This was our 4th cruise with Carnival and will probably be the last. We had a really nice time and enjoyed seeing the Panama Canal, certainly a bucket list trip. We traveled with another line last year and did notice the difference in food and entertainment when we returned to Carnival.
Trying to board the ship in Ft Lauderdale was a very poor experience. The entire set up was like a cattle drive in a warehouse setting. Once we were on board we were very happy with our cabin, which was ready and our luggage arrived very quickly. Excellent service by our room steward and the ship overall is in outstanding condition and was spotless at all times. I agree with other comments on the strange decor of the ship - snake skins and statue of liberty make a strange combination. However, the ship is in outstanding condition and the crew does an excellent job with the maintenance.
The dining room service at dinner was very slow, food was a disappointment. Most nights there wasn't a featured item on the menu, nothing that you felt you had to have. It was surprising to see the comfort food on the menu but given the number of children, it made sense. However, there wasn't a lot for adults that wanted something besides fried chicken. During the day, the buffets were very crowded.
Because of the distance to Panama we had an extra day at sea, which we love. The pools were over crowded and there isn't anywhere to get out of the sun. We found the Serenity Deck the first day and it was perfect but we headed up early the other days to be sure get a spot. The service on Serenity deck from the bar staff was great. Having the ability to eat a sandwich or salad took care of lunch. We did use room service at lunch and it was very prompt.
The entertainment was typical Carnival fare. Many of the other lines have upgraded to Cirque style shows but Carnival has not yet invested in this. We did like the movies on the deck. There wasn't much going on as far as enrichment. The one food demonstration we tried to attend was filled early.
Overall, cruising is always a great vacation. We relaxed and enjoyed the service and sailing. Given the cost of a balcony room, we will be trying other lines in the future.