Personal background: My wife and I are in our 50's and we have taken 25 cruises. We have cruised NCL, Carnival, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity. We book only inside cabins. We like active shore excursions: we are scuba divers and we like beach days, zip-lining, river rafting, etc. We are very budget-conscious.
Port/Port Operations: NOLA is a great Port. Arrived the day before departure. Enjoyed the sights of NOLA, shopping at the French Market, beignets at Cafe Du Monde, and fried shrimp Po Boys. Debarkation/boarding was very smooth. Arrived at 1 p.m. There was no waiting in line. Had a great dining-room arrival lunch aboard ship; almost no one in the restaurant. Luggage arrived around 4 p.m.
Ship: The ship is older and smaller than the modern ones. But it is well-maintained and well laid out. Our inside cabin was small but had plenty of room for the two of us and all our baggage including scuba gear. Fairly comfortable bed. Plenty of amenities. Common areas are nice although sometimes a little crowded.
Itinerary. This 4-stop itinerary is superb. 4 great locations. We did scuba diving in Cozumel and Belize. We did relaxing beach days in Costa Maya and Roatan. All stops were fantastic. The itinerary is the best part of the cruise in our opinion.
Food was OK. The breakfast buffet was great; try the omelet's-to-order and make yourself a plate of French toast smothered with berries and whipped cream. Lunches on the buffet were OK; modest selection. Dinner buffets were OK; good selection of Italian and Indian and seafood. Always a great selection of fresh fruits. The Bier Garten had good brats and a decent selection of German beer. The Blue Lagoon had some decent wings. Room service food wasn't too bad....try the tuna melt. I didn't like dinners in the dining room. Food took too long to come and wasn't always hot. But overall you can get lots of good food without spending an extra dime on this ship.
Entertainment. (My wife is a musician and I defer to her on this one!) Entertainment was good, not great. We enjoyed the comedians, acrobats, and the "Elements" show. Magic act was OK. The ship's big productions were OK, although not quite as good as most other cruises we have been on. The band was a little weak. Overall not bad.
Service on this ship was good, not great. The staff will take pretty good care of you. Had good service in dining areas and in the cabin. The casino folks were not friendly......very unusual for a casino. They seem to have a personnel problem there. We do not feel the service is excellent enough to warrant $12 per person per day, especially compared to other ships and other cruise lines. So we adjusted our gratuity down a little.
Overall this cruise had a great itinerary, decent food, decent entertainment, decent service, and a well-maintained ship. For the price this cruise is a VERY GOOD VALUE.