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Embarkation was effortless. We had a friend drop us at the port. We have Platinum status, went to the designated area, and we were on the ship in fifteen minutes. It was easy. We took our luggage with us, so I can’t comment on luggage delivery. Our cabin was available when we boarded, so there were no issues. The lunching venues were limited, despite the email telling us where to go, but we made it up to the Lido and had Mongolian Barbeque before we left port. The life boat drill was brutal. I understand that SOLAS requires that the drills are held, but this one was long, hot, and poorly organized. The length was probably due to the passengers that decided to skip the experience, as they were announced over the PA system repeatedly. After the drill, we found air-conditioning, had a drink, and loved the world again. The Sunshine is a special ship. Launched as the Destiny, she was impressive in 1996. I saw her in Miami during Christmas that year, and was amazed. She was the first cruise ship over 100,000 tons. We were sailing on Royal Caribbean that trip, but the ship’s profile was impressive. We never had the privilege to sail on the Destiny. The Sunshine rocked. After a 2013 refit and renovation, the ship seems new. I’ve been on the larger boats in the fleet, but this one seems so well engineered. In the refit, Carnival added over 200 staterooms, taking space from the Promenade deck and adding balcony accommodations above the spa. The increased passenger accommodation made the ship crowded at times, but we found ways around that. The Red Frog Pub was always underpopulated. Our cabin was one of the new ones added in the 2013 refit. We were all the way aft on Deck 5. We were close enough to all the festivities on the Promenade deck, but the location was quiet. We had an outside cabin with a king bed and a nice couch from which to watch TV. We had a refrigerator and sufficient electrical connections. The bathroom, while smaller than those on the Fantasy class, was adequate and met our needs. The storage was about what you would expect, and sufficient for an extended trip. Cabin steward Michael was spot on for the duration. In reading the reviews prior to cruising, I was concerned with how the meal service would rate. I can honestly say, that both in the dining room and the extra fee venues, food was fantastic. We had asked for late seating but were given My Time Dining, which I really don’t understand. Denisa was able to switch us to the late seating. We ate in the dining room the first night and were well attended by Jose, Pikulthong, Mackbeth, and Maurice. The food was excellent and service was attentive. The following night we dined in the steak house. While not as impressive a space on Sunshine compared to other ships, the food was the excellent standard we’ve come to expect. The third night we at in the Cucina del Capitano. The Italian food was tremendous, and our server, Brandon, was one of the best we’ve had anywhere. The next night I had JiJi’s Asian, and it too was amazing for the minimal upcharge. I would highly recommend all dining venues. The only one I didn’t try was Bonsai Sushi, but other passengers seemed to enjoy it. The only entertainment we attended were two comedy shows. As previously mentioned, the ship has been expanded to accommodate more quests in less public space than originally designed. Accordingly, some venues are very crowded. The comedy shows were packed. Lines started queuing a half hour before the shows for seating. We don’t like lines on vacation so stood for each show. The forward theater also doubled as a night club, which I found interesting. The musical performances we attended were all great. All were talented. The piano bar was fun. The player/singer was funny and entertaining. Most of the bars offer some sort of live music. The day we were in Amber Cove, we were total losers and didn’t get off the ship until 2:30. We had planned to take a cab into Puerto Plata, but found out that it was a $40 investment each way for the 15- minute drive. We didn’t feel like spending the money for the short time we would have had in town, so had a snack and drinks in the port. The port is nice. Similar to ports like Falmouth, the cruise lines have developed a retail village. It was enjoyable. In Grand Turk, we actually showed some motivation and took an excursion. My wife had injured her foot before the cruise, so we were pretty much stuck with the invalid friendly tours. We took a two-hour open-air bus tour of the island. There is not a whole lot on Grand Turk. It’s interesting from a historical perspective, with the Airforce and Navy presence, but the island is small. The wild donkeys were nice. We stopped in one spot long enough to get some cracked conch for lunch. Disembarkation was simple. We stayed in the cabin until we were basically kicked out. We got off the ship around 9:30. The lines for customs and immigration were long, but moved quickly. A friend picked us up at the port and we were on our way in about half an hour total. In summary, I would enthusiastically recommend Carnival Sunshine. The ship is unique within the fleet and there’s something special about it. The crew seemed to be the happiest I’ve seen lately, so they are definitely doing something right.

