We chose this cruise because of ports and price; both were great so when we realized it left out of New Orleans, which we had never visited, we booked immediately. We spent 2 nights pre-cruise at Place D'Armes, which was very nice and well located. Thanks to a great CruiseCritic roll call, we met with several cruise critic members for a great NOLA tour the day previous to the sailing. We had a great time, thanks especially to Raymonda and his wonderful wife. Boarding is well organized and lunch is readily available upon boarding. Cabins are ready by 2 or earlier.
OUR INSIDE CABIN: it was just perfect and very quiet. We loved it. The bathroom was very nice, with a shower door that slides, rather than the shower curtain that sticks to your body. There were both a desk chair and an arm chair and plenty of closet space as well as a safe. It was kept very neat by the stewards and turn down service was prompt as well.
THE FOOD SERVICE: We found no reason to pay extra for our meals; we ate breakfast in Raffles everyday, and loved it. Lunch was either in port or at Raffles, or blue Lagoon. and dinner every night was either Windows or the Garden restaurants. All of these restaurants were free and served tasty food. Service was fine at all the restaurants and you can order as much food as you want, Most nights I ordered 3 appetizers and some nights my husband ordered 2 entrees. The coffee is delicious and free. (They do have extra charge specialty coffees, though.) Ice cream (soft serve and hard) is available almost all the time, and yes, we both ate way too much.
PORTS OF CALL: the main reason we booked this cruise was the ports of call, none of which had we ever visited before. I should state that even though weather forecasts were somewhat dismal before we left, we had perfect weather the entire cruise. Cool but sunny sea days and warm, even hot and sunny ports of call.
In Costa Maya, we booked with Costa Maya tours and went to Tequila Beach and also did a 90 minute snorkel trip. Very nice day, people were friendly; beach was pretty and the snorkel was a good warm up for what was to come.
In Belize, we booked with Coral Breeze, Hammerhead, the 5 hour reef, and stingray, nurse shark snorkel, including Caye Caulker and lunch. Now the snorkeling was truly getting exciting and the day was beautiful. The boat rides were enjoyable and so was lunch and Caye Caulker was charming; Belize City port was fun to shop at once we returned and the tendering system of NCL went smoothly.
Roatan, Honduras--we booked through NCL the Tabyana Beach day and had one of the most awesome snorkeling days of our lives, and we have snorkeled many places. For the best snorkeling, you need to go in to the right of the pink buoyie, as the coral is so thick; but once you get into the channel that is cut for entrance and swim out just a little, you are in for a real treat. Yes, this is great snorkeling right from the beach! It is a lot like Tunnels Beach on Kauai but also a lot like St. John, USVI. Great lunch and soft drinks are included, as well as round trip transportation. We loved it.
Cozumel: we had a wonderful day; grabbed a cab which dropped me off at Playa Azul Hotel, Beach Club and proceeded to take my husband to the Cozumel Country Club. We booked both places ahead, on our own, using the Internet. We had a lovely day, and I was able to get a little more snorkeling in right from the beach, while my husband played his round of golf. He met me at the Hotel after and we finished our day with a late lunch on the beach before returning to the ship.
Both sea days were relaxing with lots to do to keep us busy. My only regret was that I hadn't packed a long sleeve shirt or two for the cooler sea days when we were still pretty far north at sea. However, my sweater and jacket served me well to stay warm. We also really enjoyed the Cruise Critic Greet and Mingle party and Sail Away party as well. on the second sea day, we had a roaming poker party that was also a lot of fun.
Our Cruise Critic group was really a group of great, fun loving people. So nice to have met them all!
In concusion,we feel that we got a great cruise at a very affordable rate. We don't have a single complaint about anything. We even were lucky enough to not lose quite as much as usual at the Casino. if you have any questions, feel free to email me and I will try to answer your questions. firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope that this helps you plan and have a great time! grams98