My husband, myself, two kids (ages 8 and 10) and my parents travelled together on this cruise. The only other cruise we've done recently was Disney which was awesome but expensive. Our other cruises were years ago so it's hard to compare. Overall, it was just an average experience.
Embarkation was easy but lengthy. We arrived at the port around 11:30am and finally stepped on the ship about 1:30.
Having a variety of food to choose from for lunch was nice (Mongolian, seafood, burrito bar, buffet, pizza, deli, grill). However food in the main dining room was not so great. The dessert selection was pitiful.
The entertainment was not good with the exception of a couple of the comedians. If the show included the Carnival Glory dancers and singers, both of my girls opted to go to the comedy show instead. We were looking forward to watching movies on the outdoor theater but for the entire week, they only showed two movies and the rest were concerts.
The girls didn't enjoy the kids club very much. They only went twice - one of the times was only because it was cold and rainy outside and there was nothing else to do. There really didn't seem to be a whole lot of interesting activities; a lot of Wii/Playstation time, free time with parents, or they would offer something you had to pay extra for. I also didn't like the fact they would send a special invitation to the kids about a party that night - but parents had to pay extra for them to attend.
All of our ports were wonderful. We did not like how Carnival handled tendering however. For Belize, we had a Carnival excursion so it was easy getting off the ship. For Grand Cayman, we didn't have anything planned so we had to get a number and wait for our number to be called to get off the ship. We ended up waiting over an hour. Another issue we had was we were late getting into almost every port but we still had to be back on ship at the same time. We lost about two hours time in Roatan because of this.
Carnival allows smoking in too many places. One whole side of the Lido deck is smoking and most of the bars/clubs were smoking. We never once got to enjoy the piano bar or other clubs because of this and you had to walk through the smoky casino to get to the comedy shows.
Debarkation wasn't too bad. I believe it's based on your flight times so we just waited up on the Lido deck which was better than being rushed off and waiting at the airport.
For first-timers, this might be an okay cruise. But for those of us who have cruised before, you get what you pay for with Carnival.