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Carnival Sunshine 8 day Southern Review - A Cruise of Firsts

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Hello - 


We sailed on the Carnival Sunshine on February 15th for an 8 day Southern itinerary trip.  I am going to start a short review

in a few days because that's really all I have time for right now but wanted to check and see if I could answer any questions

for anyone in the mean time.


Hopefully I can get started tomorrow.


Our ports were Aruba, Curacao and Grand Turk.





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I'm on the Sunshine right now, same itinerary. 


Looking forward to your review. 

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looking forward to it, we have been on the Sunshine 3 times so far and our fourth is next month! We have never been to Aruba or Curaçao either!

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We were on that same cruise too.  Had a good time as always and Mikey Gibson is the best CD with Carnival in my opinion. Likely the last time we will sail on Sunshine for two main reasons. One, the Limelight Lounge, where most comedy shows are held, is ridiculously small. On top of that, around 25-30 percent of the seats have a limited or no view of the stage. Second, the Serenity area is anything but serene.  It is located right next to the Lido pool deck and you can hear noise from there on all 3 decks of the Serenity area. Overall I think Sunshine is a nice ship, but definitely my least favorite Carnivsl ship of the dozen or so I have cruised on. 

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Sailing on Sunshine next month for the first time. Can't wait for your review!

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Looking forward to your review!  We leave in about 2 weeks.  Going to Amber Cove instead of Grand Turk.

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14 days until we are on the Sunshine......  what did you do in each port?  I have nothing planned yet.  We normally something on our own but I haven't sat down to to do that yet.  Did you make it to the piano bar?  I see Cassidy Rae posting all kinds of fun stuff, she looks like she will be a blast.  We have my time dining, hoping that works out for us as everything else was full.  Anything we must do/see on the ship that we may no just wander into...... details details 

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6 hours ago, Hoops_Baller said:

9 days for our trip...sail on 3/24!

Will be on the same cruise!

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So sorry it's taken me so long to get this review started.

When we returned from our cruise my husband had surgery

(it was already scheduled), and we sold our truck and camper

and bought new ones so time has gotten away from me.


First a little about us.  I'm Angela (53) and my husband is

Glen (55).  Glen had a heart attack in 2013 and since

February, 2014 we have tried to do 1 cruise a year with

no kids - just myself and Glen.  We have 6 children ranging

in ages from 24 down to 4 and an infant foster daughter (4 months)

so time for just the two of us is basically non-existent

when we are home.  This was my 13th cruise and Glen's 11th cruise

with our first being in 2004 and our 2nd in 2011 - a long time in

between - I know!


We booked this cruise not long after we had returned from our

February, 2018 family cruise on the Magic so we were almost at 1

year out.  This would be our first 8 day cruise, our first aft balcony

and our first Southern Caribbean itinerary. 


Glen has mobility issues due to CRPS which he got after having

his heart attack in 2013.  We had never booked a handicap cabin or

really even looked into one before this cruise.  Our PVP suggested

we look into it because he knows Glen has issues and thought it

might be helpful for him.  We had cruised on the Sunshine 2 times

before and stayed on Deck 5 both of those times so we knew

this was the location we wanted to be in when we sailed on this

8 day cruise.  After looking around at what was available we decided

to book Aft Balcony cabin 5344 which is a handicap cabin.  I believe

it is a fully accessible cabin even though on the booking I only

requested a modified cabin that would give him the extra bars, etc.

in the bathroom.


Our friends, Michael and Donna were cruising with us this time.  It's

always great to have friends along - the more the merrier - as long

as it's not kids on this trip lol!



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February 14, 2019 - Finally time to leave for our cruise


We left north Georgia around 1:15 on Thursday afternoon and arrived

in Titusville, FL about 10:00.  Our hotel reservations were at the Best Western

Space Shuttle Inn.  This was the 2nd time we've stayed at this hotel and it is

fine for the short time we are there.  The rooms are ok - could stand a little

extra cleaning in my opinion.  It is very accessible to I-95 and they do have a

free hot breakfast with many options available.  There is a Walmart less than

5 minutes away for any last minute supplies you might need.  I have booked

through Priceline both times and gotten good rates.


Embarkation Day - Friday, February 15


We were up early because we are all used to being up early anyway and

got ready and had breakfast.  They have waffles (you make them yourself),

eggs, sausage, cereals, muffins, etc.  It is a decent breakfast and will

definitely get you by until you can board the ship and get a Guy's Burger.


We made the necessary Walmart run and then we headed on to the port.


