I have sailed Carnival over 13 times. I am 47 years old and have 5 kids that are platinum on Carnival as well. I am very easy going, and not to picky, My wife and I left the kids at home on this one and tried out the Sunshine. Mainly it was the itinerary that caught our attention , but also was looking forward to checking out the revamped ship.
First off , the itinerary for Europe was amazing, very busy, but got to see most of the biggest highlights in Europe in under 2 weeks. I would highly suggest this itinerary if your going to Europe. Carnival is pulling out, in fact we were the last cruise before Sunshine was going to New Orleans, and they are not returning. I am sure it's about the profit since your off the ship 10 out of 12 days for 8 plus hours.
As far as the ship goes, this shows that Carnival is all about the profit. They ripped out many of the common areas so they could shove another 182 rooms on board, Hence more people=more profit. Gone from the very familiar floor 5 is the following.
Dance bar. Now the smaller show lounge is being used after the shows
Club O2. Now located on different deck and tucked in a corner. Much smaller
Comedy club at the back of ship.(this entire area is now cabins) Now down a level and about 1/3rd of the size with about 20% of those seats need to watch on a monitor, No view.
Karaoke bar. They still do it just different location
Piano bar. Now on floor 4, tucked away and much smaller
All of the wonderful couches that used to run the entire side of ship from casino to back bar. Everyone of them and the chairs as well as the windows are gone.
Other items that are gone or changed if you are used to Carnival
You have to walk thru the middle of the casino, yes even your children.
They trace every dollar you bet, even at table games. Each one has a small computer they run your card thru and your seat number to track your betting.
No more fish and chips, the upper level of that part of the dining room is gone.
No more sushi bar every night at 5-7. It is now a taste bar trying to get you to book an upgraded dinner.
No more free cappuccino at dinners, it is a few bucks to upgrade.
Laundry for Platinum has been cut down to a few days a week.
There is more , but these are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.
The lido deck has changed as well. I think it is a pretty good layout as it does separate the younger kids from the adults. The Serenity area is very large and nice, but only has one hot tube that holds about 10 people, good luck getting in. The sports area for the kids is very cool, with ropes course , putt putt, bb court and pool and ping pong all in the same area.
As far as the dining goes. It was average with what I am used to with them. I heard a ton of complaints for returning guests. It may have been the supplier over in Europe, maybe the cause for the food not being as good. But I guess I never expect a 5 star meal when they are cooking for 3k a night.
This was probably my last Carnival cruise.(sadly) But with the tremendous cuts they have forced me into trying other cruise lines.(which I have done 4 other cruise lines in the past) But it just feels like what the airlines did to the flying experience, Carnival is doing to the crusing experience, they are ruining it by trying to squeeze every nickel out of their passengers.