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

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Alright, so welcome to the first sea day everyone! Now that the logistics of the ship are out of the way, I hope the review will carry along a little faster now. The ship became very rocky overnight. Not enough to really upset my stomach but, enough that when I woke in the middle of the night, it did keep me up for a little bit. For some reason our stateroom was also very warm this night. The room being warm was not an issue for the remainder of the cruise.


As much as I wanted to partake in the Taste Bar’s breakfast buffet and enjoy it on the balcony, the first day would not be that day. Matt and I wanted to get up early to ensure a seat by the pool on the Serenity Deck. We woke up, got ready and arrived just before 8:30. There were two seats left, off to the side. Perfect, all we needed were two and they were together. We didn’t really care where they were on the deck as long as we were by the pool and waterfall. But as mother nature would have it, these two seats, plus a few more in that area, did not get any sun. The positioning of the sun made it fall directly behind one of the globe satellite things and remained there for those few hours. We laid there and laid there until about 10:30. It seemed like we were just wasting our time. The ultimate goal was to tan and not necessarily be by the pool.


I hate to bring such a negative topic into a review but chair hogging was unfortunately really bad on the Serenity Decks. An example of this was later on in the cruise when two people took up 4 lounge chairs and one cove bed. So all in all, 2 people for 6 seats. People would come up and ask if anyone was using them and the man would say his parents were coming. That particular day I laid on a lounger for at least two hours and his parents never came. But the two of them would alternate between the lougners in the sun and the cove bed in the shade. Did it make me angry? Yes. Especially when people would specifically ask if anyone was using them. But I didn’t want to cause a scene and work myself up any more. Another day I laid in a lounger for I don’t even know how long, but it was hours and hours and a lounger two loungers down from me had a towel and a bag on it. In those several hours, the person never returned a single time.


On a positive note, if we didn’t want a chair on the serenity decks, we always (and I mean always) found two together on another deck, no matter what time of day it was.


Enough on that topic- back to the current day. I get bored rather easily when laying out so I enjoy to people watch. Serenity was great for that but, since we weren’t getting any sun, we decided to head to Sports Square and lay by the slides. The moment we stood up and grabbed our bag to leave we were approached and asked if we were leaving. I guess they wanted those seats bad. We moved to the aft of deck 10 and this too provided some great people watching and lots of sun.


My view for a few hours. The suns rays were nice and strong here too!




The waterslides back here are a big hit among both kids and adults. When we arrived around 10:30 there wasn’t much of a line but by 11:30 the line did get pretty long. As I’m not one for waiting in super long lines, I only partook in the slides on the day we were in Grand Turk. I’ll touch more on the slides then. We laid next to the slides for a good amount of time until it was time to eat.



Lunch for me usually consisted of Mongolian Wok with a few things from the buffet. Matt really enjoyed Guys Burgers or Cucina with a few buffet items (always the delicious chicken fingers!) as well. I unfortunately don’t have any pictures of the buffet food to share. I feel like it looks so messy, all that food on one massive plate. I would try to make the picture look half way decent but it was a lost cause and gave up very early on in the cruise.


After lunch we retreated to our stateroom and started what would become an afternoon ritual. Spending time on and enjoying the aft balcony. It did get excruciatingly hot out there and at times somewhat unbearable, but the cabin was right there and being in the AC for a few moments would cool me right off.


I guess that is pretty much it for the rest of the afternoon until dinner time. I mean, we did do other things; I read a little, participated in trivia but, all in all, pretty uneventful. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed myself, but I don’t think anyone here really cares that I read until chapter 4 in my book or that I got X amount of points in today’s trivia.


We looked around the Fun Shops today to see what Carnival had to offer. Every cruise I buy myself a Christmas ornament of the ship I’m on. But I have a questions for my fellow Cruise Critic members. Is there anyway to get an ornament after you disembark? I have been on the Splendor twice and both times forgot to buy the ornament. This is why I now buy it so early on in the cruise. If anyone knows how I can get the Splendor Christmas ornament, though, please let me know.


Here is the Sunshine





So, now it was dinner time and our first elegant evening. Although dinner was directly below us. I do enjoy walking the Promenade, seeing the people dressed up and interacting. So we left our stateroom headed down to deck 4 and cut through the Lime Light Lounge. There were a few photo spots set up there with people partaking in them. Wait times didn’t appear to be that long. We continued to head forward walking past Bonsai and The Library Bar to the Atrium where they had closed one side of the double staircase to allow for pictures. They looked nice in person and after they were printed. I would much prefer the true background of the staircase as opposed to standing in front of a picture.


We walked up a flight, now back on deck 5, and stupidly now had to walk through the smokey casino. I don’t know what it was about this cruise but it was really bad in there. The worst I had ever experienced on a cruise ship. I do enjoy spending time in the casino on a cruise, playing the slot machines a little, but unfortunately the smoke was so bad this cruise that I didn’t get to play at all. I guess several casual non-smoking gamblers bring in less money than one heavy smoking gambler. Oh well, in the end I’m sure I saved myself money.


