My 15-year-old daughter and I (first time cruisers) took the Carnival Breeze Mediterranean cruise. I was anticipating some rough spots because this is a brand new ship, but really I could not believe how well run everything was. (The only hitches in our trip had to do with airline travel, some of the staff at the Tryp Apolo hotel in Barcelona, and the Carnival-sponsored transfer from hotel to ship.)
All of the crew were very friendly and efficient. The boarding and disembarking went incredibly smoothly. The food was always very good and it took tons of will-power to eat in moderation! All inquiries and issues were immediately dealt with, and the guest Services and the Shore Excursions staff were great. There were supposedly 4,404 people on this ship and it almost never felt crowded! The only thing that could have been improved upon were the laundry facilities. 9 washing machines and 9 dryers for 4,404 people - really? Otherwise, I would give this ship and cruise line high marks.
A learning experience for me - we took mostly Carnival shore excursions and really I would not recommend them for the most part - I did it because I was traveling alone with my daughter and I am not a brave or experienced traveler, and the thought of missing the ship was more than I could deal with. Our best days were when we took "On your own" tours where Carnival got us to the city (such as Rome) and back to the ship, and we were on our own while there.