Let me first start by saying for the past 8 years I have done a cruise a year and our only experience with Carnival prior to the Sunshine was on the Legend in Feb of 2013. We booked a cruise on the Sunshine for September 13th 2015 leaving from Orlando. We chose the Sunshine for this special cruise since it was my 30th birthday on September 11 and I proposed to my fiancé on my birthday. We arrived at the Orlando airport the day of the cruise. We purchased the bus pass round trip through Carnival online. When you get to the airport you will need to check in at the Carnival desk located downstairs of the airport before they will let you on the bus. There were no signs or anything. Just ask someone who works there on the bottom floor and you should be good. Bus run about every 45 min. We loaded the bus and the driver loaded our luggage.
After a 45 minute ride you arrive at the ship. The driver takes care of your bags and you go through the cruise terminal to check in and receive your sail & sign card. Everything went very smooth getting on the ship. We got on board and went directly to our room. It was about 14:30 when we arrived at our room. The room was clean and set up for us already. My fiancé surprised me with having the room decorated for my birthday and having beer waiting in the room for me. Here was my first disappointment. The beer was in a clear plastic bag on the counter in the room. There were 4 beers in total. The beers were warm and I would have figured they would of had the beer on ice and a glass to drink them in. We then tried to find the room steward to request a bucket of ice for the beer so I could have them later that night. No luck could not find the room steward. We were located on deck 8 towards the back of the ship in a upgraded balcony.
We decided to go to the spa and take a tour since she wanted to be pampered to start the cruise. We went to the Spa and Gym which looked very nice and clean. All the staff in the Spa were very nice and helpful (we later found out that the Spa employees do not work for Carnival but for another company that Carnival hires) Completed the tour and she booked treatments for that night. We then went to the lido deck and grabbed a slice of pizza and a deli sandwich. Pizza was so-so but I enjoyed the deli and ended up eating there frequently. Walked on the lido deck and higher until we were leaving port. As she was in the spa I decided to grab a beer and explore the ship and try to have it figured out before she was done. Decks 3,4 & 5 are where most of the common spaces are. The major problem with the layout is on decks 3 & 4 you cant walk from one side of the ship to the other. You have to at some point have to go to deck 5 and walk through the Casino which can be filled with smoke to get to the other side. I found the Liquid Lounge, Punchliner club, EA Sports Bar and shops to be very small for the amount of people who are on the ship.
We did anytime dining and you have to go to deck 5 to check in and then walk to deck 3 to be seated. Dining room décor was OK but we were not fans of the food. We ate at the Dining room 3x our entire cruise. The first night we went to the Italian restaurant and my fiancé asked for a pasta dish and asked if she could have chicken ontop of it . The waitress said no that cant be done. For it costing $15 a person to eat in the Italian restaurant I was taken back that they could just put some chicken on it. I got up and walked over to the cooking area where the chef was and asked him and he said not a problem. The chef was very nice and the food was EXCELLENT! Desert was AMAZING!!! I would have ate there all cruise but they did not change there menus from night to night. We tried guys burger spot but I was put off by the cooks being in a tiny room covered in sweat hovering over the meat being cooked (what do you expect the burger spot is on the lido deck outside. Of course these guys are gonna sweat in the heat sitting over a flat grill all day.
Now onto the lido deck buffet. We found the prepared food to be bland and tasteless sometimes even cold. This is where the pizza spot and deli are. We had buffet 2x on the ship. This buffet will close from 1400 - 1730 on port days. this made no sense to me as not everyone gets off the ship. Pizza is open 24/7 Deli is open until 23:00. Main dining room and speciality restaurants are open until 21:15 is the last seating time. Overall I liked the Deli and Italian place for lunch and or dinner. Breakfast on the lido deck was same bland tasting. Eggs seem powdered and tasteless.
Word of advice go to the Italian place or Asain place for breakfast. They have omlette stations where they are made fresh. This was our choice of breakfast. Now onto the boat shops. Liquor and Smokes are cheap and duty free like all ships. Every cruise ive been on I have bought a watch either in port or on the ship. I found a Movado on the ship that I liked and knew it was rare. I asked the man to retrieve it for me so I could look at it. On the metal band there was a large scratch which I pointed out to him and he rudely told me it was just a smudge and took it from my hands. At this point I was stunned with the way he acted and walked out. We found the shops on the Legend (smaller ship) to be a lot larger.
We went to the shows in the theatre and found them to be like a high school talent show. The theatre was tiny for 3000+ cruisers. All they did was sing and try to dance together which they failed at. These were not productions like we were use to on other Cruise lines. The Comedy club does a family show at 19:30 and adult shows at 20:30,21:30,22:30 and 23:15. This comedy club is TINY and you need to be in line about 30-45 minutes to get a seat just to see the comedian. Again the comedy club on the Carnival Legend was about 3x the size of the one on the Sunshine. Comedians were very funny.
Now onto the lido deck and serenity area. Lido deck has 1 pool which is very small. Didn't spend to much time there due to the hordes of people splashing and running around. As we went to the Serenity deck (ADULTS ONLY) we found many children up there with there families. I cant blame the staff for this but more so the parents for not caring about the rules. The serenity deck has a pool with a sign that says 18 people in it. When I was in it I counted 43 adults in the pool and plenty more with just there feet in it. This was ridiciulous and I had to leave. They play movies and serve popcorn on the lido deck at night but we found to many screaming kids up there to enjoy the movies. Seems a lot of parents don't pay much mind to what there kids are doing on the ship and leave them un supervised a lot.
We went to Cozumel, Belize, Roatan and Costa Maya. If you don't have a excursion booked for Belize don't bother getting off the ship. Costa Maya we were allowed off the boat at 0700 and had to be back on at 13:30. We were on that island a total of 1.5 hours. I do not recommend you getting a room on the 8th deck in the back of the ship. We had the havanna bar above us and it can be noisey until about 0100 on most nights (we didn't mind this its expected) Now at 0530 every morning we were awoken by the staff sliding the tables on the floor and banging around unitl about 0645. When you call guest services at 0530 nobody picks up and it let it ring for 20 minutes one morning. Multiple times I walked up and politely asked the staff to lift the tables and be curtious of the people under them. They yes'd me to death but when id return to my room it just kept going on. The waitstaff in the main dining room was nice but SLOW. we had different teams every night due to anytime dining. Now the first three nights our room was always done but we never seen our room steward. We are use to every morning and evening seeing them and having plesent interactions. I always tip in person and don't let carnival do it for me. On the third night I went to guest services and had my tips reversed. Just so happen the next day we saw our room steward for the 1st time and talked briefly. We were informed by fellow cruisers that your room steward gets notified if you remove your tips from your sail & sign card. Now it makes since why we saw him.
In the middle of the cruise our rooms lights & tv went out. We called maintenance which no one answered and were transferred to guest services. Took them an hour to restore power to the room and when I asked what had happened they said the breaker tripped and it happens often. Really happens often and cant be fixed? Now comes the worst ordeal of the trip. On our last night of the cruise after we put our luggage out to be picked up something happened with the toilet causing dirty water to overflow all over the floor. We called maintenance and again went to guest services. We were told they would send someone. After 15 minutes of no one showing up we called again and was told "I TOLD YOU ALREADY WERE SENDING SOMEONE!" I stood in the hall and found an officer who I asked to at least turn the water off. He did so and made a few calls for the repairs to get done. After about 15 minutes he walked by and asked if everything was fixed and when I told him no he got on the phone again and was very stern about getting someone there. 5 minutes later a plumber showed up who spoke no English. By this time it was 22:00 he worked on it for about 45 minutes and left without saying anything. Then a housekeeper arrived to change out the towels. All he did was take the old towels and replace them with new ones. At no point did they sanitize the floor or anything. Now its 23:00 and I hear a knock at the door. Its the plumber wanting to work on it again. At this point my fiancé is in a robe naked underneath and needs to use the restroom. I asked the plumber to leave the room so she can change and use a public restroom. he did not understand me and kept saying "I FIXING I FIXING" and would not leave. My fiancé had to go to the lido deck in a robe naked underneath to use the restroom because they would not leave the room. THIS IS HORRIBLE TO MAKE SOMEONE DUE THIS! After all was said and done they fixed the problem at 23:50. We had a long day of travel ahead of us which made this even worse.
I went to the guest service and was told to come back after 0730 when a supervisior is there. I went to gues services the next morning and dealt with extremely rude and didn't even apologixe for the inconveince. I understand things happen that are uncontrollable but not even a sorry or anything. She ended up giving us a credit of $25 each on the account. She then stated all this stuff about there policys but would never give me a physical copy of the policys. At this point we asked for the corporate number and she just gave us a email not even a phone number. We are now dealing with Carnival headquarters about the situation and will never cruise carnival again. Food was bland EXCEPT the Italian spot. Common areas are small and crowded. Staff was rude and seemed no plesent except for the cruise director she always seemed nice and full of energy. EA Sports bar is packed on football sundays and filled with smoke.
Large. Lots of Closet room. Larger shower and Balcony. Loud from Havanna club above