This was our 3rd cruise on Carnival (previous ships were the Paradise and Breeze). It was also our last, I will cruise Royal Caribbean from now on.
Maybe if you've never been on a cruise before, you wouldn't be completely disappointed, but if you've been on any other half way decent ship (the Breeze was very nice), you will not be happy with the Sunshine.
A few positives - the Cruise Director, George was awesome. Our room steward was very friendly. The three level Serenity deck was what sold us on this ship and what we looked forward to the most. It was very nice, however always too crowded and the pool is too small for the amount of people that frequented that area. It was closed one day because some idiot threw up in the pool, although that wasn't Carnival's fault. I did love having a balcony too.
That was about it for the positives. Other than the above mentioned staff and a few others, in general they were the most unfriendly cruise staff I've encountered. Usually they go out of their way to be pleasant, however these people were only concerned about selling drinks (and whatever else they were peddling). They are getting as bad as the people in the ports. Someone made a joke about losing their job if they didn't sell enough drinks, but I think there is truth to that. They literally got angry if I didn't order an acholic drink. I had a spa treatement and they were the same way. If you don't buy what they are pushing, they get mad.
The ship itself is not nice. The way the renovated doesn't seem very condusive for traffic flow. You have to go through the casino to get to half the bars, and you have to go up to deck 5 to get down to deck 3 if you are on the wrong side. As a fellow passenger said, whatever they did was just a whole bunch of nothing and none of it was good.
I usually am not a sucker for sales pitches, but before we went, Carnival called me to offer an amazing upgrade from my balacony room to a suite. After all the lies they told me (which I obviously didn't know at the time), I fell for it. This was the worst suite ever. It was a dump and run down, and everything they promised was not true. When I went to Customer Service to request my original balcony room or something comparable, they told me they had a balacony cabin available, but they had to put an inquiry in to their main office and that would take at least a day to see what the price difference was. Don't they have a hotel manager for that very reason? Anyway, after getting a letting under my door three days later and going back down there, we just stayed where we were.
As other people have mentioned, the Limelight Lounge (where they have the Punchliner Comedy Club) was so small and you had to get in line at least 1/2 hour early if you wanted a seat. I guess this area was cut down so they could add more rooms. The toilet is at an uncomfortable angle in the bathroom. On the last day, our toilet wasn't flushing and the air seemed to not be working well in our room or any of the other common areas of the ship. I figured they were just done with us and ready to start pushing to the next group and it wasn't even worth complaining. It's very apparent that once Carnival gets your money, they could care less about your satisfaction.
I could go on and on. It started with their over priced shuttle from the airport. We left, and then we circled around and went back for more people. Then we waited their for 30 minutes for stragglers. I guess it was just a way for them to make a few extra dollars. The food was the worst I've had on a cruise too. I imagine now that they have their restaurants you have to pay for, they don't really care about making good food for the dining rooms. There is an abundance of it, but none of it is what I would consider delicious dining.
Our wedding anniversary was during the cruise. My "personal vacation planner" asked if I was celebrating anything while I was booking and I told her it was our anniversary. She made this big deal and said there would be something to celebate. There was nothing. Not even one free drink coupon.
Needless to say, I will never give Carnival another dime of my money. I enjoy cruising and will spend my money elsewhere.