We had an "ok" cruise and were determined to make it as nice as possible. On the positive side, we made it to all our ports, had great excursions, and met some wonderful people. We enjoyed eating in the dining room and it seemed like the only time we didn't have to stand in a line for something. We joked around with the waiter just to get him to smile and we felt he was always tired.
The negatives were the smoke filled halls and public areas, and although we would have loved to dance in the evenings, the only place to do so was the smoke filled casino in the walkway. My husband ended up having an asthma attack about the 3rd night of being there as it was just too much smoke everywhere and it finally built up enough to get him. To get from one end of the ship to the other you have to go through the smoking areas.
Many of the staff seemed burned out or stressed and were mainly polite, but just not very friendly. They did not seem to enjoy their job or be trying very hard. We did hear a group of staff complaining about the guests and making fun of some of them. One guest went over to them and told them that if they want to insult the guests they needed to make sure there were no guests present to hear them.
The entertainment was mainly Karaoke and comedians. The teen areas were largely unoccupied. They did have some singing and dancing shows on a couple of nights that were really very good. I would say they were much better than the shows I have seen on previous cruises.
I know that Carnival is on the lower end of the scale of cruise ships, but have previously sailed on 2 other Carnival ships. Both of those experiences were so much better that while I would not say positively that I will never sail on Carnival, I am certainly not wanting to even think about using Carnival again at this time. I think I would definitely like to try more of their competitors and hope that this was just an isolated experience.