This was only our second cruise, but I've done more research than Clark Howard so I still would like to say that I'm somewhat of an expert at least on getting a good deal if nothing else. I work in the airline industry so we get some killer deals on some of the weekday and off peak cruises. My wife and I have cruised alone twice now. We plan to take our kids on the next one, so this review is strictly for couples and not families since we didn't experience Camp Carnival or anything like that.
Tips on Booking: I usually look at the rates at vacationstogo.com then once I see a good price I call Carnival directly for their interline (airline rates). They also have Military, Police, Fire etc, so you should always ask them about that if you are in one of those categories. We saved about 70 bucks per person with the interline it was only 209 interline inside cabin and the port fees were only 35 a person so this was a steal.
Parking and Embarkation: for a 4 day cruise parking was 60 bucks. We walked right up to the terminal in 5 minutes time. I was told that those that stayed in hotels wait up to an hour and a half to get a lift so its definitely worth it to park on site. Make sure that you are in the parking lot by 2pm because otherwise they have to shuttle you from somewhere and that will make it a pain when you return. The line was about 40 minutes long, which wasn't too bad, so nothing special here it rained so there wasnt much to it.
We decided to wing it we didn't pay for any excursions in advance.
We took a cab to Caribe Cozumel Wave Runners at Caribe Cozumel was Amazing! Beach was nice but a very small area.
Went shopping and bought some great stuff for kids and Family.
Ate lunch at La Mission (thanks Trip Advisor) food was excellent!!!