I vote for Eastern or even better a 10-11 night southern - deep southern - would love to do now of those from NO or Galveston!
With cruise points on credit card - stock holder on board credit - and searching the deals year round on the internet we have lately cruised with very little out of pocket - mainly due to $500 worth of points on credit card. The summer months the cruises are outrageous and the weather is just HOT! So we avoid that time and travel in off times and with last minute prices... It has been a lot of work to constantly stay on top of the prices but each time I find a really good one - hubby will break down and say "book it" so it keeps me looking every day!!! haha
I like to stay around $500 per person total for an outside cabin or $1000 -1100 total for two on an outside cabin. Then take cruise points off etc... BUT I have to settle for guarantee cabins and no balconies so everything has it's price.. As long as I have a good time that is all that matters.
I do book shore excursions - either on my own or through the ship - For the first cruises we only booked a few each trip (very little money) - not at all the islands and tried to do without them but have found after 18 cruises that the excursions offered are getting better and better - and more expensive - and they are soooo informative or fun. Like Shark Ray Alley in Belize that takes you out to the Cays you would not see on your own, or horse back riding or cave tubing that takes you into the interior or speed boat (power boat tour) in Cozumel or scuba diving in Cozumel, Cayman and snorkeling in Jamaica or seeing the sting ray city in Cayman or playing with dolphin in Cozumel, or jeep tour in Aruba or diving in Curacao or black sand beaches of Martinique, or plantation tour in Jamaica or river rafting in Jamaica or or or. I actually feel like i miss out when we don't do something in the islands - there is so much to do and I have such wondreful memories. With that said we also relax on the boat...