The decor of the ship is quite out dated in style (like an old Fremont Street resort), but that seems to be the case for many carnival ships anyway. Overall, the cabin and public areas are clean and spacious. Perhaps because of the September dry-dock, the carpets look very new, and all the cabin and basic public facilities worked very well. Therefore, it serves very well as a moving hotel with all the basic facilities and services you will expect from a cruise ship.
The embarkation process moves smoothly. We arrive at the airport at 12:00, and was able to board the ship and enjoy the Mongolian Wok at around 1:30.
I noticed that a few reviews in Nov and Dec mentioned the smell in the ship. I was a little bit worried about this before I board the ship, as I am quite sensitive about smells. But during the whole treat I have never smell anything bad. I guess the smell in the last few trips might be due to the dry-dock maintenance (paintings or something else), but I can assure you that things were perfectly fine during my trip in this respect.
There're plenty of seats in the open deck areas. Serenity is a good place to relax. But I prefer the seats above the serenity, outside the buffet, as that area is also quiet, and with more proximity to drinks and desserts. The area around the water slide also has great views. But there's more wind and motion up there.
The gym and sauna looks very new. The main pool is quite small, but didn't expect to swim there anyway.
The room was in the aft area of the main deck. Not much noise and motion. It's clean and spacious, and all the facilities worked very well. Room service is good. The room was always kept very clean. We ordered the continental breakfast from the room service every day. It's great to have plenty of yogurt and orange juice in the morning.
Beds are very comfortable. Toilet is clean. The window is muddy from the outside, but not a major concern. The room has connecting feature. Luckily, not much noise comes from the other room. Can't understand why they put the bed against the connecting door. Other than that, the room lay-out is generally reasonable and convenient.
For a short cruise like this, there're lots of activities and shows to choose from. The cruise director did a great job in organizing and explaining the activities. The epic rock show was good. And the live musics at Promenade were very enjoyable. I didn't go to the bars a lot, but I do recommend the piano bar. The pianist is truly amazing!
The water slide looks good, but it was closed most of the time during our trip as we were experiencing heavy winds and rough seas.
For the main dining room, the overall quality of the food is OK, with some really great choices occasionally. I do love the Sushi at the last night's appetizer menu. Beef steaks were ok: a little bit overdone but still delicious. Waiters did a good job in serving and entertaining the guests.
For the buffet, there are plenty of choices of desserts and teas. But lemonade was the only juice available. We didn't go to the buffet a lot except for the desserts, drinks and for the Mexican night.
For the lunch, the Mongolian Wok is a big success. Yes it's popular and there's always a long line there. But I never waited for more than 20 minutes in the lines.
Don't expect any "white-star standard" here, otherwise you would probably yell-out mad. But the ship does remain very decent and capable of delivering fun despite its age. Most importantly, it's clean and well maintained. The service is not particularly impressive but generally enjoyable and there's nothing to complain about. Given all these qualities, and considering the bargain price I paid for it, I will give it a perfect rating as it definitely meet our expectations well.