We flew from Indianapolis to the Ft. Lauderdale airport - it seems that hardly anyone in the Miami airport can speak English - and took the 30 minute ride to the pier in Miami. The Carnival folks who met us at the airport baggage claim area were very helpful and we were on the bus in no time.
The embarkation process wasn't as bad as others have reported. Sure, the lines were long, but from the time we arrived at the pier until we had our cards and were in our cabin was a total of about 75 minutes...the lines went quickly and the Carnival people at the embarkation desk were quick and pleasant.
Our cabin had a balcony (it was great)...was very roomy compared with other ships we had cruised and the bed was very comfortable! Our cabin steward know our names from the first day and was great.
The food on the ship was very good to great. We tried things that we wouldn't have at home. Everything was delicious and the waitstaff was very friendly and fast.
We visited San Juan, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas. The ship didn't arrive at San Juan until 5 PM (6 PM local time) and by the time we were off the ship and walking around, the forts were closing. It would be better to arrive earlier, or take a cruise that gives you a full day in San Juan. St. Maarten was beautiful. We booked an excursion from an agent in the US. The driver arrived about 20 minutes late, but was friendly and let us spend extra time at the beach before returning to take us back to the shopping area where we bought a few things before walking back to the ship. St. Thomas was the best of the ports...we took a Carnival excursion (the St. John champagne catamaran sailaway) that was just great, very relaxing.
We had a great time on our cruise. I can't imagine what ship the people who wrote bad reviews were on...except that if I went on the cruise specifically looking for something to complain about I probably could have found it...but just sit back, let the crew wait on you hand and foot, and enjoy!