Just returned from a spring break cruise on the Sunshine. It was a wonderful trip and confirmed that most of the negative things said on this site are very minor and don't reflect the true nature of the trip or the ship.
Embarkation in New Orleans was easy. Arrived about 2 pm, and did not stop longer than 5 minutes anywhere in the process. My family of 3 children and my wife and I had balcony cabins on level 6. While not adjoined they were next to each other. Both were ready when we walked to them. Our luggage came 15 minutes later.
Having sailed on Carnival several times the layout of the ship was exactly like all the Carnival ships except the brand new ones. I really enjoyed the refurbuish and my family could pick out many of the up dates and improvements. As to the buckets and smells, only one bucket and one smell all week. Your really had to be searching for them.
By far the best cruise food ever, anywhere, at any price: Guy's Burgers. Best of all the line moved very rapidly, as in serving a line of 20 or 30 as fast as the line could move forward. Go when it is busy and get right off the grill burgers and fries. I ate there every day. Next was the Blue Iguana taco food. Both on the Lido deck and always just wonderful.
Dinner was late service and my group, my family and 3 other families, were always late as the group trivia started at 8 in the Red Frog pub and we won 2nights. Huge rum drink(serves 10) for winning. Didn't seem to bother our wait staff as they were ready for us and got us in and out. We usually ordered 6 to 8 entrees so we could try everything and never a complaint. The chocolate lava cake is still the best.
We fly boarded in Cozumel. Wonderful but the kids were much better at it than I was. There are two and only one provides helments and life jackets. You will want both. Chris is the owner of the one we did.
In Jamica we went with Capitain Marvin to the Blue Hole next to Dunn's River falls. Go now, as it will not be the same once the crowd finds it. BTW Captain Marvin provided a bus , a driver, lunch and water shoes all with out a hitch. No wonder he is #1 on trip advisor for that trip.
On the comedy club. We went to all 4 of the different shows. Our experience was different than the complainers because we arrived 10-15 before show time and always found great seats. Those who showed up 30 seconds before showtime didn't find seats, duh! I am sure they wrote the bad reviews. Same on the chairs by the pool. We simply picked out the chairs we wanted and asked the towel attendant to tag them. When the owners didn't show up the towel attendant picked them up and we had great chairs. The big screen by the pool was awesome for watching the NCAA games.
All and all, no matter what we asked from Carnival and its staff, they bent over backwards to say "yes". That is the big difference between Carnival and all other cruise lines.
Getting off the ship was a breeze. We had a 1015 am flight out, and we self carried our bags. We were off the ship at 730 am and on our way to the airport, 10 minutes after that.
Sunshine is a winner, keep up the good work Carnival.