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113 Carnival Barcelona Cruise Reviews

The itinerary for this Cruise was good. Left from Barcelona, then Marseilles, Naples, Rome, Almalfi coast, Crete, Rhodes, Turkey, and Athens as the final destination. The ship was only on its third sailing. Carnival labels ... Read More
The itinerary for this Cruise was good. Left from Barcelona, then Marseilles, Naples, Rome, Almalfi coast, Crete, Rhodes, Turkey, and Athens as the final destination. The ship was only on its third sailing. Carnival labels itself as the fun ship and the decor in some of the public spaces seems to be child oriented with the bright orange and yellow combinations. The Havana lounge had the best decor. A tropical theme was used with various seating areas. The main dining room was quite plain like you would expect to see in a very inexpensive restaurant. A very long booth seat along walls served for seating for many tables. The deck spaces offered plenty and a variety of seating options. There were lounges, tables and chairs, sofa and chair groupings, stools and benches in the shallow pool areas , hammocks, and covered sunbeds. The rattan-looking seating was high quality and had comfortable cushions. The main atrium with a bar, shops, and entertainment area did not have the wow factor. The liquid lounge was a two story theater that had comfy seating but not ideal viewing from the back. The inside cabin on floor 9 in the center of the ship was roomy enough and allowed for storing 26" sized luggage under the bed. We were able to store all our clothes in the closet and toiletries on the bathroom shelves. The bed and pillows were great. Just include the charge for wifi with the cruise. There are too many extra charges. Pros.. Carnival does a great job providing transportation for guests at the ports. Even if you were not on Carnival excursion, there were buses to get you to the train, bus, or city center. Transportation was easy to use and readily available. The Vista was launched in May 2016. The entertainment was first rate. There was something to appeal to everyone. Shows with singing and dancing were amazing because of talented performers and beautiful sets. The live music in three more areas provided great entertainment for any taste. The deck seating spaces were plentiful. The cruise director did a great job providing information for the day and and acting as an MC for many performances. The 2 excursions booked through Carnival were well run and a good value. Cons.. food, quality, variety, and availability. I was told in a very curt manner all items are pre-prepared and could not be changed so order something else. There was only a burger stand or a small deli open after 2 pm. We were looking for something when we came back from being on tours all day. Very disappointing. Service was overall lacking. At a pool bar, I could not get a blender drink unless it was on their menu. Because this was a brand new ship, there were glitches. I asked for directions many times on this huge ship and half the time was given the wrong way to go. The most obvious example was when I asked 2 staff and they each pointed a different direction. Bad smell (made me nauseous) in the Serenity area due to painting or sealing on 2 days. On sea days, the 2 pools for 4,000 guests were too crowded. This ship definitely needs an adult only pool. We ate at the steakhouse for an additional $70. The service was better, but the food was not fabulous. I did not eat at the other 5 places that had upcharges. Some nights, there was a long wait (over 30 minutes) for any time dining. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
New ship with places we wanted to visit. We felt the ship lacked a focal point it had two atriums and was lacking atmosphere.The boarding process was quick and the cabins were a good size with plenty of storage and a sofa bed. I feel the ... Read More
New ship with places we wanted to visit. We felt the ship lacked a focal point it had two atriums and was lacking atmosphere.The boarding process was quick and the cabins were a good size with plenty of storage and a sofa bed. I feel the crew need more training as they were not very friendly.The breakfast queue for eggs could be very long and both areas for the buffet were different we found that if we went nearer the end of the ship we had a better selection of food. The choice of bread is non existant only toast for breakfast which they then piled on a plate making it soggy. We were allocated the Horozon restaurant in the evenings but first having to book it on the 5th deck then going to the 4th deck for the restaurant The food was the same nearly evry night. We just felt there was absolutely no atmosphere on this ship the theatre had too many pillars in blocking your view not very well thought out,the animation team were very good but the singing was a bit shouty other entertainment was awful.This ship is geared for the younger generation and the Americans all the quizzes were around Americsn culture if they want a European market they need to change a few things.Didnot go on any trips as prefer to do our own thing and they were expensive. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Overall it was OK for the price we paid. I'll list the pros and cons and some details about the ports that I wish I'd know. If any of this is helpful, please click the helpful button so others can find the more helpful ... Read More
Overall it was OK for the price we paid. I'll list the pros and cons and some details about the ports that I wish I'd know. If any of this is helpful, please click the helpful button so others can find the more helpful reviews easily. Pros - New ship, it's clean, rooms were a decent size for a cruise, they must have fixed the embarkation process because although there were several lines for the different parts of the check in process, none of them took very long. They seem to have cut back on some of the wastage (although that can be a negative as well .. see below). Food was adequate. The excursions we did from the ship were mostly good, and were certainly organized. The water area for the kids is great! Our son loved going there. Neutral - Line for the Ropes course and the Sky Ride were always too long, so we didn't get to try that, but it looked fun. Cons - They don't have enough elevators for the number of people on the ship, ESPECIALLY when there is luggage being transported. Although they probably can't change that, they might be able to change the fact that there can be six elevators in a lobby, and if you push a down button it only works for two of those elevators. So you end up pushing all three buttons. That means that two elevators are going to stop on that floor after you take the first one, and no one will get on. Most times, our elevator stopped on every floor, up and down. It's ridiculous and takes forever. What a waste of time and energy. Soap - Bring your own everything. First, they only provide two small bars of poor quality soap, then watered down, non-sudsing shampoo and shower gel in the shower. Our bar of soap for the shower ran out about half way through the cruise and was never replaced. (really.. how cheap can they get?). The shampoo and shower gel was so watery it was absolutely worthless. No other items for hygiene are provided as they used to be. My Time Dining - WHAT A JOKE!!! They need to revamp this entire system or do away with it entirely. There was a line of over 200 guests the first night waiting for dinner. I talked to the guy over that process and he assured me that by the next night we could walk right up as it was only the first night that everyone was figuring stuff out. It was about 25 min to get seated the first night, then an hour to get our food. The next night, it was over an hour to get seated and then about 20 minutes to get or food. The ONLY reason it got any better after that is because we ended up going to dinner before 6. This was one of the worst parts of the entire cruise and whoever thought this was a good idea should be fired. If you do get stuck with MTD, ask to be seated with Airnes, Sasa and Pamjin. Their team was by FAR the best in the dining room. Drinks at beverages stations has gone down hill. The selection at breakfast was the only decent one. After breakfast they only had lemonade and unsweetened ice tea.. neither of which I like. Luckily water was also an option. ALL THE REST Food - It was fine. It wasn't as good as it used to be, nor was their as big of a variety, or as many places open during non-peak times, however you could almost always find something decent. I didn't have an issue with it because the waste some of the guests generated was disgusting!!!! The ice cream at the "sweet spot" was always good, however they also ran out in minutes and it was almost always "not quite ready yet". I did appreciate that they still had a decent selection of food, including sugary cereals for my 6 yo, even the last morning. Typically they put the dregs out the last morning to get rid of them and you. Not so this time and that was appreciated LUGGAGE - It took a while for our luggage to get delivered. The last bag arrived well past their last deadline. There was a strike in Athens by the dock hands, so they asked people to haul their own luggage with them when disembarking. It wasn't a big deal, other than "not enough elevators" issue came into play again. We had to go up from 2, all the way to 12, then back down again to get off. It stopped at every floor on the way up and the way down... and there is no AC. Normally disembarking is probably fine. ROOM - We had room 2245 - it was at the front of the ship and provided direct access to the elevators that lead to the kids play area. It was very quiet and I'd recommend that room unless you have a lot of laundry. LAUNDRY - there is only one laundry per floor with state rooms. We started our laundry as soon as we got back from our excursion the day before our day at sea. Within an hour there were lines of people waiting for all machines on all floors. The one on deck 2 is in the back of the ship by the Family Harbor area. It's $3 to run the washer and $3 to run the dryer. Bring your own single use detergent and a few dryer sheets if you know you will need them. PORTS - If you know it's going to be hot when you are going to some of these places, consider carrying an umbrella for shade. Getting on and off was easy. There were no tenders needed. They say to bring your ID but it was never needed. I felt safe at all ports. KIDS CLUB - we have 6yo and he had a great time. He made lots of friends and had plenty of activities to keep him entertained. I actually prefer Carnival's kids club to the one on Disney CL. Disney just has a grundle of electronics to keep them entertained. In the week we were on that cruise he didn't know anyone and did not bring one item from an activity back. He had a great time a Club Ocean. BARCELONA - We did the HOHO bus and it was not worth it. There are two lines that you would have to take to see everything, and they are so SLOW with the traffic. We did the metro systems in the other cities and those were FAR better. You need tickets in advance for Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. MARSEILLE - My least favorite stop by far. Several of the HOHO busses had eggs being thrown at the American tourist on board. It was too windy to do the excursion we had booked for the calanques so we took a HOHO bus to the cathedral at the top of the hill. It was beautiful and worth the hike, other