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Seany527

Carnival Sunshine 8 Day Picture Review with Funtimes, Menus and much more!

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This is probably the best review I have ever had the pleasure to read. I've never been on the Sunshine and don't see myself cruising on her anytime soon, but I'm hooked on this review.

Beautiful pictures and such detailed descriptions of everything going on.

 

I wish you could sail on every Carnival ship and review them :)

 

Thanks for taking the time!

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Great review! Love the pictures!

 

Quick couple of questions--at Cucina del Capitano what does the $15 cover? Do you choose one appetizer, one entree and one dessert per person? Can you order more? Also, if you have a large group how does the family style work? What if everyone orders a different entree? The whole family style thing seems weird when there are so many choices. Do you know if the $15 covers the tip as well?

 

Ok, sorry, that was more than a couple of questions...

Edited by Jeafl

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Once again, awesome review!

 

A couple of questions:

 

1. If we were to chose early dining (family of 4), which dining room is nicer? Sunshine or Sunset? We would prefer a table or booth for 4 with a view if possible.

 

2. The Taste Bar - is this for an extra fee?

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Thanks again everyone! I'm glad you are enjoying it so far. If you have any questions, just ask. This was the whole reason I did the review. I felt I had too many questions that I could not find answers to online, especially when it comes to the specialty restaurants.

 

 

So was the Cucina's worth the 15 dollars more?? The food looked ok, but it seemed comparable to land based restaurant

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

Hmmmm, to me it was worth the $15. Matt enjoyed it a lot more than I did. It was my least favorite amongst the three specialty resteranuts. If I had to pay for a whole family to go I would pass but for just $15 a person, I'm fine with it. The best part, even more than the food, was the peace and quiet. I find the dining room so busy and loud.

 

 

Great review! Love the pictures!

 

Quick couple of questions--at Cucina del Capitano what does the $15 cover? Do you choose one appetizer, one entree and one dessert per person? Can you order more? Also, if you have a large group how does the family style work? What if everyone orders a different entree? The whole family style thing seems weird when there are so many choices. Do you know if the $15 covers the tip as well?

 

Ok, sorry, that was more than a couple of questions... ��

 

The $15 covers the bread, apps, entrees and desserts. One of each per person.

 

I don't think each person is allowed to order more than one. We didn't try to here, but at Ji Ji we ordered some extra's and had to pay. I'll go into detail about that later in the review.

 

I'm not sure how it would work family-style as just two people going made it kind of weird. Like I said, I had just one big piece of chicken and there were only three peieces of broccoli. I would imagine they give you more food if a large family went but I'm uncertain how it would work.

 

The $15 does include a tip but you are given the option on the receipt to add more if you wish.

 

Once again, awesome review!

 

A couple of questions:

 

1. If we were to chose early dining (family of 4), which dining room is nicer? Sunshine or Sunset? We would prefer a table or booth for 4 with a view if possible.

 

2. The Taste Bar - is this for an extra fee?

 

By far, I would chose the Sunrise restaurant. It's two stories and features two large sun chandlers. It's very bright and airy. The Sunset is one floor with low ceilings and dark colors.

 

There are great views if you eat in the Sunrise Restaurant overlooking the wake of the ship.

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Thanks again everyone! I'm glad you are enjoying it so far. If you have any questions, just ask. This was the whole reason I did the review. I felt I had too many questions that I could not find answers to online, especially when it comes to the specialty restaurants.

 

 

 

 

Hmmmm, to me it was worth the $15. Matt enjoyed it a lot more than I did. It was my least favorite amongst the three specialty resteranuts. If I had to pay for a whole family to go I would pass but for just $15 a person, I'm fine with it. The best part, even more than the food, was the peace and quiet. I find the dining room so busy and loud.

 

 

 

 

The $15 covers the bread, apps, entrees and desserts. One of each per person.

 

I don't think each person is allowed to order more than one. We didn't try to here, but at Ji Ji we ordered some extra's and had to pay. I'll go into detail about that later in the review.

 

I'm not sure how it would work family-style as just two people going made it kind of weird. Like I said, I had just one big piece of chicken and there were only three peieces of broccoli. I would imagine they give you more food if a large family went but I'm uncertain how it would work.

 

The $15 does include a tip but you are given the option on the receipt to add more if you wish.

 

 

 

By far, I would chose the Sunrise restaurant. It's two stories and features two large sun chandlers. It's very bright and airy. The Sunset is one floor with low ceilings and dark colors.

