Parking in new orleans at the port was pricey. I think we paid around $80 but it was convenient when we got off the ship to have our vehicle right there. We boarded the ship around 2pm and it was surprisingly quick and easy. There was only one small line at the security check point.
*CABIN: To be expected - pay for what you get
Main deck, window cabin, king size bed for me and my spouse. Being our sixth cruise, we opted cheap this time because it was a last minute vacation.
The TVs are so outdated. We tried to watch multiple movies at night and the picture was so dark. Got excited about seeing the final Harry Potter movie but couldn't make most of it out. :(
Would be nice if they put the weather on deck on the TV so you know how to dress. It was a bit more tough since we were traveling in December (we expected cooler weather) but didn't always know what it would be like on deck.
*FOOD: Not the greatest
BUFFET/GRILL: I've never complained about food on Carnival in the past as they had a variety. This time? I would get irked because we would come for breakfast/lunch around 11am and there would be nothing! We would have to wait around for an hour unless we wanted to eat pizza. Pizza is usually a huge hit with us. Not this time. We would wait in line and each round pizza was 6 minute wait. If you were the fifth person in line... you were going to wait awhile. The staff in the pizza area were so unfriendly! If you wanted pepperoni but they only had cheese, they'd push you to take the cheese.
DINING ROOM: The worst dining room experience we have ever had. Our waiter was very pushy and rude. He didn't like to deviate from the menu much. He didn't like to dance (when they actually had entertainment in there). The funniest part is after he'd drop your meal off he would come back and ask how you like it. He asked the people at the next table to us and they were very blunt (hated it). He got so mad!!! It was a bit shocking but so funny. Those people didn't eat in the dining room much after. The waiter had an assistant that was awesome! He was funny, loved to dance, genuinely wanted to get to know everyone, etc... The food and desserts weren't amazing. We left a few times to get pizza after. Late dining sitting so felt we missed out on certain shows. recommend an early seating.
MIDNIGHT BUFFET: This was the first cruise we have been on where there were not many midnight buffets. :( In the past we have seen some extravagant chocolate buffets but this time it was during lunch and not impressive.
*SAILING: Not smooth
The ship rocked from Progresso to Cozumel a lot! It kept us up one night and that's saying something as we could sleep through almost anything. From Cozumel back to Louisiana was also terrible rocking.
Our assistant waiter even said there would be no lido deck party due to high winds this time of year. He was right - we didn't go outside at night because they blocked the top decks off.
The Casino Vault game had 3 iPads and $500 in cash up for grabs. We kept an eye on the ipads and only one was won. Tough game to win but it drew in the crowds.
There were not any shows that grabbed us. I don't know if there is less to do on this ship because of the weather being windy or because it's only 5 days. It was the worst. What they did have wasn't very interesting and a lot of it was geared toward selling stuff: Art shows, spa products, bingo, casino, excursions, photos, etc. A few games and sports areas are on board but are nearly always taken up with kids or teens. The library was only really "open" a few hours a day so its difficult to get extra books or games there.
Safety drill was worthless. I couldn't tell you what lifeboat I would go to if I needed to. I can see how Concordia had it's mishap (owned by Carnival).
*PORTS: Good and bad
We have been to Progreso previously. It is one of the worst ports of call I have been to so we didn't leave the ship this time. We actually laid out in the Serenity adult area and just observed the water. Want to know why we hated Progreso? You take a stanky bus for a bit to get to the town. Once in town they drop you off where people haggle you to buy crappy stuff. If you go to Progreso, maybe take an excursion.
Cozumel is always a good experience. We get off of the boat and rent a Jeep in town for about $120. We have done this twice and we just go see the island. If we see something we think is cool, we pull off. On the other side of the island there are places to swim that are beautiful. Granted, the water was a bit more rough in December but the weather was beautiful! Most of the excursions that are offered onboard the ship can be done once you are in town.
Quickest I've ever experienced but they barely looked at my passport in customs. We opted to carry our own luggage off and were off the ship and driving home by 9am. If we would have left our bags outside our door the night before we would have been part of group #21 to get off after those who want to carry their own.
*WORD TO THE WISE:
Brought two 12-packs of plain and diet Cola onboard. Wise decision as it saved us money. Water in our cabin was icky so we would only get water in the buffet area.
Carry your own bags off. Don't check them the night before.