This was our family's 5th cruise (prior were on Costa, RCCl & Norwegian); 1st on Carnival.
Embarkation: Fine. No major problems. Arrived @ port 10:30..was told we could board around 12:30; ended up boarding at noon. Cabins were ready by the time we were told (1pm); luggage was prompt.
Initial Impression: Glitzy, bright, unique colors & design. Perfect condition, very clean. Cabins (we had a balcony; kids had an inside)were nice; well furnished & reasonably spacious.
Room Steward: Average. Not as good as on other lines...only did the minimum. Did not "tidy" our things in the cabin. Did not restock minibar frequently. But it was very clean.
Dining: Food was "okay". Service was "okay"; nothing special. Buffets were "okay"; menu choices were odd & almost seemed to be trying to be "too sophisticated". Dining Room staff was just average; made no effort to get to know our family even those we dined there almost every night. The "shows" that the dining staff put on were pathetic...danced around with the same lame hats on every night! If you did not know what other cruise lines do, I guess it would seem okay.
Spa: It was awful. I spent over $200 for two treatments & they were both unpleasant and the entire time I was drilled with sales pitches. They tried to sell me over $500 in skin products and told me how terrible my skin was & how terrible Clinique products are (which I use).
Bars/Casino: Good. Lots of variety for bars (sports, piano, wine, cigar bars) All unique & really nicely furnished.
Shows: Okay. Only one was excellent. The others were average to poor.
Ports: Loved Roatan, Belize was okay--not as great as expected--went cave tubing. Was glad to see Belize even though we did not fall in love with it. Grand Cayman was awful...tendering was a nightmare with 6 other ships in port; tendering back to ship we waited in a 1-hour line in the blazing sun to get back on board. Everything was crowded & excursions were sold out. Cozumel was good...rented a jeep & had a good time with that.
Overall: The cruise was good...not great. The ship has all the potential to be great, but the service & quality of food just are not there. Of course we kept comparing to RCCL (our favorite) and Carnival is trying hard to keep up; they are not there yet.