We've been cruising since the 1980s when our 4 sons accompanied us. Now we cruise with our grandkids. We've always been happy with Carnival but recent reviews had a lot of complaints about everything from the embarkation process to the food and shows. Much to our relief it turned out that we had nothing to worry about. I'll admit that a previous departure from Long Beach had been one of the longest waits we'd ever experienced, but this experience was easy and relaxed, throughout every step. We had arrived at the port at around 1:30 PM so maybe we missed all of the rush. Every staff person we encountered, both in the terminal and upon boarding the ship, was pleasant and helpful.
The food was quite good in the Gold Pearl Dining Room and service was quick and personal. How do they learn every one's name and preferences so quickly?! Food on the Lido deck ranged from good to OK. Breakfast was our favorite with made-to-order omelette's and anything else you could imagine. My only complaints are that the lines were so long at the Deli sandwich bar and the Mongolian BBQ areas that I never actually ate there because the wait was too long. The lines for all of the other food areas were quite reasonable. Amazingly, even with 3700 passengers aboard, we were always able to find a table with a minimum of searching.
We found the evening shows to be great entertainment. The singers and dancers are fantastic. They seem to have a new system with comedians as they were never booked into the main showroom but instead had a separate, small & intimate lounge for their shows. This better, more suitable environment made for a better show overall.
All in all all 4 of us had a great time. Gramps and I are in our 60s and the grandkids are 11 and 13. They absolutely LOVED the kids programs.