9 Carnival Sunshine Cruise Reviews for Group and Theme Cruises to Caribbean - Southern

This review concerns only the Carnival ship and company. Our cruise was an adult-only charter and we had no complaints about its organisers. Our overall impression was of a penny-pinching enterprise seeking to squeeze every last dime ... Read More
This review concerns only the Carnival ship and company. Our cruise was an adult-only charter and we had no complaints about its organisers. Our overall impression was of a penny-pinching enterprise seeking to squeeze every last dime from its captive customers. Specifically : - Food in general was very poor. Everything in the buffet was cold and poor quality (exception: the bacon was lovely). The MDR was pretentious and lacking real quality. The smaller venues (omelette station, Blue Iguana, pizza bar...) were notably better although the burger bar food was disgusting. Most places were closed too often, giving a poor choice of food for "non-standard" meal-times. Conform or go hungry? - Drinks prices were outrageous (with alcohol packages unavailable on charters - I can't think why). Wine “deals” were available at slightly less outrageous prices, whereby you effectively pre-purchased bottles from a selection. Having taken our money THEY RAN OUT of the most popular wines. We felt defrauded. We also often received our wine when our meal was half over. Water that wasn't heavily chlorinated and decent coffee also had to be paid for. - They confiscated the bottles of wine we brought onto the ship as apparently we had put them in the “wrong suitcase". They were never returned, despite the letter that said they would be! That left a VERY bitter taste (but presumably a rather pleasant one for staff). - The internet was extremely expensive, with very limited options to choose from. There definitely ought to be a per-minute option too for those who just want to research a lunch in port etc. The staff, without exception, were friendly and helpful. However there was a noticeable lack of management and training at the level above their individual jobs. They need to know how it all fits together! Our cabin, a deck 7 interior, was absolutely fine. It was well designed, had just enough storage, and nothing was damaged or missing. The only problem - a grave one - was that the toilet stopped flushing on several occasions towards the end of the cruise. It was quickly fixed each time but it was difficult to cope with, particularly in the night. The self-serve launderette on our floor was useful although each wash, dry and detergent cost a rather high $7.50. The gym facilities were also adequate. The ship has had major refits, I believe. There are certainly some oddities, including confusing lifts. Two major problems are: 1. The casino forms a main thoroughfare, particularly when it's raining, and smoking is normally allowed there. It wasn't on our cruise, but the stench lingers. 2. Everyone walks through the Limelight Lounge to get to the MDR as there are few viable alternatives. The route runs along the edge of the stage - most off-putting for everyone. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
First of all, the good things. Our cabin steward Lamphong, Matt from the casino and our head waiter Pablo were exceptional. Always doing their best to make you smile. We ate in the steakhouse 2 times because it was so good. Also Guys ... Read More
First of all, the good things. Our cabin steward Lamphong, Matt from the casino and our head waiter Pablo were exceptional. Always doing their best to make you smile. We ate in the steakhouse 2 times because it was so good. Also Guys Burgers is awesome. Now the not so good. We were late getting into port in Ocho Rios which I guess snowballed people getting off for excursions. They herded a couple of thousand people into a small building with tour people trying to yell instructions over the din. Very very unorganized. It was unorganized in all the ports. They need to find a better way. (Celebrity/Royal Caribbean does a great job). After arriving to our room (an aft balcony) we asked for robes and were told there were not enough on board for everyone. Who does that? And this is the second Carnival cruise in which we purchased a wine package and they ran out of my wine. Hubby prefers Merlot and I prefer Pinot Grigio. They ran out of Pinot on the last evening on two trips. Makes no sense to me. Another thing is Carnival does not have anywhere on their website to post comments. Afraid? Carnival is okay. We had a good time. They just need a little improvement in some areas. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Am part of a group that plans ahead and travels together. We will have a good time together no matter what. I was a little disappointed with the room steward. When on board, I had to hunt her down. My request was simple.. ice everyday and ... Read More
Am part of a group that plans ahead and travels together. We will have a good time together no matter what. I was a little disappointed with the room steward. When on board, I had to hunt her down. My request was simple.. ice everyday and just turn down service at night with of course a towel animal. Received no service that night and towards evening of the next day, she told me she would service my room in the daytime as she had too many at night... really? Dining room 2d night service was beyond horrible. We were able to switch our section thanks to any time dining and our service was never better! The piano bar which I usually enjoyed was ruined by the entertainer, she talked way too much in between songs and her language was so foul, I had to leave... not even the adult comedians could top her Shows were good. Comedy club was fantastic Casino was fun and not at all smoky as some say on other ships. Saw quite a few big winners! Getting on and off the ship was well organized Overall entertainment was good. Bar service was good Staff very friendly and accommodating overall I would definitely cruise on Sunshine again Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose this cruise due to the itineraries and so glad we did. We travelled with 2 of our closest friends for my 50th. 8 days of nothing but FUN!!! The staff was simply amazing and always accommodating! The ports of call where amazing! ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the itineraries and so glad we did. We travelled with 2 of our closest friends for my 50th. 8 days of nothing but FUN!!! The staff was simply amazing and always accommodating! The ports of call where amazing! Aruba, Caucasus and Grand Turks! Cabins, although small as in all cruise ships, were wonderful! Food was plentiful.The only thing that I can actually say I was disappointed in was the pool. It was small for the amount of people that the ship holds, so we just didn't go in. The Serenity Area for adults was awesome, be careful getting into the hammocks, but once you are in, you will not want to come out! I highly recommend the Land and Sea excursion booked from the ship. We had a blast. We live near beaches so when we travel we want to see the island, learn their history, this did just that. Afterword, we were taken to a submarine and saw a World War II Sunken Ship...won't tell you the story behind it, that would be a spoiler alert! I would recommend this ship to anyone, just refurbished in 16, the ship is beautiful! Hope you enjoy your trip as much as I enjoyed mine! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Chose this cruise because of where it was going and the ports of call, the dates and where is was sailing out of. The ship was recently redone so I figured it can't be too beaten up or worn out. I was disappointed with how hard it was ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of where it was going and the ports of call, the dates and where is was sailing out of. The ship was recently redone so I figured it can't be too beaten up or worn out. I was disappointed with how hard it was to get chairs on the deck or serenity deck, Way too crowded. And the Limelight lounge was a ridiculous set up that if you sat to the side of the stage, you got to watch the whole show on a monitor. That was stupid. I earned enough points in casino (1500) to qualify for free drinks...problem being, you place an order and it takes them 45 minutes to get the drink to you. By then you have moved on to a new machine. I had qualified for free drinks for 2 days and got exactly 2 free drinks for all the time I spent in there!!!! THe Alchemy bar was really slow on taking and serving drinks. . Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
I choose this cruise because my friends told me to go with this ship. I never been on a cruise and im glad I pick this ship...The staff was amazing....Im hoping to go next year...but with the family this time....I love the dining to just ... Read More
I choose this cruise because my friends told me to go with this ship. I never been on a cruise and im glad I pick this ship...The staff was amazing....Im hoping to go next year...but with the family this time....I love the dining to just sitting on deck...I went for the balcony because i have a outside i can go to...Im glad i did pick the balcony you would love it....I did get sea sick and the staff help with that..eat green apple and drink plenty of apple juice...thanks ya for that...I owe ya one...but after that was over i enjoy my trip.This trip like any other is very memorable and worth investing...The only problem i really had...I want the captain to be more visible to certain nights.. The captain should appear at least for captain dinner... Overall of my trip i love but only two complaints was sea sick and the captain sure been around more. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I would first like to say that I was excited and curious because of all the negative reviews of the Sunshine. We chose her specifically for the itinerary since our party of four had a combined wish to see Aruba and Grand Turk and for the ... Read More
I would first like to say that I was excited and curious because of all the negative reviews of the Sunshine. We chose her specifically for the itinerary since our party of four had a combined wish to see Aruba and Grand Turk and for the Serenity decks ( always our favorite part of ships). We weren't disappointed. Even with the CDC delay at the port for embarkation ( which I was actually glad since the ship would be super clean) things went fairly well. So glad we opted for Faster to the Fun as we were first in line to finally get on and would not have wanted to be in that crazy line behind us. Prior to this, we used the Fly Snooze Cruise package from Comfort Suites in Cocoa Beach. All transportation was taken care of and our room was adequate(could use a little updating) plus free breakfast buffet and we were set. They were apprised of the delay at the port and modified transportation accordingly. Finally... ON THe SHIP! Our party had an inside Spa cabin and a balcony Spa cabin adjacent to each other on deck 12. Perfect location!! We were steps from all of the Serenity decks (3 in all!)and it was a surprisingly quiet floor when the door to the outside decks closed. Our cabins were 12021 and 12025 respectively. It turns out my hunch for 12021 was correct and it was a larger inside cabin with plenty of walkaround space on both sides of the bed and with a mini bar fridge much to the delight of my sister in law and her partner. Beautiful cabins...loved the décor and hues and the balcony for 12025 was quite large with a lounger, 2 chairs and a table. It was covered as well and the 4 of us spent many hilarious hours out there people and sea life watching. We