Sail Date: May 2012
We arrived home this past Friday evening from our 12 day cruise beginning the May 26th. The Good;The ports were awesome! Do all you can. We had a private tour in Marseilles; then in Florence had a tour that took us to Pisa and ... Read More
We arrived home this past Friday evening from our 12 day cruise beginning the May 26th. The Good;The ports were awesome! Do all you can. We had a private tour in Marseilles; then in Florence had a tour that took us to Pisa and Florence(Ship tour, one of three). Exceptional!Then in Rome we did Best Limos in Rome. Saw a lot. The Wednesday we were there, approx 90K were also there at the Vatican. After that in Naples did the ship tour to Mt Vesuvius and Pompeii. When you get to Vesuvius it is about a half hour hike up hill. But worth it. In Dubrovnik we took the shuttle to town and did our own thing walking the walls. They take charge cards but no euros or am money to walk the walls. Then to Venice we purchased the 24 hour pass. To get the 24 hour pass(cost 20 Euros) you need to take the "people mover" to the water bus. It is 1 euros to get to Venice and 1 Euros back. You can purchase 2 tickets at one time for RT. Lots to do and you can do ti on your own. Then to Messina, we did the hike up Mt Edna-Do it!!! This was the ships tour by motor coach to Mt Edna, then you get in a cable car, then a 4 x4 up to the top. Finally a 30-40 minute walk at the top where there is some left over ice.It is windy, so layer. We thoroughly enjoyed this trip!! On the ship the service by the dining room staff in the Sunrise and room Stewart was exceptional. The 8 ship entertainers very good! The food ok, not great but average.T he room, well we were in 6181 and 4 of the 12 days our drain outside the shower overflowed. We just put a lot of towels down. We heard this was happening in other staterooms on our floor. The ship did give us approx 300 credit per stateroom.On the ship we were told 65% were 60 and over. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
My mom (88) and I cruised on the 5/17/13 sailing of the Carnival Sunshine. First of all, we experienced nothing like those poor people on the initial 5/5/13 sailing! Our room did not flood, our toilet worked and only a couple of times ... Read More
My mom (88) and I cruised on the 5/17/13 sailing of the Carnival Sunshine. First of all, we experienced nothing like those poor people on the initial 5/5/13 sailing! Our room did not flood, our toilet worked and only a couple of times did we smell the awful odor others have complained about and then only in the hallways. Our expectations were for a completely renovated ship, great food, wonderful excursions to places we have only dreamed about in Europe, and lots of shipboard activities. I have to say our expectations were met except for the "completely renovated ship" one: while the ship was indeed refurbished and beautiful, it was not the complete renovation the Sales Agents were promising. Nothing awful, mind you, just not completely truthful. For example: in our bathroom, you could see where the mildew was removed from the shower surround with bleach, leaving orange stains; the sprinkler head in the ceiling of our cabin was held up with masking tape (!); our balcony had exposed rust spots; the entrance to the Main Dining Room on Deck 3 had a very, very dirty sill on it; there was dust everywhere, so much so in our cabin that I wrote my name in it; nothing below the passenger decks has been done, as evidenced by my visit to the Medical Center: awful, peeling linoleum floors, extremely dirty door surrounds, really a mess considering it is a Medical office. The doctor and nurses, however, were extremely professional and competent and it is a real shame they have to work in such awful surroundings. About my visit to the Medical Center: almost immediately upon entering our cabin, my allergies were activated. I believe it is mold in the ceiling, since the vent where the a/c blows is far from new and had dark stains on it. I bought Benedryl from the gift shop ($14.00!!!) and it did nothing. When I would leave my cabin, my allergies would improve; when I returned, it would become unbearable again. Finally after 5 days of this, I went to see the doctor and got a steroid shot ($127.00 for visit and shot). I went to Customer Service and requested a refund of that money because I believe it is mold left in the cabin, but they would not refund it. Oh, well, live and learn: they were MY allergies after all. lol And I'm sure the dust didn't help either. On the 6th day of the cruise, my mom came down with the allergies! She chose to just wait it out and now I'm having to take her to the doctor tomorrow for her shot. Embarkation Embarkation went very smoothly after we figured out what to do. Carnival transfers picked us up from the airport and dropped us off at the Cruise Port. There was no one telling us where to go. There was a long, long line of people (who, it turns out, were checking their bags; ours were already checking because of the transfer). Once we found out where to enter the building, everything went very well. Luggage Our luggage arrived by the time we completed muster. A word of caution however: bring your own hangers! When we asked for more, our cabin steward brought us 2 and said that was all there was. Had a total of about 8 for room. No complaints about storage space in cabin or in bathroom; very adequate. Cabin Seemed a little smaller to me than most balcony rooms on previous ships; could have been just because we had twin beds and I usually have just one big bed for me and husband. Room was comfortable and a/c worked fine. Dining We had Your Time Dining and loved it! Turned out we were very hungry when we returned to the ship, so most nights would eat 5:45-6:00. Food was very tasty. We also ate at Cucina Capitano (am a real Italian food buff and have to say, mine is better! lol); JiJi Asian (wonderful!!! cannot say enough good things about it. Ate in the Steakhouse twice and it was great both times. The buffet is very well laid-out, the waiters in the Dining Room are friendly and attentive and bar service is very quick. Also ordered room service a few times and it arrived quickly and food was good. Excursions Will address the excursions in another section. Overview We enjoyed our cruise. Other the comments about the ship above, enjoyed everything. Cruising the Mediterranean is a different type of cruise, however,and very different from Caribbean cruises which are more ship-intensive than port-intensive. I have to say, however, this was my 14th cruise, the majority of them on Carnival, and I really do not plan to cruise Carnival again. I just don't agree with some of their company policies and rather than complain about them, I just won't use them anymore. 'Nuff said! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
We are a family of four who took the second voyage on the Carnival Sunshine. I just wanted to get a quick review out there so future cruises have an idea about the ship. Rooms. We don't care so much about the room. For a 9 day ... Read More
We are a family of four who took the second voyage on the Carnival Sunshine. I just wanted to get a quick review out there so future cruises have an idea about the ship. Rooms. We don't care so much about the room. For a 9 day cruise around the Mediterranean with 8 ports, we spent very little time in the room. We could have used more drawer space, especially for a family, but there was plenty of hanging space. The bedding and pillows were comfortable and it was nice to be in a brand new room. Of course 4 people in an inside cabin was tight, but expected. The bathroom was small and has very little storage. The only problems we had with the room was the bathroom. It had an ammonia like smell the whole cruise that even though they tried to fix, kept coming back. The water never got hot in the shower. The first couple of showers had no hot water. But it was lukewarm the rest of the cruise. Food. We all don't like breakfast, so we only went to the Lido Marketplace for cereal and yogurt. Seating was limited early in the morning, but we either went outside or into the two restaurants on the same floor. Coffee was better than most cruise lines and they had good juice choices. We only ate lunch at Guy's Burger Joint twice, because we were on excursions until late every day. I love the dinners at the main dining room. The service was exceptional and the dinners our family ordered we almost always very good. The deserts could be hit our miss, but we always ordered a two or more. Ship. The pool was closed so we received a $100 OBC. The kids were allowed to use the Serenity Pool, but it was cold, and we only went there one day. I have mixed feelings about this. I wanted my kids to be able to swim, but the people who are there deserve to have quiet time without splashing children. My daughters are older, so they quietly swam for about 1 hour. The slides were open and they loved them. Part of the Sports Square was still closed, but the basketball courts, climbing ropes, etc. were open. Not many kids on this ship, though. Everything on the inside of the ship was clean and new. But there was rust on the outside of the ship and the windows were old? Entertainment. We liked all the shows and the Family Game Night. We saw a real improvement in the quality of the effects and the entertainers from previous cruises. We also enjoyed the trivia games and towel folding demonstration. The casino was fun and I didn't lose too much money. But be prepared to see some serious gamblers with a lot of money to spend. When it is a $5 table I spend $5 a hand. Others were putting $100+ each hand of blackjack. Extra. We wound up with about $450 of OBC to compensate for some of the issues with the ship. We never visited the spa, bars, gym or specialty restaurants, so I don't have any feedback about them. We used a independent tour line to see the ports. The savings were about $1500 and we had great tour guides. The staff on the ship is worth their weight in gold. Wonderful service from everyone! Overall. I wish I had more to add, but we were out all day and exhausted by 9PM at night. The ship was ok but what made it a great cruise was the phenomenal ports of call and the exceptional staff. The price was unbeatable and I would recommend it to anyone for their first taste of Europe. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
Carnival really needed to hit one out of the park after all the bad press. They did not come close. The good The ship is all new inside. The cabin was roomy, 1528. The piano bar guy Daz was the best entertainment on the ship. I wish ... Read More
Carnival really needed to hit one out of the park after all the bad press. They did not come close. The good The ship is all new inside. The cabin was roomy, 1528. The piano bar guy Daz was the best entertainment on the ship. I wish all piano bar entertainers follow his example. The waitress, Tanya was experienced and very helpful. Guy's burgers are great. The Asian restaurant was very good and worth the price. The ports were great. The Carnival excursions were prompt and well run. Sadly, there seemed to always seems to be one rude person who holds things up. The burrito bar and fresh omelets are good. The steakhouse was good but not worth the price. We paid $120 for two with a bottle of wine. I can get just as good of a meal at several good steak houses in the us for the same price or less. Checkin at BCN was the fastest and easiest of any cruise I have been on. The not so good. The pool was not open. They gave us $100 obc. The weather was cold and cloudy so we did not miss the pool. The TV in the room really stinks. They have a severe line noise problem that messes up signal. Even the the on-board channels are messed up. The on-board channels have a sync problem where the sound is out of sync with the picture. Carnival obviously cut corners here and the results are obvious. Food in the main dinning room was less than spectacular. I hope this because they have a new crew. For example, the lobster was not fully cooked. They actually did not cook the chocolate melting cake. I have sailed Carnival several times so I know how it should be cooked. While our head waiter, Tanya was great her helpers were still learning and we saw improvement every day. The Hasbro Game show is the lamest thing I have ever seen. The other entertainment was typical Carnival caliber, not great but not too bad. At least they did not any flag waving like past cruises. The sunshine is a refurb of the destiny, so it retains a lot of annoying flow / layout issues of older ship. I really don't like the placement of the Serenity area. It overlooks the pool with all the loud noises and activities. All other serenity areas i have been to are on the back of the ship away from the noise. It is not serene. Hopefully things will improve with a more experienced crew. I am sure a lot of the problems were caused by the bean counters trying to save a buck. IMHO I feel the Carnival upper management should be fired along with the CEO. They needed to deliver a Quality Product the first time and did not. Also the project manager for the refurb had 3 extra weeks and things were still not completed. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
