Our 5 year old enjoyed Camp Carnival well enough. He would have preferred to spend every minute with us, but he seemed happy when we dropped him off and picked him up. He did not resist going and always came back with some art project or face paint. He would often see kids he knew from camp around the ship and was always waving at them. We never left him there for more than 3 hours at a stretch and made sure he got a nap in the cabin every day. He ate pizza for lunch and chicken nuggets for dinner almost every day and he was happy. We brought him to dinner with us in the dining room 6 nights out of 9. He got his food when we got our appetizers, then we took him to camp around 7 while we finished our dinner in peace.
I used the exercise area 3 times, once for free weights, once for yoga ($12) and once for the 7 am free stretch class. It was fine, although the yoga wasn't worth it. We enjoyed walking on deck 10 several times, we played minigolf, and my husband played basketball. We also tried the waterslide. A little tame for me, but my 5 year old loved it. The pool was fine also, we swam 3 times. Hot tub was more of a warm tub, but adequate.
We went to two song and dance shows, I enjoyed them. We also saw a magician and a juggler and some comedians. Normal cruise ship stuff, what I expected. We wanted our son in bed by 10 every night, so we didn't really go to any bars or dance clubs. We are not party people. We brought 4 bottles of wine on board for 6 adults and I only purchased 2 other drinks.
The food was outstanding, better than ever. Loved everything I tried and a great variety. They make the BEST pastries and baked goods. I ate lots of fish and shrimp and too much desert. I did try the Spa Carnival options several times and they were all good. My pants still fit when I put them on to fly home, so I guess I did OK. We went to the Nouveau Steakhouse for Valentine's dinner. It was very good and a better atmosphere than the Empire room, but I don't know if it was worth the extra money. It was a splurge for Valentine's Day, we probably won't do it again. My husband has wheat intolerance so he avoids it when possible. They were extremely diligent in making sure everything he ordered in the dining room was wheat/gluten free. He said the gluten free pasta was the best he ever had.
We pretty much blew our budget on the penthouse suite cabin, so we tried to get by cheap in the ports. We didn't book any excursions.