After cruising with Celebrity a few years back (Fantastic) and on the Golden Princess (very good) we were a little apprehensive about carnival considering some of the negative reviews. Anyway, we booked and left LA on the 17th November 2013. Embarkation was very slow and unorganized. We were shuffled from one check in place to the next, and it seemed that no carnival staff could tell us why or what was happening. The whole process took a few hours, and I felt for the elderly standing in queue.
PROS - Great balcony cabin at the rear of the ship (facing backwards). Thought we would try it and we would definitely book it again. Cabin was great, neat clean and tidy, thanks to our steward Sokotate. A great job man.
Meals - Very good. No real lines for the buffet and the food was fresh and tasty. Great burgers and hotdogs out by the pool, all cooked fresh for you. A great mid afternoon snack when you've had a few beers by the pool. Dining room was good too. Not near as good as celebrity, but good never the less. Great waiters, although some nights you waited a long while to get your wine and drinks. But all in all a good experience and dinner was always very nice.
Nick and Nora's specialty steak house. We ate there twice. At $35.00 a head it is unbelievable value. And one of the best steaks I've ever had. Thanks to all the very friendly staff there too.
Disembarkation - was the complete opposite to embarkation. It was a breeze and very quick.
The live entertainment was pretty good. A great band on board singing all the old and new hits. Really good shows too by the miracle singers and dancers. The beatle's show was excellent, well done.
CONS - Some of the bartenders needed an attitude adjustment (especially in the disco) and a certain arrogant female Russian you could tell just didn't want to be there.
Getting off at Puerto Vallarta was a complete nightmare. Hundreds of people line from the gangway up 3 flights of stairs to exit. When we finally got out we found out why. The whole photography staff were stopping everyone trying to take their photo. It was outrageous. We told them there were hundreds of people behind us lining up down the stairs in blistering heat, all complaining. They let us know in no uncertain terms that they didn't care. Our group of six told them where they could put their cameras. The photographers were annoying the whole trip. You couldn't eat dinner without a camera in your face most nights. I understand that some people want photos, which we did at dinner once, but not every night and when trying to eat lunch out on deck also. They employed hard sell tactics where ever they were. All photographers on board we found to be very rude, and speaking with other passengers they all felt the same too.
In a nutshell, we didn't let the few rude and arrogant staff members spoil our trip. All in all a great trip, and well done and thanks Carnival. I would cruise with you guys again inn the future.