We drove down from Alabama the night prior to the cruise and stayed in the Orlando Airport Marriott--we got a steal on Priceline. I would do it again. It sonly about a 30 minute driveto the cruise terminal.
As for the ship, it was the largest boat we have been on. It was very clean, was always being cleaned, in nice shape, and there was plenty to do. I think I say this every time, but the service itself and the friendliness of those serving were better than any other cruise we have been on. We enjoyed all of our dining staff and stateroom staff. The crew is the reason we continue to cruise Carnival.
There are plenty of activities around the clock, most of which we didn't particpate in. My wife enjoyed the shows while I was in the sports bar watching football. The Comedy Club is also pretty good.
As for the Ports: Let me start off by saying...DO NOT BY ALCOHOL ON THE BOAT. I have included under the ports where the best booze deals are. If you buy in St. Thomas you can bring back 5 Liters per person instead of 1. I carried a price list from my local store, the ships price list(which the selection was limited) and compared them to the stores in port-the port stores won every time. THe boat also offers a price match guarantee, that they wouldnt match for me after we left our last port.
Embakation was very painless and very uneventful. We were late getting back into Pt. Canaveral, so we got off the bot a little late. It wasn't Carnival's fault. They made an announcement around midnight that there was a vessel in distress, which the officers found and rescued. That ordeal took about 4 hours so one hour late getting off is nothing to complain about.
Dining was what we expected Lido deck food was good and choices there include: chinese food, sandwich shop, fish and chips, several buffet lines, grille, pizza, and ice cream. The dining room food was good as usual and the service was excellent. We also ate in the supper club and that was worth the $30 per person--EXCELLENT meal.
To conclude, we will be back on Carnival, yet again. We liked the itenerary so much we are going to cruise it again on the Dream in April. Have fun and don't let the few ignorant ones with negative posts get you down. You have a LOT to look forward to.