This was our first cruise for DW and I alone. No kids or anyone going that we knew. We chose it for the ports we had not been to yet, the 8 day length, job schedules and as an anniversary present to ourselves for our 30 years together.
First the bad part:
We did not find out about the change from Panama, Costa Rica and Belize to Costa Maya, Cozumel, Belize and Roatan until we arrived at the port. We were very upset but really could not change plans that late so the Embarkation Supervisor told us that due to our circumstances, if we want to continue and go on the cruise they would talk to the Pursers Desk and ask them to upgrade us as well as the minor $25 PP ($50 per room Max) on board credit Carnival was giving everyone. We were told to report to the Pursers Desk as soon as we got on board. To make a long story short, we ended up getting different information from different staff until the next day when I talked to the #2 Purser, (I never could get the Purser to see me.), who flatly stated "No one has been upgraded due to the situation for this trip and all Pursers Desk staff has known this all the time". He could not explain why we were not told that by anyone previously, nor why his assistant had just a couple hours prior told us she was "Still working on it, check with me this afternoon". I feel we were definitely given the run around.
Now for the good:
We really enjoyed the rest of the trip! The staff were all very friendly and would do most anything for you without even being asked. The Dining was fun and entertaining as always. We had an early assignment at a table for two but were easily able to change to a late seating at a large table. Zoriania(sp) and Matthew were very good even though the food was often just warm and not hot. That appeared to be caused by being on the upstairs level and the kitchen is downstairs with the waiters having to wait in line for their orders. Horatios was always good for a variety of buffet foods and was good also.
The shows were good and the entertainment was done well. We saw most productions and liked them all. The only time we saw Bret, the Cruise Director was when he was on stage. My wife enjoyed the Craft Instructions and won three times at the Art Auctions.
The ship was laid out differently than other Carnival ships we've been on. Some nice areas you had to hunt for like Mad Hatters which was under the Lounge. We kept as busy as we wanted to and sometimes tried to be in two places at once. It was Great!The ship was also had about a third less passengers as many opted to get credit for a future cruise and did not come. (Some who did come should have stayed behind. At the Cruise Critic meet there was a man who came to bitch at this "critics" meeting, when he was told this was not a bitch session he got very nasty and left swearing at some of us.)
The last two sea days, the ship was running much faster 22 knots instead of the 14-16 we had been going. One of a group of Seniors had a heart attack and need to get to hospital so we arrived back in Ft Lauderdale about midnight. Started self-disembarking about 7:45AM so we were off the ship by 9:15.
Overall, an excellent trip. Very disappointed by the initial false information from the Pursers and do feel they should have offered more than $25, especially with them dropping the fuel surcharge for ships leaving after the 17th. (We left the 15th.)
Will definitely sail Carnival again. Only once cruised with another line and felt cramped by smaller spaces the whole trip.