Carnival Sunshine Review

Fall Break Cruise on the Carnival Sunshine

Review for the Bahamas Cruise on Carnival Sunshine
User Avatar
MistyRo76
10+ Cruises • Age 40s

Rating by category

Cabin
Family
Value for Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Fitness & Recreation
Service

Additional details

Sail Date: Oct 2023
Cabin: Balcony
Traveled with children

Traveling on this cruise was myself, my husband and our 9 year old daughter. We booked this as a fall break cruise. Since it was fall break, the ship was sold out and there were a lot of kids onboard. But it seemed that everyone was well behaved. We had two issues of kids running down the hall outside our cabin late at night. But it wasn't any prolonged or excessive. Here's a quick breakdown of our cruise:

Charleston - We had never cruised from Charleston before, but absolutely loved it! Embarkation was quick and easy! You give your checked bags to the porter before you even park your car. Once you get to the check-in building, everything seemed to run really quickly and smoothly. You do have to take a shuttle to the terminal building once boarding starts. But that is also quick and easy. Once boarding started, we were on the ship within 10-15 minutes. Debarking took a bit longer, but it wasn't too painful. One of the best things about cruising from Charleston were all the dolphins! There were dolphins everywhere around our ship and we loved watching them swim and play while in port.

Food - I thought the food was great! We really didn't have anything that was bad. We had the free pasta bar twice for lunch - it was outstanding! We also did Blue Iguana once for lunch. For dinner, we ate in the main dinning room 4 of the 5 nights. Service was great and quick. We had late dining and most nights we were done in an hour and 15 minutes or less. The other night we had a reservation at JiJi's Asian Kitchen. I highly recommend trying JiJi's - it was easily the best meal we had on the ship! For breakfast, we did sea day brunch one morning. Food was good but service was very slow. We also did the Dr. Seuss breakfast our last sea day - food was awesome but service was also slow here! They do have several Dr. Seuss characters come in to pose for pics with the kiddos. I also ordered two party trays to be delivered to our cabin in the early evening on two nights. It was nice to have a little snack in our cabin. One tray was sushi and the other was mini desserts. This was a fully booked holiday cruise (fall break) so there were lines for food. Guy's Burgers always had a line, even late afternoon. But lines usually went quickly and seemed well organized.

Cabin Review

Balcony

We had cabin forward on Deck 7. This was a standard balcony cabin. The cabin has two twin beds which can be made into a king bed. The sofa was also made into a bed for our daughter. The cabin was great for 3 people. The beds were super comfortable. And the balcony was great! The bathroom was a little small, but it worked! With three people, storage may get a little tight. But again, we made it work. The location of the cabin was quiet. Deck 7 was great as it was only 2-3 deck down to most of the evening entertainment and 2 decks up to the pools and food during the day. The temp in the cabins ran a bit warmer than I would have a preferred, but it wasn't uncomfortable.

Port Reviews

Charleston

Charleston is awesome! We had never been to Charleston before, so we drove down 3 days early to explore the city. The dining, history, architecture and scenery in Charleston is amazing! During our time there, we spent several hours at Isle of Palms beach, did a harbor boat tour, toured Boone Hall Plantation, explored the city market downtown, did a carriage tour of downtown, walked to Rainbow Row, the Pineapple Fountain and waterfront. We had several amazing meals including ACME Lowcountry Kitchen and Page's Okra Grill. Both were outstanding!

We stayed at the Cambria Mount Pleasant and it was great! We had a one bedroom corner suite which had a sleeper sofa in the living room area for the kiddo and a separate bedroom for us. The location was great as we were only 15 minutes or less from most of the things we wanted to do in the area. The hotel has a nice pool, large workout area and small market in the lobby to purchase foods/drinks.

