7 Carnival Sunshine Cruise Reviews for Cruises for the Disabled Cruises to Caribbean - Southern

I have always bragged to others about the quality and variety of food on the Carnival Menu and buffets. BUT on the Sunshine it was the worst food ever encountered on a cruise ship. Our food was cold, crusty, and dried. The salads were ... Read More
I have always bragged to others about the quality and variety of food on the Carnival Menu and buffets. BUT on the Sunshine it was the worst food ever encountered on a cruise ship. Our food was cold, crusty, and dried. The salads were browned lettuce and soups were cold. The service was extremely slow and not acceptable at all. We are both diamond VIP members with Carnival. We have sailed on over two hundred cruises and most every cruise line. We understand that booking with different cruise lines you will experience different types of food, however, cold, tasteless, no quality food is unacceptable regardless of the cruise line. The Carnival product has greatly deteriorated and is not at all like previous Carnival cruises we have experienced on most every cruise ship in their fleet! We are very concerned that this ship does not follow ADA guidelines. It was one of the most unfriendly to handicapped passengers in wheelchairs and the guests were unwilling to share the elevators even though the US law states that wheelchair passengers have first priority in the elevator use. Fellow passengers are getting more and more antagonistic toward those who cannot walk and must use a wheelchair as well as the cruise ship staff! It is interesting to note that Carnival is changing the booking mechanism for handicapped cabins. They have gone from wheelchair cabins with roll in showers to calling the same exact cabin a "walker" cabin thereby eliminating the need to accommodate wheelchair guests. It is blatant discrimination. We will carefully review our choices for cruising this year and go back to cruise line whose product we can trust. Carnival product is no longer the same. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We joined the Carnival Sunshine from Cape Canaveral,FL to visit Aduba, Bonaire and Grand Turk.. I will segment this review in order to provide the best story of our experience. Boarding: I have mobility issues, but do not use ... Read More
We joined the Carnival Sunshine from Cape Canaveral,FL to visit Aduba, Bonaire and Grand Turk.. I will segment this review in order to provide the best story of our experience. Boarding: I have mobility issues, but do not use walkers/wheelchairs or powered scooters - normally I can walk the distances needed to board without major issue. This time was different as the walk to the terminal was long and up ramps. By the time we reached the security check point, it was pretty apparent that I was having some distress. Once I got through security, the Carnival shore support personnel noticed that I was having issues and did everything they could to make my boarding comfortable by providing a wheelchair which I did not actually ask for - they provided it. In essence, the shore side personnel were on the ball and helped me tremendously. Accomodations: The ship itself is showing its age - wood refinishing was needed in all areas of the ship exposed to the weather. A lot of rust on the balconies,in corners, etc. In places (notably near the entrances to the open Lido deck area), the floor was pitted and uneven - steel drains needed to be replaced as they were curved down and not even with the surrounding deck. In some places the carpet was worn although still serviceable - it was more an esthetic problem in truth. It was obvious that the ship needs a refitting. Room: Small, no refrigerator, wardrobe doors were loose and would open and close with ship movement,balcony door handle was very hard to open (reported to the Steward, but it wasn't fixed or repaired), bathroom was quite large, but the door wouldn't stay open. The bed was adequate, the TV mount was loose (also reported - no fix). As far as in room TV service, only CNN/HLN, TBS (spanish) and TCM were available. This is one area in which Carnival has created itself an issue. I will say that our cabin steward was attentive and very efficient - that was a plus. The room was clean, the bathroom sparkling so even with the other issues, it was a place to spend the night. Food: There aren't enough bad things to say about the food on this voyage. We did our time dining, but it often took a minimum of an hour to order, eat, dessert and leave. The wait staff had a tendency to order the food from the kitchen in bunches - several tables at the same time which created problems with hot food coming warm and warm food cold. I had a lasagna which was a congealed mass of fat - couldn't eat it. The Lido buffet was better with a variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner choices. I'm not sure what the issue was with the Our Time Dining. We did notice bread plates and saucers being wiped and reused which was reported to the office in charge. Excursions: Our first stop was Aruba - we did the Top Ten tour (bus tour) which really turned out to be a Top Six with meaningless stops for uninteresting sites. We spent more time driving than actually touring. This tour was run by De Palm Tours and was not worth the money spent. Second stop was Bonaire and we did the trolly tour which was wonderful, informative and fun. The Tour guide was Anita and she did a terrific job. Unfortunately, our third stop was Grand Turk, but the ship was diverted to the Dominican Republic due to two medical emergencies - went to Amber Cove instead and that was nice - not a place I'd return to again though. Overall, the trip was adequate. As most January passages, the weather played a big part and the ship captain did his best, weather and