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Carnival Sunshine Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,369 Reviews

A waste of money

Carnival Sunshine Cruise Review by Lschad1

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jul 2019
  • Destination: the Bahamas
  • Cabin Type: Balcony

I chose this cruise because I had a pleasant experience with Carnival 2 years ago on the Carnival Liberty. I should have chosen another cruise line, the first trip seemed to be a one-off lucky good time.


The sunshine is dirty, tired, and cabins DO smell as reported in other reviews. The porter entered our room without permission, and with the DND tag hanging on the door on the first night of the trip. My 16 year old and I were both horrified. There was no explanation given for the mistake. When we boarded the ship and entered our cabin it smelled like foul body odor, carpets were stained, the bathroom was dirty. We thought it would be nice/special because I paid extra for the “Cloud 9 Spa Balcony Cabin”. Clearly a huge waste if money! I was also told by Carnival’s Customer Service when I booked the room that ALL Spa services were included with the cost of the cabin... Not true. Anything to make a sale I suppose, or horrible training of Carnival staff.


The 3 so called pools are tiny, dirty, and don’t adequately serve the number of passengers (approx 5,000). One of which is the waterslide landing pool, which is considered a “swimming pool” and advertised as such. We did not use any pool on-board the ship due to filthy conditions. Deck floors were sticky and filthy, all around gross environment.


The Charleston port was awful, like a state fair pole barn. Hot, foul smelling, and we were herded like cattle despite purchasing “Faster to the Fun”. Upon arrival it was awful, and departure was even worse. Employees were rude and acted as if we were not welcome. A shame because Charleston is beautiful... Apparently many people drive from Charlotte and other nearby locations to use this port. It is not managed professionally, it was extremely hot and everyone was moody.


The food was frankly terrible. The buffet food was dull, repetitive, and similar to school cafeteria food. Over or undercooked, cold, and ingredients were not posted. (I have food allergies). The saving grace was Guy’s Burger Joint. That was good, and I could trust it. Even the buffet desserts were awful. One fellow passenger chose chocolate cake and said to me “Well if I add a heap of chocolate sauce it might then taste like chocolate!”. We did not eat in any of the restaurants on-board for fear the food would be just as bad and we would have to pay extra for more bad food. Room service was also poor. Coffee was bad, half and half was delivered in a plastic cup. Simple chicken tenders from room service were over-cooked and non-edible.


The customer service was terrible onboard and on excursion shuttles. People were not friendly, there was no excitement in the air. It was dull because our hosts were dull. We were not treated as guests who in some instances paid a great deal of money for the cruise. Honestly it felt as if we were a burden that the staff didn’t want to deal with. We seemed to be an added chore. Our shuttle to Blue Lagoon Island was “ok”’on the way over. We were told we could return to Nassau at 1:15. We made sure to book our VIP Dolphin Swim early so we could go shopping before we had to board the ship. We waited in the heat for the 1:15 shuttle, but when it arrived the captain advised he was not transporting anyone until 2:15. At least 100 people were in line, and we asked why. He simply said the shuttle was cancelled, we had to wait. After many people complained he relented and allowed us to board. On the way back to port the music was blasted so loudly that we had to cover our ears, many of us complained with no resolution. Almost comical in hindsight, rows of passengers with our fingers in our ears! And again, the crew was very rude. By the time we got back to port we only had time to shop in the port shops, which are questionable at best. We didn’t feel safe, so we returned to the ship with no cool Nassau souvenirs. This was absolutely unacceptable.


In Charleston you can Uber to and from the airport for $40.00 total. The Carnival transportation is $30.00 per person per destination for a total of $120.00 for two passengers. The transport service was seriously disorganized. I paid for transportation from the airport to the ship, with the intention of price shopping Uber for the ride back to the airport. On my way to the airport (to get to Charleston) I called Carnival to make sure my transportation was lined up because I had received nothing in my cruise documents except a notation that I had purchased that “excursion”. The Customer Service employee told me I had not purchased transportation. I advised I had my receipt in my hand, and tried to give her the confirmation number. She wouldn’t take the number and said my payment was not processed. She then told me to call the shuttle company! She gave me the number rather than calling herself. I proceeded to call them. I was told that my daughter and I were listed as confirmed passengers and that the Carnival employees were not trained properly on a new internal system. Needless to say, after price shopping we chose Uber for our trip back to the airport when we left after the cruise. Carnival charges MUCH TOO MUCH for airport to pier/ pier to airport shuttle service. They make you believe you “need” to purchase through them, paying exorbitant fees.


The Carnival Sunshine, as I said, is an old and tired ship. The employees act as if they are old and tired too. I consider this cruise to have been a huge waste of money, and will not ever cruise on this particular ship-if I even cruise Carnival-again. If I was offered a free cruise from Carnival via Charleston I would not accept because it was such an awful experience. It is so disappointing when you look forward to, and pay for a trip that is meant to create meaningful memories, and walk away with this. A whole lot of nothing except shoppers remorse.


Price shop ALL cruise lines. They all have specials, don’t assume Carnival is all you can afford. The sunshine was basically a floating bar providing transportation to Nassau. Look at all of your options, I wish I had but was under the impression that I was getting a good deal because I am a VIPF member due to past cruises. Once I realized I had over-paid it was too late to cancel the trip. And most importantly, don’t cruise from Charleston, SC unless you are willing to deal with undesirable circumstances.

Lschad1's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 8A 12015

Stained carpet and smelled like the previous guests. Overwhelming stench of body odor and the bathroom was dirty. I paid more for a Cloud 9 Spa Balcony cabin and it was exactly the same as my balcony cabin on the Liberty, except it had 2 robes and 2 pairs of slippers. It was small as expected, nothing that justified the increased price I paid. Utterly disappointing!

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Blue Lagoon Dolphin Swim

This was amazing and the only part of this cruise that was superb. Our guide was amazing, knew our entire group by name after about 10 minutes. SHE can teach the rest of the bunch how customer service is supposed to be done.

View All 127 Blue Lagoon Dolphin Swim Reviews

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