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Carnival Sunshine - I was on the Sunshine in January 2018, out of Port Canaveral and went to Aruba, Bonaire, and was planned for Grand Turk but got re-routed to Dominican Republic/Amber Cove (a nice stop) because of two medical issues. Though we couldn’t snorkel at Amber Cove, l I thought the island was beautiful, the shopping area looked brand new and there is a very nice resort area with swimming, chairs, zip lines, and a sky bar on the side of the hill with great views. The locals were extremely friendly, I’ve been to other islands where that’s not always the case. No hard sells. Aruba - Didn’t think the island itself was all that interesting looking, lot of construction going on too. We took a bus to Boca Catalina beach, and snorkeled from there. It was great fun. The bus ride is 2.50 or 2.60 per ride, cash only. Tell the driver where you want to get off and ask where to wait for the return bus. Way cheaper than a cab and a good way to see the island like a “local”. Bonaire - Gorgeous lush island. Shopping areas near pier, interesting jewelry and other items. Locals very friendly. We took a snorkel trip on a Sailboat with Compass. It was amazing. Only about 15 people on the boat, the captain shared LOTS of info about Bonaire, as well as other islands..she was funny, and interesting hearing about how her life got her to Bonaire. The crew were wonderful...after snorkeling there was an open bar and free snacks. It was an amazing trip and they posted pics on their facebook page to view when we got home. Ship Layout - To me it felt like whenever you were in public areas, it was quite congested. Pool area, waiting in lines, Bar areas where the activities took place. There was no mid-deck you could walk all the way around the ship. Deck three was the only outside deck for passengers (except the top of the ship) and you could only walk back and forth on the deck, not around. We wandered onto deck 5 which DID go all the way around but an officer came out and told us it was crew only. NO INSIDE SIGNS ON THE DOOR SAYING THAT! There was a very short wrap around deck up top in the sports area. Atrium - there was a huge round bar in the atrium, the area was very nice and conducive to fun and interacting. The Cruise Director held group activities there. Serenity Area - top deck, adult only, comfy chair options, bar service. Clam shell seats were nice but the cushions kept sliding off! Think they needed fixing. A very small pool, really not a pool, more like a hot tub sized hole with a waterfall that fed into it. Pretty, but not really functional. HAVANA BAR = We spent lots of time here for meals and just hanging out. Very nice spot. Food - We ate two times in main dining room, both times the meal was hot and delicious, and service was very good..waitstaff and hostesses great. We did Anytime Dining and lined up to sign up for a time and a beeper. The system seemed to work well. It was a good idea to have the podium on a different deck than the dining room so not everyone was hanging around outside the dining room, and there really weren’t any close by bars for people to hang out nearby while waiting. There were premium items on the menu like prime rib, filet mignon that you paid 20.00 for, don’t think I’ve ever seen that on a cruise menu before this. Buffet food was usually hot and good, though I felt that the selection was quite limited compared to other ships I’ve been on. Entertainment -staff were really good. Lots of talent. The cruise director was everywhere and when he walked into an area, you knew that fun would follow. The two shows we saw were very good, and could be because the themes (70’s and 80’s rock and Studio 54/Disco era) appealed to the average age group (in other words, we were all old!). But costuming, singing, choreography were all excellent. Main stage theater - smaller than I’ve seen on other ships, but side seating and balconies provided good viewing. The floor seating was movable chairs, not your regular theater seating so not much of an angle on the floor, in other words if you are short, you can’t see over the heads in front of you....just sit in the side seating that is raised. But the movable seating and smaller sized theater turned out to be a great way for entertainment staff to turn it into an intimate experience. The magician’s act, though interesting, felt like a big advertisement for his land shows and to sell his DVDs. Not impressed. The comedy club seating is weird like others have said, some seats wrap around the sides into the back of the room so you can’t see the stage. We got there 1 hour early to get preferred seats. When you left the earlier show, the line was enormous waiting to get into the theater for the next show. Comedians were pretty good. Piano Bar - It was the best piano bar experience I’ve ever had. The piano man had a great, dry sense of humor and knew how to read the audience. He handled an obnoxious group really well...BRAVO DUDE! Cabin - We had inside cabins on deck one. Clean and comfy. No fridge, no ice bucket, had to ask for one, my sis and hubby were next door, asked for one several times but never got it. No Hair Conditioner or moisturizer provided and no conditioner in the ship store, so bring yours! There were shampoo and gel dispensers in the shower and one small bar of soap. Shower curtain too short...floor got soaked. I clipped some clothespins on the bottom to hold it down and it seemed to help. There was a chair in my cabin, but none in my sister’s cabin...only the bed, end table, and a small bench for the vanity. Cabin stewards were good, quick and kept the cabin nice, always pleasant. Morning Room Service came on time, sometimes earlier than time requested, but that’s okay! Room service menu had some free items, but lots of items you had to pay for like pizza, wings, etc. Got the garlic parmesan wings on the last night and they were delicious. That being said, let me provide some not so great things: Casino - I can’t believe it but smoking is allowed “at the bar” (that’s a joke). It was horrible, people were walking through with their shirts over their faces. The smoke drifted out of the casino into outer areas and even down the steps to lower levers. It was just awful, and you had to walk through the casino to get to preferred areas. The only way to avoid it was to go down or up a deck and go around. Pool - this had to be the world’s smallest cruise ship pool. Kids loved it, but when an adult got in it, they looked like an adult in a kiddie pool...definitely no swimming! Lots of people leaving towels on chairs and disappearing, and the chairs have to be the most uncomfortable I’ve ever experienced. Weird angle, no cushions, smashed up against each other with no room for space in between to get up and down unless you moved to an upper deck. Activites - There were the usual trivia sessions which I no longer go to. People just get so competitive and it feels too much like work! Some game activities took place we went to watch but nothing spectacular...we kept ourselves busy during the day and sometimes at night playing cards and games from the library, and relaxing and reading. Buffet - limited selection - but there is a deli counter and pizza counter as well in the area. Try Havana bar for breakfast as well as lunch, the italian place and JiJi’s (or something like that) a mongolian food line, are there and are free for lunch and very good. Staff - Most were very friendly. But an unusual number of not so friendly, downright rude staff. Guest Services, Piano Bar bartender and waiter, and the Deli worker (a woman) in particular were awful...distant, not friendly or kind. It often felt like they were tired of having tourists on the ship... Cabin TV selection - I know many will say “you’re not there to watch tv!!!!” but here goes. There was very limited selection of channels..and the same movies ran all week, but they didn’t run continually...it think a movie started every couple hours and in between it was a constant repeat of previews for those movies, over and over and over and over again :) There were some channels with old sitcoms. And a few news channels of course. Other than the cruise related channels that’s it. And my sister’s TV in the cabin next door, didn’t even have all of the channels...weird. Embarking - You are issued a specific time to embark. We had 12:30 and waited to get to the port until then. It was packed! So I have no idea how that was supposed to work. Disembarking - Had to get out of cabin HOURS ahead of time to get off of ship...but I know this is usually the most uncomfortable parts of a cruise. IN SUMMARY: Any time on a cruise is better than being at work! We had a wonderful time, ate some good food, visited some nice islands, did some great snorkeling, enjoyed some good shows. Will I do another Carnival? Maybe. Will I do this ship again, probably not. There are enough other ships out there to explore and this ship did not do anything to make me want to try it again, it didn’t really ADD anything to our experience like other ships have.

