I've travelled on Carnival several times and have always enjoyed the cruises. This time did not disappoint either. Just a couple negatives but all in all, it was enjoyable. We were staying an hour away, so we drove down and parked at the Port of Miami. Couldn't believe the price for parking! For a 7 night cruise, the price was $140. Thought this was excessive but at that point, we had no other options. Here are some of my experiences: Embarkation: a zoo. We arrived around noon. It took a half hour to get into the terminal due to the amount of people and the staff checking passports, then another 40 minutes to check in. Passports were checked a third time by the ship's entrance. Finally got onto the ship and headed to our room.
Cabin: We had a midship starboard side balcony cabin. It was spotless. I loved being able to sit out on the balcony during sailing. The only glitch was that there was a storage room opposite the cabin, and the staff would be in there at odd hours working and talking (like at 2 am). Next time I would check out if something like this is near a cabin prior to booking.
Dining: We had the late seating in the Washington dining room for dinner. I thought the selection and quality of the food was great. I don't understand how some reviewers have likened the quality to Applebee's. I don't recall Applebee's having lobster tail or cream of cherry soup. The warm chocolate melting cake is delicious. Our headwaiter was attentive and provided quick service. The first night I had asked for lemon slices for my glass of water, and every night after that there was lemon already waiting on the table. Most breakfasts we ate in the dining room; the quality and taste of the food was good there also. The buffet lunches at Rosie's restaurant had a wide variety, and something for everyone. A different nation's food was featured daily. There is a deli as well as a fish and chips area.
Ports: We had been to Grand Cayman before, so we took the ship's 3 hour Best of Cayman island tour. This featured the turtle farm (really fun; you get to hold baby turtles), rum cake factory, and the Hell rock formation. Isla Roatan was next. We had never been there so opted for the Tabyana beach day thru Carnival. After a 40 minute drive that gave a good view of the local population and towns, we arrived at a beautiful palm lined beach with crystal clear water. It was a gorgeous day and a great excursion. The ship docked at Mahogany bay, which is their new village with shops and a man made small beach. The president of Honduras was there that day to inaugurate the village. I noted that Royal Caribbean docked at the Coxen Hole dock, which I would have preferred. It's adjacent to the town and is in a much better location for walking there and exploring, as I noted many people were doing. Belize was the next port. We had been there before, so we just walked around the tourist village before returning to the ship. Cozumel was the last port. We opted for the private beach club of Nachi Cocum, which was a 15 minute taxi drive away. This was a fantastic beach day and I would recommend it to anyone. For $49 pp, you get a 3 course lunch and unlimited drinks.
Entertainment: The singers and dancers were quite good, as were the comedians. The cruise director was Big Tex, and he was entertaining as well. The Legends singing show was my favorite. I enjoyed the 80's Far From Over show as well, with songs and costumes from the 80's.
Debarkation: This was much quicker than I expected. We didn't take our baggage off ourselves, yet we were still off the ship by 9:30.
Definitely would choose Carnival again.