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10 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise from Charleston

10 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise from Charleston

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Carnival Sunshine
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Itinerary

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  • Day 1
    Charleston
  • Day 2
    Cruising
  • Day 3
    Cruising
  • Day 4
    St. Thomas
  • Day 5
    St. Maarten
  • Day 6
    St. Lucia
  • Day 7
    St. Kitts (Port Zante)
  • Day 8
    San Juan
  • Day 9
    Cruising
  • Day 10
    Cruising
  • Day 11
    Charleston

Carnival Sunshine

Carnival Sunshine - Carnival Cruise Line

Pros

Ship offers updated bars, restaurants and revamped kids' spaces.

Cons

Adults-only areas, while lovely, are a bit small.

Bottom Line

Former Carnival Destiny underwent $155 million makeover, and the improvements are noticeable.


Cruise Reviews

My wife and i have cruised about 30 times since 1992, so we have seen the cruise industry change in regards to service, food and prices. We were needing a get-away this January and we booked a 5 day cruise on the Sunshine out of ... Read More
My wife and i have cruised about 30 times since 1992, so we have seen the cruise industry change in regards to service, food and prices. We were needing a get-away this January and we booked a 5 day cruise on the Sunshine out of Charleston. Previously, a lot of our cruises were out of this port, but on the Ecstasy. First thing: Embarkation has been expedited by moving it to a different building than security. Time from parking to boarding the ship was about 25 minutes. There are several buffets and other places to eat when you board. We tried the Italian special order on deck 5 beside the Havana Bar. The pasta and sauces were excellent. First night dining was about standard for Carnival. We were assigned anytime dining which is not really dining. It more like place your order and get out! The food seemed a little below what we had experienced on Ecstasy in years past. (BTW, lobster is not on the menu for any night of the 5 day cruise) Since the tables have to be "flipped" several times, the service is just OK> The casino has mostly new slot machines (bigger vid screens) and regular table games and an electronic roulette wheel. There is also a large display video Blackjack/Three Card Poker machine near the Skybox lounge. Stay away from that one. We saw about three people play the entire cruise there. After putting in a few bucks, we understood why. The roulette tables have gone to basically "triple zero" which reduces your odds even further for winning. Only standard odds on the ship are on the one craps table, which had action most of the time. We were in a Spa suite which gave us access to the steam rooms, sauna and tepidarium on the 10th floor. One sauna was hot and adjusted properly. the other one was not hot and the sauna room was not turned on. The tepidarium chairs were relaxing if you could find one which was open. Being January, the temp outside was chilly the first day. By Nassau, it was 74 but windy. The Sunshine has a "Dive in" movie theater which had pretty recent hits. You needed a blanked to watch at night but that was part of the fun. We were advised that we would not dock at private island due to high winds (good call). Instead we went to Freeport, which is the zit of the Bahamas. I choose to scuba dive in Nassua, which is always handled through Stuart's Cove. SC is a top notch dive operation which will put you on wrecks, fish, walls and sharks. They have a shuttle from port to their docks, which is a pretty big operation. Highlight of the cruise was Farenheit 555, the specialty steak house on the ship. Upcharge is $38 per person and well worth it. The food and service is on part with the Chef's Table. If you order your steak rare, prepare for RARE, as in cool red center. (Good vet could bring it back.) i dont drink but my wife has wine. Bar service was good and fast, even in the casino. She played enough to qualify for a free drink card which always reduces cost. This ship has a little "stuffier" feel that Ecstasy. Staff on Ecstasy was like "family" and was very jovial with passengers. The staff on Sunshine looked a little more intense. They were not bad, just not the same. OK, for those of you who have cruise before, more than a few times, you know that service on the ships are scaling back. Where as you used to have to expel your cabin steward fro hanging around, you will barely see them. Overall, for the price we had a fun, relaxing cruise. We choose this port often for it's closeness to home which allows us to drive to port instead of fly or drive for an entire day. Have fun. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Last year was our 1st Christmas without Mama. She was all about Christmas and had wanted to go on a 2019 Christmas Cruise. Sadly she passed in March 2019 and we were all depressed having Christmas without her at home. Not wanting to go ... Read More