also had the much maligned Your time dining which went off without a hitch. We checked into the system on Deck 5 near the Taste Bar and either got a pager or a seating immediately. It was just a short walk down the back stairs to the lovely Sunrise dining room. We had the new American Table menus and they were pretty decent. I missed having the complementary lobster on elegant nights but the Feast menu was pretty delicious as well. I made up for the lobster in shrimp extras lol. While I prefer having table cloths all of the time, the table settings were still very nice. Food was excellent and service impeccable. We also enjoyed the Lido Buffets, room.service breakfast ( though we sorely missed the smoked salmon selection) and the other offerings. We really liked sitting in the Havana bar for our casual meals as it was cool and uncrowded and they played great Latin music. Also, there were little Cuban tapas on offer at breakfast and lunch which were delicious! The Mongolian wok at lunchtime was fantastic but we never did try the Italian pasta buffet. I received a complimentary birthday dinner at either Jijis or the Cucina and we chose JiJis. It was served family style and it was delicious... Plenty of food for the 4 of us and we are big eaters! Truly authentic Asian specialties...best Kung Pao I have ever had. We also tried Guys burgers occasionally and the Iguana cantina tacos and burritos. All delicious! The Guinness float in the Shake place is not to be missed! The only annoying thing was the people trying to get out of washing their hands! Employees were stationed at food entry areas to make sure handwashing was happening and it was in everyone's best interest to use the auto washers and the waterless rub but there are always those that have to buck the system. It would serve them right to get ill but the 4 of stayed perfectly healthy. I was glad of the safe measures taken on board (condiments were given out by a crew member and not handled by guests, etc). The ship itself was configured a little differently than we were accustomed but it made it more interesting to find the hideaway places like the Limelight lounge, etc. The Liquid Lounge was smaller than other ships theaters and for some reason caused me and my brother in law to nod off every time we went in there. We preferred the previous format of shows that were done in the Vegas style with dancers rather than the multiple.mediocre singers and lacking sets, maybe that is why we couldn't stay awake in there! Bed hoarding and reserving continued to be a.problem but the crew initiated the timer system toward the end of the cruise. We noticed people on deck before light placing items on chairs and then not arriving until 9 or 10 am. That could use more policing but it puts the crew in a bad position and it shouldn't have to be that way. We were very lucky with weather and sea conditions throughout the cruise and we loved all of the ports and are anxious to return to them for a second or third look. Beautiful sea conditions for our sail and snorkel in Aruba, visibility was fantastic and I actually free dived and.touched the wreck of the Antilla. Curacao was stunning with its architecture and we welcomed the rain shower in the afternoon after a day of walking and sightseeing. Grand Turk was pristine and we had a.wonderful day at Jack's Shack playing with Topher. The water was crystal clear turquoise and the Turk's Head beer went down a little too easily. We enjoyed our trek to the Conch graveyard and stayed away from the crowds at Margaritaville. I celebrated my 50 th birthday on the last seaday and it was my best birthday ever! Although we prefer the smaller ships with more outdoor space and decks, we will gladly return to the Sunshine as she has a lot to offer and is unique in her layout. People of course with their habits remain the downside to any cruise and the casino was horribly smoky but all in all she is a great ship and we had a wonderful cruise. Two in our party were first timers and.loved every minute of it...this was my seventh and DH's sixth so we had pretty good comparisons. Her decor is understated compared to others and that can be good or bad depending on your preference. The Serenity bar could stay open longer in the evening as we noticed it was really happening about the time it was closing and it was.close to the hot tub! It closed between 430 and 5 and the one evening it was supposed to be open late it was too windy for the top deck. If you are sitting the fence trying to decide to sail on her, giver her a go, you may be pleasantly surprised! We certainly were! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Ill be completely honest - i was a little anxious about spending 8 days on the sunshine since it is smaller than the Dream, Breeze, etc. but, i was highly impressed with how much there was to do with so many days at sea! Our itinerary ... Read More
Ill be completely honest - i was a little anxious about spending 8 days on the sunshine since it is smaller than the Dream, Breeze, etc. but, i was highly impressed with how much there was to do with so many days at sea! Our itinerary included 4 sea days and 3 port days (Aruba, Curacao, Grand Turk), which is mainly the only reason i have for not giving this cruise the 5 Stars is deserves! Overall, the cruise was great - one that will be very memorable and as always, Carnival delivers! Destinations: We've traveled on Carnival more than enough times to count, but finally decided to visit Aruba and Curacao, hearing how amazing these ports were. Frankly, we were disappointed in them compared to many of the other tropical destinations. We did the Sail & Snorkel W/ Beach Barbecue in Aruba which was a nice excursion, but personally i was not impressed with the water, nor the atmosphere which felt like you were in Arizona (no offense to those who love Aruba