Nassau

I don't love Nassau. In fact, last time I cruised here, I stayed on the ship. But it had been along time since I've been to Nassau and the kiddo wanted to do a beach day. So, we got off the ship and walked about 15 minutes to Junkanoo Beach. The beach itself is free. If you want to just put a towel down on the sand and play in the water, you don't have to pay anything. But it was very hot that day, so we paid $40 for 2 beach loungers and an umbrella to give us some shade. The beach was very crowded and they pack those chairs in tight. I would recommend getting chairs further back than rows 1 or 2 as the waves were coming in and going under both of those rows. I saved many a flip flop that was being carried out by the receding water. The beach itself is nice - sand is smooth and not too rocky. The water was nice as well. The kiddo enjoyed playing on the beach and in the water. We also got lunch here. The staff just bring menus to your chairs and will deliver the food to you there as well. There really aren't any tables to sit and eat at. The food was also very expensive! We paid $70 including tip for a burger and fries, shrimp and rice, conch appetizer and two sodas. I feel like everything in Nassau is expensive compared to other ports. Day passes at resorts like Atlantis or Margaritaville would have cost the three of us $500 or more. After a few hours, we walked back to the ship. There are lots of local vendors all around trying to sell their goods or braid your hair. Most move on with a quick "no thank you".

Half Moon Cay

Half Moon Cay is amazing! It truly is one of the most beautiful beaches I've seen! You do have to take a tender boat to get from the ship to shore and back. It's only about a 5-7 minute ride, but it can be pretty rocky! We had booked a Cabana on HMC which allowed us to be in the first tender off the ship. We were on our way to HMC by 8:30AM.

When we first got on the Sunshine on embarkation day, we went straight to the shore excursions desk to pick out which cabana we wanted. I initially selected #9, but it was already taken, so we went with #10. Once we made it to shore, it was about a 7-8 minute walk either down the beach or on the road behind the beach to cabana #10. The location of cabana 10 was perfect! It was far enough away from the busyness of the port area and bars so it was mostly quiet, but it was still close to the food and there were restrooms right behind our cabana. The cabana was $499 when I purchased it and we split the cost with our friends. Shortly after I purchased this excursion, the cost went up to $699! For what we paid, I thought it was so worth it! We had a nice shady spot to keep our stuff. There was a round dining table w/ four chairs and two sun loungers in the cabana. Half of the cabana is covered and half is not. There is a ceiling fan and standing fan to help keep cool. The cabana also comes with four sets of snorkel gear and four floating mats to use in the water. They also stock it with snacks (fruit and veggies with dip and chips, salsa and guac) and soads/waters. There are also towels in the cabana to use so you don't have to bring yours from the ship. At the front of the cabana is an outdoor shower to rinse off with. The cabana is only steps from the beach, so we were able to sit and relax and watch the kiddos play or enjoy time in the water ourselves.

We also booked the stingray excursion for us and our daughter. You check in for the excursion at the information desk at the main part of the port area. Then they take you by open air shuttle to the backside of the island where the stingray lagoon is. You are given snorkel gear (masks, fins, breathing tube) and water shoes and are led down the ramp to the lagoon entrance. Once in the lagoon area (which is fenced so the rays and fish are contained there), you can swim around and look at all the rays and fish. Then the guide gets everyone in a circle where she comes around with a ray and you can pet, feed, and kiss it. You also get to handle conch shells with live conch inside and a sea cucumber. For the $49 pp price, it was a great tour!

After the stingray excursion, we walked back to our cabana and hung out until it was time for lunch. There is a buffet lunch served in the food pavilion. We walked over and made up several plates to take back to our cabana to eat. There is salad, fruit, burgers, hot dogs, jerk chicken, sides, and desserts. There are also drink stations with water, tea, lemonade and juice.

After lunch, we spent the rest of the afternoon in the water enjoying the beautiful day! Our cabana attendant had asked earlier in the day what time we would be heading back to the ship. We told her probably 2:45. Last tender was at 3:30. At 2:45, she came back and told us a shuttle would pick us up on the road behind the cabana and drive us back to the port area. This was a great extra perk that I wasn't expecting. There wasn't much of a line for the tenders when we arrived and it went quickly! We were back on the ship in no time.

6 Helpful Votes
previous reviewnext review

Find a Carnival Sunshine Cruise from $409

Any Month

Get special cruise deals, expert advice, insider tips and more.By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

© 1995—2024, The Independent Traveler, Inc.