This was my 10th carnival cruise so I got the perks from Platinum status. It made the embarkation very quick and easy, although the staff aren't always attentive so you should ensure you get into the preferred lines otherwise you will wait, although when we went through the lines were not that long.
The ship is newer and one of the larger Carnival ships. The 5th floor has hot tubs on each side and an outdoor section,one side they even have a BBQ setup for a couple of lunches. It's a feature I hadn't seen on the lower floor on other ships.
We tried the anytime dining for the 1st time. Not sure that I really liked it, to be honest. Waiting in line, one time we said we waned a two top and got a great one by the window, but the rest of the time we were with shared tables -- that can go really nicely or not. The apprehension was not worth the flexibility in times in my opinion. If you had a group of 4 - 6, it might be a great option though.
I thought the pools were nice and it was so hot, you really had to take dips in the pool to cool off. It still always surprises me that it's salt water, despite a lot of cruising. It makes it nice really. They even have some umbrellas on deck; a very nice touch if you can snag a space under one.
We ate in the buffet for dinner a couple of times. I thought you'd basically have the same options as in the dining room, but I was wrong... I would say buffet lunch is better than buffet dinner.
Despite reading other reviews before the trip, I was very happy that my food was hot! Sometimes there were lines, but other times there were not, so it depends on when you eat. The last sea day were were going to try the pasta bar upstairs from the buffet and it was closed off and a line waiting as it was full. So I suggest you might want to do the Italian before the last day.
Getting off the boat was a breeze. We were afraid to take the 11 something flight from Melbourne but we were there before 9AM... so waiting until the 2:20 flight was long so I wished I had booked the earlier departure, but it's hard to judge.
All in all it was a nice cruise, nice price and great weather, although it was a bit bumpy the last day at sea.
Oh, one last note, the boat was 95% full of folks from the South. You may want to being a southern translation dictionary with you, because some of the time you have no clue what is being said if you are not from the South. WANG = WING, BEAD = BED