This was my seventh cruise, and my second with Carnival. This is a "Fun Ship," and everything had "fun" in its name. If you are familiar with the fun size Halloween candy, you know that "fun" is really code for "cheap" or "bare minimum," which is the context of fun on this cruise.
We only paid $78.61 per person per day (including taxes and tips) for a 4-day mid-week Los Angeles, Catalina, and Ensenada cruise. That is a real bargain. I only mention the price because if I paid more, I'd be upset.
The ship was large and fairly well maintained. More Formica than fine hardwoods. As for the clientele, it looked like they raided local DMVs, Greyhound bus stations, and maybe a homeless shelter.
The staterooms were adequate with the bulletproof finishes found throughout the ship. The sheets and towels were rough and cheap, but clean. The chefs and dining staff did a good job with the HomeTown Buffet-style commodity food. The buffet felt more like a cafeteria, with low-end plastic dishware and cheap stamped silverware. The food quality was generally poor and well below that of Las Vegas buffets. Lobster was served one night in the dining room and was actually above average.
The international staff was kind, professional, hard-working, and attentive. This wasn't an awful cruise, and I went in with very low expectations. It was, after all, a real bargain. That said, this will be my last Carnival Cruise. I prefer even a hint of luxury to fun/cheap.
If you're young and want to go on a cruise with a large group of friends and drink yourself blind, then look no further, this is the cruise for you. If you want a nicer inexpensive Mexico cruise departing Los Angeles, I'd suggest a slightly longer and slightly more expensive Mexican Riveria cruise on Princess or Holland America.
The staterooms were adequate with the bulletproof plastic finishes found throughout the ship. The sheets and towels were rough and cheap, but clean. No thermostat for temperature.
Avalon is always fun in small doses. Disembarking and tender service was very slow.
Well, it's Ensanada, what can I say? When we ported, the ship was instantly filled with the strong smell of rotting dead fish. When we disembarked the smell was overwhelming. Ensanada is an unsafe and ugly third-world hole.