First time cruiser. I didn't pay much attention to reviews before I left, thought I would make my own decisions. Not sure where the $155 million went. Others said the same. Main pool was closed most of the time so we got a $50 ... Read More
First time cruiser. I didn't pay much attention to reviews before I left, thought I would make my own decisions. Not sure where the $155 million went. Others said the same. Main pool was closed most of the time so we got a $50 room credit. I guess I didn't realize how bad the smoking would be. There are designated areas but they weren't enforced. First morning at breakfast getting salsa at the salsa bar and a man standing there smoking right over the food. We also were eating at the table near by. We said something to the waiter and he said they weren't supposed to smoke there but "people do". Not supposed to smoke on Serenity Deck either but some did. We could hardly be on our balcony as cabin in front of us smoked and they seemed to sit on balcony a lot smoking. Carnival needs to figure a way to separate smoking and non- smoking. I should be able to be on my balcony (that I paid more for) and not have to be bombarded with smoke. Food was good sometimes and mediocre others. Asian and Mexican food was good as it was cooked to order. Hamburgers were ok but already sitting in a warming bin. Dining room meals were hit and miss. Our dining room waiters were excellent!!! We saw many arguments over lounge chairs. You were not supposed to reserve chairs but most people did. Watched one lady throw a fit over someone taking her chair while she left to eat. Screamed and cried for about 45 minutes to security. Really? It's a lounge chair. We took our chances on chairs and eventually got them. What is with you people going out at the crack of dawn, wrapping up in towels and sleeping while saving several chairs? We had our latte one morning on the deck. Got out there about 7a.m. And all the chairs on the Serenity Decks were full with towels and books. Most people didn't show up to there chairs for a few hours. Not a very fair way to handle seating. Our water shut off in the middle of a shower and our toilet quit flushing one day. They were quick to fix both. Girls at coffee bar were great! Couldn't be in casino if you don't like smoke. Entertainment was good in Liquid Lounge. Comedians were hit and miss with one making fun of someone in audience that obviously had some special needs. Very uncomfortable for everyone. Did one shore excursion and it was a waste of money. We did much better on our own and saved a lot of money. Spent 30 euros each for gondola ride and water taxi back and forth to boat Carnival charged 88 per person for same thing. Most people said they are on Carnival because of the price. I can see that. Carnival is cheap if you want to take a cruise. They have very poor customer service if you have any issues. The customer service on the ship was decent but not if dealing with Carnival directly. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
We recently had the pleasure of taking a 12 day cruise on the newly refurbished/renamed Carnival Sunshine. We selected this cruise last Fall because of the itinerary, but we really came to like the ship as well. The new décor is great. It ... Read More
We recently had the pleasure of taking a 12 day cruise on the newly refurbished/renamed Carnival Sunshine. We selected this cruise last Fall because of the itinerary, but we really came to like the ship as well. The new décor is great. It is perhaps out of place in the Mediterranean, but Sunshine will be a Caribbean ship in November, and it is perfect for that scene. The refurbishment project was quite ambitious on an aggressive schedule and the craftsmanship wasn't always the best. Still, it is a very nice ship and after we returned home, we booked the November 1 repositioning cruise from Barcelona to New Orleans. We book inside cabins to save money and because we stay out late and sleep late in the morning. Our cabin was a 4F, it was large enough for 2 people. The bathroom was well laid out, not elegant, but quite adequate. There are nominally 3 closets, but one has the safe, a lot of life jackets, a blanket, etc. There are never enough hangers, we always bring 10 to 20 wire hangers. The bed was quite comfortable, the lighting was adequate, but there could be more. There was a new 28 to 32 inch flat screen HD TV.We had a problem with the ventilation and a recurring odor of cigarette smoke in the cabin. We were told that the ventilation serves a block of rooms and if people in the balcony cabins leave the door open when they smoke on the balcony, the odor can be drawn into other cabins as well. I have been on 16 other cruise ships and never experienced this before. Carnival brought an ozone generator into the room whenever we requested it. The machine would run for 30 minutes to an hour and we had to be out of the cabin while it was on. This would freshen the air for the rest of the night. The itinerary for this cruise was ideal; Barcelona to Marseille, Livorno, Civitavecchia, Naples, Dubrovnik, Venice, Messina Sicily, and finally back to Barcelona. It was so full, we really enjoyed the 3 sea days. Dubrovnik, Venice, and Barcelona were our favorite cities. In an attempt to see as much as possible in the time available, we took Carnival tours in Florence/Pisa and Rome. Being hustled around by tour guides and living on someone else's schedule just isn't our style. We enjoyed doing the rest of the cities on our own, even if we did miss something. The highlight of our time on the ship was dancing the night away with Mambo Magic del Peru in the Havana Bar. I recommend them to anyone who likes Latin music. We will be highly disappointed if they are not with us on the November crossing! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
We flew into Barcelona a day early to enjoy the city. Our pre cruise accommodations were at the Tryp Apolo.Upon arrival, we found Carnival representatives outside the luggage area, but they were waiting for guests who were to cruise that ... Read More
We flew into Barcelona a day early to enjoy the city. Our pre cruise accommodations were at the Tryp Apolo.Upon arrival, we found Carnival representatives outside the luggage area, but they were waiting for guests who were to cruise that day on another ship. They arranged for a cab to our hotel. The hotel was acceptable for one night but the beds were very hard and the air conditioning did not work. We could not use the in room safe because it looked as if someone could pick it up and walk out with it. I would recommend searching for a better hotel.Embarkation was very fast and efficient. We are platinum members and were on the ship at 11:30. The ship was very clean and the staff was efficient and extremely friendly and polite. The decor on this ship was more subdued than some of the other ship themes and looked very nice. Our balcony room was spacious with plenty of storage. We were issued onboard credits because the pool was not in operation and the waterworks did not work the first few days.The food was very good. There was something for everyone. My husband tried the new Carnival brand beer and he enjoyed it very much! We ate in the buffet, GiGi's Asian Cafe, Guy's Burger Bar, the mexican burrito bar, the dining room and the Steakhouse. The baked onion soup in the Steakhouse is the best I have ever tried! We also attended the Chef's table, which is an experience NOT TO BE MISSED if you love a 5 star gourmet experience and fine dining. It is $75 a person and worth every penny. The coffee shop has great desserts for a reasonable price and room service was usually 15 minutes early with our coffee.Because of long days of excursions, we did not get to enjoy all of the entertainment, but we did see a couple of comedians. The comedy shows will make you laugh so hard, that you cry!With the exception of one tour, the tours were excellent with guides that were like professors. I am amazed at the amount of knowledge they had.I would recommend this cruise for anyone who wants to experience a lot in a short amount of time. There is a lot of walking and the days are long but you will leave with history, enlightenment and awe. If you have any disabilities, you may prefer to enjoy what the ship has to offer. Several guests had minimal injuries (sprained ankles, broken ankles) from walking on all of the uneven cobblestone streets in the medieval villages. You must try: Limoncello, gelato, potato cakes and hot chocolate (you use a spoon, it is so thick), granita, and the Canoli (awesome).We had an early flight and disembarked about 6:30. We chose airport transportation through Carnival and our luggage was waiting on the curb at the airport when we arrived. It was a very smooth transition.This trip was wonderful, the food great, the staff excellent and I would recommend it to anyone. We have sailed Carnival many times in the past and will again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
My husband and I booked this cruise as an easy and cost-effective way to get a taste of Italy and other Mediterranean ports while sharing the experience with our two sons who are in their early 20's. We all had a wonderful time, ... Read More
My husband and I booked this cruise as an easy and cost-effective way to get a taste of Italy and other Mediterranean ports while sharing the experience with our two sons who are in their early 20's. We all had a wonderful time, although our sons probably would have preferred a shorter cruise of 7 days rather than 12 days. Barcelona: We flew into Barcelona two days early for some sightseeing on our own and we all loved Barcelona! Beautiful city with lots to do. We stayed at the Hotel Gaudi one block off the Ramblas and spent extra to get a Superior Room on the top floor with a huge terrace overlooking the city. Well worth the extra expense. Nice local hotel with an excellent location. I highly recommend the Bus Turistic, a double-decker hop-on hop-off bus that has three separate routes: Blue line (north including Sagrada Familia and Camp Nou/Barcelona football stadium), red line (Montjuic and site of the Olympic stadium), and green line (Barcelona beaches). We bought a two day pass and rode all three lines and it was definitely a great way to see much of the city and get to the various attractions. One tip: Everyone wants to sit on the top of the bus so there were long lines waiting while buses would leave half empty. Go to the attendant at the front and tell him/her that you'd be willing to sit down below. Once people on the top start leaving at various stops, you just take the stairs up to the top and get one of the prime spots. We used this strategy successfully several times. Embarkation in Barcelona Port: We took a taxi to the port around noon and were on the ship less than an hour later - very efficient. Marseille: We took a taxi to the main tourist area Vieux Port and then took Le Petit Train to Notre-Dame de la Garde. Both the train ride along the waterfront and the basilica on the hill were highlights for us. We also enjoyed walking through Le Panier District (Old Town) and wish we had more time to spend in Marseille. The port was much nicer than I expected. Livorno: This was the first of three private tours we booked in advance with Best Limos in Rome. The ship was late arriving in port (medical emergency) so it shortened our time in this port. We briefly visited Pisa and then on to Florence. Our tour guide