1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Carnival Sunshine
We thought of taking a Royal Caribbean cruise out of Baltimore, but doing so costs us a whole day at sea. I would rather take that day in a foreign port than at sea. Being from Tidewater, I truly appreciate the convenience of leaving from Norfolk. Plus, Grand Turk and Amber Cove, DR are new ports for us, another reason to take this cruise. We cruised last year on the Carnival Splendor so I would like to make some comparisons. One factor I noticed which was much different, in a very positive way, was that there was a marked decrease in the attempts to push liquor, jewelry and photographs. This created a more relaxed ambience. There was much less rowdiness on this ship, in fact, my fellow passengers seemed friendlier and more pleasant to be around. The engineering on this ship was much better as the Carnival Splendor had a sewer odor that could be quite pungent and unappealing. In fact, things like our showers and sinks, seemed to run perfectly. On the negative side, I really missed the live band and dedicated singers ( I think there were only five entertainers, as opposed to the twelve on the Splendor. Also, the service in the main dining room ( Sunset Restaurant) was good but not superior as it was on the Splendor. No problem with embarkation. Smooth and friendly. QUARTERS: Our cabins was outside window, Oceanview. Carnival ergonomics are excellent and we had plenty of room. We lacked a refrigerator but that did not bother us. However, one is allowed to bring on 12 soda cans ( no water bottles or green tea), so it would have been helpful to have them cold. It was my birthday and the decorations were very nice. Plus, a wonderful couple I know, left us a bottle of sparkling cider. The cabin was kept immaculately by our Steward. He was friendly and helpful. Only complaint was that the outside window was a bit dirty and should be cleaned. FOOD: Generally, I liked the food. I admit it is not nearly as good as it was 12 years ago when we took our first Carnival cruise, but there are highs and lows. Breakfast is fine The omelets are excellent, with short lines. Made to order. Oatmeal is well prepared. I love the soups, especially the cold soups. Their famed chocolate volcano melting cake is very good, though my wife does it better. I liked Guys burgers. Service is quick and friendly. The fries are similar to Five Guys, although appropriately about 1/5th as many since this is only One Guys. Burgers a bit greasy but I like greasy burgers. The Deli is very good. Real, non-pressed turkey. They also serve bagels and lox there. Another tip is the 4 cheese pizza. There is 24 hour pizza and this was a favorite of mine. Tips I learned about late: the Mongolian Wok and Cucina del Capitano, serve excellent food and are free for lunch. The lobster was good and one could eat as many lobster tails as one wants. Some of the meats less so. The Indian food choice at dinner is below mediocre. The desserts rather bland except the tropical fruit plate. Be sure to order this early in the cruise. For some reason, the fruit is super for the first few nights and then becomes less generous and more over-ripe later. The sea bass is very good. ENTERTAINMENT: As mentioned earlier, I miss the live band and dedicated singers and dancers. The dancers are very good dancers but average singers. Also, the first two nights the production shows, Playlist Productions, were a repeat from two years ago when we sailed on the Carnival Glory. The performers were better and I liked their vibrancy and enthusiasm, but the shows are a bit short and I do not like repetition. The best show was the Studio VIP production. The Epic Rock show was very good, but since my wife is a former Disco Queen we liked the Studio VIP show more. The visuals on the Epic Rock show are imaginative and stunning. The other two shows were a Latin show and a Motown show, but since we had seen the same shows two years ago, we would rank these below the others. I enjoyed the Cruise Director, Emma's enthusiasm and friendliness. Reading other reviews that found her "Hello lovlies" greetings irritating, I found it quirky and airy. She was not all over the ship and as funny as the previous Cruise Director on the Splendor, Kevin, but I think she handled her chores well and did a very good job. My wife and I like the trivia contests; if you like trivia contests this is the cruise for you. Musically, I think that the group Deja Vu was very good. Talented and a nice selection which matched the music of the Production show. A couple duo, Two of a Kind, was also very good. One major suggestion would be to PLAY CARIBBEAN MUSIC. If Carnival does not want to hire a reggae, soco or steel drum band, at least play this type of music when heading and traveling