OK, three cruises with two more coming in the next few months doesn't make me an expert... and yet I have seen some vast differences that were extremely visible on this cruise that I debarked from today.
This cruise was on the Carnival Conquest (my first Carnival cruise).
On the plus side, the room was nice. We always travel internal cabins (hey, why spend the extra money when your not sitting in the room anyway). The room was larger than those experienced on Norwegian or R.C., and it was a very nice comfortable room.
The food was better than I had heard about Carnival; and as cruise critic had pointed out, the sea food upstairs was was wonderful (the oysters were great), and the Monet dining room was always good. The buffet was tasty enough, though not as extensive as I the RC Monarch was (nor my Alaskan trip on Norwegian).
The real let-down was the entertainment. Two nights had no show at all, and two three more were just their own dancers (and to be honest, I'm sure they were good, but it seemed like I was watching some sort of 70's Vegas show; big numbers and hokey costumes, and no real plot or interest). The comedians at the punchline were good enough if drunk, but just not really that funny.
It was a great cruise, and I'm looking forward to November on the Triumph, and January on the Magic... Jamaica was great, as was Cozumel and the Cayman Islands, and considering we had rough seas from Tropical Storm Lee, it was a smooth cruise; definitely a good time, but when you have three sea days on a seven day cruise, the on-board life needs to be stepped up a few notches.