I cruised with my significant other and 1 other couple. We were celebrating one of our 40th birthdays. The other 3 have not cruised before. Here is my take away & Happy to answer any questions that I didn't cover:
Port Canaveral: Upon arrival around 10:30am on Sunday we needed to ask for directions. No where in our ticket packet from MSC did it mention which terminal we were to go to. Yes the large ships are visible but from a winding freeway perspective, it's not very easy to navigate. Maybe the terminals change per cruise? But we needed to go to 10. It was $90 to park our car for 4 nights. Parking was great. Very clear directions to get where we needed to go once we found a spot. The gentleman receiving our bags was actually quite rude. For someone who received a $5 tip for each bag he took from our group, we expected warmer greeting. Our embarkation time was 11:30. We were able to check in around 11:15am. But we were given "Group 18" and had to wait for 30 minutes. One rep was calling out group boarding numbers and if you weren't right next to him it was easy to miss your number. VERY crowded but everyones excited so the time passes quite quickly. Not once was I introduced to Yacht Club when we booked this cruise ( I booked through United Airlines/Mileage Plus). I did see a faster check in process for Yacht Club though.
Embarkation: We got on board & had carry on luggage with us so we were able to change into swim suits and get a bit more comfortable (we flew in from CA that morning). Drink lines were already very long but do-able. We started with booking our 3 specialty dinner reservations & magic show time. We chose The Sushi Bar, Hola! the Tacos Cantina & Butchers Cut the steak house. We had no idea of anything else going on at the times we chose. Which was frustrating bc we ended up missing the beach party due to the magic show time we chose. We headed up to the pool deck and snagged a table & chairs. Which filled up pretty quick. If you weren't sitting by 1pm you had no out door seating covered or uncovered near the main pool. We grabbed some pool deck food & wasn't very impressed. Inside at the Buffet the options were much better. Find a different bar other than the remote pool bar "stations" yikes. All 4 stations were painfully slow, throughout the whole duration of the cruise.