Sail Date: January 2019
This review concerns only the Carnival ship and company. Our cruise was an adult-only charter and we had no complaints about its organisers. Our overall impression was of a penny-pinching enterprise seeking to squeeze every last dime ... Read More
This review concerns only the Carnival ship and company. Our cruise was an adult-only charter and we had no complaints about its organisers. Our overall impression was of a penny-pinching enterprise seeking to squeeze every last dime from its captive customers. Specifically : - Food in general was very poor. Everything in the buffet was cold and poor quality (exception: the bacon was lovely). The MDR was pretentious and lacking real quality. The smaller venues (omelette station, Blue Iguana, pizza bar...) were notably better although the burger bar food was disgusting. Most places were closed too often, giving a poor choice of food for "non-standard" meal-times. Conform or go hungry? - Drinks prices were outrageous (with alcohol packages unavailable on charters - I can't think why). Wine “deals” were available at slightly less outrageous prices, whereby you effectively pre-purchased bottles from a selection. Having taken our money THEY RAN OUT of the most popular wines. We felt defrauded. We also often received our wine when our meal was half over. Water that wasn't heavily chlorinated and decent coffee also had to be paid for. - They confiscated the bottles of wine we brought onto the ship as apparently we had put them in the “wrong suitcase". They were never returned, despite the letter that said they would be! That left a VERY bitter taste (but presumably a rather pleasant one for staff). - The internet was extremely expensive, with very limited options to choose from. There definitely ought to be a per-minute option too for those who just want to research a lunch in port etc. The staff, without exception, were friendly and helpful. However there was a noticeable lack of management and training at the level above their individual jobs. They need to know how it all fits together! Our cabin, a deck 7 interior, was absolutely fine. It was well designed, had just enough storage, and nothing was damaged or missing. The only problem - a grave one - was that the toilet stopped flushing on several occasions towards the end of the cruise. It was quickly fixed each time but it was difficult to cope with, particularly in the night. The self-serve launderette on our floor was useful although each wash, dry and detergent cost a rather high $7.50. The gym facilities were also adequate. The ship has had major refits, I believe. There are certainly some oddities, including confusing lifts. Two major problems are: 1. The casino forms a main thoroughfare, particularly when it's raining, and smoking is normally allowed there. It wasn't on our cruise, but the stench lingers. 2. Everyone walks through the Limelight Lounge to get to the MDR as there are few viable alternatives. The route runs along the edge of the stage - most off-putting for everyone. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Our cabin steward was excellent, but that was about all; he was named Lamphong and he was great. Otherwise, the cruise was fairly mediocre, stopping in several Caribbean ports including their manufactured island in the Bahamas. We had a ... Read More
Our cabin steward was excellent, but that was about all; he was named Lamphong and he was great. Otherwise, the cruise was fairly mediocre, stopping in several Caribbean ports including their manufactured island in the Bahamas. We had a veranda room looking out at the very aft of the ship, which cost more than the regular veranda rooms. We were surprised to find a dinky veranda, no larger that the others on either side of the ship. The main dining room featured formica tables without table cloths; I thought they perhaps could add to this truck stop theme by placing squeeze bottles of ketchup and mustard, and perhaps hot sauce, in a little stainless steel holder. Much better was the Havana Bar on the Lido deck, which featured excellent omelettes each morning. Also, the hamburger stand by the very small pool was great. No bathrobes, no binoculars, nothing extra. This ship, unlike other Carnivals, did have a library with more than a dozen books, and it did have ample launderettes. The prime rib was paper-thin and tough, but the steak and eggs for breakfast in the main dining room had a small fillet mignon. Overall, this ship and cruise did not compare to a similar one we took a few months ago on Holland America. The ship itself is ship-shape, and we give them high marks for the embarkation and disembarkation process as well as luggage delivery. Carnival knows how to move people. The entertainment was fine. I'll confess that we'd already taken shore excursions to the ports we stopped at, so we benefited from low population around the pool on port days. It was harum-scarum at the pool on sea days. This was a adult cruise, so I can't comment on kid's activities, but Carnival has a great reputation for that sort of thing. Overall the best thing I can say is that our cabin service was superior. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
