This is our first cruise for us with Carnival and was awesome. The Western Caribbean is excellent!
Embark - painless. Do yourself a favor and park at Lighthouse Parking. It is secure and the people are hard working. Going through the rat line took about 45 minutes and once we were at the counter, there were no snags. If you are travelling with more that 4 people and want to sit together in the dining room - look at your sail and sign card right then and make sure you all have the same number.
Room - room was great - had a balcony room on the 8th level. Spectacular. Housekeeping (Art) was great (other have said it but it helps to tip early!) The kids (16 and 19) had their own room and ate room service about x5 times a day. We had coffee each morning on the balcony - it was beautiful.
Spa and Gym - The wife did the spa a couple of times and loved it. We played basketball and worked out some - but the work out area is not huge - but it was all we needed.
Photography - It may seem cheesey - but let them take as many pictures of you that you want. You will be surprised how nice (but expensive) they are - but we had one shot of the family as we came of the boat in Jamaica that is priceless.
Entertainment - The comedy was good but trust me, get there early. The magic show was OK. Karaoke was fun and the daughter sang several songs and made me proud as everyone was impressed with her voice. The musicals were weak.
Dining Rooms - We had early seating and our head waiter (Anold), waiter Christian and the drink steward (Peter) were awesome. The only snafu was they could not accomodate us at a 6-top so we were split in a booth and an adjacent two-seat. We did that twice and had them accomodate all of us at the booth. Mr. V the Maitre d came by several times to make sure we were OK. The dining room shows will crack you up. Wonderful service from everyone.
We also had a birthday dinner at the Steakhouse and we all fell in love with OLGA. Not only is she beautiful, she is an incredible waiter. The food was spectacular and the Ceasar salad was the best I have ever had.
The melting chocolate cake is unbelievable.
Casino - I am now hooked on 3 card poker. We played many times and came away about $120 ahead (of course we were $300 down at one point and $600 over). The dealers are good with some better than others.
The big screen on the deck only worked one night. THat was a disappointment.
Can't wait to do it again.