Ok, my wife and I like to call it "The People of Wal-Mart Cruise." We paid less than $500 including all fees for both of us to stay 4 nights in an Empress level ocean view room. If you go on this cruise with realistic expectations for a really cheap cruise, then you shouldn't be disappointed. I will do my best to outline the good and the meh:
The most inexpensive cruise I have ever seen.
Late assigned dining, the best meal of the day, don't miss it.
Staff, friendly and as helpful as any other ship.
Epic Rock show, a bit cheesy and over the top, but great singing and dancing.
Serenity hot tubs.
Great gym to yourself.
Debarkation process was really fast and smooth
Embarkation in Long Beach took forever and they took people in zones. Not sure if that is common for long beach. When we have cruised in the past, they typically let people on the boat early to avoid the log jam. Not this time. If you have small kids with you, this could be problematic.
Be prepared that you are sailing with the people of walmart, like the 400 pound woman stacking 3 plates of food in the buffet line. Just embrace it.
Besides dinner, the food was no bueno. You could generally find something edible, but avoid the 24 hour pizza. The buffet line was a little better quality than school cafeteria food. They have a mongolian wok on board which we tried and was pretty good, but had about a half hour wait daily. Then they have the grill which has snack bar food like yucky burgers and hot dogs. We didn't try it.
The boat itself has seen better days. It was clean but very dated. The rooms were spartan without fridge or blow dryer or sitting area. There were a lot of bad smells on the boat in certain areas. Our stateroom toilet had sewage smelling brown water some days.
The entertainment was mostly stupid. Hasbro the game show, deck parties when it was 50 degrees and windy. Cruise director Skip was mostly absent.
Port stops in Catalina and Ensenada, both not great.
I will give this 5 stars because I had zero expectations. It is a cheap crummy cruise, we just needed to get away from the kids for a couple of days. If this were my first Carnival cruise, I would probably not sail them again because this sort of matches their perceived reputation. Fortunately, there are other affordable, good carnival options.
If you need an inexpensive getaway go for it as it met our needs. It is just difficult not to compare it to to other cruises.