180 Carnival Sunshine Cruise Reviews

This was our fourth Carnival cruise and our third European (the first two were on Celebrity and RCCL) and I have to say that all though the ship had great points and the itinerary was nice we won't be going on Crnial again and I would ... Read More
This was our fourth Carnival cruise and our third European (the first two were on Celebrity and RCCL) and I have to say that all though the ship had great points and the itinerary was nice we won't be going on Crnial again and I would like to share why. First the good.... The entertainment, especially the nightly comedy shows. The casino was open and lively, with friendly staff and a nice environment. The food was great, with the exception of the buffet, which was hit or miss in taste and temps. The specialty options at lunch wee great, especially the me in and Asian options, delicious! The kids club was always clean, friendly, and had plenty to do. The Havana and Regfrog bars were very fun. The waerslides were a big hit with the kids on board. The not so good... The room, we got Ocean Suites which were considerably smaller than those we just had on RCCL. Very cramped and not worth the money. Certain updates around the ship seem to have been thrown together rather haphazardly. It would have been nice to not see quite so much evidence of the renovation. The buffet. I mentioned it above but it is worth saying again that it really had issues. It was not even warm much of the time so we tried to avoid it as much as possible. The reason we won't book with Carnival again.... This itinerary was Rey port intensive so we opted to enjoy an extra day on the ship. By 9:00 we noticed crew members guiding dozens upon dozens of people with visitor badges around the lido deck. By noon, he visitors had completely filled up the water slide area, the main pool and the jacuzzis, splashing in the water, eating at guys, the buffet, and the burrito shop. This was upsetting to the other cruisers that wee expecting a quiet day. I went to guest services to ask what was happening and they explained that the Italian crew were allowed to bring their friends and family aboard for tours but they were not allowed to eat or use the facilities that we were for paying guests. When I complained that they were using them, I just got a shug and was told it was a perk for the staff and it wasn't their job to police their behavior. I asked for a supervisor to call me and left. The next day, when we got back on the boat, we were met with the same type of visitor crowd, and it continued on all Italian ports. I went to guest services two more times and no supervisor err was available or ever tried to contact me as requested. I think it is reat that Carnival would offer a perk to their staff, however it should be done on a day between sailings, not on days were their are paying customer onboard who pay a hefty premium to be there. We felt taken advantage of, as if our fares were subsidizing the staffs perk and taking away from our experiences. To make it worse, guest services could are less hat there were a number of paying guests complaining about it. The other times we have cruised in Europe. We did not encounter this issue and as a result, we will not cruise with Carnival again. Carnival does have some nice features but none of those features an out way the negative experience we had onboard. Fortunately there are enough wonderful alternatives out there, that we have plenty of great choices. This definitely should be something you consider when choosing a cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Had a good time on the cruise, however the ship had maintenance issues was pretty much like a low rate hotel with new employees. If you are going for the ports you won’t be disappointed if the ship is your destination you should pass. We ... Read More
Had a good time on the cruise, however the ship had maintenance issues was pretty much like a low rate hotel with new employees. If you are going for the ports you won’t be disappointed if the ship is your destination you should pass. We went on June 28 and I believe this was the 6th sailing of the ship since it was remodeled. This was my wife’s and families 7th cruise. Embankment went well except the computers where done so all the work I did on line was wasted and had to do it all over again at check in. All in all the food was as good or better on the buffet and restaurants with the exception of the dining room. A few nights the food was decent but more often the food was not even edible. We had to leave early to go back to the buffet. Our waiter who was very good was sympathetic to the bad food. The quality of the steak when available was better then I remember with past cruises although twice a rare steak was served well done and it took so long for a replacement we again had to leave the dining room. I noticed many meals being picked up at the tables with very little eaten, really a waste of food. I would recommend the Fahrenheit steak house you pay extra to eat. It was very good; they must have the experienced cooks working in the pay restaurants. We did not have a cabin steward show up until the 2nd day of the cruise after I called for 2 days of dirty towels and sheets. I was never told why but I assume it was a new crew assignment issue. After that the cabin was usually on serviced once at night, which is not normal. My observation was the ship was short staffed. The crew was new and many where not happy. First time over in 7 cruises where a bartender was rude to me. Don’t worry I did not drink much as they ran out of beer! The maintenance issues that affected us on the ship was the air in the cabin worked intermittingly. Usually it was over 80 degrees. Multiple complaints both nothing was ever done. The shower in the room was broken and would