This was our 7th cruise and 3rd with Carnival. Went with DH, our 4 y/o son and DH's parents. Flew into MCO the day prior and used Cocoa Beach Shuttle to take us to/from airport/hotel/ship. Had no problems with them and would use them again. They also have a cruise critic discount.
Embarkation - Went well. No problems. There were minimal lines and it probably took about 30 minutes from the time we got to the port until we got on the ship.
Room - We had a deluxe ocean view room. I loved this room. It had two bathrooms which I really liked and I especially loved the extra storage. This was the first cabin I have had where I didn't feel I needed more storage space. Our room steward was good. We didn't have much interaction with him though, but he kept up the room nicely.
Ship - Seemed clean. Most staff were friendly. Took a few days to get used to the layout, but that's normal.
Crowds - I didn't find this as big of an issue as other reviews have stated. Granted, we did not go during a spring break, summer, or holiday week, when I am sure it is much more crowded. Was one time told 4200 passengers and another time told 4300, so it was around that amount. Only 390 kids on board, which isn't that many. It only really seemed crowded around the show times or comedy club. I did notice that the good seats around the pool fill up fast. There were still plenty of good seats by the aft pool around 8AM, but not much left by 9AM.
Camp Carnival - My son loved camp. On the first night they have a family party down at the night club. My son really enjoyed that. If you have kids between the ages of 2 and 7 and can make it to that party, I would. They seemed like they did alot of activities during camp and he came back with some neat gifts.
Dining - I thought the food was good. My husband and his parents all thought it was just okay. We were not impressed with the dining room staff (we had YTD). They didn't seem very personable (they were not rude though)and did seem overworked. Plus it seemed like the service was longer than it has been in the past. Loved the Pasta Bar but didn't care too much for the buffet.
The smell - I smelled the smell other reviews have talked about. It wasn't all the time and it wasn't always in the same place. Only one time on deck 10 did it seem overpowering. The rest of the times it was only a minor irritant.
Waterpark - I am only mentioning this because my son absolutely loved this area. We actually ending up sitting by the waterworks area on the last two sea days instead of by the pool as this is the area he enjoyed the most. The twister was his favorite. I think the most we had to wait was about five minutes. Usually there was no wait at all.
Entertainment - We went to two productions shows and one comedy show. The comedy was good and I wish we had gone to more. The production shows were okay. I have read several reviews commenting on the two lead singers and how they cannot sing. Unfortunately, I have to agree with this, they were not very good. We also went to two of the laser shows. I didn't care for those either. The fun force dancers were good. The deck party was fun. We spent a good bit of time in the casino and did not leave winners, but still had fun.
Debarkation - We did self-assist. We were off pretty quickly and at the airport by 9:00 AM.