This was my first cruise with Carnival. I genuinely wasn't expecting to be blown away, nor was I. I certainly enjoyed the cruise though. My first cruise was aboard the Norwegian Gem which I enjoyed a lot, more then this one, but not by much.
I'll cut to the chase:
[Rooms] were pretty much themed liked generic hotel rooms, the rooms felt spacious. Our party had 2 rooms, a balcony room and across the hall was a small generic room with two single beds. Both were great for 2-3 people, thankfully the staff can help accommodate to the amount of people in your room, such as if you need an extra bed. And lastly, bring a power strip.. there is only one outlet near a desk area and if you have children/teens that like to charge stuff, one outlet ain't gonna cut it. Think about it, your camera, phone/game charger ect. One outlet will become an issue.
Bathrooms were decent, better than I personally expected.
[Lido Deck] Small, much smaller then the one on the Norwegian Gem. There is a dome so if it rains, they can cover the entire pool deck, which was a great feature because during our cruise it rained a few days. Also there is a big screen which is nice. The pool is very small, there are 3 pools throughout the entire ship however all are VERY small.. besides the adult pools, they are infested with children as expected. Lack of space does mean that you have to get up early to obtain your lounge chairs though, so if you want good seats.. be sure to get up around 6-7am ! And a common mistake is that people just leave a towel down and think they are good. Not the case, people I found were ruthless when it comes to getting lounge chairs inside the pool area, which most of the action takes place. People will take your seat if you have just a regular Carnival supplied towel.. my best suggestion is you can bring your own towel or preferably a T-shirt if you must leave your chair unoccupied. Put the shirt on the chair, not dangling on it. Put the shirt on the chair just as you would if you were wearing it. People tend to stay away from these chairs. If you want, you could have one person stay at the chair while another gets breakfast and then you can bring it back to your chairs and eat breakfast on your chairs.
For your safety, on a very hot day always wear flip flops while walking on the deck. The deck gets EXTREMELY hot!! Your feet will be burning hot, you might think I'm exaggerating but I assure I am not! The floor is terribly hot and you will be skipping across the deck to put your foot in the shallow part of the pool.
[Entertainment] This was very wonky. From entertainment such as a bingo, shows and pool events. Quality varied. Bingo was too short for the amount asking. Someone in my party won $700 at bingo, however. Bingo just wasn't really fun. It was soo short, for $20 I would like bingo that doesn't last 15-20 minutes.
Poolside entertainment varied, some interesting and engaging, some short, boring and uninteresting.
Theater entertainment also varied, Jermone Dabney, I believe his name was, was very good. Vroom was ok, had some good lighting and laser effects which were very cool. The final show Carnival Legends was pretty good as well and I'd recommend seeing it, its quite funny. There was one show though, that was just awful. It featured the dancers, singers and band. The show was not good and it was so bad people left during the middle of the show. I felt bad for the cast because there was nothing they could do, they were pretty much stuck doing that show. I wish I knew the name of it so I could tell you not to go, but its in the few nights. One of the other shows they had that did not feature the regular cast was called "The Edge" and was quite impressed with his juggling skills.
Comedy on the ship also varied much as well. It was pretty much a hit or miss.. It really depends on your taste on comedy.
[Food] To say one thing, lacking. The buffet was good, its all not in one place which I found to be annoying but the food from it was ok-good. Black Pearl restaurant also was good, but sometimes the menu choices were questionable. One thing that was good though was the children chicken nuggets with honey mustard. Also, for desert, try the chocolate melting cake. Sure you will most likely get it, but if you don't want to try it.. get it. It's easily the best item on the desert menu by far. Our party did not visit the Gold Pearl. However, my party was disappointed with the lack of different restaurants. On the Norwegian ship we had plenty of options, even if they costed extra.. it was nice to spice it up once in a while. The Black Pearl restaurant does get samey after a while. Also, if you are a large party[around 10-12]and are going in the Black Pearl, I'd recommend asking for "Poobear", the person at the desk should know who you are talking about. He is the best waiter and during the little show they do during dinner time he is the best dancer!
Last thing, this is a FAMILY cruise ship. This is not a "booze cruise"! Many people have misconception with Carnival, but this was mainly families aboard. I personally did not encounter a single intoxicated person. This is great for families with young children and teenagers. If your single this isn't the cruise for you. Now your experience my vary, however this was what I encountered during my experience.
There really isn't much more to cover, overall I was satisfied and had a great time but wasn't blown away. I'm sure if your going to will also have a great time or if your contemplating going on this cruise over another this will help make your decision easier.