Background: Our party consisted of my wife and I with 2 childern(6yr old girl and 9yr old boy). It was our 3rd cruise. Also traveling with us was my wife's mother, her sister and a grandson (16yr old).
We had a roughly 600mi. drive, so we drove down the day before. We stayed at an Econolodge in Saraland,Al., which is about 10 mi. from the cruise port. Nothing fancy about the hotel, just a place to rest a bit before we boarded the next day.
The Cruise terminal in Mobile was easy to find, we arrived at around 12:30 and had dropped off our luggage with the porters and parked in about 15 mins. As for the embarkation, the lines were pretty long. They did move rather quickly and we were on the ship around 1:30.
Our rooms were ready as soon as we got on board, which was great. We dropped off our carry on stuff and the kids wanted to head straight to the ice cream(which we visited breakast, lunch, dinner and anytime in between). The ship was very clean and the decor was very nice. Our room was an interior and had plenty of room considering they were 4 of us in the room. It seems like everytime we left the room, the stewards would come in and clean/straighten the room. We had carried on a soft-sided cooler for pop and they always kept fresh ice in it. The only problems with the room is that it was a little dated. The T.V was not a flat screen and the bathroom was in need of a makeover as well.
Our luggage arrived around 4:30, except for the 16yr old's. He had brought a huge duffle bag and we put 2 12packs of pop in his as it wouldn't fit anywhere else. It didn't arrive till around 6pm and had a note attached saying that scanners had picked up some prohibited items and had been searched. I figure they thought the pop was beer and wanted to check to make sure.
As for dinner service, we had the early dining time (6p.m). I don't think anyone had a bad meal any night, but some where better than others. They had the new menu with the comfort foods. Just wish they didn't serve the ribs on elegant night. It is definitely finger eating food and our 9 yr old insisted on having them. We had to take extra caution to make sure he didn't get it all over him because we always use the cruise as a time to take family portraits. Our servers were Anton and Ivan, both were very nice and ready to please. Anton was not as cheerful as Ivan but after talking with him one day, I think we was done with cruise ships. He had 1 more month on an 8 month tour and has been working for Carnival for 8 yrs. I think he was about burnt out.
Overall, we had a great cruise and the ship was nice. The only complaint we had about the ship is the pool. It needs an extreme makeover. The wall around the pool is too high, you can't see in or out. If you're sitting around the pool, you can't watch the kids when they swim. Also, when you're in the pool, you can't keep an eye on your stuff at the chairs. The only other thing is the slide, it seems like it was closed during peak times. There had to be someone at the tower when it was operating. Our first 2 ships had the WaterWorks on the aft of the ship and the kids loved it. We won't sail again on a ship without it, if the kids go.
The disembark was easy. We always do the zone embarkation. Our zone was called to disembark around 9:15 and we were at the vehicle in about 30mins. We always get a porter ($10 tip) to carry our luggage on a dolly. Seems like the porters' lines through customs are always shorter and go faster.