This was mine and my husband's first cruise. We booked it 7 months in advance through Carnival directly. We sailed from New Orleans on Jan. 6, 2005. We did not like sailing down the Mississippi River; it smelled bad and was foggy all that night and on the way back in to New Orleans.
We got to the cruise ship terminal around 10:00 a.m. People were still getting off the Sensation from its last trip. They let us start boarding around 11:30; we were the second couple on the ship. The people at the terminal were very nice. We were thankful that we left our car back at the hotel and took a taxi to the terminal; traffic was bad there.
We ate lunch on the ship and around 1:30 we went to our cabin. We liked our cabin. One of the best things about our cruise was our cabin; it was on Empress deck #125. We found it to be very charming. However, I wouldn't want to put more than two people in one; they aren't very big. The cabin steward was wonderful. Cabin was very clean everyday. The ship itself is beautiful. However, we found the ship rocked more than we thought it would. I got sick the night we sailed and was sick the whole next day. After we got back, we heard other passengers say that it was rocking and there was a lot of movement felt on the ship.
The food was great. I do wish they had more than just hamburgers and hot dogs at the Lido deck grill. We got tired of them everyday for lunch. We could have ordered room service more. We found the water, coffee and tea tasted better when we added more water to them. The dinner meals were great. We ate at the Fantasy dining room every day for dinner. Our waiters, Dennis and Nick, were wonderful. As a matter of fact, all the crew on the ship went out of their way to please the passengers it seemed. The food, staff and Cozumel were the highlights of the entire cruise.
A big disappointment on the cruise was the Vegas style shows. We went to all four of them; two we liked but two we didn't like and left early. The hairy man contest we found to be very distasteful. We weren't willing to lose much money in the casino, so we just spent $4.50 on the slots and lost it all. We got somewhat bored on sea days.
We loved Paradise Beach at Cozumel. It was very nice there; we hated to leave. We did a little shopping. If we ever go back, we are not going to shop and will spend that extra time at the beaches.
If we ever cruise again, I think we will look for another place to disembark other than New Orleans because of the river. Overall, I expected to relax more on the cruise, but with all the activities and happenings we found ourselves always doing something. Next time we will know more about it. The cruise was ok for a once in a great while thing, but I wouldn't want to do one very often. Give us the beach any day. We will not plan on cruising anytime soon.