We spent the night before the cruise at the Fairfield Inn at the Port which was just fine with an adequate breakfast included. Rosemarie at reception was exceptional.
Around noon the next day, we proceeded to the Port by Taxi which is less hassle than the hotel shuttle and is actually cheaper for a couple.
Our primary reason for choosing to go on Carnival for the first time, out of 17 cruises, was for relaxation and the cruise fit into our schedule and was going to some of our favorite ports; and, we thought, was not during school vacation....wrong! There were some 1300 children out of approximately 3000 passengers! Apparently, a large part of the southern schools were on vacation.
As we booked an Ocean Suite, we had VIP access and after 15 minutes we were in our suite which was very nicely laid out with plenty of storage space and a long but narrow balcony with enough room for sitting chairs. If you did not have VIP access you had a long wait. Although a sofa bed was in the room, there was not enough space, in my opinion, to comfortably have a third person staying in the same room. The TV offered a few pay movies which were not to our liking and very few free movies. The channel selections, overall, were minimal. Our room steward, Jose and his assistant were excellent. Although we were two decks below the Lido restaurant and the pool deck, you could hear the chairs on that deck being moved around all day which was, nevertheless, tolerable.
There was a cruise critic who did not seem particularly pleased with the way the public areas were decorated but we did not find the design and decorations to be other than just fine...somewhat different but not too loud and in relatively good taste.
The pool areas were all small including the main pool which was like a zoo during the sea days. Children were unsupervised, at times, and on two nights were running through the hall yelling and screaming at 11:30pm and 1:30am. We never had this on other ships but, then again, we were never on a ship with 1300 children which included many teens.
The food in the Lido and the dining room was adequate but not the greatest except for the Steakhouse, where we had dinner the first two nights, which was excellent. We had excellent service and attention delivered by Czaba, the Maitre D and Mladden our head waiter and his assistants in the dining room. We met the Chef of the Steakhouse, Ambrose, who was very pleasant and accommodating, as was, Paulina, the Mgr., and the rest of the waiters and waitresses.
We did not go to any shows nor did we take excursions as we have been to the islands before.
We chose express luggage for disembarkation which made for our quick and effortless departure from the ship.
Overall, we did enjoy the cruise by largely avoiding the crowds which we knew how to do as experienced cruisers but will not sail again on Carnival.