We arrived Friday and stayed the Doubletree Grand hotel with a view of the port (review on tripadvisor.com). Easy and quick ride to port after checkout; security line was slow but once we got in the line for our deck #, we were on board within probably 15 minutes. Note this is the first time we had to show photo ID again once on the ship. Usually the ID at check-in is the last. Had buffet lunch; Mongolian grill was excellent, pizza good of course. Other items good too; desserts especially.
Cabin: loved it. It was in good condition except for the mattresses which had valleys, and the curtains which had cigarette burn holes. I asked the steward to empty the fridge as we would not use the mini-bar, but he said they no longer do that. Also no pads in the rooms anymore and he said he couldn't get us any. I got some at the Guest Svcs desk. Yet they gave us a brand new pen in the cabin. There was a combination vhs/dvd player in the cabin, and a nice amenity basket in the bathroom with razors, toothbrush, pepcid, even shampoo samples. And a full length mirror in the closet! Nice open space under the beds for storage of luggage.
Explored the ship, and hoped the waterslide was open but it wasn't. Promenade deck does not go all the way around outside. Ship in mostly good condition. Casino usually smoky. Shows in theater were good, though the "Rock N Roll" show is more pop than rock. Went to my first art auction which was interesting but too long. Free champagne a plus! Shops had cute trinkets. Lots of entertainment in deck 3 lobby atrium area. Movies outside enjoyable though the big screen needed some repair; there was a large pink box smack in the middle that disrupts the picture.
Golden DR food was very good as was our server. This was the first cruise that we were not offered an additional serving of the lobster upon completion of the first plate. I'm sure we could've asked for more but we were full already. Our 3 tablemates were enjoyable, and the show the wait staff occasionally puts on is entertaining. Food was good every night. I love the 24 hour pizza and ice cream option. Harry's Supper Club was excellent. I think if Carnival dropped the cover to maybe $20, more people would eat there. Dinner buffet the one night we tried it was nothing spectacular and needed more assortment. Brkfst is the same thing every day but a good assortment. There's an omelet station too. Chocolate buffet at lunchtime on Lido is really nice. Our breakfast room service order was left hanging on our door in the morning. First time that's happened on a cruise.
Laundry costs $3 per wash and $3 to dry. Dry cycle is way too long at 90 minutes and benefited people using the dryer after our clothes dried in 40 minutes. Or you can pay the ship $15 for a small bag of clothes to be washed certain days.
We fell back (clock) on Oct 31st and stayed on that time which put us one hour behind local time in every port as all were on Atlantic time. Could have been confusing. Don't know why we didn't change to Atlantic; we have adjusted on all other ships.
Nassau we did a half day sail. In St. Thomas we did half day sail with Jolly Mon which was fun then shopped a bit. $4 cab ride to downtown from Havensight. We took a cute little shuttle boat back for $6. San Juan we did a private Rain Forest tour with Albert (recommended from San Juan board), then went to have mojitos at Tio Danny's on Fortelenza in OSJ. Grand Turk we tried snuba which was fun, but very short considering the cost. Did a lot of waterslide runs that day as most people got off the ship for the beach at Grand Turk. LOVE the waterslide.
Cruise was Saturday to Saturday; formal nights were Monday, first sea day, and Thursday when we left Grand Turk.
Few things we didn't like: balcony furniture had cigarette burns in it and was worn looking and dirty. Sheer curtain on door leading to balcony was filthy. Our blue Carnival towels always smelled like dirty laundry—even ones he took from the "clean" bag. I wish Carnival would get the nav system other cruise lines have so you see where you are, distance to go, etc. Our friend stayed in an 8A balcony cabin which was over the theater; if you're a light sleeper or early-to-bed person, I wouldn't stay over the theater or lounges.
Debarkation was simple and we were off and on our way to the airport, though taxi line was a bit disorganized. Taxi rate PoM to and from MIA is a flat $24.
Enjoyed the cruise and didn't want to get off the ship!