I keep getting side tracked with the review though…we were on our way to dinner. There were some nice backgrounds once we exited the casino, some I had never seen before. People seemed to be enjoying themselves. We stopped for a quick drink at the Alchemy bar. In person the menu is in a small booklet that when you open it up, it lights up.


It’s pretty cool there. The waiters wear lab style coats. The vibe resembles that of an old apothecary setting while the drinks resemble concoctions or potions. Once we finished there, we dropped down one flight and arrived at dinner.

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Here is your dinner and dessert menu for tonight. I won't post the everyday menu each day because, well, it’s the same every day.






Dinner was once again fast. For appetizers, I ordered the West Indian roasted pumpkin soup which was very good. Matt had the baked stuffed white mushrooms, which he liked and has gotten on past cruises so they must be good.






Dinner was the broiled Maine lobster tail and jumbo tiger shrimps (which are not jumbo) and the tender roasted prime rib of American beef au jus. Both were very good and my prime rib was cooked just the way I ordered it. After serving the prime rib, the waitstaff comes around with horseradish, sour cream and bacon bits for your meal. I have ordered lobster in land restaurants and, for some reason, Carnival's always tastes the best to me. Someone who eats lobster somewhat regularly would most likely disagree, but I think it's the best tasting I've ever had. Both entrees were very hot as well. Sorry for the weak lobster pic, I guess I should have rearanged the tail better.






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And now for dessert. I had the plate of International cheeses and Matt had warm chocolate melting cake with two ice creams. My dessert was ok. The cheese was kinda warm which grossed me out a little, but I still ate it. I think I would have enjoyed it more if the cheese was actually cold. Matt liked his, which is a Carnival staple as most of you know.






Now I’m not one to dress up at all, but I do it in the spirit of cruising. Anything that requires a tucked in shirt I’m usually against. So once dinner was over we changed back into our casual clothing. Nothing looked too enticing in the Funtimes so we headed out to relax at the Serenity.




After a little while we got up to leave but Carnival began playing a movie. I had never participated in a Dive in Movie. My only expierence I ever had with Carnival’s Dive in Movie was when I wanted popcorn on the Glory cruise but, they wouldn’t give it to me because the movie was over. It made no sense. But anyways, we decided to watch a little bit of the movie, “Cinderella” from the Serenity Deck. We both ended up really enjoying ourselves. I was always worried that it would be hard to focus on the movie because of all the distractions on the ship (people walking by and talking) but it proved to not be a problem at all. So if you ever get a chance to sail on the Sunshine I definitely recommend wathching the movie from the row of chairs on the serenity that overlook the main pool. It was a good time.


The movie made me tired so at that point we went to bed….but not before a little room service.




And here is Clarience’s towel animal :) Good job!




Up next: Sea Day 2

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Nooooo. Your cheese should not be cold! Americans like too many foods served too cold (like salads). Cold masks the flavors. Another reason why good beer shouldn't be served ice cold. The tongue can't appreciate flavors when it's shocked by the chill!


OK. Off my soapbox. :p


The movie times never seem to work out for me, but I did try to watch part of Guardians of the Galaxy on my last cruise. It started 30 minutes later than they'd posted in the FunTimes, which was a little annoying, so when I arrived (early to try to get a lounger), they were all taken because people were watching the earlier movie.


I'm afraid with our port-intensive sailing on Sunshine, I won't have the energy to stay up for the late showings, and the early ones interfere with late dinner.


I'm going to make a note of your wait team and maybe write and ask to be seated in their area. I know they all work incredibly hard, but some are simply better than others, so when I see a glowing recommendation, I take note! Thanks for providing their names. :D

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In the fun times above #1 under Cheers "can only be purchases 2 nd day only" I know can be purchases 1&2 only. #2 Serenity bar area says 18 + I thought it was 21+ I know there have been questions about 21 and under in the serenity area. Why is this on the funtimes and not on website/in official rules? Thanks great pictures and wonderful review.

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In the fun times above #1 under Cheers "can only be purchases 2 nd day only" I know can be purchases 1&2 only. #2 Serenity bar area says 18 + I thought it was 21+ I know there have been questions about 21 and under in the serenity area. Why is this on the funtimes and not on website/in official rules? Thanks great pictures and wonderful review.



So I was wondering the same thing as well. I didn't pay any attention to the Cheers! statement but the fact it said 18+ at a bar for Serenity seemed weird. Like I said earlier, there were not many young adults on this cruise so I never had to think twice about the age of someone on the Serenity deck. I think if this were a spring break cruise, the extra 3 ages of 18-20 would make a big difference. It was already packed as it is.

