My now-husband and I booked the 8 day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Splendor because we were getting married onboard the ship on embarkation day. Because we were getting married that afternoon, we got priority check-in, which was no hassle and a breeze. We splurged on a room with a balcony, which was perfect for keeping the room from seeming too small and claustrophobic and for sitting on with a glass of wine at night while our 17 month old daughter slept - nothing like looking at the starry sky in the middle of the ocean! Unfortunately, because it was hurricane season and a hurricane did form while we were sailing, our scheduled stop in Grand Turk was cancelled, and substituted with a stop in Port Canaveral, Florida. I will never, ever complain that Carnival put the safety of its passengers first, especially with my daughter onboard, and I understand that was the risk we took in sailing during hurricane season, but I really think the cruise line should've made every effort to find another Caribbean port to stop in, or at least stay overnight in one of the 2 ports we went to in the Bahamas - by stopping in Port Canaveral, it turned my Eastern Caribbean cruise into a Florida and Bahamas cruise, and I never even consider booking a Florida and Bahamas cruise because I have no interest in going to Florida, especially not Port Canaveral. So that was hugely disappointing - not so much the rescheduling of a port, but the port we were rescheduled to. If I book a Caribbean cruise, I want to be in the Caribbean! But I will never sail during hurricane season again!
The only other complaint I have is that, at least on the cruise we were on, that there were children running wild everywhere. When I would try to sit on the edge of the pool with my daughter, it was impossible, because the kids were jumping on us and splashing everywhere. And they were running on the Lido Deck by the pool and up and down the halls on Deck 5...I'm sure one day that will be my children, but in the future I think I'd like a cruise geared more toward adults only, or if my daughter is with us, something with more young children and toddlers. Also, for as family-friendly as Carnival is, they have very limited babysitting and daycare services for children under 2. Definitely ask them what they offer, because you do have options, which they don't advertise very well, but not many options!
The pros? The staff is excellent - housekeeping, bartenders, food service and waiters, everyone is friendly and helpful, which made the cruise more enjoyable. They all knew my daughter by the end of the cruise and would stop to say hi, even if we were just passing in the hall while they weren't even on duty. We did Anytime Dining, which was great with the baby, and the food was usually pretty good - we made a lot of use of the Lido Buffet, too. Room service was so-so, but at least they have it, complimentary, 24 hours. The stops we made in the Bahamas were great - Half Moon Cay was blazing hot, but beautiful and serene, and we also went to Atlantis Resort in Paradise Island, Nassau. That was a shore excursion we bought through Carnival and the only con was that we didn't have enough time to go to the beach AND explore the aquarium while we were there, or stop for souvenirs on our way back. Instead of leaving at 4 there and 7 from Port Canaveral, I would've liked the extra 3 hours in Nassau. Another pro was the spa - you have to pay extra but it was so relaxing and tranquil and just a great break from the hecticness of all the activities and wild kids. I think the Dive-In Movies is a great idea and am disappointed we didn't get to experience that more...we didn't really do any shows because of the baby, but if you like karaoke, they have that most nights. I also won some money in the casino, and we enjoyed listening to some of the bands and music acts that would perform throughout the ship.
Overall, it was a wonderful honeymoon/family vacation. I think maybe next time I'd look for a cruise geared more toward couples/adults, and definitely not sail during hurricane season.