Rooms - Our room was very spacious, and everything was great except the mattress. It felt like we were sleeping on a futon - Carnival says in their ads that their mattresses are extremely comfortable, but ours was NOT.
Service - Our steward was almost invisible, but responded to my written requests quickly. He kept the room spotless and the cooler full of ice - don't know how he did it without us seeing him in the halls!
Casual Dining - We at breakfast at the buffet every day, and alternate lunches between the buffet, the hamburger station and the deli station. Everything was really good, with the exception of waffles. If they can make omelettes to order, you'd think they could make waffles instead of serving dried out triangles.
Formal Dining - We chose Your Time Dining, and never had to wait except on Elegant Night for about 20 minutes. We really enjoyed not being tied to an early or late dinner, as well as meeting different servers and table companions. One night we ate later than usual (around 7:30) and missed the waitstaff performance. Make sure you catch their "show" - it's amazing that Carnival can hire people who can flip burgers, serve elegantly, AND sing and dance, too.
Activities/People on Board - Most of the activities centered around the pools, which were crowded all the time except during the evening. The only activity we really wanted to see was the Ice Carving, which was cancelled due to a brief, but windy afternoon rain - pooh! We ended up spending most of our time outside on Deck 3, on both sides of the ship near Guest Services. It was shaded and quiet, perfect for reading and snoozing.
Smoky Areas - We never smelled smoke in our cabin, although we could smell it sometimes in the halls. We found routes through the ship to avoid going through the bars or casino, and never had any issues until I tried using the Internet Cafe. Unfortunately, it is open to one of the bars and so smoky I couldn't even log onto the computer and had to leave. Too bad you can't use a computer on this ship without subjecting yourself to cigarette smoke.
Overall First-Time Cruiser Impression - This cruise was a very different type of vacation for us, and we most enjoyed the endless food and great service.
We had an open bar and a three course meal. The food was great - especially the guacamole and grilled shrimp. Our server was attentive but not annoying and kept the drinks coming. The ocean was beautiful, the sand soft, and the pool very nice. I don't know how many people were there that day, but we felt like we almost had the place to ourselves.
When we were ready to go a taxi was right there, and got us back to town quickly. The taxi ride is $15 each way, so factor that into your costs. The shopping was good, more selection than Progreso but a little more expensive. We lucked out getting back on board because we were in the shade of the ship.
At Progreso we only needed our S&S cards to get back on the ship, but at Cozumel they asked for ID, so we were glad we had copies of our passports with us (rather than the actual passports which we left in the safe).
Overall, a very good excursion, though a little pricey.
The ruins site was amazing! You could climb on the structures and we got some awesome pictures. It's a pretty large site so be prepared to walk. We were there in early June, and it was very hot and humid - I can't imagine how hot it would be later in the summer. We were most looking forward to swimming in the cenote, but the water level was way down, and the combination of lily pads and little fish that nibbled at my feet was enough to keep me out. I didn't see anyone else swimming in it, either, although I heard other guides talking about it.
We could have stayed longer but decided we'd had enough and ended up doing quite a bit of shopping. Glad we didn't pay the cruise line price for this trip - the local vendors were about $30 cheaper. It turned around to be a good idea to come back early. We watched people getting back on the ship, and saw how long the lines got even 2 hours before sailing. There was no shade and no breeze - no fun.
The discussion boards indicated that a lot of people just go shopping at this port - the prices were good and the vendors will bargain. Now that we've seen a Mayan ruin, I might do the same next time.