Embarkation was a complete NIGHTMARE! This was not how I imagined to begin a (what I thought would be stress free) vacation. Our ship was late due to the nasty hurricanes, not to mention the New Orleans cruise terminal isn't very nice. We had to sit in a large, warehouse-like room along with 900 other people which had terrible ventilation. There is a mall on top of this terminal, but if you went up there to shop around, you would lose your place in line to board the ship. After waiting 6 hours in that terrible room, we finally began to board. The 50 dollar on-board credit Carnival gave us as a "sorry" present did not do it for me. The boarding after that was quick; the photographers only took a mere 10 minutes to get through.
The food on Carnival is mediocre in my opinion. Casual dining was a wreck. The banana bread at breakfast is inedible, the cheesecakes are just gross. The best thing I ate was the pizza. The food in the dining rooms were ok, although I've been on many Carnival cruises before and they still have the same exact menu. The "chateaubriand" was tough as leather. The desserts were tasty, though.
My daughters had a fun time at Camp Carnival, except I disliked the camp director. Most of the activities planned on the last day were not carried out, so the kids were in the right place at the right time, but the director was not there to conduct the activity. I rarely saw my daughters disappointed though, and that's all that matters.
The ship was very clean. My room was newly made up every time I went in there, and the towel animals were a special touch. My room steward was incredibly kind and helped make our cruise an enjoyable one.
Our first stop was in Calica, Mexico, which was awful. Calica is not beautiful, it is just a big gravel pit, it is not developed at all. I don't recommend a cruise going to this port. We took a shore excursion there it Xcaret. I HIGHLY don't RECOMMEND GOING ON THIS EXCURSION IT IS UNPLEASANT AND VERY CROWDED WITH LOCALS! after paying for the actual excursion, you have to pay for anything else you do in the park. It is a rip off. The animals are poorly taken care of and have very small enclosures.
Cozumel was much better. I have been here several times and never get bored. We did not take an excursion, but instead took a short taxi ride to Playa Del San Francisco, which is very beautiful. They have a pool on the beach if you do not like salt water. The food there is very authentic and enjoyable minus the cooks and waiters who hit on you. Over all, it was so-so. I would sail with Carnival again, but not on this ship.