We set sail from Baltimore, MD on August 19 for a 7 day cruise to the Bahamas. The cruise exceeded my expectations. Embarkation was a breeze. Parking, luggage, VIP check in -- all went on incident free. The pros: our ocean suite was large, quiet, and had a fantastic balcony. Entertainment-wise, there was plenty to do. We particularly enjoyed the Punchliner comedy club, which had 1 or 2 all- ages shows per night, as well as adult-only shows. My children didn't take advantage of all that Club Carnival had to offer, but the offerings were extensive. The ship's food was good. I worried, but for nothing; although, some meals were definitely misses. Our excursions were very good. We went to Magic Kingdom during the day in Port Canaveral, and we had a Dolphin Encounter during our day in Freeport. I would have liked a few extra hours in Freeport. I thought prices for drinks, coffee, items in the shops, were all very reasonable.
The cons: Although the food was very good, I didn't like that the choices during the evening for dinner on the Lido deck were limited. Room service was also limited to cold meals. (Room service also showed up very late the one morning we requested it). I thought the service in Normandie, the restaurant, was very slow, and it took a long time to get meals (initially. We spoke to the head waiter and he fixed this problem for us). I would have liked a different dining room one evening for a diverse experience. The coffee was terrible; the specialty coffee was not much better.
The decor is odd. I don't know why a contemporary ship would have such a dated theme (Italian Renaissance).
It was very hard to get through by phone to guest services, room service, the room steward, etc.
One complaint about Club Carnival is that, one evening, they were running 30 minutes late for an event (a movie). The movie was going to go past 10:00 p.m. But, if you picked up your child when the movie ended, you were charged the $6.75 per hour, per child, fee that the Club charges after 10 p.m. They should have made an accomodation in this instance, to let the poor kids finish the movie, without a fee.
All in all, we really enjoyed the cruise. It is hard to match the service of a Disney Cruise (the other line we have traveled on), but the food was on par with Disney. The entertainment was better (there was more to do on Carnival).