Arrival - We went into NOLA three days before as we had never been. We did a lot of walking and riding the trolleys(day passes). Staying at the Drury Hotel, the rooms were clean and spacious with a nice welcome gathering the first night in the lobby and a nice breakfast each day. It was only a half block away from St. Charles on Poydras with a four block walk to Canal Street.
Embarkation- Wow, the best it's been. Only 45 minutes passed since being dropped off by the taxi van and being on the Lido deck grabbing two tables for our group and ordering the day's drink or two.
Entertainment - We watched the first night and stayed away for the others. We were never early enough to get two seats together for the comedy shows so we left each without seeing a show. Timing for the movies was off for our schedule.
We were fortunate to be on board for a couple of shows by Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band. They are a Grammy winning zydeco band that was brought on by some radio station and they 'rocked' even doing a zydeco version of Cisco Kid, very entertaining.
Food - Late sitting in the Dining room - Our table waiters were very personable and attentive. The standard fare was good but we think it's time for new dishes. It's basically the same for the three years we've been cruising. Lido buffet wasn't bad and the NYC deli was pretty good. Pizza, wow, nasty stuff there. What's with the corn meal?
A Great Experience - The chef's seven course dinner was an 'over the top' full evening experience exceeding our expectations. We have attended the 'steak house' on other Carnival ships and had a wonderful time but this was so much more. It started with a trip to the kitchen. Between the organized chaos we were served various wonderfully prepared appetizers with flukes of champagne in between each tasty morsel. We then proceeded to the ship's library away from the noise of the main dining room to a table beautifully set for our party of twelve. From the appetizers through dessert each course was explained in detail while being served. White and red wines were both nice choices and very complimentary. At evening's end we were treated to a copy of our menu and the cookbook, Carnival Creations signed by Triumph's Head Chef. The head chef and his crew were all very personable adding much to the highly recommended experience.
Belize - We tried the Geoff's Cay (Carnival) where we swam and snorkeled from the beach. It was enjoyable but very limited as the place was perhaps two football fields in size. We headed back to the boat for lunch and afterward took a launch to Belize City. We purchased a few items but headed back early due to the heat and humidity, our Upstate New York bodies couldn't take it.
Isla Routan - Our group's organizer scheduled a private tour and snorkel company, Bodden Tours. At first we had a short tour through some of the towns on the island. Poverty and pollution are more prominent on this island. Our driver/guide was OK but he stranded us for a bit of time when we were due to leave but our ride in the glass bottom boat and snorkeling was terrific. On the boat, Richard and assistant Brian were very helpful . A couple of us struggled to get back on board with the existing single rung ladder.
Cozumel - We opted for another private tour, this time, a day on the beach at Nachi Cocom Beach Club, a five dollar taxi ride from our pier. Our porter, Carlos came highly recommended and we know why. The man and his assistant are quick and accurate with your orders. Your day pass includes the beach, pool, hot tub and three items from their menu, all well prepared and tasty and of course all drinks. Such a deal.
Debarkation - Tagged the luggage the night before and it was waiting for us below but I have to admit a shorter walk with all the bags would have been nice. We waited a bit for our taxi then off to the airport.