We live an hour or so from NO so my son was dropping us off.
We got on convention street about 11:30 or so and there was a line of cars to board.We were with a large group and some wanted to get on board early.
At 12:00 or so they let us start driving up and dropping off.Due to construction there is very limited room for drop off.You can drop off passengers at the off site lot and they can catch a shuttle from there.Some in our group parked in the lot but did'nt wait on the shuttle just walked about 8 blocks or so.Their luggage was handled from the lot.we stood in line to check in about 15-20 minutes then did the yellow chair drill.We finally got on board about 2:00 or so.If you do not want to wait in line just show up at 5:00 and you can walk right on board.
IMPORTANT TIP FOR !ST TIMERS!
when you walk on board and head to the liddo deck you will be in a line for food.This is the hamburger line.If you want the buffet go around these people and go inside the resturant AND TURN LEFT! The buffet lines are left and right front and back of the resturant.Everyone was jamed up in the right hand line.
We lounged around on lido.No trouble finding a spot.Drank some buckets of berr and just relaxed.The service was great.The beers are pricey,but the way I look at it I'm on vacation.I'm not going to the trouble of sneaking booze on board.Which would be easy to do.besides the wait staff makes $75 bucks a month and tips that's it.12-16 hours a day for 6-8 months.So don't complain about the 15% gratuity.
We ate there 5 of the seven nights.Now we are from Louisiana and are very picky about our food.The only thing i ate that was sub par was the strip steak the first night.Everything else was good.Not supper fantastic like you would expext at a smaller fine resturant.But they are feeding several thousand people a day.You can order as many of anything you want.Now as for the dress code.I saw plenty of people in collared shirts no ties or jackets on the formal nights.Some others dressed to the nines.He'll they had some ball player from the hornets show up in a wife beater and shorts one night.SO the point is you don't have to dress to the nines unless you want to or are self conscious about it.They wont throw you out.
On board entertainment
The ony shows we saw were the late night adult comedy with phat cat and the improv show.Phat cats late show was very funny but not for the easily offended.His early pg-13 rated show was not too funny.
The last night improv thing was hilarious DON'T MISS IT.Todd the cruise director and several of the crew do a whose line is it anyway kind of thing.Very r rated not for the meek but it was a hoot.Speaking of Todd.I thought he did a marvelous job.Great sense of humor.I think he could be a stand up comic.Really quick wit.Friendly and not many long boring annoucements on the pa.
We went to sunset beach I highly recomend it.I will post a review on the other section.I would discorage anyone from going into jamaica on there own.If you have kids that want to go to margaritaville go with them.The locals were pushing dope on you right out of the taxi.
we did the stingray city and corral reef snorkel.It is a little more that the stingray safari but you get to go out to the reef and snorkel in deeper water.The weather that day was cloudy and they had some rain lately but the water was still very clear.The stingray deal is awesome.We went out with Kellys through carnival.At the reef our guide found a nurse shark sleeping out away from the boat and took several of us over for pics,it was great.One thing about cayman,you are not there long and verything is really expensive due too exhange rates.Just go on an excursion and do a little sight seeing around the port.Ohh and even though the boat leaves at 4:00 the last tender leaves at 3:00.We actually saw the valor( i think) pull out of port and stop and wait for someone on a boat to get on board.
My favorite stop.We went to pardise beach for some relaxation.It was nice.I'll post a review there also.We got to cozumel late as the boat stopped and picked up some cuban refugees on a raft in distress.We took a taxi from paradise beach and got dropped off at the forum and walked back towards carlos and charlies so the ladies could shop.We met up with the rest of our party there had a few beers and off to the boat.
They are doing a new thing were they let everone who has anearly flight go then it's just leave at your leisure until about 10:30.Now the room stewards would like to get you out of the rooms by 9;00 or so because they hace to clean up.We just went and ate breakfast and hung out to about 10;00 they said it was all clear at the exit,then everyone else got up and we wouynd up in a line.My advice if you are local our staying in No.wait until last call and just walk off.They will not allow drive up pick up until 11:00.(taxis not included in this)They have shuttles to the parking lot and you can pick up there before 11:00.
Sorry this was kinda long already.But i just want to make some general comments then i'll shut up.I was a first time cruiser and did'nt know if i'd enjoy it.Let me say that we had a wonderfull time.The carnival staff works very har.They are allways cleaning polishing something on the boat.In one weeks time I only saw 2 instances were a staff member got a little snooty.But hey these people work 16 hour days for 6 months.What kind of attitude would most americans have after one week! I paid my up front gartuits and tipped everyone extra.That's what i thought of the service.carnival runs a tight ship no pun intended.I was also amzed the everyone on board we met was so friendly.We met several other couples that we wound up getting to know a little.But everyone seemed to be having a good time and was getting along well.
already booking for next year