good,dinner was at Le Bistro. Monday was our anniversary, so we used the Romance Package dinner for two at Le Bistro that evening. It was great. It was so good we wound up going back two more times, each time better than the last.
Day two: Costa Maya. No excursion, went to the shopping area just down from the ship. Bought some gifts for the folks back home, but wished we had waited. Selections and prices were much better at the other ports. Back on board, DW wasn't feeling well. I ate at the buffet, and brought her back a light meal. Buffet was good,nice selection, hot or cold where it was called for. No trays, so it meant a trip to the lines for each course.
Day three: St Tomas de Castillo: Trolley Town Tour scheduled at 11, so we had time and went to the Garden Room for breakfast. It was great. Quiet, with a good selection of food, combined with excellent service. Went to the trolley, which was just outside the gangplank. It cost $39., and was not worth it. Never stopped for photo ops, and couldn't see some of the things pointed out by the guide. Done in under 45 min. and back at the ship. DW back to the cabin, I went to the shopping area. Good selection and prices, entertainment, and food & beverage available. At sail away, the people of St Tomas were out to send us off. Music and dancing, and it seemed every cab they has was there. Very nice touch. Dinner at Teppanyakis Japanese Restaurant. Ten people seated around the grill where it was showtime by the chef. Fodd was good, chef was very good, but Saki was only available by the bottle with prices ranging form $37 to 61. We passed on that.
Day four: Belize. The only tender port of the trip. We had an NCL excursion to the Bacaab Gardens and were assigned tender ticket 4. Both the tender to and back was very smooth. NCL reps were at the port to assist, and did an excellent job. Boarded the bus on schedule, and after a short ride, we were at our destination. We had the butterfly excursion ($49.), and it included lunch and use of the facilities which included a beautiful pool. The butterflies were interesting, the guide informative, and lunch - salad, potato salad, fried plantains, chicken and rice and beans - was good especially the potato salad. Had about 1.5 hrs to relax, swim or whatever. Full service bar was available if so desired. Trip back was smooth and back on the ship within an hour. Dinner at Le Bistro, and we took in the only show we saw on the trip, a magician. I enjoy magic, but he didn't do one trick that I hadn't seen before. Dinner at Le Bistro.
Day five: Cozumel. NCL Dolphin push, pull and swim for the DW ($130,), me as an observer ($30,)included transportation to and from park, lockers and change areas, and admission to park. DW had a wonderful time, and it was a joy to watch her. After the dolphins,lunch and we bought one picture from the park operators. Note: no personal cameras allowed except for an underwater camera. DW relaxed after lunch while I went to the botanical gardens,and the faux mayan ruins. They did a very nice job on both, and I hope the photos turn out good. Met the tour guide at 1:15 as instructed, and in a cab within 2 minutes. Dinner at Windows, very good, and then to the White Hot Party. Guests are encouraged to dress in all white,and some of the crew, in white of course, were there to assist and entertain. Good music, and we wished we could have joined in the dancing, but watching was fun also.
Day six: Day at sea. Breakfast at the buffet, Jazz Brunch ($15.)at the Garden Room. Good music and a fantastic selection of cold and hot meals for both breakfast and lunch items. Dinner at Le Bistro again. By this time, it was almost like having dinner with family. We booked a late time as we wanted a photo op with the staff. Took shots of all the staff, and had a good farewell to a wonderful experience in their restaurant.
Day seven: Back to NOLA. Disembarkation was smooth as glass. Wheelchair assistance was reserved for a 9:30 departure, and everything went as planed. Off the ship, through customs, had our luggage, and in a cab by 9:50. Great, a 5+ experience.
Overall, a tremendous pre-cruise and cruise experience. I would recommend it to one and all.