We are looking for a wonderful cruise experience of shorter than 7 nights, due to child care issues for our two little ones. Could you recommend any cruise lines other than Carnival offering 4 or even 5 nights rather than 7, early 2004, US departure?
Carnival (Fantasy) and Royal Caribbean (Sovereign) run 3 and 4 day cruises from Port Canaveral. We do these frequently and can report you may or may not find loud obnoxious drunks on either ship. When you put 2000 people on a ship you have an opportunity to bump into all kinds of people.
I just got off the RCL Enchantment. This was my 2nd cruise on this ship and it was wonderful. Highly recommended. It was a 5 nighter going to Cozumel, Key West, and Belize. Great ports. The only complaint I have about the ports is that if you don't do a shore excursion with the ship in Belize, I know that it is very daangerous there and you are better off staying on the boat. I did see some minor things that went down hill on this last cruise, but I am confident you will still really enjoy it as I said, they were all very minor. Have a great time whatever you choose!
Oh, and you must go to Chakannab Park (Spelling?) in Cozumel and do the Dolphin Excursion. Don't do the one with the cruise line, take a cab directly to the park via cab and do the most expensive dolphin encounter they have (I think it was about $119 each-I don;t remember what they called it) they actually have you do Marine Land type stunts with these dolphins! This was probably one of the neatest things I have ever done!!!
My wife and I are hoping for a 4 night cruise out of Miami in June next year. (for the same reason as you, child care issues ) We are looking at the Majesty of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) out of Miami, which goes to the Bahamas, and the Fascination (carnival) out of Miami, which goes to the western Caribbean.
Both look like decent shorter voyages. I think we are currently leaning towards to the Majesty, which stops in Nassau, PocoCay and Key West.