181 New Orleans Romantic Cruise Reviews

This is our third Carnival cruise and first time out of New Orleans. As many have said, Elation is an older ship, but she's a great value for the money we spent. The public areas were very clean and comfortable. The decor seems much ... Read More
This is our third Carnival cruise and first time out of New Orleans. As many have said, Elation is an older ship, but she's a great value for the money we spent. The public areas were very clean and comfortable. The decor seems much more subdued than her sister ships Paradise and Ecstasy. I really wish they could find a better way to vent cigarette smoke, because it sometimes became overpowering when the bars/casino were busy. Embarkation Easiest embarkation yet! New Orleans Port Parking was simple and the porters were friendly and very helpful. We arrived at 1030 am and boarded at 1130ish. Our room was ready by 1230. Our luggage arrived just before muster. Stateroom We had a porthole room on the Main Deck. M 14. The room was very large. We had a lot of motion, but it wasn't really a problem. The ship moved quite a bit everywhere. The water was rough and we had some 50 mph winds. Entertainment We probably spent 75% of our time in the Comedy club. We loved both comedians. They showed college and NFL playoff games on the big screen in that room. They provided football clappers and poms. I wish they would have had popcorn and/or munchies, but it was a great place to watch a game. We enjoyed several trivia games and won a ship on a stick. The shows were okay. Food As long as they continue to serve warm chocolate melting cake, I'll always give the food good reviews. I prefer the main dining room over the buffet, but both were good. I really loved the pumpkin soup and lobster. Breakfast in the dining room was good as well. I would have eaten the buffet more, but the wind was really strong, making our preferred outdoor seating impossible. Service The service was just okay on this cruise. Our cabin steward wasn't around as often as we've come to expect from our previous cruises. He was nice, but he seemed to just be going through the motions. I called about ice the afternoon of the second day and he kind of snapped that he was off duty and I'd have to call room service. I was ok with the room service referral, but the attitude was a little off putting. I asked for extra glasses and he looked at me like I was asking for something impossible. The girl assisting him was very friendly. Most members of the dining staff were great. The customer service desk was very helpful. Cozumel I love Cozumel. We booked Mr Sanchos All Inclusive for the second time. They provide great service! Our waiter, Erizel, gave us a cabana and table away from everyone. He was always around for yummy drink refills and food. We left Sanchos and spent a few hours shopping at port. Disembarkation This was not my favorite disembarkation. They call so many groups down together, it created very long lines. Why have zones at all if you're going to lump them all together? Overall I really enjoyed this cruise. My experience on the ship was mostly great. I believe it was well worth the money we paid. I would go again tomorrow if I could!   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We sailed out of New Orleans in January on the Dream. This was my 2nd cruise (my first with Carnival), and 1st cruise ever for DH. The ship is rather large, maybe too large, as it seemed a big confusing getting from one place to the other. ... Read More
We sailed out of New Orleans in January on the Dream. This was my 2nd cruise (my first with Carnival), and 1st cruise ever for DH. The ship is rather large, maybe too large, as it seemed a big confusing getting from one place to the other. The galley is located on the 3rd floor, midship, so you could not get from one end of the ship to the other via the 3rd floor. The ports were amazing. We shopped in Cozumel, swam with Stingrays in Grand Caymen, and took a raft trip down the Martha Brae River in Jamaica. I really enjoyed my sea days on my previous cruise, but the Carnival sea days did not seem to be as fun to me. I think I may be getting too old for all of the loud music around the pool. The food left me wanting more. There wasn't much to choose from on the buffet and the "anytime dining" option in the dining room wasn't much better. As long as we chose to be seated with others we could get a table rather quickly; however, as the cruise progressed, we really wanted to eat alone and had to get a pager and wait up to an hour for seating. We did opt for the Chef's Art Steakhouse one night and it was FABULOUS! We both had the crab cakes and ribeye steak; I had the chocolate sampler, DH had the enormous cheesecake. The staff was extremely friendly but nothing like the fun-loving staff on my last cruise. Our room steward was amazing and took very good care of us. All-in-all, it was a great trip but I do not believe I will sail Carnival again.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Our shuttle dropped us off at the port of New Orleans just after 12pm. It was busy but the line moved swiftly and check-in was even quicker. The only delay was in getting on to the ship as the lines to have your photo taken for your ... Read More
Our shuttle dropped us off at the port of New Orleans just after 12pm. It was busy but the line moved swiftly and check-in was even quicker. The only delay was in getting on to the ship as the lines to have your photo taken for your seapass card were backed up on the gangway bridge. They moved quickly though and we were on the ship and at the Windjammer by 12:30. As is almost always the case the WJ was packed for the most part but being the brave souls we are, went out to the open area of the WJ along the back where there was plenty of open tables. It was in the low 50"s on embarkation day and quite windy but we had jackets with us so it didn't bother us. Considering it was in the 20"s when we left Ohio, 50's felt pretty good at the time. As for the food it was all the usual fare on sail-away day including honey stung chicken.... (wings). Guess thats as close as we can get to the original we grew to love over the years. We thought overall there were enough choices and everything we had was tasty. After lunch, we headed to the centrum area to have a look around at how the ship was decorated, and to see some of the changes since Serenade was updated in 2012. We liked the more vibrant colors and they did a nice job decorating the entire centrum area for Christmas. Next, we headed for the MDR to check out or table for dinner. We had requested a table for two as we always do. We were assigned a table for four but a quick stop to the dining room manager got us a move to a table for two. By this time it was after 1pm and the staterooms were ready so we headed up to deck 7 to have a look. It was pretty much as expected. A clean room, ample storage, a regular shower without that darn curtain to stick to you. Balcony was average size with 2 chairs and a table. The bed was just okay. It was not rock hard but it was certainly far from soft. Our room attendant did a wonderful job during the week and was very efficient. The entire crew of Serenade gets high praise from us. They were friendly, visible, and active in all the activities throughout the week. The captain was a delight but unfortunately he became ill midway through the cruise and was limited for the remainder of the week. The other officers did a great job filling in for him at events. John & Katrina Blair did a wonderful job in their roles as cruise and activities director. There were plenty of events to keep you busy if you so chose and we felt the entertainment on Serenade was a step above what we have seen on many of our 20 prior cruises. The entertainer who stood above the rest for us was Finas Henderson. If he happens to end up on your ship, go see his show. Google him to find out more about him and his Hollywood ties. Food is always subjective but here's my take. You will not go hungry. If we ate breakfast, it was in the WJ. We would get a made to order omelet and whatever else from the buffet. We never were disappointed in any meals we had in the WJ or in the MDR. It was exactly the same as it has been for us every cruise. The MDR service was good but not fast. Many of the crew were fairly new and still learning the ropes. Bar service in the MDR was not very good. Not enough servers to do the job. This cruise was full to capacity and the MDR was busier than usual so the staff cutbacks RCI has done showed up big time. We went to Chops twice, the 1st time was absolutely wonderful, the 2nd time was absolutely forgettable. We booked a post cruise tour of New Orleans and disembarkation was quick and ahead of schedule. We found our luggage immediately and was through customs less than 5 minutes later. In summary, this was our 2nd time on Serenade and it was just as memorable for us. We enjoyed sailing down the Mississippi to get to the Gulf of Mexico. The ship still looks great and they are constantly at work, cleaning, staining, and painting to keep her looking so. The railings looked a little worn and that is the case with some furniture or chairs as well. Other than that Serenade of the Seas looked even better to us than in 2012 over in Europe. The crew works very hard to provide you and I the very best vacation possible within their means. They are trying to do more tasks than ever before with less staff to do it with. We felt they did an outstanding job given the circumstances. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I had never been on a cruise before. Heck, I had never been out of the contiguous United States! The Carnival Dream was a lovely first experience. I had booked this trip because my boyfriend has cruised numerous times before and really ... Read More
I had never been on a cruise before. Heck, I had never been out of the contiguous United States! The Carnival Dream was a lovely first experience. I had booked this trip because my boyfriend has cruised numerous times before and really enjoys it. This was his birthday present. There was always plenty of fun stuff to do on the ship each day. We could have easily enjoyed the trip without doing any excursions off the ship! The food was absolutely delicious. Most nights we ate in the Crimson Dining room. Our waitstaff, Nigel and I Komang, were wonderful. We looked forward to seeing them every night. I loved how Nigel got so into the staff's dance performances! We enjoyed the buffet as well, including Pasta Bella and the coffee shop. Hennie the Cruise Director was a stitch. We saw him in the Love & Marriage show. We enjoyed a couple of the shows, several raffles, and took advantage of the shopping available on the ship. We attended the art auction preview. I attended club Caliente on ladies' night. We also toured the spa facilities. I was never bored and there was so much to do we simply couldn't do it all! On our second day on the ship my boyfriend booked a private photo session with the ships photographer, Raghava "Reggie" Mulpuri. My boyfriend is not a fan of stiff poses in front of backdrops. Reggie was an absolute delight! Always professional, well dressed, great sense of humor, and never pushy. He is a master of his art! He took us around to several areas on the ship. Reggie was even able to capture beautiful intimate photos in busy, crowded places like the casino! I was so impressed with his technique! Our last stop was Deck 11 at sunset. There, Reggie assisted my boyfriend in a surprise proposal! Reggie helped formulate a plan to make it all happen flawlessly. I could not have asked for a more perfect proposal and Reggie captured this beautiful moment on film for us. A once in a lifetime moment forever preserved in these gorgeous photographs. I could not wait to show everyone the prints we purchased when we got home! I want to thank Reggie and his assistant that day, Timea, for helping record such a special moment! Thanks to them, and my now fiance, this will be a trip I will never forget! Engaged November 04, 2014 aboard the Carnival Dream Deck 11 @ sunset Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We are Louisiana residents in our early 60's and this was our first cruise on the Dream. Parking and embarkation were easy. The NOLA Carnival team really has this down to a very smooth operation. I say this after sailing out of ... Read More
