I was really looking forward to this cruise as I had never been on Carnival. I had heard stories and read reviews but thought people were exaggerating. I should have listened and never booked the cruise. Embarkation was speedy and cabin clean. Staff very friendly and always remembered names ... however I really didn’t enjoy the ship, the entertainment, ambience or really the food. Big negative is layout of the ship with being funnelled through the smoky casino to get from the gold pearl dining to the theatre. Other option would be to go down to deck 2 and walk past cabins. I have never before seen a casino take over a whole central area where people transit and there is smoking. This was utterly disgusting and held my breath every time I had to make the transit. To top it off the outside “promenade” deck on deck 3 was not a wrap around deck like other ships was cut off at both ends to cater for restaurants and other public spaces. On the smokers side they were given the benefit of tables and chairs as well as deck chairs, the port side just a few deck chair that get blasted with cold air as people exit to the deck from the foyer. The decor was simply over the top. There was not really anywhere to escape the constant music and announcements other than the half open promendade of deck 3. I felt the ship was very caustraphobic for this reason. There was way too much leading people to the next giveaway, that is what this ship and clientele seem to rely on the hope of a free goodie bag or free excursion. Carnival do well with their lures to attract the crowd.
The food in the dining room was ok the buffet not so great very repetitious. The queue for the Mongolian hot pot was always long and not worth the wait. Movies were repeated and didn’t always run as per program. Although there was enough space on the ship to cater for the 3000 odd guests, the layout and ambience really didn’t work for me. Never again would I choose carnival. Told the ship is headed for Sydney in 2019. Not sure how it will be received there.