My wife and I had been on this ship in September and it was one of our best cruises. We booked a balcony cabin on deck 10. Some are concerned about the noise from the LIdo deck when you book in this location, but we didn't find it to be a problem on this cruise or the last (on the same deck).
Last cruise on the Valor in September, we never made it to the main dining room, but we made a point of going this time and we were very satisfied. The food was great and the service on the spot. We did get a free steak house selection as a thank you and we opted for the surf and turf (we actually paid for this through my wife's "donations" in the casino). The buffet was standard Carnival, nothing to write home about, but good. The fried chicken was the only negative but far outweighed by the Bar-B-Que.
Our overall experience was excellent the first cruise on this vessel and got even better this time.. We specifically boarded this ship hoping the musical entertainment still included the band "Deep Blue Soul", and we were not disappointed. Lucca and Kiara, along with the band, remains the best entertainment I have ever seen on a Carnival ship. Not only did the band entertain every night in the Red Frog Pub, but they provided the musical support for the show in the big theater as well. Unfortunately, they are leaving the ship at the end of February and going their separate ways.
Once again, this band made our trip what it was.
The ship has some age, so if you are looking for defects, you will find them, but overall, the ship is clean throughout.
The staff met our expectations. Courteous and responsive to our needs. Smiles seem to be the norm and somehow they remember our names. We had several members of the crew, admittedly bar staff and band members, who remembered us from the last cruise. We hope that was a good thing.
We did not participate in shore excursions past shopping on our own. The ship is the destination for us any time we cruise.
Our cabin steward met us the first day, asked us how we wanted him to provide service for our cabin and he stuck to the plan. The cabin was clean and smelled fresh. The air conditioner worked fine, but I did have some friends cruising with us that had issues with the air conditioner in their cabin. We found the 10th deck to provide easy access to the Lido and it's bars, the pools, and the serenity deck.
Traffic getting to the port is a little hard to deal with., but once you get to the ship, everything flows smoothing and it takes little time to be on the ship and having fun.