Please let me begin by saying I have only traveled on Royal Caribbean so I can only compare this cruise with my experiences.
The good: Embarkation was smooth, as was parking in the Port's Parking Lot A and shuttle to the ship. The balcony room 9269 was fantastic and I believe larger than the ones I have had on Royal Caribbean. The balcony itself wasn't huge, but sufficient for 2 chairs and a very small table. The chairs didn't recline and even if they could, there isn't enough room to recline two at once anyway. You would likely have to move one chair and the small table inside the cabin and then recline one of them the length of the balcony. The bathroom was great with a larger shower than I have had on Royal Caribbean. The water temperature and pressure were also very good. The TV was an old style tube TV, but sufficient. The vanity was nice and the closet space outstanding!
The dining room service and food was good, but not better than Royal Caribbean. The pools (all on deck 9) were small. Hot tubs were sufficient. Miniature golf was nice. The Hollywood club had a couple good dance nights, and the music elsewhere was decent. The shows were good, especially "The Big Easy" and comedy shows.
The bad: The food wasn't as good as Royal Caribbean in the Lido area or in the dining room. It also wasn't as elegant of a dining room or dress of most other passengers. Lots of children were on board compared to Royal Caribbean, but most were fairly well behaved. The ship was older and smaller than most of the Royal Caribbean ships I been on and this one felt cramped in the main areas of the ship. The casino was small and always horrible smoke smell since they allow smoking. They really need to do away with smoking in the public areas of ships...they could have cigar rooms and a couple other "smoking" rooms to make it better for everyone who doesn't smoke--the majority.
Overall: It was a fun getaway for the price, but I will either try a newer, larger Carnival ship or go with Royal Caribbean or another cruise line next time.