 

There are great views if you eat in the Sunrise Restaurant overlooking the wake of the ship.

 

Thanks!! Will send an email to the maitre'd.

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:) Your review is fantastic! Thank you for all the effort you are putting into this. I can't wait for my Christmas cruise on the Sunshine!

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I left out from the previous day's posting that we did not attend “Motor City.” I had seen this performance on the Glory cruise last fall and I did not enjoy it at all. The genre of music that particular show has is far too inviting- people in the audience always feel the need to sing along from their seats. I don’t know what it is, but that sort of thing makes me go mad. As for tonight's show, I didn’t have too high of hopes as the Playlist cast didn't perform too well the night of the Welcome Aboard Show. However, tonight the cast was great and I really enjoyed myself. Dancing was nice and they were in-sync with one another. While I miss the lead singers that Carnival previously had with the old style of show, the cast did do a nice job tonight.

 

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We left the theater from deck 5 and continued to walk back to our room. On the way back, Joe from Java Blue called out to us by name and asked how our day was. If he had not noticed us the two milk shakes and slice of Blue Velvet cake probably would not have been purchased, but because he caught our attention, this is what followed.

 

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That's the Island Delight shake in the back. I still enjoyed the Strawberry Creamsicle better.

 

And the Black and White shake as well.

 

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The cake was so good. The frosting; so creamy. It was a massive piece of cake and I was unable to eat it all in one sitting. Luckily I had the minifridge and was able to save the cake for another night. Btw- the blue velvet cake is Java Blue’s signature dessert, but they also feature cheesecake cups, cookies and chocolate covered strawberries. The only other dessert item I had from there were the cookies which were pretty good as well. They also have a rewards card- If you buy 6 shakes or floats during your cruise, you get your 7th one for free.

 

Our next stop for the night would be The Limelight Lounge- I knew going into the cruise, the lines could be long so we had to arrive early if we wanted a seat for the comedy show. And as a general rule, the venue had very limited seating. So when we arrived about 15 mins before the doors opened, the line was long. It was backed up past Bonsai Sushi. If you haven’t sailed on the Sunshine before, it’s hard to really put that into perspective, but it was long enough that I didn’t have a desire to wait. We ended up spending time on the Lido deck until we returned to see this guy in our room.

 

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Up Next Aruba.

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Great review so far!

 

My partner and I keep avoiding booking the Sunshine because we've have heard more negative than positive.

You are slowly changing our minds.

 

Keep it up!

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I'm really enjoying your blog, Seany, it's

making me even more excited for our 13th November 8 day Southern Caribbean. Thank you for taking so much time and trouble with it. :)

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The Fun Times inserts

 

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And a map they give you before you exit the ship.

 

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Welcome to Aruba!

 

We slept in a little this morning. Again, last night the boat was very rocky. This would be the last night of that fortunately. Going forward, the waves seemed to calm down. This morning, on the stateroom TV there was a preview for the Magician that would perform in the Liquid Lounge later this evening. He appeared to be very good and I was disappointed that I would miss him. We had reservations for the Steakhouse at 9pm. With a 10:15 performance time there was little chance we would make it. Alternately, we could attend his 7:15 show but that would drastically cut our time down in Aruba.

 

We decided to not even try to go for a seat on the Serenity deck this morning. Instead, we decided to try the Taste Bar breakfast buffet and bring it back to the balcony. The buffet was nice as they carried the much of the same breakfast items at the Lido Marketplace but in a more condensed version. It also lacked the noise and hustle and bustle that the buffet on deck 9 includes. There were pastries that you would find normally at the buffet, as well as cereals, eggs, bacon, some type of potatoes, etc. They had someone there to pour your drinks for you as there is no drink dispenser that would normally be positioned at the Lido Marketplace.

 

Since we are talking about breakfast- and although not served at the Taste Bar breakfast (at least when I was there) are the biscuts and gravy being tested on the Sunshine. These were a welcome, and everyday, option at the breakfast buffet. While sometimes the biscuits were a bit hard, overall the taste of them and the gravy was good. I think many would be pleased if these became a staple of the breakfast buffet on all ships.

 

We took our time getting ready and decided to walk around the ship and see how busy the Serenity deck was. We figured that if anything was open on the upper levels, we would lay there. So, when we got to the serenity deck around 10:15, we were shocked to see it mostly empty with tons of seats available. Maybe everyone had the same idea we had and wanted to avoid it all together? Or maybe because we were to arrive in port at 1, everyone decided to not lay out.

