My husband and I are 30 and went on this cruise for our honeymoon. We chose this cruise only for the itinerary (I LOVE the Western itinerary!) . I have not cruised with Carnival in the past, I have sailed with Royal Caribbean, Norwegian (Never go with them!!!), Celebrity and Sunquest before it went under.
We are from Canada and drove to the Buffalo airport and flew from there as it was cheaper. We booked a hotel room in Rocky Point (Tampa) at the Hampton Inn. We really enjoyed it. We called them from the airport and they sent a shuttle. It takes you anywhere within a 4 mile radius of the hotel which we used many times (to go out for dinner, shop, get beer...) and all for free! They also dropped us off at the pier. We enjoyed it so much we booked for the on the way home as well. The rooms were nice and clean, staff was friendly and the shuttle drivers were great!($99 on the way there, $69 on the way home)
Embarkation was ok, on par with most others. The ship was clean and I thought decor was ok (I read on this site that it wasn't very nice). The cruise director Jen was ok...her voice didn't annoy me like some had said on this site. I have seen better though. There were lots of activities, just not many that interested me (there have been on other ships). To save money my husband (who loves his beer) brought on about 30 beers in his suitcase...no problem. It was our first time having a balcony. We loved it and used it a lot. We will have to get one for now on! We sat out there rather than on deck (not into laying on deck and gettting sun burnt!) and listened to music (we brought a ipod stereo...make sure you bring an extension cord!) Our cabin steward was not that great. He never seemed to be around, introduced himself once on the first day and then he never again saw us to ask if we needed anything or how things were...I just expected more. He did keep the room clean and make the towel animals! Our dining room service was great! Atara and Dediana were our servers. They entertained us every night. There dining room shows were a lot more fun then any other ship I've been on. Did not use the children's clubs, but there weren't too many kids annoying us, so they must have done a good job. Entertainment...the comedians and jugglers were good, the Carnival dancers and singers were ok but the shows themselves were BORING! I have never left shows until this time! They just need to make them more fun and interesting (more catchy songs or something). Disembarkation wasn't that great. We had to get up to be in the Follies lounge by 6:15am for immigration and then had to wait around until almost 10:00 to get off the ship. If you are going to make us get up that early for immigration at least let us off the ship in decent time...too much waiting around. The line up to get off was way too long too. They shouldn't have called so many numbers at once.
Grand Cayman: I have been there a few times before and loved swimming with the stingrays which my husband has never done, so we did a ships excursion that was to Hell and the turtle farm with the stingrays at the end. It was good. Lots of people though. Got back to the ship just in time. When I went before we got to feed the stingrays, but the guide said that Carnival won't let them anymore...too many people not doing it properly and hurting their fingers)
Cozumel: Booked online with Dolphin Discovery (cheaper than the ship). We did the Royal Dolphin swim (you get way more than just the "encounter"). We loved it! The foot push is amazing! We really enjoyed the tours that we took on our own rather than the ship...it's just a little risky. In the morning before our dolphin swim we took a taxi (the pier we were at was not the one that you walk off of and are directly in downtown) to the downtown area (only $7) and shopped there. The places at the pier were overpriced...no competition. My husband got 3 six packs of beer there and brought them on the ship.
Belize: Booked through the ship. We did the Bacab Eco Park Kayak excursion. I have zip lined in Belize before and heard after that it was better in Roatan so we decided to wait till Roatan for zip lining. The kayak excursion was great. Great tour guides, beautiful pool to swim in afterwards and they fed us a great lunch! (chicken with rice and red beans, potato salad, fruit and juice.)
Roatan: Our favourite port (we like the less touristy places)...We booked on our own online (recommended on this site) through Victor Bodden tours ($130 for the two of us). We did the zip n dip excursion. It was AMAZING!!! It was just the two of us and we had our own taxi driver that stayed with us all day. The zip line guide Brandon was good and the zip lines were awesome! There were way more zip lines and longer zip lines than the ones in Belize. You have got to do this excursion! Afterwards there are animals there to take pictures with. We got to hold a monkey and a parrot and take pictures with them. There were deer, tucans and anteaters (they were so cute!...we got to pet them too!) Then we were off to a resort called the Mayan Princess Resort where we paid $10 each and received access to the beach including beach chairs, clean restrooms, a bar and restaurant and a beautiful pool area as well. We are not beachy people, but we really enjoyed it. We were back at the pier with enough time to shop and grab some souvenirs. I went to Roatan on another cruise about 5 years ago, they have really done a lot of nice things with that port. It's a lot more "tourist friendly" now.
Overall it was a good cruise. We loved the itinerary. The ship was good. We just have cruised on better cruise lines before, but the price is right for Carnival. A good value for your money. We really enjoyed our honeymoon!