We are Louisiana residents in our early 60's and this was our first cruise on the Dream. Parking and embarkation were easy. The NOLA Carnival team really has this down to a very smooth operation. I say this after sailing out of another port in May which was a nightmare! The Dream is beautiful and BIG. The first day was hectic as people tried to learn the layout of the ship and the elevators were packed, but everyone was in a party mood and by Monday things had settled down. We rarely felt crowded, except at dining time when the elevators were busy. We were on deck 7-mid-ship and I think that's a perfect location. You can go forward to catch the elevators to go down to the Encore lounge, the Fun shops and the lovely Lanai deck or go up to spa and gorgeous Serenity Decks. You can walk straight through to the very back of the ship to take the rear elevators up to Deck 10 and go into the Gathering for coffee, food, etc. I made that little trip every morning, very early to get coffee for my husband, who has a hip problem. I always spent a little time out by the pool to enjoy the morning air before going back to our cabin. I felt like I had the ship to myself at that time of day. The dining rooms are beautiful, along I prefer large round tables to the long rectangle ones. Our dining companions became friends & we looked forward to discussing our daily activities. The staff was attentive and fun as always. Food throughout the ship was plentiful and we enjoyed all the usual favorites. Room service each morning was prompt and appreciated-we like having cereal, bagels, and fruit in our room. The pasta bar, which is located above The Gathering, is wonderful. We liked the concept & the pasta was very good. There are many choices for toppings. Our room stewards were excellent--they even provided ice in a big bucket for the wine we brought on board. Our room, 7284, was beautiful & I will review it separately. All 3 of our on shore excursions were amazing and met our expectations. There's so much to do on this boat that I can't even list it all. The musical groups were wonderful. The shows were super entertaining. We attended the event for military members & made some new friends. The tea on sea days was very nice. And for the first time, I used the spa and salon. While it's a little more expensive than at home, the staff was awesome & I really enjoyed all the free shows/services they offer. I definitely will use the spa/salon again and I recommend waiting until you are on board to book your visits since they have daily specials. Ladies, be sure to go to their FREE events-you will learn new things & get additional discounts. Now de-embarking was a little bit of a pain because so many people don't follow instructions. However, we love watching the sunrise over New Orleans's west bank and we were in our car by 9:30 am and headed home. So easy----We love cruising from New Orleans. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was truly the best of all of our cruises on Carnival - the ship was always clean and comfortable. The MDR meals we selected were all excellent and the staff we enjoyed there (Henry-Team Headwaiter, Michael-Team waiter, Rommel-Asst. ... Read More
This was truly the best of all of our cruises on Carnival - the ship was always clean and comfortable. The MDR meals we selected were all excellent and the staff we enjoyed there (Henry-Team Headwaiter, Michael-Team waiter, Rommel-Asst. Team Waiter and our Wine Steward) were attentive without being overbearing. Sometimes they knew what we wanted before we did!! And based on my request for a particular style / taste of Red Wines, the choices offered were exceptional. And our Maitre d' (Shane) made our last dinner on-board very special for our anniversary Our Housekeeping crew (Arnold, Jurianto and Rodelio) went out of their way to ensure we had a most enjoyable cruise. Every request was met with a positive reply and prompt services we needed. All around the ship we encountered only positive attitudes with all of the crew and officers. We had a Cruise Critic Meet & Greet on the first SeaDay - at the Sunset Bar aft on Deck 10. The guys and gals there were fantastic, putting together even the most exotic cocktail request without any difficulties. (And... the Margaritas were fine and each one included a $5 'double play' coupon for the casino!!) We did enjoy the production shows which were VERY well done!! Good choreography, good music and excellent performances by the singers and dancers. We especially had fun with the late nite comedy show when most of the show was interaction with the guests and very quick and funny responses to situations. Did we have a problem? - Yes! Did we report it to Guest Relations? - Yes! The response to correct the situation was speedy (almost instant), and the sincere apology by the Senior Guest Relations Supervisor (Ines Uzar) was exceptional!! In the words from a favorite Jimmy Buffett song: "It's been a Lovely Cruise". To complete the review: Embarkation was easy and fast, from arrival by taxi to the Registration for our cards to the first on-board welcome, there were no long lines or waits. Disembarkation was slow and with long (but fast moving) lines for luggage and the usual Customs and Immigration checkpoint. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Before I left I read these worthless reviews and expected something horrible. My experience couldn't be further than what is written here. What a great time! People it's a vacation, your every dream isn't going to come ... Read More
Before I left I read these worthless reviews and expected something horrible. My experience couldn't be further than what is written here. What a great time! People it's a vacation, your every dream isn't going to come true. People From what I was told Carnival Cruises are party boats. Not true, more like family vacations. What I found was a nice mix of everyday people looking to relax, eat, and see something new. The crew is friendly and helpful. The children are ecstatic and the people are young, old and all in good moods. No one is complaining on the ship, everyone seemed to be having a great time as well. Ship I expected and old beat up ship needing repairs, what I found was a fabulous ship that is well cared for with clean inviting rooms. Progresso Very poor town but an enjoyable visit. I went on the rodeo, ruins and buffet excursion. I had a great time and loved it. It had a little bit of everything. Cozumel Just fantastic. I went on the Passion isle by power catomoran and it's like paradise. The boost was a little bumpy and I got a little sick on the margaritas. Well worth the price and stay away from the overpriced stores on the island. Go have a good time. Your attatuide means everything. If your looking for a good time and set your expectation correctly your going to have the time of your life. Don't let people on this site with an axe to grind sway your opinion. I just booked another Carnival cruise in January and can't wait.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
The Dream was truly a dream cruise. I went on this cruise as a single. Carnival sat several singles together for the early dinner and we hit it off pretty well. After dinner we would go to the shows or the comedian acts or sit outside the ... Read More
The Dream was truly a dream cruise. I went on this cruise as a single. Carnival sat several singles together for the early dinner and we hit it off pretty well. After dinner we would go to the shows or the comedian acts or sit outside the piano bar and observe the nightlife on the ship. The shows were good and the other entertainment great. The food, as always, was wonderful. I did the Behind The Fun tour on the last sea day and got to meet the chef in the MDR as well as the chef in the Steakhouse, the Engine Room and the Bridge. Our cruise was unique as we picked up 39 Cubans adrift several hours outside of Jamaica where we did a transfer with the US Coastguard at sea. We also had the Coastguard coming back the next day for an emergency medical evacuation. The crew were great, warm, and accommodating who took wonderful care of us. I recommend the cruise highly. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
At first I wasn't too sure about doing the transatlantic cruise for our Honeymoon but my wife and I really did enjoy our time on the ship and at the ports. I will try and be as thorough as possible. Ship: yes the Serenade of the Seas ... Read More
At first I wasn't too sure about doing the transatlantic cruise for our Honeymoon but my wife and I really did enjoy our time on the ship and at the ports. I will try and be as thorough as possible. Ship: yes the Serenade of the Seas isn't the latest and greatest but we found the ship to be very clean, spacious that included many different amentities. we especially enjoyed the movie cinema, under the stars screen at pool deck and Chops grill/Giovannis. Spend the extra money on the package for the specialty dining. I ate some of the best food I have ever eaten at these restaurants. you cant go wrong. Staff: the dining staff were phenominal. we sat at table 462 and were served by melbert and max, paul was the head waiter. they went above and beyond to meet our needs. our stateroom attendant also did a great job and was always greeting us with a smile. the entertainment staff also were great. Bobby (cruise director), Lorenzo and debs were great. ports: we enjoyed Malaga spain the most and found it to be very picturesque. we also did the dolphin excursion in Anguilla, loads of money, but totally worth it! Days at sea: it was a transatlantic cruise, so we had many days at sea. we always found that there was something to do which was nice. but for times when we just wanted to relax we found that not to be a problem to kick back by the pool and read a book. all in all, great service, nice ship and some cool ports. we plan to try a larger ship for our next cruise. happy cruising!   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We booked our twentieth anniversary cruise aboard the Serenade of the Seas out of New Orleans, LA. We chose this cruise because one of the three ports was Coco Cay and we had never been there before. We traveled to New Orleans (a five ... Read More
We booked our twentieth anniversary cruise aboard the Serenade of the Seas out of New Orleans, LA. We chose this cruise because one of the three ports was Coco Cay and we had never been there before. We traveled to New Orleans (a five hour trip from home) the morning of Friday, April 18th. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Super dome, where we have stayed before cruises previously. There is covered parking at the hotel where we can leave our vehicle during the cruise. We ate a super dinner at Oceana Grill (we love this place); taking a bicycle taxi from the hotel was $16.00. It was something we just wanted to try. It was fun! We had a nice early breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant in the morning of the 19th, and then went back up to the room to get our luggage and take it down to the lobby to wait for the shuttle to the cruise terminal. The shuttle left the hotel at 11 a.m. There was a Carnival ship leaving the same day, so the driver dropped those passengers off first and then dropped the Royal Caribbean passengers off next. We had booked an Owner’s Suite, so we found the suite passenger’s line and we were checked in and on the ship in about 20 minutes. We went up to the Windjammer to eat some lunch shortly after boarding. All of our food throughout the cruise was great! I won’t spend a lot of time discussing food; I will say that we ate all our dinners in the Reflections dining room on Deck 4 and we had traditional, late dining. We are not fans of the My-Time option, and we do not usually visit the specialty restaurants. We prefer getting to know our table mates and wait staff. We were seated with some great people who were also from Louisiana. Our wait staff was terrific—attentive, prompt, and fun! We ate most of our breakfasts on our balcony and the room service was very good; the food was warm and plentiful. We ate some lunches in the dining room and others in the Windjammer. When eating from the Windjammer, we found a nice, uncrowded area at the aft of the ship that allowed us to eat outside. We never had a bad meal. We had many very good meals! The Windjammer was always clean and tables were cleaned up quickly. Our room was ready for us to drop off our carry-on luggage right at 1:00 p.m. We had previously stayed in a Royal Family Suite aboard the Mariner of the Seas, but this Owner’s Suite was more posh. The floors at the entrance/dining area and the bathroom were marble. There was a nice sectional sofa, a large, flat-screened television that turned around to face the king-sized bed, a chair, end table, and coffee table in the large living room. There were floor to ceiling windows across the entire living room and bedroom, and a HUGE balcony. On the balcony there was a table and two chairs where we ate our breakfasts and two lounge chairs. It was not at all crowded with the furniture and we had visitors on the balcony one morning and there was plenty of room for eight of us. There is a structure over the top of the balcony that keeps the balcony shaded and would have provided shelter from rain if we had ever had any. The bedding was terrific, as always. There is a huge amount of storage throughout the entire Owner’s Suite. There were three huge closets, a sort of bar area in the dining room area with shelves behind cupboards and drawers, and a huge vanity with shelves/cupboards and drawers. There were bedside tables at each side of the bed and two tables at the door. All of the tables contained drawers and shelves. The bathroom had two sinks, a jetted tub, a stand-up glass enclosed shower, a duvet, a toilet, and it was very nice. Our room steward was terrific, of course. He emphasized how he would like us to use the card in the door when we left the room or didn’t want to be disturbed, and he constantly kept the room spotlessly clean. There were plates of special treats, fruits, and a bottle of wine brought to us every day, compliments of the chef, the captain, and our wonderful concierge, Rami. The ship is in excellent condition and we really enjoyed the views from all public areas and the elevators. We often used the mid-ship elevators since they were so close to our room, and we liked looking out at the water from these elevators. We loved the aerial shows in the centrum area. I had to visit the guest services desk once to have a new card made when mine stopped working (no big deal) and they were very kind and helpful. We also had to present our dive certification cards at the shore excursion desk and that took very little time. The worker there reminded us to bring our cards on the day of the dive and gave us the