I will break my review based on the different categories:
Embarkation and Debarkment: I thought embarkment was a little long based on cruising on Royal Caribbean before but the carnival staff were so nice and wonderful to talk to as we went through the lines. We had three different rooms with some of our children in them and they were very accommodating as they figured out the sign and sail cards for each room. The disembarkment was wonderful. It went VERY quickly and we were able to stay in our room. Our room steward gave me extra tags and had the kids bring their luggage to our room so we could all collect our luggage at the same time.
Public Rooms: They were all tastefully decorated but not totally eyecatching either. My kids LOVED these areas but it wasn't quite as wonderful for us being experienced cruisers. I did think the paintings that were everywhere for the auction did add a nice touch.
Cabin: I loved our cabin and having a balcony this time around was wonderful. I know some people say it isn't worth it since you aren't in your room much but I would get up really early in my PJ's and sit on the balcony. The first morning the sun rose right outside our balcony and it was absolutely the MOST BEAUTIFUL thing. The money for it was worth it just for that sunrise. I did not like the fact that on either side of me there was smokers so sometimes when I was out there we had to come back in because of smoke being blown in our faces. Our room was always kept clean and our room steward was quick to figure out how much water I drank and would leave me a big thing of water each day. The kids LOVED the towel animals!
DINING: I was extremely impressed with our dining staff. We had the kids with us some nights and some nights they went to Camp Carnival. The staff REALLY catered to them and sent a magician to our table one night, they danced with my son two nights and taught them toothpick and fork tricks another night. The food was wonderful and they quickly honed into our love for seafood and would bring extra entrees or special desserts that we loved (Creme Brulee). We went to the Emerald Room and paid the extra that night and it was WELL worth the extra money. The wine waiter there was EXTREMELY competent and did a wonderful job with drink choices!!!!!!!
Camp Carnival: I've read a few reviews where people did not send their kids and they missed out! My kids(Age 8,10,11) LOVED Camp Carnival and it is the reason we are booking another cruise on Carnival. At first they did not go often because of not knowing anyone but then as they got to know the other kids they picked hanging out there over doing things with us. We got lots of alone time as well as time with the kids. They BEGGED to go the Pajama party that lasted to 3:30am one night and they had a great time. The counselors walked them back to their rooms after it was over.
EXCURSIONS: I did not really like Key West but snorkeling in Belize on the little deserted island was SO Beautiful and so fun. It was a little crowded and I wish we were in that port longer but we loved it. We went to Passion Island in Cozumel and loved that also. The guides were great and I could have stayed there 8 more hours. The free buffet was out of this world and the pictures with the monkey lit up my kids faces. We went to Progreso next and all my friends told me not to even get off the boat but I LOVED this port. It was ugly and not commercialized but had the BEST shopping in the open market and the people were so BEAUTIFUL in their untainted way. You can go to the Corona Beach and have free drinks. It rained that day and the kids Still loved it!
NEGATIVES: I will say the one negative that we experienced was drinking, Very Drunk partying college kids on a spring break week. There were people beer bonging heavily on the days at sea and it was loud and obnoxious. The first day we found ourselves beside them because of all the chairs being taken but the next at sea day we got up to watch the sun come up and got better chairs to get away from it. We have decided to pick a more off season time for our next cruise and take the kids out of school. This was not Carnival's fault though but just a word to families traveling with kids. Overall it was a wonderful experience and there was WAY more to do on a Carnival ship than there was on the Royal Carribean ship we went on the last time. It was great for romance and fun with our kids!