My husband and I just returned from a 13 day journeys cruise aboard the Sunshine. We typically have rain a good portion of our vacation and were pleasantly surprised to only have rain two half days. The ship itself is in great shape for ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a 13 day journeys cruise aboard the Sunshine. We typically have rain a good portion of our vacation and were pleasantly surprised to only have rain two half days. The ship itself is in great shape for its age. The crew went out of their way to make the cruise special. We visited 7 islands - St. Thomas, Aruba, Curacao, St. Marteen, St. Kitts, San Juan, and Amber Cove. We had been to all of these ports except Amber Cove. I turned platinum on this cruise and enjoyed all the perks - chocolate covered strawberries, a free blanket throw, 5 bags of free laundry, priority boarding and disembarkation, and a free drink. The shows on board were all pretty good. My husband and I enjoyed the comedy shows the most and averaged two shows most days. The Love & Marriage Show dragged on too long. It took almost 45 minutes to pick the contestants. We ate most dinners (10 of the 13 nights) in the main dining room with Any Time Dining. We never had to wait over 5 or 10 minutes for a table. Most nights we were in and out in about an hour and 15 minutes. We typically ate early (around 5:15). We only paid to eat one meal and that was at the sushi restaurant. Sushi for two with tip was around $25. We booked all excursions on our own. There were a few things that irritated me. Number 1 - the free drink. You have to get it either at breakfast or lunch and only in the main dining room. I went three times before I even found the dining room open during these times. One time breakfast was over and lunch hadn't started. Another time lunch was already over. ( I know it is free and you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, but get real, it is a $9.50 drink!) Number 2 - No refrigerator. This is the first time I have ever cruised a big cruise line with no refrigerator. Number 3 - making you choose morning or evening service of your cabin. We chose morning but our steward still serviced it twice a day but you could tell he was overextended doing so. Shame on Carnival for putting him in this position. I think each steward services over 30 rooms. Number 4 - Disembarkation was a nightmare. It took us over two hours with priority and we just made our flight by 10 minutes and yes it was an afternoon flight. Overall, I will still sail on Carnival again but will give other cruise lines equal consideration. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Let me start at the beginning. Embarkation went very well, maybe the fastest we have ever encountered. The first impression of the ship was good until we got to a stairway where we smelled cigarette smoke coming up from the Casino. ... Read More
Let me start at the beginning. Embarkation went very well, maybe the fastest we have ever encountered. The first impression of the ship was good until we got to a stairway where we smelled cigarette smoke coming up from the Casino. The Casino was in the middle of deck 5 and there was no way around it unless you went up or down a deck. For the protection of crew and passengers, there should not be smoking anywhere on the ship where non-smokers would be. This was the first cruise I did not gamble. The smoke was beyond my tolerance and I did not want to get used to it. Carnival and all cruise lines need to consider their smoking policy. You can not say the health of the crew and passengers is your no. 1 concern and allow smoking where crew members work and passengers frequent. Our next stop was our room. We had a balcony room ( 8236 )It was nothing great but it was adequate. We did have an unobstructed view from our balcony which was nice. Our cabin steward did an okay job. We have had better and worse. Food is where we went next. We did all of our eating on Deck 9. We did not use any of the dining rooms. I mostly used the Buffet which was not great but adequate. My complaint with the Buffet is that I did not always know which foods had meat in them. I was told I could ask a service person but not so easy when the Buffet is busy which it was most of the time I was there. Hopefully, cruise lines will start labeling their food better. Next, we took a self- guided tour of the ship. The sports deck had some fun stuff. They had a pretty good putt putt course but they were using lightweight golf balls which got blown around in the wind. We tried the obstacle course, which was fun. Never used the water slides. Had some fun with the Fooseball table. They had a single basket court which we never used. They also had a bean bag toss which we had some fun with. We then went to the Spa and gym. Sad to say we never used either one. Overall the ship felt crowded but we were always able to get good seats in their main entertainment Venue ( Liquid Lounge ) It was different than what we have seen on other ships but worked well for us. The entertainment was good. Our only problem was the crowds were too big sometimes in the Ocean Plaza and Limelight Lounge. We had a great Cruise director ( Mikey ). He made it fun on the ship. We also had some good excursions. We hiked up to a volcano and yes it was difficult. Very important to stay hydrated. We did some zip lining and horseback riding which was fun. Will we cruise with Carnival again? Probably, but will check the deck plan and smoking policy. We will not go on the Sunshine again if they do not change their smoking policy. Which is sad to say since we enjoyed the Cruise Director so much. Overall we had a good time and we are already looking for our next cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
I have always bragged to others about the quality and variety of food on the Carnival Menu and buffets. BUT on the Sunshine it was the worst food ever encountered on a cruise ship. Our food was cold, crusty, and dried. The salads were ... Read More
I have always bragged to others about the quality and variety of food on the Carnival Menu and buffets. BUT on the Sunshine it was the worst food ever encountered on a cruise ship. Our food was cold, crusty, and dried. The salads were browned lettuce and soups were cold. The service was extremely slow and not acceptable at all. We are both diamond VIP members with Carnival. We have sailed on over two hundred cruises and most every cruise line. We understand that booking with different cruise lines you will experience different types of food, however, cold, tasteless, no quality food is unacceptable regardless of the cruise line. The Carnival product has greatly deteriorated and is not at all like previous Carnival cruises we have experienced on most every cruise ship in their fleet! We are very concerned that this ship does not follow ADA guidelines. It was one of the most unfriendly to handicapped passengers in wheelchairs and the guests were unwilling to share the elevators even though the US law states that wheelchair passengers have first priority in the elevator use. Fellow passengers are getting more and more antagonistic toward those who cannot walk and must use a wheelchair as well as the cruise ship staff! It is interesting to note that Carnival is changing the booking mechanism for handicapped cabins. They have gone from wheelchair cabins with roll in showers to calling the same exact cabin a "walker" cabin thereby eliminating the need to accommodate wheelchair guests. It is blatant discrimination. We will carefully review our choices for cruising this year and go back to cruise line whose product we can trust. Carnival product is no longer the same. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We booked this cruise because of the ports. Our favorite day was St Kitts. We took a cab to the Marriott and enjoyed betting some horse races. Later we walked down to the Marriott beach and walked north to the end of the Marriott ... Read More
We booked this cruise because of the ports. Our favorite day was St Kitts. We took a cab to the Marriott and enjoyed betting some horse races. Later we walked down to the Marriott beach and walked north to the end of the Marriott property to a gorgeous local beach setting with no people. Absolutely gorgeous scenery. Reminds us of Hawaii. Disappointing was the anytime dining system on this ship compared to NCL. We had to wait in line on Deck 5 to get a table assigned and then walk down 2 decks to the dining room. We found that if we waited until 7 pm that there were no lines. We enjoyed the cruise director Mkey and especially TREVOR doing the horse races commentary. Trevor was outstanding. The singer John was great as well as RB & the Sunshine Band. The Punchliner Comedy Show had long lines waiting nightly, which was very annoying. It would have been better to have a 7pm show in the main theater and have each comic do 30 minutes. Have the same thing at 9pm with adult format. WORST entertainer was Ewert in the piano bar. I requested "Sweet Caroline" (Boston Red Sox theme song) to celebrate their World Series Win. When it came to the second verse, Ewert changed the words to "Sweet Hand of Mine...good times really feel so good." (Referencing masturbation moves). I know that it was adults only bar but thought that was to keep kids out not to sing x rated songs. We really enjoyed our cabin 1409 on deck one with two port holes. It was very large with a long sofa. We could hear banging occasionally when seas were rough but we still loved our cabin. Best part of the cruise was when former high school classmate Steve and his wife Jennifer came over to say "HI." I went to the guest services desk to ask them to call their cabin to meet up with them again, but the voice messaging would not work to leave them a message. Hoping they find me on Facebook under my maiden name. Fun cruise. Great flat iron steak and lobster tail. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We cruised on this ship when it was the Destiny and had a great experience. This was the total opposite. Let me first say that our cruise director Mikey was AMAZING. I’d sail with him as CD again any day, he went above and beyond. ... Read More
We cruised on this ship when it was the Destiny and had a great experience. This was the total opposite. Let me first say that our cruise director Mikey was AMAZING. I’d sail with him as CD again any day, he went above and beyond. Pros: JiJi Restaurant was wonderful! Make sure to try the pork belly, pot stickers, and the wide noodles. This is family style dining so everyone gets to try each dish. Service was amazing! Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse is a must! Our top choices were the smoked oysters, essence of tomato shots from the chef, and of course the ribeye. Great service & great food. Cons: This is the first cruise I’ve ever been on that most of the staff were rude or just plain ignored passengers. We normally tip very well, but walked off this ship without tipping above those already billed. The lido buffet was AWFUL! The only thing we ate in there was breakfast 3 times and two salads for lunch. Same bland, greasy, over cooked food every day. Not sure what was going on with the elevators but they were slow and most of the time blew by your floor. Waited more than five minutes several times. Maybe the elevator problem had something to do with children allowed to play in the elevators. An example, we entered an elevator with a approx 12 year old boy sitting in the floor eating an ice cream cone. The boy was laughing at the fact he had pushed all the buttons and was just riding up and down. His buddy was doing