Overall, a very nice cruise -- but see "The Bad" at the end of the review.
Used Park-N-Cruise for indoor parking directly across from the ship -- an easy walk and priced at $10/day.
My general experience on the ship was equivalent to my previous cruises on Royal Carib/Princess/Celebrity, which I had concerns about initially. In fact, the personnel were the friendliest and nicest of all my cruises!
We did not take any Carnival excursions, and just did our own thing, which I thought worked out great -- Grupo AutoProgresso just off the ship in Progresso gave us a tour to the ruins and to Merida, and we took a taxi to Playa Corona in Cozumel -- both worked out great and were cheaper than the ship's prices.
The food was good on the ship, the only issue I had was that the buffet is arranged in a way that seemed awkward compared to other ships. The formal meals were great, we did anytime dining, and were seated at a table for 2 each evening with virtually no wait.
The shows put on by the ship's dancers were among the best I have ever seen. They had two comedians onboard, and both were really funny.
The daytime activities lacked a little compared to other ships, IMO, but still OK.
Once again I felt that cruises out of Galveston have, as a general rule, a more polite and nicer group of fellow travelers than out of Florida. People just seemed to be genuinely friendly as well as polite and understanding if something wasn't perfect. I value that a lot, and try to be that way on every cruise, and have had people in Florida tell us upon occasion that my family seemed extra polite when we did something nice for someone. Not sure why everyone is not that way, but "c'est le vie".
The one concern I still have is how things would be if we had gone at a peak period, like summer. We departed on Nov 10, 2012, and so most younger people I think are in school, are have kids in school, so the group was presumably much older. I don't mind some drinking and carrying on, so to speak, but don't want it to be unpleasant and drunken, and I have always heard rumors about Carnival due to reputation and due to price. But that certainly was NOT true on our cruise, very nice behavior indeed.
THE BAD: We had the cabin from hell due to noise. Our cabin, in spite of assurance from the Carnival rep, was not quiet -- it was directly over the band in the casino. The rep told us it should not be bad, since we were over a "walking area" but it turns out the walking area contained a live band that played about 4 times a day, up until 1am most nights. It was so loud, the 2 cust service people who came up to listed began laughing, because not only did it sound like the band was IN THE ROOM, but the floor was vibrating and even the sofa material was vibrating! Even my pillow turned into to a speaker in my ear because it was vibrating. They gave us 15% credit on the cruise, but it wasn't worth it. But, true to my word, we didn't let it ruin our trip, we kept saying "Hey, at least we like all their music!".