With its recent launch of the revamped, 3,006-passenger Carnival Sunshine (previously operated as the 2,642-passenger Carnival Destiny), Carnival has introduced a new drinks offering: self-serve beer.
Passengers can grab a 14-ounce glass and pour either Carnival's private label ThirstyFrog Red lager or Bud Light from two dispensers — one near the ship's Pizzeria del Capitano and the other at the deli in the ship's poolside Lido Marketplace (an expansive buffet area).
You pay for your beer by swiping your shipboard Sail & Sign card. The charge is 29 cents per ounce for ThirstyFrog, 28 cents for Bud Light.
The line is evaluating guest feedback to see if the self-serve beer offering should be added to other Carnival ships, spokesman Vance Gulliksen tells Porthole Cruise News.
But one issue has arisen. You need to know how to pour a cold one.
On the CruiseCritic message boards, Ravi360 called the self-service beer concept "amazing." But Maitaiguy warned that if you don't know what you're doing you might get a glass of mostly foam.
Carnival also serves nearly two dozen other brands, including a bunch of craft beers. Why is Homer Simpson's "Mmm … beer" stuck in my head?
Wine drinkers are not left out when it comes to self-serve pours. In The Library Bar on Carnival Sunshine, you can pour your own wine from special self-serve dispensers — an offering first introduced on the Carnival Breeze last year.
Carnival Sunshine recently underwent a $155 million refurbishment, which added such attractions as a large WaterWorks waterpark and ropes course, a bunch of additional restaurants and bars, and the line's first three-deck-high Serenity adults-only pool and sunning area. The ship is spending the summer in the Med, and in November heads across the pond to its new homeport in New Orleans.