We have only previously cruised with Disney so my expectations of Carnival were set somewhat low, considering this cruise was around $3000 cheaper than a similar cruise with DCL in the Med in a similar cabin. I was travelling with my 14 year old son and husband. We choose the cruise based on more value for our money and the ports. Unfortunately we lost Monaco and Majorca and had these replaced with Athens and Izmir, personally both of which I didn't rate much. But I guess for those who like their history, they will have enjoyed them.
We flew in the day of the cruise and arrived in Venice around 2.00 pm, following a delay with our flight. I arranged my own transfers with a company called Suntransfers. They were excellent, I have used them before. The only lines were where people put tags onto their luggage. I had already done ours, so they went straight onto the ship. We arrived on the ship at around 3.00 and headed straight to Guys.
I had booked cabin 8117, which was a balcony and was situated forward. Compared to DCL, the cabin was small, especially when the sofa bed was fully out; it was very difficult to walk around the bottom of the bed. However that said, we did get use to it. The bed was lovely and comfortable and my son who is nearly 6 ft tall slept well on the sofa bed. The cabin was lovely and clean and everything in it looked very new; plenty of storage, more so than DCL.
All main areas of the ship were clean and bright and I thought well set out. There were plenty of bars and places to sit on an evening.
On sea days the pool areas and sunbeds were very busy as you would expect. I did see towel stickers been put on loungers by Carnival staff and I also saw them asking under 21's to leave the Senerity area with their parents and this freed up loungers in that area. Most days I stayed at the back of the boat near the water slides, so I could have a quick cool down. Ladies if you go on the slides, I suggest wearing some swim sorts or swim suit, otherwise you may lose your bottoms and your top could move too!! Those slides are very fast.
We ate in the Market place for lunch most days, which was always busy. If you walk through to the Havana Bar, Ji, Ji or Cucina Del Capitano area, you will find plenty of seating away from the hustle and bustle. There are also other offerings for lunch and breakfast. My DS most days had the burgers from Guys. We never paid for any of our meals and always had dinner in the main dining hall. We were on MTD. There were big issues with this place, if you arrived after 6.45. Some evening there were large queues and guests were given pagers to come back later, up until an hour later. We always sat in the same area with the same staff and this worked well. One evening I had to send my main meal back as it was cold, my starter had also been cold so I asked to see the Head Waiter. It never happened again and each night both head waiters checked with me to make sure everything was okay and that the food was hot enough. My only comment would be that some thought needs giving on how to improve desserts, but I think this is an American thing. Most of the cakes tasted the same; I even find this happens in Disney restaurants. I loved the fact that we could have hot chocolate on an evening.
The entertainment on board was very good, we enjoyed the comedians especially the British ones, but I would say that being a Brit! Another tip is to make sure you get here early to get a seat, especially when the playlist productions take place.
My DS loved the Teen club, but he did comment that he didn't care for the structure of it compared with DCL. Apparently on Carnival you have to join in if you are in the club, whereas with DCL you can sit and watch!! Kids!
Overall we really enjoyed the cruise and would happily sail with carnival again. I would also happily sail on the Sunshine again, complete with leaking ceiling and buckets! It's a real shame that Carnival have pulled out of the Med.