Hubby and I took this cruise for our one year anniversary (We were married the year before on a Carnival freedom cruise in Jamaica. This time cruising was much different without family, friends and our kids with us! I loved having the cruise wedding but really didn't get "alone" honey moon time w/ 27 people w/ us! Everyone in our party was very pleased w/ Carnival. We had a lot of first time cruisers and some returning customers that've cruised several different lines.
So the DREAM vacation- literally! We flew to FL a day before and stayed at International Palms Springs Resort & Conference Center, Cocoa Beach. Through Southwest airlines we got a discount on a Budget car rental. Hotel was nice & right on the beach - a steal for around $70 although it's a bit dated, it was perfect. Hotel also offered shuttle to/from port for a small fee but w/ the Budget car rental they offered us a free shuttle to the Port.
Embarkation was FAST! Less than an hour after arriving we were on the ship having lunch. Our room wasn't ready but we dropped off our carry ons & met our cabin steward, Jonah, and he was GREAT! I asked him once for ice & never had to ask again it was ALWAYS full.
We liked the ship, it's big, we didn't feel crowded. The comedians were HILARIOUS and traveling w/out kids allowed us to finally see the adult comedy show. I loved the other entertainment shows, the dance breaking crew Fun Force was amazing & would love to see them again.
We had anytime dining but usually had the same waiter. I was surprised after one night of dining to see the waiter in the buffet area the next morning and she greeted me by name! Everyone knew our names, the crew is exceptional in what they do! Only one person there was unfriendly, it was in the casino at the black jack table. She acted as if we were bothering her and everyone ended up leaving the table because of her.
I suppose the buffet hours could've been longer - think it closed at 1:30 pm and didn't re-open until 6:00pm ish, and the food selection could've had more variety but the food was very good. Room service was quick and on time when we pre-ordered breakfast. All in all was a great cruise.
The only port I was a huge fan of was Cozumel. We took a local taxi to Playa Uvas all inclusive snorkeling, drinking etc. They were great there and I'd love to go back! It was convenient to get off the ship, do local shopping then taxi onto Playa Uvas, which we booked locally not through Carnival.
We're cruising w/ Carnival again this Feb with the kids and we can't wait! I don't understand why people say Carnival is for "lower class" or whatever. I think it's a great value and great time. I've only cruised w/ Royal Caribbean and Carnival so can only compare the 2, but Carnival def offered more bang for your buck! Love the waterslides too!
Debarkation was a pain in the a$$! Customs fault though, not Carnivals.