As a first time cruiser, I didn't know what to expect. I will just try to sum up my experience. Parking at the Port of Galveston Terminal is probably the best and safest way to park. It is very expensive at 70.00 for the 7 day cruises.
The embarkation process went smooth and fairly fast. Once we arrived at the terminal, we were on board in about an hour. Our bags arrived at our room about an hour after we arrived. The room we had was a balcony room on the 10th deck toward the front of the ship. It was nice.
Right away I noticed a lot of ship movement. You are aware of the movement the whole time you are on board so be prepared and use all hand rails.
As far as the onboard experience, the food was pretty bad and the servings were soooo small. Both the buffet and main dining room pretty much had the same awful food.
The entertainment on board was pretty lame as well. The casino is tiny and always full. All decks are crowded. The ship is big but when you get 4000 passengers and crew, it is ALWAYS crowded. I don't like crowds and lines, and this ship had waaay two much of both.
The drinks are expensive, especially when they automatically tack on a 15 percent gratuity on all drink purchases which is sooo much BS, Carnival should be ashamed. They had plenty of alcohol in the drinks, though I will say to their credit. They have daily drink specials too.
It was hard to enjoy myself with the overhyped food, overpriced drinks, crowds, lines, and lame entertainment. I tried to sleep as much as possible to make the time go by faster.
The fun parts came when we went on shore. Jamaica rocks (rumors about them having the best of the kind is true!) Grand Cayman pretty much sucked, and Cozumel was cool.
The really only exciting thing to happen on board is that we picked up some Cuban refugees in route to Jamaica, and some poor lady had a heart attack on board and the Mexican navy had to take her on board one of their battleships and copter her to the mainland for treatment. So if it weren't for that, it would not have been much of some "Fun Days" at sea.
My wife loved every minute from the time she set foot on board. Lucky for me, though, she is easy to please! Would I cruise again? Yes! Would I do it on a Carnival ship? Maybe, if the prices come down, less crowds, better food etc........