My wife and I sailed to the Mexican Riviera on the newest of the Carnival fleet the Carnival Splendor. The trip was great with only a few small glitches from mother nature. The cabins are fresh and clean, the Stewards were awesome and knew your name every time they passed you in the hall. We had a balcony which was nice because it makes you feel a little less cramped in the small cabins. We were in mid ship so the motion was a little less than on front or rear of the ship. I would recommend paying the small premium to upgrade to the center of the ship if you are prone to sea sickness since the ride is much better from that position on the ship.
Food was very good, I would not rate it excellent but I enjoyed everything I ordered. The selection of food was very nice, they have a good amount of vegetarian items to choose from. My wife fell in love with the Indian Cuisine on the rear lido deck. Eating breakfast I would recommend the Gold Pearl over the buffet line. The food is much better in the Gold Pearl.
The shows were very good and the singers and dancers were excellent. We watched a few of the Karaoke nights and it was very fun. They would have auditions for a few singers, Elvis, Madonna, Britney Spears, Garth Brooks etc each night, then at the end of the cruise participate in their version of the Legends In Concert on Saturday night. All of the shows and comedy acts were great. "Goose" is the Cruise Director and he is funny and friendly. They had a ton of fun things going on everyday. The kids in the Camp Carnival all looked to be having a blast, I didn't have my kids with me but was very surprised that I rarely saw a kid running around they were almost all in the camp having a fun.
Ports of call were nice, I would shy away from booking excursions on the ship since the same tours are half price on the docks. Cabo was our worst experience because of a storm that rolled through. Many of the cruisers were stuck on-board because of harsh conditions, you must take tender boats to shore in Cabo. Our excursion was horrible but again not any fault of Carnival. It poured so our lunch, and laying out at the resort at the beach with authentic Mexican cuisine was changed to a cramped room and a menu fit for a kindergarten class. The shopping portion of the excursion was being dropped off at the mall lol. I would grab a taxi for $10-15 and have them give you a city tour it would be much more fun. Mazatlan was very fun although very hot and humid. Our favorite port was Puerto Vallarta, we did the city tour and walked around the downtown area with a guide, visited a beautiful church and had a wonderful lunch.
The casino is fun but I swore there was a little man feeding cards to the dealers on the blackjack tables lol, so many 4-5 card 20-21s for the dealers. I found that in reality it was just that on a cruise ship you are playing cards with people who rarely gamble, don't know much about the odds and make allot of bad plays (spliting 10s etc.) that almost always messed up the table. If you are an avid gambler they do have a poker pro table that is pretty fun, and stick to the higher limit games to weed out the 3-5 dollar gamblers at the blackjack tables. My wife had a ton of fun on the slots. The waiters and Bar staff are all nice and do a great job. You will be asked numerous times if you need another drink etc. You will never have to LOOK for a drink Waiter/waitress. They will remember your drink and ask, another mudslide? etc lol. Drink prices are fair, $5 beers, $4-7.50 for mixed drinks, you can get a specialty drink for about $10 and take the receipt to the cashier in the casino and get a $5 match play coupon for the tables. The specialty drinks cost more but are stronger and in the end cheaper after the $5 match play coupon. Well ill write more sometime soon but other than disembarking which was pretty painless I would rate this a 9 out of 10 experience.