This was my first cruise and I had such a great time have already booked March 2013 cruise.
First I would like to say that I was very impressed at how friendly and helpful the Carnival staff were. From the moment we got off the plane (I had booked the carnival transporation to the port) every carnival staff we encountered was awesome. The transportation they arranged was organized and had us away from the airport within 30 minutes of me getting my luggage from the plane. Embarkation was very smooth and we were on the ship within 35 minutes of arriving at the port.
Once onboard the staff continued to be excellent! Our stewards were wonderful, knew us by first name in the first day and we never wanted for anything the entire trip. We have pictures with both of them.
The food was very good, regardless of where we ate. We ate on the dining room first and last night of the cruise and made use of the buffets the remaining 2 nights. I did become addicted to ice cream as the 24hr ice bar was too tempting to pass by.
We elected to stay on the ship wile in Key West and just enjoying the pool while the majority of the guests were onshore. Again the staff was great and seemed to always be right there as your drink was nearing empty.
We did decide to leave the ship to visit Cozumel. Enjoyed the sites but recommend you take cash if you are familiar with the convesation rate from dollars to peso. I made the mistake of taking no cash and paid twice what was "agreed" upon for items I purchased. Heard from a few others they had the same experience as well.
Debarkation was suprisingly quick. When I saw the crowd waiting to leave I assumed it would be lengthy but was off wihin 20 minutes of arriving on that deck.
When asked what the worst part of the cruise was, all I can say is it was while we were walking away from the ship. Carnival did an excellent job, made us feel very welcome, exceded our expectations and hooked me on cruising. The ship was very clean, well maintained and I honestly can't say I was disappointed by a single thing.
I am already booked for a 7 day cruise next March with Carnival and I'm counting the days already