Stephano was excellent - so entertaining - and our tour (8 of us in a minivan)included entrance to the Accademia to see Michelangelo's David. So awe inspiring in person! While I expected to have several hours on our own in Florence to sightsee and shop, it ended up being pretty rushed. Still, it was a great day and even the ride back to the ship was scenic through the Tuscan countryside. Rome: Another private tour with Best Limos in Rome. I knew this day would be exhausting with so many sights packed into so little time, but I couldn't imagine going to Rome and not visiting the Coliseum and the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and the Vatican. While St. Peter's Square and the Sistine Chapel were amazing, the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds were overwhelming and detracted from the experience. I'd love to go back to Rome (and Florence) in a more leisurely manner. Naples: Our family split up and husband and younger son took the hydrofoil to Capri for a leisurely day there, while older son and I opted for another Best Limos in Rome tour of Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. We all enjoyed a somewhat less structured day of sightseeing after Florence and Rome. The Amalfi Coast was stunning - scenic road high above the coastline - and we ended up also going over the mountains (detour due to road construction) which was beautiful. Little towns, terraced vineyards - but very windy road so beware if you are prone to carsickness. Visited lovely town of Amalfi - very reasonably priced bottles of organic Limoncello liquor - and brief stop in Salerno on way back to Pompeii. Due to detour, no time for Sorrento. Pompeii was interesting and definitely worth seeing but I enjoyed the time in Amalfi more. Dubrovnik: After a much needed day at sea, we visited Dubrovnik on our own. Only port that doesn't use Euros and, apparently since they aren't part of the European Union, you need your passport to get on and off the ship. Friendly people and stunning views from the walkable Town Walls. We wanted to take the cable car to the top of Mount Srd but it was closed due to windy conditions. We did enjoy drinks at Buza - a tip in Rick Steve's guide book about two "hole in the wall" bars outside the city walls perched above the ocean. Word of caution: If you have bad knees, be forewarned that the city walls (and streets) involve a lot of steps and climbing. Venice: We arrived in Venice mid afternoon and you get a great view of the city as the ship approaches dock. It is a little trickier than I imagined getting into the heart of the city from the cruise dock if you take the public transportation. You have to walk over some parking lots (couple of blocks) to a "people mover" monorail. You buy a ticket to the people mover for a ride that takes maybe 3 minutes to the Piazzale Roma station where you walk another block to stand in line to buy another ticket (ours was a 24 hour pass) for the vaporetto (water bus). Riding the vaporetto is pretty simple, although they can be very crowded with standing room only. Venice is truly beautiful and so unique. Although we enjoyed visiting St Mark's Square, our favorite memory is starting out early the next morning and walking the length of the city through non-touristy neighborhoods. Venice was not one of my "must see" vacation stops, and I was completely surprised how enchanting I found the city, overrun by tourists (like us!) and all. This is the only port where the cruise ship remains overnight so you do have the luxury of staying out late. However, while the vaporetto service continues into the night, the people mover monorail closed early (9:00pm or 10:00pm) the Sunday night we were there. Sicily: Messina, Sicily was the only port where we signed up for a Carnival excursion - Taormina and Beach Getaway. Taormina is a charming resort town about an hour's drive from Messina. The drive is scenic and the town is too, perched high above the coastline with an ancient Greek amphitheater still in use. We spent the morning here, touring, shopping and having a lovely sidewalk café lunch (with the requisite yummy cannoli) before heading to the private beach portion of our excursion. It was a white sandy beach complete with beach chairs (included) and umbrellas (extra), changing rooms and a snack bar where you can get a beer. The water - Bay of Naxos - was very cold. We all enjoyed this excursion. Carnival Sunshine: We were on the third cruise after dry dock refurbishments and most of the earlier issues had already been resolved. We had two interior rooms which were adequate and clean. As others have noted, the TV system was terrible - very few program choices (mostly Carnival)and sound problems. While no one - I hope - goes on a Mediterranean cruise to watch TV, it would have been nice to get news (in addition to BBC off hours news)and a sports channel or two. We thought the public areas were very nice, although the ship layout was initially a little confusing to us. The sunning decks were very crowded on sea days, but I think that is to be expected, and other than the morning traffic jam at the breakfast buffet, we never really had any issues with overcrowding. Food and Drink: We thought the food was excellent. While the breakfast buffet offered almost the same items every morning, there were plenty of choices. We had lunch on the ship only on sea days and liked both Guy's Burgers and the Blue Iguana burritos (although the serving times were short). We ate dinner every night in the main dining room - Your Time Dining - and we never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a table. There was something for everyone on the dining room menu, including more adventurous choices (frogs legs)as well as healthy and comfort food choices. We were so pleased with the food in the main dining room that we were never motivated to try the fee extra choices, although I heard they were excellent as well. With this being vacation, the four of us consumed our fair share of alcohol. Yes, the drinks are overpriced, but I think everybody knows that going in. We thought the Alchemy Bar was a real standout. As others have mentioned, it is possible to "smuggle" a bottle of wine or liquor purchased on shore in your day pack and the Carnival security attendants don't seem to notice. However, I do think you are pushing your luck to try to get more than one bottle onto the ship at a time, and we did see a few bottles confiscated at reentry (until the end of the cruise). Entertainment: We came on this cruise to see Europe, not stage shows, so the entertainment wasn't a priority for us. However, we thought the cover band Rock and Roll Time Machine playing in the Ocean Plaza was very talented. We also enjoyed the comedians Rondell Sheridan and Larry Omaha and the audience participation part of ventriloquist Phil Hughes act was also very entertaining. Overall, we didn't feel that the on-board entertainment was compelling. Pet peeve: They turned off the outdoor movie Casablanca half way through because not enough people were on the deck watching. Two other pet peeves: Hard sell at the spa to buy additional treatments and products, and a complete lack of port information/maps if you didn't sign up for Carnival's excursions (tip - bring your own guide books/maps). Service: We had excellent service. Staff was helpful and polite. Our room was cleaned promptly. Our billing was accurate - no surprises. We were happy to pay the gratuity billed to our account at the end of the cruise - the staff works hard and more than earns their pay. Embarkation: We carried our own bags off and got a taxi to Barcelona airport. Super quick and super efficient. Couldn't be better. Bottom line: We had a great time! The trip was everything we hoped it would be! Each port had its own charms but our favorites were Barcelona, Amalfi/Capri, and Venice. We were not disappointed in the Carnival Sunshine, even if we were occasionally disappointed in our fellow passengers (a few of them). This cruise is an excellent value and we'd love to do it again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 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
We embarked on the Carnival Sunshine from Barcelona May 26th for a 12 day cruise. We arrived the day before and stayed at the Montecarlo right on La Rambla, very nice hotel (we highly recommend it). Just across the hotel was a small ... Read More
We embarked on the Carnival Sunshine from Barcelona May 26th for a 12 day cruise. We arrived the day before and stayed at the Montecarlo right on La Rambla, very nice hotel (we highly recommend it). Just across the hotel was a small convenience store were we stocked up on water (24-500ml bottles) and two bottles of wine. Our first port of visit was Marseilles (shuttle from Carnival to bring you downtown Marseilles 14E each two way (couldn't get a taxi at the port, they will only take you outside of Marseilles)very annoying taxi drivers (and I spoke French), absolutely loved visiting Aix en Provence, which we did by ourselves, using the metro from Vieux Port to Gare St-Charles and then the special shuttle bus between Marseilles and Aix en Provence for a total 10.50E for the RTM(metro, bus, tramway)including Marseilles/Aix en Provence. Mext Livorno(Florence), we booked with Carnival Florence on Your Own. All I can say is that they drop you off way too far from the center of Florence. Loved Florence don't miss the Academia for the David (reserve on-line because of long lines). Next Rome, we made our way by train to Rome (very easy do-it-yourself, just take the shuttle from the port to Fort Michaelangelo and then and walk for about 10 min. to the train station. In Rome we made private arrangements for a taxi for 4 hrs to drive us around Rome and visit the sites, visited the Sistine Chapel (reserved in advance) and made our way back by train... Excellent day. Next Naples, we booked with Carnival the Amalfi Coast by boat & Sorrento, what a disappointment. A 9.5 hrs tour, we were less than 3 hrs on the "real" Amalfi Coast no Sorrento (which is very pretty). The boat ride to Amalfi town from Salerno was so shoppy and bumby, for the first time in my life I was seasick. Do not take this tour, access to Salerno and back was all done on highway. No scenic road... Next day at seat, we need it after 4 days of go go go. Next Dubrovnik, what a pretty town. We took a taxi directly from the port to the walled city entrance 10E. Get up to the wall early in the morning because it get very hot if the sun comes out. We absolutely loved Dubronik. Don't miss refreshments at Salvatore on the wall, near the end of the walk. Venice, we loved it also, we bought a 24hrs pass 24E Vaporetta Del Art, excellent but be aware that it operates from 10h00 to 19h00 very short schedule, if you plan to stay in town at night buy the regular Vaporetta 20E for 24 hrs (but it is very crowded). A bit touristy close to the canals, but worth it. Next Taormina, what can I say, just beautiful, we arranged a taxi taxitaormina.it for 7hrs (pick up 08h000 drop off 15h00). Had a wonderful 4hrs in Taormina don't miss the Public Garden, the Emphitheatre and the shops. Don't miss the canollis at Pasticceria Robert on you way to the gardens. For lunch we ate at DaCristina near the Duomo (one large slice of Pizza, one arancini (stuffed risotto ball), on glass of wine and a softdrink for 8.50E, a steal. At the end of our cruise we stayed two nights in Barcelona at the Acta Atrium Palace (close to everything), loved it, what an elegant city, we bought a 24hrs HoHo pass 36E. All in all we loved our cruise, the Sunshine was refurbished and they did an excellent job, especially in the public areas. We enjoyed the specialty restaurants Cuccina del Capitano and Jiji Asian (excellent wait staff), the Lido restaurants including Guy's hamburget joint and the Deli were very popular. We really enjoyed having fresh omelettes make to order at the Havana Bar every morning, what a treat. The shows were ok, but we were so tapped out from visiting, we rarely made time to go. Loved the Serenity deck, but be advised if you want one of those bubble beds you have to get up around 06h00 to secure one, good luck. We did on the last day of our cruise... Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
