Hopefully you will find this to be a balanced fairly objective review and helpful if you have a family with young children.
We are first time cruisers and often take the kids on all inclusive or vacation rental trips. Kid-friendly places mean we get a break too. So, I will start with how our ship met/didn't meet the needs of our family.
We had cabin 7259, an Ocean Suite King with a really nice queen sofa bed. The bedding is wonderful and comfortable. The balcony is a bit larger but more like a regular hotel balcony not all that large and tough to negotiate around the door. The vanity and bathroom are wonderful and the kids loved the jacuzzi hot tub for a warm bath before bed. It is a great choice for families who have children that will share a bed. They play some decent movies in the room that change each day.
Room: 5 stars based on expectations
One of the tough things with kids this age is not losing them on the ship. Kids don't have much room to run without losing site of them. So be prepared to corral constantly or lose a kid. So Camp Carnival comes in really handy. Our kids loved it for about 4 -5 hours per day. Be aware, they close everyday from 4-5pm. We definitely used it every night at dinner time. They take the kids together for dinner and you can start your date nights early. Just to be sure to ask what they are having. If your kids are picky, then you may want to feed them before hand and drop them off. We never used it after the standard hours up to 10:00pm. Our kids really liked the whole experience.
Camp Carnival: 5 stars
Breakfast for room service was great if you don't need a hot breakfast. Our kids woke up hungry and the food always arrived within the 15 minute window we gave.
Our steward Eddy was very prompt with all of our housekeeping services and we rarely saw him as he was always a step ahead.
Room service and housekeeping: 4 stars
Random comment:, some of the earlier complaints about the decor a bit ridiculous. It's a hotel on water. It's the fun ship!
By far, the best food experience was the Prime Steak House. It was fantastic! We live near San Francisco and have so many great restaurants. This held its own. Great ahi tartare, lobster bisque, filet, cheesecakes etc. our compliments to the chef and I may get this wrong - Roney.
Dining room was good half the time. Lobster, steak and great soups! At other times, not so good. We did anytime dining. Later dinners not so great. Hostesses were very nice and friendly. The first night my daughter was dying for a hamburger on CA time and the kitchen had closed. They found a way to accommodate us and we were so grateful. They remembered us every night, even without the kids, as the hamburger family.
We ate breakfast once in the dining room. Good but not great.
Be advised that there are so many nationalities working on the ship. Many Indonesians were wonderfully happy to see you happy. We had been to several of their villages so it probably helped us to get to know them. On the other hand, lots of eastern European help that did give us lots of attitude frequently. See some of the other reviews regarding unfriendly service. It's true!
Restaurants: 3 stars
We had entertainment experiences every night. The Superstar show is fun, Timmy Pierce in the Red Frog Pub is wonderful and fun, the juggler is great and the big magic show great because of singers and dancers, but magician not so much.
Entertainment: 4 stars. Only negative is that it is tough to negotiate a dinner past 7pm, make a show and get your kids to bed. Carnival should have the early shows earlier so you can go BEFORE dinner vs rushing to go after dinner.
Plan your time and expect things to slip and slide and find the next alternative. We really had a hard time at the early evening dinner/ entertainment time.
I can't rate this section without commenting on the cruise director. My only comment is that he comes across as disingenuous. Having lots of experience with Brits, sadly this is not an excuse. It's a personal presence issue.
Entertainment: 3 stars
Pool and hot tubs were at times cool. So, on our windy days at sea, the water slides and rope courses were closed. Hot tubs are just warm. kids loved the mini golf!
We did our own excursions. By far the best was the Jean LaFitte Pirate and Snorkel trip in Cozumel. The Moby Dick Sting Ray City tour in Grand Cayman over-rated.
Summary: fun, but not enough to convert me to be a cruiser.