usual forms to fill out. He was also friendly and helpful. We visited the concierge lounge every night at 4:30 and enjoyed the happy hour until dinner time. Other suite perks included the suite seats in the show lounge, a breakfast area on deck 5 (we only ate in there once, service was a little slow and there was a screaming baby nearby), and priority tenders without tickets. We also used the concierge lounge on debarkation day and leaving the ship and getting through customs to the taxi took 12 minutes. We used bar services throughout the ship and my husband found a few new flavors of beer to enjoy. There were some good fruity drinks onboard and I got a few souvenir glasses to bring home. There was a decent sale of t shirts on the last sea day and I bought a few for family members. The shop also marked down some items on this last sea day and many things were half price. We booked private tours in Key West and Nassau. In Key West we just did the hop-on/hop-off trolley tour and ate lunch at the Conch Republic restaurant. Then we did a bit of bar-hopping and walking around. In Nassau we had a private tour in a van with some other cruise critic friends from our roll call. We saw a fort, a rum distillery, a beach, watched conch harvesting, and did a bit of shopping. After our tour we ate at a local bar/grill and used the free WIFI. At Coco Cay we did the shore scuba diving, and it was actually pretty good. The maximum depth was around 40 feet. We could have stayed down much longer, as both of us had over 1000 psi when we surfaced. After our dive we met some other cruise critic friends at the private cabana area where we ate an enhanced lunch and relaxed. The concierge had emailed us about a week before the cruise to offer a chance to book a cabana which could be used for up to six people, and through our cruise critic roll call, I had met another couple who wanted to share. After walking through the shopping area, I asked at the para-sailing area if they had availability for the afternoon and made a reservation for two of us to para-sail. It was a very enjoyable day. There was another Royal Caribbean ship at Coco Cay, but the island didn’t seem crowded. The workers on the ship said that due to sea conditions, the ship had missed the Coco Cay port for quite some time and they were all pleased that we could anchor and tender on our day. Everything about this cruise was terrific. We would definitely cruise on the Serenade again—it is absolutely a beautiful ship. We would also love to visit the ports again.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
A little about us: We are new empty-nesters out celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and our first vacation as a couple (a.k.a. no kids). Turns out, we are also snobs - food snobs, vacation snobs, just plain old snobby people. I was a ... Read More
A little about us: We are new empty-nesters out celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and our first vacation as a couple (a.k.a. no kids). Turns out, we are also snobs - food snobs, vacation snobs, just plain old snobby people. I was a little hesitant about cruising. Here's my list of fears: 1. If I don't like a land vacation, I just get in the car and go home. Can't do that on a cruise. 2. I'll be trapped on a boat with no escape. 3. I'll have to eat every meal with potentially weird or annoying people. 4. Cruises are for uppity people. I might be a snob, but I am not uppity. There is a difference. 5. I'll be bored senseless. 6. I'll have to tolerate everybody else's snot-nosed, poorly behaved kids. 7. I'll have to tolerate rude grown-ups. 8.I can't eat when I'm hungry. 9. If I forget something small, I can't make a quick Wal-Mart run. 10. I'll get seasick. 11. The cabin will be tiny, the bed uncomfortable, the shower will suck. 12. I hate buffet food and buffet people (just the coughing, sneezing, line-cutting gluttons). 13. Cruising is for old people, really old people. 14. The food will be bad. 15. I'll have to buy a special gown and shoes for formal night. So, before booking, I did a little homework. I wanted plenty of ports, lots of activity, few kids, but not an uppity, wealthy old-people cruise. Norwegian offers freestyle dining, which really appealed to me. They also offered four ports on a 7-day cruise. BINGO. #3,4,8, and 15 have already been eliminated. #5 is looking better. Next, what to pack? What does a middle aged couple need on a 7 day cruise? I packed everything. Two pairs of boots, two pairs of heels, two pairs of sandals, two pairs of sneakers, and a pair of water shoes. 9 pairs of shoes for 7 days? Who does that? A newbie, that's who. Truly, I needed half that. Eight hair products? I needed one. In short, here's what I learned I didn't need: flat iron, bronzer, big jewelry, more than 3 tank tops, gym clothes, jeans, more than 3 cute tops, huge bottles of shampoo & conditioner. What I needed more of: clean underwear. Seriously, I showered twice daily: once in the morning, then again after getting all gross during excursions. Once you've got sand and salt water in your undies - those are done. Time for a fresh clean pair after your evening shower. NCL doesn't offer DIY laundry service, and I'm not going to spend my vacation hand-washing my underwear in the sink either. I did pack "adventure" clothes for excursions and daytime on board, and also dresses for the nights. I just had too many adventure clothes. Two swimsuits is a must, four is too many. Sweaters for chilly nights and restaurants helped, too. Other stuff I'm glad I packed: a small pharmacy (Tylenol, Naproxen, Meclizine for nausea, antacids, Immodium, and antacid). I didn't need more than a couple Tylenol, but I knew I was covered. Helpful hint: Extra Strength Midol comes in blister-packs that travel super-easy and contains 200 mg Naproxen (great for arthritis pain). Also found a clever canvas jewelry organzier at Wal-Mart and an over-the-door shoe holder that hung on the bathroom door. Magnetic clips stuck to the metal cabin walls and were used for our itineraries and my jewelry (that I wore about 1/3 of). So, onward to the review. Boarding was relatively painless. We did have to wait in line, herded like cattle, but the line did move relatively quickly and people in general weren't rude about it. The staff was helpful in directing people. We arrived at 11:30 for a 12:00 boarding and the actual wait time was maybe 30 minutes. The staff did require a photo ID, then they took pictures of us pre-boarding (like a DMV mug-shot, so be prepared for that) Every time we got on or off the ship, our key cards were scanned through a computer and our pre-boarding pics came up. Once we got our key cards, we were offered the first opportunity to get a picture. Theme park photographers are pushy: cruise photographers are not. They asked if they could take our pic and many people turned them down without a hassle. The photographers didn't harrass or pressure anybody. But, they didn't tell us that it would be a full-body shot, so we had all our cruise documents, a jacket and our carry-on in the shot (it completely ruined our pic). Also, we did have to go through a metal detector. No big deal, except I made the mistake of wearing huge amounts of metal jewelry. Security kept asking what I had that was metal? Uh, my necklace, bracelets, and earrings - all highly visible. She insisted that I leave them on, although I insisted that they were all easily removable. So, yay - I got my very first pat-down. Lesson learned - minimal jewelry through security. We finally boarded and the crew had a little "welcome aboard" party for us, complete balloons, a banner, and DJ Felix spinning the club music. We checked out our room, which wasn't ready yet. But we were able to put our carry-on luggage inside and explore the ship a little. Don't know where I learned this, but the little fishies on the carpet always "swim" to the front of the ship to help you orient yourself. Once we found our room, it was pretty easy to locate again, except for one time when we thought we were headed to the front, but the fishies disagreed and let us know that we were on the Starboard side, not the Port side. Gotta love the fishies! Remember how much stuff I packed? Four big ole suitcases and a carry-on duffel. I put everything away in the cabin with ease. Even had room to spare! Plenty of hangers provided in the closet, they gave us two robes, and the provided hair dryer was more than adequate. In the bathroom, there were dispensers for hand soap, shampoo, and body wash. The body wash even smelled pleasant (not like hotel soap). Little shelves in the bathroom held most all of our toiletries. Little shelves in the shower held all my necessary shower equipment. Provided drawers and shelves all held massive amounts of clothing. Mirrors are everywhere in the room - glad I lost weight pre-cruise! We were able to set the temperature easily to our liking. The bed was two twins pushed together, so there was a big ole hump in the middle. But the pillows were delightfully fluffy, the bed comfortable, and the room was clean. The towels were big and fluffy and plentiful. Although most other rooms were bigger than ours, we found the simple balcony room to be plenty roomy and comfortable. It suited us quite well. The balcony had a sliding door and was more enclosed than I had envisioned. It was really sweet to have a private area to sit and watch the world go by. I didn't think I would use and enjoy the balcony nearly as much as I did. We spent a lot of quiet time drinking wine and watching the waves. We had seen maps and pictures of the ship before and wondered what was with the tacky carpet? It really helps to keep you oriented to where you are and what's down the hall. Directories of what's on each floor are near every stairwell and elevator - makes it super-easy to find your way around. The food: The food was great, a wide variety of everything was always available. My husband is a meat-and-potatoes guy, while I prefer fresh fruits, veggies, and lighter fare. We were both satisfied with the meals. We've also discovered that we are food snobs. On our first sea night, we were served steak and lobster. We were not impressed at all, but everybody else raved about how great the steaks and lobster were. Dessert was warm bread pudding, which was truly heavenly. Other meals were better, nothing spectacular,butt they were plenty edible. Not fine dining always, but much better than your average American chain restaurant. Portions were perfect, considering three courses were always served. The meal portions are smaller than chain restaurants, but if that doesn't fill you up, you can always get additional portions. We chose not to leave the table bloated and miserable, but were always full after dessert. The buffet offered plenty of selection, both for the carnivores, the herbivores, and the pizza-and-pasta lovers. Several small buffet lines meant no waiting in long lines, hence no line-jumping, very little rudeness. Fresh fruit was always available, plenty of selection, and the "usual fare" of comfort food was always available. A kid-sized buffet full of kid-friendly foods was also located next to a family seating area. Tables were smaller, so you weren't forced to eat your meals at a table for 12. Plenty of 2-tops and 4-tops to go around. Larger groups could push tables together pretty easily as well. The washy-washy crew at the buffet was cute. Several people really got into it, singing and dancing their way into the buffet area. Unlike some other cruise lines, it wasn't some lonely guy singing off-key. There were usually two or three people singing, playing the guitar, and generally trying to have fun while keeping everybody's hands sanitary. They did a great job and were always adorable. I have no idea what kind of hand sanitizer they used, but it wasn't the sticky gel stuff and it didn't make your finger foods taste funky either. Paid restaurants: We tried three. Teppenyaki was our first, we ate their on our anniversary. If you want to try it - get a reservation, that place fills up every night. The chefs try to keep things lively, a very party-like atmosphere. Unfortunately, it was our 25th anniversary and I was dressed to the nines with hair done, stilettos, and a nice white dress. I had no idea anybody would be throwing food at me! At other tables, the chefs chose wisely who to select to catch bites of egg in their mouths (the loudest male with the Hawaain or NCAA shirt). Ours didn't. He threw egg in my hair. Twice. Buzzkill. I was not amused. We had received a card earlier to our stateroom that said to bring the card to wherever you choose to celebrate your big day, and we had done that. So, after dessert, the staff came and sang happy anniversary to us. It was cute. Best part was the girl at the next table to loudly announced that we couldn't be married 25 years because I barely looked 25 years old! OK, so that made up for the egg-in-the-hair and egg-on-the-dress incidents (he missed twice). SInce we were too full to eat our complimentary anniversary cake, they offered to bring it to our room. Too bad it arrived at 11:45 p.m. If they offer it to go, you might want to check to see if they'll just box it up and then you could take it with you. We tried Chin Chins on formal night, after discovering a long wait time at both main dining rooms. We were promptly seated in a nearly empty dining room (2 other tables). Our orders were taken after ten minutes. Ten minutes later, some horrible karaoke started in the open atrium area below us. We could hear the cheers being shouted from Teppenyaki. The dining room started to fill up, our tummies started