1st time family of 5, good but should have stayed at Disney
* Travel To Port: Came from a day at Disney, dropped off car at budget and quick van ride to port. Embarkation went smooth and were on ship at 1pm, had lunch, checked out room, and attended painless muster drill.
* Ship Info: Didn't mind the purple but my spouse hated it. We were on the bottom deck, but the elevators were fine and didn't mind going up the stairs. It was a little difficult to find the ecstasy dining room, but everything else was easy to get to. Sports deck was nice, as was the huge state of the art exercise room.
* Stateroom: window in ocean view room was nice to see the heavy seas first night. With 5 of us they put down 2 bunks from the wall and brought in a cot. There was still plenty of room, but we kept banging our heads on the bunks. Would get 2 adjoining rooms next time for the privacy, 2nd bathroom, and bruise prevention.
* Dining: breakfast was plentiful and good on the lido deck, the small area outside in the aft of the ship was nice to eat at. Breakfast was even nicer in the dining room, wish we had done this more often. The kids were happy with burgers and chicken fingers at lunch, we enjoyed the Thai noodle bowls with shrimp, salmon, etc. Food at dinner was usually good. Everyone enjoyed desert, especially mixing the hot melting cake with the fruit platter to have chocolate dipped fruit. Hot chocolate and ice cream bar were also favorites. The sandwiches (Reuben, turkey) in the seaview lounge were good, pizza was not tasty.
* Activities: pool was too small but felt good for a quick cool off, hot tubs were overcrowded especially on serenity area, waterslides were great, mini golf was fun but too windy when underway.
* Children's Clubs: There were about 500 kids on the ship, which is likely less than usual since we went while school was still in session. Carnival didn't let anyone know they had a 5pm meet and greet the first night. We didn't find out until we found the clubs and requested itineraries. My youngest had a great time in the 2-5 club, my middle one got bored in the 9-11 club, and no one, including the director, showed up for the Club O2.
* Service: everyone was very pleasant and the steward learned the kids names quickly. It seemed to be a fairly new crew, but they were pretty efficient.
* Entertainment: We didn't see many shows or use the bar/disco areas. They did the hairy chest competition during lunch and the kids were embarrassed by it. The comedy show the last night was good.
* Port & Shore Excursions: Caught a cab at Freeport and did the Sand dollar snorkeling tour from 1 to 4. We all enjoyed snorkeling for a couple of hours at treasure reef and saw tons of colorful fish. They didn't have fins smaller than a size 6 so they didn't charge for my younger kids. Caught a cab in Nassau to Paradise beach which was nice. Wandered around the straw market then found a "cruise ship recommended" store that had prices lower than the stalls, though the kids enjoyed the haggling experience. Had set up the people-to-people encounter but didn't hear from our host when we arrived.
* Disembarkation: Briefing the night before was entertaining. Left our bags out that night and they gave out numbers from 1 to 25 for disembarking. We were 10 so we had a leisurely breakfast at 8 and were off the ship at 9.
* Summary: Carnival did a great job, and it was nice not having to think about what to do about meals for the trip, but we enjoyed Disney and the beaches more than the ship. Next time we'll likely stay at Disney or stay a week at a beach.