Good cruise overall - ship average

Carnival Sunshine Cruise Review by itchintogo

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Carnival Sunshine - I was on the Sunshine in January 2018, out of Port Canaveral and went to Aruba, Bonaire, and was planned for Grand Turk but got re-routed to Dominican Republic/Amber Cove (a nice stop) because of two medical issues. Though we couldn’t snorkel at Amber Cove, l I thought the island was beautiful, the shopping area looked brand new and there is a very nice resort area with swimming, chairs, zip lines, and a sky bar on the side of the hill with great views. The locals were extremely friendly, I’ve been to other islands where that’s not always the case. No hard sells.

Aruba - Didn’t think the island itself was all that interesting looking, lot of construction going on too. We took a bus to Boca Catalina beach, and snorkeled from there. It was great fun. The bus ride is 2.50 or 2.60 per ride, cash only. Tell the driver where you want to get off and ask where to wait for the return bus. Way cheaper than a cab and a good way to see the island like a “local”.

Bonaire - Gorgeous lush island. Shopping areas near pier, interesting jewelry and other items. Locals very friendly. We took a snorkel trip on a Sailboat with Compass. It was amazing. Only about 15 people on the boat, the captain shared LOTS of info about Bonaire, as well as other islands..she was funny, and interesting hearing about how her life got her to Bonaire. The crew were wonderful...after snorkeling there was an open bar and free snacks. It was an amazing trip and they posted pics on their facebook page to view when we got home.

Ship Layout - To me it felt like whenever you were in public areas, it was quite congested. Pool area, waiting in lines, Bar areas where the activities took place. There was no mid-deck you could walk all the way around the ship. Deck three was the only outside deck for passengers (except the top of the ship) and you could only walk back and forth on the deck, not around. We wandered onto deck 5 which DID go all the way around but an officer came out and told us it was crew only. NO INSIDE SIGNS ON THE DOOR SAYING THAT! There was a very short wrap around deck up top in the sports area.

Atrium - there was a huge round bar in the atrium, the area was very nice and conducive to fun and interacting. The Cruise Director held group activities there.

Serenity Area - top deck, adult only, comfy chair options, bar service. Clam shell seats were nice but the cushions kept sliding off! Think they needed fixing. A very small pool, really not a pool, more like a hot tub sized hole with a waterfall that fed into it. Pretty, but not really functional.

HAVANA BAR = We spent lots of time here for meals and just hanging out. Very nice spot.

Food - We ate two times in main dining room, both times the meal was hot and delicious, and service was very good..waitstaff and hostesses great. We did Anytime Dining and lined up to sign up for a time and a beeper. The system seemed to work well. It was a good idea to have the podium on a different deck than the dining room so not everyone was hanging around outside the dining room, and there really weren’t any close by bars for people to hang out nearby while waiting.

