This was my partner and my first cruise but we went with a group of seasoned cruisers. That made everything painless. We are vegan, so my first concern was eating well. The crew was very accommodating and soon predicted our desire for soy milk with meals. Sandra, the hostess of the Inspiration dining room, came to us each day with a menu so that we could custom make our dinner for the next night. She was charming and very helpful. Logistically, embarkation and debarkation were painless. It helps to get an early (before noon) flight out of San Diego, then you can get off the ship first. Cabo was warm, delightful weather but it is like most other Mexican cities, worn and dirty. Cabo Wabo has great live music! Shopkeepers were very kind and helpful, but the street hawkers were really annoying. Go to the on-board seminar with Joey to buy jewelry, if you are in the market. We got a beautiful diamond ring for a great price right at the dock. I got it sized and appraised when we got home, and it is the real deal! Ensenada was cold and overcast..we got some deals at the dock on tee shirts and souvenirs, but don't bother going into town. It's dank and dirty.
The ship itself was fine. Not worn out or beat up. Fellow passengers were fairly well behaved, although not many knew how to dress for formal night.The dress code in the dining room is loosely enforced. No matter. Food was great and service was even better. Our cabin was fine except for the pervasive cigarette smoke that would filter in from other cabins. We turned our air conditioning up and put a towel under the door. That seemed to help. Being from California, we aren't used to so much cigarette smoke.. The casino was also really smokey but we managed to gamble and get some pretty good payoffs. We also played in a slot tourney, which was fun.
Amenities in the cabin were strange..razors, toothpaste, pepcid AC and a coupon for a hairbrush. Bring your own conditioner, shampoo and lotion. TV movies were good, entertainment was very good. The comedian and magician were very entertaining. Bingo was fun, too.. We don't drink alcohol, so we can't say much about the bars and lounges.
We did the couples massage, well done, but be ready to get a sales pitch at the end for all the expensive products you "need". I got my teeth whitened. Not a bad deal for 200 bucks. Again, there was a sales pitch for more products to buy to maintain your beautiful smile..hahaa!
All in all, it was fun. We will probably go for warmer ports of call for our next cruise, but Carnival is a good value for the money no matter where you go.