than the rude man who worked for the church being ignorant to everyone. The lady in the Information Center was great, and the people with the stands along the water were nice, however the people who worked in the shops were not pleasant even though you were a tourist shopping in a tourist shop - hence the reason they have a job. LIVORNO - Using the trains to go to both Florence and Pisa was too involved, so we used a private company that dropped us off in Florence for a few hours, then took us to Pisa. Our time in Florence was fine (FYI you now need tickets to get into the Duomo - if you want to climb to the top, you might look into the tour option to skip the line.) My guess was that there were over 500+ people in line waiting to start the climb. They said it was over a two hour wait, and that was at around noon. Pisa was ok. They say you have "an hour" but it's a 15 - 20 min walk at least from the bus lot to the entrance, and then the same back. So after a few cheezy tourist pics of the tower you only have about 10 min to look around or get some souvenirs. A few people ended up missing the bus back. Not that I blame the tour for that, it's not their issue at all. People need to be responsible for themselves.. just saying you need to be mindful and it's not as much time as you think you might have considering the distance to actually get there. There is also a small train you can take for a few bucks. ROME - We took the trains and metro here and were glad for that. It gave us 7 to 8 hours in Rome rather than the 5 you get with the tour bus, and for less money. Get your tickets to the Vatican Museum ahead of time and you can skip the line. If you set up an official tour here you can skip from the Sistine Chapel and go right into the Vatican, with out going out and around and then back in.. probably saves you about 45 min - 1 hour, but you do skip some of the museum if you do that. VATICAN ITSELF - Men and women shorts or skirts need to be to the knees, and no bare shoulders. We used Gladiator Tours for our tour of the Colosseum. I would not recommend them. We had to skip Palentine Hill and go straight to the Roman Forum due to time limitations. They gave us our tickets and off we went. Got all the way to the gate, and the tickets they had given us were for the previous day. We ended up having to go all the way back, wait for the manager, and then get new tickets. SO UNPROFESSIONAL!!! I WOULD AVOID GLADIATOR TOURS. NAPLES - We did the Pompeii and Sorrento tour through Carnival. It was nice. Pompeii was nice. Sorrento was also nice. I don't have that much to say about it, other than we liked it. CRETE - We did another Carnival Tour here and go Dimetra, an archaeologist as our guide. She was AMAZING! I wish I'd known more about the Minoan civilization before I'd done this tour. If you have a few minutes, maybe spend 15 min looking that over first. RHODES - We did a private tour with Rhodes Private Tours. We had Michael, who was very nice. I think sometimes his desire to tell us about the history felt like we were in a rush and didn't give us a lot of time to just look around an appreciate the area. It's not a complaint really.. just an observation, and we were actually in a hurry at that point. They close Old Town early so I think he was just in a rush. I would have liked to have walked around in there more after our tour was over, but it was just so hot (over 105 in Lindos) I couldn't bring myself to do it. They take you to St. Paul's Bay which is gorgeous. If I'd known, I would have brought my bathing suit. It really is that lovely. Then we went to Lindos. Again, because of the heat we didn't go to the acropolis, nor could I make the donkeys carry us up in that heat.. But the day was nice and I'd recommend that tour. KUSADASI - We were a little worried about this stop with the troubles in Turkey and the Travel Advisory for Izmir, however we had a great time. We used Ephesus Shuttle due to the other positive reviews and couldn't have been happier. We requested Pinar as our guide and she was wonderful! It was HOT again (109) and our personal driver kept the van nice and cool for us. They had water and cool towlettes. He even had our son come more to the font and angled the AC on him when he was overheated at one point. In Ephesus, she offered to show us the Terrace houses and we passed because of the heat, however I wish I'd done them after talking to others and finding out that it was their favorite part. The House of the Virgin Mary, I wish I'd brought some nice containers for the water to bring back in my luggage. I'd purchased a wrap around skirt and a scarf for my hair, but it wasn't needed unless you went into a mosque. St. John's Basilica was large and interesting and the Temple of Artemis, although almost nothing is left, was still nice to see since it's one of the ancient wonders of the world. ATHENS - Not sure if you can get tickets in advance for the Acropolis, but if you can - DO IT! Honestly, for the location of possibly the most famous landmark on the planet, you'd think they could do better than a ticket stand you'd see at a fair. No joke! There were 150+ people in line with two little dinky window in a little hut. And those people did not move fast. If we hadn't lucked out to see that the second window had it's own little line, we'd still be waiting for a ticket!!! I don't get it. The Acropolis museum was state of the art.. why can't they get some of that over to the actual SITE! That was ridiculous! My only advice is to bring plenty of water. There's none for sale after you pass the ticket offices (or pitiful excuses for a ticket office) and the people in the huts along the way are not helpful. There are a few spigots (follow the hoses) and people were filling water bottles with the water, but it didn't say it was potable water and I wasn't about to risk it. We did dunk our son's head under one though.. and that helped a bunch, since it was another 106 day. Carnival Excursion - Plaka Express - BEWARE! The driver dropped us off and told us the bus would pick us up 4 hours later from the same spot. The bus actually picked up from across the street and 100 yards past that point. There were about 30 of us waiting in the 106 heat and the bus left without us. Once someone went up and checked it out and we all moved up there, they told us we'd have to wait ANOTHER 30 min, when some people had already been in that heat for an HOUR!!! After making my point clear that that was unacceptable, they called another bus and we were picked up within 15 minutes. I have no idea if anyone ended up checking on anyone else who was giving the wrong pick up location. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Thought it would be great to sail on the newest Carnival "Flagship" This would be our 4th Carnival Cruise and 6th Cruise overall. The Good: Cabins were nice, clean and the Room Steward we had was absolutely terrific. ... Read More
Thought it would be great to sail on the newest Carnival "Flagship" This would be our 4th Carnival Cruise and 6th Cruise overall. The Good: Cabins were nice, clean and the Room Steward we had was absolutely terrific. Chef's Table was great as usual (3rd time for us). Imax was great and the Skyride a lot of fun (save that it wasn't open much or when it was, the line was an hour or more). The Average: The ship was a little disappointing. We expected that it would be spectacular as the newest ship in the Carnival fleet. It was not, however. In fact, we thought that some of the new design features were a little flawed. Losing the glass elevators, for example, was clearly such a flaw, making it more difficult and cumbersome to move between decks. This was replaced with a two story frosted glass stairwell that was uninspiring in all of its aspects. It wasn't curved or fancy...just plain as can be. The Bad; Service was atrocious outside of the restaurants. I was on the ship a full seven days before anyone came to me and asked if I wanted a drink. On the Lido deck it happened only once. All of the other times I had to trot to the bar and stand in line. At one of the bars one evening, I waited a full 15 minutes for a drink, as there was only one bartender working while we all lined up. I have never experienced this before on a Carnival ship. The excursions were alright until they ushered you into some stupid sales pitch for carpets or what have you, This is totally unacceptable when you have already paid top dollar. I don't want to buy a carpet or furniture or a bloody timeshare for that matter. The dangerous: Really watch your step passing between various parts of the ship where they have tracks on the floor (presumably to be able to seal off sections). These stick up about an inch and every second person I saw tripped on these at least once. They need to be properly identified or marked. Lawsuit waiting to happen. The stupid: Cruise Director Matt constantly babbling on over the load speakers at the crack of dawn and at every stop. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We wanted to experience a new, large ship. We thought we would be blown away but we were underwhelmed by the decor and fittings of the ship, Staterooms: Very comfortable with lots of cupboard space. Excellent room staff who kept ... Read More
We wanted to experience a new, large ship. We thought we would be blown away but we were underwhelmed by the decor and fittings of the ship, Staterooms: Very comfortable with lots of cupboard space. Excellent room staff who kept everything spotlessly clean. Food: Allocated anytime dining, but had to check in on the 5th floor and then be directed to the 3rd floor to eat, seemed a waste of time Horizon Restaurant. Food okay but menu repetitive. Buffet: Again food not exciting, salads without dressing were tasteless. Very poor choice and struggled to find something English style. Breakfast: Had to get in line at several islands to obtain food and it was cold before eating so switched to continental fare. Selective dining entailed paying an extra supplement for the privilege. Entertainment: Did not understand American comedians i.e. sense of humour? Missed the large theatres on other ships and the different nightly shows. Elevators: Long wait, used the stairs a lot. Pros: The Skyride, husband loved it. The digital columns in the atrium were fascinating. Serenity area, excellent with its cabanas and daybeds. Cons: Embarkation and Disembarkation slow, tedious and disorganised. Drinks: Overpriced with slow bar service. Excursions: Overpriced. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
After a terribly long boarding, the ship was pleasant, the kitchen is really good, the staff makes measurable efforts for good service. With an European eye the programmes on the ship are a little poor... Bingo, quiz about ... Read More
After a terribly long boarding, the ship was pleasant, the kitchen is really good, the staff makes measurable efforts for good service. With an European eye the programmes on the ship are a little poor... Bingo, quiz about American football teams... Havana interior cabin is too small, too stuffy and too loud...Every night until 1:30AM the Havana's (two percussion, three brass..) big band was playing next door to our stateroom. The itinerary of the ship was fantastic, we visited all the major Mediterranean cities. The excursions, proposed by the ship are overpriced, we, Europeans made these tours for 20-30 euros for 2 person. Unfortunately, the breakfast is to be challenged, only carbohydrates served for breakfast. There is not enough salad, vegetables and fruit, which we European used to eat for breakfast. The restaurant was nice and pleasant, the kitchen is excellent, both for lunch and dinner, we were pleased. The "your time" system worked great, we get a table right away. The waiters were polite and well trained, thank them! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We have recently returned from the 2nd cruise out for Carnival Vista as a party of 6 family members. I will try to cover all aspects whether we thought good or not from the start. We stayed 3 nights in Barcelona before embarking the ... Read More
