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3/16 to 3/24 West Indies cruise to Turks & Caicos, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts & St. Maartin (9 day). The ship was a lesson in contrasts. Overall, I prefer to take the smaller, older classes of cruise ships over the new mega-ships because I find the crowds more manageable. The Carnival Sunshine fills this desire perfectly. Sections of the boat are a bit dated and you can still feel the 1990's original construction in the common area, the casino, the small pool sizes and the bathrooms/staterooms. It's all very clean and in good repair, just feels like a well broken in decor all around. We stayed in cabin 7174, which is a U-type suite, for three people (My Wife and I and our seven year old). The room was spacious with a nice vanity area and a balcony overlooking the water around mid-ship. The only complaint about the cabin is the location with regard to special events and evening entertainments in the common room on deck 3. We turn in early and were kept awake most nights until after 11:00 pm.. Bring foam ear plugs. Thank God I did. Dining was actually better than I expected. I thought overall the dining rooms had better quality and tasting food than Royal Caribbean's mega-ships. That really surprised me. The lido deck serves average breakfast and lunch fare with the only complaint being a lack of variety with the same basic choices (especially breakfast). Tip: Visit the alchemy bar near the coffee shop next to the casino for a more un-crowded breakfast and lunch dining option. The main dining room had very good quality food and we had six pm dining. We did go to Fahrenheit 555 for dinner one night but wasn't impressed. My Wife's lobster tails were char grilled and burnt and my steak was average. We found a hair in one of the gummies that came with the "Chef's Art at the Table" dessert and couldn't eat it. When brought to staff's attention, nothing was done, so we left. The entertainments and activities were good, except for the lounge singers hired for the common area. The solo guitarist was always flat (cringe worthy vocals dude) and the Cheech and Chong looking duo were likewise awful. As to the daily activities, you'll just have to explore and find your own path. They were all good: Ocean club, the waterworks, the serenity pool deck, movie nights, magic show, comedians, main performers and Mikey the cruise director held it all in check. The service is excellent and the staff will go to great lengths to spoil you and make sure you're having a good time. We fell into a slightly scary experience with a tween-ager that was on the pool deck without adult supervision. My Wife and I had noticed the girl before at many of the events we'd taken our own daughter to (build a bear, ocean club, etc..) and she was oddly always alone with no parents in sight. Long story short, the girl slipped walking down the stairs from the hot tubs to the pool deck and whacked her head very hard against the steps (fell backward). Her towel and personal things were right next to me and she sat down very dazed and confused. Several parents and grandparents immediately asked if she was our daughter (she wasn't) and how they'd witnessed her fall, and after she failed to respond to our questions, we called cruise emergency 911. A nurse and the hospital wing staff arrived about a minute later, thoroughly questioned the adults that had witnessed her fall, realized she was probably concussed and safely moved her to a wheelchair to wheel her down to medical for further treatment and observation. I hope the girl was okay, we never did find out how she was but she was in good hands. I'd hate to see her parent's medical bill for it but the kid was fairly neglected by their absence for the cruise up to that point. Kudos to the medical staff for a fast response. We availed ourselves of excursions in three of the four ports, skipping San Juan for just a margarita at Senior Frogs and a walk up and down the port park. At Turks and Caicos, we took the glass bottomed boat tour and beach break and that was amazing. Beautiful unspoiled reefs and iced blue waters on a beautiful beach afterward. Free rum punch on the boat tour put all of us in a good mood. In St. Kitts, we did the rain forest 4x4 island tour and beach break. The rain forest area was full of monkeys and the elevated views of both sides of the island were breathtaking. The beach break was short (only an hour) and we spent it at the bar getting lunch. The last excursion we booked was the air conditioned bus tour in St. Maartin with lunch/beach break. Our driver showed us the level of devastation caused by Irma and Louis and both the French side and the Dutch side were totally ruined, but the French side on the Atlantic got it so much worse. Rebuilding continues but expect to see the remains of a horrible hurricane history. The driver stopped at a French side market to let us shop, then took us to a private beach near the airport (not the famous airport landing strip beach but very near it). Lunch was amazing (snapper) and there was an expansive crescent shaped ice blue water beach for us to swim in. Beautiful. Tips: Mid ship cabins around the common room elevators on deck 3 are a lot louder than you'd think for noise. Book fore or aft midship and you should have quiet. I'd totally book this cruise again.

