It's hard to believe that this cruise failed in nearly every way possible. We've taken two shorter trips with Carnival (Elation) that were just fine, so this came as a surprise.
Our room steward, Komang, was very good. I generally think all the cruise lines have uniformly good/excellent staff, but outside of Komang, this was not the case. Our wait staff was generally slow, and never checked in with us (we always had to ask for water refills). They were good guys, and affable, but the least of the wait staff we've ever had. Also, the staff will generally defer to you when in the hallways or in the Lido. Not on this ship--if they're rolling a cart, you should watch out. Very surprising.
Unfortunately, we had the pleasure of 600 children on board as well. Apparently, the parents decided they were taking a break from their kids as well, and the vast majority of them were unsupervised. We were with six other people on different floors, and we all had stories of kids running wild at almost every hour imaginable. I was going to our room at midnight when I ran across seven kids at the bottom of the stairs on the 4th floor on their stomachs playing a game. Why on earth would you let you kid out alone after midnight, and why would you play a game at the end of the stairs?!
I've also never seen a messier ship. I suspect this is partly due to so many "kids gone wild" on board, but could never be sure if the staff was overwhelmed with the messiness or just didn't care like all the other ships/cruise lines. We never failed to see plates, glasses, napkins and even ice cream cones on the stairs or elevators. Our favorite was finding flowered panties on one of the floors.
I guess the panties were in keeping with the theme of the ship though--whorehouse garish. We started referring to the ship as the Bayside Bordello. Garish colors, nudes throughout the ship (really? on a family ship this is fashionable?), and several clashing styles to jar your senses (Roman, Egyptian, French, and more!). The Lido was easily the worst we've seen. Lights, colors, go-go cages everywhere--and always claustrophobic. I've been on bigger ships with many more people and never felt so ever-crowded.
The food was generally good, but breakfast and dessert are their week spots. Make sure you don't bother with the powdered eggs they use for "scrambled eggs". Skip the "orange juice" as well unless you like Tang. Go with food they have to cook for you (omelets, fried eggs), and you'll do better. Their only consistent dessert worth bothering with is their signature melting cake. All the others were lacking in our opinion.
Also lacking was the Cruise Director's inventiveness. Really...no kitchen tours until you were inundated with requests? Lots of trivia games, but very little else. The usual hairy chest contests/making drinks/karaoke, etc., but nothing worthwhile. Also, make sure you bring books if you're a reader. The library is a joke. I think there were more computers than books!
Entertainment was easily the worst of any ship on any line. Incoherent "themes" for their musical reviews, and awful comedians (comedian/juggler, comedian/magician, regular comedians) for the rest of the "entertainment). The remainder of the entertainment? The people on board doing their "acts" as part of the "professional entertainment"?!!! No thank you. The singers and dancers actually had talent, but you wouldn't know it from the poor productions. If you like your kids getting an eyeful of T&A, this is the showcase for you. Tacky all around.
We did enjoy the ports, so that was a plus, but the ship and everything in it was so lacking that I'm thankful this wasn't my first cruise, or I'd never go again.
Try any other cruise line, and if you must go with Carnival, pick any ship but this.