We have recently returned from the 2nd cruise out for Carnival Vista as a party of 6 family members. I will try to cover all aspects whether we thought good or not from the start. We stayed 3 nights in Barcelona before embarking the ship and was really excited about getting onto a brand new ship after travelling on other lines over the last 11 years. This was our first experience of Carnival and was really looking forward to it. If I am honest, we may have over rated our expectations, as this ship was VERY American, more so than the other American ships we have travelled on before. The ship definitely had the WOW factor from the moment we stepped on board. We were really impressed with the SkyRide, the Go Ape style climbing area, Slides, Water works, Golf, Bowling alley, Serenity area and the other parts of the open decks of the ship. The Havana deck was lovely, and although could not be used during the day unless you were in a Havana suite could be used by all guests after 5 pm. For information: the SkyRide and the GoApe climbing area needs "proper" shoes to be able to use them. You could stand in a queue for a long time only to be told that you cannot use the facilities without the correct footwear as there are no notices to inform guests that this is the case. All the bars and restaurants had outside seating areas with rattan furniture, umbrellas and day beds. This is a really nice feature and would have been really fantastic if the weather had been better than it actually was. The Dive in Movies at the Lido deck was an outside screen where the ship played a movie every night, offering every one blankets and free popcorn which we loved and although we are aware of other ships offering this facility was a great feature for an evening under the stars! The iMax theatre was great and a really nice feature, although was an additional charge was not expensive at $12.50 per person and we went to see the new Jungle Book moving in 3D. We had 3 different cabins, 2 on deck 9 and one on deck 10. Our cabin (9201) was right at the front of the ship and although was classed as an interior class (with restricted view) was more an outside cabin and actually had a walk way in front of the cabin which was like having your own outside deck area which we used for leaving ports a lot. The cabin was fairly large and had all the necessary items including a flat screen tv although there did not seem to be enough wardrobe and cupboard space for the size of the cabin with a lot of walls that could have had more. Our cabin steward, Michael was lovely, attentive and helpful. The itinerary was really packed into the 10 days cruise with only 1 day at sea which was actually very fast paced and tiring but that was our choice to do the running around. We visited 5 countries and 10 destinations in the 10 night cruise/3 night stay. We had a day in Marseilles, Rome, Florence and Pisa, Naples, Rhodes, Corfu, Kusadasi, and 2 days in Athens + 3 nights (at out choice) in Barcelona. We purchased 2 Shore Excursions with the ship but mostly did our own thing. We booked the trip to Florence/Pisa as this was a long trip and we would never have been able to do the 2 places on our own, the guide was really good and the trip was worth the money, although the shore excursion team were not great at organising the trips leaving the ship and this was a bit of a shambles. The 2nd trip we booked was a complete waste of money, had we have known, we would really not have booked this. We have always wanted to see Pompeii and this was our opportunity to do so but it was our unfortunate mistake booking with Carnival. The trip was $49.99 per person and we thought included the tickets to get into the site. We found that the transfer was only 30 minutes each way and on arrival at Pompeii was told by the guide that this did not include the tickets to get in, leaving us to wait in a queue for 50 minutes to get access, this gave us just over 1 hour to see a site that actually would take all day. The guide was more interested in how she looked, than the trip, and making sure her guests were OK. We did try to discuss this with the team on the shore excursion desk but there never seemed to be anyone in attendance leaving passengers having to queue in an already long line at the guest relations desk to discuss their shore excursion requirements or problems. The food in the buffet was mediocre and really repetitive. Every time chips were on the menu, they were smothered with southern fried topping and you had to ask for it not to be, if you wanted plain. The only thing good about the Buffet restaurant was that it never felt full, we have never been on a ship that even on disembarkation day could find a table at breakfast time, this shocked us and did take a few days to realise why this was. This ship has so many places and choices to eat at, that the buffet was easy to find seating etc although the food definitely let this experience down. The ship had a burger counter, burritos counter, 24 hour pizza counter, seafood counter and this was just around the buffet restaurant. There was also a steakhouse, sushi bar, pasta, and so much more. There just did not seem to be enough staff who knew what they were doing to be attentive when clearing tables etc. This was also the same in the Main dining restaurant, the food was again not as good as we have had on other lines and although some of the staff clearly knew what they were doing. Apparently there was a 60/40 new staff to existing which noticed, however, I would say, give them time and this will improve. The sanitising of hands was also lapse around the ship, we have been on other lines that are really hot on the sanitising, however Carnival seemed to allow guests to make a decision whether they would like to sanitise or not and most did not but then went on to mauled and touch the food that others would be eating! They even had hand washing sinks that were more of a fun item than an actual use because they were only being used with people finding them a novelty! The ship seems to be moving more towards fun and although has formal nights onboard and does have rules about what you can wear into dining rooms etc did not implement this rule and we found people being allowed to wear jeans, short sleeved t-shirts and shorts into the dining room, when we had made the effort to be formal even buying new suits etc which we were a little annoyed about because, had we have known, would not have bothered with the additional expense. The ship was not finished when it was handed over and there were noticeable things on board that were being done whilst on there, although we found this quite quirky, for instance on arrival the shower gel and shampoo did not have labels on and we took pot luck to whether we was using the correct ones, a few days later the labels appeared and it seemed that we were - we found these unfinished things quite funny, nothing stopped passengers getting about or doing things on the ship and we actually thought that Carnival handled the problems very well. The Carnival HUB app was a really good addition to the experience being able to get photos, onboard account and for $5 per person for the whole cruise the ability to chat with others in our group from the app and although there were sometimes problems with this was a really good thing to have. Within our party, we had a birthday onboard and decided to book a photo shoot with one of the professional photographers on board. This was a great experience although a little uncomfortable (for us!), the photographer was great, she was really professional and put us at ease and took some amazing photographs, spending over 1 hour taking us around the ship to get some amazing photos. They actually brought a lump to my throat when we sat through the viewing. We did end up buying the photos on a USB photographic slideshow although they were very expensive and had we have know how expensive, probably would not have actually arranged it in the first place but we are very happy with what we have. The ship itself had the real feel of space and did not feel that there was nearly 4000 passengers on board, even when disembarking or entering the ship this was not a problem. The pubs and public areas were well thought out and spacious and never seemed full. The on-board brewery in the Red Frog pub was an interesting feature. The lifts were odd, there was a block of lifts on every floor however they were difficult to call as each button needed to be pressed for each individual lift and we tended to use the stairs most of the time. Entertainment: The cruise director, Matt was really good and gave good information over the tannoy but also knew how to keep everyone dancing and having fun. The shows were well delivered although we did not go to all the shows, there did seem to be a lot of arranged comedy shows which did not appeal to us. The dance shows in the Liquid lounge were good, although the lounge was more a lounge than a theatre, and did not see to be well laid out. Seats in the downstairs area were moveable and not fixed and as they were on the same level as the next was a little bit hard to see all of what went on all the time. Disembarkation day: The ship started disembarking at 5 am, we were actually off the ship by 8.30 am - last passengers off by 9.15 am. We have NEVER been on a ship that we have disembarked this early before and unfortunately for us, our flight (which we booked ourself) was not until 9 pm - had we have been able to get a flight earlier we would have definitely done so, or, we would have forfeited our last night onboard (as there was an overnight in Athens) and actually flown out a day earlier to prevent this. Would we sail with Carnival again, we would not say never, however it would not be our first choice of cruise lines, this would be purely because the food was not the standard we have experienced on Royal Caribbean, NCL or P&O. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Pros: 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) ... Read More
Pros: 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. Cons: 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. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We chose Carnival as we had enjoyed a previous cruise with them sailing out of Tampa Florida..The food and entertainment were excellent and we had a wonderful holiday. Sadly the same could not be said for this cruise. The embarkation was ... Read More