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I am absolutely LOVING this review so far! We sail out on the Sunshine on November 13 and you have me so excited I can't sit still. So far you have hit all the very same points that we do, and I feel like it's my first day on the ship! Now I'm just begging for more!

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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!


That's a great idea. I wish I had thought of that. I think with the new room service menu, the cheese plate is an option.


Thanks for such a great review. Ongoing debate between the Sunshine and the Magic for my 50th birthday cruise.


Hmmm, I've never sailed on the Magic so it's hard for me to compare. I do know it currently doesn't have a Guys Burger Joint. So if thats important to you, then go with the Sunshine.


Fantastic Review! I am on her tomorrow. Don't know for sure where we will be going, but the main thing is that we are going. Thank you for your great review. I'll check back later to see if there is any more to read…..


It's seems like this has been a hot topic on CC. I hope it all works out for you. Even if the ports change, the Sunshine is a great ship with tons of activities to do right onboard!

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The ship was still very rocky that night. I began to worry that unsettled waters meant high winds for Aruba. High winds meant we wouldn’t be able to dock and that had been a fear of mine since booking the cruise. Looking back at it now, that was a pretty irrational thought that the strong waves would really have any bearing on the island of Aruba still hundreds of miles away. But, none the less, it kept me up for some time that night thinking about it.


Before 7:30 we were on our way to the serenity deck, however when we arrived ALL chairs on the lowest deck were taken. Not a single one was open. I guess everyone else had the same idea as we did. So to take note, an arrive time of 7:30 on Sea Day 2 is not early enough if you want a seat by the pool. We headed toward the top deck of the Serenity retreat. There were plenty of seats available there and this is where we remained for quite some time. Earlier in the review I told the story of the couple who used 6 chairs. This was the day I encountered that lovely duo.


We stayed on the top deck of Serenity until about 11:30, then we ate lunch and then headed back to our cabin to freshen up.


People have been asking about trivia on the cruise so I will go into a little more detail on it. Today was Guess that song- 1990's. It was held in the Ocean Plaza and it was packed. I was really surprised that many people would participate. The songs played were not entirely difficult but, as time went on, people began to drop out and leave. They played 20 songs total with 40 possible points. You had to name the song and the artist. We placed around 30 points and it ended with two teams both having 40 points. One group accused the other group of cheating. It was kinda weird since it's just trivia. The entertainment team member solved the problem by awarding them both a ship on a stick....


The ice carving demonstration was at 1. I had never attended one so I wanted to see what it was all about. It was cute but now that I’ve seen it, I don’t know if I would stop what I was doing to make a point to go see the next one. Mobs of people gathered around while the Cruise Director engaged the crowd. The music was thumping and they played different genres of music ranging from “My Girl” to “Let it Go”.



The crazy packed lido deck










The end result was an Indian.

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The rest of the day was again pretty uneventful. I had wanted to try Disney Trivia but, when I arrived, there were far too many people to even make it fun.


We had decided to try Cucina Del Capitano tonight for dinner, therefore we obviously did not eat in the dining room- however, here are the dinner and dessert menus for this night.






We had reservations for 7pm at Cucina. This was my first time not dining right at 6pm as we have always elected to attend early seating dinner. It was actually quite nice eating a little later in the evening. I was able to watch my first sunset (which looks exactly like the sunrise).






On our way back to the room we stopped quickly at the Taste Bar to try the sushi. I was on the fence at this point with trying Bonsai as I have never really had sushi. This little app sealed it’s fate. I was not a fan.



Edited by Seany527
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Cucina del Capitano




I found when planning the cruise it was somewhat difficult to find information on Cucina del Capitano, especially for two diners. Cucina is served family style. So with that being said, the portions were not family style. I don't want to get ahead of myself but I ordered Chicken Parmagina for my main entree. It came out as just one piece of chicken. What if we attend with a large family; would we all just use our knives and cut from the same piece of chicken? The size was definitely ample but it certainly wasn't served family style.


Anyways, lets start at the begining- Cucina Del Capitano is an Italian-only specialty dining restaurant and has a cover charge of $15 per person.






Wine List




The Hostess Table




So, reservations can be made from just about anywhere on the ship. You can make them at the entrance to the Havana bar on deck 9 aft. You can also make them directly at Cucina which is on the port side of deck 9 aft. You can call from your stateroom, or at a Cuciana kiosk located around the ship. Some spots I noticed them located were the Prominade of deck 5 or in the Atrium of deck 3. The only thing you can’t do is make reservations prior to your cruise. I had reviewed the main dining room menus of the cruise prior to sailing and had decided this was the night I wanted to dine at Cuciana. I had emailed Carnival to make the reservations but never received a response. I was somewhat concerned the the venue would be booked on that particular night but when I made the reservations in person the log book of who had reservations was practically empty.