in the Caribbean music. We hear plenty of the usual American music back in the United States. I attended the Military Appreciation Gathering and thought this was very well down. There were a few WW II vets and it was interesting to see them. Some of the heart felt remarks by my fellow Vets were inspiring. We went to a number of the shows in the Punchliner Comedy Club. Get your seats early as the club fills up fast, though there always seems to be a seat on the sides. But better to see the comedian rather than view it on the TV's. Al Romero was our favorite and had my wife laughing hysterically. Chris Wiles and Spike Davis were also funny but not quite as funny as Mr. Romero. Two other shows in the Liquid Lounge included a hypnotist, Rich Gazzi, and a singer Consuela Ivy. Mr. Gazzi, who will be performing at the Funnybone in Virginia Beach. Is very amusing and his show was a of fun. He got the participants to do some amusing things. Some of the subjects seemed to be acting, and it seemed they really were not hypnotized, but otherwise, we enjoyed his show. Ms. Ivy is a dynamic and enjoyable singer with a great stage presence. We enjoyed her show. My only complaint , which is true with a number of entertainers, is the ceaseless efforts to get the audience involved.. I am a static sort of person, who comes to shows to be entertained; not to be a part of the show. She is immensely likable and and easy lady to listen to otherwise. My wife and I took a group dance class from Laura, one of the dancers. She taught us the cha-cha and was an excellent and friendly teacher, since I am not particularly graceful. Since it was my birthday, I indulged myself in a spa treatment. I signed up for the men's only package ( 60 minutes). The spa staff was gracious. The treatment included a Deep Cleanse Facial,Scalp, Neck and Shoulder Massage, a double shave and a Pressure Point hand and arm message. I was somewhat taken aback when the masseuse was a male, but it turned out to be better than my initial reluctance justified. My skin felt like a baby's when he was finished with me. The gym was more than adequate and never seemed crowded. However, it may take an effort to find a machine with a working television. Do not forget your headphones. EXCURSIONS: We took three excursions. All three I would recommend. Since we had been to the Bahamas and Atlantis, we chose the Sea and See Tour. We boarded a van which took us past a number of sites in Nassau, and viewed Parliament, the Governor's Mansion, the Supreme Court, Heffer's Sporting Good Store, and then to the famous Queen's Staircase, and Fort Fincastle. We then boarded a boat for an interesting tour along Pleasure Island. The tour was informative and humorous. We were taken to the Seaworld Explorer. The coral formations and interesting and beautiful schools of fish were astounding. The windows could have been clearer and cleaner though. Our second excursion was the best. CRYSTAL CAVE EXPEDITION AND CABARETE BEACH WITH LUNCH. We took an hour long trip to the Caves of Cabarete. The guide was excellent and re-assured my reluctant wife that she could descend into the cave. with a railing on one side and a rope on the other. The cave is small and difficult to navigate. Our flashlights helped us see some fascinating formations...our imaginations ran wild. We then were led on a tour of the flora of the area with a number of interesting medicinal trees. We then visited the world famous Cabarete Beach. The beach is gorgeous. The meal we enjoyed was the biggest surprise of the cruise. It was prepared gourmet style and far exceeded our expectations for lunch. I ordered sea bass which was a large and tasty portion. I would highly recommend this tour. The final excursion on Grand Turk, Coast to Coast Grand Turk Safari.This is a very thorough and enjoyable tour. However, though I regret not doing one of the snorkeling tours. ( My wife does not snorkel). There is a very nice free beach on both sides of the port. I noticed that many of the resorts were open but for sail. Grand Turk is a very nice island, the people are friendly so hopefully the economy will do better. It is English and is more like Bermuda than the other Caribbean islands. DEBARKATION: The ship was already badly delayed. There was a medical emergency which necessitated that the ship return to Nassau rather than head directly back from Grand Turk. Debarkation was very slow. Perhaps, this was due to terrorist fears since Virginia, New York and Texas were dubbed as targets the day before elections. All in all we enjoyed the cruise very much. We thought the ship seemed to be in good condition and we noticed the ship was constantly being cleaned. We hope other lines will use Norfolk as a port to increase our choices, but until then, we will stick with Carnival.

