I'll start with our stay in New Orleans before the cruise. We stayed at the Drury Inn and would definitely stay there again. This hotel was beautiful and our room was oversized with a huge bathroom! At 5:30 they put out their "snacks" which could be used for your evening meal if you didn't want to go out. We were given a card that entitled us to 3 free drinks each night...you were limited in what they offered but the margarita's were pretty good. The buffet was hot dogs, chicken strips, baked potato's, nachos, salad and was pretty good. Mother's, Harrah's and the River Walk shops were in walking distance. We also went up to the roof where the pool is and saw the cruise ships that were docked. Certainly a great place to stay!
We had to wait a little while to get on the ship but not too bad. Once they started calling numbers to board, it went pretty fast. We got on the ship and had no idea what to do or where to go. We found our way to Windows for lunch and had a great first impression of the service that we would receive on the cruise by our waiter, Placido. He took time to talk to us and made us feel very special. After lunch we found our cabin and unpacked. Since we had no other cruise to compare this to, we were pleased with our room. Loved the balcony! I had done a lot of research before the cruise and brought along a pop up hamper and an over the door shoe bag which both came in handy.
We loved exploring the ship and within a couple of days we knew our way around pretty good. I do think that there should be a first time cruisers Q&A on the first night since we met others that had a hard time knowing what to do. We were lucky that we had friends on the ship that educated us.
We saw every show in the Stardust and I have to say that I was a bit disappointed in the entertainment. The magician was pretty boring. The acrobatic act was just okay. The comedian was good but his material is obviously not new since our friends had told us about seeing him on another ship with the same jokes. We did enjoy the Broadway show. We made it a point to see the talent show featuring the crew and that was a big bust! There were 4 acts and only one worth listening to. We went to Elements and had to sit through the magician again! But as I said, we have nothing to compare the entertainment to so maybe this is typical of a cruise. The one exception is Arvin and Emily.....they are incredible!!! We sat and listened to them on several occasions.
I thought all the food was very good. Our first night we went to Teppanyaki. The food was great as well as the show that our "cook" gave us. Had one of their speciality martini's and that was good too! We had steaks at Cagney's and that was worth the money. We ate at Windows on several nights and the Garden Room one night. Stopped at Blue Lagoon on several occasions too. And of course we visited the buffet.
All in all, we had a fantastic cruise and paid for the cruise rewards to take another cruise in the next four years.