188 New Orleans Romantic Cruise Reviews

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
After cruise #4 we're still loyal to the Royal! The Port of New Orleans is wonderful. We've sailed out of Miami, Tampa, and New Jersey and this was the fastest and easiest. Clean, nice looking, efficient, & friendly port ... Read More
After cruise #4 we're still loyal to the Royal! The Port of New Orleans is wonderful. We've sailed out of Miami, Tampa, and New Jersey and this was the fastest and easiest. Clean, nice looking, efficient, & friendly port staff. Also, porters weren't NEARLY as pushy about taking our luggage as they have been in other ports. We arrived at 10 and were on the ship by 10:45. It's a large port - we left out of Julia Street, #2. Do your homework before you drive there. When we arrived at 10, cruisers were still disembarking from the previous cruise, so we asked a port employee when we could expect them to start to allow us on. She told us to go shopping across the street at the RiverWalk! Luckily we knew not to do that, and soon enough they called for us. Very nice to have a separate desk for suite and C&A guests. Cookies and water for all while we waited. Security and x-ray scanning while getting on board was a breeze - they didn't say a word about our 2 bottles of wine. Even though this is allowed now we figured they'd be a lot more stringent about counting them and making sure you're following the policy, but it was easy! Navigator is beautiful. Yes, she's due for some upgrades, but that doesn't mean she's not a beautiful ship. They see 3000 people every week, so she's bound to have some wear. Loved the decor - beautiful opera & dance art work! - We had the 5 bottle wine package and free drinks in the concierge lounge from 5-8:30. Because of that we only spent a total of about $250 on alcohol over 7 nights. As in the past, most cocktails were priced between $6.75 and $9. The liquor package would have been a waste for us, based on those factors. - Solarium rules WERE enforced - it was a LOT more peaceful than last time we cruised - Windjammer had a crayfish bar going out of NOLA! - Ricardo Mock is a WONDERFUL concierge. Great cappuccino/coffee machine in the lounge. We've changed to an 8:30 dinner time from now on so we can spend a few hours in the lounge drinking! - Spa is great, as always. Loved the Couples Massage and the Rasul (1-hour steam room, salt scrub, seaweed wrap, etc.) for couples to do together, unsupervised). BOOK YOUR APPOINTMENT RIGHT AWAY. At-sea days fill up instantly. - Beautiful fitness center - just as nice as the Y at home. Free weights, machines, elliptical, treadmill, space to stretch, etc. - Chops and Portofinos ARE worth the extra money. The food is delicious, the staff are thoughtful, and it's very romantic and peaceful. - The Mystery Dinner is fun! Kind of cliche, but cute, good food, and fun camaraderie with the rest of your team. - We changed an excursion at the last minute - the staff at guest services was more than happy to refund us for the first excursion and book us on a new one. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Where to start? Well, we spent two weeks on the Star; two cruises back to back. The main theater shows featured seven (7) main singers. The most I've ever seen on any ship. This was my 49th and 50th cruise overall, so I'm not ... Read More
Where to start? Well, we spent two weeks on the Star; two cruises back to back. The main theater shows featured seven (7) main singers. The most I've ever seen on any ship. This was my 49th and 50th cruise overall, so I'm not easily impressed. The food was fantastic and my wife is Gluten free and she was well cared for in her diet needs. We enjoyed three of the seven specialty restaurants and were all outstanding. In Jan of 2013 we sailed on the Carnival Magic followed by the Mariner of the Seas. Two weeks later we are on the Norwegian Star. The Magic and Mariner were both fun and offered great food and entertainment and were much larger ships by comparison. But the Norwegian Star was much more fun and entertaining. One of my favorite cruise bands of any cruise ship was aboard the Star. Exotique! I first experienced Exotique on a Princess ship in 2008 and they quickly became my favorite band. They play Motown and all the great hits you love to dance to. If they don't get your feet moving, you're probably dead. The shows on the Norwegian Star were very Entertaining. My favorite "Elements" followed by "Band on the Run" are very well done. First rate singing and dancing. Just to let you know, I'm a fan of "So you think you can dance" and "The Voice" so I know what good dancing and singing is. Plus, I too can keep a beat and my favorite music is "to 40 POP". Sean, the Hotel Director runs a very happy ship. I guess this is why the service is excellent. I had the priviledge of getting the opportunity of talking to Sean and told him what a wonderful job he was doing and that my wife and I were having a great time. Kyle Dodson the cruise director is the best I've ever seen. He is really an excellent entertainer. He is witty, personable and very friendly. He is also a very good singer as he sang in the Lattitudes party. My wife and I are very friendly, outgoing and polite. So we participate in everything. We were on a fist name basis with many of the staff and they treated us like VIPs. Not that we are, we stayed in an Inside cabin and are not big spenders. My wife sleeps late and I wake early. So I love to spend my morning in the Blue Lagoon. I guess it's one of the best kept secrets aboard the ship as it was not crowded. If you sail on the Star, you need the know the Blue Lagoon if free. Hence, my attendance. The service is excellent and Charlotte, Oswaldo and Wilson will take great care of you. Shout out to Constancio for outstanding service. Thanks. Cruising secret. If you go to Belize, check out Pharmacy Express for ultra cheap prescriptions. P.S. My wife and I are booked for 51 days in 2014 on the Star. That's how much we loved this ship and it's crew. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
This was my first cruise on a non-Fantasy class ship with Carnival, and both my husband and I are impressed with the Carnival 2.0 upgrades done aboard the Conquest. The ship looked and felt almost brand new, which only added to the element ... Read More
This was my first cruise on a non-Fantasy class ship with Carnival, and both my husband and I are impressed with the Carnival 2.0 upgrades done aboard the Conquest. The ship looked and felt almost brand new, which only added to the element of luxury already present with the ship's French Impressionist themed decor. Everything from the cabins to the pool decks to the dining rooms was simply lovely. Although, from what I understand, our Cruise's itinerary was uncommon for the Carnival Conquest, we cannot wait to cruise aboard the Conquest again, regardless of her destinations! EMBARKATION: We sailed out of New Orleans, and we just love the updated ease of this terminal. We flew into New Orleans the day before our sailing and spent the evening enjoying the hospitality of the city. The next morning after a mandatory breakfast of chicory coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde, we took a quick taxi ride from our hotel, the Intercontinental, to the terminal. We arrived just before noon, quickly made our way through the check-in and boarding lines, and soon found ourselves on-ship. THE STATEROOM: Our stateroom was ready by 12:30pm. Imagine our delighted surprise when we walked in and discovered that the normal, ocean-view staterooms on the Conquest are easily the equivalent of the balcony suites on the Carnival Fascination, only without the actual balcony itself. We had an unaccustomed amount of space for a Riviera deck stateroom! Both sides of the bed had its own end-table and lamp, the couch was both comfy and spacious, the coffee table was mobile and non-intrusive, and we still had 3 full closets, extra drawers and storage space, a flat-screen television, a mini-refrigerator, and lots of mirrors. I thought the bathroom was especially well-designed on the Conquest because it has actual vanity space with extra shelves extending up the sides of the mirror, and the head is located just outside the shower in an ideal location to provide an easy prop for ladies when shaving our legs. The only drawback I found about the stateroom was a very minor one. The hairdryer is perm-attached into the top drawer of the bureau, and since it is a coiled cord hairdryer, those with long hair may have difficulty stretching it far enough to reach. THE SHIP: After boarding and dropping our carry-on bags in the room, we made our way upstairs. We were immediately surprised at the lack of lines we found in general on-board the ship, and this fortunately continued throughout the week. While our sailing was not at capacity, I would estimate we had between 85%-90% capacity and yet we spent very little time waiting in a line of any sort on-board. All public areas of the ship were kept immaculately clean during our entire cruise. This, coupled with the lovely decor of the ship, made an otherwise average cruise feel even more luxurious. Both my husband and I loved the understated elegance of the French Impressionist theme as compared to some of the more garish decors of the Fantasy-class ships. We even spent a good part of our week debating the names and artists from our art appreciation classes in college for all of the beautiful painting reproductions scattered throughout the decor on-board! Our itinerary included three fun days at sea, and my husband and I spent the majority of those days parked on lounge-chairs by the main pool on the Lido deck. We LOVED the addition of the large-screen by the pool and the theater-style seating around the pool. These allowed for much more interaction with the guests and the pool-side entertainment. We thoroughly enjoyed The Morning Show each morning with the Cruise Director and Asst. Cruise Director, Gary and George. Despite being "adults", we spent an inordinate amount of time perfecting our runs down the twisty-twirly slide on the Lido deck and naturally judging other "adults" on their slide runs. Although our weather was so nice that we never had to take advantage of it, we loved that the aft pool deck had a retractable roof. We found the pool-area's design to be far superior to any other ship we'd been aboard. We found the entertainment areas to be nicely upgraded as well. The Toulouse Lautrec theater was enormous with surprisingly comfy seating. The lobby was especially well-designed to that it became an excellent entertainment venue as well. With the exception of the smoke wafting out from the casino, the Promenade was a delight to walk and browse and shop. Unfortunately, we did not make it to the Comedy Club, but we heard it was quite nice. I did like that there weren't an over-abundance of night clubs on-board because the large number on other ships usually splits the crowd so much that no place ever seems to have a good group out dancing. ALCHEMY BAR: