I booked directly through Carnival and we got interior staterooms on the Main deck. I thought the rooms were very nice and liked the layout. The bathrooms were definitely smaller than the Conquest, but functional just the same. Since there were 5 of us, we had two rooms. My 16 year old daughter and I shared one, and hubby and our 14 year old and 9 year old sons had the other. The pull down bunks were nice and the 9 year old loved it. The room steward was very attentive and the towel animals were cute, but no monkey on this trip.
We had the late seating dining this trip which I like very much. We tended to sleep late and have our first meal around 11am and then another around 4 or 5 pm, so 8:15 was perfect for us. Our waiters were fabulous. Margarita and Jerman spent the week making us feel like we were the only people on the ship and just like I told the kids, by the end of the week they knew who likes what and we felt like royalty!
Ports were Calica and Cozumel. We booked the Cancun City and Shopping excursion for Calica day. It was nice, and the tour guide Arturio was good, but I have decided that I do not enjoy the haggling with shop owners. I end up feeling like I have been conned when I purchased anything. Hubby loved it and had no qualms about bargaining so I let him do the rest of the talking in the shops! We ate at a place recommended by the guide called "Mexitreme" which I didn't think was good at all.
Cozumel was easy because we had been there. No excursion this time, we took cabs around the city and shopped and saw the sights. Ate at Margaritaville here and the food was great. Also, they have a wifi hotspot there so we were able to shoot off some quick emails back home.
The shows were what you would expect, a little cheesy, but overall family friendly and the Beatles Revue was really good. Circle C got high marks from the 14 year old, Club O2 did not interest the 16 year old, and Camp Carnival was really the only truly disappointing thing we encountered on the ship. The activities were not very good and the 9 year old ended up not doing any of them. They were either scheduled during meal times, or they were activities that required a purchase (Build-a-Bear). Alot of dance parties which did not interest him in the slightest.
We ended up getting fogged in on the Saturday of our return so we had basically an extra day on the ship. The cruise director Risa and the Fun Patrol had their work cut out for them that day. They showed movies in the theater, played all kinds of games on the Lido and Promenade decks, and really made the day enjoyable even if we didn't have any luggage!
Debarkation didn't happen until about 10pm that night and it was slow but organized. Seriously, why can't people just wait their turn? It was sad that the director had to continuously ask people not to crowd the Empress decks, but I guess some people just don't have any patience.
Overall the trip was really excellent. The kids loved every minute of it and are already planning the next one!