March 2014 - Carnival Sunshine to Caribbean - Western
"spring break cruise to Honduras,Belize and Cozumel"
We took the newly renovated Carnival Sunshine out of New Orleans to Honduras,Belize and Cozumel. We also took our 3 kids and while we were all in one room and very crowded,we enjoyed enough free time from each other and enjoyed to ports. I have not been to these ports before and like the variety. The Sunshine has lots of new features like Sail and sign acount kiosks to manage your account without having to go to customer service and the wonderful new kids area with many slides,rope airwalk area,pool tables,min golf,and water play area. That did take the area that was most likely the second pool before but there is a more than adequate three tiered adults only area with lots of covered chairs,hot tub,pool w waterfall and hammocks. get there early if you want a good chair though. They also had open seating area for dinner in the dining room which was new but we enjoyed our assigned table each night as we had the same waiter and he knew our names and what we liked. I have to say, the shows and the buffett and casual dining food has improved tremedously since my last cruise 2 years ago. They had "Guy's burger bar" and a mexican taco stand on the lido deck and was way better than the nachos and hot dogs they used to have. In the morning they had the usual buffett or you could go to the dining room or the mexican breakfast taco stand on lido. The destinations were interesting and a change from just Mexico. Honduras was very tropical and we just went to the beach right off the cruise ship as it was free and not far. You can pay to take the sky chairs over but it really wasn't far to walk and it was shaded. If you are going to stay long(we didn't)I would recommend going early and renting a covered chair. In Belize, be warned..you have to take a tender transport to the dock (dock is not large enough to handle the cruise ships)so get in line super early at the meeting place as everyone had to meet there to get off the boat. We did'nt know that and took us a while to get off. No worries though..your excursion will not leave you. You meet them on the dock. We did the River Wallace speedboat and then to Altun Ha,mayan ruins. We saw lots of local and indiginous animals along the river and enoyed walking around the ruins more than we thought. Our guide was wonderful and transportation was provided entire way,just had to pay for lunch which was pricey but didn't have any other options. Very good local food though. We booked through Carnival and I would recommend that with this port. Sometimes the transportation isn't included with other tours not booked through the cruise ship. Be careful with that. We did not have time to shop but there is quite a large shopping area and city right around the port. No need to bring water on this excursion,they provide. In Cozumel, we went to Chankanaab,adventure water park and enjoyed the sea lion show,dolphins you could watch swimming with those that chose to pay for that,snorkeling,natural chenote area(can't swim there),tequila tasting and swim up bar,buffett. I would recommend buying the unlimited drinks and buffett...well worth it. The park was 5 min from the cruise terminal so gave me some security so if you didn't want to book through cruiseline,could catch a taxi yourself(very minimal cost)and go yourself. I enjoy having a tour guide and guaranteed transportation though. Tour guide is there to check on you and guide you around the park and it's activities.Even took us snorkeling. It is right on the water so had a nice beach if you wanted to just relax as well. Another note on the Port of New Orleans...I have always parked at the port but it is now $112 for 7 days so we opted to park down the road at the Fulton Place parking. It was around $65 for rooftop parking and they shuttled us. Was much simpler that I expected and organized if you don't mind waiting for the shuttle and lugging your luggage a bit. Had several shuttles running at a time. We really enjoyed the cruise. The only complaint we had was that our room was above the main lounge where all the nightly shows are and we had very loud booming music in our room very late as the lounge converted to a night club until 2 am. They cruise was booked up so they could not move us but Carnival took care of us and reimbursed us for our inconvenience well. We also had an issue with our toilet overflowing several times but plumber promptly fixed it and we were compensated. We were extremely satisfied with our experience. Carnival sure knows how to provide great customer service and we now have family memories that will last a lifetime!