Our single most favorite aspect of the new Conquest design though was the Alchemy Bar. I cannot speak highly enough about just how much we enjoyed our time spent there, and I certainly cannot categorize it to just Ship or Activities or Entertainment or Ambiance because it was all of these and more! Making the Alchemy Bar even better is the crowd that it draws. Its location is prime, and the drinks/service/show put on by Adri, Brian, and Izabella are so enticing that many who stop by while wandering the Promenade are apt to stay and mingle. We met many, many of the nicest people we've met on any cruise while having a drink at the Alchemy Bar. We wandered by our first day aboard, and after giving Adri a brief description of the types of tastes that I and my husband prefer, we soon learned that Adri is a cross between a magician and a mind-reader. Do not make the mistake of thinking this is your average martini bar where you sit down, order a drink, and merely enjoy a nice cocktail. Sure, you could do that if what you want, but doing so would be a waste of of the Alchemy Bar's special je ne sais quoi and certainly of Adri's talent. She brings the delightful palate of a discriminating chef to the art of cocktail making, so trust me when I tell you to let Adri have her way with you - just give her a brief description of your tastes and then let HER tell YOU what you want! If you enjoy a nice cocktail every once in a while, you will not be disappointed in a sojourn at the Alchemy Bar. DINING: Both my husband and I found the food aboard the Conquest to be better than Carnival's normal fare. Included in the 2.0 upgrade were Guy's Burger Joint and the Blue Iguana Cantina, and both were well worth their advertisement. We found ourselves spending very little time in the Cezanne dining room for buffet dining, other than the occasional slice of pizza. Instead, we'd have an early brunch in the Renoir dining room where the Huevos Rancheros was spectacular, a late lunch at either Guy's or the Blue Iguana, early evening sushi in the Cezanne dining room, and late evening dinner in the Monet dining room. While my husband preferred the burgers from Guy's, which were quite tasty, I personally tended towards the burrito bar from the Blue Iguana because the burritos were simply delicious plus I could name my ingredients, which means I could have a surprisingly healthy lunch. We were disappointed to discover that the Conquest no longer has a sushi bar in the early evenings; however, most nights there were a few sushi selections available from the Cezanne dining room. For the days in port, the ship served their typical seated breakfast fare instead of the brunch. The Conquest does have a The Point steak house, and we would highly recommend this for at least one night of your cruise. The price is only $35/person, but the meal is easily equivalent to a $200+ dinner at one of the top echelon steak houses here in Atlanta. The portion sizes at the steak house are enormous though, so come with your appetite intact! All in all, we are happy to report that we found the dining experience aboard the Conquest to be a cut above our previous Carnival cruises. ACTIVITIES AND ENTERTAINMENT: My husband and I don't typically engage in too many of the on-board activities when we cruise beyond jumping into a few of the trivia contests. Given the large monitor and the theater seating design at the Lido deck's main pool though, we found ourselves spectating far more activities than we ever had previously, which we enjoyed immensely. The DJ mixing by the pool leaned too heavily into pop, R&B, and country, but he did play the occasional rock song when asked. Each afternoon also brought a live "guy and his guitar" style performance, which we also really enjoyed. We did attend a performance of The Brits one evening. We found it to be a somewhat lackluster performance, but we did hear from several other passengers that the Divas performance was very good. SERVICE: In all areas except one, the on-board service was stellar. When eating brunch in the Renoir dining room on fun day at sea days, we strongly recommend that you request be be seated downstairs. Apparently the service upstairs during the brunch is done a la carte so you can easily find yourself waiting 45+ minutes for your breakfast to arrive. The server was extremely apologetic about the delay, and when we requested downstairs seating the next day, we did not experience the same problem. That was the only service downfall we experienced on the entire cruise though. In all other areas, the staff was extremely attentive, friendly and very quick with their service. One thing we found odd on this cruise as opposed to previous cruises was that we had a "stealth" room-porter. Our room was perfectly serviced, but whereas our porter is usually ever-present and ready with friendly interaction, on this cruise, we rarely saw our room porter. He was there the moment we called if we needed something, and he learned our likes and proclivities quickly and readily indulged them for us, we just didn't see him very much. Again though, he did do an excellent job. PORTS AND SHORE EXCURSIONS: This cruise was my reward for getting my dive certification, so it was chosen primarily on the merits of the diving offered at the ports of call. We dove with the ship in Roatan, Honduras, and we dove off ship in Belize. We chose not to dive in Cozumel. For the dive in Honduras, we purchased the ship-sponsored, 2-tank certified dive excursion. The muster point was a short walk from the pier, and once we completed the necessary paperwork, we were escorted to small buses for the drive to Anthony's Key for our dive. Each bus carried about 20-25 passengers, and the trip to Anthony's Key took about a half hour. Once at Anthony's Key, the dive masters took you directly to your dive boat. There were about 20 divers per boat, and the boats did seem to be in excellent repair. The dive masters took care of gathering and assembling all of our equipment for us, which was nice, and the dive outfit itself had very nice facilities. The dive masters did not query anyone about their amount of diving experience, though, and since this was my first ocean dive and I did not know enough to volunteer that information to the dive master, my first dive proved to be extremely challenging and could have ended very poorly if not for the intervention of the dive masters, Louis and Ben. The boat ride to the dive site was only about 2 minutes. The weather was rainy and very windy, so the water was quite choppy with 6'-8' swells. Because there were so many of us on the dive boat, we were somewhat rushed off of the boat so that no one wasted their air waiting on such a large group to enter the water. I was sent off the boat with my snorkel still in my mouth and without having a chance to test my BCD or my weights. Unfortunately, I took in a large lung-full of salt water, could not locate my regulator, was unable to inflate my BCD, and began panicking in an effort to keep my head above water in the large swells. Fortunately, the Louis spotted me after about 5 minutes and swam out to me to find out what was wrong. When I explained my issues, he attempted to calm me down by telling me "don't worry, you've done this many times before." When I responded that this was my first ocean dive, he was visibly shocked and said they should have been told. He then did a fantastic job of calming me down, getting my BCD inflated, getting my regulator into my mouth, and towing me back to the drop site because the current had taken me so far away from the others. The first dive was to 80', and the visibility was very good. We saw quite a bit of wild life, and even saw a baby sea turtle who was too small to know any better and kept swimming up to all of the divers to check them out! Unfortunately for me, my hyperventilating had caused me to blow through my air supply, so when Ben asked for the first air check at the expected 1,500 PSI mark, I discovered that I only had less than 300 PSI left in my tank. Since 700 PSI is what was needed to get me back to the surface including my safety stop time, we went straight to Ben and showed him my air gauge when he seemed to misread my air supply report. When he saw how little air I had left, he immediately gave me his secondary regulator, and buddy-breathed me up to the safety stop. Once at the safety stop, he switched me over to buddy-breathing with my husband's secondary regulator, gave us instructions for how long to stay at 15', and went back to take care of the rest of the group and get them back to the dive boat. We did make it back to the surface without any further issues. We went back to the dock for our surface interval, then after another 2 minute boat ride, we arrived at our second dive site. Fortunately, this dive went far better than the first, although the water was still extremely choppy due to the weather. The second dive was to be over a wreck then around across the reef and back up. Although the equipment seemed nice and in very good repair, we discovered on my second dive that my depth gauge did not work. The dive was only supposed to be to 60', but since they sent me in as the third diver so I could get my bearings, my husband caught me at about 85', yanked me back up to 60', and when he tried to show me my depth faux pas, realized that my depth gauge was broken. The dive masters kept a closer reign on me for this dive, and although there were no further issues, I did blow my tank before the rest of the group again and had to surface about 5 minutes before everyone else. The dive masters took very good care of me once they discovered I was a novice diver, but I would strongly recommend to anyone else taking this excursion that you make them aware of your dive experience if you are less than an expert, experienced diver. In Belize, the ship is too large to dock, so expect a fairly long tinder to shore - about 30 minutes. For our Belize dive, we dove with an off-ship company because of their extremely high recommendations on the PADI site, Sea Sports Belize. Belize is where I fell in love with diving. While I had read that Belize has the best diving in the Western Hemisphere. experiencing this for yourself is very different. The diving in Belize was spectacular! It was like diving in an aquarium. The weather was sunny and very windy, so the swells were 6'-8' like they were in Honduras the day before. Underwater though, the reef and the colors and the abundance of sea life were stunning. The dive experience with Sea Sports Belize was amazing as well. If you are a diver and you get the chance, DO NOT miss diving Belize, especially with Sea Sports Belize as your guide! For our Cozumel stop, my husband and I elected to be tourists for the day. We'd been to Cozumel back in April with his two sons (9 and 13), and we'd run the Amazing Cozumel Race, which is far and away the best ship-sponsored excursion I've ever done. For this trip, we walked around, shopped, drank cold beers along the way and visited many of the sites and attractions that we'd blown by running the Amazing Cozumel Race. Cozumel is a very tourist-friendly town, and its downtown boardwalk is a fun place to spend a nice, lazy day. DISEMBARKATION: We were slated for the last group to disembark the ship, so we thought we'd sleep late the last morning of the cruise. What we did not know is that you're awakened and asked to vacate your room several hours before your actual disembarkation time. Our room porter was exceedingly patient with us though, once we explained our misunderstanding, so we gathered our remaining things with undue haste, vacated our room, and gathered in the Toulouse Lautrek theater to await our groups disembarkation time. Despite being in the last group, the disembarkation process only took about an hour, which speaks to the relative efficiency of the terminal. SUMMARY: In our opinion, the new Conquest 2.0 upgrade was well worth it as this was our best cruise experience thus far. When we get the chance, we will definitely book another cruise on this ship. Some of the things I'm already looking forward to on my next Conquest cruise are: lounging by the big screen on the Lido deck's main pool, the Huevos Rancheros for brunch, the Blue Iguana burrito bar, a special night at The Point, and definitely, definitely, definitely the Alchemy Bar! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Spent 7 nights on the Carnival Conquest out of New Orleans. It was not my first Carnival Cruise. Conquest was a nice ship, but also not my favorite Carnival ship. I have a soft spot for the Holiday (retired) but I liked the Carnival ... Read More
