January 2016 - Carnival Sunshine to Caribbean - Bahamas
The cruise was put together by a family member to celebrate my parents 60 th wedding anniversary. Fifteen people in our group, no one under 20. This was the first cruise for my party of 5. I printed out all the literature, places to eat and entertainment, looked amazing. Food: We did not try any of the specialty restaurants(extra charge). The majority of the nights all 15 of us ate at the Sunrise Restaurant, one of the two served dinning rooms. It included a 3 course dinner, selected from a 2 page menu. The left side remained constant, while the right side changed nightly. Food presentation A+ , Our favorite service team A+ (one group C-), Food choices B+, Food Taste B-, Temperature food was served at C- . I'm a big fan of HOT food, that was never found at the Sunrise or self serve buffet. One baked potato wouldn't melt butter. The Sunrise had a gourmet flare. Appetizers included alligator fritters and frog legs. A Long Horn style steak wasn't an option. It's going to come with a sauce. Portion sizes are small. After the first night, I never went super hungry. Three out of my group have gluten allergies. Staff was very accommodating, but limited options. Some staff extremely conscious of cross contamination, other not so much. The deli guy changed gloves, etc, while the burger bar guy laid the bun down on the counter with all the other buns. The buffet line was typical, with the exception of only one carved meat. Two of the night, it was pork and not a fan. I was always on the look out for the amazing food I'd seen on the web site. Food during served hours was extremely abundant. One morning I had a prepared omelet and bacon, the texture of the food was the major difference. Only ate cheerios and yogurt from then on.
Entertainment: Jamie (entertainment director) was VERY perky. My daughter left one of the orientation type programs, when they asked the men to pledge that they would allow full use of the credit card to by diamonds (of course being sold on the ship). The hosted parties/gatherings that I experienced where very instructional. I went to one of the 70's & 80's shows and left after 10 minutes. It didn't come close to the average amusement park show. One night in a small piano bar, was very entertaining. Daughters boyfriend is in a band and we discussed it being to loud for a piano bar, he agreed. The comedy club was a huge attraction and at capacity every show. We had to arrive an hour early to get a group of 5 seats together. There was a large variety of entertainment options and some of them very good. Anyone not liking cigarette smoke stay clear of the Casino (deck 5). The majority of the ship is smoke free, so understandable it's super concentrated at the Casino. Weather and temperature wasn't conducive to swimming. I checked the pool temps at the Serenity level, on arrival. COLD. The 2 hot tubs on deck always filled with kids. Tiny for 3000 guest
There was one day of Sun on the 5 day cruise. One of the port stops was cancelled because of high wind. With an extra day at sea, we ran into family frequently. My brother did the cash bingo and wasn't impressed. Cabin television is limited. One movie per day is played in a loop.
Steward addressed us by name every time we ran into him and actually helped us keep track of the other family in his area. Almost freaky. Service personal very friendly, gave right of way to guest. We selected the ocean view stateroom. A nice size window that doesn't open. The first time on a cruise it was nice to be on the 2 nd deck. Much more rocking the higher you go up on the ship. The room was clean and kept clean by the steward. We we're happy to leave the beds on the ship when we left, not super comfortable.
My research showed each cruise line has different restrictions. I forgot Motion sickness pills $10 for a package of 8 pills on the ship. Pre-purchased bottled water was reasonable. Only did one excursion, Carnival packed us like sardines on a bus at $50 per. A 4 hour site seeing & beach combo. I tried to purchase a cake the last night for the anniversary celebration. That had to be purchased from the sweet shop which was closed because we had docked. Guess services told me that the restaurant would be able to help us out. Our favorite wait staff looked a little surprised when I told him what guess services had told me. He came though and the galley created a custom cake for us. It was the service staff that made the vacation celebration for us.