Starting with embarkation it was the fastest we have ever experienced. We arrived at the terminal at about 11:15 AM and were on the ship around noon eating lunch in the Windjammer Cafe.
Meals aboard the ship were outstanding as was the service. We ate breakfast on Deck 3 in the Carmen each morning so we could order eggs benedict or whatever from a daily menu or choose from a complete breakfast buffet. Orders not on the menu were allowed as well. For lunch we ate at several locations. The Windjammer Cafe was your typical buffet and we ate there only twice. We did Johnnie Rockets one day for lunch which was okay but there is a $4.95 per head cover charge plus any beverage requires payment which could be $4-plus for a malt or shake. Our favorite lunch destination was on Deck 3 in the Carmen where a varied menu was offered in addition to a very classy and loaded salad bar. We chose My Time Dining for dinner and were seated in the Magic Flute on Deck 5. Every meal was elegant in both choice and flavor and the service was truly outstanding. Our overall meal experience was outstanding.
We are basic beer drinkers and found the prices a bit higher than any other cruise. You can expect to pay a minimum of $4.75 for any beer selected and that does not count an automatic 15% added to your bill. Plus, before you get 12 miles off the Louisiana shore there is another 9% added. There are no "bucket" prices but I will say there is an enormous variety of beers available at the Pig & Whistle on Deck 5. Also, our beverage server was called Cat and he was from Romania and he was truly outstanding.
The room was quite nice, being a bit larger than we had on other cruises. The shower was round and definitely gave more leg room. The couch was an added plus and the balcony was larger than on other cruises. The cabin steward was extremely efficient and helpful.
All shows ran from good to excellent. Since they vary from cruise to cruise I will only say they are all worth attending. The one definite don't miss is the ice show. Get your free tickets in advance as you don't want to miss it.
Other items of interest were the snack and beverage availability in the Cafe Prominade, the cheap prices in the General Store and the available music at several locations nightly. Gambling was interesting although we only made two short trips to the Casino. All machines are coin return which we didn't realize at first. If you put a $100 bill in a machine and play $10 you'll get $90 worth of quarters back as a cash out.
The really only drawback to the trip was disembarking although it wasn't terrible. The system for getting off is well organized and moves quickly until we got to customs. With five customs booths but only two attendants it was a holdup, and the only one in the process. Even with that it took only about 45 minutes to complete the process. With sufficient customs agents it would have been a breeze.