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We had been looking forward to this cruise for sooooo long. It was the first one for my husband and the second one for me (although mine was 20 years ago on the no longer existing Big Red Boat). Unfortunately, was not a very good experience for either one of us and will definitely not go back on this one. Cons: *Embarkation was a nightmare! The parking and the walking just to get to the building to check-in should have been our first red flag *Not impressed with the food at all. I can't imagine that Guy Fieri would put his stamp of approval on the burgers. *Buffet ran out of food during peak dining hours at breakfast, lunch & dinner *Not enough help at the food stations, especially the Pizzeria. I felt really bad for that one poor guy trying to keep up with all the pizza orders. *You are encouraged to purchase spa services, excursions, drink packages, etc. online. However, the inclusion of gratuity is not consistent so we were unpleasantly surprised by a $50 gratuity added to our spa service that we had pre-ordered online. *If you pre-order spa services online, they are cheaper but at that point you don't have an itinerary so it is easy to book at an inconvenient time. *NOTHING started on time! Our safety meeting was 45 minutes late which meant we were late leaving port. Both of our spa services were 30 minutes late. Bingo never started on time. Everything was hurry up and wait. *Smoking only allowed in a small section on Deck 10. Well guess what? Parents taking their children to the child activity centers have to walk right through that area. REALLY? *Yes, you can smoke in some areas of the casino and we found out from fellow cruisers that there is a very small area you can smoke in on Deck 3, but the staff doesn't tell you that. *Did you know that the shops aren't open when you are in any port? We didn't. Wasn't fun to run out of cigarettes and have to wait almost 3 hours to purchase some more. *They stop bar service at 5:00 PM on Deck 10 every day. Why? *We did casual photos on board one evening. At each background, we asked if we would be able to purchase portraits of different sizes and were told yes. Went to purchase photos and 8X10 was all that is available for those photo shoots. *Our first massages ever were in the Cloud 9 Spa. I was not impressed. After they talked us into upgrading our service and then charged us incorrectly, they kept trying to push products even after us telling them politely no thank you several times. I had so many sore spots on my back for several days that I flinched when my husband would find one. *The itinerary and app featured a preview of a new, rare color changing gemstone that was going to be featured on board. The sign sat outside of the jewelry store every day. The day/time of the event, we went to check it out only to find out that the jewelry never made it on the ship. Ok, so why would you keep physically putting the sign out every day? *After we got back on board from Half Moon Cay, activities were very lacking. Couldn't they have at least had a DJ on the Lido deck? *They ask you to settle your Ship & Sign account on Day 4. So, they have 2 people working guest services - 2! Spending almost 2 hours in line to dispute charges on your account definitely does not help with the fact that you were already really disappointed with the entire experience. Pros: *We were allowed to board before our scheduled check in time *We were upgraded to a Cloud 9 Spa balcony room which was amazing and had a great location. Our room steward, Jimi was awesome! *Loved the heated seats in the Thermal Suites *We had a cabana at Half Moon Cay. So worth it (even though our cabana was the only one that wasn't ready when we got there). Half Moon Cay was absolutely stunning and having the cabana to go back to to cool off and relax was perfect! The cabanas have air conditioning, ceiling fan and a misting fan. You are provided with a huge bag of tortilla chips, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, veggie and fruit trays, 2 large water bottles, 2 sodas per person, snorkel gear, water floats, an outdoor shower, 2 lounge chairs and a table with 4 chairs. *We pre-ordered the Cheers drink package. Definitely worth it! *Disembarkation was a bit better. They did have shuttles that took you and your luggage (that you had to bring off the ship by yourself) from the ship to a midpoint in the parking lot. *The Epic Rock show was phenomenal! This is one not to miss! *We finally found the omelet station on Day 3 which helped make breakfast better. We did not eat in the dining room at all. Looked at the dining room menu each day and nothing sounded good. We tried most of the different food stations but weren't overly thrilled with any of them - the food quality or the service. For first time cruisers, the lack of communication and direction was very disappointing. Unfortunately, I can't give this experience more than a 2 out of 10. Extremely disappointed overall!

Won't Do Carnival Sunshine out of Charleston Ever Again!

Carnival Sunshine Cruise Review by LLemke

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2019
  • Destination: Bahamas
  • Cabin Type: Spa Balcony
We had been looking forward to this cruise for sooooo long. It was the first one for my husband and the second one for me (although mine was 20 years ago on the no longer existing Big Red Boat). Unfortunately, was not a very good experience for either one of us and will definitely not go back on this one.

Cons:

*Embarkation was a nightmare! The parking and the walking just to get to the building to check-in should have been our first red flag

*Not impressed with the food at all. I can't imagine that Guy Fieri would put his stamp of approval on the burgers.

