Since we've been on a lot of cruises, we're able to make a comparison with some we've been on. We'll just mention some positives and some negatives. Though there are some negatives mentioned, based on what we paid, we really have nothing to complain about as we always try to focus more on the positives in general. However, because this forum gives people the opportunity to give their honest opinions, I felt worthy of expressing ours.
Embarkation and Debarkation in San Juan went smoothly, since we carried on and off our luggage's with no problem. Check-in went smooth and was well organized.
They allow at least one bottle of wine or liquor per person, although they actually allowed about two per person. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity do not allow that at all, as it's obvious selling the bottles of liquor and drinks on-board is where they bring in the big bucks. Old San Juan has a CVS a couple of blocks away where you can purchase wine at decent prices...if the stores in the cruise terminal are not open for purchases.
Another positive Carnival has over Royal and Celebrity is that they have a little laundromat area with washers, dryers and an iron/ironing board. Comes in very handy.
Shows were ok...not great, but ok. Especially liked the show on the first formal night and there was a guy who did some juggling act who was also a comedian...very funny and entertaining. There were a few other great comedians as well.
Food was OK compared to others we've had on other sailings. But again for what we paid...we didn't starve to death and it was basically edible.
There were a couple of people who stood out among them all. Primarily one and her name was Miriana. We believe she was some kind of hostess who warmly greeted us on the first day, and she was delightful till the very end. Always a smile on her face no matter how hectic things were or how tired she was. Another person was a Dining Room waitress we had a couple of nights (we had the anytime seating option) and her name was Arini. These two young ladies were basically the only ones we encountered that we can honestly say seemed to care about servicing the customers properly and never with any attitude.
The greatest positive of all, however, had to do with the company we had. Our parents and some other relatives joined us on this cruise. Even when things may not go well, if you're surrounded by people you love that you're sharing a wonderful time with, any minor irritation can be overlooked.
Now on to some negatives:
I'm usually not overly picky about some things mentioned here, but I guess the environment or more specifically the decor stood out for me. In my opinion I considered this ship to be the least attractive looking of any I've been on. We found the decor to be dark and somewhat unpleasant. Perhaps because I don't care much for browns and blues and dark floors. Just gives a gloomy feeling, although some may have liked the nautical theme but it was so dark that I sometimes missed it. Ceilings in many areas were low and caused a feeling of being closed in (we are not claustrophobic).
We found that tables in the buffet restaurant and around the deck areas often had trays and dishes on them long after the passengers left. On several occasions we had to carry the used trays and dishes away just to get a clean place to sit. And it wasn't because there wasn't enough crew members to be on top of it, they just didn't seem to care unless you called them over. Never encountered this problem on any prior cruise.
We were surprised to actually encounter quite a few waiters in the Dining Rooms who came across as irritated and were rude and displayed a bit of an attitude. If we asked for something, some never responded with a smile or a positive attitude, it was more like you're annoying me and don't add to the workload by asking for anything else.
Not only were some waiters rude, but some passengers as well. We were awaken in the middle of the night several times by people talking and yelling loudly, as if it were broad daylight. However, you can't control who gets on but you can control who you hire.
Didn't care much for the pool area, although the Serenity Lounge was the area we preferred to relax in.
Overall, considering some irritating factors, our cruise still offered us memorable moments we shared with our loved ones. Had we paid a lot more than we did and we didn't have have the wonderful people we had with us, who made it all worthwhile, perhaps we would've been more critical.
In general this cruise was a hit and miss...and, as I stated, it wasn't too bad and it wasn't great, compared to other cruises we were on, but we tried to make the best of it and focus more on the positives.