This is the second time I have taken a 3 night cruise to Ensenada. The first was out of San Diego in 2010, and the most recent was out of Long Beach. We had a nice weekend getaway the first trip out of San Diego, so I figured we'd give it another shot. The first thing I noticed was that the crowd was completely different than when sailing out of San Diego. I've never seen so many non-couples/non-families on a cruise. Many rooms were packed with four guys or four girls, all there for a weekend of boozing. I'm not one to judge, but it certainly made for a not-so-family-friendly weekend. I would have been extremely uncomfortable if I had children with me.
Other than the rowdy crowd, the trip had its highs and lows. We checked into a room that had CLEARLY been smoked in, and smoked in often. It was horrible. We tried to make it work, but we couldn't get past the smell. We asked to switch rooms several times, and several times they only offered to "re-clean" the room. We eventually discovered that they were sticking dryer sheets in the vents in hope that it would help to mask the awful smell. Finally, Christina in Guest Services (who was a GREAT help!) found us another room that didn't smell like smoke. Even though it took until 7 pm on our first night to get our room situation taken care of, it was better than the alternative of suffering through such a horrible smelling cabin.
The food on the ship was OK. I've sailed Carnival many times before, and I have never been one to talk negatively about the food. This time it was hit or miss. Our first meal on the Lido deck was ice cold. I'm not sure the heat lamps were even on. But our meal that night in the Main Dining Room was great! The ceviche was much, much better than I anticipated. And our service that night was excellent as well. We went to the MDR for lunch on our sea day and had a soggy sandwich and awful service, so it really was just hit or miss for the entire trip.
Overall, the service was OK. I felt some people really went the extra mile to offer great service, and others didn't seem to care. That's pretty much par for the course though.
I actually liked the decor on the ship. It seemed different than Carnival's other ships. Not as cheesy. The room was not so great. It was small and the bathroom definitely had a sewage-type smell in it. Not bad enough to complain (especially since we had already been saved from the smoke room), but enough to make you uncomfortable about its cleanliness.
All in all, I had a pretty good time. But because of the nature of this crowd, and their overall lack of respect for others (i.e. smoking in cabins, screaming in the halls at 3 am, using vulgarity around children, etc), I probably wouldn't take this trip again.