We live in Parkville, MD so time to the ship is no problem. Tops 15-20 minutes. My husband, myself and my best girlfriend took this trip. We are in our 50s and 60s. I celebrated my 50th birthday on April 13th and my husband and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary on April 16th. Embarkation was smooth and easy, got to the port around 12:15 p.m. However I feel someone from the cruise ship, cruise director, officers, should greet you when you board and disembark. I was a little disappointed over that. We tried to "drop" off our carry-ons before dining on our first meal, but I think cruise ships have caught on to us sneaky people who like to drop their luggage off before they start wandering the ship. The food in the Mermaid Grille was good, not terrific, but no buffet ever is.
Our room was 5118 and our girlfriend's was 5116 - balconies. Carnival gets a 10 for their rooms, the bedding is FABULOUS, still miss it. I had read on Cruise Critic to ask to have maintenance come in and take out the divider thingie between the balconies and then we had even a bigger baloncy that we all thoroughly enjoyed every single day. Now, it will be SO hard to go back to an inside room.
Weather was terrific in every port.
Food in MDR was okay, not spectacular. Ruben and Kevun were very good though. I was a little concerned the first night (which I understand) service was slow, but it got better.
Entertaiment was good - not a big fan of any cruise line's dancers/singers, but enjoyed the comedians and, of course, Quest. Don't miss that!!!!!
Don't gamble or drink much, so can't comment on that.
Our room steward was great as well. We called him Chai. I did notice on this ship that sometimes people who work on the ship had a little bit of a language barrier this time around.
Disembarkation, one of the easiest and smoothest we have had. No problem, got in around 8-ish, was off ship by 10 or so.... Holland America should learn from Carnival.
We are just used to Celebrity's class and food, but Carnival was not bad. Cruise director Kirk was good. Jamie okay, a little too loud.