 

We had eventually returned to the room and right before noon Aruba came into view. I grabbed my camera and ran to deck 10 to get some pictures of the island. The air was so humid that it caused my lens to initially fog up. I got that sorted out and began to snap away. As I’m not too knowledgeble on what the landmarks are exactly, I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

 

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Eventually we made our way to one of the “secret” forward decks. The deck was actually closed due to winds, but we went out anyway. In case anyone cares, we docked port side.

 

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So here is a picture I marked up to show where to go once you arrive in port. The X is where you will exit the ship. Next you will walk through the cruise terminal and exit right, following the red line. You will now exit the port area, following the red line between the building with the red roof and the blue/tan building. Once you come to the intersection and see “Sean Jewelers,” you can head right or left to visit the shops.

 

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At this point in the day, though, we are still on the ship.

 

We ran back to the room to finish getting ready. Today we had booked the Catamaran Sail and Snorkel, through Carnival, which was serviced by Red Sail Sports. We would be snorkeling at a German World War II ship wreck (Antilla) along with the more shallow Boca Catalina Reef. The tour departed at 2 so we wanted to enjoy the island a little beforehand if possible.

 

As expected, it was a mess getting off the ship. With an arrival time as late as it was, acompanied by being the first port, everyone wanted to get off the ship. There’s not much really to say about it other than that. We exited from deck 0, forward, port side. Here's my one tip: the waiting areas are deck 5 and 3. Don’t wait on 5, thats just 5 flights of stairs for you to walk down. Waiting on 3 means only 3 stairs. If I had to do it again…. I would wait on deck 1 and just walk around as if you were lost. Then it’s just one flight to go down and it will save you a bunch of time.

 

So, I can be really specific with the times here, it's kinda weird. We exited ship at 1:31, and made our way left (remember to follow that picture I marked up above) through the terminal. There are some souvenir shops in there. I assumed at the port they would be the most expensive but, come to find out after I already bought everything I needed, some of their prices were actually cheaper. So, walk through the terminal and exit through the large glass doors and head right. Follow that path and you will walk through a security check point. We exited that area and were on the streets of Aruba at 1:37.

 

Once we stepped out of that controlled area, there were locals practically screaming at us to take their tour. It was an odd start to Aruba and not what I had anticipated. The tour left at 2 so we only a had a few mins to do any sort of looking around.

 

I wish I had a chance to run in here…

 

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After just a few minutes, we headed back to the ship and checked in with the excursion located at a kiosk inside the terminal. We left the cruise terminal to begin the tour at 2:03 and were on the boat by 2:07. And then we sat there with no instruction from the crew. And we sat there some more. I'm not sure what was going on, and unfortunately I do not know the terminology, but Red Sail Sports has two catamarans for its guests. There were about 50 people per catamaran. We tied our catamaran to their catamaran and were essentially tugged out of the harbor, so it seems like there were engine troubles. Maybe thats how they always do it but, regardless, some communication would have been nice. Unfortunately, the lack of communication and instructions would follow throughout the whole excursion. We finally left the harbor at 2:31.

 

A view from the harbor

 

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Here is the other catamaran

 

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I'm really enjoying your blog, Seany, it's

making me even more excited for our 13th November 8 day Southern Caribbean. Thank you for taking so much time and trouble with it. :)

 

Crowbirds, we'll be with in November.

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It was a nice ride which took just under an hour. Here are some pictures of the Sunshine as well as the Aruba coastline.

 

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So, this would turn into some poor logistics on Red Sail’s part, but maybe they knew what they were doing. They had everyone line up to get a snorkel and fins. Matt and I brought our own from home so we didn’t need those. However, we did want a life vest, so we waited in line. We were told they hand the life vests out once we reach the ship wreck. It’s not like these are standard life vests, they are small, inflatable ones. I’m not sure why they couldn’t be handed out then. But anyway, we arrived at the ship wreck at 3:28.

 

We were given a brief history on how the German ship wreck got there and a few tips on how to deal with the strong waters as we were slightly out into the ocean. Once that was done, everyone who waited in the line for the snorkel set now waited in line again for a life vest. In my opinion, the crew could have been a little more helpful at this point. If I was a first time snorkeler I would have no idea where to even start. Simple things like spit into your goggles to keep it from fogging up would have been helpful for a novice. In addition, there was no instruction on how to inflate your life vest. I truly feel that had I not snorkeled before, I would have been completely confused and possibly a bit nervous.

