Embarkation was non-eventful and expeditious. We were on the ship by noon. Appearance of the ship was above expectations, as we explored the public areas before going to our room, which was available at 1:00. There were more than enough bars with different themes to keep us entertained (we thought) - more about that later.
We had a balcony room which has plenty of room and worth the extra - one of our favorite activities was sitting on the balcony reading and drinking the AM coffee. Room layout was good, and bathroom had ample space. Closet/storage space is plentiful.
A favorite is usually nightly dinner with the assortment of appetizers, soups, salads and entrees. The food was blah and not what I had experienced on other cruises. We didn't ever try the supper club, so can't comment on that. There is a 24 hour pizzeria which was decent. The Red Sail restaurant consists of several buffet lines including "oriental", deli, dessert and a line with a daily theme - French, Italian, etc. Food was again what you would expect in a cafeteria.
The first night, my sister and I couldn't wait to try the various themed lounges. The piano bar is good the first night - and the entertainer was good, but after that first night, "American Pie" and "Brown Eyed Girl" got old. White Heat, a disco club could be a great dance club with its good acoustics and decent dance floor, but the music was NOT diverse enough to keep a crowd. It was empty every night. The Ebony Cabaret club entertainment was pretty bad - a large club and always empty. The Ivory Club had jazz and was the best entertainment on the ship. What was missing was live caribbean music on the ship decks. Additionally the crew seemed to have little control of some of the kids who overflowed into the clubs - I am on vacation from kids for that week only and would like to have a nightspot the kids who are unruly don't disrupt.
There was an overall lack of organization. Life boat drill was a nightmare - was supposed to begin at 3:45 - most of the ship gathered at that time, and no crew was on the lifeboat decks - I tried to find crew to let us know what was going on - I did locate one lone crew member who was on her cellphone and not helpful. We all left and went back to our rooms, wondering what we had just learned when an hour later, they called for the drill. Again, we herded down to our stations and just stood there while the loud speaker announced the "drill". A second time we headed to our rooms wondering what we had just experienced. -
Getting out in port was also confusing. In Key West, we were an unorganized blob - like a herd of cattle without the border collies. It took 2 hours for everyone to get off the ship - leaving little time for anything else. In Belize, we decided to wait until the cavalcade of people stopped flowing off the ship; then caught a tender - was the best thing we did.
Service was decent - our dining staff was wonderful. However I think the policy of having your tips already placed on the ship accounts tends to lessen the service you get. If outstanding service is rendered, I always tip more than the suggested amount. Room service was adequate but not outstanding like I have encountered on other ships. I missed the handing out of the envelopes at the end of the week. (OK, I know you can lessen the tip amount if your service isn't amenable, but who wants to stand in yet another long line at the purser's desk.)
Debarkation - the worst. Carnival announced they had a new debarkation technique - we finally got off the ship around 11:30 AM. I think maybe their old technique works better!!
This is not my first Carnival Cruise, but I don't think I will be taking another cruise aboard the Carnival.