This was our third cruise with our kids (age 7 and 8) -- had it been our first, we would not have gone again.
Our ticket packet indicated that Carnival provides a complimentary shuttle from airport to pier -- in fact, they charge $20 per person, which is a real rip off for families (a cab was $50). The ship was really crowded-- that huge superstructure is all cabins, and there is no apparent increase of public space to accommodate all those extra passengers.
The pool areas were quite oddly designed. There is indeed a water slide-- but it ends in a dead-end, not into the kid's pool. Broadcast throughout the ship were non-stop overhead announcements to buy souvenirs, to sign up for excursions, and to join bizarre deck games such as "hairy chest contest." The kids' club sounded good-- but our kids wouldn't go after the first try because, they said, they just sat inside and colored. There was a big screen set up for movies in one of the bars, but there were no movies shown that were appropriate for families. The "kids' channel" on the TV played an endless loop for 7 days of one cartoon bible story alternating with one teen-jiggle movie. The kids did want to play ping pong and shuffleboard-- but that equipment was mostly trashed, and what did work was monopolized by older kids who excluded the younger ones. Despite Carnival's big deal about Pride being a non-smoking ship, they were in fact quite casual about letting adults (and teenagers) walk around smoking.
Each night the dining room staff ended the meal by singing or literally dancing on tables-- it was embarrassing to have to watch it, and we finally stopped going to the dining room. There is an alternate dining room-- but there is a hefty charge per person, and the food is no better than the main dining room-- although the waiters, mercifully, don't dance on the tables.
Other cruises have exceeded every expectation-- this one fell short of every expectation. The cabins are nice enough, the buffets are fine (though crowded) the weather was great-- but there were none of the simple delights that have made previous cruises so enjoyable. To the contrary, we seemed to always be bumping into some minor annoyance or petty economy-- when you pay $2.50 for a soda, you should get the whole can, not just a small poured glass that is mostly ice. Obviously a day on a ship is nicer than a day at work. But the kids had a much better time on smaller ships, were they didn't get lost in the shuffle, and us parents would have enjoyed some respite from the commercial hype that truly never ceased.
This would have been a fine trip for spring breakers, young singletons, or fraternity reunions. It was not a great trip for this family with young kids, and with adult parents who really needed a break.