We are loyal Carnival cruisers but were a little disappointed with some things on this cruise.
The ship is beautiful with the decor completely changed from other ships. The layout mistakes on the Magic have been corrected and the traffic flows much better. The buffet areas on Lido deck have been re-designed and no longer looks like a giant school cafeteria.
Food: There are more places to eat now. The food is good, especially the Guy's burgers, but the food on Lido and in the MDR while good, is not the same as it was in years past. Most of the desserts are a type of cake with very few pies offered. The beef is just not as good, or maybe it is the way it is cooked. One can only order steak medium rare or medium well. And I am not sure how they define those choices as it never came out the same. The choices on Lido are the same, day after day.
The activities consisted mainly of trivia all day long. But no more ships on sticks as prizes. Just an autographed picture of the entertainment staff who was hosting that particular session. And the B2B cruisers had all the answers. Bingo was not so in your face as before, but still was a big activity pushed by the ship. The Hasbro games were okay, but were only held three times. Two of the same people were chosen for two of the three sessions. Only 18 people were chosen each time, so very few were chosen to participate. The shows that I attended were not as good as in past cruises. Gone are the "Vegas" style productions. The movies were hit and miss. Children's movies were shown on the big screen and television and only 67 children were on board out of 3600+.
My biggest complaint is the wait staff. We had a terrible waiter who gave even worse service after we complained. It would appear that Carnival has increased the number of passengers but has not increased the staff accordingly. For the five nights we had early dining, our dinner took over 90 minutes to complete. One night it was 8:05 pm when we got our dessert. Since we are platinum we requested YTD and got changed. The service was excellent but we sat in the section of the dining room that was serviced by a waiter we had on another cruise.. I heard many others complaining about slow service.
The other complaint is how John Heald talks and treats his assistant Calvyn. Calvyn is gay, and on the morning shows, JH is always saying things like "don't touch me" and other things , which I think are not necessary and inappropriate. A person's sexual orientation is private and should not be either celebrated nor demeaned in a public setting. I like JH and his humor, but not in this particular instance.
I will not go into the many other small "glitches" that took place with embarkation, debarkation, and other small snafu's that happened. I like Carnival and will sail again with them again. But their staff and procedures on these larger ships need improvement.