Our family took the 8 day cruise to Cozumel, Limon, Costa Rica and Colon Panama. We did a ton of research prior to our departure. We read a lot of great things about this itinerary and a few disappointing things. I'm not sure who those people are who wrote that "the food was not good" or that "there are too many children" or whatever but this was a great cruise. Not sure how you go on a cruise and look for things that are wrong with it but that's another issue.
We went down the night before and stayed at the Fairfield Inn in Davia which is about 3 miles away from the port. Great price and excellent location. Highly recommend this location.
The next day we got up, at our leisure, and arrived at the port around 10:30. We dropped off our luggage and parked our car in the adjacent parking garage. Very easy. We waited in line until they opened up so that took a bit of time but no big deal. We moved through the embarkation line rather rapidly and we were on the boat by about 11:30ish. We made our way up to the Lido deck for some lunch and a few family pictures. When we went to our room around 1:00 it was ready. Everything moved along just fine. Carnival has the turning over of the ship down to a science.
Our second night on the ship we had to deal with a group of kids across the hall from us who thought it might be a good idea to play a concert so that everyone on our floor could hear them. They were a very rude, immature and extremely obnoxious. We called the ship's security and they took care of the problem right away. They even checked up on us on subsequent days to make sure all was well. I thought Carnival handled that extremely well and we appreciated them following up with us. Showed they care.
Our first port of call was Cozumel. We've been there twice before so no big deal but we did have a nice time. Caught a shuttle and went to Carlos and Charlies. Nobody else from our cruise was there. Kids had a great time and we enjoyed some decent local cuisine. Kids went para sailing as well. We highly recommend doing that.
Our next day was a day at sea then we docked in Limon, Costa Rica. Along with Belize, it was probably one of the less desirable ports we've been to. Just not a whole lot to do there. We rented a van along with a driver and "tour guide" and saw the country side. It was a welcome getaway but nothing earth shattering. You get a feel for how others live and get to taste some local beer, fruit and cuisine by doing this rather than booking one of Carnival's excursions. We did this in all three ports. Cheaper and a much better experience.
The next day we docked in Panama. I was born and raised here so it was an exciting time for us to get back there. The country has changed tremendously since the last time I was there. We had a van meet us at the port and drove us to the Pacific side. We visited the Locks and many locations that were meaningful to me and my family. It was a first for our kids so that made it well worth it. I would recommend to anyone considering this cruise to stop at the Locks or to do one of the tours that takes you into the canal. The Atlantic side of Panama is the poorer side of the country. The Pacific side is much more metropolitan and has a lot to offer. There is plenty of time to rent a van and drive across the isthmus. Go to Amador (the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal), Church of the golden altar, Panama Viejo (Old Panama) and visit Miraflores Locks. You won't be disappointed. Try the local cuisine. You'll love it!!
The food on this ship was excellent. Service was terrific. Lost our butts in the casino. Always something to do on the ship. There were a lot of comments about the decor. It was fine. Probably not the best but it is in alignment with how the rest of the fleet looks. There was a slight problem with disembarkation but that just meant we got to stay on the ship a bit longer.
All in all this was a great cruise and we highly recommend taking it.