We drove in from the north so we stayed in Hammond the night before. Would have liked to have stayed closer, but for some reason, hotel prices were outrageous this particular weekend in NOLA. Best Western in Hammond was adequate but nothing special either. We went a little out of our way to take the causeway bridge because we had never been on it. It's cool but be aware there is a $3.00 toll.
First mistake was using the Fulton Place garage. Trust me when I say to fork over the extra $20 for the port parking garage.
The lines were long at about noon, but things did keep moving. They had some coolers of water and lemonade outside but there were no cups. Security was quick and check-in was efficient. We should have gotten there earlier but that is our fault. We were told our room would be ready by 1:30 pm.
They start snapping those friggin pictures immediately after you check in. The line on the gangway was about 50 people deep but we moved continuously until we we arrived into the main lobby area. We head up to Lido and quickly get lunch. Of course, everyone is up there but the lines moved along quickly and we had no trouble finding a table in the AC close to a window overlooking downtown NOLA.
We head down to the room on deck 1 after lunch and our room as promised is ready and all but 1 bag has already made it. Our SR attendant Bernie introduces himself and asks about our dinner time. He explains everything very well including his shift schedule. He does a great job throughout the week although we don't see him much.
Everything was great including food, shows and comedians. We didn't really notice any difference in the smoking policy. Seemed like people were smoking where they always did. There were a few broken elevators, but we managed. CD Tex and staff were much better than last year's Noonan and staff. I'd sail on Triumph again and would sail out of NOLA as well.
I really like what Carnival is doing with the comics using a lounge as a comic club. Good mixture of family / adult shows with set changes so that you didn't hear the same stuff twice.
Magician was just ok. He did the usual stuff but nothing spectacular.
We booked our own tour in the port with Autoprogreso. $29 for the DZ ruins compared to much more for the same tour thru the ship. Nice buses and tour guides. Good pace at the ruins and swimming in the Cenote was a nice experience. This is a great choice if you want to have a little extra time doing your own thing in port. There was no bathroom on our bus so make sure you do your bizness before getting on for the 45 minute drive.
They took us back to the ship after the tour which was nice in that we didn't have to change buses. If any passengers wanted, they would have also taken you back to the flea market where the tour begins.