First of all, I am not very picky and I am usually easily satisfied. This was my 5th Carnival cruise. We booked this ship because it was brand new. We had chosen this one over the NCL Epic and the RC megaships. Check in was very fast, efficient, and smooth. I will say that the decor was beautiful as opposed to the old "loud" Carnival decor on other ships. Otherwise, the layout of the ship was kind of strange. Carnival has not done a very good job making the ship feel uncrowded. The worst area is the Lido buffet. It is not as open as on other ships and seemed to always be crowded. My wife and I avoided it as much as possible. I also don't think that I ate a single item at the buffet that was very good. The Mongolian stir fry was probably the best, but even it was just OK. The Blue Iguana Mexican food was also, not very good. We did enjoy all of the food that we had in the main dining room as well as the steakhouse. The wine selection in the main dining was pretty sad though, and the service was good, but not near as good as we have had on other cruises. I will say that the spice crusted ribeye that I had in the steakhouse ranked up in the top 5 steaks I have ever eaten, It was excellent. We also ate at the Italian restaurant and found it to be just OK. Guys burgers were very good for a quick lunch on the Lido.
Now for the bad. This ship had absolutely the worst entertainment I have ever experienced on a cruise. The shows were REALLY bad. I thought the giant LED backgrounds were pretty cool as opposed to what some have said, but the entertainers were simply terrible. Carnival seems to have toned it down a little, but the Cruise Director announcements were constantly annoying. Our cabin was hot and we could not get it cool enough for us to sleep well. Our room steward did however provide us with a portable fan which helped. This was a Southern Caribbean cruise which visited Aruba, Curacao, & Dominican Republic. We were supposed to visit Grand Turk, but could not dock due to high winds. The rest of the ports were just OK. I much prefer the Eastern Caribbean Islands to these.
OK. Will I cruise with Carnival again? This was my 5th cruise with Carnival and it will probably be my last. It was ok, but we have also cruised with Celebrity and GREATLY prefer Celebrity to Carnival. For slightly more, you can do a Celebrity cruise. I will probably only choose Carnival again if it is something special or a deal that is too good to pass up. Carnival has also made me nervous considering all of the recent problems they are having with their ships.