I have sailed with Carnival 8 times. Carnival, while priced at the low end, always stepped up to the plate in food and service until now. We sailed for 4 nights on the Imagination out of Miami. Check-in was smooth and the cabin clean. We had open seating for dining in the Pride DR. Dining room front desk people have a lot of attitude. They were condescending and brusque while the wait staff was wonderfully accommodating. The food was what you'd expect from a Denny's buffet. If we stayed away from the meat and went with the fish we seemed to be better off.
The casino is a confusing spectacle. While you can put cash into the slot machines your winnings are returned on your 'Ship Card'. Money has to be collected at the end of the cruise. If you are owed less than $10 US you MUST contact Carnival HQ to get your money back. I wonder how much Carnival pockets from cruisers too busy to be making calls to Carnival? The dining room desk people and casino managers are Eastern European. I can only assume that customer service in that part of the world is different than what Westerners have come to expect.
Carnival pushes hard on photographs. Promenade deck is a gauntlet of photographers tugging at your sleeve. Same thing goes for the dining room (like to have your meal interrupted by a guy in a pirate costume? Ride Carnival.) Getting on or off of the ship requires you to pose for a picture. Cabins are stocked with $4 bottles of water and $2 soft drinks. Bring your own. Cocktails at the bars are $6 to $8 and a 15% gratuity is automatically added. Entertainment was pedestrian and the 'Adult' comedy acts were a tsunami of F-Bombs. Carry your own luggage and disembarkation is a breeze. Have Carnival do it and wait. Would not do this ship again.