We did the same cruise as last February. The only difference was the ship. Last year we had the Triumph, this year, the Elation. There were 13 of us cruising (only some couples related) without minors.
I have never had any issues with any of my past cruises and this one was no different. If you arrive at peak times, you will have longer lines but even then, you will usually get through without any issues. We were in the VIP boarding, so it was even faster. On the Lido within 20 minutes, in our room somewhere between the second or third cocktail... LOL
Some say it's older.. I say it's still a cruise ship and I'm on vacation, finally! Our Carnival handler/planner got us an porthole room for the cheaper than the interior rooms. This is the first time I've not had a balcony but since the smoking policy is one that doesn't allow you to smoke in the staterooms, I wasn't really concerned with that. The staff on the ship was always friendly and to be honest, I kind of expect my waiters in the dinning room to know my name but I was pleasantly surprised to have my room staff address me by name and even the room staff who worked the rooms down the hall and really didn't have anything to do with my room. I asked those guys a question on the first day and they asked my name. Afterward, every time I passed them in the hallway, they greeted me by name. The room was always serviced, at least twice a day and when I needed something, I was taken care of. Yeah, maybe an older ship but still nice!
Oh yeah, I don't like gripping about the food and I have never done so yet... But, don't get the Meatloaf in the main dinning room when it's offered.. LOL They tried hard but came up a little short on that item.
Progreso.. It is what it is. It's a very poor city with a lot of things to see. I would always get off the boat and go here if it's on the itinerary. Just remember, you have to go through the cruise area to get to the reality of the actual city. You will have many people hawking their goods and it never stops, but if you just keep walking, they will let you pass. Progreso does business based on 10-1 exchange. It doesn't matter what the current exchange rate is (currently 12.40 Peso to 1 USD). If the price is 200 peso, you pay $20.00. Most everything is priced in USD, but if you go off the beaten path, the rate is 10-1.
A lot of venders will give free shots of Tequila and if that's your poison, you lucked out!! :) Drink bottled water! A little something for the worried, if you get a margarita, don't worry too much about the ice or if it's tap or made from bottled water. The alcohol will kill almost anything that the ice may bring.
Cozumel.. The only thing I didn't care for was that they now force you to go through the duty free shop once you get off the ship. That's cool but during peak times, the place and line is over congested. My advice is to allow for a little extra time when coming back to the ship. Actually, the congestion inside the duty free area made the lines getting back on the ship, shorter. Maybe that was the plan? As for Cozumel, TONS OF STUFF TO DO! Personally, I have made it a yearly thing to eat at La Mission restaurant. Then, I just drink, shop, drink, shop, drink and then try to get in some shopping. One personal observation, the post office is between you and the center of excitement. But, if you mail postcards or anything else from that post office, expect it to get to its destination about 3 months from the time you mail it. OOPS!!
Days at sea:
WHAT!?!?!? They have shows on the boat? I have never done any of the shows but I've heard they are hit and miss. I can't comment on them otherwise.
There is plenty to do on the boat during days at sea. I'm a people watcher and so I choose to just sit on the Lido deck and watch everything that goes by. I have to admit, I do go to the casino and I have a good time and when I win big, I cash out and go back to the Lido deck and lose my winnings there.
Okay, I have to whine a little here, but only this time so far. The custom service decided to be vigilant with the checking this time. The word spread around before we even headed off the ship. No worries here because it just meant we were going to hang out on the Lido deck a little longer. Some people may care about the time it takes to get off the ship but we didn't. We ended up being the last people off the ship by choice. Once we got to customs, it was nothing more than proof of citizenship and then we were on our merry way.
Home port, NEW ORLEANS:
We spent the day before the cruise and two days after the cruise in NOLA. Yep, you guessed it.. Drinking, shopping, drinking, shopping.... We also visited Saint Louis Cemetery #1 and many of the landmark eateries in NOLA.
Overall, it was a great cruise! The price was great, the service was great, the food was great and the ship was older (just for all of you who think that matters)... I will do it again and again!