Spent 7 nights on the Carnival Conquest out of New Orleans. It was not my first Carnival Cruise. Conquest was a nice ship, but also not my favorite Carnival ship. I have a soft spot for the Holiday (retired) but I liked the Carnival Triumph (also taken out of New Orleans in 2011) better than the Conquest. The embarkation and debarkation from Port of New Orleans is terrific. No problems there! No problems with the Conquest either...not really. We found some really friendly cruise employees--and we found those who were not so friendly. Our cabin steward (all cabin stewards on Carnival are great) was very friendly. Edward, bartender at the Sun Pool bar, was VERY friendly. We bought into the "CHEERS" program (which on the website makes it sound like drinks are unlimited but they are NOT---they are limited to 15 per day--sounds like a lot but they WILL cut you off after 15!) Overall, we did OK with the program, though I would normally drink beer but in the program drank a lot of Grey Goose vodka and other higher-end drinks.. The worst part was that soft drinks were purported to be unlimited with the Cheers program but a casino bartender acted like he was doing me a favor when, after hitting 15, I asked for a Diet Coke. I got it but he acted like I should know better. The aforementioned Edward told me that casino bartender-guy was wrong. I heard someone else grumble about the casino bartenders not wanting to give him a Diet Coke after he hit his 15. Our cabin (8418) was in close proximity to the Lido Deck...but we heard the "bing bing bing" of the elevator all the time while trying to sleep. Not to blame Carnival, but other cruisers are NOT mindful of the "Snoozing" sign on our door and seemed to congregate outside it, talking loudly. I wanted to go outside and ask where their room was so I could stand outside it, talking loudly, while they were trying to sleep! Guy's Hamburgers are very delicious as are the burritos from the Blue Iguana Cantina. The deli sandwiches we had were also very good. Our time in Jamaica was fun as was our time in Grand Cayman. The trip from Grand Cayman to Cozumel was very choppy and several shore excursions were cancelled (we had none planned) due to the conditions. Again, certainly not Carnival's fault. Overall, a GREAT trip and MUCH MUCH better than home and work. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We are first time cruisers that decided to go on our first cruise for our 30th wedding anniversary to the Western Caribbean embarking from New Orleans We booked 8 months in advance and I spent A LOT of time on the internet researching ... Read More
We are first time cruisers that decided to go on our first cruise for our 30th wedding anniversary to the Western Caribbean embarking from New Orleans We booked 8 months in advance and I spent A LOT of time on the internet researching "how to" cruise, excursions and NCL. I was excited and also a little nervous about getting things right from packing to tendering and tipping. I must say that we had an amazing experience. NCL made everything so easy and were so accommodating that our worries vanished as soon as we entered our state room. Here are some of our experiences: Embarkation: Best advice we got came from a local port authority policeman when we were checking out the dock a day in advance of boarding. He told us to come early (9am) and leave our bags and then enjoy NOLA for the day and then board about 2:00 pm. We took the advice and were in our stateroom w/in 25 minutes of entering the port and it was a hassle free boarding. Stateroom: We booked a balcony stateroom on the advice of our travel agent and were not disappointed!! Our Staeroom was 9032 and was truly lovely. Had plenty of room, lots of storage (loved packing cubes for keeping everything organized) and our room steward Joel was terrific!! Best advice: Take a cheap over the door shoe organizer to hold all your small items like cameras, Key cards, bathroom items- best investment of the trip. Kept everything neat and organized and right at our fingertips!! Food: We had read a lot about the food being only ok on the Star and maybe we had low expectations,( or are not super picky), but we really enjoyed our meals. There is SO MUCH food available for so many different tastes, that it is really hard to imagine not being able to find something you want to eat! My husband loved to order room service whenever he wanted and bought a drink/ juice card because he loves tomato juice. The bar staff soon recognized him as the tomato juice king as he was the only person ordering it without alcohol. If there was weakness in the food, I would say desserts were not as good as the rest of the food. Best Advice: Try one specialty restaurant if you can afford it. We ate at Cagney's to celebrate our Anniversary and it was a real highlight of our trip. We had an amazing experience with the wait staff who truly went out of their way to make it a special occasion. From singing to us, to a complimentary anniversary dessert, picture taking and absolutely the best dining service and food we ate on the ship it was a stellar experience. On board Activities: Lots to do and see with something for everyone. We saw most of the shows and thought they were pretty good. We danced at the Spinnaker Lounge and had a great time at the White Hot Night. We also enjoyed the International Talent show put on by the crew because it was so cute and the "Fountains" act at the end of the show as HILARIOUS. Ports: Loved all the ports and had a great time at each one. Loved the different flavors of the countries and the weather was fab. Excursions: We did 4 excursions and did not book any of them through the cruise ship on the recommendations of friends who had cruised before. We saved A LOT of money doing it this way and had nothing bur GREAT experiences with the tours. Best Advice: If you are not on an NCL tour for Roatan get up EARLY - like 6:45 and get the early bird tendering tickets so you can get to your excursion on time. We had to leave the boat by 8 am in order to make our tour and would have missed it if we had been late to get the tendering ticket. Debarkation: We chose self debarkation and walked our bags off about 8:30 am. There was a wait in line for about 15 minutes ( which more experienced cruisers said was very unusual) when we first got off the ship. We later found out immigration officials had had drug sniffing dogs out looking for something and that was our holdup, but once we got past that, things went very smoothly and we were out of the port with in about 20 minutes. Overall we had a wonderful experience on NCL. We loved the free style dining, thought the NCL staff very kind,courteous and FRIENDLY! We loved the ports and our excursions an truly had an EXCELLENT experience. We can't wait to cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We picked this cruise to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary; we were married onboard Enchantment of the Seas 12/15/07. Decided to sail on Navigator because she was sailing out of New Orleans, which allowed us to drive down from ... Read More
We picked this cruise to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary; we were married onboard Enchantment of the Seas 12/15/07. Decided to sail on Navigator because she was sailing out of New Orleans, which allowed us to drive down from Missouri. The drive was not bad, split up into a couple of days. Stayed at Springhill Suites by Marriott in NOLA the night before the cruise (rate $80 by using hotwire.com). Parked at Fulton Place Parking Garage for $12/day, which was walking distance to hotel. So, parked at the garage when we arrived on Friday and there was a little confusion with trying to locate the parking garage office but finally figured it out. Ate dinner at Cochon which was just a few blocks from the hotel. Saturday morning walked over to Riverwalk to see the sites and view the ship as it was too early to go to the pier for pre-boarding process. Around 11am made our way back to the parking garage to catch the shuttle to the pier. Upon arrival, our check-in process went pretty quick and we were onboard eating lunch at Windjammer by noon. Got to our stateroom at 1 and at 1:30 our luggage was delivered, quickest delivery ever! Many of our dinner mates told stories about delays at the pier and still hadn't received their luggage by 6pm. I think our key to success was arriving around 11:30, later than the early birds but earlier than the later arrivals so it worked well for us. This is the largest ship we have been on and it was at first overwhelming. But thanks to the maps near the elevators we were able to "navigate" Navigator fairly easy. I thought it was comical that the carpet in the elevators had the day of the week on it, until around Tuesday when I was thankful to know which day it was. Afterall, every day is Saturday when you are on vacation! Our stateroom attendant, Russell, was great! We requested an ice bucket and every day he filled it with ice during the day and at night. When he was out and about and saw us walking toward the cabin, he had his key ready and opened the door for us - so helpful! Only ate in the main dining room the first two nights, then ate at windjammer, Johnny Rockets, and Chops on the other nights. Pre-paid gratuities so didn't have to worry about handing out the envelopes on the last night. Had room service delivered (free!) every morning, just coffee, oj, and milk. This is a great service and we tipped the delivery person a few bucks