We have been on three Disney Cruises over the past 10 or so years and they seemed to be getting stale. Our children have grown up to the point that the Disney characters on the ship do not add that much anymore. Our first cruise which was our honeymoon was on Carnival so we decided to check into Carnival for this vacation.
We booked very late and cabin choices were limited. We would have liked to try one of the cove cabins but they were all taken. We ended up on deck 6 which I was afraid would be very loud since it was right above whirlpools, the casino, and other common areas on deck 5. I was armed with earplugs and music devices just in case the noise from below was bad. I am happy to say that the noise did not bother us at all and deck 6 was not a problem for us. We were happy with the cabin and our steward who kept the cabin clean, made up the room early, and turned down the bed while we were out for dinner. The balconies do overlook deck 5 as has been mentioned by other reviewers but we did not find that to be a problem. My wife actually liked it because if a child fell off the balcony, he would land on the deck below and not the ocean. She always worries about a child falling over the balcony on cruises.
We enjoyed the food in the dining restaurant. We were on the wait list for the early seating for dinner and were accommodated on the second night. Our wait staff was very attentive and did an excellent job. The food on the Lido deck was just OK. We usually ate breakfast up there and it was nothing special. Our children loved the unlimited pizza and ice cream. I think unlimited soda should be included for children as on other ships, but we purchased the card for both of them.
Our port excursions were through independent companies and not through Carnival. We purchased a day pass at an all-inclusive resort in Cozumel and went snorkeling in Belize. We walked to the beach in Honduras and stayed on the ship in Costa Maya. Our children enjoyed the pools and the slides on the ship.
We were delayed at embarkation, but that was communicated well by Carnival and we found the overall embarkation process easier than other cruises in the past. We were especially happy with the debarkation option of self-assist. We were able to roll our luggage off the ship ourselves shortly after arrival into port. This saved a lot of time since we drove to the port.
Overall, we received about what we expected out of the cruise. I was a little worried about the cabin location and the possible differences between Carnival and Disney going into the cruise but we were pleasantly surprised. We would take another Carnival cruise.