We chose Carnival as we had enjoyed a previous cruise with them sailing out of Tampa Florida..The food and entertainment were excellent and we had a wonderful holiday. Sadly the same could not be said for this cruise. The embarkation was dreadful with unhelpful staff and long queues. My friends handbag was snatched off her before she could close it and her passport was lost . Eventually it was found under the rollers of the x ray machine but not before being told she would not be able to sail. Not a good start to a holiday. The food was plentiful and varied at the self service which we had at lunch time but in the evening we like to eat in the Restaurant. I feel the very large number of passengers on this large ship led to cold food being served,Also the standard of food was not too good and I haven't eaten a steak since being served a large steak which a good vet could have resurrected. I h ad asked for a small medium rare steak. The southern fried chicken appeared to have been cooked a long time prior to being served and was hard and dry.The food would have been excellent to anyone whose criteria was if there is a lot of it its good. The entertainment was mundane ,repetitive and lacking variation . The cruise Director was excellent,naturally funny as were the comediens who were on later at night. The ship was lovely and the cabin comfortable and clean .As we have slight mobility problems we chose a cabin near the lifts but the length of the ship posed problems. However that was our own faults for not foreseeing that problem when booking. We certainly could not just nip back to the cabin. We only had one day when the decks seemed crowded. Most days we sat in comfort on easy chairs. The sail into Venice was the highlight of the cruise, taking advantage of being on an upper deck. Sadly this may not happen again as Venice may be stopping the larger ships from entering the lagoon. We only did a few excursions as we had been to many of the ports and it was lovely when only a few passengers were on board. The drinks were quite pricey but we expected that. Disembarkation was planned with military precision. We look forward to another cruise but probably not with this company due to the poor entertainment and food. Also we would choose a smaller ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
our party of eight had all cruised before but each one of us would not pick carnival again. The sunshine just didnt have that wow factor, its motto seemed to be "get them on, get them spending, and get them off again." Some ... Read More
our party of eight had all cruised before but each one of us would not pick carnival again. The sunshine just didnt have that wow factor, its motto seemed to be "get them on, get them spending, and get them off again." Some things we liked a lot but overall we'd give it 5/10. The main problem with the ship was the big cinema screen that blared out movies all day long despite the fact no one was watching. The so called adult serenity area was anything but serene because of this constant din! The service was mostly poor nobody seemed to go out of their way to make you feel special. No one greeted you on or off the ship. We never got to meet any of the crew,they were not introduced. There were no themed buffets,most of the crew just chatted between themselves. The excursions were however very well organized. We very much enjoyed the guided tour of Rome. It seemed that every port we had to pay to get off the docks. We made use of the red hop-on-hop off buses in nearly every port. The balcony cabin was ok although i did expect a fridge and a kettle for a balcony price. Apparantly a kettle is a fire hazzard (but smoking in the large casino area wasnt!) I also asked for a mattress topper for the bed as i found it uncomfy. A good thing though was the fact that at every port they let you bring back duty free! Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Overall we had a good time . It was our first cruise and we have learned for the future. Don't get a cabin at the back of the ship. Getting to some decks was tricky and we just about got it at the end of the cruise. Beds and linen ... Read More
Overall we had a good time . It was our first cruise and we have learned for the future. Don't get a cabin at the back of the ship. Getting to some decks was tricky and we just about got it at the end of the cruise. Beds and linen good, bathroom small but OK . Housekeeping very good The excursions with Carnival are expensive so we booked independently, Carnival did not seem to like this and were most unhelpful when we asked where to get the shuttle to take us to the coaches .Check and re check information as we were told our embarkation time was 8am by one person 7.30 by another .Information that was supposed to be put through the door never arrived. Food on lido deck OK but very repetitive. Restaurants good but queues horrendous Would choose another cruise operator in future, very aimed towards Americans. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
I never like to start a review with negative comments. After all, no one is perfect. We returned from a wonderful twelve night cruise on board the Carnival Sunshine to the Mediterranean. Ports of call included Barcelona, Spain; Monte ... Read More
I never like to start a review with negative comments. After all, no one is perfect. We returned from a wonderful twelve night cruise on board the Carnival Sunshine to the Mediterranean. Ports of call included Barcelona, Spain; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Livorno, Civitavecchia, Napoli, Venice, Messina, Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia. We enjoyed Europe and cannot wait to return. Now, about the ship. The Carnival Sunshine has been redesigned and is a rather small ship; therefore, fewer services and options for the cruiser. That might explain of disappointment. On a bright note, our room stewards and the servers in the formal dining were (as always) excellent. The quality of everything else, however, seems to have slipped a little (an in the quality and quantity of the food), a lot! A few years back, we spent two delightful cruises in the Caribbean abord the Glory and the Pride. What incredible ships and what fantastic experiences! We raved about the food and purchased the carnival recipe book on our last cruise. The quality of the menu items, the varied selection in the formal dining areas and on the Lido food deck were simply amazing. Great taste, wonderful presentation, delicious recipes, incredible variety, enormous quantities, ease of access . . .it was a delightful epicurean experience on board both boats, memories I shall treasure forever. It should be mentioned that on both of those former cruises I gained ten pounds. On this last Sunshine cruise, however, I gained only one pound. I especially missed the signature potato salad now missing from your salad buffet. The main breakfast courses on the Lido deck seemed a rather drab and boring array of insipid eggs, uninteresting breakfast potatoes, undercooked bacon that stuck together, two types of breakfast sausages, honey dew, cantaloupe, cantaloupe, honeydew, CANNED PEACHES!! Really!!. . . the list goes on and I shall not belabor the point. Lunch and dinner wasn't any better. I think I saw the same bland white fish served every night for twelve days straight. Pork, rice dishes, pasta, WHERE'S THE BEEF! Oh yes! Breakfast on the Lido deck on mornings when many passengers had to arrive on the dock early for shore tours was like a cattle call! Carnival should open more food services for breakfast. Even the room service couldn't keep up with the demand on those days. We had at least two couples we met who did not get their room service in time and had to go ashore without breakfast. My summation of the trip on board Carnival could be summed up like this: Carnival has slipped from a five star cruise line to maybe a three or two. We are looking for a better experience next time and a different cruise line for our next investment. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We embarked at Barcelona and for once it was organised not as chaotic which is bonus. We got on board to find our room not ready so we sat on the deck and chilled. By 3.30pm room still not ready was getting a little annoyed, finally got in ... Read More
We embarked at Barcelona and for once it was organised not as chaotic which is bonus. We got on board to find our room not ready so we sat on the deck and chilled. By 3.30pm room still not ready was getting a little annoyed, finally got in to find it filthy a slippper and a glass from the previous guest along with their breakfast on the floor. We called Room Steward on the phone and she came to check. On checking she agreed and got someone to come in and hoover and clean, we asked where were the towels she said no towels getting washed. We asked where was the glasses and enough pillows to sleep 4 people again fell on deaf ears. As this was a spa cabin and we had paid extra I asked where the slippers and complimentary toiletries were to be frank she said in her romanian accent "no slippers" carnivals fault ! This is the third Carnival cruise we have done and could not believe her attitude which only got worse in to the cruise on the last day she decided not to clean our cabin using an excuse that the snoozing sign was on the door when it was hanging up in our cabin. Having read a previous review on cabin 10141 I can totally sympathise I understand you dont stay in your cabin and your out and about but come on Carnival get a grip with these lazy people !! The ship is old and still has the old feeling not like the new ships. We found the food to be good we had an 8.15pm reservation for dinner and found sometimes we were eating dessert nearly 2 1/2 hours later quite slow the waiting staff and polite and are extremley busy maybe they need more staff ? On Sea days the ship gets busy this is to be expected but we got a shock when we found two girls sleeping in the serenity Deck above our cabin on deck 10 they were in a covered pod and it was 4 o clock in the morning saving it for the next day it was a complete shock so next morning I reported the incident because of all the noise etc to Guest Service (customer service courses need to be given as most of these people are rude). We were told that we should have called security to remove them I said we just wanted to get some sleep as the noise of these people moving around was load. Anyway we left if there as we didnt get anywhere with them. The spa was basically two steam rooms and a couple of heated beds needs some kind of jacuzzi as on the other ships. Gym good plenty of treadmills and equipment. We turned Gold members on this cruise having clocked up over 30 days with Carnival and were invited to the Cocktail Party which was really good and the cruise Director Noonan made you feel valued even though the majority of the Eastern European staff were rude it gave you the feeling that we first experienced on the Dream in Amercia totally great staff who could not do enough for you. The Ports of call were amazing we went to Monte Carlo on our own walked the Formula one track which was a bit of a leg lift on Carnival's trip cost wise. In Livorno we hired a car for 120 euros went to Florence and Pisa all four of us so price wise so much cheaper than ships tours and took our time. In Rome we took the bus to the town and had a wander around. In Naples we got up really early to catch the 8.15am Hydro to Capri and we stayed their until about 12.30 and got on the next one to Sorrento and had lunch. It was well worth doing and so much more reasonable than the ship price tour. In Dubrovnick we noticed the hike in prices since they have joined the EU in July this year. Had a walk around then headed back nice town very pretty worth a visit. Venice well what can I say beautiful city loads to see and do walked from ship to st marks square 40 mins great walk, lovely bridges and shops if you can walk it do its lovely. In Messina took a Taxi to Taromina beautiful place worth a visit. Go outside the gates and the Taxi Drivers negotiate a price with you our Taxi Driver was called Luca really lovely man very informative gave you a load of info whilst driving to Taromina. Worth doing cheaper for 4 of us than the ship tour. Kids Club we used Camp Carnival once or twice and Club 02 both seemed ok although when we are on holiday as a family and therefore eat in evening together so they missed alot of the activities. The Dive in Movie was great just outside our cabin so very handy. Overall my experience of Carnival is it is a Fun time and we made the most of it because its not worth ruining your holiday over such things.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