This was the first trip to the Eastern Hemisphere my wife and I had taken. I am 27 and she is 26. This was not a honeymoon cruise, just something we wanted to do before having kids made it difficult. We have both cruised Carnival before ... Read More
This was the first trip to the Eastern Hemisphere my wife and I had taken. I am 27 and she is 26. This was not a honeymoon cruise, just something we wanted to do before having kids made it difficult. We have both cruised Carnival before with a NCL cruise squeezed in the middle. Bear with me as i would like to cover a lot of things to get everything off my chest.We started off with the standard red-eye US Airways Philadelphia to Barcelona international flight. I would recommend another airline if it is at all feasible, but it was pretty much our only decent option. We arrived the morning of the cruise at about 9 A.M.The first problem with Carnival was almost immediate. We knew when we booked ahead of time we would have too much time to burn between landing and setting sail from Barcelona, so we booked a pre-cruise Barcelona shore excursion. We booked this on the Carnival website with the Airport transfer. When we claimed our bags after Spanish customs (which was a minor joke throughout the two week cruise, by the way) we were greeted by a Carnival representative. This Carnival representative told us to give our checked bags to the porter and wait in a general wing of the airport. We did. We waited an agonizing long time with a big crowd of people. Finally, we were taken to the buses and the buses took us to the Port of Barcelona. At this point i knew something was wrong because our shore excursion should have all ready started. We waited and got on the ship with the expected waiting we did. We immediately went to the shore excursion desk. We were told that we were emailed instructions with how to go on our pre-cruise excursion. No, we did not receive any email. Carnival credited us our shore excursion cost but we missed our opportunity to see Barcelona, so we started off the cruise frustrated with Carnival for a miss-stepOur Balcony room was 7289. Great in terms of floor location, 2 floors below the lido and sun deck, 2 floors above the ocean plaza and casino. No noise from either. But our room was located next to the stairway so it was a little noisy at times. The room was fine, my first balcony but it was a good room. The only negative was the people next to us and the TV stations were pretty terrible. Constantly losing signals and the audio was not synced to the video. Not a huge deal because i don't watch TV much while on a cruise.Marseilles, France - Easily the least enjoyable port of the cruise. We booked the "Le Castellet & Bandol" excursion through Carnival and went to a port/tourist area for a couple hours and then to a Medieval Castle type town for a couple hours. Good sights but the bus ride was too long to justify it. Try something else here.Livorno/Pisa, Italy - Took the "Leaning Tower of Pisa" Carnival excursion. This was a very good a photo intensive excursion. My only complaint is that you are not really given enough free time to enjoy the area. I would book something similar with more roaming time. (this was only a 4 hour tour)Civitavecchia/Rome, Italy - We learned from Pisa and booked the "Rome on your own" carnival excursion. This was the highlight of the cruise. We had 8+ hours to roam Rome and see all the different architecture shops and sights. I recommend bringing your own detailed map as the Carnival provided map is a joke. We even were able to meet up with friends and enjoy local pasta. Didn't see the pope though.Naples, Italy - We did not book and excursion in this port. Since the port of Naples is actually the thing I wanted to see, i decided to just get off the ship and walk around on my own. The city of Naples is actually pretty dirty and depressed. I was asked if i wanted to buy some IPhones from some locals for 5 euros, which is pretty funny. We eventually made our way to the nicer tourist-y places and some very nice architecture spots. Loved the castle. Overall, this was a weak point in the itinerary. Probably best to book an excursion. Although that seems like more of a "mask".Dubrovnik, Croatia - Surprisingly one of the best ports on the itinerary. We booked the "Konavle Biking Tour" which was by far the best excursion of the cruise. Carnival lists the activity level as "Difficult" which is a complete joke, if you are in any kind of shape you will be fine. We finished up the tour (which was beautiful with a fresh-water sping and church mixed in) in a winery and sampled two wines and a cheese. We bought a wine and Olive Oil for the trip home. I highly recommend this tour.Venice, Italy - Awesome! Having two days in Venice was a nice bonus to this itinerary. We walked around the streets ourselves with no tour. We discovered many beautiful structures and sampled the local culture. This is tied with Dubrovnik as the second best port. Sicily/Messina, Italy - We booked the "Taormina & Beach Getaway" excursion through Carnival. Taormina is a cool little village with the standard tourist items and Gelato. We did most of our souvenir hunting here before heading to the beach. I loved the views and everything but the temperature of the Mediterranean. But hey, at least i can say i swam in it. Good port and good excursion, i would recommend it.The ports were the best parts of the cruise. Now lets get into the Carnival Sunshine itself.As mentioned before, our cabin was fine and complete, i read about the nightmares before our cruise but it was no problem on this one or for us.The pool was closed for a couple days and Carnival gave us a credit. Good, i couldn't care less about the pool. What i did care about was the lack of room to do anything in a common area on a sea day. Granted there are only three sea days on this cruise, but it was frustrating that only awful seats on the sun deck were open, almost all other common rooms would be full and all activities would all be taken. (i remember i couldn't even play billiards in the sky zone) Forget about bathing in the hot tub at any "peak" time as it will be filled with either kids at the lower level or adults in the serenity lounge. I finally got in the hot tub when the sun went down.The comedians in the Limelight lounge were pretty good. The ones from the UK kinda sucked but the American ones were above average. I recommend seeing these guys even though the introductory people (Wally and the "tropical" girl from Canada) are tough to listen to.The shows in the Liquid Lounge are pretty bad. We have had Kevin Noonan as a cruise director before and he was sadly the best entertainment there. The Marriage game and the Introductory show were the best parts. The Hasbro Gameshow would be the most boring show in the history of Nickelodeon if it was on TV (which it looks like it was a at some point). The singing and dancing shows never really interest me (even though i was laughing when they pulled cruisers up there to dance in the VIP show). The Juggler dropped things a few times and the mind reading guy was kind of impressive i admit.The Sky Zone was pretty cool with the golf, basketball, billiards, ping pong, shuffle board, and ropes course. I did the water slides once to say i did them. Not bad for adults. Overall i would say on a 12 day cruise the entertainment just ran out of entertainment. Everything got kinda of old and you can tell when they started repeating liquid lounge shows. The Sky Course / Sky Zone also got old fast on the 12 day trip.Our fellow cruisers were mostly older folks. Some Europeans and Americans. You won't find much eye candy on this cruise. But the other side is much fewer kids, which is always a plus in my book.I never took advantage of the Piano Bar or Library bar. I played poker in the casino (which is technically a rip-off with the rake) and won $800! I probably could have won more but i wanted to be fair to my wife.The Alchemy Bar was by far the coolest thing on the ship. If i could go back i would spend more time there. Definitely check it out to get an inspired drink. The other bars were pretty mundane. I liked the idea of spiked milkshakes but really, getting a buzz with a milkshake is impossible. The Sports bar is a joke because they only played European sports in the middle of the NHL and NBA playoffs.You can just bring wine/beer/liquor onto the ship anyway. Unlike other Carnival cruises there wasn't even a check-in station. The security guys seemed to not really care. Just put whatever you get in a bag and you will get through fine.There were some technical problems with the sunshine. Loose floor boards, lights in the liquid lounge not working, audio during shows not working and other minor problems. They will probably fix these in the coming weeks.The Food:Lido - Same exact options for breakfast everyday. The eggs never tasted fresh. I suggest getting omlettes in the Havana bar. I rarely came for other meals, but when i did it was mediocre food. They seemed to close the buffet islands in my face a lot too. I did like the grilled cheese sandwiches late at night. The Pannini bar is good as well as the pizza station - better than other carnival ships. Guy's Burgers - Yummy, but bad as hell for you. You can just tell when eating it your heart is mad with you. Unfortunately this is your only option for food Mid-Day other than pizza. The toppings bar is great though.Blue Iguana Cantina - I loved the Burritos it was only open from noon to 2:30 though, so i didn't get as many as i liked. IMO these hours should be extended. Not quite Chipotle but pretty good.Sunshine Restaurant - Had anytime dinning with many servers and got mixed results. We finally learned the pattern. The wait staff makes no difference, you will have bad service (or i mean just long service) if the place is busy and good service if the place is not. The best time to go is 6:10ish. You will be hungry and get out at a decent time. There were days we waited an hour and a half for the whole meal and it was frustrating, just go at lower trafficked times.Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse - Delicious super fattening meal. I loved every single course except for - ironically, the steak. I got the cowboy on the bone steak and i wouldn't recommend it here for anyone else. This place probably wasn't worth the $70 for two but i wanted to try it once.I didn't try JiJi's or the Italian place.Disembarkation was surprisingly smooth considering the crowdedness of the ship and what i have seen from past cruises i've been on. The post cruise transfer was fast and we got our luggage and everything went fine (until we got to customs that is).To conclude everything - We had a great time and enjoyed the ports. The Carnival Sunshine itself left something to be desired. The service is always top notch but the entertainment, crowdedness, ship design, food left something to be desired.All in all we are glad we took this cruise. But we won't look forward to go on the Carnival Sunshine again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
We arrived in Barcelona a day early and spent that time touring the city. I am so glad we did. Barcelona is a beautiful city and the Ramblas area is great. Also, be sure to tour The Barri Gothic area. We boarded the ship on Friday ... Read More
