We took this cruise with 3 other families as a celebration of my nephew's graduation from High School, so our ages ranged from teenager to grandparents. We were a little turned off at the outset by the big signs saying that tips for the Baggage Handlers were not necessary, while the baggage handlers themselves were asking for tips. The teen clubs seemed like a great idea, but didn't work out well for our particular group. One club was for age 12-14 and another for 15-17. The kids in our party were ages 14, 15, and 18, so they were not eligible for the same club and therefore didn't want to go alone.
The food was outstanding. We had excellent service in the Dining Room at Dinner, and our waiter was very fun and efficient. We were a little chapped about there being two "Elegant Dining" nights which had a formal dress code. We didn't bring formal wear and it wasn't clear up front that we would need to on something promoted as a family cruise. I didn't find the Carnival Q&A sight very user-friendly for finding this type of information. Even though the buffet food was very good, we were annoyed by this and felt we did not get what we paid for.
We did Shore Excursions at three of the four ports, and all were reasonably priced, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Cozumel was absolutely beautiful, with lots of exotic gardens and cultural fountains. We visited Gumbalimba park in Roatan which was also gorgeous, though the abject poverty witnessed on the drive there was a bit depressing. Our guide for snorkeling in Belize was outstanding, and gave us an amazing history lesson on the way back to the ship. It was unclear which beverages were complimentary on the ship. And we really felt that the prices for everything that was not included were unnecessarily high. ($8.75 for a Long Island Iced Tea) If they would just leave the Casino open 24 hours, they could knock about $2 off their mixed drinks, offer soft drinks as complimentary, and still come out ahead.
Video games in the arcade were from $.75 to $1.25. In the launderette, it was $3 to wash and $3 to dry. There was no bill changer in the laundry room. I had to go to guest services to get change, and by the time I got back, the washers were taken. The entertainment was mostly excellent. There were family-friendly as well as Adult Comedy shows every night, a magic/comedy show, a juggler, and several dance shows. The theater was very impressive although it had many obstructed views. There were plenty of free fun activities throughout the day such as Trivia games, Dance classes, Bingo etc. Our stateroom steward was meticulous, and our room was cleaned twice a day. Disembarkation was very smooth, well-organized and comfortable. The cruise was a wonderful experience overall. I would highly recommend it, but bring your wallet and be prepared to SPEND.