The complaints/criticisms I have are only three things: (1) Embarkation and Debarkation were absolutely horrible and I even had a Carnival Representative move another group in front of me in line just as I was about to pass thru immigration. Totally inexcusable in my opinion after waiting in a very long line. It took me three hours to get off the ship and I carried off my own luggage!
So be there early and expect long lines. The ships capacity is listed at about 2800 people but we had 3500 crammed on ship. (2) I totally disliked the idea of having Red, White and Blue teams as a way to get more folks involved in ships activities. The worst thing was the announcements and cheering and hoopla during dinner. I found that extremely distracting. Also, the waiters dancing on small tables did the same thing. (3) Service was very poor in the Red Sail, although they seemed to have a lot of folks there, no one offered to find me a seat, carry my tray and were slow to clean tables. A couple days I had to rob silverware from another table because it had not been replaced on a table I had found.
All that said, I had a very good time. The Cruise Director Mark Price was funny, he reminded me of Red Skeleton in some of his mannerisms. I went to two shows, the welcoming show and the Rocking down Broadway show and enjoyed both. Carnival was very, very good at giving me an upgrade as I booked a guaranteed 1A Cabin and ended up with an Oceanview in 7206 which was basically as good as a balcony cabin as I was right by the door to exit onto a basically deserted Bow deck which made me feel like I had a wraparound of the whole front of the ship!
My room Stewardess Karen and her assistant were excellent in keeping my ice bucket full, providing towel animals and keeping my room spit spot. I was served in the Platinum dining room and had excellent tablemates . Cruz, my waiter and his assistant Joel were superb and dinner was the highlight of my days.
Excursions: I went cave tubing in Belize with Coral Breeze and had a wonderful time there. Junior, our guide, took us for a ride thru Belize City, answered all of our questions and was very attentive. The luncheon provided was excellent! Coral Breeze is among the least expensive tour groups to the caves and the private groups all started from the same place, so they had the best value for the buck in my opinion. We got back a half hour before the last tender and he was very conscious of our needs to return. He even stated he could drive us to Coz himself if anything went wrong, and thankfully it didn't.
Carnival I was less happy with, the Playa Mia beach break was very nice, I enjoyed the beach and the buffet and the waiters were very nice to bring anything you wanted. There were also plenty of beach toys to use. I did feel the Margarita's were very weak, as I seldom drink and still had about seven of them without feeling a buzz. I met some nice ladies from North Carolina and enjoyed their conversation and companionship at lunch. The big bummer was the Sunset Snorkel. For some reason, Carnival had scheduled this for six p.m. when the sun would not go down until after eight. After we were all organized to go, a Carnival rep came to the group and told us that the excursion would be delayed until seven. We were offered three choices, wait for the excursion, take a sunset catamaran excursion in its place, or a full refund.
I took the refund as every night of the trip was a sunset ride as far as I was concerned. I think almost everyone, or maybe everyone cancelled out. I found this inexcusable as they should have known well in advance sunset times. It also totally destroyed my dinner plans.
Overall I did enjoy the trip despite some of the above mentioned gripes. Overall the food was excellent (even in the Red Sail). My advice would be to avoid long lines there, to eat at slightly offbeat times to avoid the table hunts and lines.
The value of my upgrade was outstanding as it saved me about 75% if I had booked the room separately, (I traveled solo on this trip). The cave tubing was great, my Carnival Stewards and Waiters were fantastic and I enjoyed the shows. Overall it was a wonderful experience and try to avoid the annoyances that come along and just enjoy yourself!