Like most people returning from a cruise, you are so busy getting life back to normal you put off doing a review until it is too late. This time I promised myself I would do it (after skipping the last 2 cruises).
We arrived at the port at 12:15 and was on the ship by 1:00. There were lines but they kept moving. Seemed like many people who we saw go to the front of the line in wheel chairs (along with their families) we later saw walking around the ship, and climbing the stairs, during the week. A few people might be abusing the system.
There have been many reviews about the pink polka dots, etc so I will skip those parts and cover the items which will help future cruisers:
BUFFET SEATING: Being Thanksgiving week, the ship was packed as was the buffet. However, we were always able to get a table by going to the Rotisserie area (up the stairs by the desert area). The main area would be full of people waiting for tables yet just up a few stairs there was a whole unused area. The most crowded the Rotisserie got was about 20% of the tables being full. Even the last morning, as people waiting for their number to be called, this area was empty.
PLACE TO BE ALONE: Going to the front of deck 6, and through the exit door, you will find a outside deck facing forward. We visited this area many times for the view and only twice saw other people there (not bad on a ship with 4000 people).
THANKSGIVING ON A SHIP: Disappointing. Besides a few "Happy Thanksgiving" carved watermelons, nothing else. The turkey dinner tasted like pressed turkey and the pumpkin/gingerbread pie was 2/3 chocolate on the bottom (not traditional).
FOOD: Quality was good but you can tell they are cutting costs here. For dinner the first night one of the starters was corn chips and salsa (and no it was not due to it being a Mexican theme meal). Another night, the shrimp main course consisted of four shrimp. In the buffet, the Mongolian station was good but the wait was 45 minutes (for each person in front of you in line add 5 minutes and that is how long it will take you to get your food cooked).
FELLOW PASSENGERS: 1200 kids but you never really noticed them except the last day at sea which was cold and they all flocked to the enclosed pool. Much to my surprise with Carnival, we only saw 1 drunk during the cruise.
CABIN: Average balcony except the mattress was the worst ever. Never before would I wake-up with my back hurting. Also, our balcony was at the front of the ship. Any time the ship was sailing, the balcony light was disabled so as not to blind the bridge. Not a big deal for us but just something to note.
Overall, we went into the cruise not expecting much relaxation (being a full ship during Thanksgiving school break). However, it exceeded our expectations. The ship was full of families and the drunks, and college party kids, were somewhere else. A nicde. non-traditional, Thanksgiving.