Let me start by saying this was our 8th cruise with Carnival. We booked this one because the dates worked for us and our friends who flew down from NYC to sail with us. It was our 25th wedding anniversary.
First let me state the pros.
Embarkation in Tampa was seamless and quick. We arrived at 11:15am and were on the Lido deck having lunch by 12:10. Valet parking was a great decision. Only $20 more that self park for the week
All crew we encountered from cabin stewards, waiters/waitresses, photographers and entertainers were always going above and beyond to help or answer questions. The Cruise director, Leigh, was phenomenal. Funny as can be and was always visible and available to guests. Many other cruise directors only make themselves available part of the time and do not interact with guests as much as he did.
Ship is easy to navigate and with only 1 restaurant on the 2nd floor you can pretty much go end to end on all floors.
Entertainment was good. Shows were average. Comedians were great.
Debarkation was fairly quick to get off the ship, but once in the terminal (Not Carnival's fault) there were only 2 customs officers for 2 ships with a total of about 5000 people. We grabbed a porter for a $20 tip and we moved faster through he line that everyone carrying their own luggage.
If you have the opportunity do the "Chef's Table". It was a great experience and food was awesome. Different, but awesome.The $78 up charge was well worth it. It includes an 8 course meal, wine, appetizers and tour of the galley.
Now the Cons:
Food was mediocre at best. Dining room food was edible and some items were good. Buffet on the Lido was no better. The Pizza Pirate was popular and probably the best item during lunch and late nights. Food quality for the general ship population has substantially decreased over the last couple of years.
We did do Nick/Nora's Steakhouse which on any ship is always a highlight. With an up-charge of $38 person the food was the best yet. I only question why the large up charge as if we are not eating in the dining room they are saving $$ on us there, and I can get a Surf/Turf dinner at a local equivalent quality steakhouse for less that that. But so be it. Food was excellent.( Only reason it's a con is due to the $38 up-charge)
Another con was the Casino. Not big at all and as usual very smokey. You would think by this time if you are making this the only place inside the ship to smoke, there would be a better ventilation system.
As on all ships the signs are there about not saving seats around the pool for more that 30 minutes, yet it is not enforced. People came out at 6am and placed towels and shoes on chairs and didn't return for a couple of hours. Either do not have the sign or enforce it with some teeth. Don't just bark. Of course there is not enough seats for everyone, even up on the upper sun decks.
The final con is just my opinion. This is an older ship and is showing it's age. It was built on 2004 and refurbished in 2015. There is no rhyme or reason for some of the decor but that is just aesthetics.Even thought his ship holds 2100+ people, I think if it is going to continue to be full, they need to upgrade many thing throughout the ship.Otherwise take less guests as many of the corridors in the common areas were narrow and people were stepping all over each other.
Average size. Enough space for what we needed it for. Always clean and tidy.