Just got back from our cruise out of new orleans on the ecstasy 7 night to jamaica, cayman, and cozumel. My only other cruise experience was with my then 20 yr old daughter two years ago on the destiny, same port.
We had a great time as we had hoped, spent too much time in the casino, but with my lady friend hitting a 450 jackpot and me a 1000 jackpot on keno machine and doing ok at the tables, I can't complain too much about the need for more of the newer video machines.
We played bingo which imho is overpriced for the amount of 'playing' you get. $10 for 1 card/20 for 3 is in line with the drink prices I guess. Again, I can't complain because my lady friend won the first $500 game and gambled all week on carnival money. I guess they need to set the price that high for the cruise drawing for bingo players at the end of the cruise. (we didn't win that..) My only complaint about the casino(and this goes for any sitting areas), is I wish I had a sign on the back of my hat that said "no thank you, i don't need a drink"). I understand they need to sell drinks to probably make a profit on the cruise, but jeez, being asked every 5 minutes or less got a little irritating. The waitresses were nice in they way they asked and i'm sure probably got sick of asking, but just a little less would be nice.
My expectations were met at all levels.
Room size was the ok, as expected, adequate, beds were comfy enough and bath served its purpose. All you do in the room is do clothing changes, shower, sleep when you have time. Not the ritz but the room service people must be ninja's because I never say them. We'd leave and come back to a cleaned room with towel animal. Leave again for less than an hour sometimes and they had the covers pulled back and 2 pieces of candy. Like I say, never saw them, but great service!
Main dining room food was excellant! Our head waiter, Louis,( and I just can't say enough about him and the assistants) made our dinners memorable. I'll say that what they may call the entre on the menu may not exactly be what you'd expect, it was still usually delicious. Louis usually brought us 2 choices anyway, he was a mind reader. Melting cake! As I remembered (drooling). I'm trying to think of any restaurant that i've been to where you are treated as well and I just can't think of one, high priced or not, where i've been treated so well. Restaurants in the states should take note. I would value the main dining at a $50+ meal depending, so lets just say food alone damn near pays for the trip. Yeah, the buffet food is more like ponderosa (ryan's, insert name here). Ok, some interestingly good, some not so much. The lido deck with hamburgers/etc was decent enough for a snack. I'll praise the deli/pizza counter for giving us pizza 24/7. Excellent pastrami sammich! Pizza was consistantly good, even at 4am.
Food, we thought it was above our expectations, we both probably gained 5pnds, 'nough said.
Entertainment was good enough, 'adult' comedy was as expected, we had some good laughs. I find it interesting that there is an art auction onboard. I actually bought some pictures which I find even more interesting. We'll see if I'm as pleased when they arrive in 'less than 10 weeks'..LOL
We didn't experience any bad attitude carnival people. Everyone seemed more the eager to please.
We booked our excursions online outside of carnival so we saved some $$.
Plenty to do at any port, I recommend the rays with snorkling at caymen, we just went to private all inclusive in jamaica, public in cozumel (do the paragliding if you've never done it!), wish the ships would spend an overnight in the ports so we could get more inland time.
If you're old and expect more, cruise the holland lines like my 76 yr old mother does. If you can't afford the $9 drinks, buy some rum runners and smuggle in your booze, bring your cokes, refill your 'container' at port and have fun!!