1) Service--Overall the service was outstanding especially in the bars and MDR.
2) Cheers Package--The drink prices were very high, so we benefited from buying this package that allows you to try a variety of drinks (under $10) with a reasonable limitation of 15 drinks per person per day. Two problems we see with the success of this program is that Carnival requires that everyone in the cabin must purchase the package (whether drinkers or not) and it doesn't allow you to buy drinks for others you meet which we find too restrictive.
3) We enjoyed the new addition alternate dining venues including Guy's Burgers, the Pizzeria, JiJi's Asian and Cucina del Capitano. These added some variety and choices in cuisine.
4) Relaxing days at sea enjoying the new Serenity area.
4) Fast, organized embarkation with nice lounge area in Barcelona.
1) For a newly refurbished ship, there were severe maintenance issues that need prompt attention. There are leaks everywhere with buckets in the hallways, a full length mat collecting rain from the front window leaking in the spa and getting my head dripped on while eating lunch in the Havana Bar area (water coming through ceiling apparently from the waterworks slide area above). We also had a couple nights when our toilet would not flush. This was most annoying first thing in the morning when you have to dress and walk to find a public toilet (some distance from our cabin). This is completely unacceptable! I tried calling maintenance and after 20 rings with no answer, stood in line at guest services. Fortunately, my husband found our room steward Dennis, who promptly got it fixed.
2) There was a severe shortage of hand sanitizers. For every 4 checked, only 1 would have any sanitizer in it, including entrances to the restaurants and buffet. This ship was scheduled to be inspected upon arrival in New Orleans and hopefully will be cited for cleanliness issues. We found unclean utensils and cups and even saw workers without gloves putting hands in food (raw eggs, pizza dough etc). Salad dressings were not labelled or kept chilled. Needless to say, many guests got sick......
3) Limited variety/selection of food in the MDR and almost always lukewarm as many others have said (especially the soups). After complaining at the bar several times about this issue, our Atrium bartender Mbollo got some action taken after presenting our complaint to the appropriate personnel. The quality of the food was also substandard. Chateaubriand tasted like liver (which we despise) as did the prime rib which was inedible possibly due to the au jus which was a thick nasty gravy. We didn't enjoy the dining experience (on anytime seating) as it was always very crowded and seemed rushed and chaotic. Not a relaxing environment though service was mostly good.
4) Pool areas are FAR too small for this large of a ship. Serenity is too small to accomodate the adults and the main pool too small if Carnival still wants to appeal to families in the Caribbean.
5) Layout of the ship is bizarre and lacks windows for an open feeling and seeing the ocean from inside.
6) Both gel and shampoo in the shower area were terrible. Sounds like a small thing, but bring your own from home if possible. My hair would tangle so bad I couldn't get a comb through (no conditioner offered).
Calling them "industrial generic" would be an understatement.
7) Disembarkation was horrific. All passengers were scheduled to be off the ship between 6 and 9am.
Supposedly because this was the first entry into the US of the "new" ship Sunshine, everyone had to pass through customs individually. The whole process was very disorganized, extremely lengthy and had very few Carnival representatives available to assist guests with problems ensuring getting flights on time etc.
Fortunately, I was assertive and we were able to make our 2:30pm flight.
Even though the price for the cruise was reasonable, I've learned that you get what you pay for and will probably be cruising with Celebrity, RCCL or Princess next year. They are superior in EVERY way to Carnival's cutting corners.