Carnival is a great value for those on a budget but I was really disappointed in the food. We had anytime dining. Here were some exceptions:
1. 5 stars: Featured Vegetarian dish--the head chef was Indian and the Featured Vegetarian dish offered each night for dinner in the dining room was Indian and fantastic (just get extra yogurt sauce if you can't handle spicy food)
2. 4 stars: Guy's Burgers.
3. 5 stars: Strawberry soup appetizer offered in the dining room
4. 4 stars: Caesar salad
5. 4 stars: ice cream (order the banana split off the kids menu for dessert, nothing else was good)
In general, I found most seafood and desserts offered to be terrible and everything else to be ok. Steak tip: They charge you for the good steak at dinner but you can get a small portion for free at brunch (Steak and Eggs)
Embarkation and Debarkation was a breeze in Long Beach
Best fish tacos on the planet: Tacos Lily in Ensenada (your maps app should be able to find it.) Recommended by Anthony Bourdain (No Reservations, Season 8). Next to the fish market. A short walk from where the bus drops off passengers downtown ($8 round trip if you are not doing an excursion). We ate ceviche at another location and didn't have any tummy problems so yay!
Service was wonderful. Bed was very comfy, bathrooms were nice and clean
We had a 4 year old and she liked the kid's club
Noise sensitivity. Bring noise cancelling headphones for anyone with noise sensitivity. Everything was so loud (DJ on Lido deck, Muster drill, any show in the lounges) my 4 year old had her headphones on almost the entire time we were out of our room.
Seasick: I got a little seasick on the at-sea day. They will give you free generic seasick pill at guest services for free if you forget your dramamine
Birthday: I celebrated my birthday on the ship and on the evening of the second day, they gave me a $50 credit at the spa for use on the 3rd day only. Frankly that left little time to make a reservation but the prices are so high, $50 wasn't really a big savings and I didn't use it. They also gave me a $12 credit for pictures and I did buy pictures.
Bottled Water: Since this was my second carnival cruise, I got a large bottle of water free (sign up for the VIFP club) and it was enough, we didn't need to buy any extra water.
Cabin was a good location in the middle of the ship. There was some noise when the ship docked in Ensenada and back in Long Beach but not sure if it was noisy everywhere or just where we were.
Pull-down bunk bed for our 4 year old. She loved it.
Bathroom was big enough