This was our first cruise and it had its good & bad points. The problems were largely not Carnival's fault - I think I should have done more research first to ensure a good match for my family. Also, there was a serious illness on our ship that changed our itinerary.
Good points: the cabins were very comfortable, especially the beds, which we didn't necessarily expect. The food was very good, and the staff was all very nice and accommodating. The show we went to was good, but not great.
Less good: We didn't meet anyone on the ship who was not from Texas. We are from Texas ourselves, but got a little tired of hearing about it! Things were pretty crowded and people were not particularly considerate at first - lots of pushing, etc. My husband said, at the end of the first day, "I feel like I've spent the day at Six Flags!"
Also, my 14-year-old stepson was really disappointed that the cruise was so focused on little kids. There wasn't much for him to do on board, and he is a kid who requires a lot of action. His dad played about 30 games of ping pong with him, and that was about it. The shuffleboard and golf pro were inaccessible for most of a day due to a guest's illness (see below). The gym was very small and was packed all the time. Most annoying, it wasn't open past 8 pm, and no one under 16 was allowed in. However, there were many, many, families with little kids who seemed to be having a great time! I think next time we will try a different line and really look into what sorts of activities will be available for him.
I was also surprised at how many smokers there were (I don't know WHY I was surprised!) Anyway, that was quite unpleasant, even though we stayed in the non-smoking areas as much as possible. I will definitely factor that in on future cruises.
It was very cold when we departed Galveston, and we were really looking forward to getting into some warm weather, and to the day in Cozumel.
However, another passenger had a serious heart attack our first night out, so the ship turned around and we went back to within 60 miles of New Orleans so he could be helicopter-lifted off the deck of the boat. This meant that our entire first "fun day at sea" was a COLD day. :( And we didn't arrive in Cozumel until 3 pm on the day that we were supposed to have the whole day there.
The crew was definitely doing damage control - first they said we'd get to Cozumel by noon - no way! Each announcement pushed it a little later, later, later. They rescheduled most of the tours (except the golf trip, which was cancelled altogether).
My husband went and told the purser that we wanted to get off the boat in Cozumel and fly home. With no argument and a minimum of delay, Carnival bought us air tickets home two days later, so that we would have some time there. Over all, it worked out well for us. We are supposed to get a refund of our unused trip portion, but we just returned yesterday so still need to see how that will play out.
I'd recommend this trip for families with little kids, and for people who love Six Flags. :) Happy travels!