We have previously done 2 cruises on Carnival Legend so that is the only other ship I have to compare to.
Before going I had read some of the not-so-great reviews and was prepared for a very mediocre cruise but I have to say we were all pleasantly surprised and had a really fun holiday. Overall I found Carnival and P&O to be comparable. Some things Carnival did better (service, cleanliness), some things P&O did better (decor, entertainment) and some things were on a par (food, cabins). If we were booking again I would probably choose Eden over Legend.
We were a family of 5 with kids aged 13, 10 and 6 and did an 8 night cruise to the South Pacific.
Overall decor and layout - very good. Loved all the small spaces. In the evening you could walk from one small bar to another and there would be live music going on in each. The public spaces are beautifully decorated. Love the feel of the Lido deck with its striped deck chairs. Only let down was the adults area which has almost no shade and just wasn't that nice to hang out in.
Cabin - we had an inside on deck 4 as we wanted a cheap option. We had a few rough days and were very glad that we were low and midships as the movement didn't bother us at all while many others were looking very green. Cabin was clean, a good size and bathroom very good. We had a shower, not a shower over the bath so that was good. The cabin steward was lovely but service definitely a step down from Carnival. However it was still adequate and didn't detract from our cruise at all.
Food - a very nice surprise. We ate in all the venues so I'll describe each.
Pantry - loved this concept and found the food excellent. We ate there every breakfast, most lunches and two dinners. All were delicious. I don't think I had a bad meal. Healthy and diverse options. Particularly liked the Indian, the salads and the sandwiches at lunch. Also loved all the fresh tropical fruit available at every meal. In 8 days I didn't get to try all the options. No burgers, pies or pizzas so that might be an issue if that is what you like. My kids missed these but they are not fussy eaters and were very happy with the other options. There was a bit of a weird smell at times in the Pantry and the seating was in short supply. We carried our food outside to eat on the back deck or on the pool deck...much nicer out there.
Waterfront - ate there for two lunches and one dinner. Food was very good. Have the chicken pho as a main for lunch if you are looking for a lighter option. So tasty. Lots of seafood on the menu the night we ate there. Decor is lovely and light. Service was ok but not like Carnival. My order was mixed up on 2 out of 3 occasions but fixed quickly. Didn't detract from my experience but didn't enhance it either. Wish we had eaten there more.
Angelos - my favourite. Loved the decor, the food and the service. We tried both menus and both were very good. Was hard to choose as all options looked good. I found the serving sizes to be just right but if you have a big appetite you can easily order more than one main and a few sides. They won't mind at all.
Salt Grill - went for my son's birthday. Food was delicious but too heavy for me. Probably should have just gone to Angelos again. Lovely service though. For me I didn't think it was worth the extra money.
Dragon Lady - I really did not like it here but it was my kid's favourite so go figure. We ate here twice. I had the worst meal I think I have ever had on a cruise ship there. I ordered the vegetable noodles and got a plate of noodles. No vegetables. That was the main. Just noodles and sauce. Entree also bad. A plain chicken tenderloin sitting on a pikelet. No sauce. Yuk. Service was lovely though. They noticed I was unhappy and brought me something else. My kids had the sushi and the beef short rib and loved them. I will say the desserts were very good. Best of the cruise. Decor looks lovely but I found the combination of the dark interior and small booths and the movement of the boat made me feel a bit ill.
Gym - so good! Great size for the size of the boat. Able to get on the cardio machines even in peak hour (7-8.30am). Very clean and well-laid out with a great view. Staff were very friendly. Weights area also excellent. I saw boot camp going on and there were only 3 people doing it so that would have been excellent value. Basically personal training.
Entertainment - I enjoyed the shows by the Pacific Performers. Much, much better than Carnival. The live music was also great. Loved the Soul Music evening particularly. No kids comedy like on Carnival which was a shame. We love trivia but found it was at awkward times and in venues that were too small so we hardly did any this cruise. I was in the cabin with my 6 year old so unfortunately missed the white party and bianco night as they were on after her bed time but they sounded like they were a lot of fun and lots of people were dressed up.
Tendering - excellent. We like to get off early and were on the first or second tenders each day. No waiting whatsoever. Couldn't fault it. Not sure what the wait was like later in the day.
The Edge - we had lots of OBC so used it to buy gold passes for our kids. They loved it. Not sure if we would have bought it if we didn't have the OBC but they definitely got good value for money. Took a few days for us to get the booking system figured out then smooth sailing. Some days things were cancelled due to wind but they ended up being repeated later in the cruise. Kids' favourites were the flying fox, walk the plank, abseiling and laser tag. Staff were lovely.
Kids club - very good. Much better than Carnival. All 3 kids loved it. Had to drag them out of there to spend time with us. The kids events were also good. There was a kids bianco party, kids great gatsby party and kids karaoke. Particularly loved the kids talent show on the last day. So, so cute! My teen had a great time and the older teens also seemed very happy. All kids were well-behaved throughout the whole cruise. There are kids security guards (female) who monitor pool safety and make sure the kids stay safe and don't misbehave.
Downsides - NOT ENOUGH SHADE! This is Australia not England and most of us don't want to bake ourselves all day. They really need to sort this out. In the end we found some shady deck chairs on Deck 6 and also in a little 'secret' area at the back of deck 9 under the Oasis. Otherwise we camped out on 2 of the few shady deck chairs on the lido deck and stayed put so we didn't lose them. If you didn't get in by 8am you wouldn't get a shady chair.
Also didn't love the Cruise Director. She wasn't around much. At one event I was at it was very rough. A poor boy in the front row threw up everywhere and all over his dad. The dad was freaking out and didn't know what to do. Instead of helping him she started dry retching (please, you work on a cruise, surely you have seen people vomiting before) and then she made a joke of it and continued the event. She left the poor man to deal with it on his own with 2 young kids. Quite a few other people started throwing up too from the smell and she still didn't stop and ask the crew to help. In the end one of the other passengers stepped in to sort it out and help them back to their rooms. So unprofessional and cruel of her. I was dumbfounded.
Disembarkation was also not great. We were almost 2 hours late getting back in to port due to bad weather. So that was no ones fault but it meant that it was mayhem in all the waiting areas and there were no announcements to let us know what was happening. We couldn't hear anything and everyone was worried that they had missed their number. Made for needless stress.
Other than that it was a great trip. Islands were gorgeous as always. Just wish it didn't have to end.