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Seany527

Carnival Sunshine 8 Day Picture Review with Funtimes, Menus and much more!

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Just want to thank you for your amazing review! I know that this is very time consuming, job well done! We sail Sunshine in 23 days!

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Thank you so much for this review. We are going on the Sunshine January 3rd. I have to say was a little hesitant, wasn't sure what to expect. Normally we go NCL or Royal Carribean. I have to say I am feeling a lot better about our trip. Thanks again

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Thank you for taking the time to write this review. It is definitely the most detailed and informative review I have ever read!! BTW, I had never heard of the towel animal invasion! This sounds like a must see!

 

I will be on the Sunshine 1/8 and I did have one question. I read your review over the course of several days and so you probably answered this and I just missed it. Was this menu the new American Table menu or the old menu?

 

This was the old style menu. It's been reported that the American Table menu was to come out at the end of September, but the last I heard, that date had been pushed back until 2016.

 

I cannot see the pictures either.

 

They are back now :)

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Just wanted to add the Carnival Fun Hub app now works on the Sunshine (even though it is labeled Fun Hub App - Breeze). It makes up for lack of interactive TV for those with a tablet or smartphone.

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Just a little tip - I get the cheese tray to go, and then enjoy it on the balcony later with a nice wine. :)

 

Great review and pics!

 

I didn't know they'd pack to-go items for you. What a great suggestion! Thanks :)

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Summary, Conclusion and Final Score

 

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Food-

 

Out of my four Carnival Cruises, the Sunshine has the best food by far. It was always hot when it was supposed to be hot and it was always cold when it was suppose to…oh wait that last part is not true, but who cares. There were so many dining options to choose from and I always left mentally wanting more, but physically unable to eat another thing (for the most part). The breakfast buffet featured some great items (like the biscuits with sausage gravy) and the always-tasty breakfast potatoes, even though I never saw those mini hash browns once :(. The Lunch buffet was always exceptional as well. They always had some staple items we could count on, like the chicken tenders, in addition to some different rotating items which kept things interesting. Cucina del Capitano was a real treat at lunch time and I wish it were available on more ships. If I sail on a ship without it going forward, it will be missed. Then there was Guys Burger Joint and Mongolian Wok. Guys Burgers were always top notch and the toppings bar made it customizable. And speaking of customizable, Mongolian Wok never failed to disappoint. Now for dinner, the food was good as well. Sometimes not devine, but not once did I eat something that was disgusting or unedible. The only draw backs I can really say that influenced the points were the freshness. At times in the buffet, the trays of food would be practically empty and people would pick through grabbing what they could. I understand it's hard to keep up with the demand at a busy time, and in that case, just remove the tray of food and explain more is on the way. So for food, I would rate a 95% or 19 out of 20 points.

 

Entertainment—

 

First the Playlist Production Team- What started out weak at the Welcome Aboard Show sprung to life more and more as the cruise went on. Studio VIP and Epic Rock were both top notch. Even though I’m not a fan of the new style shows, the cast really did do a great job and kept things interesting.

Fly on entertainers- This would include the two variety shows (Magician and Juggler) as well as the comedians. The lines were long each time I went to see a comedian so I unfortunately can not rate them. Therefore, they will have no impact on this portion. The Magician overall was good but, like I said previously, I wouldn’t stop what I was currently doing to go see him. The juggler, sorry, but that was painful to sit through.

Live entertainment- Carnival has got something with “The In Crowd.” They were a great band with high energy and amazing vocals. They did an excellent job at engaging the crowd and kept an upbeat attitude. If I had never been on a cruise, I would have rated the entertainment pretty high on the Sunshine. But I can’t forget my previous two cruises that did not feature Playlist Productions and how great they were. And the fly on entertainment on those cruises were also very enjoyable. Nonetheless, “The In Crowd” will save the day and the Sunshine will receive a score of 80% or 12 out of 15 points.

 

Service-

 

Service was very good on the Sunshine and I would say the most personalized out of any Carnival Cruise. Clarence, our room steward, was super friendly and very kind. At times I felt bad for him because of how hard he works. Our room was always cleaned after we returned from our morning activities and, after dinner our towel animal always awaited us. I also can’t forget about Theo and his team in the Sunrise Restaurant. They were fast, fast, fast. If you enjoy quick, but still personalized and friendly, service I would recommend requesting to be in Theo’s section. But of course there were some draw backs, both at Cucina and Ji Ji. I don’t really need to go into those again but it should have been handled differently. There was also the highly uncomfortable moments when security came to our room (and although it may not be service, it still dealt with those in the service industry, so that’s going here too). Although not mentioned in the review earlier, there was a time I was completely ignored at the Serenity bar. I was the only guest there and next thing I knew all of the bartenders walked away...and so did I. And lastly, when I pay for Faster to the Fun, I want to receive the perk of my room being ready upon boarding and not walking into a room that has the water running and bath towels scattered around the room. But anyway, Theo and Clarence will save the day as well as Joe from the Java Blue and Shakira from Ocean Plaza, and score the Carnival Sunshine an 85% or 12.75 our of 15 in the Service Category.

 

Decor and Ambiance-

 

Carnival does a great job here in decorating and making each area on the ship different in its own way. The Red Frog Pub has a great Florida Keys feel, while the Alchemy Bar just a few steps away does a perfect job at creating the 1920’s pharmacy vibe. I also really enjoy the colors in the stateroom. Blue tones really brighten it up as oppsed to the browns and oranges of previous Carnival Ships. The Sunrise Restaurant is beautiful, again with its different shades of blue. The glowing “suns” in the center of the room really add to the mood as well. At night, Cucina del Capitano transforms into an Italian restaurant with the traditional white and red checkered table cloths, adding to the whole effect. Carnival does a nice job in this aspect. 90% or 9 out of 10 points.

 

Venues-

 

The Carnival Sunshine has it all. No, really, it does have it all. Every 2.0 upgrade. Each venue or spot on the ship offers something different, whether it be the majestic waterfall on the Serenity Deck or the three waterslides at Water Works. This section could go on forever, but since I wrote about each venue during the review I will summarize very briefly here. The outdoor spaces, although lacking dining options, are truly special. The Lido Pool was great with the built in cabanas, and enough positive things can not be said about the beauty of the Serenity Deck up front. In the aft, it was all excitement with Water Works and Sports Square. Inside, Ocean Plaza was hit, the Atrium was alive with its bright sun and music, and the venues on the lower deck 4 Promenade did not disappoint either; all adding up to a 95% or 9.5 out of 10 points.

 

Onboard Activies-

 

As much as I enjoyed what I did, there wasn’t a whole lot to choose from during the day. I would have liked to have seen more trivia and more karaoke. If that’s not something you’re into, then this portion really will have no effect. The dance classes, and there were a good amount of those, appeared to be fun but lacked organization and not much could be taken away from them. It was average and in the middle, therefore a score of 50% or 5 out of 10 points.

 

Cabin-

 

Stateroom 5342 was great. The balcony was huge and the room itself showed little signs of aging. The location was perfect, the temperature was spot on, and the balcony was a delight. Oh wait I already said that. It came with a mini fridge and a key pad safe, both of which are important to me. Trust me, if you have the opportunity to book 5342 as I would highly recommend it. There were no negatives other than the lack of an interactive TV (but that’s amongst all staterooms on the Sunshine). I can confidently give this category a 100% or 10 out of 10.

 

Ports-

 

Grand Turk was a repeat port and the lack of sun did put a damper on the day a little. Not Carnival’s fault, so I can’t knock them there. Curacao was my favorite port, and I can’t wait to return some day. I felt welcome by the people and it was almost like I was singled out by the locals as they wanted to ensure I enjoyed myself in their home country. Even the man I mentioned earlier who was selling water had a great attitude. And I can’t leave out Shelia from Irie Tours. She was perfect. Now onto Aruba. Aruba was nice, but I feel I was cheated out of time with the late departure and late returning excursion I booked through Carnival, serviced by Red Sail Sports. I was also cheated out of day light hours; not Carnival’s fault, but they can do something about a 1pm arrival time after 2 full sea days. If it wasn’t for Curacao, the Ports category would have received an abysmal score. Curacao is something special, but I can not forget about my disappointment in Aruba- ranking this category 40% or 2 out of 5 points.

 

Pay for Extra’s-

 

This category will consist of everything extra on the Sunshine not included in the fare of the Cruise. So in this case; the excursions as well as the three specialty dining restaurants, the Shake Spot and the alcoholic drinks. So let’s go in order- the excursions. As I said, Red Sail Sports did a horrible job at representing their company. I would avoid them like the plague. Irie Tours on the other hand… I think it was the best $25 I ever spent (seriously!). All of the Specialty Restaurants were a success in my book and well worth the upcharge. If you’re on a budget, I would recommend Ji Ji and Matt, the Steakhouse. My least favorite was Cucina and his least favorite was Ji Ji. So that just goes to show everyone’s palet is different. I guess you will have to experience them for yourself. The Shake Spot was always good and the service was personalized thanks to Joe. It was less than $5 for a shake so I would recommended trying it at least once. But you should do so at the end of the cruise because once you have one, you will definitely want another. Lastly the alcoholic drinks. The price of these add up fast and for the most part, they were good. I had the Cheers! program on a previous cruise, so I was able to sample pretty much all of the drinks. Therefore, on the Sunshine, I knew what to order and what to stay away from. Carnival does offer some pretty fun, creative drinks. Try a few out and see what you like. One of my favorites if the frozen BBC. So now for the rating- Since I already knocked points away in the previous category because of the Red Sail Sports excursion, I won’t do it again here. Drinks are always overpriced so I can’t fault Carnival for that. Overall, I felt the extra money spent on board was well worth it, giving this category an 85% of 4.25 out of 5.