Enjoyable as Usual

Carnival Sunshine Cruise Review by spotsadog

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We thought of taking a Royal Caribbean cruise out of Baltimore, but doing so costs us a whole day at sea. I would rather take that day in a foreign port than at sea. Being from Tidewater, I truly appreciate the convenience of leaving from Norfolk. Plus, Grand Turk and Amber Cove, DR are new ports for us, another reason to take this cruise.

We cruised last year on the Carnival Splendor so I would like to make some comparisons. One factor I noticed which was much different, in a very positive way, was that there was a marked decrease in the attempts to push liquor, jewelry and photographs. This created a more relaxed ambience. There was much less rowdiness on this ship, in fact, my fellow passengers seemed friendlier and more pleasant to be around. The engineering on this ship was much better as the Carnival Splendor had a sewer odor that could be quite pungent and unappealing. In fact, things like our showers and sinks, seemed to run perfectly. On the negative side, I really missed the live band and dedicated singers ( I think there were only five entertainers, as opposed to the twelve on the Splendor. Also, the service in the main dining room ( Sunset Restaurant) was good but not superior as it was on the Splendor.

No problem with embarkation. Smooth and friendly.

QUARTERS: Our cabins was outside window, Oceanview. Carnival ergonomics are excellent and we had plenty of room. We lacked a refrigerator but that did not bother us. However, one is allowed to bring on 12 soda cans ( no water bottles or green tea), so it would have been helpful to have them cold. It was my birthday and the decorations were very nice. Plus, a wonderful couple I know, left us a bottle of sparkling cider. The cabin was kept immaculately by our Steward. He was friendly and helpful. Only complaint was that the outside window was a bit dirty and should be cleaned.

FOOD: Generally, I liked the food. I admit it is not nearly as good as it was 12 years ago when we took our first Carnival cruise, but there are highs and lows. Breakfast is fine The omelets are excellent, with short lines. Made to order. Oatmeal is well prepared. I love the soups, especially the cold soups. Their famed chocolate volcano melting cake is very good, though my wife does it better. I liked Guys burgers. Service is quick and friendly. The fries are similar to Five Guys, although appropriately about 1/5th as many since this is only One Guys. Burgers a bit greasy but I like greasy burgers. The Deli is very good. Real, non-pressed turkey. They also serve bagels and lox there. Another tip is the 4 cheese pizza. There is 24 hour pizza and this was a favorite of mine. Tips I learned about late: the Mongolian Wok and Cucina del Capitano, serve excellent food and are free for lunch. The lobster was good and one could eat as many lobster tails as one wants. Some of the meats less so. The Indian food choice at dinner is below mediocre. The desserts rather bland except the tropical fruit plate. Be sure to order this early in the cruise. For some reason, the fruit is super for the first few nights and then becomes less generous and more over-ripe later. The sea bass is very good.

ENTERTAINMENT: As mentioned earlier, I miss the live band and dedicated singers and dancers. The dancers are very good dancers but average singers. Also, the first two nights the production shows, Playlist Productions, were a repeat from two years ago when we sailed on the Carnival Glory. The performers were better and I liked their vibrancy and enthusiasm, but the shows are a bit short and I do not like repetition. The best show was the Studio VIP production. The Epic Rock show was very good, but since my wife is a former Disco Queen we liked the Studio VIP show more. The visuals on the Epic Rock show are imaginative and stunning. The other two shows were a Latin show and a Motown show, but since we had seen the same shows two years ago, we would rank these below the others.

I enjoyed the Cruise Director, Emma's enthusiasm and friendliness. Reading other reviews that found her "Hello lovlies" greetings irritating, I found it quirky and airy. She was not all over the ship and as funny as the previous Cruise Director on the Splendor, Kevin, but I think she handled her chores well and did a very good job.

My wife and I like the trivia contests; if you like trivia contests this is the cruise for you.

Musically, I think that the group Deja Vu was very good. Talented and a nice selection which matched the music of the Production show. A couple duo, Two of a Kind, was also very good.

One major suggestion would be to PLAY CARIBBEAN MUSIC. If Carnival does not want to hire a reggae, soco or steel drum band, at least play this type of music when heading and traveling in the Caribbean music. We hear plenty of the usual American music back in the United States.

I attended the Military Appreciation Gathering and thought this was very well down. There were a few WW II vets and it was interesting to see them. Some of the heart felt remarks by my fellow Vets were inspiring.