My New Favorite Ship

Carnival Sunshine Cruise Review by Shipbeaux

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Embarkation was effortless. We had a friend drop us at the port. We have Platinum status, went to the designated area, and we were on the ship in fifteen minutes. It was easy. We took our luggage with us, so I can’t comment on luggage delivery. Our cabin was available when we boarded, so there were no issues. The lunching venues were limited, despite the email telling us where to go, but we made it up to the Lido and had Mongolian Barbeque before we left port.

The life boat drill was brutal. I understand that SOLAS requires that the drills are held, but this one was long, hot, and poorly organized. The length was probably due to the passengers that decided to skip the experience, as they were announced over the PA system repeatedly. After the drill, we found air-conditioning, had a drink, and loved the world again.

The Sunshine is a special ship. Launched as the Destiny, she was impressive in 1996. I saw her in Miami during Christmas that year, and was amazed. She was the first cruise ship over 100,000 tons. We were sailing on Royal Caribbean that trip, but the ship’s profile was impressive. We never had the privilege to sail on the Destiny. The Sunshine rocked. After a 2013 refit and renovation, the ship seems new. I’ve been on the larger boats in the fleet, but this one seems so well engineered. In the refit, Carnival added over 200 staterooms, taking space from the Promenade deck and adding balcony accommodations above the spa. The increased passenger accommodation made the ship crowded at times, but we found ways around that. The Red Frog Pub was always underpopulated.

Our cabin was one of the new ones added in the 2013 refit. We were all the way aft on Deck 5. We were close enough to all the festivities on the Promenade deck, but the location was quiet. We had an outside cabin with a king bed and a nice couch from which to watch TV. We had a refrigerator and sufficient electrical connections. The bathroom, while smaller than those on the Fantasy class, was adequate and met our needs. The storage was about what you would expect, and sufficient for an extended trip. Cabin steward Michael was spot on for the duration.

In reading the reviews prior to cruising, I was concerned with how the meal service would rate. I can honestly say, that both in the dining room and the extra fee venues, food was fantastic. We had asked for late seating but were given My Time Dining, which I really don’t understand. Denisa was able to switch us to the late seating. We ate in the dining room the first night and were well attended by Jose, Pikulthong, Mackbeth, and Maurice. The food was excellent and service was attentive. The following night we dined in the steak house. While not as impressive a space on Sunshine compared to other ships, the food was the excellent standard we’ve come to expect. The third night we at in the Cucina del Capitano. The Italian food was tremendous, and our server, Brandon, was one of the best we’ve had anywhere. The next night I had JiJi’s Asian, and it too was amazing for the minimal upcharge. I would highly recommend all dining venues. The only one I didn’t try was Bonsai Sushi, but other passengers seemed to enjoy it.

The only entertainment we attended were two comedy shows. As previously mentioned, the ship has been expanded to accommodate more quests in less public space than originally designed. Accordingly, some venues are very crowded. The comedy shows were packed. Lines started queuing a half hour before the shows for seating. We don’t like lines on vacation so stood for each show. The forward theater also doubled as a night club, which I found interesting. The musical performances we attended were all great. All were talented. The piano bar was fun. The player/singer was funny and entertaining. Most of the bars offer some sort of live music.

The day we were in Amber Cove, we were total losers and didn’t get off the ship until 2:30. We had planned to take a cab into Puerto Plata, but found out that it was a $40 investment each way for the 15- minute drive. We didn’t feel like spending the money for the short time we would have had in town, so had a snack and drinks in the port. The port is nice. Similar to ports like Falmouth, the cruise lines have developed a retail village. It was enjoyable.

In Grand Turk, we actually showed some motivation and took an excursion. My wife had injured her foot before the cruise, so we were pretty much stuck with the invalid friendly tours. We took a two-hour open-air bus tour of the island. There is not a whole lot on Grand Turk. It’s interesting from a historical perspective, with the Airforce and Navy presence, but the island is small. The wild donkeys were nice. We stopped in one spot long enough to get some cracked conch for lunch.

Disembarkation was simple. We stayed in the cabin until we were basically kicked out. We got off the ship around 9:30. The lines for customs and immigration were long, but moved quickly. A friend picked us up at the port and we were on our way in about half an hour total.

In summary, I would enthusiastically recommend Carnival Sunshine. The ship is unique within the fleet and there’s something special about it. The crew seemed to be the happiest I’ve seen lately, so they are definitely doing something right.
Shipbeaux’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Ocean View
Cabin 6C 5335
Location was all the way aft on the Promenade Deck. It was convenient to everything. Being so far aft meant it was quiet. We had no noise issues despite the fact that we were over the dining room. The cabin was a nice size. We had a king bed, a sofa and table. There was plenty of storage. Bathroom was small, but functional.
Deck 2 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews