This was our 4th sailing with carnival. We were used to the fun, colorful decor and party atmosphere. We didn't get it with this cruise! The decor was downright over the top! The style was that of italian art so there were a lot of nude photos and statues all over the ship which to me wouldn't say "family funship". It was very ornate and definitely not our taste. There was a HUGE nude painting of a woman as you walk into the Normandie dining room and a statue of a naked man in the middle of the supper club. So if you like this sort of thing, you will like this ship.
As for our room, we had a balcony room and it was very nice. There was plenty of space for a stateroom and we were close to the elevator without hearing the noise. We liked being able to drink coffee on our balcony in the morning while pulling into port. We'll never go back to a smaller room again. There is no clock in the rooms so I would suggest a travel alarm clock with batteries. Not many outlets in the rooms. Also a good idea to bring a cheap watch. One last note, the cruise director Jeff is a total goober! They would be much better off to make the assistant cruise director, James, the head director. James ran the bingo games and was much more normal and fun!
We thought the shows on the ship to be pretty lame. We saw parts of many of the shows but couldn't stay until the end since they were corny or just too much. Bingo was fun and watching other passengers is always a good time.
We felt that the service from some of the wait staff to be very lacking. We have always loved the service on Carnival because the staff was always very helpful and ready to serve you drinks or make up your room at the drop of a hat. Well, since the tips are now included in your bill at the end of the week, it seems like the staff doesn't try for your tips because they don't have to. The host in the dining room at breakfast the first morning was downright rude when I asked him if we could be seated by the window after he started to seat us with another family we didn't know. He sighed and rolled his eyes and told us to go back to the front to be reseated. The only staff member we thought was awesome was our dining room waiter, Marcelo. He went out of his way to make sure we were well taken care of every night. I would highly recommend him as your waiter. He was great!! Many of the pool waiters were great too but the bartenders were often grouchy.
As for excursions, we only scheduled one and it was in Puerto Vallarta. It wasn't booked through the ship but through www.Shoretrips.com. We did the tree top canopy adventure and would highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. There were 10 of us ranging in age from 12-55 and we all loved it. The staff was very nice and helpful and made sure we had a great time. There is a river and 2 small waterslides after the ziplines as well as a nice restaurant where we had the best mango margaritas and guacamole. We all agreed that it was a perfect day! Just be sure to check your watch because it is an hour later in Puerto Vallarta and the tour is on local time, not ship time. The ship wasn't overly clear on the time change. In Mazatlan, we got off the ship and hired a tour company right at the end of the gang plank to take the 10 of us to a local resort hotel (Los Salamos)where we spent the day on the beach, using the pools, eating at the restaurant, etc. We were treated like guests even thought we weren't. We all loved it. After the hotel, he took us to some local shopping areas and then later back to the ship. The driver's name was Benjamin and we all recommend him. He treated us like an old friend and stayed with us the whole time (5 hours) and only charged us $100 for all 10 of us for the whole day! It was another great day! In Cabo San Lucas, we just did some local shopping and had a couple of drinks right before going back to the ship. Another good day but the prices in Cabo are higher than those in the other ports. We would definitely go back and stay in Cabo. It was a beautiful place.