 

The water here was very rough and I was glad to have the life vest or I could never have kept myself afloat (come to find out, I never even had the vest inflated, so it really was of no help to me). I would not recommend this excursion for those who are not very good swimmers.

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To follow are some pictures of the ship wreck. These are the best I could get for no other reason than the water was very cloudy. At times I couldn’t see much of what was below my feet.

 

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There were so many fish. It creeped me out a little at first.

 

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More of the ship wreck

 

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People holding on in the rough water

 

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And lastly, this just shows the distance from the sunken ship to the coast line.

 

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We were called back onto the ship at 4:12 and enjoyed the short ride to the Boca Catalina reef. We arrived at 4:27. The water was much more shallow and very calm. A nice place to take pictures.

 

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And more fish, just not as big

 

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This spot was much easier to swim and snorkel in. If you're thinking of snorkeling in Aruba and aren't the best of swimmers, I would highly recommend an excursion that just takes you here and to other reefs closer to the coast. As you can see in the pictures, the fish here weren't that exotic, but were still pretty to look at. The clearer waters did allow you to see more than at the ship wreck site.

 

We left this stop at 4:58 and began to make our way back to the cruise ship.

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Here is a little tour of our return.

 

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A wedding on the beach

 

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We arrived back to the Sunshine at 5:53. Ultimately, because we had left 30 minutes late I can understand why the crew wanted to give us extra time in the water, but all in all, we were an hour late getting back and the sun was setting fast.

 

We ran back to the ship to change off, grab some money, and go out exploring which took 20 minutes total. Record time.

 

We walked around a little, walking in and out of shops. Time seemed to be going by really fast. By 7, most businesses were closed and by 7:30 even the privately owed souvenir stores were just about closed. By this time, there was not much to do. We decided to walk to the Renaissance Mall where there is free Wifi. To get here, exit the security check point area back at the cruise terminal and take a right at “Sean Jewelers.” The mall will be on your left right before a large bridge. Once you walk into the open air mall, walk back a little ways until you see the tables. Stand next to the water inside the mall and you should be able to connect.

 

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I called home for a little bit to check in with everyone. It was now around 7:30. We had our steak house reservation at 9 and we found ourselves looking for something to do for that last hour and a half. We walked around the streets a little but by this time it was now completely dark out. We ended up going onto the ship early than we expected to.

 

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We stopped by the steakhouse to see if we could come earlier instead of 9. Maybe I would be able to catch the 10:15 performance of the magician after all? When we stopped at the steakhouse…people were in shorts…and flip flops?! There was a sign posted that for one night only the steakhouse would be casual dining. Ummm that works well for me! The hostess said it would be no problem at all if we came early and in fact “our table was waiting for us” We went to the stateroom to get ready. There was a little gift box on the bed from the steakhouse thanking us for dining with them. Someone must have dropped that off too early…

 

Up next

 

Fahrenheit 555

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Oh, I've had fun reading thru this. Destiny was our lst CCL ship and so she holds a special place for me, and since she will be in our homeport of Manhattan I am researching cruises on her. We always read about the creme brulee in reviews and did not know what everyone was talking about since we usually skipped the MDR on the lst night, but that is the only night they offer that dessert (I learned too late lol) so now I make it a point to be there on the lst night. And I agree 1/2 with NCTribe: cheese should be served at or below room temperature but beer should be served ICY COLD!!! ;):p Actually if you like brie....buy a wheel, scrape off the top "rind", melt a few T of butter and mix with brown sugar, put on top of the brie wheel and sprinkle some slivered almonds on top and bake JUST until the brie starts to OOZE. Now THAT is room temp or below cheese and YUMMO!!! :D We are at our summer camp on Great Sacandaga Lake in Northville and so are neighbors! Saratoga Springs is gorgeous. Our DIL'es brother and family live there and we visit often and of course, go to the track. Sorry to ramble and looking forward to the rest of your review! Keep warm! Got cold up here!! :eek::(

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We were seated a table four which I prefer to be seated at, even if it's just two people. I feel like the extra room is needed, especially when on a cruise ship. I should have noted that at Cucinia we only had a table for two and it was a very tight fit with the entree’s, sides, and bread. I should add for first time cruisers, that like Cucina Del Capitano, the Steakhouse is a specialty restaurant and carries a $35 per person charge. If you wish to skip the experience, you now have the option to order just the entree directly from the dining room. This was my first time trying the steakhouse, so I was very excited for the new experience. I feel like the Steakhouse offers a very personalized touch. The waitstaff really cares about your dining experience and wants you to enjoy yourself.

