We arrived in New Orleans two nights early. If you are debating coming early, let me just say "DO IT" you won't regret it! I want to return for a longer stay as we just couldn't cram enough into two days. We stayed at the Drury Inn and it worked out very well for our group of four couples. The evening happy hour included three drinks per person and a nice buffet of snacks, salad, soup, hotdogs, potatoes, and nachos. Drury is walkable to French Quarter. Two tours I would highly recommend are "The Original New Orleans Movie Tour" and "French Quarter Culinary History & Tasting Tour". Thanks to the tour guide on the Movie Tour, we ended up on Bourbon St Friday envening watching a filming with Mark Ruffalo and Morgan Freeman. This was right outside the Funky Pirate, so we went in there to sit down and enjoy some music and drinks. Big Al is very entertaining!
Our embarkation was delayed a few hours as they were cleaning the ship after the previous cruise experienced some noro virus outbreak. The delay created some confusion and long lines, but most people expected as much and we definately wanted the ship clean!
Our first Sea Day was Super Bowl Sunday. Game was shown on Big Screen in the Ice Arena. They had two buffets going of hot dogs and nachos for during the game. We'd been on a Super Bowl cruise before and the casino had done some game gambling which we were looking for this year. Not to be found. Previously the entertainment staff had also been more active in some friendly rivalries, but this was lacking as well.
Cozumel port day: We had contacted a private snorkeling trip. Formal night with a Temptations Tribute show by the Platters was better than expected.
Grand Cayman port day: There were several ships in port, so tendering was slow, but seemed to go ok if you expected it.
Falmouth: This port is new and reviews I'd read pre cruise seemed very mixed. The port feels touristy and sanitized to me. We did take a ship's excursion and went golfing @ Cinnamon Hill. Thoroughly enjoyed a gorgeous day there! Lots of evening activities - Quest, always fun, and a Toga Party with a late night Buffet on deck.
Next two days were at sea. We took advantage of the sun on the first one and took in the outdoor activities as well as the Ice Show. This is a real WOW and a must see! Evening show was Marty ALlen - yes, the Marty Allen of the Ed Sullivan Show era. He's now 90 yrs old, but still working with his wife. Last sea day was rainy. We enjoyed lunch in the Main Dining Room - great salad bar (you pick the items and the chefs prepare it. Also the Love & Marriage Game show was fun to watch. Cruise Director can make or break this, but this CD did a good job.
A couple of notes to add - Yes, this ship is old and shows her age (which many reviews point out so that should be expected) Furniture in state rooms is stained. She's due for refurbishing and will then be on her way to China. I found the crew to be very friendly and helpful. This was our first cruise with RCCL as Diamond members. The "special" breakfast room did not impress us. Service was not as good as the usual MDR service. There was no Diamond Lounge, but I guess they did offer evening drinks in the Card Room. We didn't make it there. The private luncheon with staff was nice though.
I would not bother to try to use the computers on board. I tried for 15 minutes for a connection without luck and gave up. Many people were very frustrated by this. Save yourself the frustration! I had read complaints on how expensive the drinks are on board. They are a little higher than back home. We enjoyed the daily shooters after dinner and saved a couple of the glasses to take home. They seemed pretty reasonable. I found the food to be it's usual quality. Lyall was our waiter and he kept us entertained as well as well fed! Several of our group ordered more than one starter and more than one entree to try and no one complained of being hungry. Try the vegetarian Indian dish as a side dish for the table to share. The Windjammer is nothing to write home about, though, so we avoided it! Room service and the Promanade cafe were a delight! Entertainment was generally enjoyable. A good time was had by all in our group and no one was ill!