getting hungrier and hungrier. The karaoke got worse, and we were still waiting on appetizers thirty minutes later. We left and went to the buffet - still in our formal attire. Surrounded by those who chose NOT on "dress-up-or-not night", we filled our bellies with delicious buffet food while being stared at by the shorts-and-tank-top crowd. Suited us fine, as the stares in our direction ended as soon as a small parade of toga-clad teenagers came through the buffet, cheering and gleefully waving their arms in the air. Our third paid restaurant was Moderno's Brazilian steakhouse. It's located mid-ship, so the only way to cross the ship is to either cut through Moderno's or the Blue Lagoon or take a flight of stairs up and down. For a paid restaurant, I wasn't impressed with the number of people just cutting through to get from point A to point B. The salad selections were okay. They didn't offer any Italian or balsamic dressings - only ranch, Thousand Island, and French. Most of the salads were high-fat pastas. So, after salad, you have a card that you turn over on your table to greed to indicate that you're ready for the main courses. Servers stop by and offer very small portions of different meats and some cinnamon-grilled pineapple. We were offered the pineapple first, then chicken, beef, lamb, pork, until we were full. We turned the cards back to red to indicate that we were ready for dessert. We were again offered chicken, beef, lamb, pineapple, more chicken, and more pineapple. Our drink glasses were empty and our waiter nowhere in sight. They did have some desserts on the menu that we were interested in, but we were seated within an inch of a very large rowdy party table (literally, an inch - we were damn near AT their table, separated only by a small railing) and kept getting offered meat, meat, more meat, and pineapple. Frustrated, we left. Moral of the story regarding paid restaurants: you're not missing anything by sticking to the free offerings. The food quality is not any better than the free MDRs, the service is certainly not better, the atmosphere is not better either. We were perfectly happy with Azura, Tsar's (which is more upscale and we preferred), and the buffet. The money we spent at Teppanyaki and Moderno's was money down the drain. Tsar's Palace does have a dress code that they do enforce. We were very politely turned down for service because DH was wearing shorts. Rather than changing clothes, we went to Azura and the food was just as good, service just as good. Excursions: We booked beginning SCUBA through NCL and the rest of our excursions privately. With a little research ahead of time (which is really fun anyway) you can book your excursions privately, support the local economies, and save a few bucks. For convenience, book online through NCL's website if you're pressed for time and don't want to research. A lot of people booked after they boarded, wasting valuable cruise time looking through pamphlets to book their excursions. NCL has videos of theirs on the website and you'll get more cruise time if you book ahead. Also, your favorite stuff will more likely be available! "Front desk" service: (Not sure what it's called on a ship). These people are super-helpful! On day one, my sandal broke and I wish I could recall her name, but this very nice person got some super-glue and helped glue to back together for me. The glue held until I got home and unpacked, but hey, that's what I get for buying discount sandals, right? She was very helpful and didn't roll her eyes and announce "that's not my job". Activities: Our cruise started with a dance party at the pool. The staff really helped get everybody out of their chair and dancing, from the very young to the very old. It was cuteness overload to watch from Top-Siders bar & grill. They have a pool and hot tubs just for kids/families and another pool and hot tubs marked for adults only. Yay! Our Freestyle Daily was delivered to our stateroom each night with details about events and activities for the following day. Yes, some of the offerings we thought were stupid, but ya know, some of it was kinda fun, too. We were able to try different things, some we might not have otherwise tried. The best part was that most everything was in an open area, so we could go in, check it out, and make a very graceful exit if we chose. We played Deal or No Deal and won a free 8x10 photo. We played one round of Bingo and realized that Bingo was a big-spenders game. The casino: I don't get it. Why do people sit in front of video monitors in a windowless room on a cruise ship? Oh, so they can smoke! Yeah, I didn't go to the casino except to cash in my $1 winning ticket from some silly game show. We loved the game shows, the staff kept those very entertaining. I loved the free dance lessons, my husband - not so much, but he did give a valiant effort. Not everything was for us, but there were plenty of things we enjoyed, plenty to try, more stuff to do than we could ever do. There really was something for everybody. We enjoyed the hot tubs, the demonstrations, the free concerts (surprisingly, the Neil Diamond impersonator appealed to young and old and really got the crowd moving), the cheesy games, and sitting on our balcony. We were never, ever, ever bored. Our itinerary made four stops for a seven day cruise. We loved it! We got off the ship every chance we could to enjoy the Caribbean sun and surf. Our only NCL excursion was the beginning SCUBA in Cozumel and we LOVED it. There were five in our group - two couples and a single guy. The instruction didn't take too long, just a quickie safety demo. We "dove" right from the beach and our dive master gave each of us a quick safety test in shallow water before diving. One of the people in our group didn't want to SCUBA after the shallow water, so she was allowed to float on the surface along with us (she basically snorkeled while we SCUBA'ed). All four of us who did the activity came up all smiles at the end. The area had showers, lockers, an outdoor bar & grill and a cantina cabana. The food was amazing - fresh mahi-mahi for me and a big ole beefy, beanie burrito for him. We were offered massages at pretty reasonable prices, but turned that down since DH isn't really a massage person. We all were given credit for the dive towards PADI certification if we wanted to do that. Entertainment: It just wasn't for us. I said earlier. there was something for everybody. We aren't into watching big production shows, we aren't into the circus or watching acrobats. If anything provides a forewarning of "sit there and be amazed" - I'm out! The theater seats are cramped, the seating is in long, narrow rows, and it's just not for me. Keep in mind, though, that I don't watch movies either. Disembarkation was a bit of a mess. Nevermind - it was a complete mess. We chose to schlep our own luggage (easy off, right?). Unlike disembarking at the pier (from the fourth floor), we used the seventh floor to disembark and waited in a long line that didn't move for 40 minutes. Once the line stretched from aft to the foreward theater and back through itself, things got really confusing. Nobody could determine where the line ended and nobody could use any of the seventh floor because the lines were so long it blocked the whole floor. Since the line to disembark went through itself, plenty of line-jumping confusing came about. Although the staff did their best, it was nothing short of a complete clusterf*** and the exhausted people who were carrying all of their own luggage literally from stem to stern of the ship and back were a little cranky. Meanwhile, it was time to start disembarkation for those who opted not to carry their own luggage. This was the only time the majority of the staff seemed truly flustered. Needless to say, we did survive getting off the ship and made it home. In short, we had a great time. We felt like the entire staff bent over backwards to ensure everybody had a good time. Let's revisit that list of fears, shall we? 1. If I don't like a land vacation, I just get in the car and go home. Can't do that on a cruise. I didn't want to get off the ship once we arrived back at port. I seriously considered stowing away in a stairwell or trying to steal a staff uniform. It was the best vacation of my life! 2. I'll be trapped on a boat with no escape. I did escape - to the hot tub, to the balcony, to the lounge, to each port. It was delightful. 3. I'll have to eat every meal with potentially weird or annoying people. Weird and annoying people are everywhere in life. They were never at my table. In fact, we offered some seats of our four-top to a lovely couple for one lunch and had a great time with fascinating conversation! 4. Cruises are for uppity people. I might be a snob, but I am not uppity. There is a difference. The uppity people stayed in the butlered, super - expensive rooms and I never saw 'em. We hung with the younger crowd, the party crowd, the beer-drinking crowd. 5. I'll be bored senseless. Never a dull moment. We had some tranquil moments that we chose, but there was always something to do. 6. I'll have to tolerate everybody else's snot-nosed, poorly behaved kids. The kids were well-behaved and adorable! A couple of toddlers even crashed an adults-only dance party and yes, I even enjoyed their gleeful dancing. 7. I'll have to tolerate rude grown-ups. Meh, one or two out of over 2,0000? I'll take those odds! Everybody seemed very happy. 8.I can't eat when I'm hungry. I could eat any time I wanted - food was always available (but sometimes I was too busy to eat) 9. If I forget something small, I can't make a quick Wal-Mart run. I brought everything anyway (except the super-glue) 10. I'll get seasick. The seas were a little rough on the last few days, but no nausea or vomiting, just a touch of vertigo. 11. The cabin will be tiny, the bed uncomfortable, the shower will suck. The cabin was plenty spacious, the bed was comfortable if you didn't want to snuggle with your partner, but I did have plenty of hot water and plenty of water pressure. The temperatures were highly variable and the shower was a definite do-not-flush-zone. But I showered twice daily in relative comfort. 12. I hate buffet food and buffet people (just the coughing, sneezing, line-cutting gluttons). Unlike Golden Corral, the buffet didn't attract those who are out to "get their money's worth" out of a buffet. We did get a giggle at a little boy who brought a plate stacked barely high enough to carry loaded with nothing but bacon. But you know those stereotypical face-stuffing gluttons? Yeah, they weren't there. Just nice people who were having a nice meal with their loved ones. The buffet food wasn't limited to comfort foods, either. Plenty of soups, salads, curries, stir-fries, etc. 13. Cruising is for old people, really old people. . . . . who are very young at heart. The geriatric set was out there dancing, singing, playing, shopping, snorkeling. So were their kids . . . and their grandkids. We found plenty of people our age to hang with, and truly enjoyed some time with people much older than we are. 14. The food will be bad. It wasn't five-star dining, but it was good food. We never went hungry. 15. I'll have to buy a special gown and shoes for formal night. Although I did dress up for formal night and I did wear dresses every single day of the cruise, it wasn't mandatory. People wore what they wanted, from shorts & tank tops to evening gowns. And somehow, it worked. I never felt uncomfortable because of what I chose to wear on any given day. One last note: We did all the Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle activities. Not only did we get to know some of the people we would travel with, it also gave us a peek into the different rooms, a fun way to get to know each other, and helped us find familiar faces. I highly encourage this! Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
I must say after reading all the negative comments I was afraid of what I might experience on my Western Caribbean cruise. My husband and I along with about 400 others that belong to our travel group enjoyed our 6 days and 5 nights aboard ... Read More
I must say after reading all the negative comments I was afraid of what I might experience on my Western Caribbean cruise. My husband and I along with about 400 others that belong to our travel group enjoyed our 6 days and 5 nights aboard the ship. Leaving out of the Port of New Oleans was a breeze, it was a little chilly on Feb. 3, 2014 when we left NOLA and cruised down the Mississippi but what a pleasant suprise when we woke up on Tuesday Feb 4, 2014 and it was sunny and very warm. We enjoyed our 1st. out to sea day. We signed up for the Cheers program and it appears most people on the ship did as well. My favorite bars were the Drama Bar, Dukes Piano Bar and the Drama Bar. Not to mention the many waiters that were on the outside decks to make sure you had a drink while sunning. Our first port of call was Progresso, which I did not care for, after about an hour we returned back to the ship and enjoyed another day of sunning on the lido deck. Cozumel was aout second port of call and what a day we had. We took a cab to Mr. Sancho's Beach Club and enjoyed the beach and we both decided to have a soothing massage on the beach. As far as dining and on boeard activites, we had a great group of people at our dinner table, every night we had many laughs and good conversation, I've even texted and e-mailed everyone that was at my table. Lucien our waiter was awesome, likewise for our cabin steward Issaic. The stage and comedy shows were entertaining, therefore I can not jump on the negative bandwagaon and bash the ship or service on board. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
