Background: This was a fairly last minute booking (about a month or so ahead of the cruise). The itinerary and the extra day looked like just what we needed. We have cruised Carnival many times along with a couple of RCCL and NCL ships many years ago. We have always enjoyed the value, the size of the cabins, the people we meet, and the Carnival ships overall. On this cruise we had our 17yo DS with us while our 20yo DS was unable to come along due to his university schedule. We drove from central Florida down to Ft. Lauderdale on Friday to stay with friends and made the short drive over to the port about 12:30.
Embarkation: This was our first time cruising out of Ft. Lauderdale (usually Miami or Tampa) and it could not have gone any smoother. While we were VIP with our OS category, it seemed like even then non-VIP line (while long) moved along well. It seems like Port Everglades and Carnival have things moving fast and smooth for everyone the first day. We were on the ship within about 15minutes of walking in the door. Since the rooms were not ready (they made that clear that it would be 1:30, which is was), we hung around with our carry-on things for 15minutes and then found our room.
Stateroom: We have always liked the size and cleanliness of the Carnival cabins. Our OS was large enough for the three of us without tripping over each other. The only exception would be if anyone was in the vanity area and you needed to get into the bathroom, but hey, this is a cruise ship and not a suite at the "W". Our cabin steward and his assistant were exceptional ! ! They would greet us by name anytime that they saw us, handshakes, hugs, and interest in what we were doing that day. Once I asked for extra ice in the room, it was always there and available.
Main Dining Room: We always select the late seating and a table with other cruisers. First, we do not like to rush when coming back from an island. We like to relax, have a drink, maybe soak in the hot tub as we sail off for the next port-of-call. Then we have time to shower and dress for the MDR. As for our table, we were in the very back of the Posh MDR. We had two fantastic women at our table with their DDs. We knew, and announced, the first night that we would have the best table of that area and we did. Our wait staff were great and the food was excellent. The menu variations were perfect and each entree that I had was cooked exactly as I requested. No complaints to the dining room staff in the Posh MDR at all. We did the Sun King Steak Supper Club one night and as always the food and presentation was 5-star, the service was fine, but it seemed that the service "personal" touch was not there this time.
Lido Deck: While I have read some complaints from others, we did not really have any problems. We ate lunch there on several days (burgers, pizza, deli, and other) and breakfast there one morning. I do not think that we were ever in line more than 5-8 minutes. The staff were always friendly and helpful. Is there a better way to organize the selections, maybe, but everything seemed to flow well and I do not think that anyone was going away hungry.
Room Service: OK, so we did order RS most nights (mornings) about 2-3am. It seemed that after a few early morning calls that the folks almost knew our order of RoastBeef/Brie, Shrimp Salad, and Cookies (and more cookies). I think that the orders were usually at the door within 5minutes.
Ports: The ports on this eight day Eastern Caribbean cruise were great. You had 2 sea days (along with 1/2 and 3/4 sea days) mixed with 5 ports-of-call, details to follow.
Spa: We had several spa treatments and like always, they leave you feeling relaxed and stress free.
Debarkation: Not a problem, while we had priority 1 debarkation, we took our time (DS is not easy to get up in the morning) and when we did leave the cabin, walked straight off the ship, had a porter waiting to get our bags, grabbed the car, and headed out of the port.