each morning. I really miss that coffee delivery, it was great to wake up & have some coffee while getting ready for the day. Then, had real breakfast at windjammer a little later in the morning. One afternoon we had lunch in the dining room, they have a fantastic little salad bar where you pick the ingredients and they mix your salad for you. So good. Other days we had lunch in the windjammer, Johnny Rockets, and/or on shore while in port. We registered for the meet & mingle in advance and participated in the roll call threads prior to the cruise. Met a great, fun couple at meet & mingle that we ended up hanging out with throughout the week, and we feel we have made friends for life! Falmouth, Jamaica - the pier area was nice and we took excursion to Red Stripe Beach ($24 per person). Nice beach area but the drive there shows a bit of the real Jamaica. The staff we encountered at the pier and during the excursion to the beach were super nice. I would not, however, feel safe just out and about walking around the town. The pier area is a gated, guarded compound as was the beach area. Grand Cayman - fantastic! On one of our previous cruises the port call was cancelled due to rough seas (can't tender if waves are too rough) so I was so excited to finally make it onshore at the cayman's. We met another couple during the meet & mingle on Day 2, so the four of us decided to get together and hire a driver to show us the island for the afternoon. Saw some great sites, stopped at the rum cake factory for rum cakes & rum, as well as the brewery for a beer. Ate lunch at a restaurant just outside the pier area before getting back on the ship. Stopped at Margaritaville for some t-shirts. Cozumel - our new friends that we met at meet & mingle told us about Nachi Cocom, a private beach club that costs around $55 per person for the day. All-inclusive drinks & food, it was a bargain. You don't reserve Nachi Cocom onboard the ship though, you have to reserve online before you arrive. Our friends added our reservation for us the day before, once we arrive at Grand Cayman. Took a cab to the beach club, taxi cost was $15 each way for our group of 4. Upon arrival to Nachi Cocom, drinks were ordered and delivered to our spot often. We rented one of those large rafts that's tethered in the water just off the beach for $40 for the day. Had a fantastic authentic Mexican lunch, also included in the daily fee. Try the dirty monkey drink if you visit Nachi Cocom, it's similar to a mudslide. Drank way too much but didn't have to drive so all was good. Took taxi back to the pier and our new friends did some jewelry shopping while we went back to the ship. All in all, this was a great cruise on Navigator. Would definitely sail again from NOLA on this ship or any other ship from that port, as it is an easy drive from our home in Missouri. Will still consider Florida sailings as well though. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
First thing I want to mention is how incredible the crew was considering the ship had norovirus present, the cruise before us has over 100 cases, the virus was all but gone when we disembarked. We had to board late due to sanitizing the ... Read More
First thing I want to mention is how incredible the crew was considering the ship had norovirus present, the cruise before us has over 100 cases, the virus was all but gone when we disembarked. We had to board late due to sanitizing the ship but that was a minor inconvenience. We were a party of 4, in two staterooms and none of us caught the bug. :) Yeah! Royal Caribbean notified us of the virus before we left for the port and that there was a delay boarding. They were professional and everything was super clean. Us two couples travel together cruising and on land and we had a great time. We drove to the port and spent one night in New Orleans, boarding was late but efficient considering the extra precautions due to Norovirus. The windjammer was not open at the time of boarding which I thought was poor planning. They opened the windjammer (buffet dining) at 2:00 which meant everyone was on board and very hungry. Norovirus on board meant that they had to serve us in the buffet lines and the biggest problem was rude inpatient cruisers. We were all in the same boat (so to speak) and they had plenty food, people were just impatient, these people complained and were impatient the entire cruise, even though the Captain and crew were working hard to keep us all healthy. I had no complaints except chapped hands from an allergic reaction to hand sanitizer. Food was good but not great, I found it was not as good as our first cruise on Navigator of the seas in 09. NOS Captain was highly concerned about the virus and it was handled well. The port of New Orleans is nice for the New Orleans experience. The port itself was like navigating through a maze. Navigator is in the voyager class, has plenty to offer- multiple pools one of them an adults only pool with large hot tubs in the area, spa, beautiful 3 level dinning room, casino,clubs, and 24 hour cookie and snack shop on the Royal Pramenade. I had heard there are no quiet spots on mega ships, not true, there are numerous seating areas you can quietly sit back and relax. We found one next to the sky bar and played cards when we had extra time or wanted to unwind, just the 4 of us. We also had our private balconies. Our cabins we were on deck 8, room 8603, balcony room, great clean room, comfortable bed and quiet location. We were around the corner from the elevators but had no noise from that,we have booked same general area and we will continue to book this area, close to elevators and the internet cafe. I did not pack my own computer but enjoyed a few minutes to check on my family back home from the internet cafe. Speaking of internet is is slow, all ships have slow internet, you just expect that from a ship internet. The entertainment was a comedian who was very good his name is Scott Record but and an Elvis impersonator, he was talented guy but I do not enjoy a tall skinny Elvis as my headliner entertainment. The ship crew shows were OK, usual show for RCI. We always do the Ice Show, which is excellent, Love and Marriage show (always a blast) and the QUEST!!! A MUST SEE! (for adults ONLY!) There are two formal nights on the 7 night cruise, some still wear Tuxedos and Gowns, I prefer a nice cocktail dress. Our ports were Falmouth Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, and Cozumel. Falmouth is still a port being developed and there is not that much do to there. Grand Cayman is beautiful and rich, which is why it stands out from other islands. Cozumel is typical tourist local with plenty to offer. We docked at Falmouth and Cozumel and had to tender to Grand Cayman. The tendering process was easy even though we were doing it during a storm. No problems at the ports getting on or off the ship. The Navigator is showing her age a little bit, I believe she is on the list to be refurbished, I think this was more apparent since we were just on a newer larger ship 6 months before this cruise. I would recommend this ship for a family, couple, or group of friends who want an affordable enjoyable week away in the beautiful Blue Caribbean Sea or Gulf of Mexico. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Embarking was HORRIBLE- parking directions from Royal Caribbean were wrong, then parking filled up. Traffic getting to parking was horrible. We walked in the doors of the terminal at 2 p.m. becuase RCI sent an email saying not to come ... Read More
Embarking was HORRIBLE- parking directions from Royal Caribbean were wrong, then parking filled up. Traffic getting to parking was horrible. We walked in the doors of the terminal at 2 p.m. becuase RCI sent an email saying not to come before 1:30 p.m. We waited 60 minutes in long line to get up to security which really wasn't that bad because the line was moving pretty frequently. But the real kicker was waiting ANOTHER 90 minutes in the security line after they split us from the main line and into one of five security lines. Our line just didn't move. Other people walked into the terminal building and right through security because they were directed to another line. We were just unlucky and the security personnel seemed oblivious to the problem. Because we were one of the final few to board the ship, it was pure chaos on the deck because people were mingling about after the security drill and no one provided us any direction as to what to do or where to go once we stepped aboard. We were so worn out by the process we skipped formal dinner, grabbed a bite in the Windjammer (yummy) and spent the evening settling in to our cabin. The rest of the cruise was wonderful, thank goodness. We were especially pleased with our cabin overlooking the Promenade. It would not be good for those who want to fall asleep early, though, as the sound from the evening's entertainment was pretty audible in our cabin. The upside was we could watch the parades and entertainment from our room. We were quite pleased with the wide variety of activities and entertainment on the ship. And the cruise director (Jimmy) and Activities Manager (Tom) and their staff were highly entertaining. Our first two days aboard were at sea and we were never at a loss of something to do. The ship was large, but not so large that you couldn't get to where you needed to be relatively quickly (if you didn't mind taking the stairs.) Main dining room was good, particularly at dinner. Though we were a little surprised to be seated with a large party of 10, seeing as it was just me and my husband. We figured they would sit us with other couples or smaller parties. Oh well, we had a great time. We did eat lunch one time in the main dining room and decided it was too slow of service and the food was not any better than the Windjammer Cafe. Windjammer Cafe had a lot of variety including plenty of healthy options and plenty of comfort food and sweets. The only downside was going during peak times meant it could be difficult to find the type of seat we preferred and the buffet lines could be a bit chaotic at times. We signed up for the Murder Mystery party in Portofino (specialty restaurant.) Well worth the $$$. Tons of fun and great menu! We were warned about Jamaica so we didn't have high expectations. Turned out to be our favorite port. We went on horseback ride and climbed Dunn River Falls through Yardie Tours which we booked through Cruises Only's Marriot Rewards web site. Grand Cayman was gorgeous - we did stingray city plus 2 snorkle stops with Captain Marvin's tours. Cozumel we took advise from Trip Advisor and hired a private taxi driver for the day who gave us a great tour of the island including a tour of a small chocolate factory and a tequila tour/tasting. Turned out to be an expensive day because we bought jewelry, chocolate, and tequila in addition to paying for 5 hours of a private taxi but it was nice to get out of the crowds. We look forward to our next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