We always use Park n Cruise for our parking when we sail out of Port

Canaveral.  We have always had excellent service and even though their

rates have gone up in the last few years, it is still much cheaper than

parking at the actual port.


We arrived at their facility about 9:30 and the gate was still locked.  We

just waited outside the gate and they let us into the parking lot about 9:45 or

so.  We were the 2nd car there so there was no waiting.  We checked in,

parked the car, and in just a few minutes boarded the shuttle to head for the



Embarkation was a breeze.  We dropped our  luggage with the porters and

headed to the priority line because Glen and I turned Platinum on this cruise!

Michael and Donna had to wait in the regular line but it wasn't too bad.

We did the passport, boarding pass check, security check and then went

straight to sit down and wait.  We didn't have to go to the other desk where

you do the credit card stuff and get your sail and sign cards because they

are now being put in the mail boxes at your cabin door.  Since we were

Platinum we had a special waiting area.  The only drawback to this that

I saw was that the photographers weren't set up to do the customary

embarkation picture.  I guess it was too early for them to be there so we

missed getting our embarkation picture for the first time in 13 cruises.


We were on the ship by around 11:00 or 11:15 if I remember correctly.  We

headed straight to our cabin because I could not wait to see what it would

look like.  I did some online searches before the cruise and it looked to be a lot

bigger than a regular balcony cabin and it was!  I couldn't believe the difference

in the size of the cabin and the bathroom - and the balcony was AWESOME!


If I can figure out how to post pictures I'll post some for all of you.


Michael and Donna came to our cabin to drop their carry ons since

their cabin wasn't ready.  We all headed to Lido to get our first

burger of the cruise for lunch.  As always, it was greasy but delicious

and did not disappoint.


We wandered around the ship for awhile and headed back to the cabin.

I was determined to spend some time on that huge balcony that we had

so I changed into my swimsuit, set the alarm on my phone so we wouldn't

miss muster and enjoyed the sunshine.  I will say that it was very warm

out there with the ship sitting idle.  It was so nice and peaceful though -

much quieter than lying on the Lido deck.

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Posted (edited)

Soon it was time for the dreaded muster drill.  However, ours turned out

to be not so bad.  Because of Glen's mobility issues we were able to

go to the Limelight Lounge and stay inside for our briefing.  They

demonstrated donning the life jackets as usual but also showed how to

put an infant's life jacket on this time as well.  Maybe I've just forgotten,

but I don't remember them doing that before.


It was over fairly fast and we headed up to Deck 10 to get a good seat for

sail away.  The DJ was spinning tunes and everyone on the Lido deck was

dancing and having fun and we were enjoying people watching.  We sailed

out into the open ocean and were on our way!


After spending a while outside and enjoying the sail away we decided to

check and see if our luggage had arrived.  I suppose I'm OCD but it just

doesn't feel like I'm on vacation until all the luggage is unpacked and put

away.  At this point, I don't remember if it was back yet or we had to

wait awhile but it did eventually come and I got it all put away and our

suitcases stowed under our bed.


I know I've just now got a good start on my review but I'm going to have

to stop for a while.  Our 14 year old son is wrestling for the first time this

year and actually won 2nd place in State and is going to the Nationals 

this weekend in Tennessee so we are headed up there this afternoon.  I'm

taking my laptop with me in hopes of being able to continue on with my



Thanks for following along and I hope to post more soon.




Edited by GeorgiaMomof4
add info

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Though I would have preferred you stay put and give us more of your review, you get a pass from me. Two of my sons were high school wrestlers. Good luck to your 14 year old and congratulations to him for doing so well so far.

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2 hours ago, dcwalker said:

Though I would have preferred you stay put and give us more of your review, you get a pass from me. Two of my sons were high school wrestlers. Good luck to your 14 year old and congratulations to him for doing so well so far.

Thanks for the pass lol!  He is actually still in middle school - 8th grade.  Will be in high school next year!  

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We did this itinerary with our whole family and some friends in November, had a great time and loved Sunshine!


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Wonderful!  It worked.


Ok so now that I know how to post some of my photos, I'll share pictures of our cabin.


Remember, it was Cabin 5344 - an Aft Handicap Balcony.














I told you that this room was awesome.  These pictures really don't do it justice.  It was huge!



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We ended up going to dinner a little early because we wanted to catch the 7:30 Dive In movie

on the Lido deck.  The movie that was showing was Instant Family and although we had already

seen it at the theater at home, Michael and Donna hadn't seen it and we wanted to see it again.


