The last Carnival cruise we were on was 5 years ago. We were very surprised at how things had gone downhill. This cruise was a five year anniversary and babymoon celebration for us. We chose it based on the itinerary and dates, not on the cruise line.
Getting on the ship was fairly easy although the line was very long and Carnival had never received my doctor's note even though it had been faxed twice. Luckily I brought a copy along. Our room was ready immediately. Our room was good for the most part. The bad parts was that everything vibrated in the room when the ship was moving. The vibrations were particular bad when sitting on the couch. Also the shower water temperature is set too high and is very difficult to change without it being freezing cold. It was too hot for my pregnant body and definitely too hot when my husband was sunburned. On a good note, our room attendant was awesome. We asked if we could turned the bed so we were rocked from head to toe instead of side to side and she did all the work for us. It was lifesaving that first night because the boat did a lot of tossing and I feel I would have fallen out of bed since I have to sleep on my side because of the pregnancy. The rest of the ship was disappointing however. I did not like how you had to walk through the main dining rooms or go up and down floors to get places on the ship. The layout was not as user friendly as some other ships we have been on.
The food on the ship was bad. The buffet area seems large but there is very little diversity. Instead of having several different lines with different food options (Italian, American, special of the day, Chinese, etc) they just replayed the same line four or five times. So you could always have salad or a small selection of main courses. Between my husband's picky eating and my pregnancy limits on food there was little we wanted to eat at the buffet. We went to the Posh dining room several times for lunch and dinner. The food there was only marginally better and the service was extremely slow. Dinner was at least 2 hours. Sometimes there was no water or bread service for the first half hour either. Twice my husband didn't get the bar drink he ordered until the end of the meal, which is ridiculous. As for food quality, if you like Ryan's or Colton's this is your kind of place.
As for entertainment, we stopped going to the shows after the third night. It looked more like a high school production. The last cruise we were on, we were amazed and entertained by the shows, but definitely not here. I also felt there were less informative talks about our destinations unless you wanted to get the 411 on Carnival sponsored shopping.
We chose this cruise based on its itinerary and loved the ports for the most part. The one port we did not like was La Romana. There is not much near where we docked and I felt Carnival's pricing for excursions reflected this. Not wanting to pay a crazy amount for a ride to the beach or even more for a tour, we decided to stay on the ship at this port.
Overall it was a good cruise but we will definitely not be looking at cruising on this ship again with all the cutbacks.