Liked the deportation city of New Orleans, 3 hours from our home, with family where we could spend the night before, and no need for a flight. However, very few people on the trip were from Louisiana. The ship was huge, with over 3000 passengers. Surprisingly, even though the ship was fully booked, I never noticed the mobs of people I expected to see. The weather was cooler than expected, so the pools were not crowded. DH likes the buffet, and even though we selected early dining, we only went to eat there one night. The dining and buffet have some of the same entrees, although the dining has more selections. If you want to drink with your meal, don't mind waiting a few minutes for your food and want more elegant decor, then go with the dining. With the buffet, the food is ready and you can go back for more of something right away (if you have room). The lines never got very long. The one drawback I noticed was the food wasn't as warm as I would have liked at the buffet. I like buttered toast in the morning, and the toast was room temperature. We were told that we could ask for an attendant to toast some for us, but when my husband asked, the food attendant simply pointed at the toast- the food service employees are as friendly as you could ask for, but many are not very English proficient. The coffee was very good and always piping hot! Failsafe ways to get hot food- Mongolian Wok, Guys Hamburger, Guys Barbeque, omelet station. Big plus for the buffet was the large selection of fruits and vegetables. You could easily fill up just on this. Thanks for not having many fried foods guys! We never tried the pizza but it was open 24 hours, as was the self serve soft ice cream. Drinks available for no cost at the buffet are iced tea, coffee, lemonade, apple juice, and sometimes a mango mix drink, and water.
Tip: The food tends to be not highly seasoned, so if you like it this way then you might want to bring your own favorite seasoning. All that is available on the table is salt and pepper. There are some sauces available, such as soy, ketchup, etc.
We saw one show on board, the Motor City, and it was very well performed with singing and dancing. Also one comedy show, Just June, very funny.
Very roomy. Seemed to have a lot more room than our cabin on Norwegian Pride of America a couple of years ago- that's all I have to compare it to. Everything in the room looked new and undamaged. Never had a problem with hot water, available in about 5 seconds. The door to the balcony is a lot more childproof than are those with sliding doors. In this shops balcony rooms, there is a full length glass door, then a window next to it that starts at about 2-3 feet high.The door is pretty hard to open and with a sliding lock on top. There is about a 3-4 inch step over to get outside while you hold open the door. It was a little difficult for me to negotiate, but not hard! Surely will keep in most kids. I looked and didn't see any way a small child could squeeze off the deck. I only mention this because I had 5 kids and was OCD about these sorts of things. Also IF something goes over it would probably land on the 5 th floor deck and not in the ocean. The only drawback I could see to this location is that water tends to collect on the balcony after a rain or the balconies are cleaned off. All I needed was a small broom to sweep into the drain, but had to call housekeeping and they came quickly to clean it up. The stewards and all the housekeeping staff are very attentive and friendly- no problems there except perhaps the lack of English speaking skills for some of them.
The bed was very comfortable, lots of towels. I didn't bring any shampoos or soap and what the provided was fine. Dispensers are filled if they get low. Curtains are blackout. This location was toward the front of the ship. Very easy to get to the buffet.
The TV stations are limited, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, Cartoon,
another kids channel, and a kids movie channel and complimentary PG13 type movie that run the same movie all day long, also also a few more TNT type channels. There is also an interactive section where you can purchase one of the Internet packages, check the dining menus, rent a current pay per view movie,etc.The channel guide doesn't tell you what show is on and at what time, just the Channel Number. And there are what seems like 10 or so cruise and shopping type channels.