This was my first cruise with Carnival. We sailed on the Glory to Canada, leaving from NY. All in all, the trip was fine, but it wasn't the best we've ever taken. I was traveling with my two boys (ages 15 & 8).
First day, embarkation was a breeze. We drove from PA to NY and barely hit any traffic. We got there a little early, so we had to wait until 10:30 for the boarding process to begin. Once it did, I think the whole process took 45 minutes from beginning to end.
On board, there's a waiter waiting with drinks to hand you....those are NOT free. The decor of the lobby is nice. Everyone heads to the elevator to deck 9 (Lido) for the buffet in the Red Sail restaurant. Buffet food is your typical type buffet fare. Every day has a different theme, including taco day. Don't expect to be WOW'd. Like I said, it's your typical buffet food.
Cabins are nice, but a little smaller than the ones I've taken on Disney and Royal Caribbean. I loved our Room Steward. My kids got a kick out of being address by their first name each time he saw us.
Muster drill was drawn out. In order for them to finish it, you have to be absolutely quiet. People were a little tipsy and couldn't keep quiet for very long.
Kids room was not at all what we expected it to be. My youngest normally loves hanging out in the kids area, but this one he said was pretty boring. He went for two days and pretty much begged me not to go back again. My oldest was the same way. The teen room (Club O2) was pretty empty for the majority of the time and when there were teens around, there wasn't much to do to keep them occupied.
Dining was good. We had a great wait staff. My oldest is a very picky eater and the waiter made it a point to find something he would eat. Even had pastas and steaks especially made. That was really appreciated.
Activities were sub-par. There wasn't much in the schedule to keep you entertained unless you were into fitness, gambling and bingo. Speaking of Bingo, I won $200 in Bingo and also got a ship on the stick. Not too shabby!
Pool area...The pool water is salt water and very dark. A couple of other kids sitting near us complained about how grimy their skin felt from the salt water. The water slide was a highlight and the kids loved it. Unfortunately, most kids stayed away from the pool, so the lines to the water slide were REALLY long.
I was able to enjoy some quiet time reading on the balcony. Even got to see dolphins jumping out of the water. Kids got a kick out of that.
Would we sail with Carnival again? Probably. But we may choose to do a larger ship that is more geared towards kids next time. Our next cruise (next year) will be on Royal again.