There were three of us, including our 15 year old daughter on this trip. We sailed from New Orleans on August 16th. I'd booked the trip directly with Carnival.... the agent was Mike, who was very helpful for virtually 1st timers.
There was a sale on, with upgrades... we were on the Promenade deck (10th floor) with a balcony.
We arrived at the terminal at about 11:30 am. There were a lot of people checking in, but there must have been 25 or 30 agents working on checking us in, so we were through the line in less than half an hour. My wife has a serious allergy problem with some foods. I had mentioned this when booking, and the agent who checked us in found the information waiting for him, confirmed it for us, and emailed the Maitre'd. (On the first night we were visited by the Maitre'd, and she followed this every night with the following night's menu so we could make educated choices) Great Service there.
We were on board shortly after noon, and went to the buffet. The selection was great, including several other food counters.... ie. deli, pizza, asian, burgers etc. As other reviews have said, the lineups are quite long at the buffet, but they seemed to move fairly quickly, and we always found a seat easily.
Our room was ready as advertised by 1:30 pm. It was clean and well appointed. As I believe with all staterooms that aren't suites, it wasn't the largest, but the only time we were inside was to sleep or change clothes, so it fit the bill. The balcony was a great add to it, as I'm a smoker, but don't like to smoke inside. The views from here were the best.
Our cabin steward greeted us on the first day, and always seemed to be nearby if we needed anything such as ice etc. The ice bucket, and our cooler were refilled every day. The room was cleaned and towels replaced twice a day. Again great service.
The pool area was great, the waterslide fun, and we received great and frequent beverage service. If you aren't a heavy drinker, the pay one price for pop is well worth the price. When we did have liquor or beer, the prices were the same as a bar at home, so not too bad.
We ate in the dining room every night, so I can't comment on the buffet for dinner, but we always enjoyed it for breakfast and lunch.
In the dining room the food was great. And as great as the food was, the service was even better. We were very happy with this. Carnival allows one bottle of wine each, and then a small corkage fee at the dinner table, so we took advantage of this. The desserts are responsible for the extra weight we took home... they were outstanding.
We went to a show every night, and enjoyed them all. We didn't go to the late night adult comedy.... had the 15 year old, but we were having so much fun we also didn't miss anything.
They have an area for th 15 to 17 year olds.... didn't appeal to my daughter, and I wasn't thrilled either. Fortunately there was a 15 year old girl with us at dinner that my daughter go along with famously.
As far as excursions the first port was Progresso Yucatan. We enquired at the excursion desk thinking about some Mayan Ruins, and the beach. The staff member there suggested the 5 hour trip to Uxmal. She said the Progresso beaches that are close aren't the best, and we should wait til Cozumel. We took the advice.
The Pyramids at Uxmal are spectacular. Some have been totally excavated, and are shored up, so you can climb to the top. The views are incredible. We were lucky enough to have a great tour guide, and learned a lot. This trip was about $80 each, and I felt worth the cost. Some people did similar by cab, and then got a guide at the site, but with the distance etc., I felt it better to use somebody authorized by the Cruise Line.
The following day was Cozumel. We met folks on board who recommended a nearby beach. This was called Senor Santos. A 10 minute cab ride. The area was a beautiful beach. For $50 per adult, and $35 per kid, you had all you could eat or drink, and use of non-motorized water sports. I tipped our waiter early, and there wasn't a way we could have had better service. The water and snorkeling was so much fun, the food great, and a beautiful sunny day. Couldn't beat it.
There were two sea days...... the deck does get crowded, but we had a lot of fun then as well.
Debarkation went very smoothly... we waited for our section to be called and had a very short wait to get off the ship, get our luggage and get through customs. There were 3450 people, so this was no small undertaking. If you are in a hurry though, I'd suggest self assist for luggage, and you can get off quite early.
All in all it was a great time. The only shortcoming was that it was only five days and not many more!!! We will be back.