This was a surprise wedding anniversary for my parents, although they thought is was a family vacation. Big Surprise.....more like Shock!...LOL We were a group of 18. I use to live in Metairie and I hadn't been back to Naw'lins ... Read More
This was a surprise wedding anniversary for my parents, although they thought is was a family vacation. Big Surprise.....more like Shock!...LOL We were a group of 18. I use to live in Metairie and I hadn't been back to Naw'lins since Katrina so this was bittersweet for me. Many in the group had not been to Naw'lins before, so this was a party that started on Thursday,for some, Friday and Saturday arrival for others. Conquest sailed on Sunday,28 October 2012. We booked the Embassy Suites on Julia Street for pre and post cruise accommodations. The hotel is old. but clean and comfortable and within walking distance to anywhere you want to go in the Quarter and the ship terminal. The Riverwalk Mall is scheduled for renovation,so there's not many stores open. For those of you who have never been to Naw'lins before, let me introduce you to my city.....looking for places to eat.....Mulate,Grand Isle,and Ernest are located around the corner from Embassy Suites. Acme Oyster Bar, Red Fish Grill, Drego,(the best smoked oysters you've ever eaten). My personal favorite,Pralin Connection on Frenchman Street. Po'Boy and Muffulettas, messy but good (Central Grocery,) on Decatur Street. The BEST coffee is NOT Starbuck or Cafe Du Monde, but Community...yes,that's the name. There is a grocery store on Julia Street approximately six blocks from Embassy Suites. If you stay at this hotel, turn right as you leave the hotel entrance and keep walking. Everything else turn left. For those of you who can't do without Wal-Mart,and you don't have a car,take the number 10 Tchoupitoulas bus. The embarkment was easy and quick. We were late leaving, 6pm, because there were so many bags. No problem, the cabins were ready as soon as we boarded, food was hot and plentiful, and the bars were open. I had an aft cabin , which I love, and the party steam boats came close enough while we were docked that we could party with them, listen to their music, wave and have a seriously good time. I didn't hear anyone complain about the delay. The food was excellent EVERY night and the Point Steak House is a MUST. It's worth the money. Our wait staff, Monet Dining Room, was a hoot. Made(Ma Dee) and his team were the best. We had so much fun with them and Made is a great dancer. For a change of pace, some of us went to the Renoir Dining room for breakfast and the Punchline Comedy Brunch also in the Renoir. The "Tea Party held on sea days was a disappointment. Nothing like I experienced on Celebrity. Their tea is very posh and worth the 25 dollars. White tie and tails, white glove silver service, bone china and live classical music. Compared to Celebrity Carnival's Chocolate Buffet was pitiful and sad Celebrity's presentation,tablescapes and ice carvings took your breath away. Unbelievable!!! In Jamaica we went with an independent tour company knowjamaica.com. If you want to get away from the usual knowjamacia is a must. The tours can be customized to you needs and interest. You actually get to experience local foods language and customs. Wednesday is traditionally market day. Rose Hall Plantation is a Must see. Annie Palmer was a real piece of work. Marva Shaw and her son Javia take you on a journey most tourist don't experience. They are the best. I HIGHLY recommend them. You won't be disappointed. FYI don't but liquor in Grand Cayman. Carnival may or may not accept deliveries from the local merchants, but that's another story. One of my favorite eateries in Grand Cayman is Paradise Grill. In Cozumel, Carlos and Charlie's and Senor Frog located downtown, is party central. Margaritaville is another hot spot. Fat Tuesday is in the port village. Like Naw'lins, everything in the islands is laid back, hurry up and wait. Be patient, take a chill pill and relax. There were some thing on the ship that were left undone,and perhaps two weeks was not a realistic time frame, but what was done was amazing. Four people in my group had grand and ocean suites, I was impressed. I we had a suite on Celebrity 2010 and it wasn't nearly as nice as those on Carnival. Lots of appointments storage space and whirlpool bathtubs and separate dressing rooms! very well done. Last but not least, and this is a REAL problem for me, I wish Carnival would adhere to the rules of their dress code for dining. Baseball caps flip flops, tee shirts should not be worn at dinner. Elegant night was a joke. I encountered the same problem on Celebrity. Either people don't understand what elegant means....it is NOT jeans and a polo shirt, a skirt up to your naval and a halter top too small for your breast,or they have confused elegant with TACKY! I put this on the same par as tipping. If you can't afford to tip appropriately, then you can't afford to dine. Dining is an experience. Eating out is going to the all you can eat buffet. All in all it was a great celebration for my parents and for the first time cruisers among us, they now have a serious case of cruise fever...LOL From beginning to end I was pleased EVERYTHING went so well. This one was for you Mom and Dad Happy Anniversary. If anyone wants more info about Naw'lins feel free to ask. Oh yeah, we gave our wait staff and cabin steward(s) gift bags of halloween candy, the good stuff, it was a big hit and greatly appreciated, in addition to a little something extra at the end of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Arrived in New Orleans on Monday and did not sail until Saturday. Fell in love with New Orleans. This is definitely my new favourite port to sail from. Spending time there was amazing. So happy we decided to do that. Got to port about ... Read More
Arrived in New Orleans on Monday and did not sail until Saturday. Fell in love with New Orleans. This is definitely my new favourite port to sail from. Spending time there was amazing. So happy we decided to do that. Got to port about 11:25 and was on board eating lunch by 11:55. Easiest embarkation ever in over 20 cruises. FANTASTIC!!! Had oceanview Cabin on Main deck, M169 - odd layout but biggest cabin yet. Was worried I would miss a balcony as we always have balconies but I did not. This ship only has a few balcony cabins and they are suites. I quite smoking over 100 days before cruise so I think that made a difference with not having a balcony. Progresso - many people did like this port but we did. Took the double decker 1/2 hour tour for 3 bucks. Looked around and ended up in a clean, bar and met lots of locals (well, people from canada and US that now live there). It is a very safe port!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Loved the double decker bus for 3 bucks. Ship excursion prices are high. Once off the ship and shuttled to town, you can get the same excursion or better than ship for less than half the money. Cozumel: We had been to cozumel numerous times so we just shopped, walked, drank, had a great lunch, etc. Very tired of saying no thanks, no thanks, no thanks to vendors - I wish they would give it up!!! There were a lot of kids on board but did not really see them as on sea days hung out on serenity. Found lido very, very loud and busy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Loved this cruise and ship. spent onboard time in the adults only serenity area - loved it - wish it was bigger as it was hard to find a spot. Only bad thing on this cruise was our first night in the dining room. We had any time dining which we love. Arrived for dinner about 8:45 and got seated - waiter did not say hello, introduce himself or ask us anything. Just handed us a menu then he proceeded to argued with us about wine when we were asking him questions. We wanted to buy a wine package and it seemed as if it was a big problem for him to help us with our questions regarding a couple of different wines. It was an awful experience. We felt so unwanted and if we had not of been on a ship, we would have walked out. This has never, ever happened to us on a cruise!! Next night we changed areas and ended up with the greatest head waiter ever - Oxsana. Wish we had a longer cruise than 5 days. It went quick!!!!!!!!!!! This cruise was so cheap and worth ever penny and more. Can't wait to cruise from NO again. Loved the elation - found it easy to get around. I wish they would lower drink prices though!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Found gift shop jewellery staff pushy. Food was great! Quickest debarkation ever also. Self assist started at 8 - by 9:30 they told me they were ready for everyone so even though we had #20, they said we could get off. Got off at 9:45ish and used Advance check in for luggage - for 25 bucks for 4 bags they take your luggage to airport. Fantastic!! as we then had the whole day to spend in NO as our flight was not until 5pm. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We were on board the American Queen Steamboat from 04 Jun to 09 June 2012. Left and returned to New Orleans. It was a very nice experience and we were pleased. Only two things we found negative, which are the dinner plate executions ... Read More
We were on board the American Queen Steamboat from 04 Jun to 09 June 2012. Left and returned to New Orleans. It was a very nice experience and we were pleased. Only two things we found negative, which are the dinner plate executions left a lot to desire. And the dining room personnel needs a lot more service training. Everyone is very pleasant, but they are lacking in the right way to serve in a formal dining room. The pre cruise hotel reservation worked very well and the checking process at the Westin worked pretty well. The check in personnel was there early to set up and started on time. The boarding process was a breeze, but of course, there are only 436 passengers, not thousands. We did not use the transfers to the dock , so cannot comment. Our cabin was comfortable in size, as well as the bathroom, which was bigger than any we've had in mega ships. The toiletries are of excellent quality and big size. Two people cannot use it all in one week. It would be a shame if they toss it. The towels and bathrobes are plush and of very good quality. Slippers are also provided for your stay. Direct TV service satellite reception worked fine most of the time. The reception was lost during a storm only once, for maybe 10 or 15 minutes. The American Steamboat is the only boat we have been on with free Wi-Fi (good signal all the time from anywhere, even inside your cabin), no extra fee for fancy coffees (cappuccino, espressos, mocha, etcetera), no extra charge for shore excursions, house wines (white & red) are also included and bottled water at all times. The bus system they use in the different cities, works pretty well and the guides are friendly and knowledgeable. The access to the plantations and guided tours are also included, and there is no need to pre reserve, except the ones with the extra charge. Opposite to the mega ships, all is done in a relaxing, southern hospitality style. There is no "rush, rush, and then wait, wait". This is refreshing. The buffet lunches had excellent food selection and were prepared and presented very nicely. We are surprised that the dinner food did not meet the same standards. The continental breakfast, snacks, cookies and ice cream options at the "Front Porch of America" were superb. This place is open 24 hours and there is always something light to eat. It is no midnight buffet by any standards. But you could find something "to hit the spot" if you needed something to eat. The afternoon tea time, looked a bit scarce to me, when we went to take a peek. We are coffee drinkers, but were just curious to see what they offer. The best shows were the musicals by the ensemble. They had modest costumes and there was no scenography or props, but their voices were all they needed. The next best show was the Jug band performance. The Mark Twain act was difficult to follow and was a bit heavy with the accent and a bit of diction problem. The actor should get some props and/or slides to help grasp the audience's attention. Being a monologue, it can become a bit heavy and difficult to keep everyone alert. In general, our trip was both entertaining and educational. Due to an unusual low water level we could not visit St. Francisville. The rest of the ports were met and proved very interesting and full of history of the South. We are glad we went, will recommend the trip and will do it again, visiting other city ports. Europeam river cruises are way out of our budget. Feel free to contact me for additional iformation, if you wish. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Well, the cruise was a very fun vacation. I appreciate all the info and help I got on Cruise Critic in the months leading up to our cruise. I felt like a pro when we got on the ship. :D I learned so much about tips and tricks and ... Read More
Well, the cruise was a very fun vacation. I appreciate all the info and help I got on Cruise Critic in the months leading up to our cruise. I felt like a pro when we got on the ship. :D I learned so much about tips and tricks and suggestions, etc. I wanted to pay back with our review. I have a new appreciation for what it takes to do one. We had 3600 guest on the ship which means 600 extra people shared rooms with 2 already in them. We never felt crowded at all. There were crowds for sure but nothing bad at all. The restaurant atrium would fill up if we got there before they opened the doors but there was fun in the air. We only ate in the buffets a time or 2 and there were some lines but nothing more than 10 or so before the start of the buffet. And you could walk around to one of the other ones and practically no lines. We ate breakfast most times in the MDR and service was nice. We had really no problem finding a chair on the Lido deck. Sure there were plenty chairs with stuff and no people but you could find a chair pretty easily. The only extended line we were in was at Cozumel reboarding at 4:15. The room service came predictably 20 minutes early each morning and they brought exactly what you marked. If you choose cereal, choose milk and tell them you want a spoon and order it for 20 minutes later than you want it. :D The food was delicious!!! It's not Ruth Chris but it ain't Applebee's either. The dinner portions were decent and the combined meal and service is what you would expect to pay $40 before tips per person. And that's if you just order 1 appetizer, 1 entree, and 1 dessert. I got cappuccinos every night and at breakfast. Tomato juice is only available from MDR or room service. The dinner always took practically 2 hours and we did early seating. Our next cruise I think we will choose Any Time Dining. We always seemed like we had to plan or stop what we were doing to go eat at 6. Our room steward was great. He made at least 2 times a day and filled the ice without asking. We had chocolates and towel animals every night. Our room was not "hot" but we were thankful we brought our portable fan. The Mongolian Wok was delicious. The szechuan sauce is very HOT!! But good!!! The Thai barbeque sauce is a happy medium. And the Black Bean sauce is good but needed salt. They have chicken and beef every day and a different seafood each day. Sunday and Thursday they have shrimp. They do not have rice, only noodles. There was of course mushrooms, onions, peppers, peas, carrots, and several other vegetables. Definitely worth doing at least once. The Sur Mer is very good but I didn't like the shoestring French fries. The fish is very much like what you would get in England. Almost never a line. The pizza is good. Sometimes a 5 minute wait. We were able to get as close as we wanted to the front of the shows in the theater. We always seemed to find a spot for 2 on or near the front row. Even in the punchliner shows. People were more than willing to let us 2 crash a group of 4-5 people at the punchliner shows. Embarkation was easy and smooth except for not getting a zone card. The lady that gave us our Sign and Sail cards said she was out and to get them by the photographer. The photographer took our picture and gave us a picture location card with a 3 on it. We thought that was our zone. Ha!! Newbies here. But a nice couple heard us in our discussion after they started calling zones and we saw other people with a zone card we obviously didn't have. They told us to walk with them. We were onboard at 11:30. We did self disembarkation so we had extra time to pack and had a very easy time getting off. We will definitely cruise on Carnival again. The value is very good for what you get. It's nothing like some people will have you worked up over because of changes and cuts. Here are the entire set of Fun Times: Sunday [URL="https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&srcid=0B2-H9ZTJHcRgbWZlaVFKOEUyUkE"]https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&srcid=0B2-H9ZTJHcRgbWZlaVFKOEUyUkE[/URL] Monday [URL="https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&srcid=0B2-H9ZTJHcRgaGUzZGhVMGp1ems"]https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&srcid=0B2-H9ZTJHcRgaGUzZGhVMGp1ems[/URL] Tuesday [URL="https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&srcid=0B2-H9ZTJHcRgdDV6ZGViUHJielk"]https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&srcid=0B2-H9ZTJHcRgdDV6ZGViUHJielk[/URL] Wednesday [URL="https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&srcid=0B2-H9ZTJHcRgVVlLeGxXYVJfZ0k"]https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&srcid=0B2-H9ZTJHcRgVVlLeGxXYVJfZ0k[/URL] Thursday [URL="https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&srcid=0B2-H9ZTJHcRgeHc4VzQ4LUlrWWs"]https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&srcid=0B2-H9ZTJHcRgeHc4VzQ4LUlrWWs[/URL] Friday [URL="https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&srcid=0B2-H9ZTJHcRgajd2UkhHU1k3YXc"]https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&srcid=0B2-H9ZTJHcRgajd2UkhHU1k3YXc[/URL] Saturday [URL="https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&srcid=0B2-H9ZTJHcRgSzRjMnRYZnJ6SUE"]https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&srcid=0B2-H9ZTJHcRgSzRjMnRYZnJ6SUE[/URL] Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
First of all, let me explain the timing of this cruise. It all revolved around when my husband was to bowl in the USBC National Bowling Tournament in Baton Rouge rather than when the weather in the ports we would be visiting would be ... Read More
First of all, let me explain the timing of this cruise. It all revolved around when my husband was to bowl in the USBC National Bowling Tournament in Baton Rouge rather than when the weather in the ports we would be visiting would be temperate for the heat weenie I am! Our cruise was from April 1-8, 2012. We arrived in NOLA on Friday evening after leaving Seattle at 7:30am with a change of planes in DFW. Boy that was a long travel day! Due to the Final Four weekend, I was not able to book a room on the main side of the river so we ended up on the West Bank. Getting to the West Bank was very confusing due to the many flavors of the 90 hwy the freeway signs pointed to. We finally got there though and had an adequate hotel room at the Clarion (now Quality) Inn in Gretna. We had a fantastic dinner that night at O'Briens Grille nearby. Saturday, we took a couple of walking tours of the FQ and Garden District and had brunch at Commander's Palace in the Garden District. The only real affect we felt of the Final Four weekend in NOLA was that it was impossible to ride any of the streetcars. They were all packed like sardine cans!!! Sunday, we returned the car to the airport and took the NCL shuttle bus to the pier. I figured if there were any road closures, etc due to the Final Four, the NCL shuttle would still be able to get us to the ship. They dropped us off at the door and we got into the security line which is the only line that we encountered during the whole check-in process. Our cabin was a suite so we were walked over to that check-in area and then to the lounge to await our boarding of the ship. Once on board, we were escorted to our suite, where we dropped off our carry-on stuff and then headed to Cagney's for lunch. After lunch we just wandered around and explored the ship and then got settled into our cabin. Our cabin was absolutely wonderful! We had an aft facing penthouse suite and it was huge! Those rooms have been described elsewhere on CC so I will spare you the details, but needless to say, my husband really enjoyed his own private jetted tub throughout the cruise!!! I, on the other hand, enjoyed the huge shower! We ate dinner in the Windows MDR that night. I thought that both sides of the menu provided a good selection to choose from. (The left side of the menu changed daily and the right side remained the same throughout the week) Monday, was our first sea day and our CC M&G which was held in the Pub. We had about 40 or so show up for the M&G as well as a number of the ship's officers. Overall, it was a successful M&G and everyone seemed to have a good time. NCL provided pastries, juice and coffee. We checked out the casino after the M&G but didn't win, drats! In the afternoon, my husband enjoyed an international Beer tasting in the Pub. That night we ate in the Buffet which was fine. Tuesday, was our first port of call, Costa Maya. We didn't have any specific plans per say. Just took a bus into the town and hung out at one of the beach resorts for lunch. Picked up a couple of souvenirs along the way and then headed back to the ship. The weather was extremely hot and humid so it was nice to get back to the AC. We had dinner that night in Le Bistro. It was wonderful! Wednesday found us in Belize. We had canceled the shore excursion we had booked as I had gotten too much sun the day before and it was even hotter here! We did get off the ship (tender port) and wandered around the pier shops for a while. We had lunch at the Wet Lizard which was nice and cool with the breeze blowing through the second story, open