The good, the great and the not-so-ugly

Carnival Sunshine Cruise Review by Aiptasia904

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
3/16 to 3/24 West Indies cruise to Turks & Caicos, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts & St. Maartin (9 day).

The ship was a lesson in contrasts. Overall, I prefer to take the smaller, older classes of cruise ships over the new mega-ships because I find the crowds more manageable. The Carnival Sunshine fills this desire perfectly. Sections of the boat are a bit dated and you can still feel the 1990's original construction in the common area, the casino, the small pool sizes and the bathrooms/staterooms. It's all very clean and in good repair, just feels like a well broken in decor all around.

We stayed in cabin 7174, which is a U-type suite, for three people (My Wife and I and our seven year old). The room was spacious with a nice vanity area and a balcony overlooking the water around mid-ship. The only complaint about the cabin is the location with regard to special events and evening entertainments in the common room on deck 3. We turn in early and were kept awake most nights until after 11:00 pm.. Bring foam ear plugs. Thank God I did.

Dining was actually better than I expected. I thought overall the dining rooms had better quality and tasting food than Royal Caribbean's mega-ships. That really surprised me. The lido deck serves average breakfast and lunch fare with the only complaint being a lack of variety with the same basic choices (especially breakfast). Tip: Visit the alchemy bar near the coffee shop next to the casino for a more un-crowded breakfast and lunch dining option. The main dining room had very good quality food and we had six pm dining. We did go to Fahrenheit 555 for dinner one night but wasn't impressed. My Wife's lobster tails were char grilled and burnt and my steak was average. We found a hair in one of the gummies that came with the "Chef's Art at the Table" dessert and couldn't eat it. When brought to staff's attention, nothing was done, so we left.

The entertainments and activities were good, except for the lounge singers hired for the common area. The solo guitarist was always flat (cringe worthy vocals dude) and the Cheech and Chong looking duo were likewise awful. As to the daily activities, you'll just have to explore and find your own path. They were all good: Ocean club, the waterworks, the serenity pool deck, movie nights, magic show, comedians, main performers and Mikey the cruise director held it all in check.

The service is excellent and the staff will go to great lengths to spoil you and make sure you're having a good time. We fell into a slightly scary experience with a tween-ager that was on the pool deck without adult supervision. My Wife and I had noticed the girl before at many of the events we'd taken our own daughter to (build a bear, ocean club, etc..) and she was oddly always alone with no parents in sight. Long story short, the girl slipped walking down the stairs from the hot tubs to the pool deck and whacked her head very hard against the steps (fell backward). Her towel and personal things were right next to me and she sat down very dazed and confused. Several parents and grandparents immediately asked if she was our daughter (she wasn't) and how they'd witnessed her fall, and after she failed to respond to our questions, we called cruise emergency 911. A nurse and the hospital wing staff arrived about a minute later, thoroughly questioned the adults that had witnessed her fall, realized she was probably concussed and safely moved her to a wheelchair to wheel her down to medical for further treatment and observation. I hope the girl was okay, we never did find out how she was but she was in good hands. I'd hate to see her parent's medical bill for it but the kid was fairly neglected by their absence for the cruise up to that point. Kudos to the medical staff for a fast response.

We availed ourselves of excursions in three of the four ports, skipping San Juan for just a margarita at Senior Frogs and a walk up and down the port park. At Turks and Caicos, we took the glass bottomed boat tour and beach break and that was amazing. Beautiful unspoiled reefs and iced blue waters on a beautiful beach afterward. Free rum punch on the boat tour put all of us in a good mood. In St. Kitts, we did the rain forest 4x4 island tour and beach break. The rain forest area was full of monkeys and the elevated views of both sides of the island were breathtaking. The beach break was short (only an hour) and we spent it at the bar getting lunch. The last excursion we booked was the air conditioned bus tour in St. Maartin with lunch/beach break. Our driver showed us the level of devastation caused by Irma and Louis and both the French side and the Dutch side were totally ruined, but the French side on the Atlantic got it so much worse. Rebuilding continues but expect to see the remains of a horrible hurricane history. The driver stopped at a French side market to let us shop, then took us to a private beach near the airport (not the famous airport landing strip beach but very near it). Lunch was amazing (snapper) and there was an expansive crescent shaped ice blue water beach for us to swim in. Beautiful.

