We drove to New Orleans from Dallas and the first positive was the parking..it was very organized and easy to find. We had not sailed on Carnival prior to this but the price was right so we decided to give Carnival a try.
The boarding process was very efficient and went extremely well...initially lined up outside in the heat and humidity and was concerned but the line moved smoothly and we were onboard by noon. Room was to be available at 1:30 so we were directed to the buffet for lunch. The buffet seems smaller than on Princess and Holland but the food was good and plentiful.
Service in the dining room was very organized and tables were cleared promptly. Got to our room on time and our luggage arrived within an hour which was also very good. Our room was surprisingly large with lots of storage. Luggage fit underneat the bed so the room was able to be kept tidy. Robes were hanging in the room for us and the ice bucket was full. We felt the food was very good the entire cruise whether it was the dining room, buffet, pizza or burgers. We did not get a soda card as the lemonade and water was always available.
Our room steward was delightful! Loved the nightly animals on the bed and each was different and fun. Our waiter in the dining room was also a very nice young man who was attentive and remembered our names each evening. The ship itself is a bit glitzy to my taste but it was extremely clean and well kept. We enjoyed our two ports of call...at Progresso we went to Chichen Itza. It was booked through Carnival and the bus was very comfortable and our tour guide very informative. Cozumel we did not book a tour but simply took a taxi into town and walked around and then a taxi back to the ship. Again no issues at all with anything at the ports.
Now for the negative feedback....we were very disappointed that the dining room was allowed to be so casual especially on the formal night. The majority of the people did not dress up at all...by this I mean baseball caps, flip flops, shorts, t-shirts etc. Even though it is stated they would not be allowed no one enforces these rules which is rather sad so these people showed up and were seated. The kids overtook the hot tubs and at times no room to get in.
Think the overall theme was a "fun ship" which Carnival uses for their slogan. We would probably cruise on Carnival again on transatlantic or Europe cruises but would choose to return to Princess or Holland America for Caribbean or Mexico cruises. Do feel you get a lot for your cruise prices though and probably a much younger crown than our preference would be.