I had always had an interest in cruising, but something or another had always prevented my from trying one. Until last month, when things aligned just right and I was able to sample this one. I'm very glad I did, for many reasons.
EMBARKATION AND DISEMBARKATION - No real problems. The shuttle (prepaid through Carnival) was a little slow, and the lines and walking seemed to go on and on, but there was nothing here that I didn't prepare for. Everyone did their jobs efficiently.
Getting off the ship went well - almost too well. I took my own bags off, caught the shuttle (again prepaid through Carnival) and was at the airport before 8:30. My flight didn't leave until 3.
PUBLIC ROOMS - Everything seemed shiny to my untrained, inexperienced eye. There were more than ample hand sanitizers which I occasionally used and saw others used.
CABIN - Seemed shiny and almost new. More than adequate space for this single. Could have used a little more breathing space in the bathroom, but that's a quibble.
RATES - Thank you Carnival for eliminating the single supplement tax!
DINING - With My Time Dining, my main dining room (MDR) was the lower level of Lincoln. I got to dine here four times. The first time was open seating. I was placed with two couples at a table that seated eight. Both couples were interesting and mildly interested in me, so that worked out well. One of the couples I met other times on the ship.
The other three times I requested, and got, a table for two occupied by me, myself, and I. Of course, there were other tables nearby where I could hear them and we could converse easily enough if we were so inclined (we never were).
In Lincoln, the food was excellent, but the portions were a little small. No problem; more room for extra starters, bread, and/or dessert.
Most of the rest of the time I ate in and around Rosie's on the Lido deck. There was sometimes more traffic here than I wanted here. The food was very good here. I especially recommend the jerk chicken and spicy beef.
SERVICE - What can I say? I was blown away by how well I was treated by everyone on the Carnival staff. It's something I could really get used to, without hopefully taking it all for granted.
SHORE EXCURSIONS: I took a lot of island tours through Carnival, which I'm sure they appreciate (insert sound of cash register here). There are more details in the individual port reviews, but suffice it to say I was very happy with Carnival's subcontractors and the services they offered.
VALUE FOR MONEY: See comment above under "Rates".
OVERALL: I had a great time. I think I learned a lot. I met some nice people. What more could I possibly ask for?