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We had not been on a Carnival ship in two years and were happy a new-to-NYC Carnival ship was here to try out. We arrived at the pier around 11:15am and easily found a parking space. We did think it very odd that people were still getting off the ship at that hour. Took our bags on the escalator and checked the large ones with the porters outside the check-in level. Onward to security which had a very short line and we were through quickly. We soon learned why there were short lines at security. Everyone was already through and in the next line for check-in. The line for the Diamond/Platinum/Suites check-in room was out the door and did not move. After a short time, some of us in that line were taken to another check-in line that moved slowly as there were not many check-in agents there yet. Learned that boarding was not going to start till 1:30 as debarkation had been delayed for some reason. Finally presented our passports, got pic taken, and back to another line to get our cruise cards since those were in the Diamond/Platinum/Suites lounge. At this time the lounge was packed so we took our cruise cards and waited outside the door against the wall. It was now 12:20. The line into the lounge was suddenly moving and we learned priority boarding was happening. Once onboard we dropped our stuff at our cabin and then headed to Mongolian Wok for lunch. We liked the Havana bar area and also had a few of the “Cuban bites.” Very tasty. Decided to walk around a bit since Sunshine was new to us. Waterslides! Headed back to our cabin quickly to put our swimwear on and went down the slides a few times. Fun. It was hot and sunny out and no one else was on the slides! Was getting near time for our informal meet-n-greet (which would be our only CC M&G due to some breakdown on Carnival’s part) so we changed and headed to Red Frog poolside. and met up with a few other CC people. On to muster drill. When will Carnival get this right. Still the longest muster drills of the major cruise lines, and I haven’t been standing outside for a muster drill since my last Carnival cruise. Other cruise lines have you seated in restaurants, etc. and accomplish the same thing in a much quicker way. I did appreciate their clearly stating where smoking is permitted and where it is not. Also mentioned specifically was tossing things overboard since the week before our cruise is when the fire started from someone throwing a cigarette overboard that ended up catching a towel on fire on a lower deck. Yet I did get a whiff of cigarette smoke outside a few times. Also mid-ship on deck 6 always reeked of smoke in the corridor. We did fixed early dining on this cruise after having read the horror stories about Your Time Dining. We saw the long lines on deck 5 for people who were checking in. Fellow CC member Whimbrel Sailor said when they went to dinner there were usually short lines for check-in and they got their table # assignment and went right to their table, so it wasn’t so bad. Our table was in the mid-ship dining room and we ate there twice. We were in a row of tables for two and it was fine and the meals we had were good. Very happy there is still lobster in the dining room the first elegant night. It is now served with three average-sized shrimp. Only one person was assigned for drinks to that half of the room, so service was quite slow. One person is not sufficient for the number of people in the area of the dining room. Note that if you want a chocolate melting cake with the batter cooked through you can request one well done, which I did. (vs. raw batter which is how it is usually served—that’s why it’s runny in the center) I like the buffet stations vs. the other Carnival ships’ long counters. The pizza seemed to be on a sort of naan bread, and it was quite good. There was always something we could find that we liked so I think if you can’t find something tasty you are too picky! One thing we did not care for were the breakfast “eggs” at Blue Iguana. They were gross. Loved the assortment of hot sauces there. There are late night snacks in the buffet too—I think it was hot dogs, ham/cheese sandwich, chili and cookies. I miss the assortment of tea from former years. Liked the self-serve ice cream and frozen yogurt. Enjoyed the sea day brunch and we had a fun table of 12. The lox looked good, blueberry pancakes were tasty, ham, bacon, tomato soup all good. We ate at the upcharge steakhouse. I had the lobster and it was very good