We were on the Getaway from the 16th to the 23rd sailing out of NOLA to the Western Caribbean. I am ranking this a 5 cause everything NCL controlled was amazing and we had a fantastic time but I will never sail out of New Orleans ever again. The story is on the bottom of the review as I didn't want to start off negative as our cruise was excellent.
We flew into Memphis, spent a night on Beale street and then drove into NOLA the next morning, we had booked the later boarding times for 2:00 and arrived around 1:30. Loading times were definitely slow but they were hand checking everyone's passport to make sure they hadn't traveled to the any of the banned countries. Won't hold that against them, and the boat still left on time. The Getaway was just in Dry-Dock and you can tell as everything is new and shiny. This was our first time with a dining package and we will definitely be getting one again. We knew to book ahead and had no problem getting reservations at good times, we tried the Teppanyaki, Le Bistro and Cucina. Teppanyaki was our favorite, Ryan was fantastic.
Syd Norman's was such a great addition, both bands that played in there were phenomenal. GET THERE EARLY, this place fills up super fast but is 100% worth it. The dueling pianos in headliners are also good for late night, never ended up seeing the comedy shows as doesn't appeal to me.
We saw all 3 show's that were offered; Burn the Floor, Million Dollar Quartet and Cirque. The Cirque show is very well done for the tight space they give them. Million Dollar Quartet is an absolute must see though.
I was with a group of 4 and we all felt the boat was understaffed which we can only assume was due to the Coronavirus. Our service was still exceptional and the staff that were there did a fantastic job under the circumstances.
Cozumel - We did the Three Reefer Snorkel and had a fantastic experience with Erwin and his team. Very organized and well run. Would highly recommend, tons of fish to be seen and Erwin would dive down and point out different marine life. I have never been to Cozumel before and I will never go back to the town. I've been to many different spots in the Caribbean and have never experienced the amount of yelling and badgering that I experienced here. I couldn't walk 2 steps without someone yelling at me. I always expect some level but this was unbearable.
Roatan - We did the Gumbalimba Preserve and would highly recommend, our guide Enrick was super knowledgeable and the preserve was very well run. The thing I really respected about this place was that 90% of the animals are roaming free. I figured we would go into an enclosure with the monkey's or bird's but that is not the case. They are allowed to roam free and you will see them throughout the park. The amount of monkey's you interact with will be random but we had about 5-6 jumping on people while we were there. We had the added bonus of interacting with the sloth as he had made his way down to gather food when we were in the area. Highly recommend this place. The port town itself is the exact opposite of Cozumel, it was very controlled and the people exceptionally nice. On the smaller side but if you are looking for standard souvenirs, it's a good place to snag some.
Harvest Caye - We had to tender in because the dock was undergoing 3 weeks maintenance but the process wasn't all bad, just wasted time that could have been enjoyed on the beach. The beach is massive and there is a amble seating chairs, very relaxing day. Everything is extra on the island, which we expected but is still disappointing. Bring lots of cash as nothing is cheap but we still enjoyed ourselves.
Costa Maya - We had very minimal time at this port, had to be back on the boat by 1:30 so we just walked around the town for a bit. Not much to say here, it is clearly made for the boats with a giant pool in the middle and has all the standard tourist shops.
To the negative: Mardi Gras was just starting but I feel it the problem is valid regardless. NCL doesn't own a parking lot down there and neither does the Port Authority. They "rent" spots from the Hilton but have absolutely zero control over the lot itself. When we arrived we were told the lot is full and that they wanted to take us to an unsecured lot, god knows where and shuttle us back to the port. The problem was, the lot wasn't full but the Hilton had decided it was full enough and wanted to keep the rest of the spots either for their guests or for day use parking, which I assume they get more $ from. The Port Authority was on site when we arrived and used his keys to by-pass the Hilton and about 25 other cars into the lot. we paid our $140 and thought we were good... boy were we wrong. Upon disembarking using self assist at 7 am. NONE of the parking attendants were there at the lot, they don't start until 8:30am. There is now a ton of cars trying to get out of the lot but they can't because they weren't given the right cards when they pre-paid the $140 to park or worse, were told to pay when they got back. When the parking attendants show up, they start fixing the card issue but anyone who hadn't paid when they arrived... was now being charged $340 because that is the Hilton's normal weekly rate... Were off the boat at 7:30 and waited almost 2 hrs in the lot before we finally escaped. I've embarked at Miami, New York, and Cape Canaveral and at the latter 2 both parked cars at the port and never experienced anything remotely close to this, Which I can only assume is because the ports own the actual lots and not renting from a private facility.
Nothing wrong but also nothing special. Room was clean and has a good amount of storage space.