*Buffet ran out of food during peak dining hours at breakfast, lunch & dinner

*Not enough help at the food stations, especially the Pizzeria. I felt really bad for that one poor guy trying to keep up with all the pizza orders.

*You are encouraged to purchase spa services, excursions, drink packages, etc. online. However, the inclusion of gratuity is not consistent so we were unpleasantly surprised by a $50 gratuity added to our spa service that we had pre-ordered online.

*If you pre-order spa services online, they are cheaper but at that point you don't have an itinerary so it is easy to book at an inconvenient time.

*NOTHING started on time! Our safety meeting was 45 minutes late which meant we were late leaving port. Both of our spa services were 30 minutes late. Bingo never started on time. Everything was hurry up and wait.

*Smoking only allowed in a small section on Deck 10. Well guess what? Parents taking their children to the child activity centers have to walk right through that area. REALLY?

*Yes, you can smoke in some areas of the casino and we found out from fellow cruisers that there is a very small area you can smoke in on Deck 3, but the staff doesn't tell you that.

*Did you know that the shops aren't open when you are in any port? We didn't. Wasn't fun to run out of cigarettes and have to wait almost 3 hours to purchase some more.

*They stop bar service at 5:00 PM on Deck 10 every day. Why?

*We did casual photos on board one evening. At each background, we asked if we would be able to purchase portraits of different sizes and were told yes. Went to purchase photos and 8X10 was all that is available for those photo shoots.

*Our first massages ever were in the Cloud 9 Spa. I was not impressed. After they talked us into upgrading our service and then charged us incorrectly, they kept trying to push products even after us telling them politely no thank you several times. I had so many sore spots on my back for several days that I flinched when my husband would find one.

*The itinerary and app featured a preview of a new, rare color changing gemstone that was going to be featured on board. The sign sat outside of the jewelry store every day. The day/time of the event, we went to check it out only to find out that the jewelry never made it on the ship. Ok, so why would you keep physically putting the sign out every day?

*After we got back on board from Half Moon Cay, activities were very lacking. Couldn't they have at least had a DJ on the Lido deck?

*They ask you to settle your Ship & Sign account on Day 4. So, they have 2 people working guest services - 2! Spending almost 2 hours in line to dispute charges on your account definitely does not help with the fact that you were already really disappointed with the entire experience.

Pros:

*We were allowed to board before our scheduled check in time

*We were upgraded to a Cloud 9 Spa balcony room which was amazing and had a great location. Our room steward, Jimi was awesome!

*Loved the heated seats in the Thermal Suites

*We had a cabana at Half Moon Cay. So worth it (even though our cabana was the only one that wasn't ready when we got there). Half Moon Cay was absolutely stunning and having the cabana to go back to to cool off and relax was perfect! The cabanas have air conditioning, ceiling fan and a misting fan. You are provided with a huge bag of tortilla chips, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, veggie and fruit trays, 2 large water bottles, 2 sodas per person, snorkel gear, water floats, an outdoor shower, 2 lounge chairs and a table with 4 chairs.

*We pre-ordered the Cheers drink package. Definitely worth it!

*Disembarkation was a bit better. They did have shuttles that took you and your luggage (that you had to bring off the ship by yourself) from the ship to a midpoint in the parking lot.

*The Epic Rock show was phenomenal! This is one not to miss!

*We finally found the omelet station on Day 3 which helped make breakfast better.

We did not eat in the dining room at all. Looked at the dining room menu each day and nothing sounded good. We tried most of the different food stations but weren't overly thrilled with any of them - the food quality or the service. For first time cruisers, the lack of communication and direction was very disappointing. Unfortunately, I can't give this experience more than a 2 out of 10. Extremely disappointed overall!
LLemke’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
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Cabin Review

Spa Balcony
Cabin 8T 12025
Loved our Spa Balcony cabin. Our room steward, Jimi was awesome!
Deck 12 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Half Moon Cay
    We had a cabana at Half Moon Cay. So worth it (even though our cabana was the only one that wasn't ready when we got there). Half Moon Cay was absolutely stunning and having the cabana to go back to to cool off and relax was perfect! The cabanas have air conditioning, ceiling fan and a misting fan. You are provided with a huge bag of tortilla chips, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, veggie and fruit trays, 2 large water bottles, 2 sodas per person, snorkel gear, water floats, an outdoor shower, 2 lounge chairs and a table with 4 chairs.
    View All 12,467 Half Moon Cay Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Half Moon Cay Cruise Port Review
  • Nassau
    We just walked around the shopping district. However, we found out from another passenger that there was a tour bus for $30 each that took you to many sites on the island, including some lesser known shopping spots with really good deals.
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