We booked this cruise for a family of 5. We have children aged 13, 15, and 6. Embarkation seemed to last an eternity, but once on board, our cabin was ready and was nicer than expected. The beds were surprisingly comfy. E-186. Very little motion noticed at this level. Ship noise was evident, but not overwhelming. We were located aft, but quite convenient to the buffet, and an endless supply of ice cream and coffee. Wayan was our cabin attendant and was extremely attentive and friendly, as was most of the crew we encountered. Always a friendly hello in passing. A little bit confused as to the tipping procedure. My wife has cruised before, and was provided envelopes for us to better direct our tips, as opposed to the recommended gratuity directed to classes of cruise staff that Carnival does. That said, we paid the recommended, and then gave cash to our cabin steward. It's unfortunate that our cabin window was filthy on the outside, but I realize it must be very difficult to keep them clean, but we were still afforded breathtaking views.
I was for-warned about the drink prices, and other incidentals that could put a huge dent in our vacation budget, so we had a big decision to make regarding purchasing the drink plan! We opted not too, and we were fine with that. We still ended up spending about the same amt had we purchased it. We steered clear of the photos, and although we posed for some, we didn't purchase any.
Casino was nice, and much nicer after my wife got her first ever ROYAL FLUSH on the video poker machine. Only 8 bucks down and she wins 1,000. I have to admit, this may have skewed my entire perception of the cruise from that point on!
Food was great, and there was always plenty to be had! Great variety. we ate must of our meals at the buffet, but had three dinners in the Celebration dining room, which was a very nice change of pace. As with other posters, I noted the ship was a little bit worn, but in great shape, and continually being cleaned and maintained. Pool was a bit small for 2,000 passengers. It looked like human soup for much of the cruise. The music and entertainment was continuous, and my 13 year old immediately found a group of kids her age, and FULLY enjoyed every activity sponsored by the ships' club for 12-14 yr olds. 6 yr old loved going back and forth between water slides and the pool....and stopping for ice cream (always available).....repeat. He never seemed to get tired!
Thoroughly enjoyed the family friendly comic, Kelly Terranova. Kids are still repeating some of his jokes! The musical Brits was fun, didn't get to see the Motown tribute. Live music throughout the ship was super. These people really work hard and continually.
Went to the Gym a few times, and it had everything I would expect. Treadmills, elipticals, and various other machines. If you're looking for a more spacious shower area.....use the ones in the gym area!, lots of elbow room, and plenty of clean towels.
Freeport, was a bit disappointing as it rained pretty much the whole day. We did not book an excursion there, just walked around the shops in the port. We considered snorkeling at both Freeport and Nassau, but learned that our 6 year old would be unable to partake due to an age restriction of 10 and we didn't want to get split up so we passed.
We stopped in Nassau and took the water taxi to Paradise Island. 8 dollars round trip per person. I'd recommend taking a cab, quicker, at the same price if you intend to maximize your time on the island. The thought was we would look around a bit and decide what it was we wanted to do. After passing through the casino in Atlantis, we were stopped by security and told that we needed to purchase a pass to view the exhibits and partake in the pools, beach, and water slides. Very strategic placement of the security, and Casino if you get my drift. Long walk back to the kiosk to purchase the packages. Very Expensive 149 for adult, and 80 for child 12 or under. Even if we had 12 hrs to explore and enjoy the pool and park, it was still too much to spend.....alas we did. If you are the least bit budget conscious, don't waste your time or money there! Go snorkeling if you can. We did this in Nassau years ago on our honeymoon and it was fantastic (and cheaper!) Little nerve wracking getting back to boat, thought the water taxi would never arrive!
Disembarkation was very smooth. We enjoyed listening to the children tell jokes while waiting...which wasn't that long. Felt a little like cattle for a while, but we were on the road back to Ohio by 10 am having started the process at about 8:15. I didn't think that was too bad.
I would do this again, but would plan excursions better!