I read almost all of the previous reviews before booking this cruise and I have to say most of everything I read was true. I have only been on two other cruises, both of them The Big Red Boat. My husband has sailed on Holland America also.
Beginning with embarkation, things went smooth, our room was ready early and we were pleasantly surprised at the size and cleanliness (we booked an oceanview on deck 2).
The ship itself is beautiful, huge, with many lounges and rooms. I didn't find it that hard to get around after the first day or two of exploring. The excursions were amazing.
We did the cave tubing in Belize which was the most beautiful place. The people were nice and genuinely happy to have us there. The Chacchoben ruins in Costa Maya were more than we imagined. Our tour guide was very informative and the site was spectacular.
We were scheduled to go to Cozumel but because of Hurricane Wilma we went to Costa Maya instead. My biggest complaint about Costa Maya is the port area. It is so obvious the cruise lines paid for one commercial shopping area with a bar or two and a fake beach with huts and a pool. It was overcrowded and the food was not good. Our tour guide recommended taking a taxi into the village and that is what we should have done but after our tour didn't have time.
Getting on and off the ship in Key West is a joke. Debarking the ship at Port Canaveral was also a joke with a ship so large and full of passengers. The crew does not do a good job at this. Plan to stand in lines and be confused.
If you like to drink and party, Carnival is definitely the cruise for you. There are multiple lounges and clubs with all types of music, dancing, and alcohol at all times. The shows were fun, and the Amber Palace is gorgeous.
By far the worst experience was in the dining room. Our wait staff was beyond incompetent and the food was sub par. The red sail dining room is better, and really the best tasting menu items on the ship were the burgers & fries and 24 hour ice cream.
Overall we had a great time and the beautiful ports and magnificent ship made the cruise a good bargain.