Please let me start by saying that I am not the type of person that will complain about every little thing. However, we took this trip for one reason and one reason only - access to Camp Carnival! My husband and I traveled with 2 kids (ages 5 & 2). We chose Carnival because Camp Carnival advertises that it will take special needs kids (our 2 year old has autism) and will change diapers (he isn't potty trained yet). The only serious complaint about the cruise was that the hours that Camp Carnival operates will severely limit your activities should you choose to keep to a normal schedule. The Camp does not open until 10am on sea days. Therefore, you won't be enjoying any elaborate breakfasts in the dining room or early morning aerobic classes unless you have children that can sit quietly during a 2 hour service with glassware on the table. I wish my 2 boys could handle that but we know better. Also, you are in the same boat when it comes to enjoying a lunch in the dining room because it is impossible to get seated and finished in order to pick them up at 11:45 when they close for 2 hours. The only dining room experience we got was a couple of evenings and even one of those they paged us because the 2 year old wouldn't stop crying.
We were very happy with the fact that they keep the children during port days and that is the only time that we got any time to ourselves that didn't severely limit our plans. In my opinion, they need to operate a full day program or give parents the opportunity to choose to pay for babysitting during those day hours that they close. Some of us that travel as a family do not intend to party all night long. Also, there is a really rude worker in Camp Carnival that was rude to most parents. I really think they need to find her a spot in the kitchen where she doesn't come into contact with other people. The Carnival Director was amazing and always reassured us that our autistic child was doing well. The 5 year old loved it and would have lived there all week.
My husband and I will travel on Carnival again but won't be bringing the kids with us until they change the schedule.
The food was amazing. We ate all week long. We loved the indoor pool area on the back of the ship since we had a couple of rain days. The big screen was not what we expected. There was only 1 night where a decent movie played. Everything else was crappy music tours: Celine Dion, Oak Ridge Boys, etc. That area would be very successful if they would put more effort into playing better movies. I was hoping to watch a movie every night while sipping a frozen drink. Only happened one night. The shows were adequate but not all that great. I have seen better shows on a cruise ship. Like other reviews, the sewage smell got worse as the days went on.
Nassau and Key West were fun port days. I wouldn't waste money on going to Freeport again. I wonder why they stop there!!!!
Our room steward was awesome. The piano bar singer was awesome and funny. We even got to watch the doc play his harmonica 2 nights. I think the other shows would have been great but we were unable to find a seat. I think it was because the shows in the main theater were lacking.
I would rate the ship on a scale of 1-10 as following:
Ship - 8
Food - 10
Room - 10
Camp Carnival - 5
Ports of Call - 7
Embarkation - 10+ (they sent us through a kids line and it was super quick)
Debarkation - 9 (it was a little congested and unorganized)
Entertainment - 5 (shows and big screen need work)