First, let me tell you that I was negative before going on a Carnival Cruise as I made 3 Norwegian an 2 Royal Caribbean and that Carnival was not really well criticised. My scares were that the food would not be as good as NCL and RCL and that the ship itself would not be as good as the other ones. Well I was very surprised and in a positive way.
Unfortunately, embarkation was our first disappointment. The first image I had about Carnival was this very rude guy that was there to take are of our luggages. He was really unhappy with my 4$ tip that I gave him because we were 7 people. While waiting the very long line, I watched all the other luggage guys and they had about all the same attitude. It took almost 2 hours to git inside the boat.
The ship: Very very clean, Las Vegas style deco. Large interior stateroom with a lot of closets and drawers. Our stateroom was really not well located being under a kitchen tha began à 3 A.M to make a lot of noise and just aside of the elevators. A long but not large promenade with bars, sushi place and casino. Nicely decorated restaurants. Great deck with pools and spas with a giant screen and a large water slide. There is however nowhere you can walk all around the boat. A lot of elevators, more than bigger boats.
The food: This is my biggest surprise. As I was negative before sailing Carnival, I had said to my self that I was going to eat at the Sunking steakhouse and at the chef's table to have better meals. Well, we did not want to miss a single dinner at the Posh restaurant. First, our server, Jess, was very nice and professional. Second, we were traveling with a kid allergic to nuts ant shellfish and we could always see next day menu. Each night, we were excited by next day's menu. Every night, nice cut on beef as, filet mignon, chateaubriand, short rib and prime rib au jus. Shrimps and fish every night + lobster at captain's night. Each meal propose a 'you should try this' plate as Alligator fritters or frogs legs and a comfort food plate as a really good Bacon Mas 'n' cheese and pork ribs. I hate there one of the best Caesar salads I ever hate. The sides were also good. Deserts, way over NCL but just under RCL. Breakfast is good in the Posh restaurant and OK at the buffet. The buffet is designed to have long waiting lines even if there is not a lot of people. Fish 'n' ships fried food an Sushi are OK not more. The pizza counter offers above average pizza. It's true that the changed the Salmon and nice cut of Steak for everyday menu for Mahi-Mahi and flta irond steak.
Shows: The best cruise's show we had in 6 cruises. A 10 musician band with signers and dancers. The 'Ticket to ride' Beatles show was really good.
A nice guy sang every night with his guitar a different places on the boat and had a great humor.
Ports: see my port reviews
In a couple of words, I would say that this is a very good price/quality cruise.