9 Night Western Mediterranean (Barcelona Roundtrip) Sail Date: May 17, 2013 Ship: Carnival Sunshine Cabin Type: Balcony Traveled As: Family (young children) Reviewed: 5 years ago
I will start from positives.
* The stuff is polite and generally does the best to help
* The ship is clean. Spa has great - large and hot, steam room (actually 3 or 4 rooms) and dry sauna (see also below)
* Food in the dining rooms is generally alright (see the cons below).
* Reasonable selection of wine. Mostly the wine is from CA (you are in Europe guys, you can have France and Italy wines tax free) but the selection is alright. You are not going to see anything exclusive on the wine card.
Now the cons.
* Carnival changed one of the ports 3 or 4 weeks before departure and let us know via e-mail. We did not pre order anything (no rented cars, hotels, excursions) so it was not an issue for us, but I can imagine that some people were annoyed.
* Service gratitude is mandatory, it is part of the bill and for 10 days trip it is $100 for a person. In our case $300 or ~10% of the total cost. For many people on the ship it was a nasty last day surprise. Consider that you can get a cabin for $600 or less and $100 add on looks significant.
* Swimming pool was closed. Carnival credited $100 to compensate the missing swimming pool. The ship is just after $150mil renovation. This was second trip after the renovation and name change - used to be Carnival Destiny, now Carnival Sunshine. Money well spent guys, ah?
* Phone in the cabin did not work 3 days. We have spent a couple of hours with an electrician in our cabin. It was not great joy. Again the ship is after $150 mil investment.
* In my case all spa services was included - this is called spa cabin. The spa costs $160 if you have to buy it. This is the largest steam room I have ever seen. I visited the sauna every day and I never met anybody there. What a waste of 50 feet long room full of 70 degree steam. Drop the price to $60 and may be people will start to come there.
* The last day started at 5 (five) AM when the ship radio called the first 'zone' to get out of the ship. They want the ship to be empty before 10AM. There is not much to do in Barcelona, 6AM Sunday. Barcelona airport is not bad, but it is not the best place for the family with small kid either. Our flight was 2PM. So you can imagine.
* 1.5L bottle of water costs $3.5. The bottles wait you on the table. If you drink the water you pay.
* Photo services are pushed very hard and extremely expensive. A photo for $15? Luckily the kid hates to be shoot and we did not buy any photos.
* Low hanging lamps in the restaurants and dining rooms are simply dangerous and wait for an accident.
* One show (from 4 we have seen) was alright. Generally the shows are low quality. Nooman (manager/director) is a nice guy and probably does the best under circumstances. I can not call trivia an evening show especially if it repeats day after day. Lectures in the spa are not a show either.
Food - I intentionally put as a separate list.
* Do not waste time to visit 'restaurants' like 'el capitan cusine' or sunrise. JiJi is somewhat better, but still is not there. $12/person they charge to visit one of those places + 15% mandatory gratitude. In Italy/Spain you eat very good for this kind of money.
* Dear Carnival chief, tomato paste is not a required ingredient in any fish/chicken dish. I have personally tried very good dishes which did not contain any tomato paste. Does it sound like a shock to you? Believe me such dishes exist. Seriously though you put too much, you put it everywhere. Not all your customers are Americans. And not all North Americans eat only ketchup.
* The 'Sunrise' restaurant you are assigned for the dinner is a beautiful place to visit. Service is excellent. It is worst (I am not kidding) place on the ship to eat. Chief does his/her best to create an expensive dish which you do not want to try again. From four dishes we tried 3 were bad.
* Dessert. You expect the dessert to be delicious. This is not the case on the Carnival ship. The desserts remind average US restaurant. Not fast food chain dessert mind you. It is better, but not by much.
Is the review too long already? I can add more, but I guess at this point you got the picture.
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