We chose this cruise as it fit our time line, and it with NCL; a cruise line we sailed with some time ago (and a few others with other lines in between), and had an equally good time. On a side note, had we based our choice on the negative comments posted on this thread, we would have missed out on a great trip.
Embarkation day was easy and about as seamless as one could expect. We checked in at 10:35AM, and our group (11) was called to board at 11:30AM. The instructions were given clearly over the pa system. Note: We drove from our home to the port of NO, and parked at the Fulton Street parking garage. We pre-paid for our parking ahead of time and save about 7.50 per day versus the 'Whale Lot' on Convention Center Drive which the Port Authority directs you to for 20.00 per day. The garage also provides a shuttle service to the pier. Great service was provided.
One aboard we were informed that the cabins would not be ready until 2::00. Now worries, Garden Buffet, Savor Restaurant, and O'Sheehans were open for lunch. The announcement that the cabins were ready came at 2:05PM. First impressions were terrific. The crew was outgoing and friendly. The ship was extremely clean with hand sanitizer stations available throughout the public, and dining areas.
Our cabin was 13118 located on the port side about 7 cabins back from the port bridge wing. All view was unobstructed, and enough room on the balcony for us. Our steward, Jason, was as good as any steward we could have hoped for.
We dined at three specialty restaurants, Cagney's, La Cucina, and Moderno. All three were outstanding in their own specialties. In particular the Veal Shank Osso Bucco from La Cucina was as good as I have had in either Boston's North End or Providence's Federal Hill. Our other two dinners were in the Tropicana room which provide music on our first night, and a performance from the cast of Burn The Floor on our second night. The offerings on the menus were varied, prepared well, with something for everybody. The activities were many during the 2 sea days. However, the pool areas do get crowded. There didn't appear to be any issue with chair hogs as plenty of chairs were available. We opted for the Vibe Beach Club. The privacy and services were, in our opinion, worth the extra expense. During the late afternoon and evening the bars and public areas can get quite busy, and finding somewhere to sit may take a little effort. After the dinner hours the availability seats open up a bit more We did not get off on Cozumel or Costa Maya as we have been there before. We did however enjoy a less crowded ship.
We saw a performance of both Burn the Floor and Million Dollar Quartet. Make reservation ahead of time!.
I can not say enough about the crew. everyone we came in contact with were pleasant, outgoing and professional.
Disembarkation was a breeze. It started at 7:15AM. We were with the last group off at 9:30AM.
Cabin has a decent size closet with more hangers than I expected. the safe, and shelving are located along side of it. The mattress was comfortable. The cabin had a six foot couch. The counter was abit narrow but had aenough space to place sundry items on. Thei was aslo an Ottoman that doubled as a seat for the desk as well as extra storage. Under the counter was refridegerator. The end of the counter had some shelves although not large. Moveable shelving was avilable on one side of the bed. The only drawback was thet only to receptacles (US) were available and they were above the couter, 9ftfrom the bed. I only mention this to theose CPAP users to who I recommend they bring an extention cord. The balcony has enough room for tow people, two chairs, and a small tabel.