As a first time Carnival cruiser and 3X Norwegian; and 3X Royal Carribean Cruiser, I would like to compare them. We cruised to the Bahamas and Cape Canaveral on the 2/18 cruise. It was cold two days going down and back but the ease of leaving from New England offset that negative. Let me start by saying that I thought that the lines were more similar than different. I will compare RC and Carnival mostly as they were my most recent trips.
Food: We enjoyed the dining room; for the most part the food was well-prepared and hot except for the last hight which was cold. I thought that the dining room food was similar on both RC and Carnival with an added edge to the Carnival deserts which were delicious. I really liked the buffet deli and hamburgers which gave Carnival an edge. However I missed the Royal Promenade on RC for the quick bites and people watching.
Shows: All ships have similar mediocre production shows. I enjoyed the guest performers on RC more. However, I really enjoyed the Punchline Comedy on Carnival which gave added entertainment in the evenings
Activities: Both few and far between on both ships unless you wanted to pay for Bingo etc. I did enjoy the enclosed pool area on the Miracle. I also enjoyd the Serenity Deck. We greatly missed the rock climbing wall and ice skating rink.
Cabin: Slightly bigger on Carnival. Cabin Stewards were great on both ships.6103 was quiet being forward end with our children next door but strangly we could hear the shows from the Phantom theater four flights up during showtime.
Ports: Port Canaveral: Kennedy Space Center (on our own) We lost time waiting for the Dollar rental shuttle and had to have it back by 4pm to get shuttle back. We would have had more time with the ship tour but saved 50%
Nasseau: We originally supposed to go to the zoo on the #10 jitney. We met two women who complained about it so we went back on the bus to Cable Beach. No one bothered us for the day pass at the Sheraton so we just spent two hours there at no cost. We enjoyed shopping at the Festival terminal due to their real handmade crafts (look for the handmade soap) and the FREE internet.
Freeport. Unfortunately our pat and dianne snorkeling was cancelled due to high winds (as well as all other ship sponsored ship activities) so we went to the beach at Port Lucaya and shopping. That was our least favorite port. At the shopping complex , make sure you go the the iced smoothie place which has the best homemade alcholic and nonalcoholic smoothies from $3-6.
So all in all a nice cruise, not our favorite but not our worst. In retrospect, I wished that I had brought information for Plan B as we had to change 2:3 of our plans. The people were no different on Carnival than RC or Norwegian. In fact, I thought the crowd was much mellower and polite than my previous NY/NJ cruises.