We arrived in Barcelona a day early and spent that time touring the city. I am so glad we did. Barcelona is a beautiful city and the Ramblas area is great. Also, be sure to tour The Barri Gothic area. We boarded the ship on Friday 5/16. The staff was very organized and since we have a suite, took us less than 30 minutes to be in our cabin. We had Ocean Suite 7149 and it was in a great location and very quite. Our cabin Steward "G" was ok. The cabin was great - colors very light, great flat screen TV, and great bed. The balcony had 4 chairs and end table - good size. The public areas are very nice - updated colors etc. Carnival got it right in the buffet area. Gone is the long, long single line were you had to wait for people to get a salad before moving on to the main dishes. The Sunshine has the buffet broken out into around 8 stations - from salads, to desserts, to the main dishes. There is also a deli and pizza stations. The ship was full and we never waited in a line to get our breakfast or lunch. Overall the food was very good. The other great addition was Guy's Burger Joint - on of the best burgers I have had. The main dining room service was ok - food good. A new Restaurant (cost 12 pp. at night) is Asian style call Ji JI. The food was wonderful, some of the best at sea. Not only did we want to be one of the first to cruise on Sunshine but the itinerary was great - had 7 ports of call. Here are some of our favorite excursions: Florence and the David by Michelangelo - great tour and The David is one of the most beautiful works of art. Pisa and Winery was great - spent the morning in the Tower of Pisa square (beautiful church and great plaza for shopping and people watching) and then in the afternoon went to local Winery - had tour and then a wonderful lunch and wine tasting. Another one was Sorrento and Winery - had beautiful drive to Sorrento - had free time to explore, shop and grab a bite to eat. Then on to a old family owned winery at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius - the wine and Olive Oil was some of the best I have ever tasted. This is due to the rich, dark volcanic soil from Mt Vesuvius. The owner did not speak English and this was not a normal tourist stop, so that made it even more special. The last port was Palma De Mallorca. Mallorca is a beautiful island and you should be sure to take an excursion, so you can see the beautiful country side. That is one place I would love to visit again. Overall I give the Carnival Sunshine a 5 out of 5. With Ocean Plaza, Red Frog Pub and just the lay out of the decks, Sunshine is a great ship to cruise on. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
I am just back from my 10th cruise experience. My second on Carnival. My boyfriend and I traveled into Barcelona one day early and stayed at the Marriott AC Hotel in Barcelona Sants. We traveled from the airport to the hotel by rail ... Read More
I am just back from my 10th cruise experience. My second on Carnival. My boyfriend and I traveled into Barcelona one day early and stayed at the Marriott AC Hotel in Barcelona Sants. We traveled from the airport to the hotel by rail (Renfe) about a 10 minute ride. The hotel is right across the street from the metro stop. We purchased a T-10 ticket so that we could explore Barcelona and get to the port from the hotel. This was the second sailing of the Sunshine. I will say that the look of the Sunshine was nice. Looked new just small with a not so easy layout, go up to go down. There were still a few areas of the ship that were not finished. The main pool and a water area for the kiddies located on the side (port or starboard - not really sure) that was blocked off. There were paint buckets and rags and dirt in the area. Because the main pool was still not functional we were given a shipboard credit. Most areas of the ship were clean and looked new but there was the smell of sewage that persisted throughout the ship especially on decks 3- 5. Embarkation was a breeze no lines, but we got to the port early, we were on board the ship by 1pm. We rode the subway from our hotel to the stop nearest the port Drassanes then caught the pier shuttle called The Blue Bus to the ship. The total cost to get to the ship was much less than paying for the ship transportation service. If you have the time and not a lot of luggage I would recommend public transportation to the pier. There are some stairs you may have to navigate but you save money and you get to feel like a local by riding the metro and it is really easy. Went straight to our stateroom on the 11th floor. Only two elevators go all the way up to the top floor and one was not working most of the cruise. First time staying in a spa cabin still not sure if it was worth the extra money. The cabin was nice, clean and a decent size. Although our cabin is listed as having space for 2 there was a pullout under the sofa. Service: Great staff employed by Carnival. Always someone willing to help and listen. Always smiling with great customer service. One exception was the spiky haired guy with glasses in the spa, who so rudely told me that there was no Thalassotherapy pool although I could have sworn when I purchased the spa cabin I was told there was one. Spa: Disappointed. No Thalassotherapy pool. Did enjoy the thermal suites, those heated chairs feel great and the robes that come with the spa cabins are really thick and plush. The water therapy showers did not work. I tried them on two different days and they did not work no matter how many times I pushed the buttons. The lights worked but no water. The steam rooms were sometimes too hot and steamy, could not breathe. One day the steam was almost gone and the smell was terrible. I did make use of the showers in the locker room because it was much bigger than the one in the stateroom and the showerhead was much better than the stateroom. The problem is the water would run out of shower and cover the floor in front of the toilet stalls. The attendant in the locker room would have a lot of water to clean up eventually she would put a towel down in front of the shower to keep the floor dry. Dining: I think I may be getting tired of the food on these cruise ships because this was just boring for the most part. Even Guy's Burger Joint was just so-so. Greasy burger and fries. The Blueiguana Cantina was much better with really fresh ingredients. There are two dining rooms, Sunset and Sunrise both located on deck 3 one is forward and one is aft. Being on deck 11 forward with aft dining room we had a journey every evening. Down to deck 5 cross the length of the ship then down to deck 3. Kept going in circles one day trying to go the Punchliner brunch which was very good. I think the brunch was the best meal I had on the ship. Did not go to any Specialty restaurants. Entertainment: Saw two very funny comedians on the cruise, James Johann and Rondell Sheridan. Sheridan played the father on the TV show That's So Raven. Great shows with great jokes. There were two other comedian but did not see them. Did enjoy the daily puzzles however the puzzles stopped on day 5 and did not resume until day 8. Don't know why maybe they ran out of paper. The show on Motown was fun and of course because it's Motown the music was great. The big screen by the mail pool showed two movies a night however there was a black spot on the screen, I thought this thing was new.? Activities: No main pool however I don't think that it would have been used that much anyway because the weather did not cooperate. The slides were operating as well as the sportssquare ropes course. My hubby did the challenge while I looked on and froze. The Serenity area was great. Loved to relax in the cabana lounges. Could hear he music from the Lido deck, which was not all that bad. Serenity is very relaxing until the adults disregard the notices about No One under 21 allowed. Disembarkation: Really disappointed. Carnival misplaced one of our luggage bags. We bought the transport to the airport because I wanted to make sure we arrived on time and did not want to transport bags via public transportation that early in the morning on such a tight schedule on a Sunday. We were scheduled to be in the group first off the ship, group 4. We were called to get off the ship close to 6 am however did not leave the pier until 6:30am because I guess some people just do what they want when they want to. Our bags were supposed to be on the bus for group 4. Two of our bags made it with us on bus one did not. Do not know how the last bag ended up in the group 27. The bag got to the airport two hours later around 8:30am. All bags where tagged and sat outside the door at the same time together. Why one bag did not arrive on time we will never know. Luckily our flight did not leave until 10:00am and it was a little late for departure.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
Let me preface this review by saying that this was actually my very 1st cruise. I went with my wife and another couple to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. So to make it a bit more special I booked the balcony on the "Cloud 9" ... Read More
Let me preface this review by saying that this was actually my very 1st cruise. I went with my wife and another couple to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. So to make it a bit more special I booked the balcony on the "Cloud 9" spa level. Warning the 1st paragraph is all about the horrible situation we were on for the inaugural sailing and most items were fixed by time we disembarked. We arrived in the Venice port and waited for about an hour after embarkation started only to be greeted with our room key and a letter stating our rooms will not be ready until 5pm that night. The letter also stating we would get a free lunch at their premium steak house and a $30 on board credit to pay for a water taxi to mess around in Venice while we waited for our room. We thought "not bad" since our plan was to just throw our bags in our room and go explore Venice anyways. By the time we got on the ship, left our carry on bags with the front desk and ate lunch; it was almost 5:00pm. So we decided to enjoy free champagne they were serving on the ship and went up to our rooms. When we got to the room our floor was on, we were met with over dozen workers that were putting tile down, stripping wires, and replacing ceiling tiles. We could not even get to our room door. So we stuck with our original plan and went out into Venice. After a great time (except it rained) in Venice we returned to the ship around midnight. Our floor was still not finished and we could not get into our rooms. It wasn't until 1am we could get into our rooms. However, when we entered our room there was a metal trash can catching a leak in the ceiling, the toilet didn't work and the water pressure was extremely low. Every morning on the ship we were woken up to workers in our hall way working. We had a lot of of foot traffic from otehr people because the spa was on our level and that was the only place to get a shower and go to bathroom for almost the entire front of the ship. Are toilets would go out multiple times a day and usually at the worst possible time. I was afraid to go #2 in my own cabin because the toilet might not flush and the cabin would stink. We would lose water mutliple times a day, sometimes in the morning when we were in the rush to make our shore excursions. The pools didn't work, which I didnt mind because I dont use the pools and it was kind of cold. However, since the pools, "splash Zone", and sports area were all closed for all buy one day, they let the children play and hang out on the serentiy deck where the adult pool and spas were. There were tons of other problems but I won't get into it. Now onto my review of the ship when it was working. Embarkation: Again, my 1st cruise so I really dont have anything to compare it to. Embarkation was at noon, our zone number got at around 1pm. We were on the ship around 2pm. Public Rooms: Sorry not sure was public room mean specifically. However I can say most public areas, including casino, bars, bathrooms, and lounge areas were always clean. you could definitly tell the ship was refurbished because everything look new and shiny. Cabin: Throwing out all the problems I had. The cabins are actually quite nice. Roomy and the setup is done very well. Again the shiny new look was in the cabins as well. The shower was great and the bathrooms were good. The bed was kind of firm but that is how I like it anyways. Fitness & Recreation These were not so go due to two problems. 