12 nights in the Med on the Carnival Sunshine. We are two adults and two teenagers. (16 and 13) Embarkation. This was quick and easy, despite a computer failure. Our cabin wasn't ready, but we sat by the main pool, had some lunch ... Read More
12 nights in the Med on the Carnival Sunshine. We are two adults and two teenagers. (16 and 13) Embarkation. 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. The Ship. 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. The Ports. 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. The Staff. 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. Conclusion. 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.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Just returned from our Cruise tonight and felt the need to warn people about some annoying imperfections that blighted our cruise. Having previously sailed with Princess and Royal Caribbean the standards set were quite high, however we ... Read More
Just returned from our Cruise tonight and felt the need to warn people about some annoying imperfections that blighted our cruise. Having previously sailed with Princess and Royal Caribbean the standards set were quite high, however we had been warned that sailing with Carnival would be a different experience, so our expectations were lowered beforehand. We chose this cruise for the following 3 reasons: Relatively cheap price Excellent itinerary New Ship I can honestly say the price was unbelievable value, the itinerary was amazing and the ship was also impressive following its $150m refit, so all in all we had a good time. But now for the imperfections: Spanish Tax added to all purchases on board that we weren't warned about (10% on drinks & 21% on souvenir photos) 15% Service Charge added to all drinks, including the new swipe and serve your own beer stations. 2,000 sunbeds for 3,000+ guests which regularly descended into arguments and battles with deck staff and an early rise at 7:00AM to claim and guard your beds. Food in the self service restaurant was simply appalling. Food was often cold, very little choice, not enough seating and not enough staff to clear tables. We gave up eating in the main restaurant after three nights as we often waited between 20-30 for seating and again the food was cold when served, or we waited 20 minutes between courses. Maintenance works were carried out until midnight and resumed at 8:00AM, so we demanded a move from deck 1 to deck 5 for sleep. Juice, coffee, ice machines and supply of cups often ran dry, which I guess is down to the lack of staff. No advice or communication from Carnival regarding the ports of call. We were given a useful map from a Thomson cruiser in Venice that was full of tips and recommendations. Take note Carnival! In general Carnival are clearly trying to run this ship on a shoestring and have less staff, so the service isn't quite the same, however I can accept that you do get what you pay for and although the list of grumbles is quite long we did have a great holiday regardless.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Good selection of food available Excellent fine dining in the evening in Sunset restaurant Cleaning of our cabin was not good Hassled all the time by photographers-The worst we have ever seen one of them insulted my wife so we've ... Read More
Good selection of food available Excellent fine dining in the evening in Sunset restaurant Cleaning of our cabin was not good Hassled all the time by photographers-The worst we have ever seen one of them insulted my wife so we've had to complain and got no where with it! Fab cinema screen by the main pool but too loud music played all day alone if you are a family you are stuck in that area Main pool is far too small for 3000 people sharing and only one more pool for adults only(If you are with your children you can not use it!)Considering many children uses the main pool the water was only changed 2 day before the 9 day cruise end! The staff are friendly in general-Except our cleaner-Felicia! Fantastic staff in the restaurant working long hours but still smile in their faces-Antonio is the best waiter ever.. 80 percent American people travelled on this cruise who were very very friendly and great. Felt like minority if you were European or British Teen age daughter enjoyed the club Great bars on board-Red frogs & the piano bar were great fun The worst comedians and shows in the main theatre ever seen(except mine reader A young and proffessional british lad called Kennedy) compare to other company cruises. Over all it was a good but it made us realise how good is the Royal caribbean cruises are!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
From the oppressive decor ( more like a mausoleum than a fun ship ) to the absence of interaction with entertainment and other senior staff. We also stayed on for the following cruise from Dover to Northern Europe and back to Dover. ... Read More
From the oppressive decor ( more like a mausoleum than a fun ship ) to the absence of interaction with entertainment and other senior staff. We also stayed on for the following cruise from Dover to Northern Europe and back to Dover. Other than the cruise director was John and not Brent (yes, Brent was very poor in the role and obviously had issues with Calvyn, his assistant ), nothing was different on the 2nd cruise. No effort was made to change even the few movies that were shown on the first cruise, the menu was exactly the same and many of the trivia questions were repeated too. The casino was very smokey and we had to avoid that entire floor mostly as the whole floor stank of smoke We knew that we had not paid a lot for these cruises and so we were not expecting too much, so our expectations were largely met. We have never been on a cruise that was not enjoyable in most areas although some are much better than others (often relates to price) Having said that, I doubt we would book another Carnival cruise   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Embarkation at Barcelona was smooth and we were on the boat at lunchtime. See later for the disembarkation fiasco! Our first impression was that we were in a great aunt's cluttered living room! The decor is just so busy that it hurts ... Read More
Embarkation at Barcelona was smooth and we were on the boat at lunchtime. See later for the disembarkation fiasco! Our first impression was that we were in a great aunt's cluttered living room! The decor is just so busy that it hurts your eyes until you learn to ignore it. I suspect someone was supposed to order 50 grey plastic urns (they look like the European football cup) and accidentally ordered 5000, so they had to stick them to the walls, make banisters out of them, bar stools (with no where to rest your feet) etc. Add to this the dark wood with gold inlay and the many red lights, its all a bit OTT. The main dining room (served) was not open so we had to make teh first of only 2 visits to the 'canteen'. I would not necessarily criticise Carnival too much for this, as the same on NCL and P&O have both been to the same low standard. The food was OK, but by the time you have queued, found a table, collected a drink etc. it's gone cold and eating off plastic plates is not my idea of Carnival's 'Fun'. Having 'Fun' is Carnivals mantra, and I'm sure they believe that if they ay it enough we will all believe it, however, I don't wan't to sound like nothing would please me so here's the good points:- - Excellent cabins, well laid out, calm in decor compared to the rest of the ship, and with excellent lighting and with a very comfortable bed. - Cheap uplift to an Aft facing cabin, which gives a great view however you dock. - Having the comedy club separate to the main theatre was good, and some of the comedians were very good (though not all!) - Serenity deck was excellent. Good sunloungers and very good quality towels - Having a 220volt outlet in the room was a positive onlt because all the info that I read beforehand only mentioned 110v - Ships dancers, singers and band were very good, much more professional than we have seen on P&O and on par with NCL. - Great staff in the dining room, cabins and running the quizzes. - The ship was very stable. We have sailed But I suspect the following list might be longer! :- - The shows, which for us is one of the things we enjoy, were very variable. The singing & dancing shows are far too infrequent. One night there was only a film, once a juggler, once a magician and once an embarassing British singer (and I say that only as I am also British) making ridiculous noises and comments between quite well sung songs! - The timing of dinner (we were on the 8:15 second sitting) is not always co-ordinated with the shows, so sometimes to be sure to see the show we had to skip desert. - Daily news paper 'Fun times!' is woefully short of information, unless of course it is promoting increased spending. For example, there was no mention of shuttlebus arrangements or availability - On the same subject, I suspect that in Marseille Carnival had arranged the shuttle busses which were at a ridiculous €14pp for a few mile ride. In other reports they were a more reasonable €5pp or free. - Excursions and ridiculously priced (tip: use smartcruisetours in Rome. Well priced and a good service at €22pp return trip) - The quality of the food was OK, sometimes very nice, sometimes not. - Movies on-board are pay per view except the occasional free movie, but then they do not tell you what the timings are so you cannot plan around it! - Pre-cruise info, like the newspaper, was woefully poor on their website, so websites such as this one are necessary to plus info gaps. Examples of what is not shared is: The fact that the cabion DOES have a 220v Euro socket, how many formal nights, where shuttle busses will be available etc. - This is a big one! On top of paying top prices for drinks, with 10% VAT and 15% gratuity, the cocktails (pina colada, dacquari, marguerita) are based on ice and syrup. Yes they taste like there is some alcohol in there, but we never felt the effect and on some occasions when I asked they would add some alcohol. I very much suspect that the alcohol content was very limited and we were being ripped off! Ok what else. Only one speciality retaurant, Cagneys, which we visited once. The food and service were both very good, though they refused to let my wife choose the lobster from the main menu for a starter! Brett, the cruise director, sounded like Ned Flanders from The Simpsons, which made me laugh every time he spoke, which was OK as he rarely said anything of interest (OK so it's an American cruise company so I shouldn't complain that there are Americans being American, but even to a Brit speaking the same language they are an odd breed and easy to take the mick out of!). The Captain and other senior staff were invisible and I suspect make a point of keeping away from the 'cargo'! Daily announcements were uninformative and delivered in an uncaring manner. Oh and to disembarkation at Dover. Well it's hard to know how much is the lack of caring from Carnival now that you have paid and gone, and how much is the apalling service from the Port of Dover authority (not a patch on Southampton!). Once off the ship there was a massive and totally unorganised queue for taxi's, with no-one to assist Customers to the right area. I understand only 2 companies are licensed to enter the port, so a massive queue had to wait while maybe about 10 taxis made round trips. Compare this to, for example, Barcelona or Southampton and there are fleets of cabs ready to pick up fares. People were trying to flag down the few taxis before they reached the head of the queue etc. leading to arguments. Not the best way to finish a holiday! Overall, we did have a good holiday. We met and dined with some nice people, the weather was mostly great and we enjoyed most ports. The cabin was very comfortable and the aft-views often spectacular, but would I cruise with Carnival again? No, I am afraid I would not! We already have our next cruise booked for a second trip with NCL, we will then likely try Royal Caribbean for a Caribbean cruise and then we would like to go back to P&O.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
