I wholehartedly disagree with the last comment. You get what you pay for, and having sailed Carnival 3 times, will never do it again. The staff doesn't care about the passengers, and just read some of the reviews on the Carnival Spirit April 21st cruise. We were on the previous cruise, April 4th, and started complaining about the problems they subsequently had. We were offered 2 free drinks the the 1st time we called , got a letter the 2nd time, and had the phone hung up on us the 3rd time. Trust me when I say we can speak from experience, RCL is the way to go.
My comment was to take the cheapest. If it is Carnival just enjoy the cruise and have a good time. I also said that by starting with the cheapest your other cruises will also get better by working your way up. I can't believe you have gone on Carnival 3 times if your experiences have been that bad. Once would have been enough. I would not have given them a second let alone a third chance. According to your comment about getting what you pay for. What if Royal Carribean has the best deal. Are you then suggesting to take Carnival because it cost more? A 4 day cruise is short and would at least give them a feel for either cruise line. They can then use the money differential to do things on shore.
My first 2 Carnival's were 4 day cruises on old ships, and we just knew a ship that wasn't quite a year old would be better, and certainly cleaner. The price was right at a time we needed to get away, and with 11 other couples from our area, it seemed like the right thing to do. Did you check the Spirit reviews out like I mentioned? Doubt very much that any of those people would do Carnival again. I just feel that if you have the knowledge beforehand from people that have experienced many problems, research it very thoroughly and don't jump into something blind to save a few dollars.
You can't beat Royal Caribbean! We've been with them for 5 of our 6 cruises, and couldn't have been more pleased. Our 1 other cruise was on Hal, and the service didn't compare to Royal. We've been in ports at the same time as Carnival, and if your idea of fun is mooning people on another ship, then you want Carnival.
I don't quite agree with the last comment about Carnival - it really depends on the ship, sailing, etc. More likely to find numbers of young partygoers on the shorter (3 and 4-day cruises), but everyone's cruise experience is different.
In line with that, everyone has their own personal preferences. I have 2 sets of clients who sailed the same RCCL ship this summer - one set loved it, had the time of their lives, want to go back; the other said it was ok, but there were some things they weren't happy about, etc. All people are different!