I've been on three cruises so far: 1 on Princess, 1 on Royal Caribbean, and this one. I would rank this as my least favorite out of the three. I was traveling with my parents and younger brother.
ROOM: The embarkation process was smooth and we got on the ship in about an hour (there were many people in line). We went straight to our rooms, on the Empress deck (#7). My room had two twin beds and was overall nice and neat. The bathroom was a little less neat, with mold on the mirror. But that didn't bother me. What did bother me, however, was the lack of sleep I got on all three nights because of the random clanking noises that could be heard. I have no idea where it came from; from the window, it sounded like it was coming from outside, but from the bathroom, it sounded like it was coming from either below us or above us. Now, our room was right under one of the dining rooms, and we could hear the occasional chair scrape, but this was much louder and occurred when the dining hall was not in use. It sounded like when you put shoes in the dryer or like if someone left a metal cart by itself with wheels, and it was rolling back and forth hitting the walls. Its hard to describe but I could only get sleep after we had docked at our port in Mexico (the first night) and only after we docked back in Long Beach (on the 3rd night). Now, the ship was completely full, so asking for another room, would have been pointless. I would suggest not staying on this part of the ship. The other times I've cruised, I've stayed more in the front and didn't have any problems. RATING: 8/10 for cleanliness; 4/10 for being able to sleep
DINING: I must say that, to me, one of the cool things about cruising is eating all the food! :) Well, the food on this ship is not to be desired. The food in the dining room was, well, mediocre at best. The worst thing I had at dinner was a steak that was about 50% meat and 50% fat. There was seriously a glob of fat in the middle of my steak. As for the other places to eat on board, I must recommend the Paris restaurant on Deck 10. While most of the food there is also mediocre, in the back, they have a 24 hour Pizza Bar that was very good! It was some of the best tasting pizza I've had in a long time and it was open 24 hours! My brother and I went there many times during the day and night to get pizza. Also, they had the frozen yogurt machine going (vanilla, chocolate, and swirl) and that was also very good. In terms of the actual food in the buffet line, it was okay at best although on the last day, they did serve some good fried chicken. We ordered room service once, and never again. The only thing that they have is sandwiches; I ordered a pastrami one and once again, it was all fat in the meat. We ordered the dessert of "assorted cookies and brownies" and we got served four random cookies (I didn't even know what flavor they were) and NO brownies. On other cruises, they've had better room service. RATING: Dining Room: 4/10, Paris Restaurant 6/10, Room Service 2/10
SHOWS/ACTIVITIES: The miniature golf area on top of the ship is fun to do. I also played bingo but was disappointed in it. On the first two days, there was only one session of bingo each day, with only one game played. On the other cruises I've taken, they play multiple times a day and play multiple games each session. The shows at night were fun to watch. The Carnival dancers did a country-themed show and a 50's era show. Both were good and the singers in each were really good. RATING: Activities 6/10
All in all, I wasn't impressed with this cruise. The staff was nice but with the noises in our stateroom and the lame food, I would probably be more careful in booking with Carnival in the future, but I wouldn't rule them out altogether.
Bathroom is a little gross but the other portions are clean. The noise level is horrible! Whether from the dining room above, or the anchors outside, be prepared to not get any sleep! Upside is that it is close to the lobby (on the same floor) and just up the nearest stairs is the dining room and above that is the Paris restaurant.