This is my first review EVER in print. I have always used reviews to make a choice. My time to give back. Hope this helps. This is the 5th cruise for my wife and I. One 20 years ago and 4 since Oct. 2012. We live in Florida about 100 miles from Port Canaveral. What a wonderful facility Port Canaveral is. We are value vacationers and cruisers. That is what is in our budget. Bang for our buck. We parked our car at Park and Cruise right across the river from the terminal for half the price.. Shuttle you over on a bus that holds plenty of luggage and about 12 people. Very friendly and efficient staff. No problems. Sailed through check in. Parked car by 11am. On Sunshine by noon; eating lunch by 12:30 on the Lido deck. Let me say right now that WE are reasonable people and clearly understand that a ship with 3100 people on board is going to have moments that MIGHT try your patience level. And that clearly happens in the buffet area. So know that is going to happen. We enjoyed the Asian Mongolian wok lunch stir fry and the Italian pasta lunch area in the aft section of the Lido deck . That is near the Havana bar area(who also lay out some Cuban cuisine during the day to pick on). We opted for anytime dining. First night confusing. You have to check in on the fifth deck and then proceed down 2 decks to MDR. We only had to wait one night(we eat around 8pm most nights). Our check in lady was wonderful and always seemed to find us a nice table. Food was good and satisfying. Staff was excellent.
Our cabin was an interior on the 9th deck forward(Near the spa area). First time trying an inside. But we were looking to keep costs down... so what the heck. Man, does that room stay dark!!! But we don't stay in our cabin but for the necessities; so that was a nice savings. At the time we booked (6 months in advance) there was a sizable savings. I also enjoyed being on an upper deck(inside cabin) versus down below with a port hole window The cabin was roomy and comfortable. Had 3 electrical outlets. And Ivan was a great steward who kept the ice bucket full and even gave us a second one. A little extra tip at the beginning of your cruise goes along way!!
We are not big drinkers( so why go on Carnival you ask?). We do like sitting out on deck and enjoying the sun on Sea days. And people watching is always an adventure on Sea day! If you want to get picky I am sure that most cruises can be torn apart. I am trying to keep this in perspective. Serenity decks get crowded, pool decks get crowded, people try and save loungers, couches etc. from the crack of dawn.You just have to try and work with it. We managed to always find someplace to lay our towels down. The first sea day we were on Serenity decks for some sun and went down to the 3rd deck outside guest services and sat in lounge chairs and that was away from the noisy pool deck area.
The PunchLiner Comedy Club was lots of fun.We went 3 nights and yes we had to wait on line up to 30 minutes if I wanted choice seating. Maybe 15 minutes to just get in.
The shows in The Liquid Lounge were great. Talented people Very entertaining.. Our cruise director and her staff were very professional, personable and approachable. To keep 3100 people happy for 7 days is quite the task. And to keep smiling in the midst of a constant barrage of complaining people that might not be grasping Carnivals new FunShip 2.0 program, well my hats off to you. I probably would have pulled my hair out long time ago. Lots to do and many choices!!!!
My #1 complaint would be the lack of locker room space at the spa and gym area on board this ship(and that is not much of a complaint). I like to use the steam bath and sauna. On Sunshine, this area was cut down to increase For Fee Spa services. An upcharge will get you usage of the steam baths and some kind of solarium that I can not comment on because I wasn't willing to pay $100 fee for use. There was a sauna in mens lockeroom that was heated and working for no additional fee. However, the fitness area was awesome!! State of the art Life Fitness equipment and the spa area for pampering did look fantastic!!
Ports of call were fine. Never been on a Western Carib. Cave tubing in belize, great diving excursions, Maya ruins in Cozumel and Costa maya. The Carnival beach area in Roatan was very nice and we enjoyed the day.
All said we had a fantastic time and would gladly go onboard this vessel again for another journey!!!!