I did have some reservations about this cruise. First of all I assumed since the the ship was heading to Italy for conversion to Carnival Sunshine, there will be work done on the ship during the cruise. Second, I did not consider Carnival Cruise Line as a top tier cruise line since it makes it's money on four to seven day "party cruises" (some friends have call Carnival "a floating trailer park"). And finally, the low price, 18 days with an amidships balcony stateroom for under $1700 for my wife and I. With all of that said, it turned out to be an outstanding cruise and greatly exceeded my expectations and well worth the price.
The transatlantic entertainment was very good. There were five comedians on board. Of the comedians, Tommy Drake also juggled and Peter Gross also did hypnotism, Comedians Mark Evans, Lance Montalto and Larry Omaha rounded out the quintet. The five comedians besides doing their routines in the evening held comedy clinics for "aspiring comedians", which my wife took advantage of. Comedian Mark Evans took my wife Linda under his wing and not only polished up her act but got her over her stage fright. Linda performed on the main stage on "Open Mike Night" in front of hundreds and did an outstanding job. The Carnival dancers and singers also performed well on the transatlantic portion but were not seen much of during the nine days in the Mediterranean. The acts brought on board when we docked in Spain and Italy were OK but below the bar set while crossing the Atlantic. There were many other activities on this cruise, Linda and I were never bored.
Our balcony room was on Deck Eight just below the Lido Deck and close to the amidships elevator and stairway. The room was spacious enough with a loveseat, a very comfortable bed and plenty of closet space. Our steward, Ugi did an excellent job meeting our every request. It did get quite chilly on a few days in the Mediterranean but since I have been on Navy ships that sailed from mainly warm climates to a cold climates, I knew it might take some time to get the heating going. Ugi did get us extra blankets and by simply turning off the air conditioning in the room until the heat came on and the extra blanket, we were very comfortable.
The food in the dinning room was well prepared and presented. The dinning room staff did a great job of taking our orders and serving our meals as ordered. As for the buffet, the food was generally not as hot as it should have been. The steam tables needed to to have been hotter. My wife and I on previous cruises usually ate more meals in the buffet than in the dinning room, this cruise was an exception. We did enjoy the deli on the Lido Deck and would sometimes grab a sandwich and a salad and take it down to our room for lunch. The pastrami and corned beef were both definitely New York grade.
Would we take another Carnival (four to seven variety) cruise, probably not but if another cruise like this one was offered by Carnival, even at an increase in price, I would seriously consider it. We met a lot of really wonderful fellow passengers and hopefully made some lasting friends.