Carnival Sunshine Cruise Review by bethsowers: 1st trip may just be last
Overall Member Rating
1st trip may just be last
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: New Orleans
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 More
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..... Less
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Cabin review: 2301
cabin was good, two twin beds that went into one and a bunk
Port and Shore Excursions
Went to Mr Sanchez beach resort. You can do all inclusive which is $55 a piece. You could however go in free and buy as you go. The all inclusive is anything off menu that you want, as many drinks as you want, all the chairs, umbrellas, beach toys etc and use of nice pool. We paid as we went and did not spend what it would have costed to do the all inclusive. The water was pretty and clear and beautiful beach. Would certainly visit there again. we docked at Porte Maya port, Carnival has you walking thorugh a lot of shops before you actually get to see true Cozumel. Ate a small bite at Three Amigos on way back (just a snack, since we were trying to hold out till our 8:15 dinner time) it was horrible service and food was not great. Senior Frogs is much better food quality.
Phenominal!!!!! Truly humbling and amazing. Have to do it again and will. I was so scared, my husband dove right in, but me and kids really had to talk ourselves into getting into the water with them. Once we did, we didn't want to get out, and when capt marvins boat gude said it was time to get back in boat to go to next stop which was snorkeling the reef. It was beautiful, but the stingrays stole the day...... I was already trying to catch them myself. We then went to 7 mile beach and ate at tiki beach restaurant, Don't go, a grilled cheese (which was supposed to be a chicken quesodillia) pasta dish, and 2 hot dogs was $82. And it wasn't even good at that!!!!! we learned that we should have ate at Calico Jacks, much more reasonable prices. Beach was very narrow, not much sand at all before water, and once you step off into water it dropped, not a gradual drop like most places but right as soon as you step in. It was pretty though and Cayman itself was nice and pretty.
Montego Bay was very disappointing. When we were pulling in, we were on the top deck excited and waiting and watching. It was an ugly port to pull into. The reports about getting jerked around once in cab is absolutely true. We done everything we were told to do, as in making sure you solidify your price before getting in. Once we were in (and was told it would be $5 pp) there was a cab mate behind driver calling all the shots telling us it was a tour bus and she would take us where she wants to take us for $20pp. I spoke up, as everyone else set there like sheep, and told her we needed to be dropped at Dr's Beach. She did but not happily. Drs Beach was wonderful, super clear water, and you can snorkel and see beautiful fish right there in beach area. Decent food and drinks. Chairs were $6 each, umbrells were $6 each, an adults were $6 each with kids $3 each. Beautiful Beautiful beach. But the beach is all there is in Montego Bay...
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Sunshine still shines!!!!