as was the strip steak. Service and everything was to our liking. We did order a glass of champagne and it was lacking bubbles so I insisted they open a fresh bottle. Dead fly in the windowsill. This steakhouse does not have a good outside view--other Carnival ships' steakhouses on the top deck do. Stopped at Java Café on our way out at either Saint John or Halifax and they had no coffee. What? Isn’t this a COFFEE bar? They were willing to upsell you to something else. Disappointed that Java Café did not have that very tall chocolate cake anymore. We tried the chocolate cake from room service and it was just ok. The BLT was quite good though, and both were delivered quickly—maybe 15 minutes. The chocolate buffet the last sea day had a very good chocolate cake but not much else anymore. Alchemy bar is awesome and we really liked the Ocean Plaza area too. Didn’t go into the piano bar but it was busy at night. Lots of fun activities in the atrium. Gym had good equipment. The ship is in decent shape—not great—not bad. There are some sloppy things, like blue paint on our balcony that is clearly paint drips from the edges of the balcony floors. Just looked sloppy. Wear and tear outside due to weather and dampness is understandable. The cabin décor is very nice. I miss the amenities basket that used to be in the bathroom. We had a deck 6 aft cabin and it did have a refrigerator (so the site people keep referring to about which cabins or decks have refrigerators is outdated). The plug for the fridge wasn’t working well so maintenance replaced it shortly after we called about it. Also replaced a hinge on the divider between balconies that was broken. Minor things but they were addressed quickly which was appreciated. Outdoor areas seemed nicely maintained. Serenity multi-deck area was nice though the top deck was closed the 2 sea days due to wind. Pool area is crowded, but that's expected on a cruise ship. If you have the patience to sit through the Excursions talk in the theater, a few excursions and other items were given away to attendees. (We saw it on tv later). As you may know, Cruise Critic Meet n Greets were being sponsored and set up by Carnival for a few months now. Also, effective September 1st, an invitation to said M&G was supposed to be delivered to your cabin showing date and time. None of these things happened on this cruise for some reason. When I inquired at Guest Services they did not know anything about a meetup, and finally replied to me that they “were not informed by headquarters that this needed to be set up.” So my suggestion is have a meet-up plan just in case this happens on your cruise. Emma was an entertaining CD--full of energy. We enjoyed her sing-alongs in the atrium and had a lot of fun there. Loved the 70s and 80s songs played by Deja Vu in Ocean Plaza. Thought they were fabulous. Two CC members (Whimbrel Sailor) who attended the Welcome Aboard show the first night won a VIP package for the cruise which included a bottle of champagne, bottle of wine with dinner, a meet n greet with Players club, meet the production cast, reserved seating for shows, drink coupons, etc. It was a great prize. Only 2 couples got this perk. The tv seemed to have receiving issues quite often and the channels were not watchable. And it wasn’t like we were out in the middle of nowhere so I don’t understand why they were unavailable so often. Playlist production shows are ok. I still miss the live band/orchestra with the 18 singers/dancers. We had seen 2 of the shows on this ship already (2 years ago! Time for a change!) Latin Nights and Motor City, but they were good. Guests had the opportunity to participate in Motor City by showing up early and being selected. VIP winners were included. Epic Rock was awesome--if you like rock music. The Déjà vu guitarist played a bit before the show started—Ozzy, Def Leppard, Van Halen, and other excellent rock bands. The show is not for everyone—if you’re not a rocker, you might not enjoy it as much as we did. Singers and dancers were good. Comedians were entertaining but one early (non-adults only) show was not kid-friendly. I did not like how he picked on kids and I was glad the family sitting near us got up and left. I felt bad for their kids. Kids aren’t perfect and we were all kids once! The venue for comedy shows is way too small. The platinum gift was a Tervis tumbler with graphics of the waterslides. Since we each already have two tumblers each that we don’t use often, we asked the cabin steward if there