sea state is out of his control Normally, I'm not bothered by ships moving as I've spent most of my life on the water including a stint as a Charter Captain, but this time it was different. The motion was constant when at sea and made the balcony unusable - which is not Carnival's fault. Self inflicted wounds: The weekend we left was the NFL League championships until mid-day on Sunday, nobody was going to be able to see the game and there were no plans to make the game available. There must have been a lot of complaints because "arrangements were made" to show the first game on the outdoor screen, but not the second, then a half hour before the second game, "arrangements were made". This was a self inflicted wound as there were a large number of fans of all the four teams on this cruise - even the choice of the Lido deck was odd as there wasn't enough seating to go around. Debarking was a horror show. There were ten elevators available for the called decks to depart, BUT all ten elevators exited at the same choke point creating a mass of humanity all trying get past this narrow area. Very poor planning and design on getting guests off the ship. I had some real difficulty moving after standing, but the debarking crew in the terminal was hell bent and determined to get everybody off, in a line and out of their space. To add insult to injury, I couldn't get to the elevator because one of the terminal workers made me go down an escalator with my baggage. Half way down, the bags caught on a step and I fell down the escalator. To their credit, the supervisors were immediately present to help, but the damage was already done and I had to take a wheel chair out of the terminal. It was not a positive experience. I felt that the whole debarking process was not properly organized or coordinated - rushing to get passengers off the ship because it was two hours late arriving (due to weather) to get the new passengers on, creating traffic jams, inadequately trained shore side personnel (with respect to debarking) made the whole trip less than fun. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We chose this cruise because the itinerary was awesome with the ports.Rooms were clean and kept up every night, Food could have been better on the buffet for lunch and dinner. Not to many choices and everything seemed the same ole same ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the itinerary was awesome with the ports.Rooms were clean and kept up every night, Food could have been better on the buffet for lunch and dinner. Not to many choices and everything seemed the same ole same ole.Breakfast was our favorite meal of the day. We chose to hang out half our cruise in the piano bar at night. The piano man Eden Parker was very talented and energetic. We enjoyed this the best and that is what made our experience so much better. Things we did not like was we had to go through the casino to get to the atrium, fun shops,lobby and other entertainment. Ports do not cater to wheelchair cruisers. No public transportation or excursions for disabled.My Mom was very disappointed and stated she will not cruise again. This was her second cruise which turned out to be a big let down, The ports were great for us because we paid on shore and did tours for reasonable prices. I probably will not cruise Sunshine again but we are dedicated to Carnival and will continue to cruise through them. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
I've cruised quite a few times on both Carnival and other cruise lines. This was the best cruise I have had. The food and service were extraordinary. From the time we entered the ship Carnival lived up to their claim of FUN ... Read More
I've cruised quite a few times on both Carnival and other cruise lines. This was the best cruise I have had. The food and service were extraordinary. From the time we entered the ship Carnival lived up to their claim of FUN cruise. The atmosphere was great. When we reached our cabin our Steward Eman took care of our every want and need. He told us he has been on board for 12 years. His experience surely shows. Emma, our cruise director was the most active person I have ever been around. She was go, go, go from early morning until late at night. She would not let you not in enjoy yourself. The entertainment was very good but Music and Magic Duo was incredible. He was a fabulous keyboard player and vocalist and she was absolutely great. Her covers of Whitney Houston and Adele songs were super. The food was wonderful no matter where we ate was top notch. We will be cruising again in the not too distant future. It will be on a Carnival ship and quite possibly the Sunshine again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This cruise was so much fun! We really wanted to go to Aruba. They say it hardly ever rains there and that's why there are so many aloe plants growing there. We rented an open-air bus to take us on a tour of the island. That was ... Read More