Tips: Mid ship cabins around the common room elevators on deck 3 are a lot louder than you'd think for noise. Book fore or aft midship and you should have quiet.

I'd totally book this cruise again.
Aiptasia904’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Ocean Suite
Cabin OS 7174
U shaped spacious suite with Jacuzzi tub, full vanity, two closets, dresser drawers, king size bed and a child's sofa sleeper. Very nice balcony with chairs. The mini-fridge was a plus because i'm a diabetic and needed cold insulin storage.
Deck 7 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Grand Turk
    Beautiful sunny clear day gliding over beautiful coral reefs. We saw parrotfish, triggerfish, lionfish, puffers, stingrays, lobsters, two sea turtles, conchs, jellifish, etc.. The boat ride is about an hour and a half with free rum punch for adults. The beach afterwards is beautiful. No crowds with plenty of umbrella beach chairs to choose from. Bar and restaurant were on site. A very pleasant and relaxing tour.
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  • San Juan
    We'd all been to San Juan, Puerto Rico, so we picked this port of call for our on board "everyone is off the ship" day at the pool. We did get off and walk over to Senior Frogs, then around the harbor park to photograph the statues and shop the local trinket merchants. If you go here, definitely check out the forts (we have one just like it in St. Augustine) or drive out to the rain forest tour.
    View All 3,707 San Juan Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Jeep Tour
    A 4x4 jeep tour of the rain forest, panoramic island views, the Atlantic side of the island and the port town of St. Christopher. This was a great tour to see how the islanders live, their resources in the rain forest which is one of the few rain forests in the world actually expanding to envelop old sugar cane lands and panoramic views of the island's main bays on both sides. Free rum punch samples, water and fruit juices for the kids. Our driver Joseph was excellent and even let me ride shotgun next to him so i'd have more leg room (i'm tall). He showed us and explained many things about how the people live on the island and what natural plants were available in the rain forest for various illnesses. The tour ended with an hour long beach break at a private beach, which was a little too short to really enjoy the beach area (which was nice). We spent it at the bar getting cokes and lunch for our seven year old. This is more of an adult activity to learn about the islanders, the history of St. Kitts and the rain forest. If you like that sort of thing, it'll be right up your alley. If not, pick a different excursion.
    View All 20 Jeep Tour Reviews
  • Island Tour
    We booked the air conditioned Bus Island tour with lunch and beach break. This was a fascinating tour of both the Dutch side and the French side of St. Maarten. The island was literally leveled by hurricane Louis in the 1960's and again by Hurricane Irma in 2017. We're talking level five hurricane direct strike devastation with the French side on the Atlantic taking the most damage. The wealthy are able to rebuild and you can see construction projects going on in several resorts. The poor, not so much, and the remains of horrible destruction remain everywhere you look. It's very sad but people's homes and whole towns are recovering. As a Florida resident that had the eye of Irma pass directly over my house as a level three storm, I can testify that it takes time to heal from hurricanes. The driver was funny and drove us to the French side's lower quarter (Spanish town area) to an outdoor tourist market. We shopped for an hour or so then boarded the bus again for the more expensive areas. Eventually, we wound up near the beach at the end of the airport runway, turned down a side street and drove to a more private beach and restaurant. The beach here was beautiful, ice blue and full of sea grass groves. A previous night's storm had pushed sea grass up on the beach and the swim was a little grassy, but quite cooling and comfortable. We had a lunch of fresh caught red snapper and drank more free rum punch all day. Quite a nice excursion for all ages. Did I mention air conditioned bus?
    View All 359 Island Tour Reviews