1. the sports square was not completed until the last day on the ship. However, even if it was done, I found it to be kind of disappointing. The rope course really didn't appeal to me and did not look fun at all. 2. the fitness room did not have free weights yet which was a bummer for me. Also any class or anything you do in there, I seemed to get hounded by fitness staff to buy services. Enrichment: Again any kind of enrichment classes or trying to go to the spa was met with pushy fitness/spa people trying to sell,sell, sell. The ship did not offer too many things for enrichment and not sure its because the ship wasnt ready or thats how Carnival cruises are. Rates: Whats the one thing you can say about Carnival? Most times they have the best rates when it comes to cruises. When looking for a European cruise, nobody came close to what I paid for the Carnival Cruise. Dining: Dining was great and not so great. Casual dining Great!. The 24 pizza place is tasty and convenient. The new "Fun 2.0" eateries were awesome. Guy's Buger joint was great. If I was on the ship during lunch, I hit Guy's. The Blue Iguana was great for breakfast. You could get a breakfast burrito and/or heuvos rancheros every morning. The couple we were with ate at the JJ Asian and said it was very good. We ate at JJ Asian for dinner ($12) and was very good and worth the money. The steakhouse we ate for lunch we had free and was excellent. I would have paid the money to eat there if we didn't get it for free that day. The main dining room was kind of disappointing. The food was good, but its pretty much what you would get in a nice banquet style wedding. This is because of the limitations of serving food banquet style but was hoping for a little more. Again not great but good. The only thing I hated was the breakfast buffet. There were long lines to get coffee and the food never changed. It was your typical, eggs, pancakes, bacon, toast and what not. But again it was buffet and even for a buffet the pancakes and things were not very good. I preferred my burritos in the morning. Entertainment: Was very good and quite surprised at that. We saw the adult comic almost every night because the couple we were with preferred them. Me and the wife caught the last stage show and was great. We both wish we could have hit some of the earlier stage shows during the cruise. The casino was your typical casino and I had fun there. Service: Great! I would have guess hundred of people probably would have walked off that ship if it wasn't for the great people that work on this ship. They were friendly and very helpful. It made me kind of sick watching some of the other guests yelling at some of these hard working people. Like it was their decision to sail the ship when it was not finished. Again, I would consider the service was great in a normal setting, but to also give this good of service on an unfinished ship was astounding. Shore Excursions: I did not use one Carnival Shore excursions for two reasons. First, the ship was not finished and i felt that I should not give Carnival anymore of my money until it was fixed. Second, the excursions are over priced especially if you have 4 people in your party. On every port we either pre-booked a private excursion or found a guide when we left the ship cheaper than what Carnival was offering. I'm sure this is normal on all cruise lines and recommend not using cruise line excursions, but warn you to do your homework on the places you are going to first. Value: Again the value for the ship was good. Drinks do seem overpriced but were not far off than I would pay at a normal bar. Also the drinks were poured very liberally so I only had to drink half the drinks I usually drank. Overall: Very good ship. If the Sunshine ported out of Florida and not New Orleans, I would probably try and book on it again. However, I would recommend anyone to try one of the Fun 2.0 ships that Carnival has. I will probably book a cruise on the Carnival Breeze due to it porting out of Miami. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
We are "oldly weds" who are celebrating our 10th anniversary. We love Carnival so sailing on the newly remodeled Sunshine was a no brainer for us. After about an hours wait we took the Carnival transfer to the port. With VIP ... Read More
We are "oldly weds" who are celebrating our 10th anniversary. We love Carnival so sailing on the newly remodeled Sunshine was a no brainer for us. After about an hours wait we took the Carnival transfer to the port. With VIP status, we were supposed to have quick embarkation. No such luck-computers were down so everything was done manually. After an almost 2 hour wait we were checked in very quickly. It took only 15 minutes to get to our stateroom. It was ready when we got there, fresh, newly decorated and clean. We went right to Lido deck to the new Guy Fieri hamburger place. The burgers were as good as advertised, real messy to eat. We explored the new Serenity decks and found a clam shell chair to relax. We spent time there on 7 of the 12 days. Great place to relax after a day of sight seeing. We were impressed with the new configuration of the promenade deck. Ocean Plaza is an excellent concept. Everything is right there. Only complaint is the smoking part of the casino way too much smoke during evenings and sea days. The entire staff on the ship was smiling and treated us to great service. Almost everyone remembered our names after a day or so. We would like to give kudos to Alvin on the photography staff. He arranged to photoshop a port picture for us-no charge. It was an extremely kind gesture. Our stateroom staff kept everything ship shape. Jelena and Wayan were wonderful. The dining room staff gave good service as well. We would like to thank the assistant Matre D Dylan for sending us a bottle of wine for our anniversary. The MatreD and assistant MatreD stopped by our table as well as many others every night. This was a first for us on any ship or cruiseline. We enjoyed the adult-only comedy and enjoyed 8 comedians during our 12 day cruise. The new stage concept was a nice surprise because we have read some not-so-flattering comments . The performers were as good as or better than what we have seen on Carnival. We especially liked Latin nights. Wife can dance and after several drinks I did too-without much damage to those around me. With 7 ports in 12 days, we were busy. The steakhouse and Italian restaurant were excellent. Service was suberb and food was as well the staff in both was well trained they didn't hover but were always there. Disembarkation was a breeze. When our group was called we boarded the shuttle and were delivered to the airport in plenty of time. No rush at all. Probably best disembarkation so far. Was everything perfect, no but our expectations were met and even exceeded at times. We are not complainers, we are adjusters. The only negative thing was the wait at VIP embarkation. Getting to our stateroom right away was a soothing salve on that bruise. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
This was our second cruise with Carnival. After lots of bad press, we still decided because of the ports to do this cruise out of Barcelona, to France and Italy. We scheduled what was supposed to be the 4th cruise on the referb'd ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Carnival. After lots of bad press, we still decided because of the ports to do this cruise out of Barcelona, to France and Italy. We scheduled what was supposed to be the 4th cruise on the referb'd Sunshine but they cancelled the first two so we were the second cruise. They did not have the pools open and the slides were only open a couple days out of the entire cruise. The putting green was also never opened. They provided a OBC which worked out fine. We had a great dinner in the steakhouse that we otherwise wouldn't have had. The staff were all fairly nice, our cabin steward did a great job. We were initially in 6311, I would warn people against that room as it is right under a late night disco. On the first night at 1130pm when Eye of the Tiger was blaring and our 2 yr old couldn't sleep, we sought a room change. Although it was tedious and seemed to take them almost a day to find a place for us, we did change rooms. Some rooms had toilet issues or no water, so not all the rooms were complete or available to occupy. We did excursions through www.cruisingexcursions.com and felt they did a great job, despite Carnival not allowing them to bring their shuttle buses to the port. We went to all the same spots as the Carnival excursion but usually arrived sooner and had more time there. The food was delicious, our main dining waiter/waitress were excellent. The Italian specialty restaurant was FAB as was the steakhouse (3 hr dining experience)! Our 2 yr old used the children's club and was happy most of the time. There were a few staff that went above and beyond. As for entertainment, we loved the piano bar guy and there were a few game shows that we saw but otherwise, with such a port intensive week, we were exhausted most nights. We were told by some staff that they had not been paid for their time on board setting up the ship or since they started sailing, which I think was horrible! We enjoyed the ports but the ship was not on par with the "hype" that was created. Maybe after they worked out the issues it would have been better. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
What I liked: They gave us $100 OBC for a closed pool which I would not have used due to the weather...that was nice. I got a great rate and the ports were very, very, good. Staff were always courteous, friendly and tried hard to ... Read More
What I liked: They gave us $100 OBC for a closed pool which I would not have used due to the weather...that was nice. I got a great rate and the ports were very, very, good. Staff were always courteous, friendly and tried hard to please.All the retro-fit seems to have been focused on the upper decks only such as added staterooms, bars and restaurants which are essentially the real money makers. We were on deck 6 and I assure you nothing refurbished there in the staerooms.. Bathroom had that mild mildew sewage stink, not enough to complain but enough to be uncomfortable. Some areas the carpet looked really old and dust was certainly more than a week old.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.Food: Lido was boring at its best. Food that you would expect at a hospital cafeteria. Breakfast was the same every single day and limited. Dining room food was good but service was slow and not the fault of the servers. It seems like they have a management-staff communication disconnect or poor planning or both. First time ever I experienced the dining room hosts handing out pagers, waiting 20 minutes only to find plenty of open seats available. Appetizers which should have been served quickly without much preparation really took too long. There was a night or two where if I had been in a restaurant I might have walked out or complained.One thing that really bugged me was being out on the Lido deck we are enjoying serene views of Italy but listening to steel-drum, reggae, and caribbean music being blasted. That really screwed up the ambiance big time. These issues may seem petty but other cruise lines offer more and spoil you. We knew what we were getting into by booking Carnvial but with all the hype about it being a new ship we expected a little more. Perhaps they should have spent less $ on the PR hype and more details to customer satisfaction. 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: June 2013
My husband and I had the fortunate opportunity to spend part of our honeymoon aboard the Carnival Sunshine. We had an AMAZING time on our special vacation and much of that joy came from our cruise. We were aboard one of the first cruises ... Read More
