Sail Date: April 2014
Hello. Let me start by saying that I am a avid cruiser and I choose to cruise with Carnival frequently. I am a Platinum member and love all the perks that come with it. I simply LOVE CARNIVAL. Well, this past cruise on the Carnival ... Read More
Hello. Let me start by saying that I am a avid cruiser and I choose to cruise with Carnival frequently. I am a Platinum member and love all the perks that come with it. I simply LOVE CARNIVAL. Well, this past cruise on the Carnival Sunshine was not as pleasant, as I wanted it to be. My husband and I were on the Carnival Sunshine last September on a Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona, Spain and the Spa cabin experience was beyond wonderful and that's why we chose to do the transitional cruise from New Orleans to Port Caneveral on the same ship this April 2014. I don't know what happened from then until now, but somethings need to be changed. Let me start by saying that the embarkation flow was great. The VIP lounge was superb! There was Coffee, OJ and lots of breakfast treats waiting for us. It's by far the nicest waiting lounge I've seen. Once we boarded, the problems began as soon as we got to our stateroom. As VIP Platinum guests our room was ready and once we entered the hall way there was this foul odor that smelled like sewage and as soon as we entered our room it was there too. Ugh... awful. My husband and I unpacked and figured we were docked and that the smell would eventually go away. Boy were we wrong. Well to continue with problems, the bathroom toilet in our stateroom was overflowing every single time we flushed and the door to our stateroom had to be slammed for it to lock. I went to Guest Services 2x and brought up the issues. The bathroom toilet and stateroom door was fixed by the 3rd day. We were hardly in our stateroom, most of the time anyway, so we figured things would get fixed quicker. The way Guest Services handled our complaints was not acceptable. By the 3rd day, they offered to move us to a room on a lower level with no fridge or nightstand and we would get 20% off our next cruise and the difference of the cabin rate from the current floor we were on to the lower floor. Totally unacceptable. We wanted to be moved to the same room as ours with all the amenites we currently had. Very simple, I believe. We didn't move our cabin and spent most of our time on the Serenity deck. Overall, this cruise expereince was mediocre. I would of rated it a 10 out of 10, if we were offered reasonable accommodations. Lucky were those that were moved and didn't have to deal with the issues. I was fortunate to have met some of those individuals and I know they too will be writing reviews. As of today, I am waiting to hear from Guest Care department at Carnival to see how we will be compensated. If this would of been my first cruise with Carnival, it definitely would of been my last one. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
As I sit on my balcony here in Saint Thomas, I laugh to myself. If you asked me three days ago how I felt about the Sunshine I wold have rated it 2/5. Since we have changed cabins our experience and comfort have increased. It's all ... Read More
As I sit on my balcony here in Saint Thomas, I laugh to myself. If you asked me three days ago how I felt about the Sunshine I wold have rated it 2/5. Since we have changed cabins our experience and comfort have increased. It's all relative. Our cabin we booked, 5346, was an aft extended balcony. Since day one we noticed a foul odor that smelt like grease and oil coming through our a/c vents. It came and went we didn't think it would be that big of a deal. Two days later it got considerably worst. The smell got so bad that my wife was forced to vomit several times. We called guest services and got the ball rolling on the process to fix the issue. It took three days to get to some kind of resolution. The odor/smell came without any warning . It happened dozens of times throughout the day and went on for days. Finally on day 6 they were able to move us to cabin 10114. And let e tell you it is night and day. The cabin smells wonderful because it is a cloud 9 cabin. Even the toilet has no foul odor. So if you asked me now how is my cruise experience onboard the Sunshine I would give it a 3.8/5, however there is still 3 days left on our cruise. We are still waiting for guess services to let us know what form and how much compensation we will receive for the days of inconvenience and price difference between the balconies. A small side note they made sure to inform us that we will not receive any cloud 9 amenities , let see if the compensation reflects that. Now on to the rest of this lovely ship. It is beautiful and the finishes are nice. A lot better than the Dream. The design actually makes sense. For example the hallways reflect the name of the ship unlike the Dreams'. As for food there is plenty and no long lines to contend with. At least none that we have seen. I have a lot more to talk about but it's time to enjoy the day the my family. I will update after our cruise. PS the gym is the best I've seen on any Carnival ship. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
Hi, we have been on over 70+ cruises and are not fussy people.We have enjoyed Carnival in the past and since this was going to Aruba and Curaco we thought okay it has just been revamped. This is the worst designed ship I have ever been on ... Read More
Hi, we have been on over 70+ cruises and are not fussy people.We have enjoyed Carnival in the past and since this was going to Aruba and Curaco we thought okay it has just been revamped. This is the worst designed ship I have ever been on - worse than the NCL Majesty after adding more cabins. They have added many cabins but have done things that even I can't understand. Jogging track goes over deck 10 smoking area (doesn't smoke rise?) Big slide in back but can't be used if wind is over 31 MPH (lots of sea days ship is moving and making wind?) Theatre seats face each other not the stage so you sit sideways to see the stage? Food was decent but never hot as the kitchen is quite the distance from dinning room up to 4th floor. Movies are old not one new movie was shown...(Goonies - really?) Smell on ship was bad in some areas and the elevators were so hot it was awful. Air conditioning only worked in some areas. Line, lines and more lines - to eat or see a show. Never again. If you smoke not a bar inside that you can have a drink and just relax - 3 stools in casino bar but really noisy. Rooms are funny - larger shower but toilet is now croocked and have to put one foot in shower to sit on toilet. No night stands and no chair or sofa . For a ship that had just been redone...phone didn't work, upper bunk came down and had to get mantenence to put back up, smells were awful Never again for us will we go on the sunshine or any other reconditioned ship. They just squeezed more cabins in to make more money - I'd rather pay a little mor and have a great vacation. You get what you pay for! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
Loved my vacation. We had a spa balcony cabin at the front of deck 10. You could definitely feel the movement more here than other cabins I have sailed in before. The room seemed a bit smaller than the other rooms but was decorated ... Read More
Loved my vacation. We had a spa balcony cabin at the front of deck 10. You could definitely feel the movement more here than other cabins I have sailed in before. The room seemed a bit smaller than the other rooms but was decorated beautifully. The cabin steward kept our room in tip top shape and emptied out the mini-fridge for us to store our own drinks. No room issues at all except the phone system did not seem to work properly for messages. I used the gym several days of the trip and it was very adequately furnished with quality equipment. The spa steam rooms were very nice to have access to, however I only used it the last night of the cruise. The ship itself was beautiful...loved all the décor in the public areas, cabins, and even the theater. With that said the theater is quite small, but we never had a problem getting some kind of seat for a show. (Although for a good one, we waited for an hour for Epic rock) The shows were AWESOME. The best shows I have seen on the ocean. I saw three... Epic Rock, Studio VIP (THESE TWO WERE GREAT!), and the Latin Nights show. The entertainment staff was great! Really enjoyed events hosted by Fernando...who could forget that laugh, and Alex was fun as the karaoke host!!! Jaime D was the best cruise director I have ever had. She was energetic, friendly, and all over the place. I might even put up with the horrible smell (the poop deck, as we came to call it) to cruise with Jaime D again! (I just read another review from someone who said she rarely saw her......HUH?!?!?) The food was overall pretty good. JiJi's was AMAZING for $12 per person...GO, don't think about it, GO!!! The Italian place was good, but JiJi's was better! Guys Burgers were quite yummy. The burritos at the Cantina were very good, too. (Both for breakfast and for lunch) The buffet could have had more choices each meal, but the food was pretty good. 24 hour pizza was good, too. The Havana Bar had lunch time snacks that were delicious, and not many people knew about them. Dining room food had plenty of choices and we had great service from Dan from Romania. Yes, we had to wait a couple of times for YTD, but no more than 35-40 minutes on formal night, and a few minutes at most the other nights. We also did the Chef's Table. What a terrific experience. We had a great tour of the galley, wonderful meal, entertainment from Spike the Table magician, and all the wine you could drink for $75 per person. Chef Sameer was very interactive and inquisitive on our opinions and experience throughout the entire meal. If you do this, go hungry!!!! As I said our only real complaint is that the smell could get pretty bad. Most days it was only on deck 3 and 4 near the Atrium, but one day it got so bad that it wafted up the atrium and we could smell it on deck 10 around the elevators. I never saw a bucket that so many people complained about on the boards. We did our own laundry twice. It is $3.00 per load per machine and you use your sign and sail card. No quarters needed. The sportscourt, ropes course, and waterslides were often closed. We had heavy winds a lot of our sea days. Did both ropes courses in Curacao while waiting to leave the port and they were fun but quite challenging. The waterslides finally opened on the last sea day and I got to try out all three of them and they were quite fun. Serenity deck was awesome, but it would be nice to have a couple of additional hot tubs up there. Our itinerary was fantastic. I would not go back to Montego Bay, but Curacao, Aruba, and St Thomas were quite beautiful and we enjoyed all three of those ports. We went river rafting in Jamaica, rented a car and did a Sunset Cruise with Jolly Pirates in Aruba, Snorkeled and shopped in Curacao, and Ziplined and toured the island in St Thomas. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
Loved the Sunshine - it has lots of fun things to do, like a pretty intense ropes course (try doing that while on a moving ship :). There is mini golf, great movies on the big screen on the Lido deck every night with free popcorn, and TONS ... Read More
Loved the Sunshine - it has lots of fun things to do, like a pretty intense ropes course (try doing that while on a moving ship :). There is mini golf, great movies on the big screen on the Lido deck every night with free popcorn, and TONS of deck chairs and even couches and hammocks and cool clamshell loungers in the adult Serenity are which is HUGE - 3 decks! They also had several great comedy acts - like a new comedian every night, and other great entertainment every day too. I am not big on Broadway style shows at all, been there and done that, so I was really happy that they instead have a creative bunch of shows in a more intimate setting. You won't find better food and more variety of food options than you will with Carnival. that is just a fact - whether you are a foodie or just enjoy comfort food. We have tried Royal Caribbean, and Carnival's food is honestly better - consistently too across 9 different cruises I have taken with them over the past 14 years. Norwegian did not have the quality or variety of Carnival either when we cruised with them to Hawaii. Then there is the staff Carnival employs. If you have ever sailed with Carnival you will know what I mean.They are international and that makes a huge difference. You have the chance to interact daily with staff members from all over the world, Romania, Bulgaria, France, Australia, Singapore, and on and on. And they consistently are upbeat, positive, and seem to genuinely enjoy helping you and will do whatever they can to make your stay pleasant. This has happened without fail on all 9 of our cruises with Carnival. The fun we have interacting with the employees is one of the reasons we stick with Carnival. On the other cruise lines we have sailed with you feel like you are in a cafeteria, with a corresponding generic type of service from the staff. There just isn't anything special about it. Love the ship. Love Carnival.   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
This was our 3rd cruise. We had read many bad reviews about the Sunshine, but we decided to book it anyhow because we know people will complain about the smallest things. Well, this time the bad reviews were right. The sewage smell on the ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise. We had read many bad reviews about the Sunshine, but we decided to book it anyhow because we know people will complain about the smallest things. Well, this time the bad reviews were right. The sewage smell on the 4th floor where the Picture gallery is was so bad at times, we couldn't go see our photos for a couple of days. Going down to the gangway to get off the ship in the ports was awful. You had to cover your nose from the awful smell. The food in the buffet was the same food everyday and not much of a variety at all. The dining room had a great menu selection every day and the service is always excellent. Also, on the top floor there are only lounge chairs. The only tables and chairs are in the eating areas. We didn't want to lay on loungers, we wanted to sit outside at a table with chairs. That might seem petty, but we are not sunbathers and we like to sit on chairs with a table so you can see. The service and staff were excellent as always. We didn't care for the Cruise Director. She didn't spend any time out on the pool deck area where there were a few activities. She hosted the game shows, the morning show and a few parties, but we didn't see her out and about. Not a big deal that she wasn't around I guess. The previous cruises we took, the CD was all over mingling with the guests. The thing that really topped it off was when the CD was hosting a game show, she made a joke about the missing Malaysian plane. NOT FUNNY. One of the contestants chose the plane for her Monopoly piece. When asked by the CD why she chose the plane, the girl replied " We flew in from San Diego and the airlines lost our luggage" The CD laughed and responded "well at least you didn't originate from Malaysia" Twice she made disrespectful comments about the Canadian flag. I guess it was an inside joke, but we didn't get it. It was rude and there were many Canadians on the ship. Lastly, there was a Murder Mystery. It was played out for about 8 days of the cruise. You had to get clues from the suspects and solve cryptograms. This took quite a bit of time to do. On the morning that the winner was to be announced, she decided that because so many people got the answer wrong, nobody got it right. She blatantly lied and said no one got it right. There were 2 correct conclusions. One was from a woman who entered 17 times (disqualified because we were only allowed one entry per cabin) The other was our family, but she would not admit it. What a waste of our time!!! So, it wasn't a terrible cruise because the service is good, the ship is clean and the rooms are clean, but I will never sail on the Sunshine again.   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
This was our 19 cruise 5 of which were on Carnival. This is the first one on the Carnival Sunshine. I, like others thought the negative reviews were just from people who had it in for Carnival for one reason or another. Well, we should ... Read More
This was our 19 cruise 5 of which were on Carnival. This is the first one on the Carnival Sunshine. I, like others thought the negative reviews were just from people who had it in for Carnival for one reason or another. Well, we should have taken the reviews to heart. The stateroom was an interior room and was actually larger than we thought it would be. We had several problems there... the shower curtain was to short and not wide enough to keep the water in the shower stall. We had a leak behind the toilet, reported it to the steward, never got fixed. What is with the toilet at an angle... very uncomfortable. Only one glass in the bathroom the whole time we were there, but there were 3 (fancy)water glasses in the stateroom, but no ice unless you requested it. That seemed weird to me. The room had no refrigerator, chair, or end table. We couldn't put our luggage under the bed, because there was another bed under there (both beds had stuff under them) Dining... I couldn't wait to have a hamburger at Guy's Burger Joint. They were so good on the Conquest. Not on the Sunshine, they were greasy and so were the fries. I was really disappointed. We scheduled anytime dining and this turned out fine for us, we love to eat early. The wait staff was very good but seemed over worked, food was usually room temperature by the time we got served. We were always seated at the rear of the restaurant near the windows. This would have been fine but it was always so very warm back there. The A/C could not keep up with the sun hitting the windows. We always asked to share a table and many times were left alone while diners that showed up later got to share. We love to meet new people. The tables were really crowded together. It seemed that they added tables in the place of former isles. Elevators... The elevators near the galley were really hot, guess the galley doesn't have great ventilation. There always seemed to have at least one elevator out of service. Some of the elevators had lighted numbers over the door that didn't work or were burned out. You didn't know if the elevator was going up or down. Entertainment... The refurbished Liquid Lounge was a mess. We went to one show and one party. We sat in the seats going up to the next floor. The rows were so narrow, the waiter had to hand your drinks down person to person. Once we went to a seminar by Mikeylive... it was interesting. The moveable chairs were a problem. The people in front of the first place we wanted to sit had pushed their chairs back so they would be comfortable. One problem, the row behind them had no leg room and I mean NO legroom. They were touching the chairs behind them!!! So we sat in one of the couches on the side. Of course we were not facing forward so this was uncomfortable. The Limelight Lounge was another thing. We had our Meet and Greet there. We were told to be there at certain time, when we arrived we were told the Shopping program was going to make our Meet and Greet an hour late... this caused a problem for lots of people... we had not gone to lunch because we didn't want to be late... then the only option we had was to go to the buffet or pizza... This area was entirely so small. We never went to the Comedy Club, we didn't want to be squeezed in like sardines. Pools.... my husband went to use the hot tub once and encountered a 3 year old there. Should they be allowed in the hot tub... even if it is with a parent??? Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
DW and I have 23 cruises in our history, mostly with Carnival. (since they home port in New Orleans year round, and we are only a bit more than one hour from that Port) We have cruised on other lines as well, so we do have some 'point ... Read More
DW and I have 23 cruises in our history, mostly with Carnival. (since they home port in New Orleans year round, and we are only a bit more than one hour from that Port) We have cruised on other lines as well, so we do have some 'point of reference'. I don't consider myself either a 'cheerleader' nor a 'basher', and I know that every review (and every cruise) is a unique experience for every passenger...... I hope this review proves of value to those who are considering sailing Sunshine in the future. The ship itself was quite nicely done. When you consider the age of the 'frame', it's obvious that you can make a very substantial and meaningful impact on the vessel when you put $200,000 in the investment. There were very few signs of the 1996 "Destiny", but if you looked closely enough, there were just enough edges and corners that showed some wear and tear ......... which is the source of the 'not quite new' in the title. I did see one of the famous 'buckets' catching a drip from the ceiling in the hallway on our deck (8). The bucket was there for only one day, but the mechanics were working on that area on and off over a three day span. I never personally encountered any evidence of the 'sewerage' smell some folks refer to, but DD (who was on deck 7) did say there was one evening when the smell was pretty bad in the Liquid Lounge late one evening. Overall, I thought the ship was quite nicely executed and while the layout might seem 'congested' we never really encountered a problem with the public areas being 'over crowded'. On the return trip, in the Florida straights, the ship's information on the TV was reporting winds of over 60 MPH, but the ship always seemed very stable, so no complaints there. The Serenity area is remarkable and we enjoyed our time there........ our course you have to work around the chair hogs, and Carnival still seems to have a hard time finding a 'happy medium' when it comes to enforcing the limitations with regards to both chair hogs and kiddos being in that area. Overall the service on board was good. Not amazing, not the best ever, but good. Our cabin steward team were friendly, but for some reason keeping the cabin provided/supplied with ice seemed to be a challenge (on a side note, DW has meds that require refrigeration, so our first stop was at Guest Services to request a refrigerator.......this was at about 11:30 AM. We then saw our cabin steward for the first time, and requested ice, to hold the meds pending the fridge being delivered. At 5:30, still no ice, still no fridge, so I took the meds to the medical center and had it held there. If this is a need you have, I suggest you save yourself the frustration and just plan on letting the medical center hold for you. When we got back to the cabin after dinner, THERE was the fridge, which we had removed ......since it was no longer needed.) Ice did not get delivered till the next day. DW and I did both notice that the members of the crew seemed more engaged and outgoing and friendly than the members of the staff (officers and such). I don't think we ever encountered a member of the staff that said 'hello' or 'good morning' or even shared a 'nod' unless we made first effort. This is the only time we've ever encountered that on any of our cruises. Normally, the staff/officers are much more outgoing and engaging. Key West was the only port where we booked an excursion. We did the 'hop on/ hop off' with the Butterfly tour, and were very pleased. DD and DGK were in another cabin on board, and they joined us. DGK is 9, and I thought we were going to have to drag her out of the butterfly museum........... so very beautiful and relaxing. DD had also never been to a Margaritaville, and since DW and I are Parrotheads, we did stop there for lunch, and had a great time, as always. In Freeport we did some light shopping at the 'port' shops, and in Nassau we just stayed onboard and enjoyed having the Sunshine to 'ourselves'. This cruise was more about 'getting away' than it was about 'doing' anything in particular. We were in Cabin 8328, which is an aft wrap. DW and I both agree this was the best cabin we've ever had on a cruise..............even better than the suite we once treated ourselves to. The shape is strange, but with 12 feet of balcony on the port side and nearly 30 feet of balcony on the aft, it was AMAZING. There was lots of furniture, and lots of room...........so the four of us spent LOTS of time there. I was concerned about the possibility of noise from the Havana Club above us, but the cabin was very, VERY quiet....... One note, if you have a third person in that cabin, the bed for the third person is for a small third person. I am not certain the pull out of that couch would fit an adult, unless they were on the small/short side. We selected 'your time dining', and were confirmed, but were assigned 'late' dining in error, so we spent an hour on day one to meet with the Maitre D and have that corrected. First time we've ever had a cruise line make that error. The main dining room good was good, not spectacular. We found the JiJi's and Italian lunch options to be wonderful. Not big fans of the 'sea day brunch' program.........and surprisingly I was not impressed by Guy's Burgers. While they are a step above the 'grill' burgers from the old 'lido deck', they are certainly not anywhere in the top range of burgers....... and man, the style of fries they were serving were not my taste, at all. Limp and greasy. On the other hand, the hotdogs served at Sea Dogs and at the 'Deli' on Lido deck were awesome. We did the steakhouse on day one, and must say the 18 oz prime ribeye they prepared was on par with steaks we've enjoyed from Morton's as well as Ruth's Chris. Wonderful marbling and prepared to wonderful medium-rare perfection. We treated ourselves to Ji Ji for dinner one evening as well......and again, it was wonderful. I am a bit torn by the whole concept of 'pay for meals' on cruises, since we are old enough and have been cruising long enough to remember when main dining room meals used to be outstanding and impressive............... of course, adjusted for inflation, cruising is much less expensive today.............so I suppose that's the trade-off. We attended the Epic Rock and Latin shows in the Liquid Lounge (none of the shows we attended were full, so the size of the showroom might be adequate, after all. I am pushing 60, but have to say I thought the new shows were better than the old 'vegas style' reviews. They music selections were 'rock anthems' and some Latin classics (Miami Sound Machine) so that appealed to my 'old' self, but the production and arrangements were obviously aimed at a younger crowd.........so I think I applaud Carnival for trying something new. Can't say I missed the live orchestra, but I still miss the steel drums......... somehow that still 'defines' tropics for me. The comedians we caught (one was Mutzie ( New Orleans native) and the other was a Blanchard from Canada, were both quite good. While the Limelight Lounge was full for all shows, I don't know that folks were 'turned away'. We found if we walked up after the 'line' had made its way into the venue, we were able to find seats. DW can only walk limited distances, so we took advantage of the wheel chair assisted debarkation. We are group 1, but DD was group 9. We waiting until group 9 was called, made our way to the designated waiting area, and were assisted off the boat, so debarkation was a breeze. In summary, we had a BLAST on the Sunshine. DGK and DD loved the waterworks........... we all enjoyed the R&R, we all enjoyed the huge balcony. (By the way, we booked Dream for Mardi Gras 2015 while on board, so that was a treat as well) Sunshine is a very good rework of an existing ship........... and when you consider new builds are so VERY much more expensive than the $200 million they invested in Sunshine, I think it was probably a brilliant move. If they decide to do this to other ships, however, I hoped Carnival has learned the P.R. lesson that you never refer to anything as NEW unless it is NEW. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
Let me start this review with there are several poor reviews of this ship on this site as well as Carnival’s site, not sure what ship these people were on, the Sunshine is fabulous! Arrived to NOLA 1 day early and stayed at the Hilton ... Read More
Let me start this review with there are several poor reviews of this ship on this site as well as Carnival’s site, not sure what ship these people were on, the Sunshine is fabulous! Arrived to NOLA 1 day early and stayed at the Hilton Riverside which worked out well. Walking distance to Bourbon street and only 5 minute car ride to port parking. Embarkation went very smoothly, arrived at port around 11:00am, never stopped moving and was on the ship around noon. Stateroom was ready around 1:30 and luggage arrived by 4:00. Upon walking the ship a couple times, we were familiar with the layout and knew how to navigate around. Just remember you can’t go front to aft on Decks 3&4, knowing that will save a lot of unnecessary walking. The food in the MDR was the usual Carnival standards, service was excellent, and dessert was always great. Seemed dinner got faster as the week went on, but we never waited long and we had all 14 of us at one table! The other food venues on the ship were great, don’t miss Guy’s or JiJi’s bowls for lunch! Breakfast in the Havana bar is a must as well, the omelets are excellent! Food exceeded expectations. We arrived 20-30 minutes early to each show and always had a seat, there were seats available right up until each show started. The 4 playlist production shows were outstanding, the group of 8 performers on the ship were top notch. We were very pleased with each show with the best one being Epic Rock on the final night. Lots of great costumes and use of the LED panels make the shows much more entertaining. Missed the Hasbro show, so I can not comment on that. The comedians were good, the piano bar was excellent and the DJ’s were great. Overall entertainment exceeded expectations. Jamaica was just OK, should have stayed on boat, snorkeled in Cayman at Eden Rock and it was awesome, went to Mr. Sancho’s in Cozumel. We absolutely love Mr. Sancho’s and had a blast, wish the ship would have ported in Cozumel a couple of more hours. 3 straight days of ports can wear you out a bit, wish there had been a sea day in the middle of ports. Waterworks on the ship was great, the slides were closed 2 sea days due to winds. We did miss having 2 pools, however the Serenity deck made up for that. The casino was very nice, Red Frog Pub is a great hang-put place after dinner, and the milk shakes are awesome at the Shake Spot. Overall, the cruise was amazing, yes I saw a bucket or 2 collecting water, yes I smelled sewage one night outside the liquid lounge, but these things did not bring me or my group down 1 bit. The ship looks great, very clean, easy to navigate, service was top notch, and our group of 14 had one of the best vacations ever! Don’t hesitate to book the Sunshine!   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
This was my 38th cruise on various lines with the majority having been on Carnival branded ships or Carnival Corp owned lines. This trip was to accompany several close friend and their college aged daughters along with their friends. ... Read More
This was my 38th cruise on various lines with the majority having been on Carnival branded ships or Carnival Corp owned lines. This trip was to accompany several close friend and their college aged daughters along with their friends. Overall I have no complaints concerning the ship, service or any activity on the ship. I was pleased with the balance of entertainment provided. I was most impressed with the additions of the Sushi Resturant, Guys Burgers on Lido and the pinnacle was the Alchemy Bar on deck five aft. It became our gathering spot for the 30 of us in the group. Hanna, Miro and crew made each evening very enjoyable. People need to realize when choosing a cruise that this ship is set up for the masses. If you don't care to line up for food or events or having 3000 fellow cruisers then book away. If you hate crowds or lines or deck parties, then choose a smaller, albeit more expensive cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
My husband and I sailed on the Sunshine on 3/30/14. We had a scenic ocean view room right above the bridge. Our views were wonderful. We had FTTF so were taking pictures in our cabin before 11:30am and all unpacked long before muster. Our ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on the Sunshine on 3/30/14. We had a scenic ocean view room right above the bridge. Our views were wonderful. We had FTTF so were taking pictures in our cabin before 11:30am and all unpacked long before muster. Our vacation felt like it officially started a few hours earlier than without it. We're from Wisconsin and had a terribly cold and snowy winter so this cruise was especially anticipated. Every day was hot and sunny and we had smooth seas. We loved the Serenity area. We were up early and had loungers by the pool. The waterfall is very loud though. It drowns out any of the noise coming from the jumbo tron. That's good for some but not for everyone. I considered it white noise and made resting very easy. Food - We had dinner the first night at Cucina and have to say it was the best meal of the entire cruise! We also had dinner at JiJi's and Bonsai and they were very good as well. We had 6pm in the front dining room for the nights that we ate there. Our team was great and had us out of there in under an hour every night. All of our selections there were delicious as well. Alchemy is my favorite bar and Iaona (Uwanna) kept me very happy. We buy the Cheers program and that's a good thing since my drinks a this bar are 9.95. We didn't try to go see shows or comedy as we enjoy the casino and talking with new people that we've met on board. We didn't see or smell anything bad and hardly ever saw any lines for any food venues. We did get a little turned around with deck 4. It took us a while to remember how to get to the aft areas. We had a great time, met some great people, enjoyed some great food and drinks, got some sun, saw some wonderful things at the ports, and we weren't at work. Paradise. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
I must say I was very disappointed in the Carnival Sunshine (sailing date was March 16th 2014). This was my second sailing on a Carnival ship (last sailing was on the Carnival Dream in 2013) and I must say just might be my last. I will try ... Read More
I must say I was very disappointed in the Carnival Sunshine (sailing date was March 16th 2014). This was my second sailing on a Carnival ship (last sailing was on the Carnival Dream in 2013) and I must say just might be my last. I will try to outline my disappointments and areas I liked below. But before I complain…there are some great things about the ship. The free popcorn on movie nights was awesome, Guys Burgers and the Blue Iguana rocked, the main shows and comedy shows were enjoyable, and the water works section was fun (even for adults). The overall ship was a disappointment. The Carnival Sunshine was a newly refitted ship so my hopes were high. Yes, the ship appears new and clean in many ways, but the overall layout and traffic flow was awful. My wife and I had to constantly go up or down a deck to move across the ship (with the exception of deck 5). Whoever thought placing a woefully undersized comedy lounge in the middle of the front end of deck 4 with no way around it besides going up a floor was not thinking very well. Also, the quality of the refit was lacking…many titles are loose and some cracked, the teak decks were ruff and unfinished, wall treatments appeared plain, leaky pipes where visible, and the smell on mid deck 4 (starboard side) was horrid (sewage smell). For a ship just out of a dry dock complete refit not too long ago I would suggest Carnival sends this ship back and get it fixed. Best part in my opinion of the refit was the new Serenity decks and those super cool automatic hand washing stations. Pubic space size was again a disappointment. There are way too many people on the ship for the amount of public spaces which caused the ship to feel crowded. They would have done well to add a lower wrap around deck on this refit. The public spaces are way too crowded and again poorly laid out. The comedy lounge was WAY too small and would fill up 45 minutes before the start of the show (so one wastes 45 minutes of their evening to watch a show). Additionally, the Limelight Lounge (main theater) was also way too small (with such a vast refit why did they not make this main theater bigger instead of adding more staterooms). Also, this ship sways and rolls…OMG it sways and rolls. If you are prone to seasickness avoid this ship. The food was just so-so. Guys Burgers and the Blue Iguana (Tacos and Burritos) rocked…I mean these are the best! The wait for the Blue Iguana could get long, but Guy’s Burgers moved quickly and always tasted great! The food in the Marketplace Lido deck though was rather bland and sparse and the desserts always disappointed (just bland). Thank goodness the soft serve ice cream was good. I always felt like there was just really a limited selection and I blame the additional upcharge restaurants for that. I am surprised on such a small ship Carnival decided to add three additional upcharge dining options; I truly believe these restaurants just depleted the already limited Lido deck buffet options. We tried the Ji Ji restaurant and the food was good and servers super friendly, but I had to wonder why should there be an upcharge…why not just include it (it was not that nice and could have been a buffet extension). We avoided the Italian and Steakhouse restaurants because we failed to really see a value in what was offered for the cost. We also did not try the Bonsai sushi restaurant, thought I wanted to try it but my wife did not. The MDR was also disappointing. The first two nights we ate in the MDR (Sunset top level) and the server and staff appeared completely disorganized and just unfriendly. The MDR food was bland and just way below expectations on quality. What was a super exciting time on the Carnival Dream last year became a horrid experience on the Sunshine. Because the 1st 2 nights were so bad we skipped the next two nights and eventually requested an entirely different eating section for the remaining nights. The new section had a much better staff and were better organized, but the food was still just really bland. Pool and Top Decks (So-So) Best part of the top decks were the Waterworks and Serenity sections. The new Waterworks slides are awesome and fun. But this ship needs an additional pool as the main pool was just way over crowded. The Serenity pool was nice but it too was too packed. I don’t find enjoyment soaking in a standing room only pool shoulder to shoulder with other guests. Also, the 3 hot tubs on the whole ship were consistently packed. Deck chairs were hard to find and too many guests just placed towels on chairs to reserve spots and left for hours at a time. I noticed on the last sea day the staff started clamping down on this, but still when you circle the deck and see empty deck chairs with a book or towel claiming it and no one using then for hours one can become agitated. Simple solutions…make the rules on chair saving stick…when you get up you lose your spot. Another miss on this refit was the lack of a single level wrap around deck one can stroll from stern to bow. Up and down stairs to walk from bow to stern through choke points and through deck chair crowed deck space was just not a great experience. Embarkation and Disembarkation Embarkation was a breeze and we were on the ship within 30 minutes of arriving at the pier. Very smooth process until we got on the ship and noticed they did not give us Any Time Dinning but instead put us in an 8:15 dinning time (who the heck eats at 8:15?). I find it interesting reading another review showed that this also happened to them…seems like an issue Carnival needs to address. If it were not for the fact I had the original confirmation that showed we had selected Anytime Dinning the staff would not have changed us from the 8:15 dinning. With that corrected we had really no other embarkation issues. Now, disembarking was a joke and poorly managed. There was no control of the process by the crew, limited to NO PA communication of what floor was being disembarked which ended up in a chaotic process. In fact even all the port call disembarkations were just a massive chaotic mess. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
