This was our first cruise as a gift from my parents. There were 10 of us including my brother, his family and my parents. I have to say, for a first time cruise, we were impressed. The ship was always clean, the stateroom service was excellent and our dining service was beyond with our waiter Edwin and Joel. The food was always good and the crew were always wanting to ensure we were pleased. I must admit, the prepaid gratuities took me for a loop at first, but the service was worth it. I would have complained other wise.
The only negative experience was the embarkation process. We were STUFFED in the terminal for a long time waiting to board. My parents could not sit and they needed to because they are not in the shape they once were. My Mom was in pain the whole week because of this one day. No one offered any help either. It seemed like mass confusion and it was not a good first impression. They said that that there was a problem with some guests getting off the ship from the previous cruise, but we later found out that this is the normal process ... it really needs to be improved ... especially for those rude individuals who could see an elderly lady in pain and not even offer her a seat ... even after making it know she needed to sit. On top of this we had 4 small children with us who were tired and hungry. However, they did really well considering the situation. The port staff seemed clueless!!! Also, they porters that take your bags when you arrive actually ask for a gratuity ... that was tacky ... and they didn't get it! They would have if they hadn't asked for it so rudely.
Anyway, after we got on the ship, we made our way to the Lido deck where they had food ready and waiting ... it was GREAT! Chicken Fingers, hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, etc. That's just one area. There was a deli and burrito bar as well. Aside from the embarkation, the cruise itself was great! We book an excursion with Carnival while on board and they tok care of us.
We will definitely be sailing with Carnival again ... we will just plan the embarkation different.