I polled all of those in my group for this review (myself, DH, DS (aged 18) DS (aged 17) and friends (mom and son aged 17.) We all agreed that the interior room layouts felt spacious, especially ours with the king. Plenty of storage and bathroom space. The only problem with the room was slow drainage in the shower. A long shower always meant a flooded bathroom floor. I never met Jerry, our room attendant, although the others did. He kept everything wonderful and clean. Anytime you put out the "cruising" sign you would return to a clean room. The beds were comfortable and the bedding was very nice.
Regarding food, the burgers got rave reviews. Some of us thought the dining room food was so-so, but others said they liked everything they ordered. The melting cake was inconsistent, even at the same table. Some were like soup, others cooked through. It is tasty when it's just right. They worked out gluten-free choices for our friend, and she really liked the toasted bread. We had my-time dining, which we liked, but you miss out on getting to know your servers. The pizza wasn't great, but it was available 24/7, which was nice. There was always a long line. Free drinks are lemonade, iced tea, juice, hot chocolate and coffee. Soft Drinks are $2.38 each with tip. The buffet breakfast was okay (fruit, scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, cereal, grits, small pancakes, biscuits and gravy.)The lunch buffet was better with a salad bar, fried shrimp, fish, chicken, cold cuts, potato salad, cole slaw, etc. We tried the fish and fries upstairs and it was good. I never went to the deli or make your own omelets because the lines were long.
Everything on the ship seemed sparkling clean. They just refurbed last year and everything looks nice. We liked the tiered decks around the pool. We saw people watching the movies on the big screen and they set out blankets for you which was nice, and they also had popcorn. On Saturday night we watched the NCAA final four in the EA Sports lounge and that was fun (but crowded.) Mon. nite we watched the final game on the big screen by the pool and saw the KY Wildcats win it all. It was fun being with the big crowd, however satellite on board is spotty and the video kept freezing and the sound went out for 30 minutes til we found the cruise director to re-set it.
The entertainment was hit or miss. The boys said the comedians were hilarious. The shows in the Venetian were okay. The talent was good, but the shows were a little boring. A shout out to the live band, especially the trombone and sax, as they were great! The most fun seemed to be next to the casino. They did a Thriller lesson, a Mardi Gras parade, and the band there was really good. I also thought the lady who sang in the lobby was talented, and people were always stopping to listen to her. The guy in the piano bar worked hard to make that a fun place as well. They relied a lot on DJs and soloists on deck instead of a full band. They did a nice job, but it wasn't the same. I never saw a reggae band, even at sail away, which was disappointing. There was also no midnight buffet at the pool, even though they had themed parties there. That felt kind of weird. If you're wondering about party dress, they had a white night, a blue night and a red night.
The teens complained about the O2 lounge which was supposed to be for 15-17, but it was decorated for much younger kids. They didn't think there was anything to do in there. The basketball always seemed to be locked or there were long lines. They did say that there were great movies in your room. They had CNN, ESPN, ABC and NBC and Discovery. I didn't see the Camp Carnival kids around the ship so I don't know where they were or what they were doing.
A note about Spring Break, we have been on Spring Break cruises before but I have never seen so many teens on a ship. We were very surprised at the amount of teen drinking that was going on. (This was H.S., not college break, so these were clearly underage teens.) It seemed that once parents purchased the drinks, they were able to hand it out to whomever and there were no questions by staff, as they walked by parents and teens sitting together with beers all around. One girl mentioned that her friend was only 15! I didn't see staff actually selling to teens, so I assume that it was don't ask, don't tell once the purchases were made. Perhaps that is a Carnival thing, I don't know. It did add to a certain rowdiness on board.
Regarding the ports, Miami is absolutely beautiful and you can get lots of city photos from the ship. That little canal with the yachts that you see on CSI Miami was right in front of the ship! We docked at Half Moon Cay (beautiful, but not a lot of shade and poor snorkeling) St Thomas (after two tries I just don't like St. Thomas. Both Coki beach and Magen's Bay are not nice beaches. Magen's Bay had big brown rocks around it, lots of dead trees and foliage around it and it just was not what I expected. It was not pretty at all. And with two ships in port it was packed.) We stopped at San Juan, which I thought I wouldn't like but touring the forts was fun. It wasn't as hot as I thought with a lot of sea breezes blowing. If you just go to Castle San Cristobal, which is three blocks from the port, you don't need a taxi. It was only $3 pp to get in. There is also a square nearby with a fountain and statue of Christopher Columbus. They have another fort a mile away (San Felipe Castle) that has a nearby cemetery and church. The last stop was Grand Turk. The port is completely away from the main city in an industrial area (not picturesque at all) but they made a nice little port area for the ships. The beach is nice and clean with lots of palm trees, and chairs were free. You can swim or snorkel (snorkeling was good, with ten or more different kinds of fish.) You can snorkel right from the beach. It was odd though, how they parked the ship right in your view. They had a lot of fun touristy shops there, and of course Margaritaville. Use of their pool was free and it was nice. There was a party area and more family areas of the pool. Grand Turk was our favorite stop.
We all commented how embarking and disembarking was the easiest we've ever seen. You come into the terminal and swipe your boarding pass and passport, we waited about ten minutes then we were on the ship. This was about 1130. We were allowed in our rooms by 130. We did self-assist to get off the ship. They started calling the top floors by 815. 20 minutes later they called deck 7. We pushed the elevator button and got right on. We waited in line no more than 15 minutes and we were off the ship. We don't know how they did it, but it was fantastic! Overall I would say the accommodations and service were great, everything was clean and nice, but I was not a fan of the Carnival party thing.