This was our second cruise with Carnival. After lots of bad press, we still decided because of the ports to do this cruise out of Barcelona, to France and Italy. We scheduled what was supposed to be the 4th cruise on the referb'd ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Carnival. After lots of bad press, we still decided because of the ports to do this cruise out of Barcelona, to France and Italy. We scheduled what was supposed to be the 4th cruise on the referb'd Sunshine but they cancelled the first two so we were the second cruise. They did not have the pools open and the slides were only open a couple days out of the entire cruise. The putting green was also never opened. They provided a OBC which worked out fine. We had a great dinner in the steakhouse that we otherwise wouldn't have had. The staff were all fairly nice, our cabin steward did a great job. We were initially in 6311, I would warn people against that room as it is right under a late night disco. On the first night at 1130pm when Eye of the Tiger was blaring and our 2 yr old couldn't sleep, we sought a room change. Although it was tedious and seemed to take them almost a day to find a place for us, we did change rooms. Some rooms had toilet issues or no water, so not all the rooms were complete or available to occupy. We did excursions through www.cruisingexcursions.com and felt they did a great job, despite Carnival not allowing them to bring their shuttle buses to the port. We went to all the same spots as the Carnival excursion but usually arrived sooner and had more time there. The food was delicious, our main dining waiter/waitress were excellent. The Italian specialty restaurant was FAB as was the steakhouse (3 hr dining experience)! Our 2 yr old used the children's club and was happy most of the time. There were a few staff that went above and beyond. As for entertainment, we loved the piano bar guy and there were a few game shows that we saw but otherwise, with such a port intensive week, we were exhausted most nights. We were told by some staff that they had not been paid for their time on board setting up the ship or since they started sailing, which I think was horrible! We enjoyed the ports but the ship was not on par with the "hype" that was created. Maybe after they worked out the issues it would have been better. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
This was the first trip to the Eastern Hemisphere my wife and I had taken. I am 27 and she is 26. This was not a honeymoon cruise, just something we wanted to do before having kids made it difficult. We have both cruised Carnival before ... Read More
This was the first trip to the Eastern Hemisphere my wife and I had taken. I am 27 and she is 26. This was not a honeymoon cruise, just something we wanted to do before having kids made it difficult. We have both cruised Carnival before with a NCL cruise squeezed in the middle. Bear with me as i would like to cover a lot of things to get everything off my chest.We started off with the standard red-eye US Airways Philadelphia to Barcelona international flight. I would recommend another airline if it is at all feasible, but it was pretty much our only decent option. We arrived the morning of the cruise at about 9 A.M.The first problem with Carnival was almost immediate. We knew when we booked ahead of time we would have too much time to burn between landing and setting sail from Barcelona, so we booked a pre-cruise Barcelona shore excursion. We booked this on the Carnival website with the Airport transfer. When we claimed our bags after Spanish customs (which was a minor joke throughout the two week cruise, by the way) we were greeted by a Carnival representative. This Carnival representative told us to give our checked bags to the porter and wait in a general wing of the airport. We did. We waited an agonizing long time with a big crowd of people. Finally, we were taken to the buses and the buses took us to the Port of Barcelona. At this point i knew something was wrong because our shore excursion should have all ready started. We waited and got on the ship with the expected waiting we did. We immediately went to the shore excursion desk. We were told that we were emailed instructions with how to go on our pre-cruise excursion. No, we did not receive any email. Carnival credited us our shore excursion cost but we missed our opportunity to see Barcelona, so we started off the cruise frustrated with Carnival for a miss-stepOur Balcony room was 7289. Great in terms of floor location, 2 floors below the lido and sun deck, 2 floors above the ocean plaza and casino. No noise from either. But our room was located next to the stairway so it was a little noisy at times. The room was fine, my first balcony but it was a good room. The only negative was the people next to us and the TV stations were pretty terrible. Constantly losing signals and the audio was not synced to the video. Not a huge deal because i don't watch TV much while on a cruise.Marseilles, France - Easily the least enjoyable port of the cruise. We booked the "Le Castellet & Bandol" excursion through Carnival and went to a port/tourist area for a couple hours and then to a Medieval Castle type town for a couple hours. Good sights but the bus ride was too long to justify it. Try something else here.Livorno/Pisa, Italy - Took the "Leaning Tower of Pisa" Carnival excursion. This was a very good a photo intensive excursion. My only complaint is that you are not really given enough free time to enjoy the area. I would book something similar with more roaming time. (this was only a 4 hour tour)Civitavecchia/Rome, Italy - We learned from Pisa and booked the "Rome on your own" carnival excursion. This was the highlight of the cruise. We had 8+ hours to roam Rome and see all the different architecture shops and sights. I recommend bringing your own detailed map as the Carnival provided map is a joke. We even were able to meet up with friends and enjoy local pasta. Didn't see the pope though.Naples, Italy - We did not book and excursion in this port. Since the port of Naples is actually the thing I wanted to see, i decided to just get off the ship and walk around on my own. The city of Naples is actually pretty dirty and depressed. I was asked if i wanted to buy some IPhones from some locals for 5 euros, which is pretty funny. We eventually made our way to the nicer tourist-y places and some very nice architecture spots. Loved the castle. Overall, this was a weak point in the itinerary. Probably best to book an excursion. Although that seems like more of a "mask".Dubrovnik, Croatia - Surprisingly one of the best ports on the itinerary. We booked the "Konavle Biking Tour" which was by far the best excursion of the cruise. Carnival lists the activity level as "Difficult" which is a complete joke, if you are in any kind of shape you will be fine. We finished up the tour (which was beautiful with a fresh-water sping and church mixed in) in a winery and sampled two wines and a cheese. We bought a wine and Olive Oil for the trip home. I highly recommend this tour.Venice, Italy - Awesome! Having two days in Venice was a nice bonus to this itinerary. We walked around the streets ourselves with no tour. We discovered many beautiful structures and sampled the local culture. This is tied with Dubrovnik as the second best port. Sicily/Messina, Italy - We booked the "Taormina & Beach Getaway" excursion through Carnival. Taormina is a cool little village with the standard tourist items and Gelato. We did most of our souvenir hunting here before heading to the beach. I loved the views and everything but the temperature of the Mediterranean. But hey, at least i can say i swam in it. Good port and good excursion, i would recommend it.The ports were the best parts of the cruise. Now lets get into the Carnival Sunshine itself.As mentioned before, our cabin was fine and complete, i read about the nightmares before our cruise but it was no problem on this one or for us.The pool was closed for a couple days and Carnival gave us a credit. Good, i couldn't care less about the pool. What i did care about was the lack of room to do anything in a common area on a sea day. Granted there are only three sea days on this cruise, but it was frustrating that only awful seats on the sun deck were open, almost all other common rooms would be full and all activities would all be taken. (i remember i couldn't even play billiards in the sky zone) Forget about bathing in the hot tub at any "peak" time as it will be filled with either kids at the lower level or adults in the serenity lounge. I finally got in the hot tub when the sun went down.The comedians in the Limelight lounge were pretty good. The ones from the UK kinda sucked but the American ones were above average. I recommend seeing these guys even though the introductory people (Wally and the "tropical" girl from Canada) are tough to listen to.The shows in the Liquid Lounge are pretty bad. We have had Kevin Noonan as a cruise director before and he was sadly the best entertainment there. The Marriage game and the Introductory show were the best parts. The Hasbro Gameshow would be the most boring show in the history of Nickelodeon if it was on TV (which it looks like it was a at some point). The singing and dancing shows never really interest me (even though i was laughing when they pulled cruisers up there to dance in the VIP show). The Juggler dropped things a few times and the mind reading guy was kind of impressive i admit.The Sky Zone was pretty cool with the golf, basketball, billiards, ping pong, shuffle board, and ropes course. I did the water slides once to say i did them. Not bad for adults. Overall i would say on a 12 day cruise the entertainment just ran out of entertainment. Everything got kinda of old and you can tell when they started repeating liquid lounge shows. The Sky Course / Sky Zone also got old fast on the 12 day trip.Our fellow cruisers were mostly older folks. Some Europeans and Americans. You won't find much eye candy on this cruise. But the other side is much