I chose this cruise because we wanted to do a multi centre taking in Memphis (by Amtrak) to New Orleans to pick cruise around the Western Caribbean. On seeing some of the reviews for Sunshine I was not sure what to expect, this is our 5th ... Read More
I chose this cruise because we wanted to do a multi centre taking in Memphis (by Amtrak) to New Orleans to pick cruise around the Western Caribbean. On seeing some of the reviews for Sunshine I was not sure what to expect, this is our 5th Cruise covering Cunard, Royal Caribbean, NCL and Princess X2. And yes this is a budget priced cruise aimed at the younger market. Overall the cruise was good value, there were no issues with smells or any other issues that I had seen in some reviews, the makeover to the ship has been excellent. Good points Adult sanctuary all new beds for Cruise days. Entertainment, best ships company we have seen Sit down food was as good as other premium brands Large (outside) cabin Best value cruise line trips we have been on Plantation trip in Jamaica, Sting ray city in Grand Cayman and Jeep safari in Cozumel Minus Ocean grade cabin first without fridge, but was still okay Buffet, still good but less choice than some other brands On sea days not many sun beds to be had, but if you wait they do become available.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
We went on the new CCL Sunshine in March of 2014 out of New Orleans. We were only like the 3rd cruise from NOLA on the "updated" and "new" Sunshine. Was our 2nd cruise with CCL and our kid's first cruise ever. The ... Read More
We went on the new CCL Sunshine in March of 2014 out of New Orleans. We were only like the 3rd cruise from NOLA on the "updated" and "new" Sunshine. Was our 2nd cruise with CCL and our kid's first cruise ever. The ship looked nice, and it looked freshened up with new paint and carpets. Crew was wonderful, and the food was very good. The issues were the ship is poorly laid out, and there was a sewer stink when you lined up for dinner, and near the comedy club. The comedy club was way to small and was laid out very poor as half the audience only saw the act via TV screens, hallways were always packed, decks over crowded and the disembarkation in Cozumel was HELL, not only did they not open the doors, they allowed folks to pack so tight that fights broke out. The who experience in Cozumel on the sunshine was horrid. first night out of NOLA we were sitting for dinner and the next thing we know the rain comes dripping to a steady flow through the window onto our table and us. The worse was not over, that night we got back to our room and somehow the toilet had overflowed without anyone in the cabin and the entire floor was wet. Oh and that is not the biggest issue, the crew took over an hour to respond, and the plumber stated "All the toilets are having issues right now for some reason" you go back into the hall and the smell of sewer. We will never sail on the sunshine ever again..... Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
Having sailed Carnival 5 previous occasions, I was willing to give Carnival the benefit of the doubt. My children were teased at school about going on a Carnival ship with comments of going on a 'poop' cruise or a cruise that may ... Read More
Having sailed Carnival 5 previous occasions, I was willing to give Carnival the benefit of the doubt. My children were teased at school about going on a Carnival ship with comments of going on a 'poop' cruise or a cruise that may not return. I stood up for Carnival, noting that any given cruise can have problems, no matter the cruise line. However, I am sorely disappointed in Carnival. From the first night, our 2nd floor cabin smelled like sewage. I went to the service desk every single day of the cruise. I stood in our doorway, holding the cabin door open for several minutes many times, just to try to get fresh air. It was nauseating. My younger daughter got a migraine. At one point I felt very nauseated. Carnival just kept saying that they were trying to figure out the problem. They cleaned hallway carpets, and just came in and looked around the room a couple times, but nothing changed. So with five little girls and myself on Spring Break, I was very disappointed. And I guarantee, they won't forget their FIRST and likely last Carnival Cruise. In the end they refunded about $175 on our cruise bill. This cruise was $3514 for 5 people in one cabin. So they basically gave us 5 percent back. Not much really for a disgusting smell that they could not relocate us from. We did not have a balcony door that we could open to try and get fresh air. And before leaving the ship we ran into another couple from the same floor with the exact same complaints. I knew it wasn't just us. As if the smell wasn't bad enough, the food was substandard to say the least. We weren't even on the ship for 24 hours and I got a bowl of chopped fruit. I took one bite and it was that rancid taste of having left your chopped up watermelon in the refrigerator a couple days too many. I didn't eat another piece of chopped up fruit. Further, being one of only two people from Nebraska that probably loves grits, I have always told my children you can't mess up grits. I was proven wrong. They appear to have poured water over grits and barely stirred. There were chunks of dried grits in the bowl. How does one really mess up grits? Total lack of pride in workmanship. The food staff in the buffet area was less than friendly. And I didn't see anyone go out of their way to be inviting. Further in the evening, on the lido deck there were empty glasses, beer cans, and plates of food long after swimming festivities of the day had wound down. There really weren't specific areas for people to put waste, so it wasn't like everyone just left plates, glasses, etc...on purpose all of the time, there was no place to dispose of them. Yet, there weren't enough staff personnel out picking things up either. I was way less than impressed and this having been my ninth cruise overall, I will NEVER cruise Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
I had never sailed on this ship when it was the Destiny, and I will say that on the surface this ship is beautiful. That being said I would never book this ship again as long as there are better laid ships with the same itinerary. What ... Read More
I had never sailed on this ship when it was the Destiny, and I will say that on the surface this ship is beautiful. That being said I would never book this ship again as long as there are better laid ships with the same itinerary. What they did was to put every Carnival 2.0 upgrade on this ship and there just wasn't room. I believe they possibly could have pulled it off if they had not put 800 more people on the ship as well. The public areas on this ship are just too crowded and congested. They have taken what was the main floor of the theater on deck 3 and made that all into cabin cutting the main show theater into 2 floors only. It was very hard to find a good seat as it fill up early and lines form up to an hour ahead. People rush in from 4 different doors and its insane. There are no tables on the on the new main floor only arm chairs placed very closely together. They cut the Punchliner Comedy club off of the back of Deck 5 and also made that space into additional cabins. The literally crammed the new Comedy club on deck 4 and it now holes 160 people. You do the math, 3500 people on board and a comedy club that holds 160! They totally ruined that experience on the Sunshine. It was always hard enough to get in a comedy club that held 500. The sun decks and finding a chair was next to impossible, and it was almost impossible to navigate through the crowds on those decks. All the seating areas along the promenade are gone causing even more congestion. There were so many things the did well, I just can't overlook the negatives. I also think it is disgusting that after a whole year on the sea I saw no less than 5 water leaks in the ceilings in the hallways and theater. One Sewage leak by a cabin door on deck 2 and on day 6 of our cruise deck 5 smelled of sewage. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
This was our 6th Carnival cruise. All on different ships. The Sunshine was easily the worst ship we've ever been on. Comedy club holds only about 200 and the Liquid Lounge maybe 600. On a ship with over 3,000 folks. You have to wait ... Read More
This was our 6th Carnival cruise. All on different ships. The Sunshine was easily the worst ship we've ever been on. Comedy club holds only about 200 and the Liquid Lounge maybe 600. On a ship with over 3,000 folks. You have to wait in line (some folks waited 1.5 hours for a comedy show) and then get turned away because they're full. If you happen to make it into either venue you stand a good chance of having to sit on the side and watch the show on a TV. The shows are terrible. Basically a large video screen with a few performers in front of it. I expect they will eventually eliminate the performers altogether. Our ocean suite was the same size as a standard balcony on other ships. Took over 2 hours to have dinner (late seating) every night and the food was usually cold by the time it arrived. The ship has been cut up into so many different small areas there doesn't seem to be room for all the pax on board. You have to stand in line for just about everything. The library was always standing room only. The pool is about the size of the average backyard pool. You have to walk thru the middle of the smoky casino to get just about anywhere aft. Oh, and I guess Carnival no longer provides priority debark with a suite. We haven't decided if we're done with Carnival but we are definitely done with the Sunshine. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2014
More bad than good. This was my 8 year old daughter and I's second cruise. Our first cruise was with Royal Caribbean and we LOVED every minute of our cruise with that cruise line! So I was super excited to go again this year, But I ... Read More