the same in the adjacent elevator. Want a deck chair? Better get up at 5 am to reserve one. Staff were allowing passengers to hold chairs by placing their belongings there for hours at a time. Want peace on the Serenity deck? Better find a better place, like front row center at a heavy metal concert. No where to sit, loud, kids running around. I think Carnival really missed the mark when the started doing away with the aft adults only pool areas. Did I say the staff? We had Your Time Dining, one side of the dining room was pleasant and the other actually gave me a dirty look. The bright spot was Nestor and his team including Jennifer who never stopped smiling. I’d give the other wait staff’s name that gave me a dirty look but he never gave us his name & didn’t spend enough time at our table to notice his name tag. We did enjoy our room steward but the cabin aft deck 7 had an odd amount of dust everywhere. Also we had a mildew smell in our cabin that seemed to be coming from the drain. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose Carnival Sunshine because we love the new Carnival 2.0 features and the itinerary was perfect. It definitely felt much smaller than the usual ships we go on (Vista, Miracle, etc.) The Lido buffet area feels very small but the ... Read More
We chose Carnival Sunshine because we love the new Carnival 2.0 features and the itinerary was perfect. It definitely felt much smaller than the usual ships we go on (Vista, Miracle, etc.) The Lido buffet area feels very small but the trick is to utilize the Havana area for meals where most people don't look. We were amazed at how well the ship was cleaned every day by all staff. Also, this was the friendliest staff we have experienced in a long time. Our entire family is Platinum, so we've been on a lot of cruises and over the past several years we have felt like the service is lacking. But this cruise revived our hopes! With only one or two exceptions, the crew was SPECTACULAR! While the cabins are smaller, they are really well organized and we felt like we even had extra space in the room for storing clothes. However, the pull-down bed that overlapped above our bed caused me to hit my head a few times when I was waking up. I definitely missed the bigger cabins on other ships. I did enjoy the larger showers though (from the old style layout). As a frequent cruiser, the specialty restaurants are a must for us to avoid the monotony of the main dining room. We loved all of the specialty restaurants and enjoyed the main dining room on the 2 nights we were there. The service was, again, terrific. The Lido buffet is truly wearing out, in my opinion. I do wish they'd switch it up a little bit for those of us that cruise often, but it helped me eat lighter during the day. The Havana area on the back ok the Lido deck is absolutely beautiful with the floor to ceiling windows that overlook the back of the ship. We really enjoyed those tables for relaxing, eating, and playing cards. Such a view! The ports on our ship were Aruba, Curacao, and Grand Turk. Grand Turk is a favorite of ours since it's so easy to just hop off and enjoy a day on the beach, get lunch back on the ship, and be so close to our cabin. Aruba was ok (the cruise terminal was small and the taxi line was poorly managed) and Curacoa is now one of my new favorite ports. Absolutely beautiful with great (unique Dutch/Holland) shopping, terrific beach, and a fun atmosphere within walking distance of the ship! I will say that getting cabs at some of these ports is frustrating and very stressful, especially with a large family (there are 12 of us). The taxi drivers can be so rude and pressure you into doing things you don't want to do. Aruba was the worst, with the taxis splitting us up without our ability to get our Carnival key cards sorted amongst the kids. This caused half our group to not be able to get into the cruise terminal because the kids in that group didn't have their key cards (which were the other half of us in another taxi). This was a TERRIBLE ordeal for us and was caused by the greediness of the taxi drivers and the high-stress situation they put us in. I think from now on I'll plan someone to pick us up ahead of time to avoid the taxi line and drivers. Overall, this ship provided a terrific cruise. The Cruise Director, Mikey, was great. The ship was clean, service terrific, and pools and water park and obstacle course were open at all specified times. No big disappointments. One mention I have to make - DJ Dawkness on the Lida pool area was the best DJ we've ever had. The other DJ they had was just ok - she played a bunch of rap junk (I'm 34 and it was too much for me). But DJ Dawkness - he was AMAZING! He played the best variety of music, didn't talk during the songs, and at a huge surprise for us, he devoted about 20-30 minutes on our Sunday morning by the pool to some worship music for a small church service. As a believer and follower of Jesus, this was the highlight of my trip. He wasn't forceful to those who didn't want to participate, but he offered so much encouragement and love to those of us there. The music was easy listening R&B Christian so that everyone could enjoy. No one there seemed upset, and those of us (especially me) that spend time with the Lord daily - this was like heaven. Worship on the Lido. So great. I can't thank him (and Carnival) enough for allowing this to happen. Sometimes I feel like Carnival caters so well to the drinkers, gamblers, and partyers, but as a Christian that finds my joy in other things, we can get overlooked. DJ Dawkness changed that for me - it was one of the best moments in cruising that I've ever had! :) Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We sailed on the Sunshine in June 2018 and we enjoyed the ship so much, that when we returned home we booked a New Year's Eve cruise on her. Even chose the same cabin. I don't want to be redundant, so I won't repeat ... Read More
