We are family of 4 with 2 daughters aged 4 and 6. Last year we cruised Alaska with Carnival Spirit and had an amazing time. The girls loved kids club, we couldn't get them off the boat at ports and found that kids club was educational, teaching them about the animals of the region. We also found the food in the dining room to be great and struggled to choose each night between a range of delicious meals. We had a balcony room on the Spirit which meant that we had a queen sized bed while the girls had bunks nearby - this was a fairly good sleeping arrangement for us. This year we sailed the Baltics with NCL as we got a really good deal. We found that there were positives and negatives with the kids club. Positive - NCL kids club are open all evening, Carnival shut between 6pm and 7:30pm most nights. This meant that with Carnival we ate with the kids, while on NCL we picked them up, fed them in the kids cafe (a wonderful thing, the seating for just families), and dropped them back to kids club while we had dinner in peace. Negative - there was no educational content on NCL. They had a pirate night, but really I thought something like a viking night may have been more appropriate given we were in the viking area of the world. We were in places with so much history, but NCL was mainly focused on commercial activities such as Blues Clues and Dora. Negative - my kids often didn't want to go to kids club, it definitely didn't hold them like the Carnival one did (where they'd cry all the way up the hall because we'd pulled them out). Negative - NCL charge for kids on Port days while on Carnival it was free. The food in the NCL main dining room was also average. Most nights I struggled to find something I wanted to eat and then it was pretty bland. Carnival did much better there. We tried Mamas and found it to be not worth the cover charge. We tried Le Bistro and found it to be quite nice, but our favorite restaurant was Chin Chin - the asian was great. It's a pity we didn't discover this early in the cruise as there was a lot on the menu that appealed. The pools were better on NCL in that they were heated to around 31 degrees which is what you need in the Baltics as it was generally quite cool on deck. The pools were much cooler and less tempting on the Carnival Spirit. The oceanview room on the NCL had great storage, I was able to fit all our clothes into the spaces provided, while really struggled on the Spirit. However the beds were 2 singles with a trundle popped up in between and a bunk above one of the singles - a bit squishy. That said, it wasn't a balcony room like we had on the Spirit. I don't think we'd try to squeeze the 4 of us into an oceanview room again.The bathroom on NCL was better with sliding doors to turn it into a separate toilet, vanity and shower. On Carnival it was just one room. The separation was much better for our family. We loved the ports and enjoyed our seadays. The cruise was great, and we met lots of nice people.
Oceanview cabin 8554 - great cupboard space, loved the 3 way bathroom, bedding cramped with 3 beds across wall taking up entire room, hallway quiet, handy to elevators without being too close to the stairs (where kids sometimes were gathering), obstructed view, but still OK.