only put out scolding hot water. If was finally fixed the 8th day of the cruise. I found that leaving maintenance request with the maintenance department on the phone cabin yielded no results. Finally, got the shower fixed the 8th day by going the purser’s desk. The phone in the room was also programmed wrong so if you hit maintenance you might get the restaurant. The TV did not work, at the end of the cruise we found out it was not programmed correctly. Really these are not normal thing for a cruise cabin on carnival; my suspicion is the room was actually sabotaged by disgruntled carnival employees. I saw two ex-crew members getting off at various ports ant it was obvious they had been fired. The sunshine does not serve draft beer at most bars like other carnival ships I had been on. The bars the served the draft beers never could get service and so you basically went and bought your own beer and served yourselves. In the sports bar next to the casino waited for over 30 minutes even looking at the bartender before I figured this out. Really, should post signs like this bar is self service. The other disappointment was they ran out Red Frog Beer and only had one other draft beer available which was Newcastle (ugh). Tried the self service beer tap in the buffet area and end up with 6 ounces of beer and 6 ounces of foam. There was something wrong with the keg and not one seemed to know how to fix it. Most of the cruise they just took the glasses away so the self served beer could not be used. Disembarkment was really bad. We scheduled a late flight to do a sightseeing tour in Barcelona through the boat at the last minute carnival canceled the tour and we were set off with our luggage on the dock with no plan and told to find our own way. We were told on the boat that you could rent lockers for your luggage at the port and their would be tour operators at the port. Turned out this was not true. We ended up waiting on a bus for two hours in the hot sun with no coverage. My parents almost fainted. Once we got away from the terminal we were able to find a legitimate tour operator but no thanks to carnival. They left us high and dry in the hot sun. Believe it or not I still enjoyed the cruise, just not a good ship and new crew. This is not the ship if you are expecting the ship to be the destination.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
My husband and I sailed on this ship for our Honeymoon last year and were very disappointed with it. It had recently been redone so we thought it would be nice, but this is what our experience was like; We had a table for two, squeezed in ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on this ship for our Honeymoon last year and were very disappointed with it. It had recently been redone so we thought it would be nice, but this is what our experience was like; We had a table for two, squeezed in the middle of a high traffic area, so there was a constant flow of wait staff and passengers walking on either side of us and bumping our shoulders. Every night there was a couple who came to dinner late, with a double seated stroller that could not fit in between the tables, so we would have to get up in the middle of our meal and physically move our table over and back so they could get by.The staff never offered to assist with that and one night a waiter dropped a used knife onto my plate. We had our laundry done and it was supposed to be back to our room before dinner that night. My husband's was back, but mine was not. I waited until later in the evening then asked about it. They said it wasn't ready and would not be ready until dinner the following night, which wasn't going to work for me, because we had an excursion at 7AM and only had my formal wear and dirty clothes from earlier in the day. They never gave a reason as to why they were not done on time in the first place and told me they would try to get them to my room before my excursion. They did. 10 minutes before 7 and my scarves were mangled. Then there is the case of the night club being right below us and playing music that thumped and shook our room until 2:30AM. My husband talked to customer service about this and they gave him a bag of earplugs. After seeing them two more times about this and explaining that we were unable to sleep and would have preferred getting more than a few hours of sleep a night, they finally apologized and gave us $400 in credit, which was nice.Food was kind of hard to come by after coming back on the ship. The only thing open was Guy's Burger Joint, which had pretty tasty hamburgers, but I don't want them every day, so I would bring fruit and cereal boxes to my room from the breakfast buffet for when I needed a snack, The room service breakfast was a joke. Most days I would only get part of my order or there would be something completely different than what I had put down.The pool on the Serenity deck was really neat with its waterfall coming down, but the water was so cold that nobody could bear to even go in it. We booked a packaged deal for a couples massage and were given a much higher rate after than what we were quoted. We did get that fixed. The entertainment was fine. The guy at the piano bar was kind of arrogant though. Now I am just nit-picking. We did have fun at some of the bars, the shows were pretty decent and The Mediterranean was incredible! Carnival offered us 20% off our "next cruise" for our troubles, but it expires before we'll be able to use it. With all that being said, this was my 6th cruise and by far the worst one I had been on. I have sailed with Carnival before on the Freedom, which was a much nicer ship, but I still found the service and food aren't as nice as the other cruise lines I have been with. On a good note, Carnival does have some great theater performance. If you are looking for a cheaper getaway cruise you can try Carnival, but maybe the Freedom instead of the Sunshine. Just keep in mind that Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines can have good deals too. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Now let me back up a bit. We were first booked for our cruise aboard the Carnival Sunshine,due to depart on April 26th from Barcelona and end in Venice. This was to be a 9 day cruise and we were to stay an extra day at each end. I had ... Read More