 

The meal started with a waitress coming to our table with a cart of different meats to choose from. I wanted to take a picture sooooo bad, but I felt so awkward. Ultimately, I didn’t take one, but it is what I described it as- cart with several different meats where she would point and describe what each cut of meat was.

 

The waitress gave us some time to decide and then she returned to take our order. We each chose an appitizer, a soup or salad, an entree, two sides and a dessert. A short time after our order was placed, small dishes that were “compliments of the chef” were brought to us. The first little dish, I do not remember the name of but was raw salmon I believe…I felt really bad not eating it, but I just couldn’t.

 

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The next dish was very, very good. It was a type of potato cheese soup served inside of a potato. I wish I could have eaten more of that.

 

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Next, we were brought bread with the two oil-based dipping sauces as well as butter. We could choose from a blue cheese style roll or a wheat style roll, again I forget the names. I also didn’t take a picture of any of this as I had expected it to taste like normal bread. But OMG, it was the best bread I had ever eaten. And the oils and butter were top notch. I wish I could share with you all how great it truly tasted.

 

We then moved on to our appetizers. Matt had the Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail and I ordered the New England Crab Cake. The shrimp were a good size and the cocktail sauce had a good zing to it. My crab cake was pretty good as well. It was a little more moist than I prefer them, but I still enjoyed it.

 

 

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Next up, the salads. Matt ordered the Baby Leaf Spinach and Fresh Mushroom salad and I had the Heart of Iceberg Lettuce. Both were very good. The baby leaf spinach salad had tiny, diced mushrooms and the dressing was good. The heart of iceberg lettuce tasted like iceberg lettuce, but the ranch dressing was very creamy and the portion was huge.

 

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We were given some time to digest the food, but before we knew it, our entrees were here. I was beginning to feel full. Matt had ordered the Broiled Prime New York Strip Loin Steak and I had the Surf and Turf. The NY strip steak was a decent size, but Matt thought it could have been a bit thicker. Matt loves steak, particularly NY strip steak, and thought that this one rated within the top 10 of best he’s had. He did anticipate it being better overall, but was definitely not disappointed. Keep in mind, it was only $35 for the entire meal versus a typical $30-$35 for just the steak at a nice land restaurant. I agreed with him regarding my surf and turf as well. My filet was very tender but still not the best ever. The lobster pretty much tasted like the lobster served in the dining room. Both the steak and the lobster were somewhat small in size and, going forward, I would only order one or the other.

 

 

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There was nothing too special about the Baked Potato with Trimmings or the Steamed Broccoli. They both tasted as what they were, but there was not nearly enough sour cream or butter for the huge potato. Matt’s sides were the Yukon Gold Mash with Wasabi Horseradish and Sautéed Melody of Fresh Mushrooms. The mushrooms were very good and very fresh tasting. The mashed potatoes were also really good, but the portion was very small in relation to the size of the steak.

 

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Alright, lastly was dessert. The waitress offered to bring them out as “to-go” and although it was very tempting, I wanted to see the presentation of the dessert in the steakhouse. Matt had the Chocolate Sampler and I ordered the Cheesecake with Hazelnut Biscuit. The cheese cake was very good and the portion was huge and served at a nice, chilled temperature. Matt thought that the chocolate sampler was good as well, and it was nice to have decent sized samples of several different desserts. His favorite was the tiramisu which was very rich and delicious.

 

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So if I can give one tip and one tip only…go to the steak house hungry. There is a lot of food in a short amount of time. To go into more detail though, I felt the strongest point of the whole meal was that blue cheese bread. I’m telling you, I have tasted nothing like it before. Service was spot on and again, like I said before, I feel the service is more customized and geared individually as opposed to the large dining room. I also really enjoyed the background music being played. It was a soft jazz style. I never listen to jazz music and in my life at home I would never visit a venue that would play that sort of style, so it was nice to hear it in the steakhouse, I feel like it made the experience more unique.

 

I should note here for some first time cruisers that are unaware….if you visit the steakhouse on the first night (and on some ships, the 1st formal night) they will give you a free bottle of wine. While this is a good deal, it unfortunately doesn’t work well for me as the first night is always Creme Brulee night (with the old-style menus) in the main dining room, and I would never miss that! Overall for $35 per person, it is well worth the added cost and we would definitely do it again in the future. We noticed several other diners not being able to finish their meals and their desserts, so like I said earlier, definitely go with an appetite.

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