This was our seventh cruise and the first with Carnival. We were travelling with first time cruisers. They had a great experience but had basically the same comments we had. Food in dining room was great, service was wonderful, Steak house served the best meal I have ever eaten. I was disappointed in the fish and chip restaurant - food seemed greasy. Buffet was OK, deserts were incredible, the guy serving breakfast in the morning had obviously been given instructions that no passenger was to get more than 2 slices of bacon. He caused a lot of comments from guests. Other crew members were very helpful and courteous.
Photographers were everywhere. A big nuisance for everyone. They blocked corridors, interfered with dining, were very agressive and most annoying.
One big item of great disappointment to us were the very small dance floors available. The most enjoyable band was situated in the casino, right in the middle of the cigarette suckers, and on a postage stamp sized dance area next to the bar stools. It was basically unusable. The best lounge on the ship did not have a dance area and was most often used for Karaoke (sp) - not my favourite entertainment. I also didn't like all the salsa type music which seemed to be everywhere.
My wife had to put in ear plugs every time we passed through the pool area on the Lido deck because of the extremely loud music from the DJ or the noise from the huge TV. Needless to say, we quickly found quieter parts of the ship.
I also resent being automatically charged a 15% gratuity on every overpriced drink or thing I buy and then find out at the end of the cruise that my account has been charged an additional $161 for what they call "service grats". I argued the point with Guest Services but they were unwilling to budge. A rip-off as far as I am concerned. I have been told that other cruise lines do the same thing. When will we rise up and revolt against this stupid practice of companies charging a gratuity and not passing it on to the employee who provided the extra service? If staff were paid properly, there would be no need to impose an additional tax on the guest public. My dining room waiter told us that he was paid $75 per month and had to rely on extra tips from his table guests for the remainder of his salary. I hate the whole imposition of being charged more for a service or product than advertised. The extra money that Carnival collects from charging extra on already overpriced stuff just goes into general revenue. (Can you tell I hate the stupid practice of tipping being imposed on me without my consent?)
I will probably cruise with Carnival again but I will certainly check out the other cruise lines first.