This was our 4th Carnival Cruise(sailed on Royal Caribbean once before). We have sailed out of Baltimore 3 times and Port Canaveral once and the embarkation in Miami was by far the smoothest. Hardly any waiting, lines moved steadily and our cabins were ready when we boarded which has never happened before on any other ship.
We had a balcony room but unfortunately it was close to the atrium and elevators so we could hear the music from below which wasn't bad but we could hear the ding ding of the elevator all night long.
Food was reasonable in main dining room. Lines were much too long in Buffet on Lido deck which was unnecessary. Hot and cold food all starting from same spot-just a suggestion: splitting them up (just put a rope divider) would cut line in half (those wanting only hot food don't have to wait for those picking up salads).
Entertainment was alright. Very loud so turn down your hearing aid. Comedy was OK, of course, some funnier than others. Some just plain crude so don't go to adult comedy if you are easily offended.
This ship seems more "laissez faire" than other Carnival Ships we have been on. No one checking ages for adult comedy (there was a 7 yr old in there which the comic noticed and kindly suggested to grandpa that it wouldn't be appropriate for him to stay). Lot's of people in wet bathing suites in eatery despite signs to cover up.
Hardly saw our cabin steward but the job was always done (except 1 day where he missed making up the beds). Gym was reasonable. More room than on the Pride. It is relatively well hidden within the spa which is a good thing because there are fewer drop-in people, people who have never gone to the gym before who go just because it is there and jam up the machines. It does get hot on the side of the ship that the sun is beating down on. Machines were well maintained.
Fairly smooth debarkation. Although the itinerary states an 8 am arrival back in Miami, we were in port by 6 am. I wish Carnival were more realistic in their times because I booked transportation and stayed an extra day in Miami based on the 8 am arrival when we could have booked an earlier shuttle out of port and flown out latter the same day.
Overall, Carnival is good value for your money. RCL is a little more refined but significantly more expensive.