1> Getting on and off the ship was very smooth. The lines went quick and Carnival was very organized. We got to Port of Miami at 11am and we were on the ship by 11:30. We got off the ship (zone 2) right away and into a taxi. We were to our downtown Miami car rental location by 7:40am (via cab). Based on that, you could catch a 10am flight out of Miami Airport if needed.
2> Stayed on the Lido deck. Very nice location if you want to spend a lot of time on the deck swimming and laying in the sun. Very nice to be close to buffet restaurant too. The extra money you pay to be on this deck is easily made up if you bring your own beverages on the ship. Walking to your room and back to your deck chair is a snap. We had no issue with noise from the pool area. **You may have kids talking and running in the hallway at night. This could happen on any deck...
3> Dinning Rooms for Dinner and Breakfast were very nice. The service was good, but not great. I would recommend doing this everyday. The food was good to very good. It was nice to be able to try things you would never order normally.
4> Nightly shows were very good. Much better than shows at an all-inclusive Mexican resort. The comedy shows were very funny too.
5> Kids had fun in the pools, hot tubes and waterside.
6> The cabin service was outstanding. The guys got to know your names and schedules. They would clean your room 2 times a day.
7> Ports of call were really cool, but I wish we had more time at each port....
1> The all-you-drink soda option for kids. Kids were not getting good service at the bars. This is understandable when the bartenders are making way bigger tips on getting adults expensive drinks. I would not buy this option again. It made my kids feel bad and they didn't get their moneys worth.
2> The buffet restaurants were not laid our very well. The lines to get food were always way too long. Since I don't like waiting in super long lines, I was not able to tryout the food that was being served. I never had this issue at all-inclusive Mexican resorts (which had as many or more guests to serve).
3> Formal Nights. They did not enforce the dress code on formal nights in the dinning rooms. My family was all dressed up at our table. They let people in wearing t-shirts, shorts and hunting shirts. This really wrecked this experience for me and my family. It was suppose to be something special.
4> I didn't like the automatic charging of each guest 11.50/day for tips. Yes it gave you the option to adjust it up or down (by going the to service desk), but it put me in critic mode the entire trip. Just blend it into the price, so I don't have to worry about it.
5> Charging for drinks. Again blend it into the price. It slows things down at the bar and it can create a huge after cruise bill for some people.
6> Getting a deck chair on fun days at sea. If you want a good spot, you need to be out there a 7am. This wasn't a surprise for me, but its a good to know.
That's about it in a nutshell....
Will I go on another cruise??? I don't know yet.
**My biggest expense for the was airfare. Since it was during spring break, the airline really took advantage. I paid double what it normally costs to flight to Miami from Minnesota.