This is my second cruise, both of which have been on Carnival. Not all things were perfect on this cruise, but a lot of fun was had. After seven days at sea and countless activities, I can't begin to detail everything here; however, I will provide the highs and lows of the trip.
The cove balcony cabins are excellent. The interior of the cabin is larger than average and well appointed. There is a hair dryer installed in the top vanity drawer and several electrical outlets are installed in the cabin and even two in the head (bathroom). There are three closets in the room as well.
The decor of the ship is very nice with muted colors. I am very pleased Carnival has gotten away from the gaudy bright vegas colors.
The staff (especially bartenders, room stewards, and servers in the dining room) were excellent. Taking a few minutes each day to have a conversation with the crew members was fun and they quickly opened up and shared details of their home and families. It also resulted in them giving exceptional service even when they were extremely busy. Jacko, the bartender on lido, poured very strong drinks and would often mix my drink of the day fresh instead of using the premixed mix in the jug. Jolanta, the room steward, was amazingly efficient and always sharing a smile. I set out a bottle of champagne and was surprised to return to find she had gotten a large pale, ice, and two flutes for me. She kept the room spotless. Alaina was my server in the dining room and she was remarkable to watch. She never faltered or lost her smile no matter how many people arrived.
Embarkation and Debarkation are greatly improved on this ship. I never waited more than ten minutes to enter or exit the ship except in the Grand Cayman.
The Captain and deck staff are more visible and out mingling with passengers.
The specialty italian restaurant is excellent for dinner. I highly recommend it.
The large Serenity area with clam shell seats and hammocks. It was very relaxing.
The food was quite varied aboard the ship. They had the Mongolian wok, a seaside bbq that was open on sea days, an italian restaurant that was amazingly good, the steak house, a coffee/pastry shop, pizza, deli, dining rooms, and buffet. Some was great and others average. Nothing stood out to me as being poor quality.
Seaside Theater is a nice idea and it was fun to watch a movie out on the lido deck with popcorn; however, during the morning and parts of the day the cruise director was on screen with the morning show or pushing things to buy with the volume way up. That made the pool area not so relaxing.
When we were in Grand Cayman, we needed to be tendered to shore. This process took a very long time and resulted in long lines and nearly 45 minutes to exit the ship and about an hour to get back onto the ship.
During one shore excursion we were to meet in one of the theaters on the ship to wait to be tendered to shore. Several different excursions also met in the theater and wait until the assistant cruise director would call out the time and excursion. This resulted in people tripping over others while trying to make it to the door to leave for their excursion. I think it would work better to section off the theater in time (830 to the right, 845 center, 9 left, etc) and have all excursions departing the ship at the assigned time exit the ship together.
The crew for the most part were extremely hard workers and were willing to spend a few minutes to chat with you; however, it seems on this ship perhaps there aren't enough workers for the number of passengers. The crew from waitresses to room steward seemed stressed and rushed, but they always were polite and cheerful. They just didn't linger to chat or come by the table to check how the food was as often as on other ships.
Overall the trip was amazing and would definitely recommend the ship. Prior to the trip I had read all of the negative reviews and was concerned; however, I am sure that most of the negative reviews come from the overweight people that you hear complaining while on the ship. One table mate complained that his lobster tail was barely edible, but he ordered five of them through dinner so it couldn't be too bad.