So, this was a last minute cruise booked by my daughter (who is 22 and graduating college in May) for her last spring break. There were 4 of us in 2 inside cabins on deck 8. Myself (47 and an experienced cruiser), my daughter, my mother (75 also an experienced cruiser) and my mother-in-law (78 and doesn't travel much). I had never cruised Carnival before but knew their reputation so I wasn't expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised over all. We got to the part around noon on embarkation day - checked in and were eating lunch on the Lido deck in a total of 15 minutes. Smooth as can be and everyone was really nice.
The ship's decor is pretty hideous. Seriously. It looks like someone vomited every ugly color and texture and threw them together in one ship. I can't believe Carnival thinks it looks good or inviting. But the decor doesn't really impact my trip so I just spent the 6 days cracking jokes about the hideousness of the ship.
The food was inconsistent. Some meals were very good, others really bad. The chocolate buffet looked good, but most of the food wasn't worth eating (and I LOVE chocolate) so that was disappointing. Breakfast was much better in the dining room then in the buffet, where it was always cold.
Most of the cruise went very smoothly. The only real issue was in Grand Cayman when we had to tender back. The line was exceptionally long and it took forever to get back on ship.
Entertainment on the ship was interesting. The shows were amateurish at best. I felt like I was at my daughter's dance recital. Scheduling of events wasn't great as we had the late seating and a lot went on that was in conflict with that time frame. Carnival should be able to do better.
Disembarkation in Fort Lauderdale was a problem. There were only 2 customs agents and the line was pretty long. Not sure there is anything Carnival can do about this, but it was a drag to have to stand there to get off.
Overall we had a fun trip, but little of that had to do with Carnival since we really brought our happy faces regardless of the situation.