This was our first cruise with Carnival, and I had some misgivings. I thought it would be full of rowdy 20-somethings, and we're quieter 40-somethings. However, since we really didn't want to have to fly, and Baltimore was very close for us, we decided to take a chance, and I'm really glad that we did. The predominant group on the trip seemed to be families with children, and while there were certainly some others who seemed to be serious partiers/drinkers, I can't say that we were really annoyed by them. I'm not crazy about groups of children either, but I really wasn't that aware of them most of the time.
Our cabin was very nice, a balcony on the 6th (Empress) level, toward the back of the ship. This was very convenient, since you're basically half-way between the main dining room on the third level, and the Mermaid Grill on the 9th level. The section of the ship that we were on also has extended balconies, and the extra space is really nice. There also weren't any interior rooms across from us, so there was a little less traffic in the corridor, and the area was very quiet in general. We had plenty of storage space, with three closets and a number of drawers. I would have liked a coffee maker in my cabin, though.
We thought that the food in the main dining room (Normandie) was really superior. We had a number of steak and seafood entrees, and they were all great. A number of the desserts that they had were really delicious, too. As for the Mermaid Grill, we really liked both the Asian food station, and the Deli, which had great sandwiches. The desserts there tended to be not as good as the Normandie dining room, though. It is a bit chaotic there too (you will be aware of the children there!). The only real dissatisfaction food-wise that we had was with room service. The food was very mediocre, and both times we ordered it, it arrived 20 minutes after the time it was supposed to be there. If you're going on an early morning excursion, beware.
One special thing that we did was to go to the Chef's Table. At $75 per person it's a bit pricey, but considering that it's seven courses, and includes unlimited wine, it's well worth it. You get a behind the scenes tour of the main kitchen led by the head chef himself, and then a really special meal, with the head chef describing each course and preparation for you. You have special servers for the evening as well, and it's really a wonderful indulgence if you're at all a "foodie."
We also went to the spa on the first night and got massages and facials, which got the cruise off to a nice, relaxed start for us. They will try to sell you products at the end, but from reading other cruise reviews I was braced for that. I thought that the massage and facial were both excellent. I was glowing from head to foot after it.
As for the entertainment, we thought that the comedians were pretty good, especially "Just June." The main stage shows were kind of your standard cruise line musical review productions, but the main male singer, Michael Wells, has a great voice, and the dancers and choreography were really professional-quality.
My only real annoyance was getting off the ship in Nassau. For some reason this was handled really poorly, and we spent a lot of time standing around in the halls. They finally opened a second exit point mid-ship, and that helped, but when you got off there, there was no one to help point you in the direction for the excursions.
All-in-all we had a great time, and would definitely take this cruise again.