Embarkation day started out awful! For one thing, they were using the Julia St terminal, and an outdoor parking lot that had no signs indicating where to turn to park.
Traffic in the area of the terminal was horrendous, and it took an extraordinarily long time to go "around the block". This was due to a huge jewelry show at the convention center, which is adjacent to the ship terminal. Hubby and I arrived around 10:30 and it was bumper to bumper traffic on Convention Blvd all the way to the terminal. No one knew where to park because the parking garage was closed (it was later found to belong to Carnival and they didn't want any other ship line to use it). What they did provide was an outdoor parking lot that had no signs to indicate that was the RCI parking lot. Finally after getting proper instructions, we parked the car ($112 for the week) and made our way to the terminal with luggage.
Wait time at the terminal was awful, as these were new employees and didn't quite know how to handle 3,000 passengers on their first cruise out of New Orleans. The ship had been late in getting all the passengers off and all 3,000 of us on board, so it was well after lunch before we stepped onto the ship. No time for lunch, as we had to attend muster (safety drill) as soon as we got our luggage settled in our cabin. I did manage to get a cup of coffee at the coffee station on Promenade Deck and was allowed to bring it on deck with me for the drill.
We went to dinner right after the safety drill, as we had early seating. We soon learned who our waiter and assistant waiter were, and also met the head waiter. It's important to remember these people because you need to give them something at the end of the cruise.
The next day, Sunday, was a Sea Day, and our group had its first session Sunday morning. On Monday we were in Cozumel, Tuesday was Grand Cayman, and Wednesday was Falmouth, Jamaica (see port reviews).
Activities on the ship are varied, and depending on what you liked to do on board, you had plenty of things to choose from. Rock wall climbing, karaoke, trivia contests, a belly flop contest in the pool area, dancing lessons, live entertainment, and of course the casino. They had more slot machines than anything else.
The ship's decor was wonderful! I enjoyed this over the decor of the Carnival ship. It seemed more elegant. Lots of chrome fixtures, colorful lights, very modern feel to it.
The Windjammer buffet, as well as the Island Grille had a variety of foods to choose from, so if you left there hungry, it was your own fault!
Disembarkation was a bit unclear at first, but this is because we were first time RCI cruisers. The next cruise (and I hope there will be another) will be easier for us since we'll know how the system works.