Highlights - the ship is nicely decorated and mostly clean and well-kept, our cabin/mini suite was great, good balcony, great bathroom for a cruise ship, well-attended by the room steward.
Cruise director and his staff were very good, friendly, entertaining and hard-working. They are the best I have seen on a ship.
Embarkation and debarkation were both very smooth, even at ports of call (exception was Grand Turk where one gangway made it extremely difficult to do quickly).
Lido deck "food court" was good, fairly quick and nearly always open at the right times. (Exception was the hamburgers which were cooked and put in warmers...not good.)
There was about the same kid representation that I saw on most other cruises I have been on, despite the warnings I got about Carnival being kid-created bedlam, so that was a nice surprise.
Lowlights - dining room menu was pedestrian food masquerading as sophisticated dining room cuisine, most dishes were OK, but very More
unimaginative; dining room service tried to be friendly, but just couldn't manage it very well, some dishes (prime rib) were repeated during the cruise and some shared accompaniments on the same night, which I found unusual and a bit lazy.
Clientele, fellow guests had an over-representation from the tattooed, pierced, beer-in-the-hand 24/7 crowd. I'm no prude, but let's act a little like a grown-up here. This crowd also tend to be the one where the 45 year old woman with terminal cellulite has not yet received the message that her bikini days were over with 20 years ago. <<>>
You can forget about getting a seat in the Serenity lounge. Seats are loaded with towel/sunscreen bottles/flip flops from dawn through dusk. People save the seats for themselves and friends and the chairs are never "open". Same applies to the pool areas and the supposed "half-hour rule" is NEVER enforced.
Unless you want to drink the free lemonade/iced tea/water (which I did)or buy the single drink package which consists of unlimited soda only at $8 a day, you pay for every drink. Other lines have had much more variety when it comes to drink packages.
The show dancers tried, but were never in step. The singers had some talent but had the usual lame Broadway-style material to work with.
Comedians were mostly pretty good during the adult-only comedy shows. The "Comedy Brunch" they promote is merely a comedian stopping by the dining room, promoting his show, and leaving. It's over in less than five minutes.
It was a little off-putting that all the singers and comedians were hawking their CDs in the show and in the lobby afterwards.
The Brunch menu, supposedly from comedian George Lopez is also pretty lame. Brunch is substituted for a real lunch on most days, which was a disappointment.
Very little quality time in any port. Would hope to do something next time that keeps you in a port for 24 hours or more.
By paying a little more and going on another line, for instance, I feel I could have had a much better dining experience. Other than that most cruises are pretty much the same. Less
Short trail ride near and on the beach (20 mins or so) and then they used four horses out of 16 to give guests quick rides in the ocean with the horse while everyone else waited around. Not good value at all. Guides were nice and helpful, but a bit smart-alecky, though not so you were offended by it.
Crew tried but the tour part was them literally standing next to us and telling us a few interesting facts. Glass-bottom thing lasted 5 minutes. The beach they took us to was a pretty shoddy public beach with a few facilities and was very rocky/seaweedy. Skip this for sure.