This was our first cruise, so I had no idea what to expect. Looking at the pictures of sunshine before leaving our home, I was excited the days seemed so long in wait to leave. Once onboard my family of 4 and I couldn't wait to set our luggage down and explore. This begins the frustration. You couldn't get anywhere without going round in circles. I had read reviews before leaving from people that have had many miles on cruise ships, and they talked about how the design of Sunshine was so cut up, in order to have more staterooms (more people on board more $$$). It was obvious after several days that that is exactly right, American greed, it was definitely not about a good flow and conveinience for the guest. Guy's Burger was great but, it is in the worst spot in the way everyone stands in line right in an entrance and exit of lido buffet. To get to dinner in our dinning room was chaotic as well, it was on 3rd floor, but that doesn't mean you could get on an elevator and go to the 3rd floor, depending on where you were, it means you might would have to walk down steps to 2, walk down 2 floor hall walk up steps on other end to deck 4, then take an elevator down to 3 from there. Absolutely crazy!!!! And all that to make room for more staterooms!! Also when you call and book your cruise and they tell you that you have anytime dining option in dinning room, no you don't... That's what we were told when booking cruise, but when boarding our sign and sail said 8:15 and that is the time you have to eat if you eat in the dinning room (if that where you choose to eat instead of lido buffet). We wound up eating at buffet for most dinners as we were obviously hungry around 6-630 like most normal people are. On the last 3 days we did eat in dining room at 815 (we made it a point to be really hungry all day and eat a late lunch around 230, so that we could hold out till 815) and then the shame we got from our main waiter in the dining room was horrible. They don't understand we didn't choose that time and was mislead into believing it was "anytime" dining. We never try to eat that late as we feel it is not healthy to eat so late. But we wanted the experience everyone has talked so highly of in eating in the dining room, and the food was great and so was the service, but the scolding we got was horrible. We did leave him a good tip on the last night though because the service was so good. Ill admit that it might be that we were first time cruisers that we did not understand what "anytime" dining meant, but that is where better communication in customer service would be great, because I certainly would have NEVER chose an 8:15 eating time.
Comedy club was good, I would not say great, but I would say we did enjoy that. There was things to do that you didn't have to spend a ton of money doing, for example there was movies on some nights with popcorn served (although it was one machine and one man trying to serve EVERYONE!!) Our room steward was great and kids looked forward everynight to seeing what animal was going to be on bed. But what made our trip was definitely the ports of call NOT the maze we floated in to get there. Right now none of us are talking about another cruise, we ARE talking about flying to Grand Cayman and staying next time. I would love to hear feed back on other ships, because maybe its just Sunshine. I know that Debarkation was crazy, and a lot of veteran cruisers were talking about how they've always been able just to walk right off, no congestion, just stroll right off. They were saying it was the ships design, I believe it. We were in an elevator corridor, standing front to back, with strangers that were being rude and ready to run all over you just to be one spot in front of you. And we stood there for 45 minutes that way without moving, and it was the way in which they were having to filter us out through that maze which some call a ship.
Everyone talks about cruising being the way to go, financially. If you get off on port and spend $200 to $250 and then all the additional cost that can be racked up on board, plus the port taxes alone for us was $420 on top of our room cost, gratuities and $320 (that is taken out automatically on day 2). If you do all this, and this is minimal, a lot of people spend a lot more than we did, than yes you could purchase a plane ticket and fly to one of those beautiful ports and stay 3-5 days. No, it may not be 7 days, but lets be honest, 4 days of the cruise is just travel and carnival employees trying to feel the time with activities, which is fine, but you are only in port for about 5 hours after you wait to get on and off boat. Id rather spend my time and our hard earned money enjoying 100% of our vacation. So we will probably be flying in from now on so that we can wake up in these places and stay with our roaming through "their" ports and spending money in their "recommended" stores. BTW, if you are going on a cruise, book your excursion on your own, it is ALOT cheaper. They have a gaurentee that if you book through them and get off the boat and find it cheaper they will give you your money back plus %10. People they do that because they know you will not have time to do that homework.....