Last year was our 1st Christmas without Mama. She was all about Christmas and had wanted to go on a 2019 Christmas Cruise. Sadly she passed in March 2019 and we were all depressed having Christmas without her at home. Not wanting to go through that again we decided this Christmas we were going to honor her and be at sea. It was her wish and it really helped us all. We chose Carnival Sunshine 5 day Bahamas because it was the only cruise from Charleston during Christmas. This cruise was not about where it was going but from where and when. We drove 2 1/2hrs to Charleston the day before not to have any added stress on the day of the cruise and stayed at the Mount Pleasant Suites since there were 5 adults and they have 2 bedroom with 2 bathroom suites for $89 a night. It was comfortable & clean. We would stay there again. The day of cruise started badly. It was cold and raining. We got drenched waiting to get into 1st building then back outside and transported to a 2nd building. The only thing that made it good was thankfully we bought the FTTF. We sailed through both buildings and had no wait despite both buildings being full.we arrived at 11:30 and were in our cabin at 12! It was definitely worth buying. Our spa cabins were literally at the front of the ship 11001 & 11003. Cabin 11001 is very nice for 2 people. It was a good bit bigger (longer) than 11003. They were the same width. I guess because of 11001 location on the end made it longer. Cabin 11003 was well used. There are stains on carpet and furnishings worn. I guess cabins that sleep 3 are probably used more. Our cabin steward was Victor and he was nice but nothing special like I remember from past cruises years earlier. I have been on about 10 cruises but have not cruised in 10 years since Mama was diagnosed with Dementia. I was a little taken back when he asked me if I wanted morning OR evening cabin service. I asked if they don't do both anymore? He said yes they do so I told him both. We were always short a towel, took 2 days to get a 3rd robe and did not always replace wet pool towels or take drink glasses. Not sure if they supposed to anymore or not but had always years ago. Our dining room assignments were not what I had requested and got confirmation for so I had to go speak to the Maitre D. Again, this was not the same as I recalled from previous cruises. It was a tad of a hassle with him telling me it was not their fault since our bookings were not linked and he did not have what I wanted. I offered to go get my phone and show him the email I got confirming and that the bookings were connected. Then he said I give you this and ask a couple to change theirs. I felt bad about that but I requested it in March and was confirmed. Either way I did not appreciate the hassle. Thankfully, the 1st day was where the problems ended. The rest of the cruise was wonderfully and the rest of the staff especially our waiter Gennis was superb. We did tip him extra because he realized we liked cheese and fruit plates 1st and had them waiting for us when we got to the table. Nice to have something to nibble on while waiting to order. That is the kind of intuitive service I remembered. Just a few miscellaneous notes.... Id rather have been on Spa Deck 10 because only 2 elevators go to 11. I am not sure what the fuss is with Guy's Burgers. The fries were good but IMO the burger were greasy and tasteless. I attempted twice and same both times. Perhaps people don't make hand patted burgers at home? Yes, compared to McDonalds they are better but got a long way to go to be as goods as ones I have had. I took suggestion from Cruise Critic forums and loved eating breakfast in the Havana Bar each AM. Getting the custom made omelet with sides (meats, Homefries, Pancakes & French Toast) at Cucina del Capitano and adding some Cheese and Guava pastries from the Havana bar. JiJi's Asian Kitchen also has the omelets but not the sides. The only morning we didn't eat there was the sea day brunch. Which was good especially the skillet cake and filet mignon but the time it took I would have been just as happy at Cucina del Capitano. For lunch I stuck with getting a soft chicken taco or taco salad at Blueiguana Cantina then walking it to Ocean Plaza and complimented it with some items at Ocean Plaza. One day they had Poblanos stuffed with chopped potatoes and cheese Delish! Dinner...well the food was not what I remembered but I guess with the bigger ships and more people its hard. The food wasn't bad just not great. After the 1st night I mostly stuck with multiple appetizers, salad and desert. The apps were very good especially the Cannelloni, Prosciutto Ruffles & the Gazpacho's especially the strawberry one. We did have the liquor package which we all got our monies worth. I did not want it but both my husband & 27yo daughter did. I thought it would be a waste for me since I don't drink a lot. However, 2 Mimosa's at breakfast, a Peach Daiquiri at lunch, 2 bottles of water in afternoon, 2 glasses of wine at dinner, a Vanilla milkshake spiked with Baileys after dinner and a drink at the show each