Arrived LAX the afternoon of, took the Super Shuttle to the pier ($17pp). Very smooth.
Check in was smooth as well. It was then that we were told about the change of itinerary due to hurricane Jimena. We lost PV and Mazatlan as stops but gained Catalina and Ensenada. Having been to both PV and Mazatlan but never to Catalina, we weren't overly disappointed. Carnival threw in a $50pp OBC and 25% off our next cruise. I thought this was overly generous. A Category 4 hurricane bearing down on the Baja is hardly Carnival's fault.
The ship is Carnival's newest and it showed. The decor however is an eyesore of 'pink donuts'. I can't believe that some Carnival exec. signed off on that!
Stateroom was great ( no pink donuts and oh, those Carnival beds), stateroom attendant was as good as any we've ever had (20 cruises) As always, there could be more shelves and hooks scattered about. Shower was great and there was no danger of scalding like some others.
Breakfast: Buffet was OK nothing more. Standard fare. No smoked salmon or muesli, two of our favorite things. Omelet station of course. We ate mostly in the dining room where you could get smoked salmon. Still no muesli.
Lunch: We never made it to the dining room for lunch. Buffet on the Lido deck was good but still standard cruise fare. They had a Mogolian grill station which I was not able to try because of the line ups. Additional choices were the burger and pizza station by the main pool (great fries!), the sandwich bar by the adult pool aft, (really good) and the Tandoori station again by the adult pool. The east Indian fare such as butter chicken and naan bread was very very good.
Dinner: Again standard cruise fare that was good but not great. Chateaubriand looked great but was not hot enough and the meat was just OK. Prime rib, lamb chops, duck, lobster tail and prawns of course. The well known Chocolate Melting cake was decadent as usual. Did not try the Pinnacle steakhouse restaurant. ($30pp) Our waiter did his job but was a bit of a dud in the personality department. The best thing I can say is that he didn't charge me the corkage fee of $10 for the 2 bottles of wine that we brought.
Entertainment was really good. The singers and dancers were above average I'd say. Saw 2 comedians and a hypnotist as well. They also hosted "The Quest" which is a late night game that you must see
Debarkation was really smooth considering the number of people on this mega ship which by the way never felt like there were almost 5000 people on board.
I really liked the wine special. You pre purchase 5 bottles at a discounted price. There is a special on eye openers (Bloody Marys) before noon that is not well publicized. The beer bucket special is lame. Four bottles for $19 instead of $20. Big deal. If you play poker, bring a winter coat. The a/c is arctic. The casino actually provides blankets for the players. The CD, 'Goose' was quite good save for the incessant announcements over the PA. We like to sleep in and the constant updates on how smoothly the tendering operation was going was mostly unwelcome.