This was our 3rd annual girl's getaway cruise. I shared an ocean view room with my sister and friend, while my daughter and niece stayed in an inside room down the hall. We booked this cruise the year before while on the Conquest and saw that the layout was similar, so we booked the exact same room (2278) because we really liked the location to everything.
We left Saturday morning from SW Louisiana in very bad weather and arrived in New Orleans around noon. We accidentally took the wrong exit and were parallel with a Mardi Gras parade! We made parking reservations online (nocruiseshipparking.com) and for $14 a day, our car was in a covered, locked parking garage. The man in charge, Angel, called earlier to find out where we were and flagged us down on the street once we were close to the garage. He took us to the terminal and we called him on our return and he was there within 5 minutes to pick us up. We will definitely use him again!
Embarkation- The first half was great and really going fast, but once we took pictures, it got real UNORGANIZED!! There was a lady holding these zone cards, but when someone would try to get by her without one, she would leave and flag them down. We stayed in the same spot for way too long, and then she never came back! People just started moving on their own, so we followed. After 2 hours in the terminal, we finally got on the ship, so we ate and went to our rooms.
Dining- We had early seating in the London dining room, and even though our waiters were good, they were not very personable. We missed that because on our other cruises, the waiters had great personalities, and it really made your dining experience special. Oh, well, we didn't leave the dining room hungry! We even had a guy do magic tricks for a couple of nights at our table. He was great!! We ate breakfast in the dining room and on the Lido deck, and were both really good.
Room- Our room Stewart, "Burt" was great! We just left him notes for things we needed, and he really worked with us. (extra mattress for the couch bed, and he filled up the ice chest everyday- no refrigerators).
Entertainment- Even though there are many things to do during the day, we mainly walked the track in the morning and laid out and read the day away. This is our vacation after all! We did take in "The Game of Love" one afternoon which was hilarious!! It was done differently than on the Conquest, and I liked it better. (instead of the couples being back to back on stage, the men were backstage and answered questions by microphone) At night we took in the nightly adult comedy shows, Comedy & Juggling show, "New Wave Magic" (a must-see) and we started watching The Big Easy, but didn't care for it, so we left.
Ports of Call- Down below in the Port Reviews
Disembarkation- The easiest I have EVER had! We did the self-assist and they called our deck at around 8am. We were in our car and leaving New Orleans by 9am!
By reserving our cruise on the Conquest last year, we were able to get $100 credit to our room as well as my daughter's because they give you 2 extra certificates to use on other rooms. I also watched the rates and caught my daughter's room rate go down twice and ours once. We had plenty of room credit, enough to pay for gratuities and lots of pictures!
This year we paid $100 for a cruise certificate that we have to use within 2 years. You use that certificate for your deposit AND they give you $100 credit to your room! We will use it for our cruise in 2013, because we have already booked with Norwegian for Mardi Gras break 2012. This one is also out of New Orleans, but goes to Costa Maya, Roatan, Belize and Cozumel. We have been on Carnival for our last 3 cruises, so we want to try a different cruise line.