We booked our own excursions and had no problems whatsoever. And saved big bucks. We swam with the stingrays in Grand Caymon, took a tour of Roatan that included the Iquana farm, and cave tubed in Belize with a local lunch. We loved all the excursions and our guides. Cozumel to us is too commercial so we stayed on the boat and enjoyed using all the amenties with NO people.
Our dining room experiences were fantastic - if ever anything at all was mildly wrong they would fix it immediately - but for the most part we never had a complaint and enjoyed way too much good new wonderful delicacies. I didn't use the buffets as much but my kids enjoyed the ice-cream, and grill alot. The pizza stand left a little to be desired. Seemed like pizza was never ready and then tasted so so - but with so much other food so readily available I didn't care. Alot of people complain about the lines in the buffet but really if you chose your times wisely you could walk right up to all sorts of available food.
Our room steward always filled our ice, made our beds, left towel animals, what more could someone want?
One morning they vacummed at 8 - I wasn't happy about that - in the hall way -
Oh yeah - they make a big point of saying book with Carnival - for excursions - we were on the same tender with the carnival excursion people, and never saw any differences at all.
Kids clubs were awesome - my four kids enjoyed both their clubs and met new people.
Casino was fun. Shows were pretty good. We didn't do any of the "games". We enjoyed the exercise facilities. Also we liked the putt putt but never understood why they closed that at 5.
We tried to get open seating but got early - I enjoyed the time, but husband would have preferred later. I thought it worked better for us as a family.
Anyway - We all had a great time - just really needed a rest when we got home. Just because we burned the midnight oil and then got up early to enjoy the days.
Oh yeah - last day - obnoxious way to wake people up - then we were the last called - and food had been "shut off" for hours - again seems like there has to be a better way - I understand that is a lot of people to get off boat, and I didn't mind waiting for those with flights, connections, etc., but really after 9|:30 NOTHING is available on board and you are waiting waiting waiting. We didn't get called until after 11 - followed by more waiting, and hot lines.
Still loved the ship, the weather, the ports, the people we met. Cruise critic was awesome for finding out all sorts of info.