12 nights in the Med on the Carnival Sunshine.
We are two adults and two teenagers. (16 and 13)
This was quick and easy, despite a computer failure. Our cabin wasn't ready, but we sat by the main pool, had some lunch and watched flamenco dancing. Our cabins 6371 and 6367 were ready at about 2.30pm and our luggage arrived before the muster drill.
We had a balcony cabin (6371) which had an extended balcony. The cabin was lovely, reasonably clean and the interior cabin (6367) was fine. Our cabin steward wasn't very attentive.
Parts of the ship were great, parts weren't so good. There were leaks and buckets all over the ship. The carpets outside the dining room were stained. There was an awful smell over most of the ship.
The ship was crowded and sea days were terrible. There aren't enough sun beds on the decks and the one family pool was always full and very cold. The new water park was fun but it does take up a lot of space that maybe could have been used more efficiently. The sports deck had plenty of equipment. The back of the ship needs a bar as there isn't anywhere to get a drink unless you walk back to the main pool bars. There aren't many waiters walking the decks taking drink orders.
The Serenity decks are nice, but noisy from the main deck and the Seaside Theatre. The adults pool is cold but the hot tub was nice and warm. It does suffer from not having enough chairs and none of the staff police the "no chair hogging" rule anywhere on the ship.
Neither of my teenagers used the clubs.
Food and dining.
Food in general was disappointing. Carnival seem to have invented the flavour vacuum. Nothing that came out of the kitchen tastes of anything. The puddings are particularly bland. We had Any Time Dining, which we really liked. We never had to wait for a table. However food service was not very fast or organised and none of the waiting staff were very friendly. Trying to get a drink in the MDR is very difficult. There aren't enough waiters and I once asked a waiter for some service only to be told "it's not my section and ask your waiter".
The buffet was terrible. There were six hot choices of food, which were lukewarm at best. The wait staff didn't do a very good job keeping the tables clean or replenishing tableware. The 24 hour pizza station never had any pizza and there was always a long line.
The other eateries were pretty good for lunch. We didn't try any of the paid for restaurants.
Our ports were, Monaco, Livorno, Civitavecchia, Naples, Dubrovnik, Venice and Messina. Carnival don't give out any information about the ports, bar the usual shopping advice. It wouldn't be too hard to give some information or even a map. One way Carnival could improve the port experience is to make the embarkation process more pleasant. Other cruise lines give out cold water and frozen flannels. After a long day in the European heat it would be welcomed. More so than the annoying photographers dressed up in '1 shop costumes.
In general the staff lack any customer service or personality.
On Board Activities.
We played a lot of trivia, we only went to one show, Hasbro the game show, which was painful. The new show theatre is very small. There were the usual over priced table top sales and the Carnival merchandise is very expensive.
As a family we had a great cruise. We spent lots of time together and enjoyed the ports. For what we paid it was good value.
However, the Sunshine does not handle the number of passengers well. The ship is poorly designed and does not flow. I would not cruise on the Sunshine again but I may consider another Carnival ship if the price was low enough.