Embarkation in Tampa was a breeze. People were very friendly & helpful. We boarded before noon & went straight to the Lido deck for lunch, where we met other family members. The weather was perfect.
We went to our cabin after 1:30 and were a little disappointed. Although it had been refurbished, the room was very hot & stuffy & had a slightly unpleasant odor. We adjusted the air to the coolest possible setting, but it remained warm & stuffy throughout the cruise. The pictures we saw on the website showed 2 twin beds, but ours was in a king configuration, which seemed to give no room at all to walk around the bed. We cruised with a group of 20 and none of us was offered the option of twin beds. If the twin bed option is not something Carnival wants to offer, maybe they should consider smaller queen beds.
Shortly after we left port, we turned around for a medical emergency and lost both of our engines at that time. One of the engines was resurrected, but because we had to cruise at a slower pace, our scheduled stop at Grand Cayman was cancelled, and our stop at Cozumel was rescheduled for the following day at a different time. Each person was given a $50 onboard credit, but it made for an awful lot of "fun days at sea"(aka BINGO ad infinitum!)
The menu was interesting, the soups and desserts were delicious, but the meats for the most part were fairly tough. Toward the end of the cruise, they had run out of some staples like skim milk.
Our group had a 7 year old who didn't participate in the camp carnival program, a 12 year old & 13 year old who participated in Circle C on the few occasions it was offered, and a 16 year old who participated in the O2 club. Overall, we were disappointed in the lack of activities for the 12 & 13 year old, given that it was spring break and there were over 700 kids on board.
The ice cream & yogurt machines were frequently "temporarily out of service" and being worked on, so much so, that it became a standing joke that if they couldn't even keep those machines working, we didn't stand a chance of them getting the engine fixed!
Overall, the staff was friendly & helpful, although we never did get enough ice in our ice bucket & were limited to 1 partial bucket a day. We also had to wait until the evening of the second day for a sharps container, despite all the forms we filled out prior to the cruise, that was confirmed by a follow up phone call from the special needs department. This was our 5th cruise & our 1st Carnival cruise. Sad to say, Carnival did not compare with experiences and accommodations we had on Royal Caribbean & Celebrity. I would rate them as "average." We are not planning on booking another Carnival cruise at this time.