Carnival has downgraded their dining room food and service substantially from years past. The food was uninteresting and not the best quality. We skipped some of the dining room dinners and just had the nasty junk food from the various other buffet restaurants on the ship because the dining room food was really not much better. We did go to the 'pay extra' restaurant one night, which was awesome in terms of both quality and service, but it's ridiculous to have to pay over the cruise cost to get what Carnival used to serve in the regular dining rooms. The service in the dining room was rushed and clipped, at best. The food highlight of the trip was the soft serve ice cream and frozen yogurt available 24 hours!
I think our steward could only speak the following two phrases in English: 'Good Morning, Good Morning' and 'Hello, Hello'. This made it very difficult to communicate. We rarely saw him anyway as he was probably so overworked it left no time for developing any sort of relationship with us again, I remember better communication and more social interaction with our stewards on previous Carnival cruises. We noticed that many of the service workers throughout the ship had very limited English speaking skills.
The children's program also did not match our past experiences. There were many unsupervised activities and things that cost extra money. Our daughter chose to spend most of her time with us, as she was mostly not interested in the activities offered. She did, however, meet some friends who she played with, and she did go to the late night party (cost extra) which she enjoyed.
Despite these shortcomings, we had a nice family vacation on the ship. We enjoyed deck & pool time on the 'days at sea', and went on shore at each port.
I'm not sure, however, if we will sail with Carnival again due to the downgrade in quality we experienced.