We've been foster parents for almost 14 years and this movie truly depicts what many foster

families and foster children go through.  It isn't for the faint of heart and can be heartbreaking

and heartwarming all in the same week, but it's something that we feel like God has called us to

do and we forge on.  We never dreamed that after having our 2 daughters that we would add 4 

more to our family through fostering and adoption but now our kids range in age from 24 down

to 4 plus our little foster love who is 4 months and came to us from the hospital at 1 day old.

Yes, we are crazy, we already know so you don't have to tell us!


Sorry for getting off topic - but it's something near and dear to my heart.


As soon as the movie was over we made a beeline to the Liquid Lounge for the Welcome Aboard

Show.  We usually try to catch this show each cruise because it normally sets the tone of the week

for us as far as Cruise Director and Entertainment Staff go.  We already knew we had one of the

best Cruise Directors Carnival employs because we had sailed with him 2 other times on the

Fantasy out of Mobile.  The show was great and the entertainment staff was wonderful on this

cruise as well.


It had been a really long day so we decided to turn in after the show.  Once again, I enjoyed some

time on our balcony before bed.  I really need a balcony like that - (with the same view of course) off

my bedroom at home.  Hmmm - I doubt that will happen with me living land locked in north Georgia.




This is the view I want from home!!!


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Posted (edited)

Almost forgot - this letter was in our cabin when we boarded the ship.  It had a map attached to it

of all the cabins and which ones were handicap accessible.  Thought this was a nice gesture - 

fortunately we didn't have any issues so we didn't have to contact anyone.  





Above our bed was a button that could be pressed in case you needed assistance, as well as a

cord in the bathroom that could be pulled in case of need - similar to the ones you find in a 

hospital room.  On one of our first nights, Glen thought the one above the bed was a light switch

and hit it to turn the light off - or so he thought - and it was literally seconds until our cabin telephone

was ringing.  It was guest services and they were checking to see if everything was ok.


It was nice to know that they were really on the ball and didn't waste any time in reaching out after

Glen had hit the button.  I'm assuming if no one had answered they would have sent someone to the



We also received this letter in the evening on embarkation day.  I was kind of bummed because

I had plans to just hang out on our balcony to tan and read for a lot of the day.  Evidently things

have changed because I remember on past cruises it seemed as though they did a lot of washing

while we were in ports.



Edited by GeorgiaMomof4
to add

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Saturday - Feb. 16 - Sea Day


I don't believe I have EVER in 70 some odd days of cruising slept as long as I did this morning.

I probably did have good reason to do so because for the majority of the week leading up to the cruise

I had been surviving on 3 - 4 hours of sleep a night while trying to get everything situated at home.

Leaving 7 kids behind - even though 2 of them are in their early 20's is nerve racking to say the 

least and there is a lot of planning and preparation in order to be able to leave them behind.


Anyway, it was 9:00 or after before we got up which is very unusual for us.  We got dressed and

headed to breakfast.  Needless to say there were lines by now because of it being a little later

in the morning.  We tag teamed and Glen grabbed our omelets while I went to get us some

other items from the regular buffet.


We decided since I couldn't use our balcony that we would go up to the Lido deck and try to

find some chairs for us to sit in. Michael and Donna had joined us by now so we needed 4 loungers.

There were NONE to be found.  We finally saw some staff bringing some out and putting them out

along the side and grabbed those before they were taken.  We all hung out there for an hour or two

and napped and people watched.  Glen,, Donna and Michael were all turning a little red so we

decided it might be time to go in for a while.


I think we grabbed some lunch and I headed to my balcony and they were just finishing up with

the washing.  I napped and read and tanned again and that was about it for my first sea day.  


Today was our first Elegant night and we decided we would go to dinner a little early because we 

had shows and things we wanted to do later in the evening.  We checked in for our YTD and were

seated pretty much immediately.  I have always been wary of YTD but it worked out great for us

this cruise.  Possibly because there were only 4 of us and not 12 or 15 like there normally are when

all of our families come with us.  


I do miss having the same wait staff every night but a plus to that is if you don't have a great wait

staff one night you can ask not to be seated in that same section again.  We had decent waiters

every night but some were definitely more on the ball than others and got us in and out a lot quicker.


Dinner was good - had the Prime Rib and Lobster.  To be honest though, the dinners have gone

downhill a tad to me.  Maybe it's just me but they don't seem as good as they used to be.


We clean up fairly well for country folk I think!




We caught the 7:30 Motor City show which we have seen on other ships before but is a very good

show and once again the entertainment staff was top notch.  We have been on ships that we didn't

go back for any shows after hearing the singers the first night - they were truly that bad!


