My thoughts as we waited in traffic at the New Orleans port were numerous, some repeatable, some not. If New Orleans is going to have more cruises out of its port then it needs to figure out better access to the port parking than through a stop sign and over a train track. Plus no one was giving ground. It took us over an hour just to park. The traffic jam did not end there. With everyone trying to enter in the same place everyone was trying to get off, it was chaos. My only advice is leave early and do not expect your vacation to start until you are on the boat.
Now on to the fun, once we embarked, we headed to the Lido deck for some food. The ship was in good shape. We have sailed other ships and this was not the most beautiful ship that we have been on, but it is well taken care of and tasteful. We stayed in a Category 11 suite. The rooms were nice sized. There were only minor things like mold in the track on the shower and the stool at the vanity was faded, but overall a great room. My husband and I were in 1 room and my mom and children were in the room next door. There room steward, Putu, was the best.
I will say that the buffet, pizza, sandwiches, burgers, and other food items like that were good. Was it great food? No, but it was definitely good. The best food on the cruise happened on the second day at sea and I will get there, I promise. That night, we ate in the Lower London dining room and Made, our head waiter, really made each night enjoyable. We visited the California Wine Bar where we met our favorite bartender for the cruise, Slava. The next morning we enjoyed our day at sea by the pool. Our son discovered that the mid ship pool is like a wave pool. Our daughter enjoyed the hot tubs. My mother traveled with us, so at night, the children preferred Camp Carnival or eating on the Lido deck with her. Our second day at sea was again spent by the pool, but that night was really special. We signed up for the Chef's Table. It was amazing to see the kitchen and the food he prepared was delicious. It was a special night and one of the highlights of our cruise. The next morning we woke to see Belize City. This is a tender port, so that was new to us. Although tendering is a necessity in some ports, I did not enjoy that experience at all. The Belize Zoo was closed due to damage from Hurricane Richard. If you are into adventure then Belize has cave diving and Mayan Ruins to hike. If you are into animals, we have heard wonders about the zoo even though we did not get to see it. If neither of these appeals to you, stay on the boat. Belize City is unfortunately not the most picturesque of cities.
The next day, we were in Isla Roatan, Honduras. Can you say Mahogany Bay and Gumbalimba Park? The Carnival Cruise terminal at Mahogany Bay was gorgeous! We met our tour bus there and we were off to Gumbalimba Park to play with the cutest monkeys that you have ever seen. It was worth the treacherous ride up and down hills in the most cramped tour bus ever. Our guide was Joshua and he was fabulous. The beach at the park is small, but just enough for my children to get a taste of the sun and surf.
The next day was Cozumel. We went to Nachi Cocom. It was worth every penny. The beach was beautiful, the pool was beautiful, and the food was good. We didn't participate in any of the water sports, but there was plenty to do if you wanted to snorkel, kayak, or do any other water sport. The only negative thing that happened was our bank messed up our Travelers' Checks, so we had to scrape up the cash to pay. That is what I get for getting Travelers' Checks in a small town!
We had one more day at sea by the pool then it was back to New Orleans where the port created problems again. They called the zones, but did not have all the luggage yet for the indicated zones. The New Orleans Port really needs to work on organization and traffic control (people and car). Overall, it was a great vacation. Carnival is a great value.