I have only been on one other cruise (Celebrity to Alaska) but Carnival was a very affordable option for our family reunion. We had ages 12-73 and a pretty wide range of types of people so I was a little worried about being able to please everyone. Also, I was extremely worried about take a Carnival Cruise during spring break.
I was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience and I think it was absolutely worth the money. (It would have been better if my husband hadn't lost $150 at the casino!)
The dining room food was very good to excellent. The only thing I didn't like was the hokey announcements and wait staff dancing towards the end of the meal--you couldn't even understand the guy talking and it just interrupted our conversations. Almost everyone dressed very nicely, which was really nice and the dining room itself is very pretty.
I really disliked the Tiffany buffet. It's just a giant free-for-all gorging fest. The food was average at best (pizza was good) and it was really hard to find seats during prime dining time. Whenever possible we avoided Tiffany's.
Cabin crew were very nice. Entertainment was pretty good, although the adult comedian show was extremely crude and I'm surprised Carnival would go with something so dirty. Our teenager really liked the Circle C Club activities.
We did a private van tour on Cozumel with Tours Plaza, which was a nice day. We did the Carnival shore excursion to Uxmal and the Hacienda, which was nice but pretty rushed.
We did have a problem with the partying college students across the hall at 1:30 a.m. but one call to security brought an end to that for the first night. They were pretty noisy the rest of the cruise but only until about midnight. Most of the college students on board were pretty well behaved; better than I expected for spring break.