Next month, we'll sail our 17th on Carnival since 2004. Yeah, there have been changes and cutbacks, but for us, CCL still offers what we are looking for, a budget friendly getaway. While we enjoyed the shows and the "fluff" on our earlier cruises, we are to the point of happiness simply walking around the ship, enjoying the experience that we are fortunate to have. We don't sail for the shows, and dang sure not for the Cruise Director, mints, or robes. We sail for the experience and fun of exploring the ports. It is what you make of it, plain and simple. If you go in thinking you're supposed to be pampered, and it will be like a fairyland tale, then you are setting yourself up for disappointment, regardless of which line you sail with. JMHO.