fewer kids, which is always a plus in my book.I never took advantage of the Piano Bar or Library bar. I played poker in the casino (which is technically a rip-off with the rake) and won $800! I probably could have won more but i wanted to be fair to my wife.The Alchemy Bar was by far the coolest thing on the ship. If i could go back i would spend more time there. Definitely check it out to get an inspired drink. The other bars were pretty mundane. I liked the idea of spiked milkshakes but really, getting a buzz with a milkshake is impossible. The Sports bar is a joke because they only played European sports in the middle of the NHL and NBA playoffs.You can just bring wine/beer/liquor onto the ship anyway. Unlike other Carnival cruises there wasn't even a check-in station. The security guys seemed to not really care. Just put whatever you get in a bag and you will get through fine.There were some technical problems with the sunshine. Loose floor boards, lights in the liquid lounge not working, audio during shows not working and other minor problems. They will probably fix these in the coming weeks.The Food:Lido - Same exact options for breakfast everyday. The eggs never tasted fresh. I suggest getting omlettes in the Havana bar. I rarely came for other meals, but when i did it was mediocre food. They seemed to close the buffet islands in my face a lot too. I did like the grilled cheese sandwiches late at night. The Pannini bar is good as well as the pizza station - better than other carnival ships. Guy's Burgers - Yummy, but bad as hell for you. You can just tell when eating it your heart is mad with you. Unfortunately this is your only option for food Mid-Day other than pizza. The toppings bar is great though.Blue Iguana Cantina - I loved the Burritos it was only open from noon to 2:30 though, so i didn't get as many as i liked. IMO these hours should be extended. Not quite Chipotle but pretty good.Sunshine Restaurant - Had anytime dinning with many servers and got mixed results. We finally learned the pattern. The wait staff makes no difference, you will have bad service (or i mean just long service) if the place is busy and good service if the place is not. The best time to go is 6:10ish. You will be hungry and get out at a decent time. There were days we waited an hour and a half for the whole meal and it was frustrating, just go at lower trafficked times.Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse - Delicious super fattening meal. I loved every single course except for - ironically, the steak. I got the cowboy on the bone steak and i wouldn't recommend it here for anyone else. This place probably wasn't worth the $70 for two but i wanted to try it once.I didn't try JiJi's or the Italian place.Disembarkation was surprisingly smooth considering the crowdedness of the ship and what i have seen from past cruises i've been on. The post cruise transfer was fast and we got our luggage and everything went fine (until we got to customs that is).To conclude everything - We had a great time and enjoyed the ports. The Carnival Sunshine itself left something to be desired. The service is always top notch but the entertainment, crowdedness, ship design, food left something to be desired.All in all we are glad we took this cruise. But we won't look forward to go on the Carnival Sunshine again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
This site's summary for Carnival is "High-energy ship good for families, extroverts". Unfortunately on this cruise, Carnival lost the recipe. Passengers would have been totally bored if they didn't read, play games ... Read More
This site's summary for Carnival is "High-energy ship good for families, extroverts". Unfortunately on this cruise, Carnival lost the recipe. Passengers would have been totally bored if they didn't read, play games and/or cards, or frequent the casino. For example, I don't consider a sea day activity as going to the Art Auction. Both daytime activities and evening entertainment was sparse. Even the last two cruise days had the feeling of the typical "last cruise day". On the positive side: - With this ship's layout, I really appreciated the two separate pool areas. The aft pool provided peace and solitude while the mid-pool still provided the typical loud music and directed activities usually associated with Carnival. - The "Your Time Dining" was very convenient. The service was generally very good and the food was usually above average. - The crossing was very calm and warm. I'm thinking a southern latitude transatlantic route during late-November is preferable to a more northerly crossing. On the negative side: - During cruises, I enjoy frequenting the steam room. Unfortunately on the Breeze, the use of the steam room requires purchase of a spa package. The cost quoted at the beginning of the cruise was $249. - The entertainment was lacking and a real disappointment. The reliance on background animation in the stage productions was tiring and repetitive. In fact, I had a hard time discerning what audio was prerecorded versus live. Also, there was only one band (Eddie C & The Cool Breeze Band). Unfortunately they appeared to disembark at Antigua (with four days left). There also were two guitar players; however, I didn't consider them very good. A big disappointment was that only nine of the fifteen days had comedian shows. What kept the evening lively was the piano bar with Ron Pass. In conclusion even with the negatives, I might again consider the Breeze for a shorter cruise duration or if Carnival addresses the entertainment shortcomings. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
After looking forward to this Trans-atlantic cruise, I was very disappointed. The pluses should always be first so: *the decor is a great improvement over the glitzy Vegas decor of other Carnival ships *the multiple eating venues are ... Read More
After looking forward to this Trans-atlantic cruise, I was very disappointed. The pluses should always be first so: *the decor is a great improvement over the glitzy Vegas decor of other Carnival ships *the multiple eating venues are great *the show entertainment was first rate. The technology was superb. *the cabins are nice and roomy *the public areas (lobby, lounges, etc.) are plentiful and very comfortable The negatives, however, are in more important areas: ^the music was awful. I would have paid not to hear some of the musicians such as the two guitar players and the piano bar player ^while the singing maitre d' is nice, it was intrusive to have the guy singing every day, particularly when he repeated the songs ^the service in the assigned dining room was awful. Seemed like everyone was in a hurry to get you out of there, this in the second seating. The atmosphere in the "dine as you please" was much more conducive to conversation and relaxation ^the food in the Lido Marketplace and the main dining rooms was terrible. The food at the Cucina del Capitano was not much better. Not very Italian for having Italian officers ^the service of bartenders, Lido, dining rooms was very deficient, probably because there was very little supervision. The tables in the Marketplace were left dirty with dishes piled high when there were guests who needed them. ^the activities were practically non-existent. ^the crew was not very friendly ^the ship was a surprise in that it shook and vibrated excessively. We like the lower decks during a transatlantic crossing because they have an easier motion in high seas, but this ship shook and groaned and made terrible noises at the lower levels. All in all, a great disappointment! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We are loyal Carnival cruisers but were a little disappointed with some things on this cruise. The ship is beautiful with the decor completely changed from other ships. The layout mistakes on the Magic have been corrected and the ... Read More
We are loyal Carnival cruisers but were a little disappointed with some things on this cruise. The ship is beautiful with the decor completely changed from other ships. The layout mistakes on the Magic have been corrected and the traffic flows much better. The buffet areas on Lido deck have been re-designed and no longer looks like a giant school cafeteria. Food: There are more places to eat now. The food is good, especially the Guy's burgers, but the food on Lido and in the MDR while good, is not the same as it was in years past. Most of the desserts are a type of cake with very few pies offered. The beef is just not as good, or maybe it is the way it is cooked. One can only order steak medium rare or medium well. And I am not sure how they define those choices as it never came out the same. The choices on Lido are the same, day after day. The activities consisted mainly of trivia all day long. But no more ships on sticks as prizes. Just an autographed picture of the entertainment staff who was hosting that particular session. And the B2B cruisers had all the answers. Bingo was not so in your face as before, but still was a big activity pushed by the ship. The Hasbro games were okay, but were only held three times. Two of the same people were chosen for two of the three sessions. Only 18 people were chosen each time, so very few were chosen to participate. The shows that I attended were not as good as in past cruises. Gone are the "Vegas" style productions. The movies were hit and miss. Children's movies were shown on the big screen and television and only 67 children were on board out of 3600+. My biggest complaint is the wait staff. We had a terrible waiter who gave even worse service after we complained. It would appear that Carnival has increased the number of passengers but has not increased the staff accordingly. For the five nights we had early dining, our dinner took over 90 minutes to complete. One night it was 8:05 pm when we got our dessert. Since we are platinum we requested YTD and got changed. The service was excellent but we sat in the section of the dining room that was serviced by a waiter we had on another cruise.. I heard many others complaining about slow service. The other complaint is how John Heald talks and treats his assistant Calvyn. Calvyn is gay, and on the morning shows, JH is always saying things like "don't touch me" and other things , which I think are not necessary and inappropriate. A person's sexual orientation is private and should not be either celebrated nor demeaned in a public setting. I like JH and his humor, but not in this particular instance. I will not go into the many other small "glitches" that took place with embarkation, debarkation, and other small snafu's that happened. I like Carnival and will sail again with them again. But their staff and procedures on these larger ships need improvement. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
It's 9 am on a bright and sunny Wednesday in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on the Carnival Breeze. You're sitting outside on the Lido deck , eating tepid scrambled eggs (strangely blended with flour, i think) and drinking ... Read More
