This was our second Carnival cruise in 11 years. I had high hopes, but unfortunately felt that Carnival has remained a notch below the other lines we have sailed (RCCL, Celebrity, Princess and NCL).
We had occasional good food in the dining room, but nothing of any consistency. While our waiter and assistant were very nice, they were obviously overworked and at times very stressed to deliver the food to everyone.
The good things on our trip included the balcony cabins, which were nicely decorated and of a good size for the four of us. We had one of the best room stewards we have ever had as well. He was always in and out without any interruption of our day.
The things we found lacking in one way or another included the entertainment, the availability of late afternoon activities and early evening options for entertainment. I found the selling of bingo tickets in the main theatre before the shows very tacky. The cruise director doubling as the magician for one night's entertainment also seemed a bit low budget. I have also never before seen a ship with entertainment going on in the Casino. If you are a non-smoker this was not an option.
We also did not like that the room service did not include a hot breakfast like all of the other lines we have sailed, and the pizza station produced only cheese and pepperoni pizzas on a consistent basis and other types had to be "requested ahead" by 10 - 20 minutes, even though they had them all displayed in the case.
The decor of the ship was also not to our taste, there were a few areas we liked - The Sachmo's nightclub was nice, but mostly there seemed too much going on all at once in every area. The urns really are everywhere. I joked that it was the burial ship at sea, for those deceased who would rather not have their ashes be thrown in the ocean, but continue to sail on it.
I thought that the pools were way too small, and the ship at times could feel very crowded (in the buffet and pool areas mostly). Also, the water slide is free-standing and does not empty into a pool which my boys complained about.
We also had the dreaded "virus" on our ship. We were lucky to only have minor symptoms, nothing that curtailed our activities. All in all, did we have a good time? Yes, it was a vacation. Would we sail Carnival again? No, as a matter of fact we just cancelled the Miracle cruise we had planned for March. I simply feel that there are just better options out there on other lines.