We went to a number of the shows in the Punchliner Comedy Club. Get your seats early as the club fills up fast, though there always seems to be a seat on the sides. But better to see the comedian rather than view it on the TV's. Al Romero was our favorite and had my wife laughing hysterically. Chris Wiles and Spike Davis were also funny but not quite as funny as Mr. Romero.

Two other shows in the Liquid Lounge included a hypnotist, Rich Gazzi, and a singer Consuela Ivy. Mr. Gazzi, who will be performing at the Funnybone in Virginia Beach. Is very amusing and his show was a of fun. He got the participants to do some amusing things. Some of the subjects seemed to be acting, and it seemed they really were not hypnotized, but otherwise, we enjoyed his show. Ms. Ivy is a dynamic and enjoyable singer with a great stage presence. We enjoyed her show. My only complaint , which is true with a number of entertainers, is the ceaseless efforts to get the audience involved.. I am a static sort of person, who comes to shows to be entertained; not to be a part of the show. She is immensely likable and and easy lady to listen to otherwise.

My wife and I took a group dance class from Laura, one of the dancers. She taught us the cha-cha and was an excellent and friendly teacher, since I am not particularly graceful.

Since it was my birthday, I indulged myself in a spa treatment. I signed up for the men's only package ( 60 minutes). The spa staff was gracious. The treatment included a Deep Cleanse Facial,Scalp, Neck and Shoulder Massage, a double shave and a Pressure Point hand and arm message. I was somewhat taken aback when the masseuse was a male, but it turned out to be better than my initial reluctance justified. My skin felt like a baby's when he was finished with me.

The gym was more than adequate and never seemed crowded. However, it may take an effort to find a machine with a working television. Do not forget your headphones.

EXCURSIONS: We took three excursions. All three I would recommend. Since we had been to the Bahamas and Atlantis, we chose the Sea and See Tour. We boarded a van which took us past a number of sites in Nassau, and viewed Parliament, the Governor's Mansion, the Supreme Court, Heffer's Sporting Good Store, and then to the famous Queen's Staircase, and Fort Fincastle. We then boarded a boat for an interesting tour along Pleasure Island. The tour was informative and humorous. We were taken to the Seaworld Explorer. The coral formations and interesting and beautiful schools of fish were astounding. The windows could have been clearer and cleaner though.

Our second excursion was the best. CRYSTAL CAVE EXPEDITION AND CABARETE BEACH WITH LUNCH. We took an hour long trip to the Caves of Cabarete. The guide was excellent and re-assured my reluctant wife that she could descend into the cave. with a railing on one side and a rope on the other. The cave is small and difficult to navigate. Our flashlights helped us see some fascinating formations...our imaginations ran wild. We then were led on a tour of the flora of the area with a number of interesting medicinal trees. We then visited the world famous Cabarete Beach. The beach is gorgeous. The meal we enjoyed was the biggest surprise of the cruise. It was prepared gourmet style and far exceeded our expectations for lunch. I ordered sea bass which was a large and tasty portion. I would highly recommend this tour.

The final excursion on Grand Turk, Coast to Coast Grand Turk Safari.This is a very thorough and enjoyable tour. However, though I regret not doing one of the snorkeling tours. ( My wife does not snorkel). There is a very nice free beach on both sides of the port. I noticed that many of the resorts were open but for sail. Grand Turk is a very nice island, the people are friendly so hopefully the economy will do better. It is English and is more like Bermuda than the other Caribbean islands.

DEBARKATION: The ship was already badly delayed. There was a medical emergency which necessitated that the ship return to Nassau rather than head directly back from Grand Turk. Debarkation was very slow. Perhaps, this was due to terrorist fears since Virginia, New York and Texas were dubbed as targets the day before elections.

All in all we enjoyed the cruise very much. We thought the ship seemed to be in good condition and we noticed the ship was constantly being cleaned.

We hope other lines will use Norfolk as a port to increase our choices, but until then, we will stick with Carnival.
spotsadog’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Carnival Sunshine price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Ocean View
Cabin 6A 1501
The ergonomics are excellent and we did not feel cramped. The shower and sinks worked very well and the bed was relatively comfortable.
Deck 1 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews