We have five children ages 14 down to 21 months. My biggest complaint would be that we had to pay FULL PRICE for our toddler yet there were NO CHILD CARE services for his age group. Not that we wanted to ditch the little tot at every corner, but he honestly longed to play with other toddler toddlers/babies. There was a 6.75 per hour fee for tot care, but it was only between the hours of 8-10am and after 10pm. Neither times worked well for us. There was also a play time mid day the tots could attend, but only with parents.
The service was unbeatable, superb, top notch. However, the Lido Deck pool area, throughout our cruise was littered with tables of dirty dishes. They had 16 people with mops surrounding the pool and no one to bus the tables it appeared. This was a huge inconvenience as the Lido Deck pool was the only usable pool due to weather. I would highly recommend to Carnival that they increase their Lido table bussing staff ten fold. The repeated discrepancy was constantly in our face.
My favorite things about the cruise: Our waiter in the Gold Pearl Dining Room, Dwain from the Barbados. We traveled with a group of 35, 15 of which were under 17. Dwain and Alfred were amazing. I can't say enough wonderful things about them. Every night they made our dinner wonderful. They accommodated all of our many needs for our often loud and boisterous (and picky) children, they got to know us, they went above and beyond the call of duty in my opinion time and time again. Carnival, if you are listening, give Dwain a raise or promotion!
Coming in at a tie for service was our room attendant, John (deck 7/Empress Deck). He had all 7 of our names memorized on the first day! I didn't learn his till the fifth. He was great.
Third place? Martini bar on deck 5. I can't remember the girl's name, but she was from Lithuania. I consider this a must do on this cruise.
The food in the Lido Buffet was best for Breakfast and Lunch. The omelette station, burrito bar and chocolate bar were my favorites. FYI at the Mongolian Wok. Medium hot is NOT medium, it is SUPER hot.
The kids clubs were great for the 3-5, 6-8, and 9-11. 12-14 was not so great.
There should be a limit on how many songs a single person can sing on Karaoke, just saying...
I also should note that if you get a room with a balcony, smoking is allowed. We smelled MJ as well as cigarette smoke from our balcony sadly.
The self-serve mini launderette is always full. I've never been to a laundromat before, and apparently there is protocol. Beware of intense people in there. This was my only encounter with a nasty person on the cruise (non-crew member BTW).