We are a family of 7, with kids ages 10 - 16. We live in the New Orleans area and love to cruise. It is easy for us to leave from New Orleans so we are always on the lookout for cruises that leave from here. We have sailed NCL and RCCL also in the past. We did this cruise with several other families with kids.
We had interior cabins. We would rather save the money since we are not in the cabin very much. My kids thought this was a great ship. The food was good, better than our last cruise on the Triumph this past summer of 2010.
Dining - We had a large group with 3 tables of 10 for the early seating. We would rearrange our seats every night among the 3 tables. Waiters were great! They loved our kids and entertained them with making bunnies out of napkins, talking with them, etc. The service was probably the best we have had on any cruise.
Activities - Carnival really needs to get new activities!! They are just getting way too old. They are still playing many of the same games as they did when we went on our first cruise in 1998! At least change up the questions to the "Love and Marriage" game. This area was lacking but since we had a large group to hang out with, it was fine. We did our own thing. The kids all had each other and had a great time.
Children's Clubs - Seemed fine. My 10 and 11 year old only went one time and said it was okay. Other kids looked like they were having a blast, mostly the ones younger than 8 or 9. Our tweens and teens did hang out at their clubs sometimes but it is come and go as you please.
Service - It was excellent this cruise! It was better than our cruise on this same ship last summer.
Entertainment - Excellent. The Big Easy dance show is one of the best we have ever seen. Two of the comedians, CJ Jones and Mutzi, were the best comedians anyone in our group have ever seen! They were truly unreal! They did two family shows and 2 adults shows per night (kids and adults loved them and the family shows were clean). Then they brought in two new guys for the 2nd half of the week. Tim wasn't good at all. Carl was pretty good.
Port & Shore Excursions - I did reviews of our 3 ports under the "PORT SECTION" of this review. It is at the bottom of this review. We went to Key West, Freeport and Nassau. We enjoyed them all and didn't do any ship excursions.
Disembarkation - very easy
Summary - We would do this cruise again. This isn't the newest ship with all of the extras but it is a great value. We had great service and good food. All 5 of my children loved everything about it. The adults all rated it well above average.
There are way too many photographers on the ship. You can't walk more than 10 feet in the main areas without one asking you to take a picture. I understand they need to make money, but this is overkill. We got to the point where we had to almost ignore them or quickly say, "No thanks" as we were walking away. Don't stop or you are trapped!
Don't over pack. The interior cabins small with little storage.
Bring you own small ice chest. The ice bucket is so very small!! They will fill your ice chest.
If you go to any of the free seminars, be prepared for a long sales pitch to buy something. We went to the Detox seminar and they wanted us to buy the Detox kit for $600!! If you do go, just be prepared to walk away after the seminar.