This is an annual trip in February for me and my partner. We have sailed with RCCL for the past 3-4 years and have fallen in love with this class of ship. This was no different, in fact even more so with the recent renovations and ... Read More
This is an annual trip in February for me and my partner. We have sailed with RCCL for the past 3-4 years and have fallen in love with this class of ship. This was no different, in fact even more so with the recent renovations and upgrades. Generally the ship was very clean and all the furniture and carpet looked great. I am not sure but it's only been back at sea from it's dry dock since December. The new shows in the Centrum were great. A big step up in quality. The vitality spa was deluxe. The With 2 days at sea at the start of the cruise gives you a chance to familiarize yourself with the layout. We had cruised before with the shopping guides and they were tops. Even remembered us from a year ago. After doing a couple cruises we have really loved the Art on Royal. Jasmine and Patricio were the best. They made the auctions fun, informative and fast. We did very well with them since they were turning stock the prices were like nothing you would find on any other ship auction. By the last day, they moved a lot of wonderful art to some very lucky guests. And the champagne was nice too. The redo of the ship now offers some different restaurants. We took a Sushi making class at Izumi (you make your lunch). We attempted to do the Mystery Dinner, but opted for the Chef's Table. If you are a foodie, a wine-y, or just love excellent service and food this is worth every minuet. It's a 5 course, wine pairing dinner with the chef du cuisine. He comes out and explains the dishes and the waiter/ sommelier explains the pairing. We joined a group that had already had the A menu a couple nights before. We then went back and the chef, with very little notice, created a 3rd menu. It was one of the best experiences I've had on any ship. We did book one excursion, The Discover Scuba at Don Foster's thru RCCL. It was a very fast, get into the water experience. If you have snorkeled and want to take the next step, I would highly suggest taking this on as an excursion.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We sailed on the Jewel the week of 2/23/14. This was our first cruise on Norwegian. Overall, we had a great experience. There is a lot to say but I'm going to organize my feedback by category for simplicity. Embarkation: Easy ... Read More
We sailed on the Jewel the week of 2/23/14. This was our first cruise on Norwegian. Overall, we had a great experience. There is a lot to say but I'm going to organize my feedback by category for simplicity. Embarkation: Easy Breezy. The port of New Orleans was easy to access from all of the touristy areas of New Orleans, so its perfect for travelers who want to spend some time in the city before or after the cruise. Getting on the ship was efficient and easy. The only thing that was kind of confusing is that the boarding groups were a combination of numbers, letters and casino card guests. Since we are new to Norwegian and to this port, we weren't exactly sure what kind of order they were going in. For example, it went something like this... we were boarding group 2 - they called boarding group 1 so we got excited that were would be next... then boarding group A, boarding group B, Casino Group, boarding C... Even if we were the 5th or 6th boarding group, it would have been nice to at least have some idea of how many groups were still in front of us. Small critique, but that is really the only thing that could be changed to reduce confusion. Everything else was great. Room: We stayed in a mid-ship balcony room on deck 10 (10582). This was a great central and quite location, close enough to the elevators but we did not have problems with hearing foot traffic in the halls. The room is a normal sized cruise cabin, small but organized well to maximize space. Storage space was adequate for both of our things without trouble. There is a small flat screen TV with limited channels. Bathroom feels small since its organized into 3 compartments - the sink is in the center with a toilet and shower area on either side. The toilet area has a sliding door with frosted plexiglass and same with the shower. This is designed so two people can utilize the bathroom at once and still have some semblance of privacy. The toilet area was small if you close the sliding door, however, we usually just used the regular bathroom door instead since we didn't need to both use the bathroom at once. The balcony was a nice size with two sitting chairs and small table. Entertainment: We really enjoyed the comedian, Micheal. We went to his regular show as well as his late night adult only show. The regular one was better but the adult only was okay too. We didn't really care for the magician/comedian, Jean Pierre. We thought he came off as bit abrasive and wasn't that funny. We also really enjoyed the newlywed game and perfect couple game. We attended a couple trivia sessions as well, which were fine and pretty much what we expected. Service: The first day, there seemed to be a lot of staff dedicated to high pressure sales of the water, beverage and food packages, which we didn't really like. Staff in the buffet were friendly and quick to clear plates. Staff in the main dining rooms was very slow and unfriendly at lunchtime but the waitstaff was more friendly and attentive at night. The waitstaff in the specialty dining rooms were the best, quick to refill drinks and always asking if they could get you anything more. The biggest area where we found disappointing with regard to service was the hostesses. In La Crucina, the hostess was rude to us when we didn't have a reservation and arrived at 5:45pm. She told us there was no availability until 8:30pm, even though the menu screens showed the restaurant was green (which was supposed to mean immediate seating available) from 6:00-8:30. We asked her why the menu board didn't reflect that they were full and she said they had availability for one guest, so the board won't show full - but not availability for our party of 2. The hostess at Azura was not very friendly either. Our room steward was okay but we did not think he was as good as the room steward we had on our last cruise. He was nice and kept the ice full, no complaints but didn't go above and beyond really either. We did find out half way though the cruise that ours was the last one for most of the staff - they were about to go on a 2-4 month break in the home countries, after having worked 7 months on the ship, so that could explain the few spotty areas we did encounter with regard to service. I would be excited and a little distracted too! Food: 1) Buffet: The buffet always felt sanitary, with the washy washy people standing guard outside, however, we felt the selection was somewhat limited compared to our buffet experience on carnival. There was a salad station, pasta station, pizza station, local (rotating) section, an Indian food section, a crepe station (which was in a separate room) and dessert. The Indian food was really really good and flavorful and the crepes were delicious. Everything else was just okay. Seating was at a premium in here, it was really hard to find a place to sit during peak hours. 2) Tsars & Azura: These are the two main dining rooms. I like that they only enforce a dress code in Tsars, leaving Azura as the more casual option, however, I wish there was more of a difference in the menus to make it feel like they were two distinct restaurant venues. The menus were almost exactly the same. Food ranged from okay to good. 3) Java Cafe: Coffee was okay, nothing special. I would consider the quality to be just slightly below the normal quality one would get at the big name coffee bars in the US. 4) Blue Lagoon: This is a free dining option with bar food type items - hot wings, mozzarella sticks, sandwiches, etc. We had one light lunch here, which was pretty good. 5) La Crucina: The italian restaurant. We really liked this one. The restaurant had a very cute Italian Kitchen decor and was pretty quiet and tucked away near the back of the ship. We ate here two nights and tried the lobster pasta, pizza, lasagna and chicken parm. The pizza was much better than what we had at the buffet. The soup appetizer was really good as well. The lasagna was just "ok" and the other entrees were really good. 6) Cagneys: I'm vegetarian so I probably didn't appreciate this restaurant as much as others would. My husband had steak with au gratin potatoes and broccoli, which he really enjoyed. The steak arrived with a garlic butter slice on top, which added a lot of good flavor and he also said it was cooked perfectly. The waiter asked him to cut into the center when it was first delivered to make sure that the it was cooked to his liking. He really appreciated that they put so much effort into making sure the meat was cooked the way he liked. 7) Le Bistro: We really liked this place but the food is very rich. It was apparent that the food was high quality and the service was top notch at this venue. 8) Chin Chin: This is well worth the $15 cover charge. The food is cooked very well and the appetizers are really tasty. They also have hot pot at certain tables that you have to request ahead of time, we saw others doing this and it looked like they enjoyed it. Ports: 1) Cozumel: We booked the Mayan Ruin tour through the ship. Our guide, Juan, was really nice and informative. He was a Mayan descendant. He kept us entertained both directions and was excited to share his culture. Tulum is very very hot, make sure to wear sunscreen and bring a hat. The ruins were really beautiful and it was really cool to see iguanas roaming free everywhere throughout the park. They no longer allow anyone to climb on the ruins, so everything was seen at a distance only but still very cool. 2) Belize: We booked the Cave Tubing and Rainforest Hike Tour through the ship. We thought this was the best choice because of the time and distance required for the tour. If you book through the ship, it gives you piece of mind that they won't leave you behind if you tour runs late. Also, Belize is a tender port and having a tour booked through the ship allows you to leave on as early of a tender as you like. If you book independently, you are required to be in line by 7am to try to get an earlier tender ticket number to make it to your tour. We thought this made it well worth it. Lunch was provided before our tour at the cave tubing site, buffet style then we started our journey to the river. We felt very safe, they only allow 8 guests per guide and equipment was in good shape and included hard hats with lights as well as life jackets, which they require you to wear in the water. They suggest water shoes because sandals get lost in the current, they have them for rental for $3 if you don't bring any, but we brought our own. Our guide was very nice and friendly but seemed a little rushed. He mentioned it was his last tour of the day, so maybe that was it. He had us walk through the jungle really quick, we only briefly stopped twice for him to show us termites and a pineapple but then back to the trail. We passed 4 groups along the trail and in the cave, so I know we were going faster than other groups. Although we might have liked to take a slower pace to really enjoy the walk through the beautiful jungle, we still had a wonderful time. We really enjoyed the walk. We arrived at the river and the guide gave us a couple minutes to swim around the water while he linked our tubes together then we were off. The cave was amazing and the lights on our hard hats came in handy. There were a few tiny rapids but it was mostly calm and we felt very safe the whole time. All in all, we loved it. 3) Roatan: We booked with Little French Key. We were not sure what to expect since it was the first time we didn't book through the ship and first time in Roatan, but we found Larry and Dave very easily just outside the port gates. They put us in a van with a few other guests and drove us to Frenchy's 44 which was about a 20 minute drive from the port. We then took a small ferry just across the water to Little French Key. It was absolutely beautiful and ended up being our favorite excursion of the entire trip. The water was clam and clear and the staff were extremely friendly. Drinks were delish, especially the monkey la la. They also had a small zoo with rescue animals which was very cool. There were a couple jaguars that were in an enclosure that we thought looked a little small but otherwise all the animals looked very happy and well taken care of. They will let you hold the monkeys, we went into the pen in the large spider monkey enclosure which was cool but their most shining star is undoubtedly "Lisa" the monkey. She is the sweetest most cuddly animal I've ever seen, I was ready to smuggle her back to the US! Everyone should ask to hold her, it will make your trip! We also went snorkeling which we really enjoyed. There was a good variety of fish and the reef was amazing. Little French Key is definitely a place not to be missed during your visit to Roatan! 4) Costa Maya: We reserved Maya Chan Beach and had a great time. It is an all inclusive, funky beach resort. They only allow a small number of guests so it provides a really nice experience. It never felt crowded and the staff treated us like family. Everything was included - alcoholic drinks, food, water toys and the snorkel and kayaking tour. The food was incredible. The beach did have some trash floating in the water, but we did research in advance and know that this is an issue in the entire Costa Maya area because of their location, all beach resorts in this area have similar problems. It was not too much but the only thing that could be improved in a perfect world, but again, it wasn't Maya Chan's fault either. We would definitely go back here! Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