This cruise was so much fun! We really wanted to go to Aruba. They say it hardly ever rains there and that's why there are so many aloe plants growing there. We rented an open-air bus to take us on a tour of the island. That was a mistake. There are so many people on the bus, that you cannot see the sights. Plus, it was so hot, that unless the bus was moving, we got no air. We prefer to rent a private van that is air conditioned. As it turned out, we liked Curacao better than Aruba. There, we rented an air conditioned van with a driver that took us to all the sights and even stopped to let us get a local drink and he took us to the post office to mail myself a postcard! My dad, being in a wheelchair, stayed in the van with the driver while we did a little shopping. Our driver, Javier, was so sweet that he got my dad out of the van and put him in his wheelchair and took him on a stroll through the town! We also had a stop in Grand Turk. The beach there is so calm and beautiful! The NASA exhibit is interesting. Visit Margaritaville while you're there! The food on the cruise was fabulous! We ate in the Sunrise Dining room every night and chose anytime dining, which is great because you don't have to be there at a certain time every night. They offer rare finds, which are things you wouldn't normally try, in addition to other choices. The chocolate melting cake is a must! We had 2 formal nights for dining on this 8-day cruise. Guys Burgers is a must for lunch every day! These burgers and fries are delicious! For breakfast, in addition to the huge buffet, we went to the Havana Bar for the absolute best omelets! They cook to order. We spent most of our sun time on the Serenity deck (adults only). Occasionally, people would allow their kids in the pools/hot tubs, which is a no-no. It's supposed to be for those 21 years old and older. Our cruise director, Donkey, was awesome! He really kept the fun going! Our cabin, as well as every inch of the ship was kept extremely clean. The staff was so attentive to whatever we needed. Overall, this was an awesome cruise and we plan to do it again! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We flew to Orlando from Texas and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express is Cocoa, FL. We flew in the night before and called the hotel to see what was the best way to get there. The hotel advised that we get a one-way car rental and then the ... Read More
We flew to Orlando from Texas and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express is Cocoa, FL. We flew in the night before and called the hotel to see what was the best way to get there. The hotel advised that we get a one-way car rental and then the return place would be at the port. We did this and a large SUV rental was $50. The morning of the cruise (around 11am) my husband dropped myself, another wife and our children off at the port with all of our baggage and then went and returned the car and they brought him by shuttle to the port. The entire process took 30 minutes. Once we were all in the terminal, it took about 30 minutes (we are Platinum) to be on board the ship. This was our second time to cruise on the Sunshine and immediately, I remembered why I love this ship. I love the fresh looking design and the 2.0 improvements. We dropped our stuff off at the room. I had brought on a case of bottled water and a 12-pack of Diet Dr Pepper that were a bit heavy to lug around. Once we did that, we were off to the Blue Iguana and Guy's to get either a burger and burrito. We stayed in a Grand Suite (7195) and it was very typical of the other Grand Suites that we have stayed in while on board a Carnival ship. The storage is just ridiculous. There are so many drawers and closets and plenty of room for all of our stuff and our twin 9 year olds belongings and then some. The couple we traveled with stayed in an Ocean Suite (7183) and its very comparable just smaller. Our room steward Jason was fantastic! We ate at the early dining and every night we were taken good care of by Cornelius and his two assistants. The menu was good and every night you are given an option to have selections from the steak house for an additional $20. We only took advantage of this one time and got a lobster tail. Our group loves to play games so we attended 80% of the trivia. We really enjoyed all of the entertainment staff - Jess, Sara, Darnel, and Jamie. The Disney trivia is an absolute must. My kids will remember that for many years to come. We enjoyed the EA trivia as well. This cruise is the first time that we had that on a ship and even though we were awful, we went every night and enjoyed it. The shows are just fantastic on the Sunshine. They get better and better as the week progresses. The first time we were on the ship, we would come about 20 minutes early and wait to enter the showroom and we always got great seats. This cruise, the couple that we came with are lifelong friends and he is a retired Navy vet and has had a leg amputated. One of the lighting techs (Chris Ping) talked with us and got permission to reserve a couch in the very back of the showroom so that he would not have to stand in line to wait because its very difficult for him to do so. Just before they would open the doors, we would go to our couch and we were served nightly drinks without even asking by the sweetest bar girl, Melanie. She knew our order and our Sign and Sail numbers by memory - that's service! I cannot say enough about the Epic Rock show. I actually wrote down the "set list" so that I can create a playlist on my iTunes account to listen to whenever I am in a rock mood. My 9 year olds (one boy and one girl) had a great time at Camp Carnival. Daniel would literally wake up and couldn't get out of the room quick enough to get up to Camp. We would see him again at 10 pm. They did attend one of the Night Owl parties though, they would have loved to go to all of them. We had told them about the Hasbro Game show from when we had been on the ship in the Mediterranean and they could not wait. Daniel was actually picked to go up on stage and ended up winning the whole show. He won a $150 gift card and now I have a house full of Nerf guns and extra Nerf bullets all over the living room. Thank you Carnival! We went to almost all of the Comedy Shows and we really enjoyed Happy and the comedian from New Orleans. Some tips for people traveling on the Sunshine is that during lunch, no matter where you want to eat, take your plate to the aft of Deck 9. We usually sat in between Jiji's and the Italian place. We always get the bottomless sodas stickers. This ship did not use the soda guns but instead