First of all, I read a lot of information from this message board and a lot of it was very helpful. This was my family's first cruise and it was a great one.
I didnít use one of the lots listed by the Port of New Orleans. I used a small parking lot that I read about on this cruise mates called MACHU PICCHU it was the same cost as the port parking lots $12 per day. It was about 5 minutes from the port, and they have covered parking. Within 5 minutes we were getting out of the van and tipping the baggage guy to take out luggage to the ship. When we got off the ship at the end of the cruise they were there waiting on us, and we took off fast, while the buses to the other parking lots were loading and waiting to get a full bus first.
After embarkation, about a 1.5 hour process, and the Muster drill we were on our way. It the trip down the Mississippi, the ship rocked a bit, but once we were into the open water it was smooth the whole time with an occasional rock and pitch.
The first two days as see, we slept late, order room service, enjoyed the shows and the over all cleanliness of the ship. There were always people wiping glass and cleaning things. All of the staff was friendly, well except for a couple of ladies at the purserís desk. They were not very helpful or friendly; also they had many people who were griping about their luggage on the first day. We had our luggage in the room before the ship left the pier. People mentioned problems with kids, the only problems we saw were a couple of nights there were a group of kids running the halls after midnight. But I think some body called security because that group was busted up really fast.
The First stop was Jamaica, It is a beautiful island but the people in the shopping areas are very pushy. If you didnít have to shop here I would say avoid it. Enjoy the tours, Margaretville, and the scenery. Oh and with the taxis make sure you stick to the JUTA Cabs, these are authorized by Carnival, but the Cab Drivers are pushy too.
The second stop was the Grand Caymans. It was very nice; we did the stingray city tour, but not through carnival. We used Captain Marvinís, it was a cost of $39 per person, with 2 stops for snorkeling and the stingray city stop. Carnival had a tour with just a stop at stingray city and it cost $69. Also the carnival tour was packed with about 100 + people and there were only about 3 guides on that tour. With Captain Marvinís there were less than 30 people on the tour, and we had 3 guides plus a scuba diver taking video. I like 10:1 better than 33:1 any day.
The Final stop was in Cozumel. Here we took the atv beach tour, it was fun, but the trail was very rocky, if you have back problems, neck problems, or cannot take the heat then this tour is not for you, but if you like to be outdoors and donít mind getting dirty then this is the right tour for you. The company that Carnival uses is ATV Wild Tours, those guys were great.
The food on the ship was good, but I wouldnít rate it as great, but there was plenty of it and if you couldnít find something that you liked to eat, you didnít look hard enough. I wouldnít advise to purchase a soda card, there are so many other free drink options that you donít miss the soda. Watch out for the pictures they add up quick, we spent more that I want to admit on pictures, and only purchased seven of them. Over all we had a great time and will be taking another cruise in the future. If you have any questions feel free to ask away.