were any other options. He found a couple of packing cubes so we took those instead. There were two Platinum/Diamond parties on this ship—both on Friday afternoon. Passed around were mini sliders, sushi (too difficult to eat this way), and maybe one or two other things. Officers were present as was Emma and a few others. A nice party and it was held where the Comedians perform. I believe Diamonds had an additional party earlier in the cruise. Back in NYC (Diamond/Platinum) Walk off-Debarkation began at 7:30am and was quick and easy. Ports: Due to the impending storm we changed up ports—Portland was first instead of Boston, which was great because it was a beautiful day in Portland. Note the walk to excursions is quite far. We booked the Portland Schooner excursion directly and enjoyed the 2 hours sailing. The cruise line also books this and puts it with a land excursion. Wandered the waterfront area and enjoyed a very good lobster roll in one place and then ice cream at Beal’s. It was a lovely sailaway since it was sunny and water was calm. Lots of little islands in this area. Boston. Weather wasn’t great but at least it wasn’t raining. We walked past Harpoon brewery and then stopped at Yankee Lobster for a lobster roll—another delicious one. Passed the Bacon Truck on the way and wished I hadn’t eaten the whole lobster roll since I’ve heard about this truck and wanted to try out something with bacon, but I was too full. Continued on our walk along the waterfront eventually ending up at the Marriott Long Wharf. Another nice sailaway. Aviation enthusiasts will enjoy where the ship docks—across the waterway from the airport. It was very cool watching the planes coming in. Saint John. We were going to rent a car and go to the Fundy Trail to hike, but it was so foggy we walked by Avis and told them we’re not going to take the car. We’ve learned not to prepay these rentals. As we walked along the Harbor Passage trail the fog lifted and sun came out! Then came back and walked along restaurant row. Ended up eating at Grannan’s and the lobster roll was just ‘eh. Smaller than expected and since the pieces were chopped up so fine I have to wonder what else was in with the lobster. Enjoyed another Canadian favorite—Moosehead light lime beer. Wandered in the mall and found the dollar store (thanks for pointing this out Jeff!). Lots of good stuff. I got what I went there for—Canadian snack called Ringolos. Yum. And a few soda cans for about .75 each. Good deal. Stopped by Steamers where fellow CC's Jeff & Leesa got a lobster roll and free beer for wearing Steamers’ shirts. Love that a bagpiper played for our sailaway! We saw whales as we were about an hour out from the port. So cool! Halifax. For some reason we got in late (though it was not far from Saint John) and debarkation was delayed quite a bit. Our first stop was Atlantic Superstore for a few of my favorite Canadian foods and of course some maple syrup. At their bakery there were pieces of chocolate cake to sample. YUM! Then dropped the stuff off back at the ship and took a taxi to the end of the waterfront. No judgments—we had walked 14K steps per day till that point! Enjoyed a lobster roll at Dave’s. Note Dave’s doesn’t honor currency exchange rates—so if you are charged $20CAD and pay with cash USD $20, you don’t get any change. The US rate today is about $15.20 for the $20CAD, so we overpaid for ours. Still, the heated lobster was fabulous. Just wandered around a bit more, tapped into the free wifi to post a few pics, and slowly made our way back to the ship. Note there is a Hertz rental place on the road across the street from the port—the side that faces the Westin hotel. Also Thrifty/Dollar rental at the Westin. Random thoughts: -Don’t like that you can’t view your account on the tv, but I like that it’s on the Carnival app. You can print one out at the kiosk. -Bring hangers if you want to hang skirts or shorts, etc. Not sufficient hangers for us. -I love that this class of ship still has lifeboats tucked in so you can see straight down to the water. -Wish it had a lower deck that went all around the ship. -Loved the towel animals. -Remember the forward outside viewing decks on 7 and 8. Love it up there. -Mini golf on the top deck -Ropes course! -Bath towels were not bleached enough. Many had stains on them. Not appealing. -Fan of the outdoor movies. -Waterslides! Loved the 70s disco party and wished it was longer than an hour In summary: We liked the ship a lot and had a great time on this cruise.