More bad than good. This was my 8 year old daughter and I's second cruise. Our first cruise was with Royal Caribbean and we LOVED every minute of our cruise with that cruise line! So I was super excited to go again this year, But I wanted to try Carnival Sunshine because it had been newly refurbished. We read a lot of bad reviews about the ship but silly me I didn't heed others warnings! The embarkation process was perfect. The lines weren't to long and we got on board quickly. Lets start with the food: The food on board the Carnival Sunshine is mediocre at best. The fine dining had some good dishes and we really enjoyed our server Ana from Honduras but most nights it was bland and tasteless. Guys burger joint was average, The taco bar was better. The Lido Buffet had great desserts but lacked greatly in variety. They had two buffet stations with the same thing on each side of the buffet and on both the buffets. So maybe 6 choices per day. Also one night there was sewage running through the lido buffet. I have it on video. There was the deli bar. I could have made the same thing out of my fridge. During the day you could eat at the Italian place or the Hibachi place and they were okay as well. Nothing outstanding. The pizza was good but you got tired of pizza after the second day. Room service was horrible. Hot food was served cold and cold food was luke warm. They also didn't have much of a selection. The biggest complaint I have with the food is that after 6 pm and late into the night there was absolutely nothing to eat. Yea you have all night pizza but again... 2 days and your done with pizza, couldn't eat room service cause it sucked and all they served on the Lido buffet into the late night was hot-dogs. Yep hot-dogs. nothing with the hot-dogs except mustard or ketchup oh and sauteed onions. Didn't even bother to offer chips or french fries just big honking hot dogs. Did I mention that this was my birthday cruise? I booked 3 excursions, one for each day. Planned them carefully and paid for them online before my trip. Day one, walk into my stateroom and a green note propped up beside my towel animal says "Your excursion is cancelled." Okay I'm easy to get along with, I go down to the desk and I book another excursion for my family. Of course its more money because the cheaper excursions have all been sold out. Next evening I get another notice, the excursion that I booked was cancelled. We go into Jamaica without a formal excursion. That night I get another notice my Grand Cayman Excursion for my birthday is cancelled. This was a snorkeling excursion. I go down again and re-book another more expensive excursion. I get no apologies or hey can I get you a free drink, I just get a bad attitude and am forced to pay more money. The next day we go to Cayman and visit a turtle farm. My grand snorkeling adventure is in a man made lagoon. :-( Yea I came thousands of miles to snorkel in a man made lagoon. NOT! We get back to the boat and you guessed it... A green slip of paper under my door (no clean room, no towel animal for my 8 year old to get excited about) tells me that my Cozumel excursion is cancelled! Of course they know me by name now at the Excursion desk and swear to me that in all their years this has never happened! I'm in tears by now because my cruise has been nothing but a bad investment and do they offer me anything? no. So my daughter and I are once again forced to find our own way around a foreign country and I end up spending twice the money I would have if my original excursion wouldn't have been cancelled. I went to customer service each time I had a problem and this is what I was told. "I will document the problem." Documenting the problem did not help my situation is what I told them and they just said that's all they could do. Also think of it like this... I did not spend thousands of dollars of my hard earned money to spend half of my trip standing in line on a cruise ship talking to customer service people!!!!!!! This was my vacation and I should have been enjoying my self by relaxing or having fun!!!!! I had already spent time at home online planning all of this!!!! If they had any pride in their business they would have given me a full refund for my time and trouble!!!! But no. Did you know that Carnival Sunshine drains the pools on Saturdays during your cruise??? I didn't. They did. My 8 year old was all set to go swimming Saturday evening and the pool was closed. All the pools were closed! Hello Customer service... Why are the pools not in operation? Uh I don't know. I'll document the problem. Seriously? Already the one main pool that was way to small to accommodate the amount of families on the boat was a hazard but then to shut it down on the last night of the cruise? Crazy! The big water splash area they brag about in their videos. Only open from 11 am to dusk, its closed if it rains, it rained 1/2 of the time we were on the cruise. Finally someone said they shut down the pools on Saturdays to clean it for the next cruise, Well the pools are supposed to be opened until 3 am each night. Why not close the pool at 3 am on Saturday night and clean it from 3 am until 11 am when the next group of passengers get on board? Wow! Are they that stupid to not figure that out? Yes, Yes they are. Camp Carnival. First of all I'm a teacher assistant as a profession so when I went to look at the Camp Carnival area I really had high expectations. Pretty much a floating one star day care facility. It was small like every other area and I felt sorry for the kids who's parents put them in there. My daughter did not stay. We did attend a build a pet event there one day, which was pretty much, give us your money, go sit over there and put some stuffing in a bear. My daughter probably has 20 Build a bear animals, You pay for the experience of someone helping you out, kissing the heart and helping you stuff and sew up your bear. There was no one there to explain to us what we were doing so I went back into the buying area and asked for someone to come in the room and give a demonstration to us parents on what we were doing. They were rude and acted put out that we wanted assistance but briefly explained the procedure and then left to go collect more money from clueless parents. We (parents) all kind of helped each other figure out the process and our kids left with fully stuffed and clothed bears. I paid 42 dollars in all for that lovely experience. Good things? I enjoyed the entertainment shows. The 8 person song and dance troop was exceptional and the comedy club was a nice addition. The ship is planned out badly. I cannot count the times I got lost and could not find my way! You often have to go through other venues to get to where you need to go. I was almost in tears one night because I couldn't find my way! The shopping areas are tiny and crowded. The people in the shops were rude and unhelpful. I can't count the times I stopped someone with a carnival shirt on and asked them where something was and even they didn't know where it was!! So here's the wrap up, The food is below par, The service is below par, The ship is small and confusing. The entertainment on the ship is Trivia and Karaoke. If you have never been on a quality cruise before and your only experience is with Carnival you may be satisfied but this is not worth the money I spent knowing I could spend the same amount on Royal Caribbean and have dozens of choices on the buffet, excellent room service, great activities for all different types of ages on board ( We especially liked the crafting classes in the cloud 9 lounge) 2 main pools and 4 hot tubs that never get drained during the cruise, exciting entertainment, great customer service and rooms with more space and better quality furnishings. Did I mention you had one foot in the shower when you used the toilet on Carnival Sunshine? Don't waste your money... run far away from Carnival! Oh yea... last visit to the Customer service desk.... they gave me a free pack of Carnival playing cards.... Yay! A three thousand dollar pack of playing cards!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
Just returned from a spring break cruise on the Sunshine. It was a wonderful trip and confirmed that most of the negative things said on this site are very minor and don't reflect the true nature of the trip or the ship. Embarkation ... Read More
Just returned from a spring break cruise on the Sunshine. It was a wonderful trip and confirmed that most of the negative things said on this site are very minor and don't reflect the true nature of the trip or the ship. Embarkation in New Orleans was easy. Arrived about 2 pm, and did not stop longer than 5 minutes anywhere in the process. My family of 3 children and my wife and I had balcony cabins on level 6. While not adjoined they were next to each other. Both were ready when we walked to them. Our luggage came 15 minutes later. Having sailed on Carnival several times the layout of the ship was exactly like all the Carnival ships except the brand new ones. I really enjoyed the refurbuish and my family could pick out many of the up dates and improvements. As to the buckets and smells, only one bucket and one smell all week. Your really had to be searching for them. By far the best cruise food ever, anywhere, at any price: Guy's Burgers. Best of all the line moved very rapidly, as in serving a line of 20 or 30 as fast as the line could move forward. Go when it is busy and get right off the grill burgers and fries. I ate there every day. Next was the Blue Iguana taco food. Both on the Lido deck and always just wonderful. Dinner was late service and my group, my family and 3 other families, were always late as the group trivia started at 8 in the Red Frog pub and we won 2nights. Huge rum drink(serves 10) for winning. Didn't seem to bother our wait staff as they were ready for us and got us in and out. We usually ordered 6 to 8 entrees so we could try everything and never a complaint. The chocolate lava cake is still the best. We fly boarded in Cozumel. Wonderful but the kids were much better at it than I was. There are two and only one provides helments and life jackets. You will want both. Chris is the owner of the one we did. In Jamica we went with Capitain Marvin to the Blue Hole next to Dunn's River falls. Go now, as it will not be the same once the crowd finds it. BTW Captain Marvin provided a bus , a driver, lunch and water shoes all with out a hitch. No wonder he is #1 on trip advisor for that trip. On the comedy club. We went to all 4 of the different shows. Our experience was different than the complainers because we arrived 10-15 before show time and always found great seats. Those who showed up 30 seconds before showtime didn't find seats, duh! I am sure they wrote the bad reviews. Same on the chairs by the pool. We simply picked out the chairs we wanted and asked the towel attendant to tag them. When the owners didn't show up the towel attendant picked them up and we had great chairs. The big screen by the pool was awesome for watching the NCAA games. All and all, no matter what we asked from Carnival and its staff, they bent over backwards to say "yes". That is the big difference between Carnival and all other cruise lines. Getting off the ship was a breeze. We had a 1015 am flight out, and we self carried our bags. We were off the ship at 730 am and on our way to the airport, 10 minutes after that. Sunshine is a winner, keep up the good work Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
If you have never cruised, you will enjoy this ship. If you have cruised before, you will hate it! The Sunshine is a small cramped ship. The Cabins are nice and the ship is clean, but the venue areas and the public areas are just so ... Read More
If you have never cruised, you will enjoy this ship. If you have cruised before, you will hate it! The Sunshine is a small cramped ship. The Cabins are nice and the ship is clean, but the venue areas and the public areas are just so small. Embarking was easy, but the lady checking us in did not know what she was doing and kept asking us the same questions over and over. Once on the ship we explored all the areas only to find out right away that it was going to be a long week aboard a small ship. We were able to get into our cabin and unload our carry on, so we could enjoy lunch with out lugging our luggage. The food on board was overall better than any other Carnival Cruise we have ever taken. With the exception of the buffet food. But, with so many other options, who needed to eat the buffet food? Guy's burgers were awesome. The main dining room food was very good also. The service staff were less then enjoyable. We have decided they must hate their jobs and wanted everyone to know. The wait time for my time dining was never an issue, except for lobster night. The only problem with my time dining was the checking in process, it was very unorganized. People pushing and shoving and people standing in the way while trying to check in. If you can go through a week without soda, I would suggest skipping the soda package. That is a joke! We purchased 3 of them and were never able to get a soda! Forget about trying to get a non alcoholic drink during a show or during dinner (we couldn't even get iced tea or lemonade during dinner). One time a bartender actually rolled his eyes when we ordered a soda at the bar. They don't get tips for soda, so they don't want to serve them. We found the cruise director "shorty" to be the worst cruise director we have ever had. No personality and never interacted with the people aboard the ship( at least not with us...never even seen her the whole week, except at a show) The entertainment was pretty weak, did enjoy the rock show, but the rest were pretty generic. The singers were pretty bad too. To wait for the comedy club shows, you do have to get there pretty early to get a good seat. The worst part is standing in a hot hall way while waiting. It is true,that if you don't get there early, you will be watching the show on a tv monitor. There was a smell of sewage on deck 3, but that is the only place we noticed it. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
Just got off of this ship on my fiancé and I's cruise and we had an absolute amazing time on Carnival Sunshine! This is a pretty lengthy and in depth post, so if you don't like to read full reviews you might want to tl;dr this ... Read More