sided veranda. The food and beer were very tasty and well worth the visit. After lunch, we visited the chocolate shop next door and bought a couple of truffles for dessert but didn't buy any other chocolates as we figured they would be totally melted by the time we got back to the ship!!! We headed back to the ship then as I was wimping out again from the heat and humidity! (We're from the Seattle area so we aren't used to the heat and humidity!) We decided to do something different for dinner this night and had in-room dining from the Italian restaurant. Our Butler, Akhmed got everything set up for us and served us in our suite. It was so nice and relaxing! Thursday we arrived in Roatan (tender port) where we took an NCL shore ex to the Maya Key Private Island Retreat. It was not quite as hot in Roatan as it had been in Belize and being able to get into the water helped a lot. They served us a very tasty buffet lunch of salad, BBQ chicken, fried fish and fried plantains. After lunch, we wandered around the island and looked at the rehabilitating animals and the museum. We also had a nice time watching the sea lions carrying on with each other like a bunch of 2 year olds! When we had our fill, we were tendered back to the pier where we looked at the shops and picked up some wonderful ice cream to cool off with. After returning to the ship, we cooled off in our cabin and then had dinner in the Garden MDR. I found that I preferred the Windows MDR over the Garden room. I found the Garden room to be so dark that I had a hard time reading the menu. Friday was a day in Cozumel. Once again it was hotter than blue blazes! We took a horse drawn carriage ride around the port city and then had lunch at Poncho's Backyard. Excellent food and very strong margaritas! We did a bit of souvenir shopping in the Los Cinco Soles shop in front of Poncho's before heading back to the ship. We had dinner again in Windows that night and then enjoyed the Chocolate Buffet for dessert! Saturday was our second sea day. I hung out in the casino all morning and then we went to Cagney's for lunch. We spent the rest of the day in our cabin packing and then relaxing before having dinner at Windows again. After dinner, we went back to the casino where my husband won a $1000 Royal Flush playing video poker!!! He was one happy camper, let me tell you! He has already started drooling over new bowling equipment to buy with his winnings!!! Sunday we had another NCL shore ex this time a "Grey-line" type bus tour of NOLA. It was a very interesting tour and the tour guide passed around photos of some of the Katrina damage his family home sustained. It really brought the tragedy home to me! The tour dropped us off at the airport where we picked up a rental car and headed up I-10 to Baton Rouge so that my husband could bowl in the tournament mentioned above. Wednesday, we headed to the NOLA airport again for our long trip home to Seattle. All in all, we had a very slow paced and relaxing cruise which is exactly what we wanted out of the trip. We ate more meals in the main dining rooms on this cruise than on our last but we were perfectly happy with the selections. We saw 2 of the shows in the main Stardust Theater, the acrobats and the Elements show. Both were excellent! We did not participate in any of the Cruise Director generated shows preferring to relax in our cabin instead. Since the weather was so hot/humid, I was not able to spend very much time on our balcony but I adjusted by bringing the deck chairs inside the cabin, opening up the drapes, and enjoying the view in air conditioned comfort! My husband's only concern was that he might still be weaving a bit on his sea legs when he was trying to bowl! He didn't seem to have any problems so it all worked out well. I will say that the next cruise that we take that goes farther south than San Diego will be happening in December or January at the latest!!! I know, I'm a heat/humidity wimp and I'm proud of it! My husband didn't nickname me Nanook of the North for nothing!!! During our cruise, we were pampered royally by our Butler Akhmed, the concierge Bylkies, and our Steward Armando. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We wanted to do something special for our 25 anniversary (on Valentines Day) so we booked this cruise. Our oldest just finished college and our youngest has 2 years left, the "budget" entered into our choice. You can't ... Read More
We wanted to do something special for our 25 anniversary (on Valentines Day) so we booked this cruise. Our oldest just finished college and our youngest has 2 years left, the "budget" entered into our choice. You can't beat the value of a cruise when you compare it to a land based vacation. We live in central Illinois and plane fares were high so we made it into a road trip too. We stayed in the Hammond LaQuinta on Friday night so we could drive the causeway on Sat. morning. We knew to not drive the causeway on a business day. This is a new hotel and it was a great place to stay. I highly recommend it. Very friendly staff, very clean and it had a nice breakfast that was included. It came to a total of $80.00. AARP rate. On Sat. morning we parked at the pier early and dropped off our luggage. We walked through the Riverwalk Mall and went to the French Market. We love this area and it was good to be back there again even though it was a cool and windy day. The line at Cafe Du Monde was very long which was no problem for us as we knew we could buy the same thing in the Riverside Mall if we wanted to. The French Market was a busy and fun place to be!! We checked in at the terminal at about 12:45 and were on board in just a few minutes. It took us 8 cruises to figure out that you don't always have to be the first to be on board the ship. The buffet was busy for a few minutes but that changed when the rooms opened up at 1:30. When we cruise again we will use this situation to our advantage. The first day at sea was cloudy and cool but we didn't mind that. We just hung out together and enjoyed not having any schedule to follow. The first port was at Progresso. We did the tourist $3.00 bus tour and walked over to the beach. We like to hit the beach and enjoy the sand and water. This was our second time at Progresso. We did buy our favorite vanilla at Los Cinco Soles at the pier shop but otherwise didn't do any real shopping. If you like vanilla we know, without a doubt, that this is the best. A few years ago we bought another brand and it wasn't very good. The Los Cinco vanilla does not have any coumarin in it. We did find the sales push at Progresso to be strong. I recommend wearing dark sunglasses and just politely saying no thank you. Everyone has to make a living in this world. The second port was Cozumel. This was our 7th time there so we knew what to expect. For $20.00 (each way) we took a cab to Palancar beach and loved it. It's a beautiful beach and a great place to swim and sun yourself. It's located very close to the Palancar Reef. Getting a taxi back is easy, our driver offered to wait for us (for a price) but we opted to not do that. When we were ready to head back to the pier there were a few taxis available. When we got there a waiter told us if there wasn't a cab they would call one. I was concerned about getting back but found that concern to be totally unfounded. We both loved this beach and hope to take our adult kids back there with us in the not so distant future. The waiters at the beach were friendly and not pushy. Oh yes, we aren't certain when we can be in Cozumel again so we bought some more Los Cinco vanilla at this port too. Some of it is for gifts etc... The last day at sea started out warm and sunny so we took advantage of the sun. We knew it would disappear the closer we got back to New Orleans. At about 10:30pm we were lucky enough to see the river pilot get on our ship. That's always fun to see....at least for us. We are both vegetarians so the food choices were limited for us. We knew it would be limited based on our prior cruises. Our biggest frustration on this cruise was the pizza station. It ALWAYS seemed like you were putting them out and there was always a "ten minute wait". It appeared that the pizza station was not the place you wanted to be assigned to work. We found the ship to be very cared for and clean. The staff were friendly and seemed to have a good working rapport with each other. The Cruise Director, Jeff Bronson, was very good. We know it's his job to sell and inform you of activities but he was never annoying. We stayed in a porthole room again. We like that it's the same price as an inside room. You can shut the windows tight and it's nice and dark for sleeping. Plenty of sunlight available during the day. It's also quite for sleeping since they are in the front of the ship. Getting off of the ship was very easy. We did the self assist and were off by 8:00am. Our car was at the terminal so we immediately hit the road for the 13 hour trip home. All in all we had a very nice and romantic cruise. We had a lot of time to reminisce about our past 25 years together. Now we are looking forward to the next 25 rested and ready to go. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We had a great time on the Voyager of the Seas (VOS). This was a series of firsts for us. First time using an internet travel agency, first time staying towards the front of the ship, first time visiting Jamaica and Grand Caymans. You can ... Read More
We had a great time on the Voyager of the Seas (VOS). This was a series of firsts for us. First time using an internet travel agency, first time staying towards the front of the ship, first time visiting Jamaica and Grand Caymans. You can still have a lot of firsts when you have only cruised 3 previous times. We had sailed on the VOS sister ship Adventure of the Seas in 2009, so the ship layout was similar. Still, we were always checking the ships maps the first few days. The ship itself was very clean, very nice. It was all bright and shiny. Our room was very nice and our room steward did a great job. Yes, we only got 3 towel animals but I don't cruise for the towel animals. The food was great. We ate dinner all but one night in the main dining room. We changed tables because we were at a table for 9 and were the only ones there after the first night. The second table was great. The service was excellent. I like a glass of milk with my dinner and the waiter and asst made sure I had it right away. The shows were good. There were two comedians on board we saw that were excellent. The Ice Show was fantastic! We missed that on the AOS and now I feel for not going to it. One of the Broadway shows was a little mystifying as they were paying a tribute to great Broadway composers (Gerswhin, Webber etc) but didn't do any of their most famous songs. I'm not a Broadway geek by any means, but I know a few songs from "West Side Story". It was a good show but not what I expected. The staff kept us entertained all week and it took until Friday for me to win at trivia. I must be slipping. The ports were great and the early arrival in New Orleans let us experience that city for the first time too. Boarding was one of the easiest I have had and our luggage appeared fairly quickly. RCCL can't do anything about the weather so I won't hold the thunderstorm on Sunday against them. I've never gone through a thunderstorm at sea before. That was pretty cool. My wife and I had a great time on the VOS. Too bad it's leaving for the Orient soon. Oh well, we are thinking our next cruise will be to Alaska anyway. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