night, a Hot Chocolate spiked with Baileys before bed did not at any point make me feel like i drank too much. We enjoyed the Serenity section which was a plus to cruises now that we did not have years before. Was disappointed with the Dance for St. Jude. There was only 2 dances after a very long wait for shirt sales. Then you could have just bought the shirt in the gift shop. They should have you register and pay for shirt in advance like the Green Eggs and Ham breakfast and make the event about Dancing for the kids. The spa was nice but I don't plan to book a spa cabin again. The sea was just too rough being upfront and constant long walks and only 2 elevators. I went 3 days and signed up for 1 pilates class which the instructor did not show up for. Imo the perks were worth the minuses. We went to Half Moon Cay after lunch so there was no crowds or lines. We swam and enjoyed the beach for about an hour. There was a line to get back to the ship but it moved fast. We did not plan to get off at Nassau but decided to after breakfast to go to Graycliff so hubby could buy some cigars. Most were already off the ship so no lines again. We wished we hadn't bothered because it was Boxing Day and the parade, which was interesting to see, made taxi's not want to take us to Graycliff Hotel since it was not far but traffic not moving. In the past we had walked there but my hubby's foot was runover by a forklift and was unable to walk like that. Couldn't believe we could not find a single cab to take us so we just went back on ship. The pools were not handicap friendly from what I saw. My sister had knee replacement and struggled with ladder only entry. We were giving Luggage Tags #2 to disembark. However, with only a 2 1/2 hr ride home and not in any rush we exchanged for the last #25. Then we took our time enjoying breakfast in Havana bar (yes, you could get food there as usual although it was not listed on places to eat on the last day paperwork). After 2nd announcement for all remaining passengers we headed off the ship with no lines or wait until we got to our luggage. There was a good line at customs but my husband got a porter and we sailed through customs and on shuttle with no wait. The $20 tip to porter was well worth it because no wait at all and I mentioned how thirsty I was and he surprised us by getting all 5 of us a cold bottle of water. My hubby gave him an extra $10 for having done that. Well that is all I can remember that I wanted to share. If this info helped just 1 person then it was time well spent writing it. Hope you have a great cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This is was our second time aboard the Sunshine and honestly our first trip wasn’t that great. We sailed on the Sunshine when it was in Florida (Orlando maybe?) and was hesitant to sail on it again but simply selected this cruise because ... Read More
This is was our second time aboard the Sunshine and honestly our first trip wasn’t that great. We sailed on the Sunshine when it was in Florida (Orlando maybe?) and was hesitant to sail on it again but simply selected this cruise because of its convenience out of Charleston. We had sailed out of Charleston before aboard the Ecstasy and had a much more enjoyable trip. Fist off this ship is nasty. Everything about it looks dirty and old and not well kept. Our stateroom bathroom smelt of urine horribly and the balcony made you feel dirty just stepping out on it. We decided to enroll our children in camp ocean and our children hated it. They were not entertained at all and did not want to go back. On the final day I asked them if they wanted to try it one more time. They went for little over an hour before I got a call about youngest one would not stop crying and wanted to leave. I go in there and they basically put the kids in a room with a few basic toys but were not interacting with them at all. I found this odd because I have talked to other parents that had used camp ocean on other ships and their kids loved it. Then there was the food. The dinning room and buffet were absolutely horrible. If it had not been for the burger joint, burrito bar and sandwich station I don’t know what we would have done. There was very little selection on the buffet and generally nothing for small children to eat (tell me what child is going to eat fish with clams that taste fishy). We ended up eating the main dining room every night because at least they had a kid’s menu even though the rest of the adult menu wasn’t that great. I have been on many cruise ships and the Sunshine is at the bottom of the list for food. I also enjoy craft beer and now that carnival started pretty much only selling their brand brew, they don’t have that great of a selection anymore. I love IPA beer, but the carnival Parched Pig IPA lacks a lot to be desired. On the upside the terminal in Charleston made the boarding and embarkation very smooth and easy. Now if they would just switch ships again they would be golden. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
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