Embarkation: Embarkation was very smooth. We were checked in quickly. Our room was available yet - they close off the rooms until 1:30 pm. So we had a leisurely lunch and then stopped by the room. Debarkation was very smooth as well. We chose the traditional method and was still off the ship by 8:30.
Dining: Dining was the biggest disappointment of the entire cruise. Where to begin? First night it took over two hours to eat - we didn't get anything for 45 minutes, not even bread. It was bad. The rest of trip the speed picked up, but... one of the waiters could barely speak English - we would point to the menu and he would still get the order wrong. We didn't dare ask for additional food based on the speed of the first night - we'd be eating dinner and breakfast at the same sitting. Once the food did arrive it was mostly bad with okay by exception. I think the cruise ships have reached their size limits - they just cannot serve 4500 people with anything better than More
dorm food. Outside the dining room, the buffet food was even worse. In contrast, (except for the omelets) food that was prepared specifically for you was very good - that is the pasta bar, pizza, hamburgers. They were consistently the best meals we had. Back to omelets, they would overcook them until dark brown - I know they want to make sure the eggs are cooked but come on. We did not try the steakhouse, based on the quality of the rest of the dining, I didn't dare spend an extra $30 a person.
Cabin: Cabin was great. Good size. Even with the twins pushed together there was still room to walk around the bed. Bath was good size with a toilet that could act flush more than one piece of toilet paper at a time. Seventh floor is the place to be - it is next to impossible to get an elevator, so be ready to climb stairs. Being in the middle really helped ease the pain. Minor point but they have just shampoo in the dispenser in the shower - they need have a combo shampoo & conditioner.
Service: Besides the challenges of the dining room already mentioned, service was great. The room staff was good and all other encounters with ship's staff was very professional.
Fitness & Recreation: Didn't use - Carnival charges extra for everything, so stuck to eating and drinking.
Shore Excursions: Did shore excursions in St Thomas and St Martin - both worked out well. Our original choice in St Thomas was cancelled because of weather, we still had a great time going to Megan's Beach. We took a tour of St Martin and jus went to beach by the town - highly recommend. Based on a travel book's recommendation we ate lunch at Antoine's - it's a little further down the boardwalk, but worth the walk - delicious.
Enrichment: Skipped the shows. Enjoy the various bands - good variety. Not enough activities for the sea days. Fortunately the weather was good - but could easily get really tough on a bad weather day.
Value for Money: Average.
Overall: We had a good time since we had good family time - but I would not go on this ship again. I expect more than just okay food for the money we paid. Less