This was our first family cruise and we had a blast. We chose Carnival because of the price and have no regrets. There are things we loved and things we were very disappointed in, I'll try to cover all angles.
When we got to Port they informed us, as we were walking up, that we were headed for Key West instead of the Bahamas, we responded cool! We've always wanted to go there and we were just happy we were going on vacation at all.
The first night was really rocky and the Sports Deck & pool were closed due to high winds. We all took Bonine and loved it, it was so funny trying to walk around the ship with the rocking. So many people were sick though and I felt bad for them. The next day we woke to smooth sailing and the weather ended up just beautiful, sunny, clear skies for the day at Key West(reviewed in port review). We had a fun day at port but probably won't return to Key West.
*What we loved*-
-Staterooms- We booked a rate where they chose the room for us and got R246 all the way at the end(AFT) on the Riviera Deck. We loved this location- So quiet!! Our stateroom attendant was fantastic! We even went to Guest Services to let them know! Now since this is our first cruise I don't know what the norm is, but he was great! Offered us fresh pool towels, filled the ice container, left towel animals and super friendly. The beds were super comfy and we were all impressed with the layout and space.
-The Food- It was great and always available. Loved the 24 hour ice cream and late night buffets. We ate mainly in the Sea View & Poolside buffets they were great and satisfied all. The lines were long for lunch the first day but not bad after that and on "elegant night" non-existent. We did get room service one night too and that was good as well.
-The Water Slides- What fun! The big yellow one was only open the day at sea because of high winds from the hurricane but that was OK because it wasn't that great anyway. The smaller blue ones were a blast, the kids(and I) loved them.
-The Pool (AT NIGHT)- Loved the pool at night, it was empty! We had the pool all to ourselves 2 nights, it was so much fun. I"ll cover the pool during the day below.
-The Photo opportunities. While the photos were expensive the kids loved getting their picture taken and we did leave with 2 great 8X10 photos.
-The Ecstasy Dining room- We only ate here the first night, we had the 6:00pm seating. Service was slow, my daughter ordered a lemonade when we sat down and didn't get it till she was 1/2 through her entree. The food was good but it just took too long and we didn't want to dress up so we stuck with the buffet the rest of the cruise.
-The Pool(DURING THE DAY) It was like mid-life crises spring break combo girls/granny gone wild. Seriously just icky. On day at sea people were really drunk, like fall in the pool with an 8.00 drink and not even care drunk. The hairy chest contest held at the pool at 1:30 with plenty of kids around was R-rated. People and kids would go to use the shower and everyone would hoot and holler, even at the children, it was gross. We learned to avoid the pool during the day but were really disappointed that on a ship with so few activities the atmosphere wasn't controlled better. But we didn't let it ruin our fun, we just avoided it.
-Lack of family activities-
There just wasn't a whole lot to do. We did enjoy the towel animal folding class and family friendly comedy show though. But besides that they didn't offer much. We made the best of it though and made our own fun, but it would've been nice to have some activities offered for families to enjoy together.
Overall we had a great time!! There were ups and downs but we didn't let the downs ruin our trip. Not sure if we'll cruise Carnival again though, maybe on a different ship. We're currently booking a Disney Magic 4 night cruise for this spring, because we think it'll be a better fit for our family.