We arrived at Cucina for our 7pm reservation. I wasn’t sure what to wear. It was a cruise casual evening so that’s how I dressed but the majority of men had slacks on. Oh well. I like to be casual. I did feel a little out of place, but these men were also well over the age of 50.

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Here are some photos of the seating area








We had two waitresses that evening- I forget the first waitresses' name but our other waitress was Margarita. She was kind of a hot mess. Very friendly but kept mixing our orders up. She would serve Matt what I ordered and vice versa.


So, as I mentioned earlier, Cucina del Capitano was described to us again as a family-style restaurant. We would both order an appitizer, both an entree and both a dessert. She recommend that we at least both order our own entree. I don’t know why she would say that, though; did she really think two grown men would share one entree? Either way, we placed our order and we were then brought this bread.




It was quite good. That’s ricotta cheese on top. It was very creamy and full of flavor. There was also olive oil and vinegar on the table that we could pour ourselves and dip the bread into. That part was kind of bland. I wish there were spices we could have added to it.

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Our appitizers had now arrived. Matt order the Il Capitano's Signature Arancini and I had the Calamari Fritti. Both were very, very good. I really enjoyed the calamari; it was cooked just right and now chewy at all. The portions are not what I would have called family-style, though. I've had larger portions at a land restaurant that didn't serve family-style. Matt’s, on the other hand, I wouldn’t even consider a single portion. It was like a child's appetizer. It consisted of 4 balls, a little bit smaller than a golf ball. Maybe the portion size increases if there are more diners but, from what I have seen online, the portion sizes all look the same. The arancini were also delicious, just wish there were more of them.






Next, obviously were our main entrees. We each ordered a side as well. Matt had the Spaghetti Carbonara with Broccoli with Peperonata and I ordered the Pollo Parmigiana Della Cucina with Rosemary Potatoes.










Again, I’m not entirely sure how this was family style either. Like I had said, mine was just one large piece of chicken. But even Matt’s- there was nothing to serve his pasta from the main entree plate to an individual plate. Plus there are only three stalks of broccoli. What happens if there is a family of 4? Mom and Dad both have a stalk and brother and sister share a bite? Just a weird concept.


My chicken parm was very good. It was not overly fried and did not have a super fried taste to it. The potatoes were fine. Matt thought that his spaghetti carbonara was one of the best pasta dishes he's ever had. It was very creamy and tasty with just the right amount of pancetta. The broccoli was pretty bland and nothing special.

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Next was dessert. The people next to us ordered their dessert as well as a cup of coffee, so I thought I would do the same. I never drink coffee at night but I decided to have a cup with my Sicilian Cannoli. Matt ordered the Magic Tiramisu and no coffee. Margarita brought us both coffee. I asked for cream and sugar with mine. The people next to us had since left so Margarita grabbed their sugar. Then she grabbed their used carafe of left over cream… I was kinda in shock. She left and came back to bring our desserts. I asked for a new carafe of cream— she laughed a super awkward laugh and brought me a new creamer.






And the coffee…




The dessert was very good but again, the cannoli didnt exactly taste like a standard cannoli. For those who are wondering, it's sweetened with vanilla extract and not anise extract which is just the way I like it. Dinner was almost over but not until Margarita questioned Matt as to why he didn't drink his coffee. He politely told her he doesn't like coffee and didn't order one, even though it was pretty awkward. What a weird woman she was. Very friendly, but weird.


So, all in all, Cucina del Capitano has delicious food. By no means does it taste like a real Italian’s food- but I would never expect to get that on a cruise ship anyway. I think I lucked out in the main dining room on the first night with the delicious Italian meal I ordered. Even with the small portions and odd moments, I did enjoy myself and I would return. With family-style I think of large portions; with Italian food I think of large portions, and with a cruise ship I definitely think of large portions. So I think that’s why I felt a little off.


I was definitely satisfied with my dinner so no hate toward Cuciana at all. I enjoyed my experience and Carnival does a great job of making you feel as if you are at an entirely different venue, away from a cruise ship. The shutters that are open during the day are drawn closed at dinner time. All in all, it feels completely separate from the ship. You can still somewhat see the Havana Bar area but not as much as if it were lunch time. I think what made it the most enjoyable was the relaxed atmosphere. Noise was at an all time low when compared to the main dining room. The ambiance was great and the wait staff for the most part was attentive. The whole dining expierence took just under 90 minutes. Again, this was nice timing as it allowed us to catch tonight’s Playlist Production, “Latin Nights.”

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This is one of the most enjoyable reviews I've ever read on here. You provide great detail, awesome pictures and it's all around entertaining! Was considering Sunshine out of NYC this summer, but had abandoned the thought due to crazy summer pricing for a ship I wasn't sure I'd enjoy and now I'm back to considering it again! Looking forward to the rest.

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