We sailed on the Sunshine in June 2018 and we enjoyed the ship so much, that when we returned home we booked a New Year's Eve cruise on her. Even chose the same cabin. I don't want to be redundant, so I won't repeat everything from my review of our June cruise, but I do want to let everyone who hasn't sailed on the Sunshine know that the negative reviews I have read are way off the mark. The ship is clean and the crew is wonderful. Always cheerful and helpful. This cruise was just my wife and me, no kids, and we had an absolute blast. We have our own way of cruising, so maybe our opinion doesn't apply to everyone. First, we rarely visit the main dining room...ever. It just takes too long for us, no matter the food or service. We did enjoy the steak house very much. We went on the first night for the free bottle of wine. We highly recommend JiJi's Asian Kitchen. Outstanding food. Also Bonsai Sushi. Guy's burgers of course, and the pizza was great. The lines moved along, no long wait. Buffet was very good when we tried it. Not everything is perfect, never is, but when I read reviews that say "it's always cold" or "it's inedible" I just have to laugh. Simply isn't true. The Alchemy bar is our favorite bar, great bartenders. The Havana Bar too. Helpful hint: You can order great coffee drinks here and avoid the lines at Java Blue. New Year's Eve at sea was so cool, definite bucket list. Kissing my baby at midnight while the ship blows its horn was unforgetable. Then dancing on the Lido deck with 3000 of my best friends. Awesome experience! Missing Amber Cove on January 1st due to high winds was a bit of a let down, but I never heard anyone complain, or saw any fighting over deck chairs (we were poolside when the announcement was made about Amber Cove). It is what it is, don't let it ruin your day. We decided to take a nap (a little hungover). We didn't go on this cruise for the ports anyway. Grand Turk is always fun. Walked the beach to Jack's Shack for a few drinks and a swim. Then back up to the Whales Tale for one more cocktail. (maybe two) Finally, a shout out to Mikey, one of the best CDs on any ship, anywhere. Always a pleasure. Also to Agus, our room steward, and Parviz at the Alchemy Bar. Thanks guys, you all helped make our vacation fun and relaxing. And to all the nitpicky, negative Nells out there....um, never mind, why bother. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
This ship reminds me of a six year old mini van. It will get you there and back but it has no style, grace or wow factor. After a 100+ cruises I believe I have a decent idea of what to expect. This review takes a quick, broad ... Read More
This ship reminds me of a six year old mini van. It will get you there and back but it has no style, grace or wow factor. After a 100+ cruises I believe I have a decent idea of what to expect. This review takes a quick, broad view. You can have a poor meal or cabin steward on a great ship and a great meal etc on a poor ship, it is the overall experience that counts. Ship-Is old, worn (not dirty) and poorly designed. It therefore feels cramped and crowded. It doesn't have the style/grace of some older ships or the wow of some newer ones. On the up side all the public restrooms I visited were very clean. On the down badly worn carpet, pealing wall paper and just a general look of heavy use deter from experience. Our sliding door would not lock and we had high winds for a day, this resulted in a high pitch squeal in the cabin. The adult area is large, away from the kids area and overall nice. The one main pool is a mess. Had an incident on one sea day that they had to close the pool, One pool and it was closed, great! Three hot tubs and one of those closed as well. Just overall a poorly designed ship. Overall below average. Food- Better then expected, small servings, but you can always get two. Interesting the MDR was better then expected and the upcharge one's were below expectations. Much better then a recent RCL cruise and on par with a recent NCL. The lack of staff in the upcharge locations was troubling. Overall above expectations. Staff-The ones we dealt with were good, but there are not enough. Every position, bars, dining, room stewards etc were under staffed. Carnival has cut back to the point that it is a continuing problem. We did have several problems with the photo department, including closing a portrait location while we were in line to get pictures. Overall above average, just not enough. Entertainment- I though it was good, but it fit my style. I like Disco and one of the shows did this very well, not so much if you are a county fan. Hate to even comment on it because it is so based on everyone's tastes. Overall above expectations. Getting on and off were ok, again crowded. The cabin keys are now on the ship in your room. Saves time and works well. Overall Average. Chances are I would not rebook this ship, but if you have dates or ports that this is the only option (as we did) then it will work. Read Less
Carnival Sunshine Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.9
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 5.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.8
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 5.0 3.7
Rates 3.0 4.1

Find a Carnival Sunshine Cruise