Just got off of this ship on my fiancé and I's cruise and we had an absolute amazing time on Carnival Sunshine! This is a pretty lengthy and in depth post, so if you don't like to read full reviews you might want to tl;dr this one. Carnival has packed all of the Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements on board this newly renovated ship and has really improved the ships decor from its old, glitzy Vegas themes to a more contemporary and cool feel. The ship's entire entertainment staff, Cloud 9 Spa staff, wait staff, steward staff, and guest services staff was absolutely fabulous. The cherry on top of it all was our Cruise Director, Butch Begovitch, who pretty much set the perfect fun atmosphere for the whole vacation. I highly recommend booking cruises while Butch is on board because he is the best cruise director that I've ever had the pleasure of sailing with on Carnival! These guys definitely know how to have fun and coordinate an amazing vacation! As far as the ships new places and spaces on board went, everything was pretty phenomenal, especially when compared with the other 4 Carnival Cruises that I've cruised on before this one (all of which were pre-2.0 upgraded ships). The food from Cucina del Capitano, JiJi's Asian Kitchen, Fahrenheit 555, Bonsai Sushi, Lido Marketplace, Guy's Burgers, The Blue Iguana Cantina, and the main dinning rooms were all absolutely delicious and flavorful! We only had one issue during a main dining time where a steak was undercooked and a little too fatty, but that was literally the only bump we had for food. The new Red Frog Rum Bar, Blue Iguana Tequila Bar, Alchemy Bar, EA Sports Bar, and Serenity deck bar were all great as well. What was nice here was that while the Serenity Bar and EA Sports Bar offered the typical cocktails and alcohol available in all other main places on the ship, all of the other venues offered a great variety of specialized cocktails and concoctions that you could only obtain at those specific bars. It was a great way to enhance the flavor and atmosphere of each location. (Psst! Hey, they make some MEAN cocktails over at the Alchemy Bar. STRONGLY recommended!) Oh! And don't pass up Java City if you like to get your coffee and latte fix. Java City also offers quite a few spiked coffees and shakes for those of you that like a little extra fun in your drink! The new Ocean Plaza is a great location to catch karaoke performances, trivia games, and live music on the daily. Carnival really opened this area up on deck 5, past the gorgeous casino, so that it's more fun and inviting for guests. Also, the new Waterworks and Serenity Decks? They are probably the best in the fleet. They are huge and absolutely amazing. The slides are a blast! Here is where my only two negatives about the ship come in. The new Liquid Lounge is WAY too small for the increased amount of passengers that this ship carries. While the new 2 story lounge has totally revolutionized the ability for Carnival to actually have a functioning adult dance club (the Liquid Night Club that was opened every night was pretty boss and featured amazing mixes from Carnivals new DJ's) the ability for it to successfully serve as an appropriately sized show lounge fell short. The 2.0 Playlist Production shows were amazing and obviously, everyone wanted to get a seat to see them, but the size of the lounge coupled with the large families that would hoard seats all over the lounge lead to major seating issues. There was one instance where I had to sit behind a support pole structure (infamously found in Carnival's showrooms) and I literally missed half of the action on stage during Epic Rock (this is arguably the most amazing show that Carnival has produced to date on its 2.0 ships). Adding more cabins, eliminating a floor of seating in the lounge, and not being able to find a structural compromise for those support structures = a pretty miserable experience unless you get there 45 minutes before the shows start... Lastly, the newly restructured aft lounge, now called the Limelight Lounge, faced similar issues. While they've pulled out all of the new and modern stops to feature all of the hilarious comedians that come on board, there simply wasn't enough space in the lounge to accommodate everyone that would've liked to enjoy the shows. Even though there were 5 different show times for each comedian, there were always people standing on the outskirts of this downsized lounge. Again, the addition of even more cabins on deck 4 aft eliminated the public space that would've been required to make this an appropriate venue. All in all, this ship is pretty fantastic. Just make sure to plan accordingly for all of the major shows because you REALLY wouldn't want to miss any of the Playlist Productions. And the comedians are too hilarious to pass up, so make sure you get to the Limelight Lounge early too. This ship will be missed dearly in the port of New Orleans for sure! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
Now that it's been weeks since we got home I finally have time to write a bit. This cruise was a Christmas gift to my daughters and grandson. No, I'm not rich. My dad left me a small inheritance last year and my sweet husband ... Read More
Now that it's been weeks since we got home I finally have time to write a bit. This cruise was a Christmas gift to my daughters and grandson. No, I'm not rich. My dad left me a small inheritance last year and my sweet husband insisted I put some of it aside to "play" with as I saw fit. From the day our second daughter was born, 33 months after her older sister, I began dreaming of a Mom and Daughter Trip when they were grown. This trip was a tick mark off my Bucket List and it spent the last of my play money. This review includes the following cast of characters: Kathy/Mom: me,AKA the Monkey. My girls kept saying, "Give the Monkey a banana whenever I wanted something they did not. This was my 5th Carnival Cruise (3 on Conquest, 1 on Victory). I also have 1 NCL cruise, a trip on the Alaskan Marine Ferry up the Inside Passage and an army transport "transatlantic cruise" from Germany to NYC in 1958 under my cruising belt. Katie: Daughter Number 1 - has cruised twice but never on Carnival and she is mom to Colton: Grandson age 5 - his first cruise Kristie: Daughter Number 2 - has cruised once before with her dad and me in 2009 on Conquest The grandson was included since I am usually his Spring Break caregiver. The other males in the family were quite jealous. We usually sail from Galveston but I picked this cruise for the ports and Sunshine. We had originally planned to leave Arlington on Friday afternoon, drive to the Austin area where Kristie lives, spend the night, get up early on Saturday and drive to NOLA. At 4:30 on Thursday afternoon that plan changed as it dawned on all of us that Katie and never been to NOLA. SOOOOO, a quick phone call to the Holiday Inn in Metairie and a new room booking later, our plans updated. Katie and I had our nails done, did a couple of errands and then picked up Colton from school at lunchtime on Friday morning. A quick drive through lunch and we were headed south on I35. We were in the Austin area and at Kristie's house by 4:15, loaded her gear, goodbyes to the 20 month old granddaughter and, after a Sonic break in Elgin, we were on our way! The girls tag teamed the driving of my Annie the Equinox - stopping about every 2 hours to stretch, potty, and switch drivers, and I sat in the back with Colton. I read to him, he played on his iPad, I texted with my husband, and we all got caught up on each other's news. Including the news that Kristie and her Jordan have accepted a job in the UAE (she will be teaching science) beginning in August! Wait! What? You are taking our granddaughter away? Why don't you leave her with us for the 2-5 years? (A no-go, by the way, darn it) Colton napped after we said his prayers about 9 but never did sleep soundly and for long. Katie napped slightly while Kristie was driving at one point but mostly we were all awake all night. We got to the hotel about 1:30 am. We got our room keys and headed to the elevator (Katie only does stairs, by the way). Imagine our surprise to find luggage in the room we entered! Luckily no inhabitants...must have been on Bourbon Street. Katie's key didn't work at all but we heard a baby crying so we think we woke up occupants of that room as well. Back downstairs I go to the front desk. They had had a computer crash earlier and had been hand assigning rooms. Someone had forgotten to mark these rooms as assigned. After many apologies we had new keys to a suite and another room, breakfast vouchers and all sorts of of freebies. We were finally in bed about 3:30. Up at 8 for breakfast and a day of sightseeing. We took Colton to see Elation in port so he'd have an idea of what a cruise ship looked like, as well as driving over part of the Pontchartrain bridge, visiting the WWII Museum (which he called the Airplane store) and many other things. Acme Oyster House for supper, a quick trip to K-Mart (which we no longer have in our area) and then to Morning Call for the best beignets ever. FINALLY got to the terminal and got a porter to get our luggage. He pointed us in the right direction and we flew to the doors. They took our photo first which was new for me, this was the first "Give the Monkey a Banana" Moment as the girls weren't thrilled with the shirts I had given them to wear but whatever it takes. Thanks to the Priority boarding of our suites, we flew through check-in and we were on board at a new all time (for us) early time of 11:20 am! Dropped off our carry-ons in our rooms (2 suites, side by side, on Deck 7), spoke to the room steward who promised to open our balcony door and divide the beds (oops! someone missed a memo) after his break, took a few photos, let Colton open the gifts he found waiting for him (sand toys and a Carnival bear) and we headed to the Lido for an early lunch. Mark, our steward, was amazing, by the way! We loved him. The rest of Sunday was spent checking out the ship, touring the Spa, touring Camp Carnival, going to the Camp Carnival orientation and unpacking and sitting on our balcony and enjoying our trip down the Mississippi River. My thoughts on Sunshine? Adding more staterooms took away from common areas and the common areas left are not all adequately used. I saw John Heald post that Carnival is going to add more chairs and sofas to Deck 5. They need to! It's the perfect people watching area and there are several hundred feet of an area with huge windows and nowhere to sit to enjoy the view. Regarding the smell in the Lounge I kept hearing about? Nothing. We were in the Lounge twice within 3 hours on Sunday. Once for Muster and once for CC orientation. For about 30 seconds I caught a slight odor during the CC orientation. It smelled like stale diesel fuel - which does smell like sewer sometimes but it was gone as quickly as it appeared. Speaking of Camp Carnival: The Boy was so excited about Camp Carnival that he cried when he realized he wasn't going there on Sunday. Sadly, once he got to CC on Monday morning he didn't really care for it. They break up the ages poorly...his group was 2-5. Many 5 year olds are in Kindergarten, and like Colton, they are already reading. Two year olds, especially early 2 year olds, are still babies, not talking well and still taking naps. His complaint was "too many babies" so we didn't send him back unless he asked - both times after lunch so the babies were all in their own cabins taking naps. We met several other parents of 5s who had the same comments and whose 5 year olds had the same complaints. How sad to go from so excited he cried that he couldn't go to detesting it in the space of a few hours. He was only there 2 mornings and 2 afternoons. Afternoons were definitely his preference since the little ones were generally asleep! I taught preschool for 9 years. I would never have put 2s and 5s in the same group. Too much difference. He had a great cruise so it wasn't the end all of his experience but it's something we're going to keep in mind in the future. Sunshine's "Confusing" layout: I've seen lots of comments about Sunshine's lay out. I admit to being confused and not by the layout. I have not sailed Dream, Magic, or Breeze so I don't know what those ships are like but Sunshine is very similar in layout to Conquest and Victory and they are the same as all the other Conquest and Destiny class ships. The galley is in the way on decks 3 and 4 if you want to walk from one end of the ship to the other. In each case you have to go to 5 to get to 3 or 4. No big whoop. We almost always book on Deck 7 and almost always have the aft dining room. We walk to the Deck 7 aft and either use the stairs or elevator to get to Deck 3 for meals. They are definitely trying to monitor "chair hogs" better. We saw stuff on chairs at 6 am that were still there at 8 with no one around. Starting at about 8 a Carnival employee began wandering through at 40 minute intervals. If the chair was person-less, she put a sticker with the date and time on it. When she returned in 40 minutes if no one was there still, she took the towels, clothes, etc to the bar area and someone moved into the now empty spot. We had Tuesday night reservations to the Steakhouse - Fahrenheit 555 - but because Colton wasn't feeling well Katie stayed with him and Kristie and I went to dinner. We have eaten at the steakhouse on each of our cruises that had that option. This was my favorite. It's upscale and classy without being weird. I loved the venue and it's almost hidden and quiet location. The meal was delicious as always. The staff was very helpful, too, as they packed up