Let me start with my cruising background. This marked my 15th cruise, mostly with Royal Caribbean, and it was GREAT! I have sailed with Carnival one time a few years ago, in a nightmare trip that resulted much like the recent Splendor's fate, but not that bad... and i promised to never cruise Carnival again, not even with the %50 voucher i received at the time of my ship breaking down in mid-trip. I've also sailed on Disney, Princess, and NCL. Last year i even sailed on the OASIS of the SEAS' 2nd voyage.
I found this itinerary and decided that I'd give Carnival ONE more try, and I was pleasantly surprised! (Oh and no, the %50 off voucher expired YEARS ago...) All that said, here it goes:
ROOMS: I had an extended balcony right on deck 5 forward, and it was excellent. The room was clean and spacious, and the balcony was great. We were 3 adults sharing a cabin and had plenty of places to store all of our belongings, and made great use of the extra space on the balcony. We even invited over some friends we made on board and all fit fine on the balcony. Decor was nothing special, but the beds were comfy and clean, and that's all that really matters in the end!
OUTSIDE: The pool areas were clean and in decent condition. Never had a problem trying to get a seat in the hot tubs, or take a dip in the pools. The aft pool was great for sitting back and watching the ship leave San Diego, and all the other ports. Also, aft pool area is open and is where the slide is located, and yes, I tried it several times and it was GREAT!
Decor again wasn't the strong point, but all in all it was ok.
FOOD: The food was definitely a LOT better than i had anticipated. Everything was tasty and seemed fresh. There was a lot of variety in the buffet and dining room menus. They even have a Late-night Bistro for those who would like a bite to eat between 11:30-1am! That was great, because sometimes on other ships, its hard to find anything other than the usual pizzerias and sandwiches... And yes, as i have read in other posts, the chocolate melting cake is delicious!
SHOWS: I don't like the Broadway style shows, so i never attend them, but i did go to the comedy shows, and they were pretty good.
STAFF: The staff all seemed very friendly and helpful. No complaints in that area at all. Everyone was very efficient in the dining room and room attendant.
OVERALL: The 3 of us were all very pleased with this ship, and all plan to cruise with Carnival again. I wish this itinerary would continue to be offered as a nice alternative to the 7day itineraries.
If you'd like anymore info on this ship or itinerary, please email me at FREEDOM OT SEAS @aol.com