This was our 9th cruise, and our 3rd out of Australia. We had previously been on Carnival Spirit, and were attracted by the itinerary, as it visited islands we had not seen before. However, due to bad weather to the north of Vanuatu the itinerary was changed and we ended up revisiting ports. The weather was very good after we turned south, and we were pleased about that.
The embarkation was perfect, possibly the quickest ever.
The ship was quite amazing, the theme was art deco and art nouveau, and we loved the glass themes, there was fantastic blown glass from Italy everywhere. The atrium was quite different to the usual light, bright,lots of windows that are on Princess and Royal Caribbean, but it was beautiful in it's own way, especially at night.
Our cabin was an Ocean Suite, and it was the best cabin we have ever had. The service in the cabin was wonderful, it was always immaculate.
The food in the Empire Dining Room was good, but with some variation in quality. However our wait staff were brilliant, and were happy to exchange anything that we weren't happy with. There was fun entertainment in the dining room every night, which we really enjoyed. The attention to my partner's special diet (non-gluten) was excellent, and the Maitre D' - Dessi - was the best ever.
The food in the Lido Grill buffet was also very good, there were heaps of choices. There were different "stations", and we found the best way to deal with the crowds was to eat at a non-peak time, and to visit each station separately. (Who wants to combine Asian and Italian on the same plate anyway? )The outdoor food areas were good too, for burgers, and for Jimmy's Grill. There was a different chef's theme every day, and we never tired of the food. The Asian was particularly good, featuring different cuisines each day also.
The gym facilities were great, and the Serenity area for adults only was also good - we spent some time there as there were over 500 kids on board. The rest of the ship was quite noisy and chaotic at times.
The Ports were nothing special, and we did not partake of any ship's excursions.
The only real let down for us was the entertainment. The cruise director Stu was only just passable, and the quality of the production shows was just not up to the usual standards.Only the last show was really up to scratch. The comedy was ok, but became boring. We found that there were less things to do on board during the day too - and as there were 6 sea days this was quite disappointing.
Overall the cruise was enjoyable and relaxing , and we had a great time. I think Carnival should do well in Australia, particularly for families, the facilities for kids seemed great.