We drove to NOLA on Sat. for the 1st time(uneventful, 11 hrs.) Stayed at Ctyd. Mariott atJulia and Peters for $140. incl. cruise park. Room was small and inside parking was tight. Had hoped to have dinner at Mulate's as we had in "08, but a 90 min. wait drove us to Cochon which had a 45 min. wait. We stumbled onto NOLA Grocery and got a shrimp and a beef po'boy (no oysters avail.) to take back to hotel with some Abita's from corner bar. All were excellent. Sunday I got up and walked to the terminal at 5:30, my body not having adjusted to CST and to see if it was walkable w/bags. Decided it was too far(down Julia, cross tracks, turn right for about 3 blks.),too cold & windy for that. Found Cafe Fleur de Lis in Quarter for seafood omelet after parking illegally in taxi stand and was overjoyed I didn't get ticket of towed. Praised Elvis, Jesus and Satchmo ! About ll we drove over, checked bags, and returnedcar to hotel. Walked to term. and got in line at 11:40. Chek in was a breeze and on board at 12:10. Had a good Windows lunch watching the Dancing Forklifts on the pier of portobello w/goat cheese, chicken Milanese and strawberry shortcake. Bags arrived at 3pm. Windows dinner had smoked salmon app. and fatty lamb entree. "Welcome Aboard" show was so-so with good song and dance, lame magician(Cripton), and OK comedian. CD Kyle was OK.
Monday-Windows breakfast=smoked salmon Benedict (MMMM). Lunch was seafood paella and burger on pool deck. Buffet dinner was surprisingly excellent with variety and quality. They always had some of the same items as the MDR's.Tue.-Costa Maya-Buffet break and off at l0:30. Taxied into village, walked around and found the famous (or should be) Don Fernando's. It's all true. Much good food and drink for cheap. Had the "special" of grouper, octopus,squid and veg., Leon beer, chips,garlic dip, guac.,ceviche, and welcome pitcherof tequila and grapefruit for $20. total. DW got $20./45min. massage upstairs at El Faro. Had dinnerbuffet of duck, spinach-mushroom calzone, and tiramisu. All were great. Russian acrobat team was very good in Stardust and comedian just OK in Galaxy. Lost a $ in casino.
Wed.-Belize- Was in line for tender tkts. at 730, tktd. at 8 and on boat at 830. I had booked the Baboon Sanctuary w/Experience Belize, met Allan and Leah outside Term.1. Leah normally works in office,but was forced to guide us that day and we had a big van to ourselves. Saw a few BIG iguanas in tree by the river on the drive out and got up close to 2 big, wild black howler monkeys. Back to Term. Had late lunch at Wet Lizard. Pattihad coconut shrimp, I had conch. Both came with rice, beans, and salad and were fine. And don't forget the Beliken ! Dinner in Garden. Patti had good prime rib and avocado soup, while I went with the terriyaki chicked skewers and steak. Dessert at Raffles of pineapple cake and tiramisu. YUM!
Thur.-Roatan- Weather was beautiful.I'd been looking forward to this port the most, as, not only was it new to us, but also because I'd booked the Pirates of Car. zip line. We were met by Rony of Rony's Tours and met Michael our driver. $40. pp private tour in new comfy van. Michael was most helpful and his command of English is good. I'd planned on the regular zip,but when told it involved climbing and rope bridges,I was talked intothe extreme and LOVED IT ! And I've always been afraid of heights. Stopped at conven. store for much needed cold Barena beer, then to supermarket for beans, rice, soccer ball and notebooks which we took to Broby Children's Home. Did Victor B's Monkey stop and got photos of CW w/2 large red parrots perched on her. She said it must be the hairspray. On to Half Moon Bay for lunch of garlic shrimp. Drove up mountain for photo-op, then back to the supermkt. which has shops on 2d fl. and got a couple of beautiful, cheap mahogony pieces. Returned to ship, had a beautiful sailaway sunset. The Second City show was mostly the same schtick we saw 2 yrs.ago.Eugene and his pan flute in Cham.Charlies was very pretty. Patti then chilled while I heard the show band in Galaxy which was very good.
Cozumel-Did my a.m. stretch far fwd. in Galaxy. Also used the lobby oa Deck 13 some days which has and entire mirrored wall in stairway. Had Raffles break. and walked a few laps on Deck 7. Went ashore, had a Sol beer and bought some $4. all cotton T's. Windows lunch of salmon/shrimp salad sand. was great. Hit the pool and hot tub and enjoyed Real Vibes, the pool band. Rack of lamb in Garden was good. New show "Elements" is a spectacle and very well done.
Saturday-Lunch at Raffles was good ribs, meatballs and blackened tilapis. After nap, I went to Cripton's very cheesy magic matinee. Then time to eat again and had yet to try the famous wings, fish&chips and spinach dip at Blue zLagoon,so we did. Had our 4th medical emerg. and 2d involving helicopter, which we were later told caused up to alter our course towards Key West. Did the wacky "name/sing that tune" gamewhich was fun but exhausting. Late dinner at Garden was quiet and I had 2 orders of the long-awaited escargot. The pecan encrusted snapper in gumbo was almost as good and the choc.mousse and Ger. choc.cake were the best!
Stewards Windshor and Ketut werre great; always smiling and greeting us by name. I found this AMAZING after learning they had 34, yes, thirty four cabins to service twice a day. We tipped them well.
Sun. Chose the "EZ Walkoff" which wasn't, so we were out of cabin at 830 and waited in casino. Didn't dock til almost 10 and OK to disemb. was announ. at 1040. Didn't actually leave ship until 11:40 due partly to one poor crew member trying to stick to a system, but being overwhelmedby crowds coming from 3 directions. Walked to hotel while Patti waited w/bags and had a hard time leaving town(about 1 hr.) as 3 ramps to I10 were closed, so we ended up crossing the bridge and turning around. Spent Sun. night at lovely Hampton Inn in Meridian,MS.
Thanks for your indulgence and I hope some of this rant was helpful. Happy sailing ! P.S. Track down and DEVOUR the pretzel rolls and oatmeal cookies ! Also, we made the $250. dep. to get the $100. OBC. Can't wait.