There were premium items on the menu like prime rib, filet mignon that you paid 20.00 for, don’t think I’ve ever seen that on a cruise menu before this.

Buffet food was usually hot and good, though I felt that the selection was quite limited compared to other ships I’ve been on.

Entertainment -staff were really good. Lots of talent. The cruise director was everywhere and when he walked into an area, you knew that fun would follow. The two shows we saw were very good, and could be because the themes (70’s and 80’s rock and Studio 54/Disco era) appealed to the average age group (in other words, we were all old!). But costuming, singing, choreography were all excellent.

Main stage theater - smaller than I’ve seen on other ships, but side seating and balconies provided good viewing. The floor seating was movable chairs, not your regular theater seating so not much of an angle on the floor, in other words if you are short, you can’t see over the heads in front of you....just sit in the side seating that is raised. But the movable seating and smaller sized theater turned out to be a great way for entertainment staff to turn it into an intimate experience.

The magician’s act, though interesting, felt like a big advertisement for his land shows and to sell his DVDs. Not impressed.

The comedy club seating is weird like others have said, some seats wrap around the sides into the back of the room so you can’t see the stage. We got there 1 hour early to get preferred seats. When you left the earlier show, the line was enormous waiting to get into the theater for the next show. Comedians were pretty good.

Piano Bar - It was the best piano bar experience I’ve ever had. The piano man had a great, dry sense of humor and knew how to read the audience. He handled an obnoxious group really well...BRAVO DUDE!

Cabin - We had inside cabins on deck one. Clean and comfy. No fridge, no ice bucket, had to ask for one, my sis and hubby were next door, asked for one several times but never got it. No Hair Conditioner or moisturizer provided and no conditioner in the ship store, so bring yours! There were shampoo and gel dispensers in the shower and one small bar of soap. Shower curtain too short...floor got soaked. I clipped some clothespins on the bottom to hold it down and it seemed to help. There was a chair in my cabin, but none in my sister’s cabin...only the bed, end table, and a small bench for the vanity.

Cabin stewards were good, quick and kept the cabin nice, always pleasant. Morning Room Service came on time, sometimes earlier than time requested, but that’s okay!

Room service menu had some free items, but lots of items you had to pay for like pizza, wings, etc. Got the garlic parmesan wings on the last night and they were delicious.

That being said, let me provide some not so great things:

Casino - I can’t believe it but smoking is allowed “at the bar” (that’s a joke). It was horrible, people were walking through with their shirts over their faces. The smoke drifted out of the casino into outer areas and even down the steps to lower levers. It was just awful, and you had to walk through the casino to get to preferred areas. The only way to avoid it was to go down or up a deck and go around.

Pool - this had to be the world’s smallest cruise ship pool. Kids loved it, but when an adult got in it, they looked like an adult in a kiddie pool...definitely no swimming!

Lots of people leaving towels on chairs and disappearing, and the chairs have to be the most uncomfortable I’ve ever experienced. Weird angle, no cushions, smashed up against each other with no room for space in between to get up and down unless you moved to an upper deck.

Activites - There were the usual trivia sessions which I no longer go to. People just get so competitive and it feels too much like work! Some game activities took place we went to watch but nothing spectacular...we kept ourselves busy during the day and sometimes at night playing cards and games from the library, and relaxing and reading.

Buffet - limited selection - but there is a deli counter and pizza counter as well in the area. Try Havana bar for breakfast as well as lunch, the italian place and JiJi’s (or something like that) a mongolian food line, are there and are free for lunch and very good.

Staff - Most were very friendly. But an unusual number of not so friendly, downright rude staff. Guest Services, Piano Bar bartender and waiter, and the Deli worker (a woman) in particular were awful...distant, not friendly or kind. It often felt like they were tired of having tourists on the ship...

Cabin TV selection - I know many will say “you’re not there to watch tv!!!!” but here goes. There was very limited selection of channels..and the same movies ran all week, but they didn’t run continually...it think a movie started every couple hours and in between it was a constant repeat of previews for those movies, over and over and over and over again :) There were some channels with old sitcoms. And a few news channels of course. Other than the cruise related channels that’s it. And my sister’s TV in the cabin next door, didn’t even have all of the channels...weird.

Embarking - You are issued a specific time to embark. We had 12:30 and waited to get to the port until then. It was packed! So I have no idea how that was supposed to work.

Disembarking - Had to get out of cabin HOURS ahead of time to get off of ship...but I know this is usually the most uncomfortable parts of a cruise.

IN SUMMARY: Any time on a cruise is better than being at work! We had a wonderful time, ate some good food, visited some nice islands, did some great snorkeling, enjoyed some good shows. Will I do another Carnival? Maybe. Will I do this ship again, probably not. There are enough other ships out there to explore and this ship did not do anything to make me want to try it again, it didn’t really ADD anything to our experience like other ships have.
itchintogo’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin 4A
Inside Deck one - Clean and comfy. No moisturizer or hair conditioner, but there was shampoo and bath gel dispensers in shower.
Deck 1 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins