Embarkation/De-Embarkation. Carnival had this down pat. We (Dennis and I)were at the pier at 12 noon, on this ship at 12:10pm and in the lido area by 12:15pm. We were pleasantly surprised.
Cabin - Large, spacious but needed attention. Phone didn't work, light switches that did nothing. We did miss the room controls for air/heat that other lines provide. Instead on the air vents in the ceiling are the flow valves to increase or decrease the amount of air you got.
Ship - Overall it was OK. You can see and feel the age (10yrs) of the ship. We wish the hot tubs worked but all were closed off the entire trip. We felt that as a first time cruiser who has nothing to compare the experience with you would be happy. For seasoned travellers not so much. Corners were cut.
Spa - This unfortunately was the worst portion of the trip. We walked into the treatment room and as you lay face down you see the tiles from the walls all separating from the wall. It looked like a basement bathroom that was being forgotten. Also, camp O is right above you so as that relaxing music is playing the teens are screaming, slamming the B-ball on the ground, and having a great time while you cannot enjoy the massage. The staff of the spa however were very nice and professional.
Casino - Pleasant
Shows - Entertaining. Nothing bad nothing outstanding.
Dinning - Avoid the Lido at all costs. Just order room service and stick with the main dinning rooms. Unless you have children then by all means head to the lido. Because that's where you will find 1000 other children (No joke. Brad cruise director announced it on the overhead that this ship had 1000 registered 17 and under children) Lido food was not good, the ice tea machines didn't work and we watched as parents screamed at their kids to find a table for them. Main dinning was tasty food and excellent service.
Pros's - Embarkation,de-embarkation, St. John (I think this is an underrated port.) Staff attitude and service.
Con's - General Maintenance, Lido deck, Poor Spa facility
If you have children from 12 and under this may be a cruise for you. Camp Carnival seemed to keep the children very happy, entertained and busy. If you are going thinking you will relax ( As I did ) then avoid the ship. We had children running up and down the halls at 3am just banging on the walls and some peoples cabin doors for fun. Cruise Director would come on the PA in the mornings to remind people to be courteous but that did nothing. This was one part of the trip that I couldn't fault Carnival on.
Carnival promotes fun for the family and that's what you should expect. They also will do whatever they can to get you to charge anything to your room. 6 drink servers asked myself and a few others within 5 mins if we wanted a drink. (i know they are on rounds but c'mon)
We tried to avoid most of the sun decks and public areas and hang out on our balcony. With the weather so beautiful the entire trip this was the saving grace of the trip.
I hope this review helps.
Oh the reason why I went with carnival was that it fit the bill at the time. Needed a quick 4 day escape and they had the itinerary and embarkation port that worked for me.