My wife and I booked directly with Carnival in April, 2012 for the First Cruise on 20 October, 2012.
Entertainment : Fabulous ! Our daughters are dancers so we were really looking forward to the Shows. They were amazing. 4 great singers, amazing dancers and the band never missed a beat.
There were 2 other bands performing onboard. The band 'Hi-lux' that performed on the Lido Deck were awful. Good songs but they couldn't sing and their singing was 'flat'. It was painful to listen to.
The other band were fantastic. Name unknown but they performed in 'Club Cool'
Food : Sadly we were disappointed with the Food. It ranged from Excellent to Awful. It was really inconsistent. We wondered if we were being too fussy. No, we spoke to at least 4 other couples who said the same. These were meals from the Empire Dining Room.
For the first 3 nights we were given the menu and weren't asked if we wanted a drink. Our table 'battled' to get drink service. We finally got a drink after the meal was over. This did improve towards the end of the cruise
We also had dinner one night at the 'Nouveau' restaurant. Absolutely sensational ! Unlike any dining experience.
Serenity Lounge : Nice place to relax. The 'Pods' that they had were very difficult to get. We were told that people were claiming them at 5 am to ensure they got one for the day. We also found that on the last day at sea, many were being used by people who'd been partying all night and they'd gone straight there and slept.
Shopping Arcade : Too much Duty-Free Booze and Cigarettes, not enough 'Spirit' souvenirs.
Staff : So excellent. Dedicated, friendly and helpful.
Cabin : Beautiful. We had a Balcony Room and it was great. Plenty of room to relax.
Summary : An enjoyable cruise. We're not sure that Carnival completely understands the Australian market and what we want. They tried. I hope Carnival will learn.
Would we cruise with them again ? NO. The food was a HUGE let-down.