New Orleans and NCL Cruise

Mike and Sandy have moved away from long travel, so this 8-day trip seemed like a great idea. And it was offered by a discount travel outfit that they'd heard good reports about. The trip started with sightseeing in New Orleans. One highlight was a day at the National WW II Museum (Trip Advisor rates this the #3 museum attraction in the entire country), which was extremely well done. (The visit reminded us that our Congressman, whose family is originally from France, would likely be speaking German if it were not for the brave and resolute American military.)
Other time in New Orleans was spent meandering up and down the Mississippi River on a paddle-wheel boat on a dinner cruise, and checking out how "factory outlets" in Louisiana differ from those in California.
The 2nd part of the trip was a 5-day cruise on a fairly new NCL ship. NCL has been in business many years, but Sandy & Mike thought they had a so-so reputation, and had never traveled with them. This short trip was a good way to check them out. NCL, by the way, is the "mass-market" part of a cruise line group that also includes up-market Oceana Cruises and Regent Seven Sea Cruises.

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Here's a few pictures from around New Orleans, followed by a brief section on the ship and the two ports visited in Mexico.

After boarding the NCL Getaway, Mike and Sandy explored the ship, which at about 4000 passengers, is not the largest ship they've ever been on, but much larger than their favorite Holland America ships. The ship's decor and furnishings are very good, the layout is easy to navigate, and the signage is well thought-out. Our first two meals were great, and the evening's entertainment was sensational.

The next day was a day at sea, so the ship itself and the Cruise Director's programming, become the headline. This day allowed us to conclude that this ship is, in many ways, rather like the really-big Royal Caribbean ship we were on recently. The crew was "international," and while certainly diverse, not entirely top-notch in English skills. The activities and programs were obviously aimed squarely at a younger demograhic than old Mike & Sandy.
Our experience also suffered a bit from the fact that our cabin was almost at the bow of the ship, while 99% of the food is near the stern of the ship (about 3 football fields away), so LOTS of walking long distances every day.
Snap review after two days aboard? We are highly unlikely to become regular travelers on NCL. But for you young folks, it's pretty nice, and reasonably priced!

The next day was a port call at Cozomel, Mexico , and this provided Mike an opportunity to do something on his "bucket list," namely, to make friends with a dolphin. Not only was this great fun, but I learned a lot about the amazing dolphins at the same time.

While Sandy and Mike have been to Cozumel and nearby Cancun before, they have never visited the ship's next port city of Costa Maya. This is way further south on the Mexican coast, almost to Belize. Unfortunately, the sea swells were quite high, and the ship decided it wasn't going to be safe trying to get all us tourists off and back on to the ship.

With the storm that was upsetting the weather at Costa Maya in mind, the captain headed us straight back to New Orleans. This proved to be a good idea, as strong winds and seas were already hampering ship traffic getting up the channel to the main Mississippi River and New Orleans.

All in all, we had a reasonably good time on this realtively new ship (it first entered service in 2014). It reminded us of Royal Caribbean ships, in that it is big on entertainment and is largely activity-driven; sitting quietly reading a book is not common, nor particularly encouraged. Days at sea were disappointing to us, as every activity offered was of the 'go-go' variety -- no bridge tournaments, no computer labs, no lectures, etc..

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