A few notes - this was my second cruise and my boyfriend's first cruise. I had previously sailed on Holland America in Alaska. This cruise embarked on 09/16/2007.
Getting to the terminal in Galveston was easy, we had friends drop us off at about 1pm and we got in line. And stood, and stood, and stood. The line was horrendously long to board the ship, with no explanation given. It took us almost 2 hours to get through security at the top of the stairs. We would have been in line even longer, except that they were pulling people out randomly to go check in in another smaller room where there were more computers located. -1 for Carnival on the embarkation process.
We made our way to our balcony stateroom on the Lido deck aft. Having the balcony was well worth it as it was nice to have breakfast delivered and have a cup of coffee out there in the morning. The stateroom was very nice and our steward always remembered our name. Our luggage met us there, and the two fifths, 12 pack of beer, and our Bubba Kegs were still in our luggage as well. We had also brought a 12 pack of soda to drink throughout the week which probably saved us quite a bit of money.+2 for Carnival.
-1 to the Steward for not realizing the $20 tip we gave him (even after we asked him) was to keep us well stocked with ice to keep the beer cold.
Our sink kept plugging up, but when we called maintenance to come fix it, it was fixed within a couple of hours. The bathroom was actually bigger than the one on Holland America, and had more storage space. +1 for Carnival
I ordered room service the first night and the roast beef sandwich with potato salad and chocolate cake was wonderful. +1 for Carnival
We were seated in the Monet Dining room, 8:30pm seating. We went on the first formal night (Monday). The service was terrible, the waiter and cocktail waitress could not get our drinks right, and it took a good 15-20 minutes before we even got them or the bread. I ordered the prime rib with the baked potato, and when I cut into it, it was rotten. My boyfriend ordered the lobster tail, and received something the size of a small crawfish. This was our only experience in the main dining room as the service was so bad. -1 for Carnival.
The 24 hour pizza place by the aft pool is excellent, as is the stand by the midship pool that sells hamburgers and hot dogs. Tip: Try the fries! They are wonderful! The Lido deck restaurant, Restaurant Cezanne, is ok. It's nothing spectacular, but the food is consistent. We did enjoy PC Wok, which is the asian restaurant and the sushi place on the Promenade. +1 for Carnival
Deck chairs are plentiful and all over the ship. The pools and hot tubs were nice, and are in good condition. The spa was great - I got a wonderful (if expensive) hot stone massage. +1 for Carnival
The Ports: Jamaica is Jamaica - dirty...and Margaritaville is packed. Grand Cayman is wonderful, I highly recommend going to Stingray City and then Rum Point Beach. That was a great excursion. We went deep sea fishing in Cozumel, which was also fun as there were only 6 of us, but a large cooler of sodas, water and beer was provided as well as some small snacks. Three people caught fish and, all in all, it was a pleasant and reasonably priced excursion.
The disembarkation process was a joke. People who could carry their own luggage left first, at 7am. We opted to do the standard disembarkation and ended up waiting in line for over 2 hours to get through customs. -1 for Carnival.
All in all it was a good vacation, and most of what Carnival needs to work on is the process of getting on and off the ship. I might sail Carnival again depending on the price and the itinerary.