Background: This was our fourth Carnival cruise, and we have also cruised with Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. We are a family of four - mom, dad, two teenagers. After reading all the reviews, our expectations weren't that high, but don't believe all the negative comments you read here - we had a great cruise!
Embarkation: We had hoped to be able to purchase Faster to the Fun, but although we checked obsessively, it was sold out. It didn't matter at all - the only time we could have used it was to deal with Guest Services as there was always a huge line. Embarkation was a breeze - we were laying out on deck chairs by noon having arrived at 10:45.
Food: Guy's Burgers,the Blue Iguana Cantina and the Deli were family lunch favourites, and we were always satisfied with the evening food in the main dining room. One night we visited the steakhouse, and found it to be well worth the additional charge - best meal of the cruise for sure! We did not get the Cheers package, and it wouldn't have been worth it for our family, although we did get the "middle" wine package, and would do that again. One of us got the Bottomless Bubbles, and got drinks for the others as needed, although technically that was a no-no! We had Your Time Dining, and had to wait for a table two nights, but no longer than 20 minutes each time. The other nights we just walked right in. Our dining team was excellent - Roberto, Ruben, Randall and Raquel. We enjoyed them so much the first night, we requested them every night, and they learned our names quickly, and even brought the teens mac and cheese when it was not offered as a side dish on the menu. They were also great to chat with, and provided excellent service. We would recommend dropping by the Taste Bar on the nights it is offered (Deck 5). We found the pizza and fish and chips to be just ok.