My husband and I had the fortunate opportunity to spend part of our honeymoon aboard the Carnival Sunshine. We had an AMAZING time on our special vacation and much of that joy came from our cruise. We were aboard one of the first cruises for the Sunshine departing from Barcelona on June 7th. This was my fifth cruise and my husband's second (first for him aboard Carnival and my third Carnival cruise). While of course there are always ups and downs with any trip, here are some of the highlights of our experiences... Embarkation: By far the best embarkation I have ever had for a cruise. We arrived early to the cruise terminal in Barcelona - about 10:45am. All of our boarding materials stated that we'd be allowed on the ship starting at 11:30am and we were pleased to find a very organized terminal when we arrived at 11am. The process was almost so easy that we thought we had missed something! We dropped off our luggage outside (we already had the cruise tags on our luggage), received a boarding group number, breezed through security, spent about 30 seconds getting our Sail & Sign card (we had done all the pre-boarding materials online already) and then sat in a very comfortable waiting area (with couches, nice tables, even an outside patio overlooking the water) until our boarding number was called. Even everyone around us seemed relaxed! We were group #9 and were on the ship by about 11:20am. A great way to start our trip! Cruise Food: This was one of the areas where there were definite highs and lows. Guy's Burger Joint was fantastic (we went there almost every afternoon after touring) with great burgers and an excellent toppings bar and by far our favorite dessert was the chocolate melting cake (I ordered every night we ate in the dining room). We wanted to go to the Blue Iguana place, but it never seemed to be open while we were on the ship and/or hungry. The Lido buffet was iffy. It was the same food each morning for breakfast (and no pineapples for breakfast!) and for dinner while there looked to be a lot of variety, each area had the same stuff. Overall, we found both the variety and quality to be mediocre at the Lido buffet (although we never made it there for lunch). Tea time was also a bit of a bummer... No special teas, just the standard teas we have in our work cafeteria. Dinners in the dining rooms were pretty good. Nothing super special, but nothing horrible. I will say that I miss the special midnight buffet that cruises once offered with ice sculptures and great looking food displays. The "late night snacks"? left much to be desired due to hardly any variety (just some hot dogs, cheese sandwiches and pizza... not even any chips and salsa). Room service was fine as well, not great but not by any means bad. I really liked the shakes near the Ocean Plaza (and the staff at the shakes place was always wonderful!). They had a great variety and I went there almost every night. And I must admit... I popped into the candy store a few times for some late night treats. Also, a word of advice, instead of buying beer from the bars, check out the self-serve beer station in the Lido area. Such a fun, reasonably priced, surprise find (and no need to tip!)! Ship Design: As others have mentioned, it's definitely a bit finicky. We found it to be very choppy and at times hard to get around. After a 9 night cruise, I still didn't feel like I had the hang of it. We also found the decor to be more "comfortable casual"? as opposed to "elegant and grand"?. Perfectly fine for us, but for those looking for the upscale cruise feeling, the Sunshine probably would not be the right ship to choose. Our room was right in the middle which we found to be ideal as far as getting to places with ease. We had a balcony room and felt that for the two of us there was plenty of room. We also never heard our neighbors or much outside noise (we were in the middle of the ship and away from elevators/stairs). Comfortable beds, a nice little living area space, and a hot shower with good water pressure rounded out the nice room! Ship Entertainment/Activities: As with most other cruises, there was a ton to do. We went to a bunch of the trivia sessions, a cooking demonstration and some other events onboard. The activities staff was OK. Some were good, some of the staff members were pretty bad (there was one red haired UK girl that needed an attitude adjustment). We had fun though and were happy to see so much always going on. We also went to the "Epic Rock" show... It was definitely entertaining, though mostly for the surprise factor of it being more like 80s rock meets Star Wars meets post apocalyptic world meets Vegas. We enjoyed the 80s band that would play in the Ocean Plaza at night and had fun in the Liquid Lounge until it became like a middle school dance late in the night. We gave the piano bar a try twice, but the piano guy was actually really bad... so bad it was almost awkward at times. We went to one of the comedians, but didn't find him to be anything special. I will say though that I found the nightlife atmosphere to be better than other cruises... Maybe it's just the Carnival crowd, but people were definitely there to have fun. We also attempted to spend time in the sports bar, but there were only a few TVs and they were either not working or always on the same Euro sports channel. Speaking of TVs, the TV in the room was horrible. Only a few channels, most of which were Carnival related, and the Carnival ones didn't even have the video/audio synched properly. Fortunately though, we didn't go on the cruise to watch TV, so it didn't really impact us too much. A random note... I noticed that the treadmills in the Spa were positioned in a way where they were in front of windows, but one could not see out the windows. Quite odd, but at least I never had to wait for a machine. We loved spending time in the Adults-Only Serenity area. The lounge chairs were super comfortable and it was nice to have a pool and hot tub just for adults (the main pool and hot tubs tended to have a lot of kids in them). We even spent one night in one of the little cabanas watching a movie on the big screen. We also really liked the slides... We went one day after getting back early from touring and found it not to be too crowded at all. There really is a ton to do on the ship! Ports of Call: We picked this cruise mainly because of the ports and they did not disappoint! We really enjoyed them all. Rome is amazing and Taormina and Dubrovnik are beautiful. The ride into Venice on the ship is also pretty cool because you go right past St. Mark's Square. We were very happy with the itinerary! Overall, we were very pleased with our cruise. Despite it being a 3,000+ passenger ship, we never found it to feel too crowded. We were always able to get lounge chairs whenever, never had long lines for food or difficulty finding a table, and felt like there were enough places to get "away"? from the hustle and bustle. We did end up getting to know a bunch of other cruise passengers (so many we even recognized on our flight to Barcelona! hah!). We felt that all the guests were nice and it was especially always fun to run into familiar faces when out in the ports. One night we did have an issue with the "propulsion"? systems, but felt that the Carnival staff handled it well and gave us more than enough information... The problem was fixed quickly and the only change to our schedule was that we got to sleep a little later one morning. I would definitely recommend the Carnival Sunshine to families, cruise newcomers, and those who just want to have a good time and see some great sights! If you're into constant fanciness, then this probably isn't the cruise for you. We're all about good deals and fun times, and we definitely felt that our cruise on the Carnival Sunshine around the Mediterranean was a great deal, we had a great time, saw so many cool sites, and even did a lot of relaxing. I'm ready for my next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
The Carnival Sunshine was a thought in my mind since I first saw it on carnival.com. We booked immediately and we were on the fourth sailing! Lets start with the good, and get to the not so good in a bit. Good: The ship was amazing! Such ... Read More
The Carnival Sunshine was a thought in my mind since I first saw it on carnival.com. We booked immediately and we were on the fourth sailing! Lets start with the good, and get to the not so good in a bit. Good: The ship was amazing! Such a beautiful ship! The water slides were great and the sports area was really fun! JiJi Asian Kitchen was probably the best asian food I have had in my entire life and Fahrenheit 555 was fenomenal. Didn't try Cucina del Capitano, but we heard it was also great. The cabin was a pretty good size and the bathroom was big enough! The shows were the best I have ever seen on any cruise ship, and Epic Rock was truly EPIC! The ports were amazing, and every carnival organized tour was very interesting, informative, and stress free. Being a carnival organized tour, we didn't have to worry about missing the ship if something happened. Restaurants by the pool and the pizza was a great lunch and afternoon snack. We absolutely loved Noonan, the cruise director. He was so funny and his wife who did trivia and organized disembarkation for excursions was so nice to talk to. Not So Good: Two words: VERY CROWDED! Sometimes we couldn't even find a lounge chair and stayed in the room for some time when we had nothing to do. The TV blew. Mostly every channel was out of sync and 90% of the other channels were Carnival channels. We had no mini fridge in our balcony room and the balcony had some rust stains. The first few days I saw workers painting on the SPA decks, which gave off ammonia smells. The propulsion stopped working leaving Monaco for about 15 minutes, making guests scared and delayed for Palma de Mallorca. Many elevators didn't work as well which caused a lot of time waiting for a elevator. Guest Services was always crowded and they didn't have the best attitude when dealing with them. The buffet was HORRIBLE on this ship, the worst I ever experienced. They served the same food every day. If you like a variety, definitely choose a Guy Burger, a Blue Iguana Burrito, or the Havanna Bar/JiJi/Cucina Pasta Bar for a great free lunch. There are only two pools: Main Beach Pool and the pool in Serenity, a little disappointing. Hasbro the Gameshow was a let down the second time seeing it. It is basically a bunch of screaming little kids hoping to get on stage. Overall, Sunshine is a beautiful ship with a few flaws that weren't major problems that didn't drastically effect our time on the boat. If I had to rate the ship out of 10, I'd give it a 8.7. If I had to rate the excursions, I'd give it a 10+. I would totally recommend the Carnival Sunshine and cruising the Med at any time. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
SUMMARY:  Overall we really enjoyed this 12-night cruise around the Mediterranean. Given we were most interested in the ports of call we did not really spend all that much time on the ship and did not extensively use the entertainment and ... Read More
SUMMARY:  Overall we really enjoyed this 12-night cruise around the Mediterranean. Given we were most interested in the ports of call we did not really spend all that much time on the ship and did not extensively use the entertainment and recreation offered on-board. So far us, the most important things such as a functional cabin and comfortable bed were also the things that stood out the most. The decor in the cabins is very pleasant and the furnishings are excellent. We also got to spend time in my parents' balcony cabin across the hall which was also very specious and beautiful. We went to the comedy show a couple of times which was great and played around in their game room which is well equipped with air hockey tables, racing pods, etc. The things that we did not enjoy as much were the main course at their restaurant which was always of pool quality (especially their steak) as well as the perpetual line-ups everywhere. From Deck 11, oftentimes it'd be faster to just take the stairs instead of try to wait for the elevators because you could end up standing there for 10 minutes. Other than that, the cruise itself was well-organized and captain and staff were terrific! With the deal we got for the spa cabins, I'd say it was worth it. GOODS: + Clean, comfy, spacious, and well-decorated cabins + Beautiful Serenity Deck pool area + Well-organized cruise + Great captain and terrific staff + Good service in the restaurant + Great comedy shows + Good gym (although would be nice if you could actually see the ocean through those windows) + Excellent breakfast and good buffet food + Very pleasant thermal-chairs in the spa overlooking the ocean + Outdoor movies in the evenings were very enjoyable BADS: - Constant over-crowding everywhere! You always have to stand in line even to get water! If you want to sit in the Serenity Deck hot-tub during a day-at-sea, you can forget about it. - Main course in their restaurant was terrible (and I'm generally someone who'd eat just about anything). Appetizers and deserts were all great though. - DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT get their "Your Time Dining". You'll get screwed big time and will always have to wait in line up to half an hour to get a table. - All their buffet drinks, including the juices, were infused with chemicals and sugar. Would be nice to have squeezed juices, at least in the mornings. - The steam rooms in the spa were a joke. At times I actually needed to wrap myself in a towel because I was cold. - Getting your laundry done the last 2 days of the cruise was impossible. 2 washers and dryers to accommodate several thousand patrons is a joke. Even then, the machines ruined some of our laundry even when setting the dryer to low temperature/delicate setting.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 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
