Embarkation went very smoothly - at least until we got to Lido for lunch. As rooms were not ready until 2:00, everybody crowded into the buffet on Lido and it got harder and harder to get anything to eat or find a table to sit at as the afternoon wore on. Not sure how to fix this, but we found it to be a problem.
Our cabin, 8305, was quite roomy. The cabin and bathroom are laid out much better than a similar cabin on another 'upper scale' line we have cruised previously. The shower has a hand-held unit which I am used to at home and really loved. The shower also had an interesting feature. The water temperature is pre-set and you only turn one small knob to get water. You can get it hotter by disabling the lock, which can easily be done, but we both found the set temperature to be plenty warm. There is plenty of storage space and we loved the veranda. Room stewards were, of course, fabulous.
Life preservers were not worn during the muster drill. This meant less crowding, and no whistles being used by kids during the talk. Everybody seemed to be attentive, and it was over with quickly. Then came the 'sail away party'. Only one problem: we did not sail away until 11:00 that night. We heard that a fork lift had damaged the baggage loading door and they obviously needed it repaired before we could leave. Carnival lost mega dollars on that due to shops and the casino remaining closed. We were also late to Puerto Vallarta due to a medical emergency and we lost 8 hours heading back North for the airlift (2 hours back, 2 to get to where we were and the four we were not going South)
Supper in the MDR was great every night, with a couple of disappointments in style. By this I mean, for instance, my wife hated the crab cake; at home I make a Maryland crab cake and this was an entirely different style. Not bad, just different. One warning here: the chocolate melting cake is fabulous, but the serving size is so large that only one in our party ever managed to finish it and he felt it the rest of the night. Perhaps the serving size could be cut down a bit? I like my meat rare, BTW, and it was served that way every night, whether steak, prime rib or lamb. Service was a bit spotty at first due to some new MDR staff, but picked up as things settled down.
Supper in the Pinnacle was nearly everything it was advertised to be. My wife's lobster was huge and perfectly done, the French onion soup is to die for and my steak was perfect. The only disappointment was the 'made at your table' Caesar salad. This to me means actually starting with a clean bowl, rubbing it with a lemon and building the dressing from scratch. Their version was putting the romaine leaves in the bowl, pouring a creamy Caesar dressing over it, tossing and serving it. Not the same.
Breakfast and lunch on the Lido were so good we did not go to the MDR for either the entire cruise. One comment here: The line for fresh eggs and omelets had no toast, potatoes, etc. This meant that either you got those first and they got cold while you waited in the egg line, or you got your eggs and they got cold while you waited in line for toast, potatoes, etc. Most mornings this did not cause much of a problem, but on disembarkation day it was impossible, especially since the grill on pool side, where potatoes and toast were also normally available was closed. Burritos, Mongolian Grill and Tandoori were all wonderful.
Entertainment around the ship ranged from great (Piano Bar) to spotty (most of the rest). One comedian was fabulous, both in the main theater and in his 'R' rated version later. There are WAY too many 'photo ops' - four on deck 5 alone each night with an additional one with 'Fun Ship Freddy' one night!
I have commented on disembarkation in a different thread. Self-disembarkation was a disaster. If you can possibly get a later flight and avoid this, do so!
Overall, we had a great time and would have booked again on the spot if we had the time and money.