and its natural beauty). In Curacao we did an island tour which was just okay, took us to some of the most rural and run down parts, where a woman on our tour even had her bag stolen out of the bus! The tour obviously did more than accommodate which was very nice, but left us little time to enjoy the port, aka the nicest part of the island. Grand Turk...BEAUTIFUL! Obviously, if you've been there you know, but this one is everyones favorite - the water, the atmosphere, everything!!! The Ship: Idk why this ship has gotten so many mixed reviews, but we absolutely loved the design, the people, the atmosphere, the entertainment, and especially the food! The casino could have been a little bigger; for those who like to gamble late night - make sure you pick your machine or stay at your table because they fill up fast! The nightclub, Liquid Lounge, isn't open every night, which was a little disappointing but they made up for it at the Havana Bar late night. The crew, especially the Hotel & Guest Services Managers are delightful, The HR and Food Managers will make your vacation worth while - take time to introduce yourselves to all these wonderful people! The layout can be somewhat tricky as its different than any other ship! Cuisine: The Havana Bar is one of the places we ate breakfast and lunch everyday on the back of the boat (Deck 9 - aft) and is nice because not many people crowd back there. We never even went into the dining room once - we ate at the spirality resultants (Jiji's and Cucina) EVERY NIGHT! We loved the special attention we got, the waiters/waitresses (Shimray, our waitress at Jiji's, was the main reason we kept coming back) were very reliable and greeted us every night! We loved how the restaurants were never too crowded either. Bonsai Sushi is one that we ate at on the last day which was delicious, a must try! The Steak House, Ferenheit 555, was not worth he money in our opinions. If you want a great steak or lobster, the formal nights in the dining room do it right the same way! There were so many dining options on this ship, including the buffet, and lets not forget Guys Burgers or those delicious Burritos! This truly made the ship a lot more enjoyable!!! Entertinament: Entertinament on this ship was pretty good! The comedians were funny in certain shows, especially Don Grey, but we really didn't see much of the stage shows, which i heard were very good! Our entertainment was in the casino most nights (and sea days), although the lido deck always had something going on from a party, to the hairy chest contest. The club, Liquid Lounge, (if you count that as entertainment) I'm not thrilled with, and wasn't so the last time i was on this ship. Its a nice idea to have the theater turn into the club, but it doesn't work - too bright and open, and doesn't have the "night club" feel most people want! Crew/Service: Everyone on this ship was polite and friendly. One of the few ships I've been on (like the valor) where everyone you meet is personable, and wants to be your friend! We enjoy meeting new people, and the Carnival Sunshine is the best place to do it! We are good friends with some of the higher up officers which mad it nice to see them, but we also made so many new friends that its impossible to forget about this cruise! Our cabin steward was very nice, and always had our rooms clean. Everyone on this ship is G.R.E.A.T.!!!! Overall, our experience on this cruise was well worth every penny! As said before, the destinations were the only disappointing thing on this cruise - excluding Grand Turk! I would recommend the Carnival Sunshine to everyone, just maybe not this itinerary! Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
I have been on many different Carnival and Disney ships, and to walk into the atrium and see the big shiny Sun, I knew fun was sure to follow! The crew on board were so friendly and bright and Jamie Dee needs to be the new Carnival ... Read More
I have been on many different Carnival and Disney ships, and to walk into the atrium and see the big shiny Sun, I knew fun was sure to follow! The crew on board were so friendly and bright and Jamie Dee needs to be the new Carnival Ambassador! There were so many awesome and fun activities, and she was a ball of fun! I loved Red Frog and Ocean Plaza, which is where I spent a lot of time when not donating to the casino. The casino hosts were kind in teaching me some of the games, though I still kept donating! JiJi's is, by far, one of the best dining experiences EVER! The pork belly and duck are TO DIE FOR!! I really enjoyed the layout of the piano bar, 88, as it was intimate and Lacey, our pianist was OUTSTANDING and extremely personable, plus ADORABLE!! The Serenity Deck was awesome! We loved lounging out at night the first few nights, then after our room changed we spent more time on our balcony. The only "downfalls" I found were our first cabin had a large banging noise in the beginning, but we were lucky to be able to move, however-this wouldn't have ruined my cruise as when I'm on the ocean, I find my peace of mind. Your Time dining in the beginning was a bit hard until we found a comfortable flow. We are a roll with the punches type of cruisers. The Punchliners is small and weirdly shaped but we made a point to get there early to sit facing the stage, however if we didn't then we sat on the side and watched through the tv and enjoyed anyways. In the end, I really loved the ship and any flaw that anyone could mention a happy and silver lining could be found! We sail her again October and can't wait! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Carnival Sunshine Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.9
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 5.0 3.6
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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