Now let me back up a bit. We were first booked for our cruise aboard the Carnival Sunshine,due to depart on April 26th from Barcelona and end in Venice. This was to be a 9 day cruise and we were to stay an extra day at each end. I had spent a tremendous amount of time booking the ‘perfect hotels and off-shore tours’. Well imagine our surprise when my husband, who would keep up with the refurbishment updates on-line that were posted each Friday, noticed the ‘set to sail in April’ note on the top of the screen, change to ‘set to sail in May’ which no prior notice from Carnival. When we contacted our travel agent, she had no knowledge about the delay. No warnings of this cancellation were EVER received fom Carnival…we only found out about our cancelled cruise when our agent contacted them! You can imagine our disappointment. We were offered a refund by Carnival and a 25% discount on booking another cruise with them. They as well refunded any out-of-pocket expenses caused by the cancellation, which included our hotels, which were non-refundable...a plus for Carnival. At that point, we had no choice but to book once again with them as other cruise lines were booked for the itinerary we were looking for. So, we re-booked and this time on a 12 day cruise starting and ending in Barcelona, a city we quickly came to fall in love with. Positives The timely refund by Carnival and added discount which allowed us to get the 12 day cruise for just slightly more than the 9 day cruise initially booked. The itinerary was perfect…just what we were looking for. Kudos to Carnival for choosing these Ports, although they can’t take credit for what the Ports offered. We love wine and were thrilled with the lack of security at the check-in station. Based on comments of other traveler’s familiar with Carnival, we were told about this during the embarkation process. We decided to take a chance and bought numerous bottles at the shops that were available to us while waiting in line. Security didn’t ‘bat an eye’ when we boarded ship - if they even noticed. Certainly helped to off-set the outrageous prices Carnival was charging for their wines. Our luggage was delivered intact and we didn’t have to wait too long for it. Wait staff and cabin steward (Benny) were exceptional. Always friendly and eager to help. Our state room and balcony were just as expected and pictured (a little smaller in size than ones with other cruise lines). Room was always cleaned in a timely manner, complimentary samples of creams etc. often left for our use, ice replenished anytime we asked. We did not experience any of the mold issues some other passengers had in their bathrooms although we did have to call maintenance for the toilet once when it refused to fill with water and emitted a high-pitched screeching noise. My husband finally filled it using the shower head as it was taking so long for maintenance to arrive. Negatives: The embarking process was a joke. Our travel agent had pre-boarded us, but that made no difference whatsoever. Because it was a rainy day, we decided to forgo our planned site-seeing in Barcelona and board the ship early. We were there by 11:00 am and ended up having to stand in line for over 2 hours. Whatever methods Carnival had planned to use for the on-boarding process (by group #), was not working and they decided abandon. The only positive to this was meeting some great people when standing in line and the time it allowed us to visit the duty free shops to buy the wine we took on board. We’ve never experienced such an un-organized onboarding as with Carnival. Hopefully this was a one-time problem for them. After checking out our rooms, we decided to grab a late lunch while waiting for our luggage to arrive. My husband decided to try a wrap at the Blue Iguana Cantina. He started to eat it, only to pull out 3 very sharp chicken bones. When he asked to see the manager, the first person didn’t seem too concerned and said ‘sorry, but these things do happen’. My husband insisted on seeing the head food manager, who finally arrived, apologized and took down the details. When following up with guest services, we were told that we would be contacted, but we were never given any feedback in follow up at any time. We felt this was totally unacceptable…what if a child had choked on these bones! Not a good way to start the cruise. If this was not bad enough…days later, my husband was eating a roll with dinner one night and ended up pulling out a 8-10” long black hair from his mouth (he has short blonde hair). This was truly disgusting and when he complained once again to the head maître-de, they brought him 5 chocolate covered strawberries to make amends. That night we had joined 6 other travelers that we had met, so we asked if we could possible get 8 berries to share with the others. We were told that would not be possible as the other strawberries were ROTTEN!!!! We still shake our heads at that one. We chose the 8:15 dinner time as we felt the 5:30 sitting might be too rushed after any of our shore excursions. Not sure why there had to be such a gap between the two sittings, as 8:15 proved to be far too late for us as desserts were generally not being served until 9:30-10:00. Added to that was our GREAT displeasure to find that although we had requested to join a table of 6 or 8 at the time of booking (we have always enjoyed meeting new people from all parts of the world and the dinner repartee this created), we were seated at a very small table for 2 right next to the serving station. This was where we were forced to sit for the duration of our cruise. We hated this and the only saving grace was that the couple who sat next to us were friendly and we had a nice time chatting with them. This setup was not at all what we had requested and we were extremely disappointed. If we had known all this beforehand, we would have booked the free style. When we did try to change, we were told this had to be done at the time of booking. Ordering wine with dinner became a real source of complaint for us and we felt a total scam on Carnival’s part. We enjoy Pinot Gritio and there were two bottles on the wine list that could be ordered. The first night we ordered the less expensive one, which we found we quite enjoyed. When on the second night we tried to order it again, we were told they were all out of it and were forced to order the more expensive one, which we didn’t enjoy nearly as much. However, when we joined some other travelers we had met in the Sunshine restaurant, we were told that yes indeed, they did have it and were able to order a bottle. When returning the next night to our table in the Sunset restaurant, were told that it was NOT available. Then were later told we could order the less expensive one by the bottle, but not the glass as stated on the wine list. MAKE UP YOUR MIND CARNIVAL AND BE HONEST AND UPFRONT WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS! Continuing with the drink ‘scam in our opinion’…we ordered a Caesar from the Serenity bar. Later when checking our on-ship charges, we found we were charged $24 for the two drinks, listing them as doubles. My husband disputed this with guest services and the additional charge was later removed, but only after standing in line for a long time and arguing that we had never ordered doubles. Another issue that we encountered & felt to be extremely unethical, was the packages that we bought for web services. We bought the smallest package as we didn’t plan to be using the web other than to email our children occasionally with a few updates. However we soon found that the service was slow to respond with many operation issues, and it didn’t take long to use up the package. We then bought another package of time which brought us to two days before the end of our trip. We noticed that mid email; the screen showed we had 7 minutes left which was fine with us. However it then showed 470 minutes left, without us doing anything! Sure enough, when we checked our on-board charges, it showed we had been charged another $159 even though we hadn’t ordered the additional time. Once again, my husband had to argue with guest services, who said we must have ordered it. Only after he insisted why would we order 470 minutes two days before the trip ended when we had only ordered the two smallest packages from the beginning, was the charge removed. We later found out from many others that they experienced the same issue. So…fellow cruisers beware of this. As other passengers have mentioned, the one pool available on-board was closed from the Saturday to the following Tues or Wed. While the pool issue was not a major problem to us, what it caused was all the kids who would have normally been in the pool, were then in both the hot tubs on the Lido Deck, making it extremely unpleasant or just unavailable for the adults. The only other one was on the upper deck – Serenity Deck. After climbing all the way up on, we often found it to be filled to capacity and unable to use. We found our room location to be terrible, although we can’t blame Carnival for this. We were on the Lido deck, the first one or two rooms beside the elevators/vestibule area. Added to this we were right across from the workers pantry which contained the ice machines so always very, very noisy. Needless to say, we might as well of had a party in our room til 4 in the morning each day as that’s what it sounded like. (People coming and going from the pool/restarurant/bars) The rooms had no sound proofing whatsoever (we could hear someone snoring in the next room and certainly many conversations). The workers would start vacuuming around 2 am which was so very frustrating. Also there were some sewage smell issues in many parts of the ship, in particular the pantry across from our rooms, which was sickening at times. OnBoard TV was horrible, lost signals all the time and of 15 channels probably 10 were dedicated to Carnival, 2 British CNN's, 2 movie channels that played the same movies all day long and that was about it. Having said that, you don’t go on a cruise to watch TV, so that wasn’t the worst that could happen, even though very annoying. Unlike our vacations with other cruise lines, we found the food to be very mediocre. There was very little to be had after 2:30 pm if you wanted a light snack and the breakfast buffets were very repetitive and unappealing. The best breakfast and lunches were the omelet’s to order or the custom stir-fry’s however the long line ups to get to them were not great. Special presentation of foods were pretty much non-existent. There were no ice or food ‘sculptures’, as witnessed on other cruises, which we feel help to make the cruise experience so special. I can’t comment on the entertainment really as there was not much of interest to begin with and our dinner seating time made before or after shows not always doable. We did see the Epic Rock and Latin shows, which were really a pretty forgettable experience. Certainly not the grand shows we’d come to expect on a cruise. The Liquid Lounge, which was the main theatre did not have nearly enough seating for the ships capacity and we had