It's 9 am on a bright and sunny Wednesday in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on the Carnival Breeze. You're sitting outside on the Lido deck , eating tepid scrambled eggs (strangely blended with flour, i think) and drinking weak coffee. John and Calvin are on the giant "Dive In" screen interspersing homophobic slurs with fat jokes. You are surrounded by exhausted seniors who are struggling with constant consecutive one-hour time changes, the elbows-up offensive moves required to navigate the omelette and beverage stations, and the jaded entertainment staff offering yet another round of recycled trivia. Your four-year-old daughter is asking for Club Carnival. It will not be open for another hour. The good news is that the weather is unseasonably warm. The bad news is that there is another three days of this, before you mercifully hit land in Antigua and take a break from life on this ship. My husband, four-year-old daughter and I disembarked from the Transatlantic repositioning cruise of the Carnival Breeze a few days ago. The ship launched in Barcelona, and included three ports of call in Spain, plus two pit stops in Antigua and St. Maarten, concluding in Miami. This is not our first cruise, but it was by far our longest expedition. It has cured us of ever trying a Transatlantic with Carnival again. Or probably any cruise with Carnival. Our beef with our experience is mainly related to the programming and, to a lesser degree, the food. I will not dwell on the management of logistics, such as embarkation and disembarkation, given that Carnival cannot control all aspects of this process. Further, the cabin (we had a balcony room on the 8th floor) was quiet and kept clean. The Breeze is only six months old, and met expectations for a clean, modern and well designed cruise ship. The food. As many passengers have pointed out, the Breeze is hit and miss. On the plus side, the kiosks on the perimeter of the Lido deck were, for the most part, top notch. Guy's Burgers are decadent and delicious, the burrito station (staffed by a duo of unfailingly polite and enthusiatic burrito-meisters) was excellent, and the Tandorri kitchen provided a nice change of pace. Like many others, I became fairly addicted to the Mongolian Grill for lunch (go Sechuan chichen!). On the minus side, the pizza, like most of the offerings in the dining room, was designed to succeed (freshly made, innovative fast ovens) but just missed somehow -- was it the namby-pamby sauce maybe? The fact the centre is a bit too doughy? Chef needs to go back to the drawing board on that one. The dining room experience was well organized, except for the strange cagey and eccentric attitude about the wine packages. Carnival, how can a wine package be unavailable on a ship that has been touring the Mediterranean for six months? And why are you offering crappy Italian bottles when we are cruising in Spain? Bizarre. The evening menus offered by the Breeze were usually promising, but the execution always came a little short. Meat cuts tended to be tough and often over-cooked -- fine, we can live with that in the cheap seats -- but the sauces usually failed completely (bernaise that appeared to be dijon mustard mized with mayonaise, jerk sauce without heat -- psst kitchen, the purpose of sauces is to mask the cheap cuts...). The exception were some of the excellent soups served on the first three days of the cruise, using stocks as a base that had some serious depth. The programming. I could be churlish and say the best fun on the ship was being poured into pint glasses at the Redfrog pub, but that would be unfair. Instead, I will offer Carnival the following seven pieces of advice. #7 -- Trivia does not an entertainment program make. You need to offer other things to do in the afternoon. #6 -- Enough with the Fun Shop and Spa announcements already. John's incessant broadcast pitches about today's overpriced "sale" spa package and the 25% off sale on t-shirts from the previous cruise were annoying (hey John -- you approve the content of the Fun Times, so you know -- we read about them already, we're good! And we're still not interested!) #5 -- Okay, we don't go on vacation to watch TV. Good thing, because the endless repeats of five random shows of the Discovery Channel that comprised the Transatlantic offering would have made for boring dinner conversation, after the sixht day. #4 -- Why do we have to pay for movies at the movie theatre? Aren't movies usually free on cruises? Aren't you supposed to show different movies everyday? Judging from absolute lack of interest in your movie theatre, you may want to rethink that one. #3 -- Why do you close Camp Carnival everyday from 1-3 pm on sea days (hottest, most dangerous time of day to have the little ones out in the sun) and provide absolutely nothing for them to do? I know -- maybe they can watch cartoons in the room? Oh wait -- see #8. No kids TV offered at all. Also, see #4 -- no movie showing during Camp Carnival closure (even if we wanted to pay the 15 bucks). #2 -- Deck party. From the endless cycle of repeat footage on the Cruise Director channel, we watched the same set of dancers (many wearing parkas and woolen hats) day after day. Is that all there is, my friends? If we can't keep dancing, I guess we can at least break out the booze... #1 -- Sadly, after seven days at sea, it just got boring. Even the entertainment staff seemed bored. Carnival, the Super Trivia game was a good example of how to break things up, encourage a different kind of networking. Some special guest talks, other kinds of challenges that don't involve losing wads of cash (poker, bingo, blah) would be welcome. We are fairly cured of cruising. But do hope Carnival considers these comments the next time they submit hapless travellers to mulitiple days at sea. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
This was our second cruise after 20 years. Overall, very disappointed with the food and constant pressure to buy photos, shore excursions, items from the shops and spa services. Cabin was good, clean with adequate closet space , but ... Read More
This was our second cruise after 20 years. Overall, very disappointed with the food and constant pressure to buy photos, shore excursions, items from the shops and spa services. Cabin was good, clean with adequate closet space , but needed more hangers. First lunch was a buffet. I chose the stir fry, where you select your veggies, protein and sauce. Then the cook tosses your choices on a Wok along with a cup of water, covers the dish with a lid for 60 seconds. The result is a soupy dish of wet ingreds. I would describe the buffets like a Food Court during a Black Friday sale at a Mall. Dinner was in the optional price steakhouse. Now, that was excellent. The service attentive and the beef cooked perfectly. The four of us chose the steakhouse because there was an offer for a free bottle of wine only on the first night. This excellent dinner raised my expectations for the rest of the voyage. Next morning, we were woken on the PA to be advised that due to high winds and small port entrance, we would not be able to tie up at Monaco. Disappointment to say the least. Breakfast buffet... powdered scrambled eggs with overly sweetened orange "juice". The coffee after 2 days drove me to brew tea. Toast was on one side of the line, but jam and syrup were across the aisle. Hard boiled eggs were prob cooked for 10 minutes on a high boil resulting in the telltale black outline. Told the Maitre'd about the HB eggs, but no change. Dinner, they greeting desk tries to seat you to share a table, not always wanted. You have to be aggressive. For every seated meal, the first person to attend was the cocktail server who would not bring the wine.Food in Dining room was good with no shining stars. Each dinner we had to repeatedly ask for lemons in the glass of water, even tho we had the same team. Ports were 60 minutes from the cities and coach drives were described as scenic. Not so, usually high speed routes. The shore excursion in Rome was rushed. Seemed like a sprint for 8 hours. Stop to shoot a scene and the umbrella was 100 ahead. Guides were knowledgeable and friendly. The best part of the entire 12 days was the locals we met on shore, whether a shore excursion laid on lunch, owners in a retail shop, fruit street vendors or just helpful locals. The entry to Venice in the fog was spectacular along with the historic skyline. We were so fortunate the stand on St. Mark's piazza 10 days before the flood!! Found some reasonable shopping(leather, wool cap, scarf)and wonderful food window displays.The walking along the narrow streets over the canals was a delight. Next morning back to Venice with a water taxi back to the ship to be in time only to learn that the departure would be delayed for 2 hours. Sadly, there was a death onboard. One of the passengers had a medical emergency, was transferred to another boat for further care. However, we were all advised on the PA that he/she had passed away. Shockingly, in the next sentence we were told about the sale on the shops onboard!!. No pause, no moment of silence! The Cruise Director was the voice on the PA became very annoying after the third day. Too loud with forced enthusiasm. The large screen on the Lido deck showed sitcoms( Frazier) and very old movies. Same for the room TV( Rick Steeves) and broadcast of info for disembarkation and broadcast of entertainment where cruise customers were the talent. Comedy club in the lounge, we left after 7 minutes, not funny. Our room was clean and comfortable. the two twins pushed together resulted in a seam to deal with. The cabin staff and for that matter serve staff addressed me as MR. Richard( my first name, not last). I guess this was the training. Felt weird. The emphasis was on the manner of address and animals fashioned out of towels, not upscale thoughtful service. At Dinner, one of asked for extra vegetables. We received more potatoes and some carrots... no greens. At another dinner, mashed potatoes were included. The server asked if I wanted a Baked potato...I got both. Desserts were on the too sweet side. So, we were constantly reminded about the level of service and quality of food in the Italian optional Captain`s Table resto. We booked a table for 4. Arrived, met a couple that we met on board and agreed to all 6 dine together. I asked the Maitre`d if we could switch from 4 to 6. She rolled her eyes and said she would look. After a few minutes, she said she was able to switch. When we were guided to our seats, the room was more than half empty?? I ordered the Melanzane which was inedible, overcooked mush and too oily. When asked how I enjoyed it, looking at the still full plate, I described the failure. Shock on her face, but no offer to replace, substitute or credit. Everywhere on board, they play music at volume. We found the Wine Library, still PA music. It has an auto wine vendor. You use your ship's card to select and pour a selected flavour of wine in a glass. One selection was off and undrinkable( another cruiser agreed with us). I asked the bar attendant if she could replace the glass of wine. She snapped that the vending machine was automatic, our charge could not be credited and there was nothing that she could do. I insisted on speaking to her supervisor. She replied that he was on break for the next 3 hours. I asked to speak to someone. This had deteriorated. After 15 minutes, an office in white arrived, credited the account advised us that we were the only ones who did not like the wine. I pointed to the guy at the bar. The whole process was unpleasant. The staff are unwilling or unable to resolve complaints. On the exterior decks, the majority are constantly wafted by cooking odours, not fresh sea breezes. With the constant pressure to spend more cash on board, I started to call the ship by the "Carnival Squeeze". Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
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