My husband and I left out of New Orleans aboard the Jewel for Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan and Costa Maya (Mahahual Mex.). We almost didn't make it thanks to the never ending snow storms this year. It was an absolute BLAST. I cannot ... Read More
My husband and I left out of New Orleans aboard the Jewel for Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan and Costa Maya (Mahahual Mex.). We almost didn't make it thanks to the never ending snow storms this year. It was an absolute BLAST. I cannot say enough about the staff aboard the Jewel. We will now be taking the Jewel out of Seattle to Alaska because of the staff and ship. I would give the total experience a 4.5! Food 4.0 - New to free style dining, really like it! We stayed with all the included eating venues. Cabin 4.5 we had a balcony (the only was to cruise IMO) Staff 5.0 Entertainment 4.5 Excursions 5.0 Food was good. We ate in the main dining room twice and decided we were more of the buffet upstairs kind of people. If you don't eat early or late there can be a wait for seating in the dining areas. Cabin- very nice. Rod our steward took very good care of us. Love the coffee pot in the room - coffee on the balcony in the morning is awesome. Staff - can't say enough! Entertainment - two things stand out. The group Next Stage was awesome! Cover style with awesome music. Latin Four on deck played nice Caribbean and Latin music.. really good with Coconut rum and Sierra Mist. But our fav was a soloist named Randon. He played acoustic guitar and sang 70's folk and light rock. We looked for him in the evenings to jell out. NCL hold on to him! Excursions awesome. Cozumel we took a Mexican cooking class ( I know.. but I know us, we would need out of the sun for a day after a day at sea with AMAZING weather). Oscar was the chef/instructor. WHAT A BLAST, then beach time at Playa Mia. Belize - cave float and Zip Line great time! Roatan - snorkeling and beach, amazing reef and guides. Costa Maya - segway tour, very cool things, we want one for tooling around our development now. The guides/instructors were amazing. We spent 1/2 hour learning how to ride then 2.5 actually riding. Juan, Christian and Daniel, you guys ROCK! We then went to Blue Bay to hang at the beach. Beautiful spot! Had some drinks, went for a swim, relaxed under the straw cabanas. Life was GOOD! REALLY recommend this cruise!   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
My husband and I took our fist trip alone with out our son (who is nearly 3) in February. We went for the 2 bedroom penthouse suite and were glad we did just because it was nice to have 2 bathrooms, the more comfortable chairs on the ... Read More
My husband and I took our fist trip alone with out our son (who is nearly 3) in February. We went for the 2 bedroom penthouse suite and were glad we did just because it was nice to have 2 bathrooms, the more comfortable chairs on the balcony and some space to spread out. Since we were in a suite, we had priority embarkation (awesome), a butler (imperative), and breakfast/lunch at Cagney's (the best perk of all). We arrived in NOLA and it was rainy, so we skipped the french quarter and just boarded the boat. We had lunch at Cagneys (seriously, have I told you it was the best perk) and explored the ship a bit. Our room was awesome. I slept in every bed in the room during our 7 night stay, but preferred the lounge chairs on the balcony or the floor to any of the beds. I kid you not, I slept on the floor 3 of the 7 nights and on the patio 2x. The bed was hard as a rock, as was the pull down bunk and the pull out couch. I have a bad back, so it was easier to sleep on the floor and know what I would wake up with. MDR food was pretty crappy as was the buffet, but again, I am on a special diet and cant have fried food, dairy, or sugar, so most of the options for me were removed before we got started. The ports of call were great and I will re-state again that the suites have the priority stuff and we were on the first tender off the boat in Belize which meant we got to our excursions earlier than anyone else. We booked all the excursions through external sources and were very happy with all of them. Coral Breeze Tours (Belize), Argel and Adiel King (cozumel), and Subway Watersports (Roatan) were all excellent and I will do them again. The boat was clean, there were no lines for food (ever) and the shows were fine. Don't spend the money on the hibachi restaurant (it sucked) but go ahead and pop for cagneys if you aren't in a suite. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
My wife and I, along with her parents, took our first large family vacation together. My wife and I are in our 20's and her parents are in their 50's so we had plenty of differing opinions regarding activities onboard. This was ... Read More
My wife and I, along with her parents, took our first large family vacation together. My wife and I are in our 20's and her parents are in their 50's so we had plenty of differing opinions regarding activities onboard. This was not a first time cruise for any of us but it was our first time on the Sunshine, or Destiny, as she was previously named. We read several reviews before leaving, where guests commented on various flaws in the ship; bad food, dripping from the ceiling, bad smells, ect... Needless to say we were ready for some bad situations but also took a lot of that with a grain of salt. I'll break this review into several parts for easy navigation. Summary: Carnival Sunshine spotlights all of the best from Carnival. The food is excellent, the crew is friendly and approachable and the ship itself came out of its makeover looking and feeling new. If you can afford it, spring for the scenic ocean view or a balcony. Sea-day brunches will keep you coming back and the lasagna at the Cuccina will have you hooked on day one. Don’t be alarmed by a few drips, it is condensation from the A/C and not salt water. This cruise will spoil you, the destinations are just a wonderful perk, and the true destination is the Sunshine herself. The Ship: Let me say that I had high hopes going in, after watching Carnival dump millions into this refit. We watched her progress with anticipation for a year as she transformed from Carnival Destiny into Carnival Sunshine, and boy oh boy was the wait worth it. We loved the divided ship feeling, the adults seemed to congregate in the fore sections and the kids had the aft sections from deck 10 upward. The Serenity adult retreat spanned three decks on the fore section and had an abundance of not only seating but also seating types. Couches, lunges, deck chairs, hammocks and cozy two-person cabanas were in plentiful supply. It is to be expected that there will be a shortage of space on sea days, with over 2000 adults on board but port days were excellent for relaxing on the upper decks. Camp Carnival, Club o2 and Circle C were all located at the aft end of the ship, right below the Water Park and sport square. This meant that most of the time the kids were either at the aft of the ship or in the amidships section on the lido deck (deck 9). We did notice some drips from the ceiling on the lower decks, to be expected on an almost 20 year-old ship. Mostly it appeared to be condensation from the air conditioning units, as the water was fresh and not salt. Crews were readily on hand to repair any drips that popped up. The Crew: As I said before, we have all sailed several times with Carnival and my in-laws and wife have sailed with Celebrity and Norwegian. The crew on this ship was easily able to rival any of the other lines. Our wait staff in particular deserves a big shout out. Zoran, Ronaldo and Jovan were all excellent and very friendly. Their food recommendations were always spot on; they really made us feel welcome. We actually went out of our way on most days to eat in the dining room when possible. Several times we ran into them individually in different parts of the ship and they always said “hi” or stopped for a chat. Our cabin stewards also deserve some high praise; they busted tail every day to make sure that our rooms were spotless. My in-laws had an issue with their room that required Guest Services to handle. They booked through a Carnival agent, who informed them that the beds in their room would definitely go together into a King. Unfortunately this room was on deck 7, forward, and was very small. Due to the curvature of the bow the room was unable to accommodate a king bed. Guest services were great and had them in an ocean view room on deck 1 before dinner that night. The entertainment staff did an excellent job at keeping everyone busy, even with the vast age differences on board. We never lacked for something to do, any time of the day. Even the activities done during the port days kept everyone happy. Jamie Dee is one of the best cruise directors that we have had the pleasure of sailing with. The Food: Let’s start with the lido food from the marketplace, deck 9 aft. Typical buffet style food comprised of several fried dishes and some baked. Nothing to write home about honestly but good if you want a quick snack or just don’t want the hustle and bustle of the dining room. Speaking of the dining room let me say that it was excellent. Breakfast choices left a bit to be desired but brunch, lunch and dinner were all worth the effort of getting there. Fresh fruit, steaks and chicken were evident in the taste and quality of the food. We ate at each sea-day brunch and were never left disappointed. Each brunch came with a basket of fresh baked pastries, always warm and tasty and the choices of dishes satisfied both breakfast and lunch tastes. There were a few premium dining options on board and we tried both the Italian and Asian. For lunch both the Asian and Italian options were free but for dinner both were $12 per guest. Let’s start with lunch; Ji Ji’s served up Asian stir fry and the Cuccina served up custom ordered pasta and lasagna. The stir fry was typical of a Mongolian wok and the custom ordered pasta from the Cuccina gives endless options. By far, our favorite spot on the ship for lunch was the Cuccina for their lasagna. The meat was large hunks of roast, served with fresh tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella cheese, spinach and squash. The taste has to be experienced to be believed. My father-in-law and my wife both hate cooked spinach but dove into this like kids in a candy store. Please, if you sail on Sunshine do yourself a favor and get the lasagna for lunch. The seating area around the Havana bar also offers some of the best views and a bit more intimate environment for relaxing and eating. We did have dinner at Ji Ji’s on our last port day; the tally came to $48 + tip and was worth every penny. Don’t let the stir fry at lunch give you the wrong impression of Ji Ji’s, it is a different animal at dinner. They serve premium, from scratch, Asian from various regions. We had chili shrimp, stock pig, pork belly, glazed duck and pepper beef. The duck was the highlight of the meal, contradicting everything I’d ever come to expect from duck. It was not the least big greasy, the fat having been properly rendered and the skin was very crispy and full of flavor. The Room: My wife and I sprung for an upgrade, the scenic ocean view, category 6J. It cost an extra $14 per person, per day. The room itself was slightly larger than a standard ocean view with the same amenities. The room itself was located on deck 9, forward, right over the bridge. The front wall of our room was made entirely of glass, giving an awe inspiring view of the horizon. As we sailed from New Orleans there was quite the trip down the Mississippi. We all sat at the edge of the bed and watched the trip down the river. We decided that the window was a great upgrade but easily could have gone with the standard ocean view. If you have never done this room before but love a window in your room, this could be for you. I might even go so far as to say it rivaled a balcony, without the breeze. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was the best vacation/cruise I have ever experienced. I was very nervous at first having never cruised before. Didn't know what to expect or if I would even enjoy it for that matter. We traveled with 6 other couples that are ... Read More
This was the best vacation/cruise I have ever experienced. I was very nervous at first having never cruised before. Didn't know what to expect or if I would even enjoy it for that matter. We traveled with 6 other couples that are cruise veterans. I can only tell you we had the time of our lives. All the staff made us feel like we were at home and part of their family. They ALWAYS had a smile on their faces and were going above and beyond to show everyone a great time. I was so impressed with the cleanliness of the ship and how they are so adamant about sanitation. The food and selection of food was great as well. We never went hungry or waited a minute for service. I especially appreciated watching how well everyone worked together and how much they took the time to thank us and their crew for all their hard work. The Cruise Director, Captain and their Executive Staff made their presence known and were eager to assist you. They didn't just hide in their offices and talk over the intercom all day. I highly recommend this ship and cruise line to everyone and anyone. I am so happy with the way the trip turned out and I can be a very picky person. Kudos to Norweigan. Hope to be cruising with you again really soon. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was our 20th Anniversary Cruise and our 2nd with Carnival. We got lost getting to the Terminal, need better directions, NOLA road signs not helpful, even our Garmin had us turning where no roads existed, but we finally made it. It was ... Read More
