We live near Tampa, so we drove to Fort Lauderdale the day before. Stayed at a hotel I booked online, one that featured free parking for the duration of the cruise and free shuttles to and from the port -- can't beat that!
We arrive at Port Everglades around 11:30, and found the check-in process quite efficient, and short lines. We were onboard by 12:00, and headed to the area above the buffet for our lunch of fish and chips -- and they were yummy! By the time we were finished with lunch, our cabin was ready.
We were in an interior cabin, on the forward lido deck, a great location! Our cabin was immaculate, and there was plenty of room for the two of us. Our cabin steward and his team were very pleasant and attentive throughout.
For dinner we were in the Chic Dining Room, late seating by choice. The food was scrumptious, and our head waiter and assistants were awesome! The food arrived timely and was always appropriately hot/cold. We ate in the Sun King Steak House one night for a new experience and it was truly memorable! For lunches we ate at the grills or in the Fish and Chips restaurant. We ate several breakfasts in the MDR since we like a relaxed breakfast, and it was excellent each time. We also did a couple of breakfast buffets on port days -- buffets are not our thing, but it was OK. We also did room service one morning and were pleased that our tray came precisely on time.
We purchased a wine package on embarkation day -- we chose the premium package which came to $193 including gratuity. There were 10 wine selections in that package -- each of the wines we tried was very good. We also each carried on one bottle of wine, which we took to the MDR with us on our last two nights; they graciously opened and served our wine, and never even charged us a corkage fee.
Entertainment was a mixed bag in our opinion. The shows were very enjoyable, especially the Beatles tribute show. The late night adult comedy shows were very entertaining. We missed having the string trio in the main lobby -- we always had enjoyed a pre-dinner drink there. This time they had a vocal duo who wasn't really that good, and the music was a lot of country and oldies that were not really to our taste -- but it was fun watching some of the passengers dance. Our real beef was the "music" by the pool -- no live steel band that we always enjoyed before, but instead a disc jockey who played LOUD, LOUD, LOUD blaring club "music" non-stop, a constant assault on our ears. We couldn't even enjoy the main pool because it was so annoying -- we had to escape to the deck over the aft pool.
Speaking of the pool -- we really didn't see any big difference with the anti-chair-hogging efforts. Every chair was claimed by towels, etc most of the day, and I never saw one single item removed by staff despite no one in the chair for a long time. Even though we got out to the pool by 9:30 am we never could score a chair by the aft pool, but had to go several decks up and make our own little area.
Our only other complaint was the cigarette smoke, but I don't see a fix for that if we cruise Carnival, because they do allow smoking. The casino was basically off-limits to us as I have asthma -- you could smell it all up and down the promenade deck. And there was no enforcement of the policy that smoking on the open deck was only allowed on the starboard side -- people smoked wherever they wanted. Every time I said something to one of the errant smokers, I got a dirty look.
But, all in all, we had a terrific cruise!