This was my first cruise with Carnival, I have previously sailed with Princess and Royal Caribbean, but generally select an itinerary, and a time frame and see who's going where I want to go at that time. We chose Carnival this time because they were sailing Canada & New England in July, and most others sail this itinerary in the fall months, so it was good fit. The price was also very good, so we couldn't pass it up!
We had a balcony on deck 6, close to the main elevators so it was a great location, close to everything, but far enough away that we didn't hear the music from the dance parties in the main area below. We got a balcony this time, again, price was right. I've previously had inside cabins with are sufficient since not much time is spent in the room anyways. However, with our balcony we did choose to spend more time on it reading and relaxing because we didn't find much going on during sea days on this itinerary, and we aren't gamblers, shoppers or big drinkers.
The food options were great, we loved the offerings in the main dining room each night, and always found something delicious to have. We avoided the buffet for breakfast and ordered room service instead, we want to start our day relaxed, not with the chaos a buffet can sometimes create. We did do the Punchliner Brunch which we really enjoyed too - the menu selection was great and the basket of yorkshire puddings they brought us were to die for! We opted for a table for 2 and we probably waited about 15 minutes before they finally decided to open up the top level of tables after lots of back and forth between waitstaff and what looked like a manager. They should have that open anyways because there were plenty of people waiting with us. We didn't care for the "comedy break" during brunch, found it too loud and not really funny. We didn't care for the fajitas/tacos from the Cantina, maybe I just got a bad batch of chicken in mine, but there were so many hard pieces of cartilage that I just couldn't eat it. We didn't try a burger from Guy Fieri's but did have some french fries and they were delicious!
We loved The Alchemy Bar - their martini's were incredible. Such a great selection of different flavors and combinations that I would never think to put together. A must do for sure.
The main swimming pool up on deck was completely green. I've never seen cruise ship pool water this color. Even pools at resorts and peoples home's shouldn't be this color. Something was definitely going on with the water in there, and it stayed that way all week. The kids sure didn't care, but we never saw any adults in there. They were all in the adult pool/hot tubs at the back, and they were completely over crowded. Likely making up for the lack of swimming amenities elsewhere on deck.
We booked shore excursions through Carnival for all of the ports, and most of them were great, we saw a good range of what we wanted to see. One complaint we did have was on one of the longer excursions we chose to do, the air conditioning wasn't working on the coach. In July, on a hot, sticky summer day it's crucial to ensure that something like this is working. Especially for an excursion that is a full day of driving around. The driver and guide just kept saying "it's on as high as it can go", but nobody could feel it, people looked like they were ready to pass out. Uncomfortable to say the least. All other excursions were good.
Overall I was impressed with Carnival, and will definitely sail with them again.