This was our first cruise with Carnival and, having read about all the problems with this ship since it's refurbishment in May, we were a bit apprehensive. Needn't have worried - we had a fantastic time and were very impressed ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Carnival and, having read about all the problems with this ship since it's refurbishment in May, we were a bit apprehensive. Needn't have worried - we had a fantastic time and were very impressed with Carnival Sunshine! The sun shone both on and off the ship and we had a brilliant family holiday - myself and husband (both 60), daughter (33) and grandson (10) Cabins We had 2 interior cabins on deck 7 (7283 and 7287) and they were the biggest interior cabins we have ever had. The one for my daughter and grandson in particular had 2 twin beds but they were arranged in a "L" shape so plenty of floor space and ample storage with 2 wardrobes, a shelved cupboard which contained the safe and a set of drawers (could have done with a bit more drawer/shelf space perhaps) Cabins were ideally located at the aft close to main dining room (2 floors down)and sports decks and waterpark (2 floors up). Cabins were bright and beds very comfortable. Shower was also much bigger than normal ship's showers Food We ate in the main dining room - Sunshine dining room and were fortunate to have a table for four near the aft windows. The food was very good, always hot and served quickly. Good variety with plenty of choice and also a "standard menu" always available if you didn't fancy anything on that day's menu. Wine was sold by the glass, which was a bit odd and cost around $6.50 a glass The service in the dining room was excellent and we had a great team in Thomas, Marghadeza Magdelena (not sure how to spell her name!), and Milos, who were exceptional During the day we ate in a variety of venues - Market place buffet was okay but a bit limited in choice. Guy's burgers - awesome!. Havana Bar has an omelette station at breakfast and cooks all kinds of eggs to order. We also tried the Cucina de Capitano italian restaurant at lunchtime (free)- really good but it has a cover charge at night. Also the pizzas (free 24/7) were great and the deli run by Benjamin (who seemed to work all day and night every day!) was great - toasties, deli sandwiches etc) Orange juice & apple juice are free at breakfast and lemonade and iced water freely available all day - and very tasty. Activities Waterpark has 3 large flumes (very fast) - grandson loved them! Also water activities for younger children He also loved the "Skycourse" ropes to walk round high up on this deck. Sports deck was slightly disappointing as it is geared to US citizens and has only basketball, no football. Also good mini golf Lots of quizzes, gameshows etc but they were all American orientated questions so we struggled a bit (e.g. how many numerals are in a social security number - different answer for UK and US!) We didn't use the actual Spa (pricey) but the adult only "Serenity spa" area was brilliant with it's own pool and hot tubs and really comfy loungers Entertainment Cruise was very port intensive and we were on early dining so only went to a couple of shows - very disappointing (we left one after 10 minutes). There were also various artists performing around the ship. One singer/guitarist "Robbie Litt" was outstanding. My husband enjoyed the comedy shows Excursions We don't use ship's excursions as they are extortionately expensive and we always do our own thing. Be very careful with Carnival shuttle buses. We jumped on one at Livorno thinking it was free and it wasn't - think it was €5 each if I remember rightly! We had no option as it is too far to walk and through an industrial port. At Palma, Carnival were charging $20 or €17 EACH for the shuttle. We walked outside the port gates and took the service bus into town - very, very easy and it cost us €3 each return Service The service was excellent all over the ship and I have to say that the customer service team were the most professional, polite and helpful we have ever come across (and we have previously sailed with RCI, NCL, Princess and Fred Olsen) Overall impression We had a great time and would definitely sail on this ship (and with Carnival) again. Atmosphere is very relaxed, not "in your face" as with some American lines, staff all looked as if they were happy and were very friendly whilst still being professional. There were "sales" of watches , jewellery etc but they weren't pushed constantly. Even on the sea day the ship never seemed crowded and it was possible to get a sunbed even in mid afternoon! Bad points The biggest problem we encountered was the supposedly American way of pricing (although we have never experienced this on any other US ships) We found out the hard way when we spent a lot of money on photos that the prices onboard are quoted WITHOUT tax so we were charged an extra $40 on top of the prices already displayed in the shop (a nasty shock!!) Any other ship we have been on (including RCI and NCL) have quoted the price including tax and or those lucky enough to be able to reclaim it the price goes down (not up as in Carnival's case!)It was okay for the Americans on board (around 90% of passengers) as they could reclaim the tax but not for those of us from Europe Carnival did not really make any considerations for the fact that this was a cruise in Europe and that some of the passengers were from Europe! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
We took a 12 day Mediterranean Cruise with Carnival on the Carnival Sunshine newly refurbished cruise ship June 2013, we flew into Venice where we boarded the ship which went smoothly enough, bags delivered to our cabin before we got to it ... Read More
We took a 12 day Mediterranean Cruise with Carnival on the Carnival Sunshine newly refurbished cruise ship June 2013, we flew into Venice where we boarded the ship which went smoothly enough, bags delivered to our cabin before we got to it , then we went into the cabin which we had upgraded to a large corner balcony suite at the rear of the ship, when we looked out onto the balcony we found that one of the large corner glass panels in the balcony was completely shattered, we spoke to guest services about this and they put us on to Yanis the guest service supervisor who looked at the glass and initially stated that as it was only one panel we should not be concerned, we advised Yanis that apart from the safety issues, we had paid a lot more for the upgrade and that this was not good enough, he said he would see what he could do for us, later he got back to us saying he would provide us with a complimentary wine package (valued at $150) but we said that we still did not think that this was adequate compensation re the damage, he then went off and again re contacted us and said that the glass was only 10% damage of the entire balcony view, so we advised that we would be happy with 10% of our payment back which after a short discussion he agreed on. To be honest Yanis was very courteous, efficient and helpful. The room was large and very well laid out and comfortable, a couple of niggles, sink/plug faulty, windows dirty, could not be cleaned due to spray from sea and wear and tear !!!! When we had unpacked went to guest services to ask some questions on payments and on board gratuities (which we had paid up front to our Travel Agents Thomas Cooks at time of booking the cruise) only to be told that as far as Carnival were concerned we had not paid them and that we would have to pay them again ($138 each) we were told by the staff on board that this was a Thomas Cook error and we would have to contact them, we did this and Thomas Cook did advise it was their error and they would reimburse us on return home (which they did very promptly). We were quite shocked to find out that the $138 gratuities were charged to each guest and not per room, most of the guests took them off and only paid the staff which they felt gave good service, when you think that everything else (bar nothing) you buy on board the ship you also pay an extra 15% on top of the price for gratuities I find that quite expensive. Other issues we had were at each port we stopped at we knew that there were ship excursions (which not everyone booked due to being expensive) but expected that the ship would lay on a courtesy bus to at least take us to the centre of the respective resort, on some of the ports they did but they were not a 'courtesy' as we had to pay for them ranging from 5 - 9 euros per person, at some ports they just left you to it !!!!!!! We have been on two Royal Caribbean Cruises and they have provided free courtesy buses in each port. We did book one excursion prior to the cruise which was the Highlights of Monaco which stated that not only did it take you around the sights including the Casino and the Monaco Palace and shops but also included a ride around the circuit of the Monaco Racing Track this was at a cost of $70 each, the tour guide was good and we kept waiting to go around the track, we eventually asked her when we would do this and she said it did not actually take you around the track only a small part of it, again when we got back we went to the excursions desk and spoke to female staff member who was extremely rude saying that we had misunderstood the text of the excursion, we asked what part as it said that we would be going around the circuit not part of it, she said that there was nothing that they would do about this and that there would be no refund or compensation (it was quite clear that this lady ( I use the word very thinly) had not done her customer services course, very rude and abrupt. We also found that on checking our statement which we learnt to do every day that there were charges for items we had not had, mostly drinks etc. These additional charges took 24 hours to refund (but on every purchase the bill was updated immediately)!!!! We could never get guest services from our cabin phone, on ordering breakfast room service the order was always wrong (gave up after few days), Another disappointment we had was one of the ports that was listed on our Itinerary was Marseilles , we found out after a couple of days on board that we were not going into that port, Carnival had changed it and we were going to Olbia in Sardinia, although a very nice port not what we had signed up and paid for, again on speaking to guest services they said Not our fault but Thomas Cooks (on our return to England surprise surprise Thomas Cook knew nothing of the change of Itinerary either as they had not been informed) ???? One hairy moment was when coming out of Monaco the ships propulsion failed we were quite a distance out of port, this was rectified after about thirty minutes thankfully when the ship regained power. Although we had quite a few complaints and we along with numerous other guests were having to go to the guest services to complain on a regular basis , the ship is actually a lovely ship, lot's to do especially for kids with the large water slides at the rear. We thought the evening shows were good and there was live music nearly every night to suit most tastes. Food good (not in our opinion as good or varied as Royal Caribbean) When disembarking the ship there was a bit of confusion due to a 90 minute wait. We had been advised by two members of staff to wait until called, this did not happen and when we asked another member of staff he said that we could have left the ship at anytime in the last hour. During this wait I was quite upset on speaking to one elderly couple waiting to get off they had had a lot of problems on board (this was their first cruise )they did not know what to do about tips etc and were finding it difficult to cope with all the administration errors, I did advise the lady (who was in tears at this point) that they really should get a final statement to make sure there were no bad surprises when they got home and advised them that they could withdraw their tips (which they did not know they could do) felt very sorry for them. We will go cruising again but I must stress NEVER NEVER again with Carnival !!!!!!!   Read Less
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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