My husband and I took this cruise for our honeymoon. Niether of us had been on a cruise before and we were really looking forward to it. While we had a good time, 4 days was more than enough and I don't think we will take another cruise anytime soon.
We went through security quite easily. We didn't arrive for boarding until 1:30 or 2. I didn't want to get there before our cabin would be ready and I didn't want to wait in line. By this time our wait was minimal and our cabin was all ready for us. The cabin was larger than I had expected it to be. It was well worth the extra $80 or so for the ocean view room. I can't imagine being in an interior room and not being able to look out and see the beautiful ocean. Not long after entering our room, our steward Aaartha came by to introduce himself. Throughout our cruise he was fabulous. Our room was always cleaned very well and it was a treat to come back in the evening to see the room fresh and the bed turned down with a cute towel animal and chocolate.
Reading many other reviews, I see a trend that the food is awful. These folks must not have eaten in the dining room, because that food was fabulous! You can choose as much as you want. If you want an additional appetizer or entree, it's no problem. Our parents had purchased a honeymoon cake to be presented to us on our first evening at dinner. The staff came out with a cute (delicious) little cake with a candle and sang happy honeymoon to us (with the head waiter saying Kissy Kissy! for us to kiss during the chorus 3 times). I thought it was cute. I will say that I was not at all impressed with the food in the buffet area called Tiffany's on the Lido deck. I didn't care for any of the food I had there. It was reminiscent of school or hospital food. We were able to order room service 24 hours a day, which we always did. The food was better with room service. Just make sure you bring tipping money for the delivery people. Your pre paid gratuities do not cover those individuals. We ordered breakfast every morning and were very pleased. It always arrived on time and was very delicious. Drinks are expensive, but you're on vacation...so have a few.
Cozumel was amazing. We slept in late so we wouldn't have to wait getting off the ship, which worked out marvelously. After going through the port and out to the street outside, we went to a vendor with a sign for cuban cigars so my new hubby could experience a few. He took us back to his shop and my husband got a good deal on them. We didn't purchase any shore excursions (SO overpriced!!!) we just wanted to go to the beach. The man we bought the cigars from was amazing. He translated what we wanted to the cab driver and he gave us great info Mr. Sanchos which is a resort that is completely free to use the beach chairs, beach, pool, etc! They offer drinks and all you can eat for a decent price. We each had one drink and I purchased a fake coach purse for $38 at the little shops on the way out to the beach. They figure you are going to buy drinks, souvenirs, food and the like, that's why the beach is free. Our cab was $15 each way, which cost us $40 total including tip. (They don't have change..duh..so make sure you don't have big bills). For the great info of a gorgeous resort FOR FREE!!!! the cab ride was definitely worth it. Mr. Sanchos. Go there.
As far as entertainment goes, the variety show at night was awful. We went to the first one and walked out. Other reviewers are correct that most high school productions are better. One of the comedians however was HILARIOUS. We went to his show every night he had one. His name is Mutzie. He would use the audience as part of his act and it was definitely improvised, not a memorized act. I highly recommend him. They have family friendly and adult shows. He did both, but never cursed, which was refreshing. The adult show could have been teenager friendly. The other comedian was awful. AWFUL! I don't think it's necessary to use the F-bomb every other word just because you can. Beside that he was not funny at all.
I recommend bringing some kind of sea sickness meds. They have some in the medical center if you forget. Unfortunately, I did not take preventative measures and got sick out of no where. Not two steps out of the art auction (not worth going...even for the free champagne) I doubled over and got sick. There was no containers nearby and I was so embarassed. My husband got some napkins and told the closest staff member who paged housekeeping quickly to take care of it. Even if you think you aren't going to get sick...take the med anyway. I also got sick with an awful cold during the cruise and the medical center had theraflu and a nasal spray decongestant that was a lifesaver. It was reasonably priced too.
When you get on the ship, the pool is empty. I wondered about this until I read the information in the room. It is a salt water pool and they empty it and refill it on every cruise. They don't refill it until getting out into the ocean so they can pump it in. It took most of the afternoon and night to get out of the Mississippi River and into the Gulf which I was surprised over. The adults only Serenity Deck was a nice reprieve. Luckily we went when school was still in session. There were not a ton of kids on the cruise which was nice. The Serenity Deck has two hot tubs, but no pool. We never swam in the pool or used the waterslide.
Overall, it was a good time. We enjoyed our time together and made great memories. If we ever go on another cruise, it will not be Carnival unless it is on a new ship. Even though the staff was excellent, the ship being older was not something I enjoyed. Perhaps if we had a suite with a balcony I would have been happier. If you can, splurge on that luxury. Enjoy your cruise!