After reading all the negative reviews here, I wondered if we were either on the wrong ship or missing out on the negatives. Then I realized that since we always have fun, it was probably the latter.
To start off with, the embarkation issues at the Port of Tampa are not the Carnival employees fault. And while it was slow, it was not bad. The required safety briefing, which had already started when we arrived, was however, one of the worst on any ship. A long quiet wait in a club, then outside to the lifeboats, to line up and wait some more. The process took far longer than was necessary, and while required, needs to be reorganized to be more efficient.
After that, all was well. Our room was nice and clean, our steward, Jean, was attentive and always brought everything we needed.
While the highlight of the cruise for many is the meal, we were pleasantly surprised by the food, which seemed a little better than on past carnival cruises. And while we have always had good waitstaff on the past 5 cruises, the waiter and assistant were nothing short of spectacular. Louis and Valentina were superb, very personable, friendly and always above and beyond what is expected on a cruise.
The ship itself is smaller, and the pool especially is one of the smallest, comparable to the one on the old Commodore Caribe However, they put a large elevated dance floor outside on the Lido deck which has lights for nighttime parties and a solid covering to keep the hot sun off the dancers in the day. Dancing on it was fun as there was a nice breeze blowing across the Lido deck.
Food choices are plentiful. While I never eat lunch or dinner at the Lido buffets, I did partake of the Mongolian Grill, the Grill, and the Sandwich deli. The Pizza Pirate, while not my taste, seemed to have plenty of customers. I did however, try the dessert buffet, the "sweet spot" and was treated to mango cake, which I had to force myself to stop eating, and it is now my new favorite cake on a carnival ship. I am so glad that I decided to try something new in the food area, because Carnival's mango cake could have been a meal in itself. It was that good. The Lemon cake was a very close second, that sort of melt in your mouth not too sweet but just perfect type of cake, and the day they had the chocolate bar, the chocolate cake did not disappoint.
The crew was fun and helpful as always. We found more than enough fun seeking travelers to talk with and drink with, so there was no boredom on the ship. Getting on and off in Cozumel was easy. This is a nice short getaway and we will sail it again.