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

Christmas At Sea

Carnival Sunshine Cruise Review by scliq

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Dec 2019
  • Destination: the Bahamas
  • Cabin Type: Spa Interior

Last year was our 1st Christmas without Mama. She was all about Christmas and had wanted to go on a 2019 Christmas Cruise. Sadly she passed in March 2019 and we were all depressed having Christmas without her at home. Not wanting to go through that again we decided this Christmas we were going to honor her and be at sea. It was her wish and it really helped us all.

We chose Carnival Sunshine 5 day Bahamas because it was the only cruise from Charleston during Christmas. This cruise was not about where it was going but from where and when.

We drove 2 1/2hrs to Charleston the day before not to have any added stress on the day of the cruise and stayed at the Mount Pleasant Suites since there were 5 adults and they have 2 bedroom with 2 bathroom suites for $89 a night. It was comfortable & clean. We would stay there again.

The day of cruise started badly. It was cold and raining. We got drenched waiting to get into 1st building then back outside and transported to a 2nd building. The only thing that made it good was thankfully we bought the FTTF. We sailed through both buildings and had no wait despite both buildings being full.we arrived at 11:30 and were in our cabin at 12! It was definitely worth buying.

Our spa cabins were literally at the front of the ship 11001 & 11003. Cabin 11001 is very nice for 2 people. It was a good bit bigger (longer) than 11003. They were the same width. I guess because of 11001 location on the end made it longer. Cabin 11003 was well used. There are stains on carpet and furnishings worn. I guess cabins that sleep 3 are probably used more.

Our cabin steward was Victor and he was nice but nothing special like I remember from past cruises years earlier. I have been on about 10 cruises but have not cruised in 10 years since Mama was diagnosed with Dementia. I was a little taken back when he asked me if I wanted morning OR evening cabin service. I asked if they don't do both anymore? He said yes they do so I told him both. We were always short a towel, took 2 days to get a 3rd robe and did not always replace wet pool towels or take drink glasses. Not sure if they supposed to anymore or not but had always years ago.

Our dining room assignments were not what I had requested and got confirmation for so I had to go speak to the Maitre D. Again, this was not the same as I recalled from previous cruises. It was a tad of a hassle with him telling me it was not their fault since our bookings were not linked and he did not have what I wanted. I offered to go get my phone and show him the email I got confirming and that the bookings were connected. Then he said I give you this and ask a couple to change theirs. I felt bad about that but I requested it in March and was confirmed. Either way I did not appreciate the hassle.

Thankfully, the 1st day was where the problems ended. The rest of the cruise was wonderfully and the rest of the staff especially our waiter Gennis was superb. We did tip him extra because he realized we liked cheese and fruit plates 1st and had them waiting for us when we got to the table. Nice to have something to nibble on while waiting to order. That is the kind of intuitive service I remembered.

Just a few miscellaneous notes....

Id rather have been on Spa Deck 10 because only 2 elevators go to 11.

I am not sure what the fuss is with Guy's Burgers. The fries were good but IMO the burger were greasy and tasteless. I attempted twice and same both times. Perhaps people don't make hand patted burgers at home? Yes, compared to McDonalds they are better but got a long way to go to be as goods as ones I have had.

I took suggestion from Cruise Critic forums and loved eating breakfast in the Havana Bar each AM. Getting the custom made omelet with sides (meats, Homefries, Pancakes & French Toast) at Cucina del Capitano and adding some Cheese and Guava pastries from the Havana bar. JiJi's Asian Kitchen also has the omelets but not the sides.

The only morning we didn't eat there was the sea day brunch. Which was good especially the skillet cake and filet mignon but the time it took I would have been just as happy at Cucina del Capitano.

For lunch I stuck with getting a soft chicken taco or taco salad at Blueiguana Cantina then walking it to Ocean Plaza and complimented it with some items at Ocean Plaza. One day they had Poblanos stuffed with chopped potatoes and cheese Delish!

Dinner...well the food was not what I remembered but I guess with the bigger ships and more people its hard. The food wasn't bad just not great. After the 1st night I mostly stuck with multiple appetizers, salad and desert. The apps were very good especially the Cannelloni, Prosciutto Ruffles & the Gazpacho's especially the strawberry one.

We did have the liquor package which we all got our monies worth. I did not want it but both my husband & 27yo daughter did. I thought it would be a waste for me since I don't drink a lot. However, 2 Mimosa's at breakfast, a Peach Daiquiri at lunch, 2 bottles of water in afternoon, 2 glasses of wine at dinner, a Vanilla milkshake spiked with Baileys after dinner and a drink at the show each night, a Hot Chocolate spiked with Baileys before bed did not at any point make me feel like i drank too much.

We enjoyed the Serenity section which was a plus to cruises now that we did not have years before.

Was disappointed with the Dance for St. Jude. There was only 2 dances after a very long wait for shirt sales. Then you could have just bought the shirt in the gift shop. They should have you register and pay for shirt in advance like the Green Eggs and Ham breakfast and make the event about Dancing for the kids.

The spa was nice but I don't plan to book a spa cabin again. The sea was just too rough being upfront and constant long walks and only 2 elevators. I went 3 days and signed up for 1 pilates class which the instructor did not show up for. Imo the perks were worth the minuses.

We went to Half Moon Cay after lunch so there was no crowds or lines. We swam and enjoyed the beach for about an hour. There was a line to get back to the ship but it moved fast.

We did not plan to get off at Nassau but decided to after breakfast to go to Graycliff so hubby could buy some cigars. Most were already off the ship so no lines again. We wished we hadn't bothered because it was Boxing Day and the parade, which was interesting to see, made taxi's not want to take us to Graycliff Hotel since it was not far but traffic not moving. In the past we had walked there but my hubby's foot was runover by a forklift and was unable to walk like that. Couldn't believe we could not find a single cab to take us so we just went back on ship.

The pools were not handicap friendly from what I saw. My sister had knee replacement and struggled with ladder only entry.

We were giving Luggage Tags #2 to disembark. However, with only a 2 1/2 hr ride home and not in any rush we exchanged for the last #25. Then we took our time enjoying breakfast in Havana bar (yes, you could get food there as usual although it was not listed on places to eat on the last day paperwork). After 2nd announcement for all remaining passengers we headed off the ship with no lines or wait until we got to our luggage.

There was a good line at customs but my husband got a porter and we sailed through customs and on shuttle with no wait. The $20 tip to porter was well worth it because no wait at all and I mentioned how thirsty I was and he surprised us by getting all 5 of us a cold bottle of water. My hubby gave him an extra $10 for having done that.

Well that is all I can remember that I wanted to share. If this info helped just 1 person then it was time well spent writing it. Hope you have a great cruise!

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Cabin Review

Spa Interior

Clean but carpet badly stained and furnishings well worn. It served its purpose but overall would not book again since front of ship is rough sailing and a walk to everywhere.

My sisters cabin #11001 was a nicer and bigger cabin.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


Had to stand in cold rain waiting to get in. We were not early just a long line. We were drenched.


Could not get a taxi to take us to Gray Cliff Estate. All told us too close you can walk there. Well my hubby's foot had been runover by a forklift so no he can not walk there.

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