October 2014 - Carnival Sunshine to Caribbean - Eastern
This was my 7th cruise and my 6th with Carnival. I've had some good ones and some really bad ones with Carnival. This one was kinda in the middle. Carnival over all seems to be lacking still when compared to other cruise lines like Norwegian. I've only been on Norwegian once and it was so much nicer and the food was great.
So my wife, infant son, and I just got back from our cruise on the Sunshine. I think the best way to describe the ship is that they did a nice paint job and upgrade to the facilities but the ship sails like an old worn-out pickup truck. The whole ship vibrates and shakes 24/7. In addition, the ship rocks horrifically. If you are prone to sea sickness be ready to pop some drugs or hug the toilette. I've been on ships about the same size through tropical storms and this ship rocks more in smooth seas than the one that was in the tropical storm. The rooms are small and cramped. We had a suite and kinda expected a bit more. Another issue that we found was the ship just seemed confined. There was only two outside areas... the pools which had the adult area and the everyone area sharing the same space. Hard to explain but it wasn't all that nice. On other ships the adult area was in the front of the ship with its own area without having to listen to kids crying and yelling. One the Sunshine the adult area just overlooks the family area. No real separation. There were few areas that allowed you to just chill out with a nice drink and look out at sea. Everything was compact. The shops were tiny. It just kinda felt like they had too many staterooms and not enough common areas. The casino pored smoke into the rest of the ship. The halls smelled like smoke due to the casino. The staterooms are all smoke free at least. This includes all balconies! That was very nice. We didn't have to smell someone else's smoke while trying to read a book on the balcony. So as long as you don't go into the halls or anywhere near the casino you're good! The last major pain in the rear was the anytime seating. If you go for the anytime dining be aware it is a horrible pain in the butt. You have to go to a table right next to the casino and enjoy the secondhand smoke to get on the list and your table pager. The line is a mile long and stretches into the casino. Then after you get through the line you have to sit and wait another 30-60 mins just to get a table. Just pick a time its so much easier.
Now other than those issues the ship was nice. Everything was very clean and new. The crew was wonderful. They were very responsive when we had issues. The Guy's Burger joint was awesome! The food overall has improved from some of our other Carnival trips. Their food still has room for improvement but it is better.
The ports of call were okay but not all that great. Grand Turk was pretty and great for water sports and beach time. St. Thomas was pretty and easy to get around. We got the ferry and went to St. John for the day. That was beautiful and was better than St. Thomas. St. Martin was worthless. We did a Carnival Excursion that did a tour around the island and unless you want to see a desert-like island that has monuments to the first guy who directed traffic and the first bus driver it would be more enjoyable to poke your eyes out with a stick. The shopping is a joke. Their capital cities are a step above shanties. Nothing to see here except beaches and reefs. One a previous trip my wife and I just grabbed a cab and went to the beach. That was a much better plan. San Juan was awesome. The excursions were great. We took a private walking tour that was wonderful.
Over all, the cruise was so so. It had good points and bad points. The ports-of-call were pretty nice other than St. Martin. The excursions from were much better than those from Carnival. I wouldn't go on the Sunshine again.
I hope this review can help someone out.
Good luck and safe travels!