After the show we headed to the atrium to get ready for one of my favorite things of the cruise - the

Music Trivia party with Mikey.  Tonight just happened to be 70's and Motown and if you've never

attended a music trivia party with Mikey, you have truly missed the boat!  It is so much fun. You hear

songs that you probably haven't heard in years - if you're old enough to remember them and you really

can't call it trivia because with everyone singing along, the answers are given away rather quickly.  You'll

laugh so much that you'll want to cry and you'll sing your heart out too.  



Mikey in his 70's get up!


We got there early enough that we actually got seats at the bar right around the atrium where the trivia

party would be going on.  I tried a new drink tonight - the Chocolate Mocha Getaway I think it was 

called and gosh it was good.  Kind of like a spiked chocolate milkshake.  I'm not much of a drinker,

but it was good and different from my normal Kiss on the Lips drink that I usually have.



My "dessert" drink! Umm - it was sooo good.


I think we may have gone back to the Lido deck after the trivia to grab us some pizza - don't remember for sure.


Back to the cabin after that to spend some quiet time on the balcony.  I could actually live out there I think.  I

really thought about sleeping out there one night but decided against it.  Our neighbor did sleep out on her

balcony one night - not sure if there was trouble in paradise or if she was just enjoying the breeze and the



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OK guys - that's all I can do for now.  Have to get some rest in order to get up in the morning

and get ready for Collin's wrestling match.  I'm not looking forward to spending all day sitting

on gym bleachers and refereeing my 5 and 4 year old boys, but I sure hope Collin comes away

with a win!  Keep your fingers crossed for him!


I'll post again as soon as I can!


Hope you're enjoying it so far.


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Great review so far! I had a regular aft balcony room on Triumph, and that is easily double the size!!! Your baby girl is so sweet!!! Keep the pics coming!!!

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Posted (edited)

Sunday - Feb. 17 - 2nd sea day


I forgot to mention that our oldest daughter, Whitney - who was in charge of the kids and home while

we were away called Saturday afternoon to tell us that one of our renters had a water leak.

It never fails - if we are away something is going to go wrong.  She thought she had it lined

up to be fixed but as it turned out we had to deal with that more today.


I woke up early to a text from Lindsey - my daughter who lives and goes to college in Atlanta.

She had texted at about 3:00 a.m. saying she had done something to her knee and it was

killing her.  I called her to see what was going on and she said she had been out with friends

and was standing around talking and the next thing she knew she was on the ground.  Her knee

had just gave way on her.


She said it was still hurting really bad and swollen as well.  I told her she would just have to go to

the ER somewhere down there and have it checked.  Turns out that it was dislocated and was in

pretty bad shape.   I suppose this is what we get for having so many kids - there is always going

to be something going on but all we wanted was 8 days of peace and quiet and to not have to

worry about anyone.  I really felt bad that we were in the middle of the ocean and couldn't be

there for Lindsey, but with that being said she is a big girl now and should be able to handle

some things on her own.  I think she saw that it wasn't necessarily such a good thing to be that

far away from family when something goes wrong though.


Sorry for getting off track.


We did wake up earlier today and headed down for breakfast.  After breakfast we went to scout us

out some lounge chairs.  Since we were out a little bit earlier this morning we were able to find a couple

of chairs.  I was really surprised that Glen even hung out with me on deck.  He normally doesn't care much

for the sun but he did sit out with me more this time than he ever has before.  Glen stayed with our chairs

while I went to the fun shops for the standard t-shirt sale that goes on every cruise.  I picked up a few t shirts

for people at home and headed back for some more sun and reading.  Glen decided to go back to the cabin

for a nap.  I really enjoyed all this down time.  I rarely have down time at home because there is always 

something to be done when you have a family as large as ours.  


That's pretty much all I did for the rest of the day except for take a nap.  We went to dinner and after dinner I think we

went to the Ocean Plaza to listen to RB and the Sunshine Band.  They were good and played a wide variety of



I'm sure I hung out on our balcony before bedtime because that was a favorite thing for me to do on this cruise.  I think I ended up reading 3 books by the time this cruise was over.


I forgot to show you all a picture of our door.  I always like to decorate our door when we cruise. Glen says it helps him to find the cabin when we are on a long hallway with so many doors.  That wasn't

really an issue this time since we were aft, but it's fun to do anyway. 




After the issue with the water leak at our rental property and Lindsey's knee - I told Glen we needed

to put a big black "X" through the "NO PROBLEMS" sign!




Edited by GeorgiaMomof4

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