We were a group of 19 grandparents, parents and grandchildren taking our first cruise together. We chose Carnival for their family friendly reputation. We chose the eastern Carribean cruise but Carnival had to cancel it and substitute a western Caribbean cruise on our chosen date which we couldn't alter. They offered a $100 per cabin on board credit which we were allowed to convert to actual cash back at the end of the cruise. They didn't mention that option until the last day so most of our group spent theirs on board. Anyway, we enjoyed the flexible dining arrangements and the cuisine very much. They had all kinds of options for children and adults served at many locations on two different decks; some of them we had never before tasted. The barbecued ribs and lobster were my favorites. Other than the first day when everyone was trying to eat lunch at once, there was adequate dining room around the outer lido (10th) deck with views of the ocean so that we could all sit near each other. We enjoyed the table staff who served us every evening and learned our names and shared their stories with us in the more formal dining rooms and we liked dressing up for the two formal dining suppers there as well. We also pretty much loved singing and dancing to the brief 'Showtime!' entertainment in the dining room every night toward the end of the dinners. All of the other staff we met were friendly and interested in us.
Cabin arrangements were very good for our family groups of three, but the provided crib was too small for our two year old grandson so they had to move him to the big bed and his dad wound up sleeping on the hard couch. One of our cabins for four had a pull down bunk bed with two levels which is necessary to comfortably sleep a family of four. The storage cabinets provided had a surprising amount of space which was mostly adequate and the restroom/ shower area was comfortable to use. Thanks to our lovely and talented travel agent, we were all near each other on forward deck 8 and liked that part a lot. Our cabins each had balcony access which provided beautiful views of the ocean and some fine relaxation. One balcony even had a door to the adjoining balcony and the staff member opened and fastened it so we could share the experience with one of our other families next door. By the way we would rate overall cleanliness as excellent!
Our kids loved the water park with its two large tube slides, etc. rope course, workout equipment, sport court, and sky ride with its pedaled gondolas suspended over the upper deck. We also used the two pools (but swim diapers were not allowed) and the hot tub. Some of the other activities and entertainment we liked but some not so much, as might be expected. They all seemed professionally done, though. We used the indoor IMAX theater to watch Avatar 2 and the outdoor theater with its lounge chairs to watch Wakanda. Our adults played Skull King and Blackjack around a large table in the dining area at night after the kids were asleep. We did use the children's activity rooms for a little while on a couple of occasions but they weren't quite as immersive or exciting for our children as we had hoped. We felt And there were other venues we didn't use.