My wife and kids, ages 20 and 17, cruised to Mexico on 6/5/11 and the ship was at capacity (3,650 plus). After reading some horror stories about the disorganized embarkations, that was not the case. Very organized getting both on and off the ship, with two comments: When getting on the ship (embarkation), I would ask the execs at Carnival to think about eliminating the photo session. It bottlenecks the whole process just before boarding the ship and there are plenty of other photo ops while on board. When disembarking the ship at the end of the cruise, it was somewhat difficult to board an elevator with your luggage to head down to exit on deck number 3. We ended up riding the elevator UP so we weren't constantly waiting for an elevator that had space.
There are only 2 ports of call on this cruise, Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta. Even though Mazatlan is listed, the ship has eliminated stopping at this port. It would be nice if they added one more port of call to make up for removing Mazatlan from the itinerary. In Cabo, they use Tender Boats to transport passengers to shore, which is a minor inconvenience since you have to line up in the morning just to receive a boarding number before heading to a waiting area.
We ate breakfast and lunch in the Gold Pearl dining room and all of us felt it made for a much more relaxed week overall. It was worth getting up earlier than we may have liked for breakfast, just to avoid the crowds on the Lido Deck, in the Splendido Grill, for breakfast and lunch. We still "grazed" on the Lido Deck but we were in a much better mood since we weren't starving, having already had our sit-down meal in the dining room. I would usually grab a bite around 4 or 5 pm to tide me over until our late seating time of 8:15 pm. On this and previous cruises, the buffet crowds stress me out and getting waiter service for all 3 meals really made me more relaxed! We thought the dining room lunches had the chef's best offerings, but were not unhappy with the food overall. For me, the most outstanding attribute of a Carnival cruise is the friendly employees! Our waiters, Gusti and Ambarra, were fantastic and I really liked Felipe, the cruise director. For entertainment, the Vroom show on the second to last night was great and liked the comedy of Rondell Sheridan and Lowell Sanders (not so much for the others).