I guess I should preface by saying I now think I am officially "Carnivaled out!" In the past 5 years, they have changed very little and it is definitely getting old. I will be cruising with different lines from now on.
The ship's decor was average. Patriotic-themed, but lacked the "wow factor" of other ships I've been on.
The biggest disappointment was the food! ALL DESSERTS on the Lido deck were completely flavorless everyday. They would get better results using a box mix! Service in the dining room was pretty slow for formal breakfast, lunch and dinner.
This was my first time sailing to Antigua and Tortola. I cannot recommend either one. In similarity to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, there is nothing at the harbor side of the island. You have to $8-$12/person (ONE WAY) to go to the beautiful side of the island where the beaches are. Straw markets were worse than usual. We actually had vendors fighting over who spoke to us first, pushing and pulling us every which way. very annoying.
St. Thomas and Nassau were gorgeous and fun as always. If you've never been to either of these ports, you need to go!!! I have been to both several times over the years and am never disappointed. (A NOTE ABOUT NASSAU: It disgusts me what the cruise line charges for the Nassau excursion to Ardastra Zoo and Queen's Staircase. They are banking on you not knowing anything about the island. They charge $50/person, but you can do that entire excursion on your own for $17.50/person. Ardastra Gardens and Zoo is a must see! So much family fun! A short walk down Bay Street will take you to the #10 bus. For $1.25/person, they will take you to the corner of Chippingham Road. After a 7-8 min walk, the zoo admission is about $12-$14/person and you can stay at your leisure!!! (The cruise only gives you an hour through them.) $1.25 #10 bus will take you back to Bay Street. Take a scenic walk in the other direction and you can take yourself to Fort Fincastle (spectacular high view of Nassau), and the Queen's Staircase. Admission to the fort is $1.00 and the staircase is free. It makes me so angry that Carnival is taking advantage of people who have never been to Nassau.
It was just a mediocre cruise. We were delayed almost 3 hours in boarding because Carnival did not disembark the previous cruise properly. In my opinion that is unacceptable. It's what they do each and every week. They should be pretty good at it by now.
One other note: I should have researched Antigua better. Lots of Jellyfish. I booked a snorkel excursion through the ship and couldn't snorkel because of the school of 500-800 jellyfish on the reef. The crew knew about it beforehand and even joked about it. They know if they tell, people won't book. Everyone on our boat got stung 10-15 times. It was awful. Carnival also was pretty lame with handling the situation. Shows me how much my loyalty and gold status really means to them.
Won't sail Carnival again....shows were duplicates of past cruises I have taken and the games and everything else were the same old, same old.