This was my second cruise with Carnival and I was excited as II hadn't had a vacation in over a year. Overall it was a good cruise.
We got to Fort Lauderdale the night before and stayed at the Marina Hilton which is across the street from Port Everglades. The hotel was nice and they have a $6 shuttle that takes you to the port. You can even choose what time you want to head over to Port Everglades.
Embarkation: As people in previous reviews have noted, the line was wrapped around the building when we arrived. There were not enough security screeners so it took a while to get through the metal detectors. If you brought your own water with you, once you went through the metal detectors you had to go and get your water screened. Please be aware that if you try to bring alcohol in water bottles, they will do everything in their power to stop you. The person checking water was opening packs of water and shaking the bottles (to check for bubbles because alcohol bubbles when shaken). They were also squeezing the bottles to see if they had been opened and in some cases opening the water bottles and smelling inside. After that you had to wait in line to board the ship.Total time from getting in line to walking onto the ship was about an hour.
Stateroom: We got a balcony room this time and it was nice. The room and the balcony was spacious. Our neighbors on both sides smoked so sometimes the times on the balcony were not enjoyable. We were on the deck 7 which to me is perfect location. 2 floors from the casino and 2 floors from the Lido deck. The room was also in the middle of the ship and was close enough to elevators where there wasn't a long walk to get to them, but far enough so that we could not hear the noise from the traffic from them.
Service: The service on the ship was really good. The steward, the servers, and the casino staff were really nice.
Activities: There was a lot to do on the ship. When I'm on vacation I really just want to relax so I don't need much entertainment. The sports bar was good for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday night football. Lots of sports fans to make it seem like any other sports bar. The casino is ok. Too many smokers in my opinion so if you are a non smoker you will be subject to a lot of smoke. I also noticed that the slot machines are super tight and the blackjack table uses the automatic shuffler which I observed was giving the dealer really good hands. They also have slots and blackjack tournaments ( I came in 3rd in the blackjack tournament) and got a t-shirt. The ship also has bingo, and other activities.
Food: Overall the food was good. Some days better than others. There were long lines at the Mongolian Wok station on the Lido deck, but the rest of the stations had manageable lines. The food at Mongolian Wok was good and worth the wait. Fish and Chips, the Deli and the Grill were all good as well. The daily buffet was good some days and not so good on others (more good days than bad). The breakfast buffet was good every morning that I went instead of laying in the bed and ordering room service. Breakfast room service is a continental breakfast (fruits, pastry, bagels, cereal, coffee). Lunch and dinner room service is sandwiches which were all good. We chose late dining so that we would more likely have less children eating in the restaurant at that time. The service was good and the servers remember your name and preferences. They have 2 menus, one that changes daily and one that stays the same (hamburger, steak, fried chicken, salmon). This was a good idea because some days the food on the menu that changes daily didn't really appeal to me. The Sun King Steakhouse was great. The steak was grilled perfectly and the sides were really good as well. This is the best $35 steak dinner I ever had. I would highly recommend the steak house.
Disembarkation: This was easier than expected and we were off the ship really fast. We scheduled an afternoon flight so we ended up waiting at the airport for hours.