We've been pretty hard on some previous ships for various reasons. But we can honesty say that this ship ranks as one if not the best ship experiences that we have ever had.
Embarkation: Smooth for us, we were on board within an hour of getting there. We took a shuttle from the Springhill Suites at 1045. However, other people at our table said it took 4 hours to get on when they got there around 12:00. So, I guess the recommendation would be to get there prior to noon. But overall, it moved smoothly for us.
Decor: It really didn't bother us at all. Granted it was a lot of pink, but so what. The wall paper on the halls were actually very nice and I'm guessing was trying to relate it back to the 30s/40s decor. But it was fine for us
Ship Staff: Absolutely great. Every employee we ran across was so friendly and appreciative of the customers. Our room steward (Marti) was great. We stayed in cabin 1239, ocean view room. The room are very roomy. The waiters More
(Nicola and Carl) were superb and by the end of the week, basically knew what our tastes were like and pretty much knew what we would probably order. The drink waiters/waitress were not pushy at all and just casually asked if we needed anything. So, I give a great thumbs up for all their employees.
San Juan: Short stop, but just enough for us to walk around old San Juan and shop for a while. No complains.
St. Thomas: Great stop, typical St Thomas if you have ever been there before. Shopped and walked all around St Thomas. I would recommend that you can save a few bucks if you just walk to the shopping district instead of taking the taxi. It is only a short 20 minute walk. Warning that if you taking a taxi back in the afternoon, leave early as the traffic gets bad. In fact, some folks almost missed the boat.
La Romana: Interesting stop. Do not book the Altos Chavon excursion from the ship. I think it was $39 but you can do it on your own for $7. Basically when you get off the ship, you will walk up to an area with a small shop. But there is a taxi stand there and shuttle stands. One shuttle is to the La Marina area for $5 round trip. We took that one and it takes you to the Marina area. One good thing about going there is that there is a supermarket there where you can buy local coffee cheaply. The local coffee costs $5 by the ship, but at the supermarket, it costs less than $3. At the marina, you can take a taxi to the Altos Chavon, but I wouldn't recommend it as they will try and charge $20 -$25, but you can take the shuttle back to the ship and then purchase the local shuttle for $7. This is what we did. Once at Altos Chavon, the scene is very pretty. Great area to take pictures. But overall, you can do both tours in one day without running around too much and it would only costs $12 on your own. Some folks went on the Santa Domingo tour but wasn't overly impressed with it. Also, some folks tried to walk into town from the ship, but the local guards won't let them out of the fences are on foot. So, they ended up taking a taxi into town. I have no clue on how good/bad the downtown area is.
Nassau: Great stop. We basically shopped in the straw market for a while, then took the ferry boat to Paradise Island. It was only $3 each way and was very easy. Walked around the beach and through the Atlantis area all day. I wouldn't take a beach excursion from the ship as you could walk to the beach once you get off the ferry in less than 10 minutes. Hint, cut through the casino to get to the beach instead of walking all the way around to the beach access road. It will save you a good 5 minutes.
Food: Excellent. There was always some food available. The pizza on deck was great and yes it is available 24 hours as we had some at 3 AM one night.
Casino: It is pretty good size. They do have a Texas Hold'em table, electronic dealer. It never got started until 11 pm, but they would leave it on even after the casino closes for players if they wanted. But I think the slots are set pretty tight as I didn't see many people at all winning any jackpots. But entertaining.
Shows: Excellent, especially the Vroom night (Thursday I think). They had 3 different comedians, all were OK. I've heard better, but they were OK.
Debarkation: We did the self debarkation. But we were off the ship at 7 AM and at the Fort Lauderdale airport at the gate are early enough to get on the 8:25 flight. The ship actually gets back into Fort Lauderdale around 6 AM, so for anyone with an early flight, just do the self debarkation and you should have no problems. Taxi ride was $15 including tips and only took a few minutes.
Overall: I would definitely take this ship and Carnival cruises again. This was a great ship and great vacation. I really can't think of anything negative to say about the ship, staff and the experiences.
Attached if I did it right is a picture of an ocean view cabin. Very roomy and in fact, I think it is bigger in room size than the balcony cabins.