We are a couple in our 40s who travel a few weeks each year. We have been on six previous cruises (Princess, RCCL, NCL, HAL), but this is our first trip on Carnival.
Embarkation: We used valet parking (around $15 more for the week than parking in the deck) and arrived around 11:30am. There was a line of 8-10 groupings in front of us and waited a very short time. We were on the ship around noon to start exploring, hang out at the aft pool, have a sandwich from the deli and our first (of many) bowls of ice cream/frozen yogurt.
Crew: All of the crew that we encountered were friendly and helpful. Our room steward did a nice job of keeping our room clean and responding to every request. Our waiters in the main dining room were always friendly and helpful. We had open seating dining, but requested our same waiter at every service possible including breakfast. He was beyond attentive, friendly and efficient. Each crew member that we encountered greeted us with a smile, a hello and many remembered our names after the first encounter.
Cabin: We had an inside cabin near the front of the ship. Our room temperature fluctuated widely (6-10 degrees) with no adjustments from us beyond the initial 'dial it up'. So time spent in our room was on the chilly side for our taste. The room was large in comparison to most of our other cruising experiences. Plenty of storage and space to move around. We did request and receive a foam mattress to help compensate for some of the firmness of the bed.
Food: Food is extremely subjective, so I won't spend too much time with it. We were not fans of the pizza, found a couple of the meat dishes to be a little dry, but overall the food was great. We always had breakfast and dinner in the main dining room. We ate at the grill once for lunch, in the lido once (Asian station and chocolate buffet), from the deli on embarkation day at lunch and had pizza one day. Other days we ate lunch in port.
Servers and wait staff worked hard to keep tables clean and food hot and ready. Tea service was enjoyable.
Pools: We managed to be poolside near the Lido stage for several activities (Master mixologist, Hairy Chest contest, ice carving, trivia contests, etc. Servers were attentive and helpful.
Entertainment: The evening shows featuring the singers and dancers were okay in my opinion, but not spectacular. The Legends show that included guests was the most enjoyable to me, but I also liked the juggler/comedian. The Comedy shows in the Firebird Lounge were good. Enjoyed some comedians more than others, but everyone's taste is different and these things are very subjective. The R rated shows have that rating for a reason - if you are easily offended, don't attend.
Activities: We attended a few trivia events (DH even won a ship on a stick), played some bingo (never won), and really enjoyed the Ship 411 talk. There were several activities specifically for Halloween including a costume contest.
We enjoyed the live music in several venues. Would have loved to spend more time with Roger in Billie's Piano Bar, but that is a smoking area and I do not tolerate cigarette smoke in confined spaces very well. We did not attend an art auction, shopping or destination talk, nor did we visit the spa or the gym.
Casino: We spent very little time here as the smoke smell was very overwhelming to me. The casino had a decent array of tables and slots, video poker, even the coin pusher machines. Slots, blackjack and poker tournaments were held.
Debarkation: Self assist was simple and painless. We had breakfast in the main dining room and then grabbed our luggage to vacate our cabin by 8:30 AM as requested. In a few short minutes, our deck was called and we were off the ship.
General Comments: Disliked the strong smell of smoke in the casino and the starboard side decks. We really liked the general layout of the ship. The dEcor was bold and looked opulent - a bit over the top, but I expect that on a cruise ship. Overall, we really enjoyed our fist time sailing with Carnival and did purchase a future cruise certificate, so we'll definitely be back.
We chose this itinerary so that we could snorkel and that is what we did in each port.
Grand Cayman: Walked to Cheeseburger reef and snorkeled in the morning and walked back to Eden Rock at the Paradise Restaurant and spent the afternoon. Food and drink at Paradise were good, friendly service, good snorkeling.
Cozumel: We spent the morning at Money Bar/Dzul Ha reef and the afternoon at Chankanaab. Great service, friendly staff and decent snorkeling at both.
Isla Roatan: Had a fabulous time snorkeling at West Bay Beach; lounging, eating and drinking at Bananarama Resort; and being toured around by our guide, Janette. All arranged by Island Marketing. West Bay Beach in Roatan has the best shore snorkeling we have ever experienced.
Belize: Hurricane Richard had reportedly done some damage to the port area and Costa Maya, Mexico was substituted. We looked over the brochure of excursions that the staff had put together and selected the beach snorkel. It was a nice way to spend the day, but we wished there had been an option for more experienced snorkelers to swim out and view the coral and marine life without having to follow the guide in a herd of inexperienced snorkelers kicking and flailing about.