I just returned today from the 8 Day Cruise (Our group of 8 ranged in age from 16 to 73. I had a great time, it was a really good group of people on this ship.
Embarkation was a breeze as always, not a single complaint from anyone in my group.
The ship was pretty, a bit gaudy, but that is all part of the fun.....I do wish it had gone into dry dock as scheduled last year so we could have enjoyed some of the upgrades....maybe next time.
I will say that I had the worst dining room service that I have ever had on Carnival. They were good the first night and got progressively worse throughout the voyage.
I am not one of these cruisers who expects Cunard Cruise Line Service and I love Carnival, but it was really bad. We had the early assigned seating and was assigned to the 2nd level of the Black Pearl which is also the anytime dining restaurant...it also looked like they were training a lot of new people. It took over half hour to just be asked if anyone wanted a soda or drink. I found the food to be good but many times it was cold and that was due to the slow service I think; because in the past food temperature was fine. We ate in the Pinnacle Steak House two times and it was absolutely delicious!!! It is worth every penny!
The Tandoori Indian Food Station was wonderful as was the Deli and Mongolian Wok. Sure there were lines, but what is the rush....it is vacation and your floating around the ocean with no place to get to.
My only other observation that is critical is the amount of smoking that is allowed in the Casino. I am a former smoker and I understand how people enjoy smoking when gambling, drinking etc., but the Casino really smelled horrible and I didn't go there as often as I would have liked because of that. Maybe they could put all the smoking machines in one area rather than mix them all in. Again, not picking on smokers as I was one, but it is something the Cruise Line should consider.
Our kids joined the teen club for kids 15 - 17 and had a blast and actually finally made some friends who live just a few towns from us.
The size of our room was great. We were in a balcony cabin on Deck 8, Forward and Kodak was our Steward....he was ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL! All the Stewards work their tails off as does the buffet staff.
The adult pool was great (Lido Deck 9 AFT). It had two hot tubs and a decent size pool. There was a Serenity Deck on this ship and I saw it upon getting on the ship but never spent anytime there as I usually do. This Serenity Deck wasn't as nice as the ones on The Miracle and The Glory in my opinion as there was no pool or hot tub. Still a great place to get away from all the noise however.
This was our 2nd cruise with Malcolm (woo hoo) as the Cruise Director. I wasn't overly impressed with him on our first cruise but he was a bit better this time (especially his humor in the finale show).
We did the self disembark and we were home back in Long Island from the Pier by 9:50 AM.
Overall, as I always maintain, any vacation is what you make of it....my group of 8 had a wonderful time and will absolutely sail Carnival again!