Katie's meal and sent it to her. I'm glad she got to enjoy the steakhouse's fare, too. We did two excursions which involved snorkeling. My daughters had a ball. The grandson and I did, too, but we had beach time and playing in the water and building sand castle time. Geography/Biology Lesson: The Mesoamerican Reef in the Caribbean Basin is the largest coral reef in the Atlantic Ocean. The reef extends nearly 700 miles from the Yucatan Peninsula to the Bay of Islands in Honduras. More than 500 species of fish and 65 types of coral live within the large reef system. The Belize Barrier Reef is a part of the Mesoamerican Reef system. The reef extends from Ambergris Caye in the north to the Sapodilla Cayes in the south. This 185-mile-long reef covers an area of 237,962 acres and is protected by the UNESCO World Heritage program. The reef includes a phenomenon called the Blue Hole that’s visible from space. The Girls had a great time snorkeling in this reef again in a second country. Katie says she could have snorkeled all day if given the opportunity. Since they were snorkeling near the sand bar it was still very shallow so it was trickier not getting too close to the reef and risking killing a piece of it. Kristie said some species of coral can sting divers and snorkelers who brush up against it. Hydroids, commonly found in shallow reef beds and resembling plume-like plants, also cause stings, as do some types of sponges. Reactions to a sting from one of these animals typically appear as a rash or inflammation lasting for a few days. Katie must have brushed against one of the stinging creatures since she emerged from the sea with a rash on her arms that lasted several days. Thankfully the ship sells hydrocortisone cream since that's about the only thing I hadn't packed in my first aid/medicine kit. Friday was Cozumel and Dolphin swim. It was amazing. I tell everyone what good experiences we've had with Carnival's Guest Services. Our first cruise part of our luggage went into the Gulf on the last morning as luggage was being off-loaded. We were treated better than I can explain - including a free cruise and all our losses paid for as well as new luggage. It's a good thing that was our first experience because this cruise had several negatives with guest services and the shore excursion desk. I booked two different excursions which said "5 and under" free. I did a screen shot of the details online of both excursions and printed out them screen print. I got charged for Colton both times. I called my PVP, he put me in touch with the shore excursion department by email, and as I was writing my email to them I realized the second excursion changed to "3 and under" as I was writing the email so I included my screenshots. The excursion people answered within an hour. The person said, yes, it had changed but I had ordered before the change and they owed me for two excursions. I was to go to the shore excursion desk once we got on board and they would refund me the price of the excursions as OBC. So, the first thing we did when we got on Sunshine was go to the excursion desk. The man working there said his boss was on break but he would try to help me. I always travel with a binder that I call my Travel Book. It includes everything - passport, tickets, hotel confirmations, copies of documents, copies of emails, and what have you. I showed him my paperwork, emails, screenshots, etc. He picked up the shore excursion book and showed me where the Dolphins were free for Colton but not the Sharks and Rays. I pointed out the emails addressed that issue. He said come back when the boss is here about that one but sign here for credit for the Dolphins. It took three more trips and several conversations before I finally got the second credit. Went to the Dolphin excursion and two tickets said Dolphin Swim and one said Dolphin Encounter. The guides put me in the Swim since they could see a mistake had been made. They called Carnival as I listened to the call....difference will be $38. BUT when we got back from the Dolphins I discovered I had been charged another $129 for the Swim. Never have gotten my refund. As I'm dealing with the shore excursion fiasco, Kristie is trying to email with her husband. Except her internet minutes are gone. Except they aren't. They show as there but they won't work. She called Guest Services and the next 65 minutes was just one dumb thing after another. First they told her it was an error and they would get it back on. When it didn't come back, she called again, and they told her it was MY error and I had to go to the GS Desk and show them my card so we can reactivate her S&S card. Which I did. Still nothing. Another phone call and they told her SHE had requested them to untether her account from mine. In her words.... if you focus on the negative, you could have a really awful time. Believe all the bad reviews you see, if you want, but we have a lovely balcony, wonderful waiters and fantastic room steward and are having a wonderful time. Just ignore the messed up folio problems (somehow my folio was untethered from the group AND inactivated), the missing photographs (my mom tends to BUY ALL THE PICTURES), the total lack of non crowded public areas, the craptastic shore excursion desk staff and it's all good. Yes, they untethered her account from my credit card and then tried to convince us SHE had asked for that to happen. Um, no. This was my gift to my girls. I promised the trip wouldn't cost them a dime. She definitely would not have untethered her account. They finally blamed it on a computer crash the day before and we were finally all back online. Except they gave her her minutes and then gave me the same amount. Back downstairs to let them know we had too many minutes. I was assured no, we didn't have too many minutes. Well, maybe not but *I* didn't buy 395 minutes! I finally gave up trying to convince them they were giving me something for free. We spent Saturday playing and getting a little more sun on Sunshine.Hair appointments, swimming, sunning, reading, Build a Bear for the cousin, taking photos, just a great day at sea. Final Day Morning: Embarkation was a dream. Debarkation, not so much. We were to be in the Forward MDR by 8:15 so at 8 we made our way out of breakfast in the aft dining room and headed forward. Katie doesn't use elevators and I don't use stairs going up so we split the girls heading to the stairs and The Boy and I to the elevator. They made it to the meeting place. We did not. You know how there's always someone who thinks they are more important than everyone else? People began crowding in the Lobby although no one, other than Self-Assist, had been called yet. They ended up turning off the elevators and trying to turn people around who were on the stairs. Poor Butch. He was making announcements and you could see he was frustrated. I've never seen such a mess. While waiting to be able to get down the last flight of stairs once the elevators were off, I listened to one guy who kept saying, "They told us we could get off at 7 am and here we stand at 8 o'clock." After about the 15th time I heard his tirade I turned and looked at him and replied, "Sir, I don't know who "they" is but this ship isn't technically due in to port until 8 am. NO ONE ever said you could get off the ship BEFORE IT WAS DUE TO DOCK." His wife turned to him and said, "I told you they didn't say 7." He didn't say anything else. It took about 30 minutes to get people out of the way and order restored. Colton and I made it to the meeting spot at exactly 8:15 and we were off the ship by 9. Since we had to drive home we didn't wait on the hotel shuttle, instead taking a taxi back to the Holiday Inn to let them know we weren't going to be on the shuttle and to pick up the car. Led-foot Katie drove most of the way home with Kristie navigating. We made a couple of potty and gas breaks but mostly we just headed home. Colton and I sat in the back and read, worked on his journal, and played games. He napped a couple hours so I worked on my journal. We started his travel journal last year on a 17 day, 10 state, 10 family member road trip vacation and we continued it on this cruise. Each night he and I would talk about what we/he had done that day and I would write down his thoughts and comments. If he was asleep at dinner and didn't wake back up when we got him back to the room he and I would do the journal the next day. I am a journal person. I think we are losing our written history and I hate to see that happen so I'm a big advocate of journaling in some form. I've always had a diary or journal and now I have an 11 year old blog. I also write on paper wall calendars. I have every one since I was 12 and in the 7th grade. The journal technique of writing and reading worked with Colton's mom, aunt and uncle when they were small although they stopped as teens. A couple of them journal again in an informal way, calendars and written word in Facebook notes. We'll see if the 15 year old Colton is still journaling in 10 years. We were back in Arlington having dinner at a favorite restaurant with the men in the family at 6:15. Not a bad day's drive. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
This was my 11th Carnival cruise. My last cruise on the Conquest in Oct of 2013 raised my expectations. I was excited to sail on the Sunshine and experience all of the Funship 2.0 enhancements, the Serenity area, and to experience the ... Read More
This was my 11th Carnival cruise. My last cruise on the Conquest in Oct of 2013 raised my expectations. I was excited to sail on the Sunshine and experience all of the Funship 2.0 enhancements, the Serenity area, and to experience the showroom lounge that transforms into the nightclub. This ship is visually pleasing, with nice bright spaces that are tastefully decorated. Overall I enjoyed the ship, but there are areas that could use improvement. Embarkation: Overall smooth process. Travel to the port and parking was easy thanks to the abundance of well marked signs. Port baggage handlers tend to treat guests as someone checking into a correctional institution. I understand the baggage handlers do not work for Carnival, but they are tipped very well and could use a few lessons in customer service. I would recommend the cruise lines begin overseeing the quality of service offered for baggage drop off. Baggage handlers are also asking to see passports. I understand the need to see a boarding pass and photo ID to verify the checked baggage, but passports should only be checked by US Customs and cruise line agents. It was refreshing to finally walk into the terminal and be greeted by a Carnival agent--much friendlier and helpful. We were quickly directed to the VIP lounge where an agent checked us in and pointed us to the seating area. There is no longer a dedicated VIP seating area in the New Orleans terminal. We had to push our way through the general boarding crowd to make our way on to the ship. A designated VIP seating area would make the boarding process much smoother and less confusing. Public Rooms: Most public areas are visually pleasing, fresh and enjoyable spaces. The showroom lounge (Liquid Lounge) is a nice space that doubles as the ship’s nightclub; however, it is very small in relation to other ships and the number of people the cruise ship can accommodate. We had to line up at least 30 minutes prior to a show to guarantee we would have a seat or at least a decent one. A dedicated nightclub open on all nights was missed. No late night bar. Most Carnival ships have a bar that stays open until 5 am for the late night crowd; this ship did not. The lobby is a nice with a fresh look, but seems smaller than most ships. The “Ocean Plaza” area is nice; however it is too close to the Alchemy Bar. Live bands and karaoke in Ocean Plaza makes it difficult to talk to others and have a relaxing time while at the Alchemy Bar. I normally like to visit the piano bar (Piano Bar 88 on this ship); however, it is inconveniently located on deck 4 instead of the promenade. It would be nice if the Alchemy Bar, Piano 88 and the nightclub were all located near each other since they tend to complement each other. The casino offers many gambling options, but seemed smaller than other casino on ships the same size and maybe even smaller than casinos found on Fantasy class ships. Pool and hot tubs were open to 3 am on most nights--very nice. The pool on the serenity deck was nice, but smaller than expected. The serenity deck (really 3 decks) was outstanding. It offered a true getaway for adults with a nice waterfall in the background. The only negative is the lack of chairs. Hopefully Carnival will begin to enforce its policy of guests reserving chairs with towels and other objects to alleviate this issue. Dining: There are several dining options to choose from. The steakhouse was outstanding and conveniently located mid-ship on deck 4 near the atrium. Ji-Ji’s offers several Asian dishes, was well decorated, service was outstanding and the food was delicious. The food at the Italian restaurant was okay; nowhere near the best I’ve had. The food on the buffet was average for Carnival. The salad bar did not seem to have the big selection