Embarkation at the Port of Tampa was normal, ie: quick and efficient. I arrived at the port about 10:30 and whisk through the VIP room quickly, but had to sit until the ship was ready for us, at about 11:30. Lunch at the buffet was very good, and frankly, not overly crowded. Cabins were ready at 12:30. This was the first time I'd sailed "solo" and I elected to sail in a 1-A cabin. (upper and lower, inside.) I was very pleasantly surprised to find the cabin amazingly comfortable. I had plenty of room, and even though the location was under the dining room, it was VERY quiet. My cabin steward was EXCELLENT as well.
I enjoyed the ship, which was clean, and well maintained. My only problem with the design was that there is no aft pool area. The Lido Deck pool area is very large, but because they always BLARE the music there, I normally hang out at the aft pool area. Yes, there is the "Serenity Deck" on the aft, but there is no pool there, (only two hot tubs) and it's very hot, with no breeze there to help cool you. Entertainment is very good. I'd highly recommend both of the "Big Production Shows". "Shout", and "8 Seconds More" are both very enjoyable. The Cruise Director, Steve Cassel is very good, but not at all accessible. I NEVER saw him outside of the normal times on stage, unless I made it a point to track him down. The assistant however, "Misty" is everywhere, and is very, very nice.
Having cruised a lot, I never left the ship at the ports, so I can't comment on them.
Food was better than my last Carnival Cruise, and variety was excellent. Escargot is back, and was very, very good! Service in the dining room was quick, and efficient as well!
I never noticed any "chair hogs" at all on this cruise. I was ALWAYS able to get a lounger almost anywhere, even beside the pool on sea days. There was also no need to RUSH into the theater for the big shows, as there seemed to be enough seats for everyone. A VERY pleasant surprise!
Debarkation was painless, although a bit later than I'm used to. U.S. Customs didn't clear the ship until nearly 8:30, so debarkation didn't begin until then. I held a #1 luggage tag, and hit the pier at about 9:40.
All in all, a GREAT cruise. If you need a short get away, I'd highly recommend "Paradise".