We are a 39 year old couple cruising with our 5 year old daughter. This is our 6th cruise on RC, and we have cruised 3 times on Carnival and once on Holland America. We flew into NOLA late Thursday night, and had a very nice stay at Days Inn N.O. Airport, then moved to the French Quarter to stay Friday night at Ursuline Guest House. It was conveniently located to all the sites, but not a very impressive hotel. Cab from airport to FQ was $14 per person, and from FQ to terminal $7pp, and they did charge for our 5 y.o. We arrived at the terminal at 10:00am, intending on dropping our bags with a porter then walking to the aquarium, but there was no line to go ahead and check in, so we did. The entire process took about 10 minutes, and we were told we could board around 11:00am. The terminal is very nice, and actually had vending carts with sandwiches, chips, fruit, etc for sale. Boarding was quick and easy, and we were at the empty Windjammer at shortly after 11. I don't know where the usual mad crowds were, but we walked right in with no waiting, and there were plenty of seats. The food this cruise was excellent, with the best buffets we've experienced on a cruise. Lunch for me was honeystung chicken, mashed potatoes, salad, and a cookie. We explored the ship, then let DD play in the great kids pool. Open house for Adventure Ocean was from 1-3:30, and muster was at 4:10. We then enjoyed an egg salad sandwich, fruit cup and cookie from Promenade Cafe. We used the Cafe every day after DD would leave Adventure Ocean. The sandwiches and pizza are great, and the tiny fruit cups were a great way to make sure she was getting a little something healthy. She loved being able to pick out her own cookie. And I must say, the reviews are correct about the ranger cookies. Yum! For dinner, we had My Time dining, a first for us. We found it to be simple and just as good as traditional seating. It was a nuisance to have to check in every evening, but no big deal.It appeared that most people thought "my time" dining meant "casual", as jeans, shorts, and t-shirts were more prevalent in this dining room than dress clothes. We even saw soccer shorts and flip flops on most of the teens. Our waiters the first night were Francis and Jaromey, and we asked to be seated with them each night. Their service was outstanding. They went out of their way to make our daughter feel welcome and entertained, made sure she had a fruit plate and chocolate milk right away, and brought her meal with our appetizers. They were just fantastic. We were leery about how the service would be on this cruise, as there are only two more sailings before the ship repositions, and we had heard that much of the crew was being phased in/out. Tired crews are not happy crews! However, we actually had the best service ship wide that we've ever had. Even in the WJ, they could not do enough for us. One night, we were having a late snack in the WJ, and the waiter came to ask us what we wanted to drink, and DD said "Sprite." We did not have a soda card, and frankly, she is rarely permitted to have soda, but before I could correct her, the nice waiter winked at her and said "just for you, I'll get you a Sprite." We had service like that all week, just above and beyond. Dinner the first night was tortilla soup, spinach salad (both excellent), prime rib with baked potato, and chocolate cherry cake (both just okay, I will order something different next time.) DD had a beautiful bowl of fresh fruit, chicken fingers and fries, and the "special" dessert Francis said he'd bring her, a delicious brownie sundae. We then went to AO registration, which was from 7:15 to 9pm. Tonight's show was the Welcome Aboard show, with a featured comedian.