 

The weighted average gives the Carnival Sunshine an 84%.

 

 

When I think back now and reflect on the entire cruise, I only remmber the enjoyable parts, so a score of 84% does seem rather low. But when I break things down accordingly, 84% seems adequate. I would for certain sail on the Sunshine again and would always choose a cabin on deck 5. Because there were so many sea days, I felt the balcony was worth the extra money. Had this been a port-intensive cruise, a window room would have sufficed (I think).

 

What’s next?

 

To start, I have always taken the reviews on here for granted and never understood the amount of time, effort, and work people put into writing them. This was a huge undertaking, much more that I ever could have imagined. Did I enjoy writing it though? Eh, it was fine. But before the cruise, I said I would do it and I never go back on my word. It took up a huge amount of time but I hope it does benefit people in providing answers I was unable to find, especially with the Specialty Restaurants and your initial navigation around the ports. So, with that being said, my next cruise will be on the Norwegian Getaway. It will be my first time sailing on NCL and from what I have read, the entertainment is very good. I’m really looking forward to quality shows and more specialty restaurants. I hope I do like NCL because I’ll be trying them again on the Breakaway. I really enjoy sailing out of New York as it's so convenient and easy for me. Then lastly, I’ll be back to Carnival for the all-new Vista. It also will be a Journey's Cruise, so I am definitely looking forward to that one. At this point I’m unsure if I will do a review on any or all of them. Only time will tell…

 

Thank you so much for reading this Sunshine review. All of your positive comments along the way have been very enjoyable to read. If anyone has any questions, just ask. I have so much more to share that I just couldn’t fit in the review. Thanks again to everyone who has written a review before me. You have all been a great contribution to Cruise Critic.

 

Wow! Well done!!!!! This is an amazing review. All the photos and details are beyond helpful. The way you organized the information made it really easy to asorb and follow along with you. I feel like I've was there!! :)

 

Thank you so much for sharing all your insights. This makes me feel even more excited about my upcoming cruise aboard the Sunshine in April.

 

I have a few questions if you happen to still be monitoring this thread.

 

It sounds like you didn't make it to the spa or the gym - but if you did, please share your thoughts. I really enjoy the heated loungers and I'm wondering if they can be reserved or if it's first come first serve.

 

When you watched the Dive in Movie - how was the sound? I would imagine it would be hard to hear in an open setting like that. But, you said you enjoyed it and didn't feel too distracted, so I wonder.

 

I think you mentioned a few small Cuban themed lunch items that were available at the Havana bar. Was there a charge for those items? And, did you say that seating for lunch was open? Does that mean I can gather lunch items from the Lido Marketplace and take my meal to the Havana bar area to sit and enjoy it? I'd like that if it's acceptable.

 

Thanks again - the review is truly top notch :)

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we were on the Sunshine this past summer. But after reading your review, there are a lot of things we obviously missed. Your review was great Your pictures stunning, Your posting of the Fun times a delight. We are huge Trivia buffs and I was delighted to see quite a bit of Trivia scheduled We will be on the Christmas Cruise...and I am looking forward to it.

 

I enjoyed that you two were out and about and described almost every thing on the ship. NOW we know what to see and where to go. We did not see any comedy shows. Now we might try that. I saw all of the production shows and like you.......enjoyed them all.

 

We also ate in all of the specialty restaurants and agree with you that they all were very good. AND a nice change of pace from the MDR. We ate in the Sunset MDR and as we had one of the coveted cabins............... 4J ( new and with fridges)............on the Lobby Deck...getting to dinner was a very short walk down the hall. the Shore Dest was a few feet from our cabin. I LOVED that. We could get an account statement daily ( didn't but could have),, always were able to get change quickly........get any questioned answered...........Loved it.

 

I just enjoyed your review so much. Congratulations on writing a fine one. NEXT time,young man, get that photo to Your Mom. MOMS cherish such thing..and wait until they get there..................................and I bet your Mom is a darling. she has such a nice son.

 

Hi Amber - we have a 4J cabin on the Sunshine in April. I'm a little nervous about the cabin selection. Is there a door from the cabin to the public verandah or is it a window? Any issues with people looking into your cabin? We're in 6104. Any information you can provide would be appreciated :) Thanks!

