Overall the Sunshine is a success in our book. This was our fifth Carnival sailing and experienced the most friendly overall crew and extremely clean ship.
A quick pros and cons of Sunshine:
Pros-Cabins are fresh and new (we had a balcony on Empress Deck). Awesome showers, beds and flat screen TV's. The Ji-Ji Asian kitchen is awesome. The Havana Bar area is perfect spot to eat. Good Eats buffet remains open during dinner times so provides nice option if you don't want to make dining room. Three deck Serenity is very serene. Food in Sunset Dining room excellent and out servers had us in and out in an hour (very helpful with a 15 month old!). Never saw any drip buckets that people on past sailings talked about.
Cons-Liquid Lounge is waaay too small and you can't see much from upper level because of lighting/sound equipment. Casino smoke drifts up the stairwell from deck 5 all the way to 9. They really need to add an ventilation machine to that area. The last two sea days a horrible sewer smell appeared on deck 4 in the forward photo areas and outside liquid lounge. Also noticed weird smells in the halls of the new spa cabin areas too.
Embarkation: We got to the port at 10:30, dropped our bags with the porters in the parking garage and were on the ship at 11:00. Very easy process in NOLA.
Cabin: Deck 7 balcony, first regular balcony next to suites midship. We booked the port (left side) to make sure we could see downtown new orleans during sailaway. The other side has nothing to really look at. Loved our room. Three closets, four robes (love 'em) and probably the best shower head and pressure ever. Bed was super comfy and cabin steward made up the couch every night for our 14-year old daughter. Our 15 month old slept with us.
Food: Guys burgers, blue Iguana, JI-Ji (which I ate every day for lunch), deli and cuban food at Havana bar were all tremendous, as was the Dining room. We had Sunset late. They use the smaller dining room for traditional and bigger sunrise for YTD. The taste bar is a great place to sample specialty restaurant foods (just across from alchemy bar. Didn't get to try steakhouse, asian or italian restaurants for dinner.
Sea Days: never had a problem getting chairs on deck...as long as you don't want to be right around pool you'll be fine. The waterslides are excellent. The yellow is slower and longer than the blue and green speed slides. Took our son to open play for under 2 yr olds in Camp Carnival from 8-10 am. And we used the playground slides at all times during the day.
Grand Cayman: Booked stingray city through Captain Marvin's. These guys are great and only take 10-12 folks per boat. Very hands on and personalized trip for 35 pp. Highly recommend.
Cozumel: Booked Nachi Cocum beach resort, which only allows 100 people per day. Great since there were7 ships in port that day. Beautiful beach, pool and drinks/food included. Taxi for 4 was 17 bucks each way.
Overall a very nice redesign but they sure made some areas smaller by breaking them up into seperate venues. We really didn't care much for cruise director Jaime Dee. She means well but comes across as a bit annoying. The Sunshine is about the same size as the Triumph. After sailing the Conquest I really think we enjoy the bigger ships and look forward to the Dream coming to NOLA in April after the Sunshine moves to Port Canaveral. I definitely recommend this ship for folks to try!