We arrived the day before the cruise traveling from Boston area
by train. My wife has a great fear of airplanes, buses, limousines,
taxis, etc. Actually anything that moves faster than the horse
drawn carriages in Central Park. But for some unknown reason a
train (NOT the Acela though, I made that mistake once) is OK. Go
figure! Stayed at the Broadway Millennium on W 44th Street and took
in the Rockette Summer Spectacular Show at Radio City Music Hall.
Both were great.
Embarkation: Normally on cruises out of New York we arrive at
the cruise terminal between 10:30 and 11:00 then sit in the V.I.P.
lounge (one of the few suite perks) until boarding begins. This
time, for reasons I won't bore you with, we arrived at 11:30 and
were immediately whisked onto the ship. Loved it.
The Ship: As is our normal practice once on board, we were off
to "get the lay of the land" and take lots of pictures of our home
town for the next 8 days. Not to be disappointed we the found ship
to be easy to navigate, neat, fresh and clean.
in many reviews was not apparent to us except on the open deck on
sea days. Maybe we need to get up earlier but we were never able to
find two deck chairs together on sea days.
Then it was off to the Lido for that first onboard cruise meal.
Many of the reviews I had read complained about the difficulty
finding table space in the Lido. We NEVER had a problem finding a
table. I had mentioned to my wife we may have to eat in the Havana
Bar which would not have been a problem but in fact we ate there
once out of a desire and it took a while to find an empty table
A silly little thing but when I get off the elevator I never
seem to know whether to go left or right to my stateroom. I walk to
one side and if I wrong I say to my wife "So this is what the other
side of the ship looks like" or "they still haven't painted the
walls a different color" or some other type foolishness. Well on
the Sunshine they have signs for us dummies with arrows to the
"Odd" and "Even" number rooms.
Stateroom: As I mentioned at the start of this review we had a
Grand Suite which we
had gotten an upgrade from an Ocean Suite 5 days before the
cruise. I have never been
able to justify the substantial price difference between the two
categories and have always simply gone with the Ocean Suite on all
our Carnival cruises. For all intents and purposes, with the
exception of priority boarding there are no perks to a suite with
Carnival. We did receive a complimentary Specialty Dinner which
foolishly never used and a fresh fruit bowl. Don't know why but
both were deeply appreciated.
As for the suite, it had enough storage space for 6 people even
though it was only my wife and I, nice size TV, whirlpool bath,
dressing room, etc. Our Room Steward Kristina and her assistant
Gilbert were wonderful. When Kristina saw us returning to our
stateroom she would rush down to open the door for us. They really
treated us well and always were quick to neaten up our room.
Food: The food was fine. Great ... No. Selection was OK.
Great...No. You get the idea.
For Breakfast we ate at the Lido Marketplace with two exceptions
when we went for the Sea Day Brunch in the Sunrise Restaurant. The
Lido food while not Hot but was warm enough to melt butter on the
pancakes and French Toast as they change it out frequently.
Absolutely no complaints about either place.
For lunch the Asian and Italian restaurants open up (actually
they are open for breakfast also for omelets and eggs also). Also
there is Guy's Burgers. I know everybody raves about the place but
the one time (second day of the cruise) I ate there my cheese
burger was about as dry and looked like a piece of charcoal. Took 1
bite, tossed the rest in the trash and got pasta at the Cucina del
Capitano and never went back.
As for dinner we had early sitting in the Sunrise Restaurant. We
were celebrating my wife's birthday on this cruise. On the first
night our wait staff brought a small cake and sang Happy Birthday
to her. She told them her birthday wasn't until the last night of
the cruise so they came over and sang Happy Birthday every
The food was fine, the presentation was attractive and the
service was efficient.
Staff: Our room stewards and wait staff were wonderful but
that's as far as it goes. With the exception of the first Formal
Night when we had an opportunity to meet the senior officers of the
ship, I do not recall seeing an officer during the entire cruise.
We enjoy having a picture taken with the Captain. On prior cruises
there has been a ship photographer taking one of those overpriced
$20 pictures but not this time. I fortunately had my cell phone
with me for the Carnival Hub to take the picture.
The bartenders didn't seem to want to be there. On more than one
occasion I had to interrupt the talking between themselves or
washing glasses to get service. On day five I could not buy a Coke
at a bar. The common response was "I don't have any". I went back
to my stateroom and ordered 6 Cokes through room service. On day
seven even room service did not have coke or ginger ale.
My wife was not impressed with the people at Guest Services.
Like so much other stuff on this cruise they were efficient and
accommodating but made her feel like she was being a bother to
Entertainment: The entertainment was OK. Missing was the live
Reggae music by the pool. There was a D.J. "spinning discs" but it
just isn't the same. Also the magician was an absolute disaster.
Each illusion seemed to take a lifetime and frequently made no
sense. I admire magicians and what they can do but this guy...
The stage shows were performed by some very talented performers
however the sets and live music supporting them was no existent.
Carnival has cut back here too.
The Comedians were all wonderful for the shows we attended and
that was numerous. We however did not see any of the late night
adult shows as this is not our kind of humor.
We enjoy listening to the Karaoke but for some unknown reason we
missed all of it! It is always a lot of fun and we have nobody to
blame but ourselves. We must have been having fun elsewhere.
Ports/Excursions: Due to my wife's fear of moving vehicles
mentioned at the start we do not participate in many
As for the ports, we absolutely love Half Moon Cay. This is our
sixth visit to here and look forward to going back. We still talk
about our first visit when we swam or rather paid to "swim with the
stingrays". We had no clue and made complete fools of ourselves. If
you ever meet us on a cruise ask to see the pictures. Yes, I carry
them with me just to give people a huge chuckle.
We also visit a bar in Nassau to have a Bahama Mama. It used to
be The Iguana but is now under new ownership with a new name. It
isn't the same so we may have to start a new tradition in
We thought about swimming up to the bar at Margaretville at
Grand Turk which we had never done on previous visits but opted to
stay on the ship instead.
Conclusion: "A bad cruise day is far better than good work day".
Overall, this was an acceptable cruise, No real complaints and
nothing to rave about It really depends on your expectations and
We have noticed the "cruise experience" is being redefined by
the cruise industry. Gone are the Midnight Buffets, ice & food
Sculptures and for all intents and purposes, Formal Nights.
Replaced by amusement park rides, commercialized dining (Guy's
Burgers, Johnny Rocket, Ben & Jerry's, etc.) and multiple
We did try, and generally succeeded, making this into our kind
of cruise. We will be back with Carnival in November on the Vista.
Maybe things will be different there.
I recommend the Sunshine and this itinerary with the caveat
don't expect to get wowed.