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The bright colored homes and businesses mean something to Curacoa. Let me tell you the story we were told on our tour.

 

In the 1800’s the mayor of Curacao complained of severe headaches. The buildings were primarily white and other dull colors. The mayor insisted that his headaches were caused by the boring, bland facades. He implemented a law that all homes, businesses and structures had to be painted bright colors. If not, a fine was imposed on the owner(s). Therefore, to avoid the fine, the owner(s) complied with the law. It was only years later when the mayor was out of office that it was discovered that he owned the only paint factory on the island, thus profiting greatly from the law he imposed.

 

I took the Irie Tour 2 years ago in Curaçao and heard a different story. What we were told was that the doctor was the main shareholder in the local paint company, so he got everyone to paint their homes and got rich. Lol I've heard the version you got as well. I guess there are multiple theories about this doctor, huh? :p

 

Thanks for putting together such a great review. I know how time consuming they are to put together so I appreciate all the work that went into it. The Sunshine isn't on my radar, but I now know what to expect if that changes in the near future. It's a shame about the service and portions at the specialty restaurants. It looks like you and your friend had a good cruise. :)

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Seany-thanks for such a richly detailed review and for the great photos!

 

Much appreciated.

 

Norris

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Thanks for the positive input, everyone

 

Diane, to answer your questions...

 

.....

 

I have a few questions if you happen to still be monitoring this thread.

 

It sounds like you didn't make it to the spa or the gym - but if you did, please share your thoughts. I really enjoy the heated loungers and I'm wondering if they can be reserved or if it's first come first serve.

 

When you watched the Dive in Movie - how was the sound? I would imagine it would be hard to hear in an open setting like that. But, you said you enjoyed it and didn't feel too distracted, so I wonder.

 

I think you mentioned a few small Cuban themed lunch items that were available at the Havana bar. Was there a charge for those items? And, did you say that seating for lunch was open? Does that mean I can gather lunch items from the Lido Marketplace and take my meal to the Havana bar area to sit and enjoy it? I'd like that if it's acceptable.

 

Thanks again - the review is truly top notch :)

 

I unfortunately did not make it to the gym or spa.

 

The Dive in Movie volume was perfect. I had the same thoughts as you. How would I ever be able to hear the movie with all the noise around me. But the volume was at a perfect level.

 

The foods at the Havana Bar were always free of charge. Yes, it is open seating for Lunch and Dinner- so grab your food from the buffet and bring it back there. Lunch time- the whole aft of the ship is open for open seating. At dinner, the right side of the aft turns into Cucina, the left is JiJi. But the center (Havana Bar) still remains open seating.

 

If anyone has any other questions, I'll try to monitor this thread more often.:)

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From your review: Mongolian Wok never failed to disappoint.

 

You didn't like it? Is there a fee for daytime JiJi or are they even open early?

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Wow! Well done!!!!! This is an amazing review. All the photos and details are beyond helpful. The way you organized the information made it really easy to asorb and follow along with you. I feel like I've was there!! :)

 

Thank you so much for sharing all your insights. This makes me feel even more excited about my upcoming cruise aboard the Sunshine in April.

 

I have a few questions if you happen to still be monitoring this thread.

 

It sounds like you didn't make it to the spa or the gym - but if you did, please share your thoughts. I really enjoy the heated loungers and I'm wondering if they can be reserved or if it's first come first serve.

 

When you watched the Dive in Movie - how was the sound? I would imagine it would be hard to hear in an open setting like that. But, you said you enjoyed it and didn't feel too distracted, so I wonder.

 

I think you mentioned a few small Cuban themed lunch items that were available at the Havana bar. Was there a charge for those items? And, did you say that seating for lunch was open? Does that mean I can gather lunch items from the Lido Marketplace and take my meal to the Havana bar area to sit and enjoy it? I'd like that if it's acceptable.

 

Thanks again - the review is truly top notch :)

 

I can answer your question about the spa, I stayed in a spa cabin. The heated loungers are first come, first served. I don't think the cruise I was on was very crowded but I never found the spa area crowded at all.

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Thank you again for this review --it was extremely helpful in planning our Sunshine cruise. I'm especially glad I tried the Havana Bar breakfast pastries.

 

I do have to disagree about the juggler, however. Maybe my family has an odd sense of humor, but we found the show hilarious and spent most of dinner the next day talking about our favorite moments. We enjoyed it much more than any of the comedians we've seen on board. Deadpan humor, ridiculousness, and self-deprecation appeal to us. Plus, my husband became the target of some jokes when he clapped enthusiastically after the juggler simply tossed the balls back into a large box. :D

Edited by KatieCharlotte

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Thanks for one of, if not the best review I've ever read on Cruise Critic. I appreciate your comments and look forward to the Sunshine in a few months.

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