Embarkation: better than expected. The waiting area outside of the dome has roof and sitting area. Check-in desks are next to the waiting area and are well staffed.
State Room: overall very satisfied. Nice to have a balcony for fresh air and port view. Room size felt OK. The queen bed is comfortable. The single bed converted from a couch is too firm. Plenty of closet and clothes hanger. Bathroom layout is good. Shower had very good water pressure.
Overall Ship: a lot of people have commented on the pink theme in the public areas. It was actually a muted pink and didn't bother us much. Swimming pools felt small and water tends to be cold. Hot tubs are also not 'hot' at all. There are two hot tubs on the 10th deck right by some dining tables. Really odd location.
Food: Lido buffet food is OK. Cook to order omelets are good. Mongolian stir fry station has huge lines no matter when you go. Waited for 35 minutes one time and stopped going again. Gold Pearl restaurant breakfast food OK, service good. Black Pearl dinner service food OK, service terrible (more later). Chocolate Melting Cake is a stand-out. Indian grill food is decent. Deli below average. Didn't try the burger station but our table mates didn't like it at all. Sushi/Tapas bar food OK. Pinnacle Steakhouse is excellent and well worth the 30 dollar surcharge. Great crab cake and surf/turf. Cheese cake desert came out as a small mountain (14 oz). Service top notch and the chef himself came out to greet later. A truly memorable experience.
Service: very impressed by the two room attendants (William from Indonesia and Suparman from Thailand. First rate service professional. Sincere, courteous and competent. Went out of their way to make sure we were taken care. Black Pearl is a different story. Got put at a table right by the back entrance literally in between two double doors with another family with a preschooler. No privacy screens, no barriers, just crowds rushing in and out from both sides. Imagine sitting in the middle of the traffic at the airport terminal chowing down your food and you get the picture. Complained once and got nowhere. That family stopped coming to dinner for a few nights (until they could no longer tolerate the buffet dinner). Carnival should seriously consider removing that table, period. Got assigned a server that didn't care too much about his job. Missed and messed-up order was a norm.
Camp Carnival: didn't meet our expectation. Some staff seemed cold. Overheard some very insensitive comments by one regarding a crying preschooler (something to the effect of: oh my god, I have never seen a four year old cry like this before. As if I told her her parents had just died!). Our table mates got called back 3 minutes after dropping off their 2 year old. Reason? the kid wouln't stop sobbing for the 3 long minutes. Older kids seemed to have more fun but the younger ones are out of luck if they needed more time to feel comfortable with the environment. One or two staff leads the activity and they don't seem to tend to individual child's needs as much as making sure the group activities are on schedule.
Entertainment: average. One prop comedian is quite funny. The performance group from Puerto Vallarta was also very good.
Cabo tendering process: better than expected.