Fabulous time on the Sunshine!

Carnival Sunshine Cruise Review by mizLORInj

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We had not been on a Carnival ship in two years and were happy a new-to-NYC Carnival ship was here to try out. We arrived at the pier around 11:15am and easily found a parking space. We did think it very odd that people were still getting off the ship at that hour. Took our bags on the escalator and checked the large ones with the porters outside the check-in level. Onward to security which had a very short line and we were through quickly.

We soon learned why there were short lines at security. Everyone was already through and in the next line for check-in. The line for the Diamond/Platinum/Suites check-in room was out the door and did not move. After a short time, some of us in that line were taken to another check-in line that moved slowly as there were not many check-in agents there yet. Learned that boarding was not going to start till 1:30 as debarkation had been delayed for some reason. Finally presented our passports, got pic taken, and back to another line to get our cruise cards since those were in the Diamond/Platinum/Suites lounge. At this time the lounge was packed so we took our cruise cards and waited outside the door against the wall. It was now 12:20. The line into the lounge was suddenly moving and we learned priority boarding was happening. Once onboard we dropped our stuff at our cabin and then headed to Mongolian Wok for lunch. We liked the Havana bar area and also had a few of the “Cuban bites.” Very tasty.

Decided to walk around a bit since Sunshine was new to us. Waterslides! Headed back to our cabin quickly to put our swimwear on and went down the slides a few times. Fun. It was hot and sunny out and no one else was on the slides! Was getting near time for our informal meet-n-greet (which would be our only CC M&G due to some breakdown on Carnival’s part) so we changed and headed to Red Frog poolside. and met up with a few other CC people.

On to muster drill. When will Carnival get this right. Still the longest muster drills of the major cruise lines, and I haven’t been standing outside for a muster drill since my last Carnival cruise. Other cruise lines have you seated in restaurants, etc. and accomplish the same thing in a much quicker way. I did appreciate their clearly stating where smoking is permitted and where it is not. Also mentioned specifically was tossing things overboard since the week before our cruise is when the fire started from someone throwing a cigarette overboard that ended up catching a towel on fire on a lower deck. Yet I did get a whiff of cigarette smoke outside a few times. Also mid-ship on deck 6 always reeked of smoke in the corridor.

We did fixed early dining on this cruise after having read the horror stories about Your Time Dining. We saw the long lines on deck 5 for people who were checking in. Fellow CC member Whimbrel Sailor said when they went to dinner there were usually short lines for check-in and they got their table # assignment and went right to their table, so it wasn’t so bad. Our table was in the mid-ship dining room and we ate there twice. We were in a row of tables for two and it was fine and the meals we had were good. Very happy there is still lobster in the dining room the first elegant night. It is now served with three average-sized shrimp. Only one person was assigned for drinks to that half of the room, so service was quite slow. One person is not sufficient for the number of people in the area of the dining room. Note that if you want a chocolate melting cake with the batter cooked through you can request one well done, which I did. (vs. raw batter which is how it is usually served—that’s why it’s runny in the center)

I like the buffet stations vs. the other Carnival ships’ long counters. The pizza seemed to be on a sort of naan bread, and it was quite good. There was always something we could find that we liked so I think if you can’t find something tasty you are too picky! One thing we did not care for were the breakfast “eggs” at Blue Iguana. They were gross. Loved the assortment of hot sauces there. There are late night snacks in the buffet too—I think it was hot dogs, ham/cheese sandwich, chili and cookies. I miss the assortment of tea from former years. Liked the self-serve ice cream and frozen yogurt. Enjoyed the sea day brunch and we had a fun table of 12. The lox looked good, blueberry pancakes were tasty, ham, bacon, tomato soup all good.

We ate at the upcharge steakhouse. I had the lobster and it was very good as was the strip steak. Service and everything was to our liking. We did order a glass of champagne and it was lacking bubbles so I insisted they open a fresh bottle. Dead fly in the windowsill. This steakhouse does not have a good outside view--other Carnival ships' steakhouses on the top deck do.

Stopped at Java Café on our way out at either Saint John or Halifax and they had no coffee. What? Isn’t this a COFFEE bar? They were willing to upsell you to something else.

Disappointed that Java Café did not have that very tall chocolate cake anymore. We tried the chocolate cake from room service and it was just ok. The BLT was quite good though, and both were delivered quickly—maybe 15 minutes. The chocolate buffet the last sea day had a very good chocolate cake but not much else anymore.

Alchemy bar is awesome and we really liked the Ocean Plaza area too. Didn’t go into the piano bar but it was busy at night. Lots of fun activities in the atrium. Gym had good equipment.

The ship is in decent shape—not great—not bad. There are some sloppy things, like blue paint on our balcony that is clearly paint drips from the edges of the balcony floors. Just looked sloppy. Wear and tear outside due to weather and dampness is understandable. The cabin décor is very nice. I miss the amenities basket that used to be in the bathroom. We had a deck 6 aft cabin and it did have a refrigerator (so the site people keep referring to about which cabins or decks have refrigerators is outdated). The plug for the fridge wasn’t working well so maintenance replaced it shortly after we called about it. Also replaced a hinge on the divider between balconies that was broken. Minor things but they were addressed quickly which was appreciated. Outdoor areas seemed nicely maintained. Serenity multi-deck area was nice though the top deck was closed the 2 sea days due to wind. Pool area is crowded, but that's expected on a cruise ship.

If you have the patience to sit through the Excursions talk in the theater, a few excursions and other items were given away to attendees. (We saw it on tv later).

As you may know, Cruise Critic Meet n Greets were being sponsored and set up by Carnival for a few months now. Also, effective September 1st, an invitation to said M&G was supposed to be delivered to your cabin showing date and time. None of these things happened on this cruise for some reason. When I inquired at Guest Services they did not know anything about a meetup, and finally replied to me that they “were not informed by headquarters that this needed to be set up.” So my suggestion is have a meet-up plan just in case this happens on your cruise.

Emma was an entertaining CD--full of energy. We enjoyed her sing-alongs in the atrium and had a lot of fun there.

Loved the 70s and 80s songs played by Deja Vu in Ocean Plaza. Thought they were fabulous.

Two CC members (Whimbrel Sailor) who attended the Welcome Aboard show the first night won a VIP package for the cruise which included a bottle of champagne, bottle of wine with dinner, a meet n greet with Players club, meet the production cast, reserved seating for shows, drink coupons, etc. It was a great prize. Only 2 couples got this perk.

The tv seemed to have receiving issues quite often and the channels were not watchable. And it wasn’t like we were out in the middle of nowhere so I don’t understand why they were unavailable so often.

Playlist production shows are ok. I still miss the live band/orchestra with the 18 singers/dancers. We had seen 2 of the shows on this ship already (2 years ago! Time for a change!) Latin Nights and Motor City, but they were good. Guests had the opportunity to participate in Motor City by showing up early and being selected. VIP winners were included. Epic Rock was awesome--if you like rock music. The Déjà vu guitarist played a bit before the show started—Ozzy, Def Leppard, Van Halen, and other excellent rock bands. The show is not for everyone—if you’re not a rocker, you might not enjoy it as much as we did. Singers and dancers were good. Comedians were entertaining but one early (non-adults only) show was not kid-friendly. I did not like how he picked on kids and I was glad the family sitting near us got up and left. I felt bad for their kids. Kids aren’t perfect and we were all kids once! The venue for comedy shows is way too small.

The platinum gift was a Tervis tumbler with graphics of the waterslides. Since we each already have two tumblers each that we don’t use often, we asked the cabin steward if there were any other options. He found a couple of packing cubes so we took those instead.

There were two Platinum/Diamond parties on this ship—both on Friday afternoon. Passed around were mini sliders, sushi (too difficult to eat this way), and maybe one or two other things. Officers were present as was Emma and a few others. A nice party and it was held where the Comedians perform. I believe Diamonds had an additional party earlier in the cruise.

