We are me, my husband, and my daughter who is 17. We have cruised Carnival more than a few times and we booked this cruise as both a celebration for my birthday as well as my daughter's graduation gift.
We flew in the night before, as we live in AZ, and stayed at the Comfort Suites Port Everglades. We called a cab in the morning to take us to the port (shuttle from the hotel charged more than a cab did) and arrived at the port around 10:45.
Check in was seamless, which is high praise in Port Everglades. We have had some cruises from there that were just awful for embarkation, so this one was nice and easy. We were on the ship by 11:45. The ship is one of my favorites in terms of deck plans - we've been on the Liberty before which is the sister ship, so we knew what the layout would be. Lots of open deck space, never fighting for a chair.