This was our 20th Anniversary Cruise and our 2nd with Carnival. We got lost getting to the Terminal, need better directions, NOLA road signs not helpful, even our Garmin had us turning where no roads existed, but we finally made it. It was 40 degrees when we got there. Now on the the Sunshine. We booked our cruise Dec 2012, 2 weeks later the Triumph happened, so needless to say we were worried, then a second and third problem. We considered canceling but we are up for an adventure. SOOOOOO Glad we did, where do I begin. As I said we had an awesome room. Our steward was great, we had ordered a beer cooler and he kept it full twice daily. Met us with a smile day and night, teased us when we crawled in late. On to the food. MDR ok but we like to try something different. Ji Ji Asian Kitchen was our favorite, be prepared to eat. Service, food and atmosphere was unmatched. You can't get that type of dinner at any Vacation spot for just $12. Next favorite was Cucina Capitino, excellent Itialian, and again romantic atmosphere. Steakhouse 555 the food was good, service was great, romantic but for the price not what I hoped. Taste of the Day was always great, always plan to stop there. After a busy day if you don't want to dress up Lido Marketplace is very good, the atmosphere is not like a cafeteria. It is well lighted,serving areas appealing with excellent food options every night and plenty of seating inside and out. Of course, Coffee every morning at Blue Java made to order, usually saw the crew there so you know it was good. Promanade Deck had more choices than we could try but our favorites were Guys Burgers with all the fixins, and Blue Iguiana Cantina- my husband asked the chef to make a burrito like he would for himself, OMG was is good. Last, but not least was our ritual 2 AM Room Service. We thought we might get cold left over food, but to our hungry delight we got hot fresh BLT's and the biggest cheesecake I've ever seen. Romantic breakfast in bed was wonderful as well. Our cruise director, Jamie was so funny, she got everyone involved, even the reluctant wallflowers. The entertainment could not be topped by any Vegas shows I've seen. Playlist Production Shows were out of this world, with pyrotech, the stage sets were absolutely mind blowing to be on a ship at sea, and of course the performers made you want to come back for more. We was Motor City, Epic Rock, and salute to Motown and screamed like teens again (we are 40 somethings), certainly brought back memories. Not to be outdone, the Live Music has be to #1 in our book. We closed down the Ocean Plaza every night, then moved right next door to more live music in the Red Frog Rum Bar. The Red Frog needs more billing!!!! Easy to miss behind the Ocean Plaza, but a MUST SEE for live music. Aaron and Adam played live guitar nightly and stayed long after the bartender wanted to close. My husband and I feel in love all over again dancing til the wee hours to the live music! Aaron and Adam take requests and enjoyed sitting with the guests and hanging out. My husband became an Honorary Band Member. Our most memorable nights!. We made several new friends, SOCIALBE. The Punchliner Comedy Clubs had very good shows, the only problem has already been mentioned by other, just too small, but having mutiple shows and TV screens on the side away from the stage do help. Every night was filled to capacity. Outside, the Serenity Deck was awesome. We left in coats from NOLA, and were in bathing suits on deck after the 1st day. Plenty of loungers and tables, need a large or more jacuzzi's. 2 on main deck, and only 1 on Serenity. The waterslides were almost as good as those at Atlantis. The putt golf and ropes looked great just didn't get around to them. Only downsides, and they won't keep me from going back, were small sports bar, EA sports bar not enough seats, connects to casino so always lots of tobacco smell. There were no buckets on our trip and we went everywhere. We were a little disappointed that the "Behind the scenes tour was not available due to continued construction. The Cheers Program is great but since I don't drink we could not get it for my honey, (everyone in the room has to have one). What more can you say about a spa massage but AWE! Couples massage ooh lala! IF YOU DON'T HAVE FUN ON THIS CRUISE IT'S YOUR OWN FAULT ps won't buy excursions, but have an adventure on our own, you spend too much time in line and not enough time having fun. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Our Carnival Cruise for our 26th anniversary was out of New Orleans. This was the easiest port ever to embark! In less than an hour from the hotel shuttle dropping us off, we were on the Lido eating lunch with DOD in hand! The Elation is ... Read More
Our Carnival Cruise for our 26th anniversary was out of New Orleans. This was the easiest port ever to embark! In less than an hour from the hotel shuttle dropping us off, we were on the Lido eating lunch with DOD in hand! The Elation is a beautiful ship, the decor is so pretty and the ship is very clean. It is a smaller ship, Fantasy class, and we have sailed on the Fascination so we were familiar with the layout. The crew was wonderful, very happy and friendly and helpful. The only thing I did not like about the cruise was Cozumel. The vendors on the streets were very aggressive, to the point that it made you uncomfortable. Progreso was great, the military presence was kind of disturbing, but the excursion to the ruins was wonderful, our tour guides were great and the bus was comfortable. Disembarkation was as easy as embarkation! We ate breakfast on the Lido with friends while waiting for our zone to be called and it was not long at all. I would do this cruise again but book an excursion or stay on the ship in Cozumel. New Orleans is my new favorite city to visit!   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This 5-day cruise is a nice inexpensive vacation, especially if you live in New Orleans. We had inside cabins, which was a first for me, and they were fine. The price was unbelievably cheap. The ship is older, but very pretty. As with most ... Read More
This 5-day cruise is a nice inexpensive vacation, especially if you live in New Orleans. We had inside cabins, which was a first for me, and they were fine. The price was unbelievably cheap. The ship is older, but very pretty. As with most Carnival ships, the pool are is cramped, but this ship has a Serenity Deck, which is really nice. The food was decent to very good, and the staff members we encountered were friendly and pleasant. We always love the peaceful cruise down the Mississippi River. New Orleans and the little downriver towns are charming, and at night even the lights of the refineries are eerily beautiful. Our first port was Progreso. Some people complain about this port, or even stay onboard rather than visit it, but I like it. It's not overly developed like Cozumel, and, being on the Gulf rather than the Caribbean, it's not the same amazing water as you will see in some other ports, but it's a pretty little Mexican town with some great little restaurants and bars facing the malecon along the beach. It's definitely worth stepping off the boat and the ride down the pier is no big deal. This time, we took a cab to Merida for most of the day, and we absolutely loved it. Merida is a huge, beautiful and bustling colonial city. The architecture is magnificent. We bought linen guayaberas and dresses (of course) and some other locally made items, walked around the beautiful plaza, visited the cathedral, and had some excellent traditional food for lunch at La Chaya. then we returned to Progreso for a little more shopping at the pier. The second stop was Cozumel. We love the eastern side of the island, so we rented a Jeep and drove there. We stopped in at one of the little beach restaurants over there, then spent most of the afternoon at Paradise Beach, which is a very pretty property with great staff. We stopped in at some of the shops by the pier, but prices were crazy there and selection wasn't really worth the time it would take to get something down to a realistic price.. Shopping is much, much better in town. This time we didn't get to stop by my favorite spot in town, Las Palmas restaurant by the square, but I will make it a point to go there the next time I visit Cozumel. We had good weather, so sea days were pleasant, and the ship didn't seem overly crowded. The people who were onboard were a nice cross-section of fun and pleasant people. Debarkation was easy and fast and customs was not at all annoying, which was a nice surprise. All said, a very nice trip. I would do it again tomorrow. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
My wife and I took this cruise out of New Orleans as our honeymoon. It was a 7 night with 4 port stops. This was our 4th cruise, but first with Norwegian. The priors being Carnival (twice on the Triumph and once on the Conquest). ... Read More
My wife and I took this cruise out of New Orleans as our honeymoon. It was a 7 night with 4 port stops. This was our 4th cruise, but first with Norwegian. The priors being Carnival (twice on the Triumph and once on the Conquest). Embarkation from N.O. was same as always; actually much quicker this time, as we were later(ish) in getting to the port. We usually arrive at 11:00 and wait in line, however this time we didn't arrive until 2:30; walked right through w/ no lines, awesome! Only issue I had was going through the scanners, the port security guy confiscated a pocket knife out of my wife's purse that I had given her some years ago. He stared at it and said "yep, longer than 4 inches". I looked at him and sarcastically said something to the effect of "Yeah you keep telling yourself that". He told me they'd "mail it back to us". I laughed and said "whatever". They never took our address. I then looked at my wife and LOUDLY said "You'll never see it again". I've taken that knife on 3 previous cruises w/ no problem...it is legal length. I am also a police officer and really wanted to just snap on those $6 an hour nose picking security guards, but decided against it...it was time to get on the ship and have fun. Anyway we boarded the ship and went straight to our room. Deck 4, room with a porthole window. Nice room, although considerably smaller than rooms on Carnival (didn't care). They knew it was our honeymoon and said we'd get some kind of gift. So we enter the room, and sure enough there is a bottle of wine, a plate of chocolate covered strawberries (that were INCREDIBLE!), and a card to take to the dining room for a free cake. Very nice indeed! Funny thing is, we also had TWO seperate single beds! We just laughed. I mean, we've been together for 16 years and just now got married, so no biggie, still though... :-) I was very impressed with the bathroom. Much more elegant than Carnival's pepto bismol pink bathrooms. LAYOUT: Ok so we tour the ship to get to know the layout. Very different from Carnival, but we found it VERY easy to navigate. Basically, everything you need is on decks 7 and 12. Easy enough. Ship was very nice and well thought out (layout wise). We frequented the shop daily and nightly (after lunch and dinner, kind of our routine). The gift shop, "Trade Winds" I believe it is called, is HUGE! Just before entering the shop, you'll walk through the hallway where they put all the pictures they take on display (starboard side). DINING: We ate lunch in the main buffet (I'm awful with names, I think it was called the Garden something). VERY good food for cruise ship buffets...much better than Carnival. It was also a MUCH better layout. Carnival's is a single file line, where as this is more of an open room with multiple buffet tables. So much easier to navigate, w/ little to no lines. And who doesn't love WASHY WASHY and the songs!? Fine dining we jumped back and forth between the Azura and the T'czar (again, names?). The Azura is a bit cramped and more contemporary, where as the T'czar was very, very nice. On a side note, if you're an ice cream lover like myself, the T'czar serves it in larger glasses :-) Unlike the buffet, food quality in the fine dining was......ok. Presentation was nice, but the selection and quality were mediocre. We dressed up every night, and went there more for the experience than the food. We didn't do any of the "pay" dining; we've paid a lot already, and find it ridiculous to pay additionally. SHOWS: We went to a few, and loved them all. The Band on The Run was the best (imo). I found myself drooling over on of their dancers, Kate Barrett. I'm not gonna lie, she is gorgeous, and can dance like no other. My wife didn't mind, she just occasionally rolled her eyes and would say something to the extent of "you're a dork" :-) PORTS: Cozumel, this was our 3rd time there. We love it, but decide to wing it (did that at all the ports). We each rented a scooter for 30 bucks each and took off. A couple of hours later, my wife wrecks hers. Long story short, we had to go to an ATM and get $400 to pay for the damages. Ugh, but, it is what it is I guess. Cozumel is beautiful, and we ate at Margaritaville. Belize, we shopped. I bought a very nice Bulova watch for a ridiculous low price! Roatan, BEAUTIFUL. We rented a "cab" and toured the island. Technically it was a 1992 Corolla w/ a driver, a guide, and us. Long narrow windy roads full of potholes. But we loved it! Tipped the driver and guide and they cried (!?). Reason is, the $ exchange rate is 20:1! Costa Maya: BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL! The port there is wonderful...dolphins, a small beach, a long windy pool, shopping, and of course Senior Frogs and Carlos and Charlies. Here's a tip, don't eat at Senior Frogs...they are smoking crack when it comes to their food prices ($15.50 for a burger). Debarkation was 10 minutes from ship to car! I am NOT lying about that! Could not believe it. We chose Norwegian this time to try a change. It was nice, no doubt. Most notably is the clientele, which is obviously due to the price. There was, however, a LARGE group that was on the ship, "Auqafest". It is a gay group. Supposedly they made up %25 of the passengers...we found it to be more like %50. Neither of us could care less, but I have to admit, by the end of the cruise I had had enough of the overweight, hairy men in speedo's making out. The (adult) pool was over run with them day and night. Luckily there weren't many children on board, as it was not exactly family friendly. Also, for you first time cruisers, the sales pitch you get EVERYWHERE, both on the ship as well as ports, does tend to get old. Just thought I'd throw that in there. In conclusion, we had a wonderful time. Was the price difference worth leaving Carnival to change to Norwegian? No. I think we'll go back to Carnival, but if given the opportunity would jump right back on board Norwegian again.