June 2015 - Carnival Sunshine to Caribbean - Eastern
Room was nice (7178) and spacious, lots of storage, both closet sliding doors were a pain to open and close, staff not able to fix, light in shower was broken, hair dryer is a nightmare, toilet placement odd - heavier set people will have trouble using it, room steward though was outstanding
Food in dining room is at most mediocre, they have the same menu choices for the last several years on every ship , we had the dine at your time option (which worked great), food in Lido etc. is normal buffet food, acceptable
Service with a few exceptions is getting worse every year, lazy attitude, unfriendly sometimes, improper serving techniques
Food in the specialty restaurants was outstanding and the service there was impeccable - what a difference for a little extra money
General cleanliness of ship is just o.k.
Entertainment is just o.k., sports options just o.k., jogging/walking track too small and not enough choices like on Royal Caribbean for example
We took an excursion in San Juan which included drive to Rainforest, about 1 hour stay, then drive back to San Cristobal Fort which is great and it is within walking distance back to ship through old town and shops (did not like that tour guide stopped at this little tacky shop on way back to have people shop - he apparently gets cut from that little store)
Last time for us to go to the Caribbean. St. Maarten and St. Kitts are great islands but the people at beach and the stores are annoying beyond belief. You are bothered constantly to buy things to the point where you just get mad.
Carnival has dress code for dinner. It is NEVER enforced. People show up in baseball hats, flip flops, short shorts cut off, it is seriously unbelievable. Don't have a dress code if you never enforce it.
Carnival also has signs posted everywhere on the decks to please not occupy chairs and lounge chairs with towels longer than 40 minutes or the towels will be removed. You get out there at 6am to exercise and almost every great spot (umbrella/half shells) are already reserved with towels, beach bags and other personal items. People don't show up for hours. That policy is NEVER enforced either.
TV/Satellite service plain sucks. Most of the channels are gone once you go out a few miles already. Nothing on the TV Guide applies anymore. That's the first time we had this problem on any ship. Also on this ship you cannot look up your spending account on TV or the dining menu. That is pitiful in this day and age for a ship that was newly renovated and redesigned in 2013. You can do this on their old old Fantasy with no problem.
The absolute best Carnival does compared to any other cruise line is the embarkation and disembarkation process. It is so meticulously well organized. It is just amazing.
The safety briefing though is a joke. Most people do not care, they talk, are on their phones and the crew just wants to get it over with. In a real emergency probably everybody won't know what to do and panic.
In closing if you are looking for outstanding service and a little sophistication Carnival is not for you. We rather pay more and have better service, food and general ambience.
We have cruised with Royal Caribbean and Norwegian before and Royal Caribbean is just way better. Norwegian is no better than Carnival. There are pros and cons on every cruise, we are all human but in the end the value for the money is not there with Carnival.