My wife and I have just returned from the March 22nd sailing with port calls in Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. This was our 4th cruise, and 3rd on Carnival.
Embarkation: This was a great experience. We purchased the FTTF (Fast To The Fun) package for $49.95 and it was worth every penny. We arrived at the dock at 11:40AM and stepped onto the ship at 12:05PM.
Our cabin was ready, so we dropped off our carry on baggage and headed Horatio's to get some lunch. When we returned from lunch our luggage had been dropped off outside our cabin.
Cabins: We were aft ship on the Verandah deck, cabin 7299. This cabin was very spacious and comfortable. We were a bit concerned with it being right next to the elevators, but we never heard them once. It ended up being very convenient having them next to us. Our cabin had an over sized balcony that was able to accommodate two lounge chairs, two sitting chairs and a small side table. The inside furnishings were very spacious. We had two good size wardrobe type closets, sofa, table and desk.
Dining: We were only in the main dining room for 4 of the nights on the cruise. Overall it was okay at best...the service was not what we had remembered from past cruises and the food was a little bland. the other nights we spent one in Horatio's, one in the steakhouse and one at the Chef's Table dinner.
The Chef's Table Dinner is something you don't want to miss on your next cruise. There is a $75.00 fee per person to do this and is worth EVERY PENNY! It is a small group dinner anywhere from 8-12 people. We have the maximum of 12 people at ours. It was an 8 course meal that started in the main galley and moved from there after the first course to a private dining room for the 12 of us. The dinner included all the red and white wine as well as champagne that you wanted. Chef Stanley and his team did a fantastic job.
Nick & Nora's Steakhouse is another meal you don't want to pass up. For a small fee of $35.00 per person you get to enjoy a fantastic dinner in the steakhouse that is very beautiful and romantic. The food is incredible and I highly recommend it.
Horatio's & Lido Deck: The buffets were good with a different choice each day, as well as the Deli, Salad Bar, and Chopstix. The grill on the Lido deck always had burgers, dogs, chicken tenders and salad.
Pizza: Very good pizza...thin crust, cooked to order, and far better than most any thin crust gourmet pizza at home.
Public areas: The serenity pool area is great, but finding an empty lounger, much less one of the cool cabanas was EXTREMELY difficult. The main pool areas were nice enough with music if you enjoy that, and a fair number of children. The sun deck was a little quieter and was not too windy.
Entertainment: George Lopez's Punchliner Comedy Club is fantastic. We attended two of the adult comedy shows and could not stop laughing.
Debarkation: With the FTTF package we purchased this allowed us to get of the ship earlier as well. We chose to "self carry" our luggage off the ship and I highly recommend this to everyone. We were the first group off the ship in the morning and didn't have to wait for any luggage.