A brief introduction. This was our fourth cruise for my wife and I, both 37. We have previously cruised on Disney, Princess, and RCI. This was our first time on Carnival. Choose this cruise for the itinerary, price and ship.
We flew on Delta from San Francisco to Venice. We arrived a day before and stayed the night at Hilton Molino Stucky. Nice hotel, would stay again.
We arrived at the port at about 11:30. There were lines everywhere, but found out they were the zones waiting to board as boarding had not started yet. We were given zone 18 and went to check in. No lines for this and the lady handed us zone 17. Stood around and were on board in our room by 1:00pm.
We were booked in cabin 9207 on Lido deck. I was a little worried about this, but heard no noise except for those who wanted to have conversations in the hallway.
Found cabin to be spacious and clean. Bathroom shower for me was better than RCI and more spacious. Cabin steward was great with one exception. I found the window and door to balcony had water spots all over them. The balcony was hosed off during the cruise and the water spots got worse. Either way, not a huge deal for me. Air conditioning worked well, but sometimes found in the middle of the night the room would get warm. Would book this room again.
Spent a lot of time at the Red Frog Rum Bar and Red Frog Pub. Both had great drinks and great people. Ate breakfast at the Havanna Bar every morning and got to know the bartender. Great guy and great service. My only complaint with the service was in the dining room. We ended up not going to the dining room after the fourth night. Service was slow and empty plates sat on the table for 10-15 minutes. It must have been my table as others had great service.
I enjoyed the food as I thought it had good flavor and to my surprise the portions were large. When I compare it to RCI, Carnival wins hands down.
Ate at the Steakhouse and was not impressed. I had high expectations for this place as I love my steak and had read good reviews. Steak was good, but nothing to write home about.
Ate at Cucina Del Capitano. Read reviews which were mixed. I enjoyed it so much I ate there a second time.
Had Ji Ji's, Guy's, Blue Iguana, and Pizza which were all good. The one thing I liked about this ship was the food choices. All the food tasted fresh as compared to sitting in a pan at the buffet.
Entertainment was good. We saw 4 of the comedians and they were funny. Went to Piano bar once, but too many kids that ruined the show. Enjoyed the music at Ocean Plaza and the Red Frog Pub.
One thing I really enjoyed was there was always something to do on this ship. I like live music and just sitting with a cocktail and listening. Almost every night, there were four places I could do this. Plus there were shows and movies.
Carnival Sunshine is nice ship. It has been renovated and looks great. Something to remember is that while renovated, the bones are still 1996. On Deck 2, 6, and 7 there were many ceiling tiles removed in the hallways because of water dripping. No issues on Deck 9. The structure of the hull is 1996. An example of this is in the Liquid lounge, there are poles blocking your view from many seats. A newer ship would not have the poles. I also do not believe this ship has the stabilizers like many new ships do. The ship was really rocking from Marseille to Barcelona. (could be wrong though)
We did Dubrovnik and Marsielles on our own. For the others, we booked private excursions with people we met on our roll call. Worked out very well. Ports were amazing with no real issues at any of them. Saved a lot of money compared to ship excursions.
All in all, a great vacation. Ship was running 100% and workers were continuing to work on it. Service and food was great except for dining room for us. Would consider Carnival again on a newer ship.