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We had a wonderful cruise on the Carnival Conquest. My wife an I have been on several Carnival Cruises in the past and this was our favorite. We used the Faster to the Fun option and really liked the perks of getting on and off the ship ... Read More
We had a wonderful cruise on the Carnival Conquest. My wife an I have been on several Carnival Cruises in the past and this was our favorite. We used the Faster to the Fun option and really liked the perks of getting on and off the ship quickly. it tool us less than 10 minutes to go through the entire embarkation process and get into our rooms with all out bags already delivered. Getting off the ship was even easier, we walked right off the ship at 7:15 AM and were loading our car and on the road before 8:00 AM. While on the cruise the staff was very attentive and friendly. Everyone knew our name and went the extra distance to make sure we were comfortable and had everything we wanted. The food was excellent. We ate in the Main Dinning Room all but two nights. One night we ate in The Point Steakhouse and it was excellent. The meal was prepared perfectly and the service was exceptional. We also were lucky enough to participate in the Chef's table experience on our anniversary which made it even more special. For those who are on the fence as to whether the Chef's table is worth the extra $75 PP, let me tell you it is beyond what you could hope. Sanjay, the Chef de Cuisine made this a very special night. He explained every dish in such beautiful detail it made you almost not want to eat the meal as it was like eating art. Also if you enjoy wine, the wine flows freely during the four and a half hour experience. Wear comfortable shoes because you will do quite a bit of walking on your tour of the galley. Due to the fact it was the end of may and schools were out for most of the country, we had many underage cruisers on our ship but they did not disrupt our vacation in the least. Our cruise went to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. We only had one excursion on this trip in Grand Cayman and it was fantastic. The Turtle Farm and Stingray City excursion was perfect even though it rained for part of the day. The staff and drivers were knowledgeable and entertaining. I won't go into the details of the trip but I would recommend this excursion to anyone. if I had to be honest there was only one thing we would say was a negative of this trip and that is the Main Showroom entertainment. I did not have the same issues others have written about with the digital animation during the shows, I could understand what the designers were trying to do with the electronic staging. My issue was with the vocal performances of the entertainers. They sounded as though they needed more rehearsal time. One other area I want to highlight is the Alchemy Bar. This was our favorite place to sit and have drinks (which were excellent) and talk with other guests. Adri, Tatsianna, and Brian were marvelous at keeping everyone happy and at making great drinks. They really knew the history of the drinks they made and were very good at providing this information to us. We also participated in the martini class taught by Adri and had so much fun we would do it again. All together this was the most amazing vacation and I am very sad to have to return to reality. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We have been on over twenty cruises on eight different cruise lines and are platinum members with Royal Caribbean. We are in our early sixties and very active. I am very picky when it comes to food and service on a ship, so I will not ... Read More
We have been on over twenty cruises on eight different cruise lines and are platinum members with Royal Caribbean. We are in our early sixties and very active. I am very picky when it comes to food and service on a ship, so I will not hold back. Fortunately I have very few negative comments about this cruise. The check in process was short and easy, but the young man checking us in was not very pleasant, so things got started off poorly.(one bad comment). We boarded the ship about 12:15 and had to wait until 1pm for our cabin, but that is stated in the paperwork. We had a superior balcony #8548 which was in the front of the ship. It was a great cabin with plenty of drawers and closet space. The only thing I would change next time is the location. This ship only has four elevator banks which are located far forward and far aft. Most of the action on this ship happens aft, so I would choose aft next time. If you are located by the elevator area it can be noisy. Not from the elevators, but from the Promenade area on deck five where they play music late and have street parties. It echos up through the ship. Our room steward Angel was great. We did have a problem with the toilet (one time) and with the shower (one time). The shower got stopped up and flooded the bathroom, but they fixed both immediately. They also had to fix the refrigerator. This ship is going to dry dock next year for a refit, but it still looks great with very little wear. The dinning room is beautiful and I thought the food and service was excellent and much better than many of the other lines we have been on. The only problem we had was the fact that they moved our dinner time from 6pm to 5:30pm which really rushed us in the afternoon, and left a lot of time in the evening. There is very little to do on this ship between 8pm and 9:30pm if you don't go to the show or gamble. There is some dancing between 7:15 and 8pm and then again around 9:30. We like to dance and found the dance floors to be very very small and crowded, but the music was pretty good. We did eat at Portofinos which was good, but I am not sure we would eat there again since the food in the dinning room was so good and our table mates were very nice. In fact I must say the people on this ship were some of the nicest I have ever met. The age range was probably 40 to 65, and a lot of nice southern people. We also ate at Johnny Rockets where the burgers were really good, but the charge is $4.95 for food and $6 for a shake!!! Our waitress was terrible, but we got a good laugh out of it. The ports were very good. In Cozumel we went on the Tulum beach break excursion which was very interesting. The private beach was beautiful and the lunch was great, but there is no time to shop. In Jamaica we went on the Dreamer catamaran with snorkeling and drinks. I highly recommend that excursion, it is a blast and the reef is beautiful. In Cayman we snorkeled at Edan Rock dive shop which is a short walk from the tender pier. We did that on our own and it is free if you don't have to rent equipment. For our cruise, the sea days were very long because it was to cold and windy to enjoy being outside. That is a chance you take going out of New Orleans in the winter, so be prepared to do something other than lay by the pool and be sure to take a jacket. We also spent a day and night in New Orleans, which is always a lot of fun. We stayed at the Embassy Suits, which is right by the port. You can park your car there while you cruise for $15 per day. The disembarkation was very fast and easy with no problems except we could not find our luggage in the designated spot. Right as I was about to panic, the porter suggested we look in a special area, which it happened to be in. (the tags had been torn off). Other than a few minor problem we had a great time on a really beautiful ship with great service and great food. I would highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
My husband and I returned yesterday from a fabulous 7-day cruise on Navigator of the Seas. We left from New Orleans on March 2. Embarkation was not bad - it took about 2 hours total. We stayed at the Wyndham, Riverfront, which was ... Read More
My husband and I returned yesterday from a fabulous 7-day cruise on Navigator of the Seas. We left from New Orleans on March 2. Embarkation was not bad - it took about 2 hours total. We stayed at the Wyndham, Riverfront, which was in a perfect location to get on the cruise boat, right across the street. Our room was charming, clean, and had high ceiling, but it did not include any sort of breakfast or even coffee in the morning. We paid about $150 for the room, which came to about $180 including taxes and fees. We were able to walk across the street in the morning to embark. The boat is amazing - it really is a floating town on the sea, with a promenade down the middle of the boat. The architecture and flow of the boat is amazing. It felt that someone put love and thought into the flow of the boat, so that it never felt crowded. The only exception was lunch at the Windjammer on the first day. There was always something to see or do, including putt putt, work out (great gym with free weights, numerous cardio machines overlooking the ocean, aerobics/yoga classes, sauna, and hot tub in the gym), dance, go to the festivals on the promenade, get in the hot tub or pools, and of course, eat. The cruise went to Cozumel, Falmouth, Jamaica, and Georgetown, Cayman Island. We did not do any tours while at these locations, but instead we tried to be cheap. On Cozumel, we took a taxi to Playa Mia, which our Guest Relations person on the boat said was the closest beach. The taxi cost $16 each way, and there was a $30 dollar per person entrance fee to this beach (ouch). We could have taken the tour to Playa Mia and would have come out about even. The beach was beautiful and felt safe, and they had a buffet lunch available for an additional fee. The bartender poured very heavily, which was nice, and I had my picture made holding an iguana. The only detriments were that the beach was a bit crowded and had a steep entrance fee. We were able to walk to the beach at Georgetown, which was great. Not only did we save money, but we were able to get to know the island more intimately. We ended up at a beach with the other Royal Caribbean cruisers, where we were able to get two chairs and an umbrella for $20 total. It was a gorgeous beach, and I was really happy there. At Falmouth, we got off the boat, entered into a fabricated gaited area with all sort of stores and shopping (standard tourist traps), and then ventured out beyond the gates. It was intense out there, with cops patrolling everywhere. We went around the block and came back in the gates. Next time, we'll probably do a tour, although I've done the Dunn River Falls climb before, and found it to be less than exciting. The food on the boat was fantastic. I like to eat, and the food was generally EXCELLENT. My husband and I were blown away at the quality of the food. Of course, there were a few less than excellent items here and there (and the white wine was consistently served less than chilled), but overall, the food was amazing. My favorites were the lobster served on Thursday night and the lamb shank served on Friday night. The food in the Windjammer was always excellent. I have no idea how they manage to make so much food consistently taste so great. Our interior cabin was as good as an interior cabin without a window on a boat could be. Waking up in the dark was made easier by the room service delivery. See the ice show!!!!!! It is wildly creative and fun! They kicked up the activities by the pool and on the promenade on the last two days on the boat, the days at sea. We had a blast! When we returned, we did a tour in New Orleans because we had 8 hours before our flight left. It was great - very worthwhile. I recommend it. Overall, this was a wonderful cruise, and I wish I were back on the Navigator of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013

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