My wife and I tried our 1st back to back cruises out of New Orleans w/ Carnival 1st and Norwegian 2nd.Our 9/10th cruises overall, 4th w/ Carnival.
Flew in Feb 11 from North Idaho into 40 degree and windy N.O. w/ a low of 27 that night.Brrrr.Stayed at Marriot on Canal st.Wife collect lg amt of beads right off at Mardi Gras parade in front of hotel.Bourbon St. is quite the experience.
EMBARKATION: smooth, got on early and then left ship as wife wanted more beads from parades near port on Canal St.Stern warning to return by 3 pm.We were last to board at 3:30 as my wife loves an adventure.
SHIP: usual Carnival decor.I found her hard to navigate around on.Pretty well maintained.Public area's were clean.Water slide always fun.Outdoor theater screen is a great idea and have had on Princess as well.No problems getting chairs.Be aware that many many people smoke from this area of the U.S. and there was no enforcing of smoking area's even when we complained to staff.Worst smoke problem we have ever had on any ship.
FOOD: the same exact menu as on the Carnival Spirit, but good quality and no complaints.Carnival still offers after dinner expresso/cappacino free unlike Norwegian.Buffet was usual fare and we enjoyed all our breakfast's there.Fish and Chips was new for us and we ate there several times and were very pleased w/ the quality.
CABIN: hard bed,requested eggcrate and told Carnival no longer offers them.No other complaints as cabin steward P.J. did and exceptional job.
ENTERTAINMENT: first 2 comics were so-so but last 2 were very funny.Did not attend theater shows as have seen similar on other ships.Other activities were typical (hairy chest,bingo etc.)
SERVICE: very good as usual w/ multinational crew who work very hard to please.
COMPLAINTS: when will the industry figure out that if they lower the cost of drinks they will sell more.Drink prices cont to rise.A "bucket" of beer is now 4??? at nearly $7 a bottle + gratuity.Drink of the day $8.95 and up.We cont to choose to drink mostly off ship to help offset rising cruise costs so we can cont to cruise.
PORTS: Jamaica is a tourist "TRAP", all beaches cost to get on them,everybody has their hands out for tips.Got tired of being offered to buy pot.Got suckered into a "tour" on way to Doctor's Cave beach and instead took to another "better" beach that was terrible.Walked to Margaritaville for a drink and then Doctors Cave beach which again cost us to get onto but was very nice.
Grand Caymen was great.Went to turtle farm which is a must see!, then to Cemetery beach for some incredible snorkeling.Cozumel, our 1st time, we got ripped off for expensive cab rides to a beach.Weather was great at all ports.
DISEMBARKATION: smooth as we left late to walk over to Norwegian terminal for 2nd cruise.
SUMMARY: had a good cruise and cont to like Carnival more and more.Weather in N.O. was not the best but the city is rich in history and culture.Would like to see more variety in menu's and see drink prices come down so we could indulge more on ship.And if the Valor can have luxurious beds, why can't the rest of the fleet?