to stand on the stairs for the entire show. The Hasbro shows were very second rate and quite laughable (not in a good way). We did have a nice evening in the Piano Bar and the Alchemy Bar looked very interesting although we didn’t sample the drinks there. Because of the odd layout of the ship that made it hard to get from one end to the other, we didn’t find this bar or the tasting bar (which was wonderful) until the second half of the trip. We did try 2 of the 3 restaurants. We enjoyed JiJi’s, the Asian restaurant and the staff were very courteous. We both agree that while it was a nice change of pace from the standard fare, we probably wouldn’t rush back. We also tried Cucina Capitano and found the food to be ok. The cheese bruschetta appetizer that was brought to the table was stone cold and not really very good at all. The main course however was quite enjoyable and the staff were friendly and the ambiance better than we expected it to be, given the open area during the daytime. We did have reservations at the Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse but cancelled them as we’d had two quite acceptable steaks with the normal dining and were afraid we’d be paying the extra $70 for not much better. Glad we made that decision based on some feedback we had heard. In conclusion, I have to say, thank goodness for the absolutely wonderful Ports of Call. We had a fabulous time and almost all of them were a must see (Marseille was not a favorite, but probably didn’t see enough to really rate it properly). We leave the trip with many cherished memories and can’t wait to return to see more of this beautiful country. It will NOT however, ever be with Carnival Cruise lines again. It appears that they are living up to the very poor reputation they continue to make for themselves.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Having never cruised with Carnival before, we chose the newly refurbished Sunshine, formerly the Carnival Destiny, because of the itinerary. After spending three wonderful days in Barcelona, we set out to board the ship and looked forward ... Read More
Having never cruised with Carnival before, we chose the newly refurbished Sunshine, formerly the Carnival Destiny, because of the itinerary. After spending three wonderful days in Barcelona, we set out to board the ship and looked forward to going to Marseilles, Florence, Rome, Naples, Dubrovnik, Venice overnight, and Messina before returning to Barcelona. Embarkation was surprisingly problematic. We arrived at the cruise terminal in Barcelona early and were handed a card with a zone number for check in. There was a computer glitch which resulted in going into manual check in mode. After calling zones one and two, the zone check in approach was abandoned which resulted in people standing in line for several (three to four) hours waiting to check in. After boarding, we found that the ship had some positives: it was clean although the overall ambience and décor was suited more for the Caribbean than Europe, the en suite showers were large, the food was superb and the dining room and stateroom steward service was impeccable. Other than that, nothing memorable. However, the negatives outweighed the positives. The pool was not in service for several days (for which Carnival did reimburse us $50 per stateroom due to the inconvenience.) We had toilets in the stateroom that did not flush for a few hours a couple of days. Water in our stateroom stopped flowing (and stayed off for several hours) starting in the middle of a shower one day, leaving a soapy person quite unhappy. The entertainment was average and the shows were repetitive. The decibel level of the singers and bands was deafening. The daily newspaper did little to educate us about the upcoming ports and you had to read the fine print to learn if a passport was necessary in some of the locations. Carnival did not inform us that the People Mover in Venice stopped running at night resulting in an unexpected 45 minute walk to get back to the ship. It was not an issue for us, but we did feel sorry for those who were using canes and had mobility issues. Debarkation was also very frustrating. Since we had an early flight home, we opted to purchase a bus transfer from the ship to the airport. Our luggage was tagged corresponding to the bus number we rode and was supposed to be outside the terminal upon our arrival. We arrived, much of the luggage did not. Several hundred people waited for their luggage. The Carnival staff was not the most organized or helpful. The two representatives we found had only one lost luggage form to hand out at any given time so passengers had to wait long periods of time to get the form to fill out. After two hours, we had to get our boarding passes with what we carried off the ship. Five minutes before the deadline to go through security to make our flight home, we made one last check outside and did find our luggage in a mix of about a dozen debarkation zone numbers. Others were not as lucky because they had to catch their planes and hope that their luggage would be delivered someday. While we understand that glitches occur, organization and protocol for such things should be in place with a cruise line that has been around as long as Carnival has. It soured us on Carnival enough that we will never book with them again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Carnival Sunshine Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.6
Entertainment 5.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 3.7
Fitness & Recreation 5.0 N/A
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursions 3.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 3.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.0
Value for Money 5.0 N/A

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