Back in NYC (Diamond/Platinum) Walk off-Debarkation began at 7:30am and was quick and easy.

Ports:

Due to the impending storm we changed up ports—Portland was first instead of Boston, which was great because it was a beautiful day in Portland. Note the walk to excursions is quite far. We booked the Portland Schooner excursion directly and enjoyed the 2 hours sailing. The cruise line also books this and puts it with a land excursion. Wandered the waterfront area and enjoyed a very good lobster roll in one place and then ice cream at Beal’s. It was a lovely sailaway since it was sunny and water was calm. Lots of little islands in this area.

Boston. Weather wasn’t great but at least it wasn’t raining. We walked past Harpoon brewery and then stopped at Yankee Lobster for a lobster roll—another delicious one. Passed the Bacon Truck on the way and wished I hadn’t eaten the whole lobster roll since I’ve heard about this truck and wanted to try out something with bacon, but I was too full. Continued on our walk along the waterfront eventually ending up at the Marriott Long Wharf. Another nice sailaway. Aviation enthusiasts will enjoy where the ship docks—across the waterway from the airport. It was very cool watching the planes coming in.

Saint John. We were going to rent a car and go to the Fundy Trail to hike, but it was so foggy we walked by Avis and told them we’re not going to take the car. We’ve learned not to prepay these rentals. As we walked along the Harbor Passage trail the fog lifted and sun came out! Then came back and walked along restaurant row. Ended up eating at Grannan’s and the lobster roll was just ‘eh. Smaller than expected and since the pieces were chopped up so fine I have to wonder what else was in with the lobster. Enjoyed another Canadian favorite—Moosehead light lime beer. Wandered in the mall and found the dollar store (thanks for pointing this out Jeff!). Lots of good stuff. I got what I went there for—Canadian snack called Ringolos. Yum. And a few soda cans for about .75 each. Good deal. Stopped by Steamers where fellow CC's Jeff & Leesa got a lobster roll and free beer for wearing Steamers’ shirts. Love that a bagpiper played for our sailaway! We saw whales as we were about an hour out from the port. So cool!

Halifax. For some reason we got in late (though it was not far from Saint John) and debarkation was delayed quite a bit. Our first stop was Atlantic Superstore for a few of my favorite Canadian foods and of course some maple syrup. At their bakery there were pieces of chocolate cake to sample. YUM! Then dropped the stuff off back at the ship and took a taxi to the end of the waterfront. No judgments—we had walked 14K steps per day till that point! Enjoyed a lobster roll at Dave’s. Note Dave’s doesn’t honor currency exchange rates—so if you are charged $20CAD and pay with cash USD $20, you don’t get any change. The US rate today is about $15.20 for the $20CAD, so we overpaid for ours. Still, the heated lobster was fabulous. Just wandered around a bit more, tapped into the free wifi to post a few pics, and slowly made our way back to the ship. Note there is a Hertz rental place on the road across the street from the port—the side that faces the Westin hotel. Also Thrifty/Dollar rental at the Westin.

Random thoughts:

-Don’t like that you can’t view your account on the tv, but I like that it’s on the Carnival app. You can print one out at the kiosk.

-Bring hangers if you want to hang skirts or shorts, etc. Not sufficient hangers for us.

-I love that this class of ship still has lifeboats tucked in so you can see straight down to the water.

-Wish it had a lower deck that went all around the ship.

-Loved the towel animals.

-Remember the forward outside viewing decks on 7 and 8. Love it up there.

-Mini golf on the top deck

-Ropes course!

-Bath towels were not bleached enough. Many had stains on them. Not appealing.

-Fan of the outdoor movies.

-Waterslides!

Loved the 70s disco party and wished it was longer than an hour

In summary: We liked the ship a lot and had a great time on this cruise.
mizLORInj’s Full Rating Summary
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