Thinks we liked: Our cabin steward Nester was by far the best cabin steward we have ever had. He works his tail off. I think I saw him just about every time we left the room. So friendly, never had to ask for anything more than once. Really can't say enough about him.
Casino staff was friendly.
Overall Guys burger and the burrito bar was fantastic. Pizza has come a long way as well.
Enjoyed Red Frog Pub with live music even if we did feel like we were getting a bit of an attitude when some of us weren't ordering alcohol.
Really enjoyed our excursions through Carnival. Paying a little extra is worth it to me if it means I don't have to worry about missing the boat if something comes up.
Port of Miami was one of the most efficient we have been through.
Singing in dining room.
Overall we were not impressed with this Carnival Cruise. Considering this was our sixth cruise, it may seem like we were splitting hairs, but a lot of these are the things that will make us look elsewhere for our next cruise as we know it will probably be better elsewhere.
Entertainment-In our experience, we choose Carnival because it has the best entertainment. We were very disappointed by the evening shows. Carnival has traded the band and groups of fantastic singers and fantastic dancers for some fancy LED screen and 8 okay people who can sort of sing and dance. Divas show was horrendous. Pool deck activities were fine but we really missed the steel drummers. Didn't have them once. Good luck finding a seat at the comedian unless you get there over 30 minutes early. Don't worry if you miss it as they aren't that great. One of the adults only comedians used the 45 minutes to comedically push his political views. Don't bother going to the punch-liner brunch for the comedians. They pretty much introduce themselves and do a 5 minute set per hour and that's it.
Food-Overall we know that the food on other cruise lines has been of better quality than Carnival, but we were still disappointed. I was first shocked to see the majority of canned fruit in the lido deck breakfast. No fresh pineapple, grapes, etc for breakfast. Lunch generally had a mixed fruit salad with pineapple chunks but was usually picked through pretty good so I know others missed it as well.. Lox and waffles were available in dining room but this is the first time it was not available on the lido deck in the morning. They had lox at the deli for lunch but due to our excursions we were rarely on the boat for lunch. When we were on the boat for lunch, we rarely ate the lido deck because of the disappointing variety. Who wants pot roast, pasta with cream sauce, and mashed potatoes for lunch when you have been sitting in the sun all day? Need some lighter options for lunch other than salad. Also, regardless of what time you went, the food was always cold by the time you got back to the table. Even if you got the food and immediately sat down, it was still cold. And I'm not talking room temp, I'm talking cold. Dining room food was fine. We were pleasantly surprised the lobster on elegant night was Maine lobster. Steakhouse was good as well although French onion soup was very salty.
Service-Aside from our cabin steward, service was a huge disappointment. Carnival has changed the dining room from one head waiter and assistant waiter for every couple of tables to two head waiters and one assistant waiter per section of approximately 50 people. This drastically reduced the attention to detail we have grown to love (pulling out the chairs, giving us our napkins, asking us about our day). For a table of four, we had to ask for a second dish of butter every evening. Again, may seem like we split hairs, but for those experienced cruisers, you will probably agree this is generally unheard of. After the first or second night asking for it, it generally would just automatically be on the table every evening from then on out.
Beverage server in dining room was almost impossible to track down. Again, had to ask our waiters to send him over every night and it wasn't uncommon for us to have to wait until we were well into the main course to get our drinks.
Our four top table was situated half next to the windows and half behind a column. Directly next to us was a four top in our waiters section with an excellent window view. After the guests did no show up for the first three evenings (including elegant night) we asked guest services if we could switch tables. We were told no because there were guests assigned to that table. We mentioned it to our server who mentioned to the maitre d but were told no again. Needless to say, the guests did not come to the dining room a single evening and the table remained vacant the entire week.
By far the worst was the service in the main dining room for breakfast. Had to ask several times for the same thing on multiple occasions and it wasn't uncommon to get an eye roll if you asked for your OJ topped off or anything else outside of placing your original order for that matter.
General observations-Gone are the complementary tours through the kitchen. You must purchase it as part of a behind the fun tour at a whopping $60-$70 dollars. They also only offer a handful of them so if you don't get it immediately, you won't.
Like other reviews, we also noticed the sporadic sulfur smell, sometimes in our room.
No more beverage service in the actual lido deck buffet or not that we saw anyway. Less beverage servers ship wide overall.
Dining room attire (cruise casual or elegant) was not enforced.
Ladies were not given menus, waited on, or served first in the dining room like on cruises past.
Public restrooms were tiny
Elevators were a struggle. Sometimes we couldn't get them for 10-15 minutes plus. The glass elevators were tiny and it was not uncommon to have to get off because the buzzer would sound an door would not shut if it was overweight. We never had that happen on a cruise before, let alone very often. We took the stairs pretty much any times we were going three or less floors.
Pillows gave a very bad neck ache almost every night. Rooms also got warm overnight, even with AC as low as it would go.