This was our 13th cruise - our third on Carnival. We chose this cruise because of the price, the timing, the embarkation port, and the itinerary - three days in Bermuda.
We were very impressed by the way Carnival made note of the 10th anniversary of September 11 - not only did they gain permission to delay sailing and, in fact, brought the ship to a dead stop just off of Manhattan, so that we might pay our respects at Ground Zero at twilight, but they brought on a bagpiper to play appropriate musical selections as we were alongside. It was a moving experience, marred only by the loudly-inappropriate NYC-based family who kept prattling on with inane discussions about anything but the topic at hand, as they kept elbowing me and my husband at railside.
We had an extended balcony cabin, forward midship portside, Empress deck. It was a spacious room, tastefully decorated. My husband missed having a second row of drawers on one side of the vanity, which was taken up by the minibar/fridge. I appreciated having a third closet with deep shelves for storage. This was our first balcony stateroom and, while I enjoyed being able to sit outside quietly reading a book from time to time or watch the sunset, we suspect our cabin choices in the future won't be bound by the experience. The "Carnival Comfort Beds" are a little soft for our tastes -- but then again, we prefer firmer mattresses.