Just returned today with my large extended family from this cruise. It was not our first, and I will be as detailed and relevant as possible.
Embarkation in Port of New Orleans: Very standard and easy. Cabins were ready when we arrived on board around 2. It did, however, take until about 8 that evening to get our luggages. No big deal, though. We expected this. They were serving food on the Lido Deck. This was disappointing, as most of it was cold - no exaggeration. Not even luke warm.
We had a cove balcony on the Main Deck (2). It was perfect and the location was in the mid ship. It was very nice to sit out on and watch the water. A couple of times, we were able to see dolphins and flying fish.
It was disappointing to have the muster meeting at the time the ship was to be sailing away. Additionally, it seemed as if many of the crew members didn't know what they were doing. They seemed lost - new crew, maybe?
Kids activities - First disappointment. More
My own children are 10 and 14. This puts them in Camp Carnival and Circle C. They have both been in kids activities on cruises before. This was a huge disappointment this time. For Camp Carnival - there were plenty of activities that seemed fun listed. However, every single time I went up there, it seemed more like they were babysitting. There was no effort to engage the kids or interact with them at all. My daughter's only purpose in going to Camp Carnival this time was to see if the friends she had met were in there and then for them all to leave and go swimming or to the slides. Now to Circle C - this is a joke. If my children can be entertained and involved and love summer camps, I don't see why the children's director can't schedule things for this age group to keep them engaged and involved. Video games (self-directed) and sitting around talking. That's all it was. My son, who is athletic and social and intelligent, rarely participated. He would check it out every day, but would quickly say there was nothing going on. I'm not even certain I ever saw an adult in there. For an age group that is "in between" my hope was that this would be group activities and team-building fun. Nope. None of that. Waste of time.
Cruise activities - second disappointment. I have long said that many cruise activities are geared toward the retired crowd, and I was excited to see activities on this cruise that my husband and I were interested in. Trivia, such as history, sports and Harry Potter (for my son) - SCORE! Not so much. These were all done in the ocean plaza and all it was was someone asking the question, you writing your answer down, and then counting the ones that you got correct at the end. Not a game - more like a quiz. No fun. And the dance lessons... This was something that I looked forward to doing with my daughter. These were also ALL done in the tiny ocean plaza. Other cruises I have been on have had them on a stage where there was room to move. Additionally, every cruise I have been on has had fun game-type things on stage during the day all day for people to go and participate in or watch. Not this one. The stage was only used for the main show every night. That's. It. And regarding the shows... The ONLY ones that were worth attending were the Dancing in the Streets (starts off slow and shrill, but give it time... The male dancers are amazingly talented) and the Love and Marriage one. All others - skip. This leaves nothing more than being poolside or at the casino.
Casino - good enough. Plenty of machines and they are decent. We had a lot of fun in there and were lucky several times. Of course, we put the winnings right back in, but we had a great time.
Comedy - MUST SEE Nery Saenz. VERY funny - VERY adult. One of the best comedians we have seen.
Food - sub-par. We ate in the Scarlett dining room every night and our waitstaff was fantastic. The Maitre'd Shane was as well. The soups were good. The crabcake was good. Prime rib was fairly good. Nothing else was memorable.
Excursion days were fantastic and seamless. Jamaica has my heart. I would go on vacation there every single time. We went ziplining in Montego Bay(Chukka Extreme Ziplining - Carnival - fantastic) and to Blue Hole (not Carnival). In Grand Cayman, we paid a bus to take us to 7 Mile Beach. Be prepared to spend $$ for EVERYTHING there from lounge chairs to umbrellas. And the drinks were $15 each. VERY expensive. In Cozumel, we went on the All-Inclusive Dolphin adventure to Dolphinaris (Carnival) and it was phenomenal. Be prepared here, as well - no cameras allowed and pictures and videos are up there with the most expensive I've seen. But the experience of being in the water with dolphins was awesome. We also snorkeled with stingrays and went kayaking, as well as having a great lunch and fantastic free drinks!
In all, it was a great vacation. I just wish the activities were more interactive and enjoyable. Many people on board were complaining about the same. Really seemed like one of Carnival's largest ships would have the entertainment down better than that. Less
Great room. Low enough to see the beautiful color of the water and the occassional dolphin and flying fish. Hidden bed is in ceiling and is lowered by steward at turn down on day 1 (if needed) and remains lowered the entire trip unless requested otherwise. Very pleased with this room.