There were 7 of us including my husband, my parents, sister, brother, and grandmother. We chose to sail out of NY because grandma doesn't fly. Never again will we sail out of NY. Rocky waters!! Note that this was my first cruise. Second on Carnival for DH, parents have cruised RC twice and sister has cruised Princess so we had a lot to compare to.
Embarkation -- Overall, we had a good time. Embarkation was long, but I had prepared by reading other reviews and knowing what we were in for. Long lines of people waiting and waiting.. but organized.
The Ship -- The ship itself is downright unappealing. There is no "wow" when you get on. Not enough color for sure! Those "urns" are depressing and ugly. hardly decorative I don't care what the theme is.
We thought the food in the buffet was good and the choices were many. Loved the ice cream cones! But the dining room was not up to par. Our waiter and assistant were nice, but not the level of service of food quality I expected. Choices were weak and just not cooked well. I have to say waiters, bartenders were severely lacking in manners and the art of making passengers feel happy. The entire staff seemed unhappy and disinterested in making the passengers see that extra effort.
The entertainment was terrible. Shows that were uninteresting and comedians that weren't funny. The cruise director was goofy but funny. There just didn't seem like there was enough to do. We had more days at sea than on land, I expected more to do. It is true that there are not that many things to do on this ship. We found ourselves saying "what do you want to do" a lot.
Cabins -- The worst thing was the bed. Horrible. It was like sleeping on lumpy concrete. The balcony was awesome and I wouldn't cruise without it!! The room steward was wonderful-attentive and helpful. My parents had trouble with their toilet and had a hard time getting service throughout the week. They had to come to our room to use our bathroom a lot!
Ports -- The ports of call were good except for Puerto Rico. Horrible. Dirty, unappealing, crowded and cramped. When we went out we were told don't stay out after dark and try and walk in groups. Do NOT wear any jewelry off the ship. Is this the place you want to visit on vacation?? St. Thomas is beautiful and snorkeling there was awesome and Tortola was so relaxing-beautiful beach!! Skip San Juan!!
The last problem was the way children are just able to run rampant up and down halls in the middle of the night, in the food areas, and pools. We stuck with the adult pool area which was way too small but better than being with a million people.
The ship is lacking across the board-appearance, decor, food, activities-there is nothing to look at, nothing to see, nothing to do. Overall we had a good time b/c the family was together and we always have a blast. Will we sail on Carnival again? No way. My parents and sister said RC and Princess were waaaaaay better! We wont be sailing on Carnival again.