can soda every time, which is a plus for us. My husband loves the Mongolian grill at lunch. The Italian is great at lunch too, they give you a piece of paper and you indicate what kind of pasta you want, the meat that you want and the veggies and sauce. They then will give you a pager and then you pick it up when it's ready. There is no standing in line. I cannot say enough about the burritos, I love them and typically eat a burrito every day at lunch. Our ports were Saint Martin, St Kitts, San Juan and Grand Turk. We did the French Beach Getaway in Saint Martin. It was just wonderful, beautiful beach and good lunch, We paid $10 for each child to use a ocean trampoline with slide the entire afternoon. In San Juan, we went to the Rain Forest. It was just beautiful. St Kitts, we just walked around the port area. Lastly Grand Turk, my husband and son went on the Helicopter ride and had a wonderful time. They got a video of the entire ride for $15. As always, the worst part of the trip is when the waiters sing "Your leaving our Funship" on the last day of the cruise. We got off the ship on Saturday morning, had luggage tags #1 and were in a car headed to Disney by 8:45am. Absolutely wonderful vacation! I have read many complaints over the years about this ship and I just cannot understand any of them. The only thing that seemed to be a drawback was for the people that chose "YourTime Dining." The first several days there was a long line for that. Every day we would walk past all of the people in line straight to our table and have a wonderful dinner with people that called us by name and knew our favorites. I have never understood why anyone would want to chose that and I continue to be puzzled. It doesn't make any sense to me. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We just returned from our Southern Carribean cruise onboard the Sunshine. Had it not been for the wonderful friends we traveled with and the many travelers we met, this would have been a cruise bust. I will start with the positives: ... Read More
We just returned from our Southern Carribean cruise onboard the Sunshine. Had it not been for the wonderful friends we traveled with and the many travelers we met, this would have been a cruise bust. I will start with the positives: embarkation was painless despite having to wait several hours for everyone to receive their luggage (we packed our carry-on for this contingency), JiJi and Cucina's were worth the extra fees, our room steward, Ardana was attentive as was our main dining room wait staff...a big shout out to Big Al (see negative for more on that story), & to our deck server, Putu who kept us well hydrated as we lazed in the sun:-). Now for the negatives. We were well aware that the Sunshine was a recently renovated older ship but were unconcerned as we had twice cruised onboard the Carnival Sensation a numer of years ago & had received excellent service both times. Unfortunately, this was not the case during this one. Our first night we dined at JiJi's & as noted above thoroughly enjoyed. We had selected "Your Time Dining", so for the second night (formal night), we had a wait of approximately 45 minutes due to the volume of diners. We were seated at approximately 8:30. Our server, Elmer advised if we wanted 2 lobster tails to order at that time as they stopped serving at 9:15. Really? Despite many attempts at engaging our wait staff, thanking them with each course served, we were met with silence. A grunt of acknowledgement would have been better than nothing. Our food was served lukewarm at best. Unfortunately, this was a first cruise for one of our friends & the experience left her as cold as the baked potato we were served. We eventually left our table prior to dessert, the service was that poor. We did submit a complaint & were assigned second seating for the remainder of our cruise & received excellent care by Big Al & others. However, the food quality was just not as we remembered nor anywhere as good as served onboard the RCL Oasis we sailed upon in January. The renovated areas seemed poorly designed to accommodate the number of cruisers. For instance, to attend a comedy show, cruisers had to stand in line prior to each showing or stand during the show due to limited seating. The venues are too small. Many areas of the ship required going through the casino and/or going up/down flights of stairs to access the correct elevators to your destination, difficult for travelers with disabilities. Balcony rooms do NOT have refrigerators, prepare as we did to bring a collapsable cooler. Our room steward kept it filled with ice, thank you Ardana. Overall the crew were efficient but unfriendly. The lack of attention to detail evident throughout. Many experienced cruisers expressed the same concerns. Is the crew disgruntled or new? It wasn't clear but something is amiss. We purchased excursions for Aruba & Grand Turk. Aruba was chaotic & disorganized. We arrived early but departed 30 minutes late. Grand Turk was better organized but cruisers are essentially limited to the port following the excursion. Curaçao was gorgeous. We elected to wander the area on our own & were grateful we did. Unfortunately, a friend became ill requiring the attention of the ship's medical staff. They were very knowledgable & professional. Has Carnival cut too many corners to keep their cruises relatively inexpensive? Not sure. Would we book the Sunshine again? Not a chance.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Carnival Sunshine Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.9
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 5.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 3.7
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 5.0 3.7
Rates 3.0 4.1

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