offered on other ships. The variety of food also seemed smaller although the lines were shorter than most ships. The eggs to order/omelet line is located near the Havana Bar at the back of the ship instead of near the normal buffet food. We didn’t find this out until the third day of the cruise. Guys Burger Joint and the Blue Iguana Burrito Bar was great as to be expected. The food in the dining rooms was very good. We switched to your time dining option a couple of years ago and normally never had to wait more than 10 minutes to get seated even with large groups on other ships. One night we were told the wait for a party of 3 would be 45+ minutes so we only ate in the main dining room two nights. Breakfast in the main dining room was outstanding: great selection of food and it was delicious. I tried to call for room service one night, but gave up after being on hold for over 20 minutes--fail. The 24 hour pizza station on the Conquest spoiled me; this ship was a disappointment. There was always a long line or wait. One night we decided to wait for pizza: we were the only ones in line and it still took over 20 minutes for pizza to come out and when it did it was raw. I notified the guest services agent of this and was given a phone call that the problem was being looked into and would be corrected. I went to the pizza station the last night of the cruise and only waited about 10 minutes. The pizza was cooked and much better than the first time--still not on par with the Conquest. Entertainment: I have mixed reviews in this area. First, the shows and the performers were nothing less than outstanding. I really enjoyed the “VIP Studio” show and how they transformed from the show to the nightclub. The Liquid nightclub was nice on the nights it was open and the lighting effects were the best I’ve seen. On every other Carnival cruise the nightclub is open every night and offers a nice place to socialize, especially on the first night of the cruise. I was told the nightclub on the Sunshine is not open the first or last nights of a cruise because they are the traditional slow nights. I was also informed the Havana Bar near the back of the ship stayed open until 2 am on the nights the nightclub is closed and offered music for dancing--that is not the case. It may be open later, but no one was back there and we were informed by the Havana Bar staff they could not treat it as a nightclub because guests of all ages were allowed to use that area at all times. I was confused by the answers…bottom line: adult entertainment = FAIL; expectations were not met. Service: Overall the service was great. The bar staff on this ship was outstanding. Drinks were always great and were served fairly quickly. Ioana in the Alchemy bar is my one “by name” mention from this cruise. She was extremely attentive to our needs, made great drinks and gave us some of her mixology secrets to enhance our experience. Room service was great as usual. Shore Excursions: There were a good number of shore excursions available. We booked all of our excursions online; however the shore excursion staff offered assistance with excursions and offered to allow us to change our existing ones…outstanding service. Cabin: We booked a balcony cabin on deck 8. It seemed a little smaller than most Carnival staterooms I’ve stayed in before. It had a nice amount of storage space, great air conditioning control, a nice size flat screen TV, but no refrigerator. The bathroom was nice and included a larger shower than I’ve had on previous Carnival cruises. Fitness/Recreation: The gym was great. It had more cardio machines than most ships I’ve been on. There were also a nice selection of weight machines. The gym hours were better than most ships I’ve been on as well. The one negative is it lacked a steam room in the men’s locker room. The large number of recreation options made it nearly impossible to become bored on the ship. The waterslides were awesome! Debarkation: A mess. “Self-assist” luggage option delays the overall debarkation process. Too many people are using this option. Self-assist creates a gridlock effect on the ship. Everyone using self-assist clogs the elevators, hallways and other common areas. I strongly recommend Carnival minimize the number guests using the self-assist option and/or the size and number of bags people carry off the ship. As a VIP I normally exit the ship within an hour and a half after docking. We docked around 6 am, but were not allowed to exit until nearly 9 am. Summary: It was a nice ship packed with many restaurants and entertainment options; however, I can’t recommend this ship for many of the people I normally travel with; however it is probably more appropriate for an older crowd and families traveling with small children that do not like to stay out late. It does not offer many of the traditional Carnival experiences I have come expect. The flow of the ship is confusing to me and many other I cruised with. I would be more apt to sailing on the Sunshine again if: another level was added to the show lounge, a dedicated night club was added and the ambiance of the Alchemy Bar was not ruined by the events taking place at “Ocean Plaza”   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
We just returned from the Mardi Gras cruise on the Carnival Sunshine out of New Orleans. Overall we had a wonderful time and even though the cruise was a little pricey when compared to other times out of New Orleans (not surprising) it was ... Read More
We just returned from the Mardi Gras cruise on the Carnival Sunshine out of New Orleans. Overall we had a wonderful time and even though the cruise was a little pricey when compared to other times out of New Orleans (not surprising) it was still nice. There are some serious problems in my eyes though with the Sunshine, which is an older ship (Destiny) that has been completely updated and re-named the Sunshine. Here are my thoughts: Entertainment: The SportsSquare area is really cool. Kids loved it and so did we. The slides were broken a bit the first two days but they got them fixed. The water was freezing though and the kids did not really want to freeze. The main pool (The Beach Pool) is an absolute joke. I would say the capacity is 30 people. It is that small. My inground pool at home is bigger, seriously. The shows were above average for the most part but they do not have enough. They compensate with the Hasbro Game Show thing which is cute but there were maybe 3 or 4 good ones out of 7. The Liquid Lounge which is where the shows are held.....another joke. Uncomfortable seating and very small for the size of the ship. They turn in into a nightclub after the shows and you can tell that they went too far in that direction and it cost them in the design of the main theater. Once again, size is a huge problem in the Limelight Lounge which doubles as the Punchliner. Whoever designed that thing had to be high. There are not nearly enough seats and half the seats are BEHIND THE STAGE. I mean, really? They say that they are aware so they schedule five shows per night. Even seen a comedian that flew in that day and has to do five shows in one night? Let's just say the last show is a struggle. Overall, I was disappointed in the places these people had to perform more than their performances. Food: The dining room is kind of plainly decorated but who really cares? I am on the ship for the food. :) The dining room experience was excellent. We had amazing waiters and an awesome bar guy who took care of us big time. We showed the love back at tip time. :) The other food options near the pool are excellent as well.....Guy's Burger Joint and the BlueIguana Cantina (tacos/burritos) are excellent as are most of the options in the back (asian/italian). The kids killed the lunch noodles on the italian side. Again, it was not the food it was the lack of options. I have never been on a cruise where the stuff was closed more than this one. The buffet was the same lame stuff every single night (hot dogs and the like) and never changed. The deli was hardly ever open at night and the aforementioned great options are not available after dark either (burgers, tacos, italian, asian) without a fee for the italian and asian. Makes no sense. Great food that you couldn't get. The only thing open 24 hours was the pizza and it may have been the worst ever. There was the same one guy working it all the time and never had help. Most of the time you got a half-cooked, toppings sliding off pizza or a uncooked pizza with nothing on it. It was sad. Same issue really. Great people, great food.....lousy presentation/delivery/options. Cabin: Our cabin was really nice. We went with the aft-view balcony and we really enjoyed it. The bathroom to me is a touch small and the shower reminded me of showering in the FEMA trailer after Katrina but overall I cannot complain. We loved the view, we had excellent service and the few times we had to call for something it was taken care of immediately. Other things: Smell. The septic/crap smell was unbearable at times on the ship. Not sure what the issue there was but it was bad. Pricing. Seems like everything has an extra fee now. That seems to be the new norm, just something I have to get used to. Steakhouse, fee. Milkshakes, fee. (Awesome though!) Dinner at night in the Italian or Asian area, fee. Arcade, insanity. I get that they cannot include everything for your cruise fare, but when I pay $4,000 for a week it just seems like more things should not require an additional fee. Just something I have to get used to. Kids Activities. My son went to Camp Carnival a few times (9 years old) but was bored. My 13 year daughter loved Circle C. Had to drag her away. :) Always so dependent on the kid. The staff was super friendly though and hard working. Summary: As I said, overall it was a great trip. There are some serious issues though with the Sunshine and when the boat is packed, as you would expect on the Mardi Gras cruise from New Orleans, there are issues. To me, the biggest things were the lack of space for the shows and by far the biggest to me was the horrible lack of food options after dinner. That to me was by far the biggest disappointment. Was also sad to see the other cruisers take it out on the staff. The workers always tried their best but they were overwhelmed a lot of the time. Overall, awesome trip! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
Although the changes have resulted in a beautiful ship, the Sunshine would not be considered one of my favorites. The Serenity deck is awesome and the new water park is fun, especially the slides. They are a lot faster than the others we ... Read More
Although the changes have resulted in a beautiful ship, the Sunshine would not be considered one of my favorites. The Serenity deck is awesome and the new water park is fun, especially the slides. They are a lot faster than the others we have used. This was our 14th Carnival cruise and again was very enjoyable. The remake of the Lido Marketplace was nice. Didn't experience any long waits for lunch. Make sure you make your way through the Marketplace into the Havana Bar area. It's kind of hidden and I don't think some people know it's there. It was never crowded in there with plenty of seating. There is also a pasta bar back there that was very good. Guy's burgers were great and so was the burrito and taco bar. Be sure to try both. All in all, the food was excellent. The only time we encountered the "smell" that others have talked about was at our muster station. Other than that it was a non-issue. Didn't have any trouble finding chairs on deck but it was a little crowded. There were extra chairs stacked and tied up, but wasn't really any place to put them. We were always on deck by 9am and always found a place to sit. We went to the shows and the comedy shows. The design of the comedy show is a little confusing, if you get in, and we saw them turn people away because it was full, and you have to sit on the sides, you can't see the stage and have to watch the show on a tv screen. The shows in Liguid Lounge were good especially Epic Rock. It was the last one and we highly recommend you see this one. We were disappointed in the Promenade Deck. We have always enjoyed going up early before dinner and grabbing a seat and people watch. There really is no place for this and the walkway runs right thru the casino. It's not terrible but a little smoky. Our wait staff and room steward were nice and friendly. Not the best we've had but certainly not worth complaining about. We believe they have tried to put more people on the ship but the ship is still the same size so it is a little more crowded. We decided that Carnival tried to accommodate more people without accommodating the people, if that makes sense. It wouldn't be my first choice if I had one, but I would sail on it again just because we love cruising   Read Less
Carnival Sunshine Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.9
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 5.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 3.7
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 5.0 3.7
Rates 3.0 4.1

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