Sunday, DD was impatient to get to AO, so we had a great breakfast at WJ, then dropped her off, and went to the busy basketball court. This is usually our favorite place to hang out on Voyager class ships, as DH can play ball while I read next to the court. On this ship, there are no chairs on deck 13 at all. I really missed this, plus, being a Spring Break cruise, there were so many teenagers onboard, that the Bball court was packed, and DH could not even get on it. AO was open today from 9am-noon, 2pm-5pm, and 6:45-10pm at no charge. They also offer dinner at 5:45 for kids at no charge. DD LOVED this. The menu stayed the same all week, and was a choice of hamburger, cheeseburger, hot dog, and grilled cheese with fries. I wish they had offered fruit or vegetables, but they didn't. We had to make sure she was getting enough to drink and enough healthy food in the short amount of time that she was actually with us. Those fruit cups at Promenade Cafe came in handy! Lunch today was tacos, rice, veggie medley of corn, broccoli and carrots, and mud cake and creme caramel. The food was so good! DH played in the BBall tournament, but there were so many people entered they only let the teams play to 4 points. That was pointless. We tried out the pool (cold!) and ended up just taking DD up to the warmer kids pool. The waterslide was open today, and she loved it. Dinner tonight was formal, with shrimp cocktail, scallops au gratin (not usually on the menu, but Francis advised that they were unable to get escargot this cruise, so this was the substitution. It was fabulous!), beef filet with mashed potatoes and asparagus (all outstanding), and chocolate souffle (just okay). Francis brought out a platter with slices of the beef to give us extra if we desired. After this meal, I don't understand how people say the food isn't good. The beef was so tender, and delicious. Tonight's show was Music in Pictures.
Monday we ported in Cozumel. We decided to stay onboard for awhile, as we've been to Cozumel many times, and only planned to shop for a little while. We had a leisurely breakfast. I should say how impressed we were with the buffets all week. Our last few cruises have been with Carnival, and their buffets are terrible, so to be back to RC, and see how great the food was, made us very happy. The breakfast selection was fantastic, and even had made to order eggs, biscuits and gravy, a different specialty scrambled egg daily, made to order toasted breads, and every fresh fruit you could want. There was grapefruit, strawberries, kiwi, plums, and even bananas left on day 7! My daily breakfast was a freshly toasted bagel with cream cheese, a vanilla danish (these are so good!), bacon actually made crispy, hash browns, pineapple, strawberries, and grapefruit. Doesn't get any better than that! Apple juice and water was available. Chocolate milk was not set out on the buffet, but was available if we asked. DD loved having a tiny box of Rice Krispies every morning (all that great food and that what she wanted... :) Throughout the week, various chefs would come out behind the buffet and ask her if she wanted chocolate milk, and twice a chef told her to wait, then brought out a plate of chocolate covered strawberries just for her, and then a special donut with jelly beans on it. That is such great service! After breakfast, DH tried the basketball court again, and was happy to see that most people were in port, so he had the court mostly to himself. He had a great time playing, while I read in the shade of the golf themed bar area above the court on deck 14. We left the ship at noon and walked to the (much nicer) Puerta Maya pier to shop. I had a $5 margarita at our pier, and was not allowed to bring it on the ship since I hadn't finished it yet. No problem, I can't really complain about standing on the pier looking at the beautiful turquoise water while finishing a cool drink! We had lunch back onboard, of tacos again, nachos, crab and asparagus soup, and white chocolate mousse ( delicious, like a chocolate covered homemade marshmallow). AO hours today were 7am-5pm, and 5:45 dinner to 10pm. AO will take the kids to WJ for lunch, but again choices are limited, and the only option each day was pizza and fries. She really enjoyed this. The dinner menu tonight wasn't appealing (it's the menu with the crab cake appetizer), so we went to the WJ, but didn't see much here that appealed to us either. We decided to go to Johnny Rockets. Now, I don't like to pay for food when I've already paid for food as part of my cruise fair, but I must say JR was worth it. For the two of us, we spent $18 on the cover charge, 2 sodas, and tip, but it was fun, and good food. We both had burgers, the fries/onion rings and ranch that is served automatically, and split an oreo sundae. "Everybody say hellloooo, everybody say goodbyyyyyye." Love that guy! After AO, we took DD to WJ for a snack of jello and vanilla ice cream. (one of the desserts that night was apple cobbler, so they actually had scooped ice cream available.) Be advised that WJ closes at 9pm, so that limits the snack options to Cafe Promenade after picking up from AO. Tonight's show was the Headliner show, the Drifters.
Cabin 6445. Great location in a seperate hallway off of the main hallway. Same end of ship as Windjammer buffet, Adventure Ocean kids club, basketball court, and the My Time dining room. Quiet location.