My mom (88) and I cruised on the 5/17/13 sailing of the Carnival Sunshine. First of all, we experienced nothing like those poor people on the initial 5/5/13 sailing! Our room did not flood, our toilet worked and only a couple of times did we smell the awful odor others have complained about and then only in the hallways.
Our expectations were for a completely renovated ship, great food, wonderful excursions to places we have only dreamed about in Europe, and lots of shipboard activities. I have to say our expectations were met except for the "completely renovated ship" one: while the ship was indeed refurbished and beautiful, it was not the complete renovation the Sales Agents were promising. Nothing awful, mind you, just not completely truthful. For example: in our bathroom, you could see where the mildew was removed from the shower surround with bleach, leaving orange stains; the sprinkler head in the ceiling of our cabin was held up with masking tape (!); our balcony had exposed rust spots; the entrance to the Main Dining Room on Deck 3 had a very, very dirty sill on it; there was dust everywhere, so much so in our cabin that I wrote my name in it; nothing below the passenger decks has been done, as evidenced by my visit to the Medical Center: awful, peeling linoleum floors, extremely dirty door surrounds, really a mess considering it is a Medical office. The doctor and nurses, however, were extremely professional and competent and it is a real shame they have to work in such awful surroundings.
About my visit to the Medical Center: almost immediately upon entering our cabin, my allergies were activated. I believe it is mold in the ceiling, since the vent where the a/c blows is far from new and had dark stains on it. I bought Benedryl from the gift shop ($14.00!!!) and it did nothing. When I would leave my cabin, my allergies would improve; when I returned, it would become unbearable again. Finally after 5 days of this, I went to see the doctor and got a steroid shot ($127.00 for visit and shot). I went to Customer Service and requested a refund of that money because I believe it is mold left in the cabin, but they would not refund it. Oh, well, live and learn: they were MY allergies after all. lol And I'm sure the dust didn't help either. On the 6th day of the cruise, my mom came down with the allergies! She chose to just wait it out and now I'm having to take her to the doctor tomorrow for her shot.
Embarkation went very smoothly after we figured out what to do. Carnival transfers picked us up from the airport and dropped us off at the Cruise Port. There was no one telling us where to go. There was a long, long line of people (who, it turns out, were checking their bags; ours were already checking because of the transfer). Once we found out where to enter the building, everything went very well.
Our luggage arrived by the time we completed muster. A word of caution however: bring your own hangers! When we asked for more, our cabin steward brought us 2 and said that was all there was. Had a total of about 8 for room.
No complaints about storage space in cabin or in bathroom; very adequate.
Seemed a little smaller to me than most balcony rooms on previous ships; could have been just because we had twin beds and I usually have just one big bed for me and husband. Room was comfortable and a/c worked fine.
We had Your Time Dining and loved it! Turned out we were very hungry when we returned to the ship, so most nights would eat 5:45-6:00. Food was very tasty. We also ate at Cucina Capitano (am a real Italian food buff and have to say, mine is better! lol); JiJi Asian (wonderful!!! cannot say enough good things about it.
Ate in the Steakhouse twice and it was great both times. The buffet is very well laid-out, the waiters in the Dining Room are friendly and attentive and bar service is very quick. Also ordered room service a few times and it arrived quickly and food was good.
Will address the excursions in another section.
We enjoyed our cruise. Other the comments about the ship above, enjoyed everything. Cruising the Mediterranean is a different type of cruise, however,and very different from Caribbean cruises which are more ship-intensive than port-intensive. I have to say, however, this was my 14th cruise, the majority of them on Carnival, and I really do not plan to cruise Carnival again. I just don't agree with some of their company policies and rather than complain about them, I just won't use them anymore. 'Nuff said!