We sailed with a group of four couples, three being our first cruise. I will tell you up front that this is a lot of bang for the buck! My mom, who has sailed on four other cruises with different cruise lines, stated this was an "okay" cruise. Nothing really bad ... nothing absolutely fantastic. As for the rest of us, we were extremely pleased with everything. So I'll try and review a few areas on a scale of 1 through 10.
EMBARKATION - Rated 5: Parking options everywhere and they all looked about the same. We chose Carnival and the shuttle was prompt. They tell you that they start boarding at 1230 ... they actually start taking folks much sooner. Once we reached the ship, we paid a porter to take our luggage which I highly recommend.
The terminal process was just short of crazy. There was a huge line that "snaked" around everywhere. After about 45 minutes, we arrived at the metal detectors and carryon x-ray. HINT: When they state a 750ML bottle of wine per customer, they mean it. We had a slightly larger on to split between me and the wife and they took it because it was too large, even though it was much less than each of us having 2 bottles. Once through that section, there was another large line to the front counters where they recheck your documents and issue your sign and sail cards. Then up to the ship. All in all it was about 1.5 hours and most of our bags were outside our cabin. One bag arrived right at departure. Once on board, lunch is being served on the Lido with not much of a line.
Our cabin was inside on the main deck (M239). Clean, comfy, with adequate storage. Luggage easily slides under the beds when unpacked. The bathroom was very nice with a good size shower. No storage so be sure and bring one of those flat shoe organizers to hand over the door … highly recommended. The room has a small flat screen TV, phone, 4 door closet, safe, drinks for sale and a bucket of ice that was filled twice a day. Several reading lights in the room so you don't need to bring one of those like some have suggested. It only has one power outlet so bring a power strip.