have some lunch. It was in the 40's in New Orleans the day of embarkation so I didn't spend much time on deck! I watched us sail out of New Orleans from the window in our stateroom. Stateroom was all set up for us when we ... Read More
have some lunch. It was in the 40's in New Orleans the day of embarkation so I didn't spend much time on deck! I watched us sail out of New Orleans from the window in our stateroom. Stateroom was all set up for us when we arrived, but we didn't meet our cabin steward until the next day. Once we were into the Gulf the ship hit some 4 to 5 foot swells and I heard many people say the ship was rocking more than they were used to. Had a great meal in the MDR (Imagination) and called it a day because the motion of the ship was really getting to me, despite taking my motion sickness pills. Woke up on day 2 to gorgeous weather, still very windy and the swells were still about the same. Didn't seem to be keeping people from enjoying themselves. Took advantage of the day at sea to explore the ship and do some hardcore relaxing! Elegant night in the MDR with Your Time Dining was a bit of a challenge, with about a 45 minute wait. The food was excellent and we were surprised by a little dessert tray in our stateroom apologizing for the long wait for dinner! Day 3. Room service for breakfast. Arrived right on time and exactly as ordered. Getting coffee delivered is a beautiful thing! Did a Mayan Ruins tour in Progreso and had a marvelous time! Had lunch in a local restaurant and caught the rattletrap shuttle bus back to the ship. Oh, and we got my engagement ring in a little shop near the duty free shop. Day 4. Ate breakfast at the buffet on Lido. Not terribly exciting, but at least we didn't leave the ship hungry. Cozumel was amazing. Did a little shopping, then headed to Mike's Ocean Beach, a $13 cab ride. The staff were more than attentive to our needs, kept our bucket of beer full and made a point of getting to know our names. The water seemed chilly at first, but I spent at least an hour swimming, so I know it couldn't have been too cold. I'm still recovering from the sunburn. Mental note: Take PABA Free sunscreen with me next time. Did a bit more shopping and picked up souvenirs for the family and tequila for my sister and then back to the ship. Snacked at the Sushi Bar early and then had a late Dinner in the MDR. No lines, no waiting. The last day at sea was full on relaxation for me and the fiance. We at breakfast in the MDR, much better than the buffet. Lunch at the buffet. Spent the afternoon curled up in a good book because I was coming down with a cold and was avoiding making my sunburn worse. Dinner in the MDR. Service in the MDR was excellent every night, but our waiter, Conrad, and his team on this particular night were FANTASTIC! At some point in all this we went to the past guest party, because my fiance went on a Carnival Cruise when he was EIGHT and they had him on file. Spent a little time and money in the casino, more for fun than anything else and won more than we lost, plus a free t-shirt. Our room steward made himself nearly invisible but we made it difficult for him to figure out when we were going to be gone, but being just a tiny bit unpredictable, but he did a great job! The only negative experience was the amazing disappearing OBC that occurred because guest services printed our excursion tickets. So, for a 24-hour period we had an additional $119 OBC as a result. I noticed this right away and made a point of asking about it. The guest services representative told me that the statement was accurate but I was skeptical, there's never a chance that someone's just going to hand you an extra $100 in OBC that you didn't in some way earn. The next morning the credit was gone. Not terribly stressful, but definitely something to be aware of. Can't wait for our next cruise!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Just got back from our cruise out of new orleans on the ecstasy 7 night to jamaica, cayman, and cozumel. My only other cruise experience was with my then 20 yr old daughter two years ago on the destiny, same port. We had a great time ... Read More
Just got back from our cruise out of new orleans on the ecstasy 7 night to jamaica, cayman, and cozumel. My only other cruise experience was with my then 20 yr old daughter two years ago on the destiny, same port. We had a great time as we had hoped, spent too much time in the casino, but with my lady friend hitting a 450 jackpot and me a 1000 jackpot on keno machine and doing ok at the tables, I can't complain too much about the need for more of the newer video machines. We played bingo which imho is overpriced for the amount of 'playing' you get. $10 for 1 card/20 for 3 is in line with the drink prices I guess. Again, I can't complain because my lady friend won the first $500 game and gambled all week on carnival money. I guess they need to set the price that high for the cruise drawing for bingo players at the end of the cruise. (we didn't win that..) My only complaint about the casino(and this goes for any sitting areas), is I wish I had a sign on the back of my hat that said "no thank you, i don't need a drink"). I understand they need to sell drinks to probably make a profit on the cruise, but jeez, being asked every 5 minutes or less got a little irritating. The waitresses were nice in they way they asked and i'm sure probably got sick of asking, but just a little less would be nice. My expectations were met at all levels. Room size was the ok, as expected, adequate, beds were comfy enough and bath served its purpose. All you do in the room is do clothing changes, shower, sleep when you have time. Not the ritz but the room service people must be ninja's because I never say them. We'd leave and come back to a cleaned room with towel animal. Leave again for less than an hour sometimes and they had the covers pulled back and 2 pieces of candy. Like I say, never saw them, but great service! Main dining room food was excellant! Our head waiter, Louis,( and I just can't say enough about him and the assistants) made our dinners memorable. I'll say that what they may call the entre on the menu may not exactly be what you'd expect, it was still usually delicious. Louis usually brought us 2 choices anyway, he was a mind reader. Melting cake! As I remembered (drooling). I'm trying to think of any restaurant that i've been to where you are treated as well and I just can't think of one, high priced or not, where i've been treated so well. Restaurants in the states should take note. I would value the main dining at a $50+ meal depending, so lets just say food alone damn near pays for the trip. Yeah, the buffet food is more like ponderosa (ryan's, insert name here). Ok, some interestingly good, some not so much. The lido deck with hamburgers/etc was decent enough for a snack. I'll praise the deli/pizza counter for giving us pizza 24/7. Excellent pastrami sammich! Pizza was consistantly good, even at 4am. Food, we thought it was above our expectations, we both probably gained 5pnds, 'nough said. Entertainment was good enough, 'adult' comedy was as expected, we had some good laughs. I find it interesting that there is an art auction onboard. I actually bought some pictures which I find even more interesting. We'll see if I'm as pleased when they arrive in 'less than 10 weeks'..LOL We didn't experience any bad attitude carnival people. Everyone seemed more the eager to please. We booked our excursions online outside of carnival so we saved some $$. Plenty to do at any port, I recommend the rays with snorkling at caymen, we just went to private all inclusive in jamaica, public in cozumel (do the paragliding if you've never done it!), wish the ships would spend an overnight in the ports so we could get more inland time. If you're old and expect more, cruise the holland lines like my 76 yr old mother does. If you can't afford the $9 drinks, buy some rum runners and smuggle in your booze, bring your cokes, refill your 'container' at port and have fun!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This was my 5th cruise with Norwegian and my husband's first cruise and was our honeymoon. We had a blast! The cruise staff was fun and smiling, the entertainment was fabulous with a lot of variety, the ship was sleek and the food was ... Read More
This was my 5th cruise with Norwegian and my husband's first cruise and was our honeymoon. We had a blast! The cruise staff was fun and smiling, the entertainment was fabulous with a lot of variety, the ship was sleek and the food was great. We loved that the cruise left out of new orleans and it was a nice change from florida. we wished there were more cruise itineraries out of new orleans because it in itself is a fabulous starting point. Our cabin was clean and we used the balcony a lot. Our room stewards were there to greet us from the moment we stepped into the cabin and we saw them quite often throughout the day. when we needed an ashtray, we rec'd one right away. if we needed extra towels, they were there, etc. the towel animals were adorable and better than the ones I had on RCCL. We love NCL's relaxed atmosphere and my husband really liked that he didn't have to dress up in tuxedos or suits. I love to dress up and was just as comfortable in my own cocktail gowns as he was in his jeans and shirt. We had room service at least once a day and it was very speedy. We loved Cagney's restaurant and it is definately worth the cover charge. We also enjoyed the Italian and Teppanyaki. The ports of call were great and everything was smooth sailing all the way. We booked the cruise over a year in advance and as a result were able to obtain a great promotion that gave us a balcony cabin for the price of an outside cabin plus an onboard credit. A lot of people complain about the prices of the drinks but I think that depends on where you are from and what type of drinks you get. I am used to spending at a martini bar $10+ for a martini, whereas the people we met from Louisiana thought it was overpriced. It just depends on your local pricing. The only issue for us was the gym as we found the free weights limited and couldn't complete our normal work outs. It was cramped and just not enough equipment. A Smith Rack would be a real benefit. Lot of fun and it was so good that my husband is willing to go on another cruise, which is a huge feat in itself since he has no desire to travel. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011

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