We stayed in the Hampton Inn downtown and right across from the ship. This is a very good hotel and the service to and from the ship is good. You can even park there instead of the terminal, which is even better.
The ship is smaller in size, but more than makes up for it in so many ways. This ship has such a wonderful crew. I cannot say enough about them. Mr. Happy and Mr. Naughty were always a wonderful smiling greeting to the buffet every morning and made the "washy, washy" time a hoot. Isaac singing Christmas songs and saying, "breakfast was on me, eat what you want," added to the morning smiles. Our stewards were very efficient and never in the way. The outdoor area behind Raffles is a great place to sit and eat, and has a great children's pool area below it.
We are not really party animals, but there were a LOT of things going on around the ship, always something to do. I really like the guitar playing of Angel. His mix of folk and 70 music was always easy on the ears. I did not much care for the band at the pool, I have heard MUCH better and the sound level was way to high for me.
Food is always subjective, but I like what is offered. Nothing special, but always something to eat for everyone. (usually ... too much) They have a grill outside on sea days and that is yummy as well. We did Teppanyaki and Cagney's Steak House. (X2) Both were wonderful. The second round was on the Hotel Manager. He is a wonderful person and seems to really care about your time on the ship as well as the people who work for him. I took the time to thank him and mention some of the people who made the cruise so wonderful. We did use the main dining as well, and no problems there. High marks all around to the people on the ship.
One of the main reasons we do this cruise is the port line up. There are 4 ports and we love them all. Costa Maya is a lot of fun once you get out of the port area, that being said, there is no shortage of things in the port itself. We go over to Mahahual and have a nice meal on the beach and watch the day go by.
In Roatan, the ship docks at the new port of Mahogany Bay. Nice and new, and is connected with the resort of Mahogany Bay. Nice beach, good place to eat and bugs for everyone. (yeah, they are bad on the beaches of Roatan.)
Belize is still a LONG tender in. You can see the work on the new pier, but seems like it is a long ways off for now. We usually take a tour here and get out of the madhouse of a small port area. There were 5 ships in and you could not stir the people with a stick.
Cozumel is an unending source of fun, no matter how many times we go. Good food, good shopping, good tours and always feel safe there.
Our room was a balcony and nearly all are the same size and setup. This room has a connecting door to the next one and that is a problem. The noise and smoke (yeah they still foolishly allow smoking in the rooms) can be a problem. We are changing rooms on the next cruise at Spring Break to get away from that little door problem. Yes, the smoke on the balconies is horrid at times if your luck is bad. (The first leg it was) The second half of the cruise the new people tried to put children in the balcony room next to us. We had to call two nights in a row to get the noise down so we could sleep. The people at the pursers deck finally had enough of it and talked to the parents about it. It must have been a good talk, as we never had another problem with the rascals next door.(once again,kudos to the crew) Funny what a little parent supervision can do on a cruise ship. The rooms are VERY small, and the bathroom almost a joke in the toilet area. But, hey, we know that and keep coming back. It is not where you spend much time anyway.
We are in bed early and rarely use the shows. I know most seem to like them is all I can say. Sorry that I have little to say about the shows, but the theater is very nicely set up.
There was a real mess on getting on the first leg of the cruise. The ship was delayed at sea due to a medical emergency and was not to the dock until 10AM. That made for a mess on loading. The second trip was back to normal. We got off, went to customs, went back up the stairs and about an hour later were back on the boat. No packing, no luggage. One could get VERY used to this! You can leave the ship around 7:30 if you take your on luggage which we did. Easy on and off the ship is always nice. We drive to the ships, as I don't like to fly. That is why we usually use New Orleans or Galveston. Florida is a long drive and the ship and ports must be right to make it worth it for me.
So... would I sail her again? Lets see.... I am booked Spring Break and next Christmas and New Years back to back again. Guess that sums up what I think of this wonderful little secret New Orleans has in her back yard.