Having driven in the night before, we arrived at the ship a little after 11:00. Parking was very easy. We pulled up to the curb, the porter took our bags, showed us where to park, and we took an elevator right up to the ship. There was very little waiting at security and check in, and we were shown to a holding area at 11:30. We boarded the ship at noon. Our cabin was ready at 1:30 and I think our luggage arrived around 4:00.
Cabin: We had a balcony cabin on the Lido deck. We were quite surprised when we saw there were only 2 beds and there we were 3 adults sharing the cabin. When I called guest services to inquire about it I was told that we would either use the sofa or they would bring in a rollaway. The sofa would have worked if one of us was a child, but it was no where near long enough to accommodate an adult. There was also no place to put a rollaway bed. Our cabin steward consulted with the head of housekeeping and the solution was to dismantle the sofa, remove the cabin door at the hinges so the couch could be taken out of the room, and a rollaway bed brought in. This worked out fine, but we wished it had been ready earlier. Our steward also provided us with an extra chair for our balcony. The counter space in the bathroom and in the bedroom was much more than I have seen on other ships. This is the only cruise I have been on where there was not a refrigerator (mini-bar) in the cabin and I really missed it.
Ship: I was not fond of the layout of the ship. I did not like how on some decks (I think it was deck 3 and 4) you could not walk from one end of the ship to the other. We usually walked up to deck 5, walked through the smoky casino, and back down again. This also leads me to my next point, the smoking. I know some cruise lines have become more non-smoker friendly, but Carnival does not appear to be one of them. The main area around the pool was always noisy and chaotic during the day, and I was not a fan of the jumbo screen TV. I never once felt the need to watch TV on my vacation. We found a wonderful spot aft that was quiet and relaxing and we parked it there during the day.
Food: The buffet on the Lido deck was so poorly laid out that it was always packed and difficult to even walk through. We opted to have all of our meals in the dining room, and only used the buffet for snacks and drinks. I thought the food in the dining room was good but my friends were not impressed (they are the picky sort). This was my sixth cruise (second on Carnival) and I thought the food was comparable to the other cruise lines I have been on. I was disappointed that the only beverage choices at the buffet were ice tea, lemonade and coffee. Some juices would have been nice.
Service: I thought the service was generally very good. Our waiters in the dining room (we did YTD) were all pleasant and efficient. Our cabin steward was also wonderful. We tried room service twice and no one ever answered the phone. Bar waiters were plentiful and almost annoying, but they were so pleasant and friendly they didn’t bother me.
Entertainment: We did not go to any of the shows in the theatre. We did see both comedians twice and we all thought they were very good. We spent one evening at the Hollywood Dance Club and had a good time but the music was not really our taste (mostly rap). For the most part we made our own entertainment people watching and enjoying the drink of the day, talking, and just relaxing.
Cozumel: Our day in Cozumel was beautiful-77 degrees and sunny. We went to Nachi Cocum and stayed until about 1:30, then went downtown and shopped. I know there are many that love Nachi Cocum but we did not feel that it was worth the $49 we spent. The beach was beautiful and it was not terribly crowded, but for some reason they insisted that everyone sit clumped together rather than spreading out. Service was slow, and if you looked around and tried to find your waiter (or any other waiter) they were no where to be seen. There was only one bartender so people were also lined up at the bar trying to get drinks. The kitchen did not open until 11:00 (which was actually 12:00 ship time) and we were starving by then. I wasn’t expecting lunch at 10:30, but some chips and salsa would have been nice. We left at 1:30 and headed downtown. Shopping was what you would expect in Mexico (I have a special price just for you; come here and let me show you something, etc) and we had a good time. Got back to the ship around 3:30 and had a good time on our balcony watching the latecomers race for the gangway.
Fellow Passengers: I would say the majority of our fellow passengers were from Louisana, so we were in the minority. There were many LSU and/or Saints fans who wore their gear proudly on game days. Ages were mixed, though overall I would say it was a younger cruise than many I have been on.
Debarkation: This is the longest debarkation process I have ever endured. Our zone was called at 9:30 and we did not get through customs until after 11:00. I am really not sure what the problem was. We were bummed out as it was since our vacation was over! I think next time we will go with self-assist.
Overall we had a great time and would do it again!