June 2014 - Carnival Sunshine to Caribbean - Eastern
This was our 2nd time cruising with Carnival. The first cruise was on the Conquest and the entire trip was amazing and almost flawless. Embarkation onto the Sunshine was very easy! We boarded the ship within 15 minutes flat! The young lady who cleaned the room was fabulous as she knew all of our names and she took care of us everyday! We left her a tip and she cried like a baby. We felt really bad for her after hearing her story and life back in her home country. It really made me proud to be an American.
I promise that I am not a hater or complainer; however, I must tell it like it was...
Now to the good stuff... The food was not good at all! Stay away from the powdered eggs on the lido deck, they were simply nasty! The Marketplace was always crowded and you could not get food in a timely manner and much less find a place to sit! We had to take one of our kids to reserve a table and then try to beat back the crowd to just simply eat! Guy's burgers were good to eat but you had to stand in a long line to get something to drink, which usually was that bitter lemonade - yuck! We did the anytime dining, it moved quickly most nights except formal nights in which there was a 45 minute wait. (Carnival did apologize for the long wait and sent us treats the next day!) Also you must walk thru the casino which was filled with horrible smoke to get to the dining rooms. The lido deck was always crowded and the spaces were small, I can't explain it and you must witness it to see what I am talking about. The balconies should be smoke free, I swear whenever the kids and I went out to enjoy the view, my neighbor was out smoking a cigarette! (There needs to be a Smoker only Cruise!)
The comedy shows always had long lines however; they were well worth it, the comedians were very funny. My suggestion would be to hold these shows in the much larger Liquid Lounge. The Cucina de Capitano was delicious, be careful though because you can easily over spend there!! The dining room food was okay, everything just took so long, be prepared for a 2 hour plus dinner, in which you will miss shows! They were slow with bringing you basic things such as water and coffee. Jamie, the cruise director was great; she was full of energy and always set the party off right! We were on the 8th floor and didn't smell any foul odors.
The DJ's were fun, they played an array of music from every genre and EVERYONE danced on command. The water slide was fun. The sky walk was always closed; it was opened 1 day out of 7. The ship was crowded with people, be ready for lines and more lines. The pool was too small and always packed, the capacity was for 26 people but I swear there were always 50 kids in there until 3am; it was never a good time to swim. The one thing that ticked me off the most was that the Carnival Glory had the exact same schedule as us BUT they would make it to port before the Sunshine and had dibbs on the premier beach chairs and umbrellas and the best excursions that was REALLY annoying!!!!!! If you are considering the Sunshine, be sure that the Glory is not at the same port of call, because you will lose out!
The excursions were fun but expensive. Our last excursion, snorkeling in Grand Turk was postponed by 2 hours. We decided that that time would not work for us and went to the excursion desk and Carnival refunded us without any questions and within a 24 hour period.... That was a great decision Because once you get to the beach, there are locals who will rent you snorkeling gear for about $15 dollars and you can snorkel right there!!! ($30.00 versus $400.00. You do the math!) I swear that Carnival is getting a major kickback from the vendors that they tell you to use! We swam in Grand Turk next to the cruise ships and it was amazing, I got some really good photos.
The pictures are a scam! There are photographers everywhere hounding you like a fat kid that likes cake!!!. They charge you for $22 for ONE 8x10 and to get it downloaded on a USB you must purchase 10 of the expensive pictures first. Would I sail the Sunshine again, hmmmm the jury is still out, my husband says heck no! Last note, the ship rocked more than the Carnival Conquest, I think I got a little sea sick by it.
Lastly, Carnival needs to improve on their debarkation process! It takes forever to get off the ship! If I were you, I would take my own luggage off and get a porter at the end to skip the long lines through customs. We did the self-assist with the luggage and were off by 9:15 - an hour and a half later. Overall, the cruise was just okay because it was just simply too crowded!!!! We got bored on Sea Days! Motown night was really good!
Almost forgot... The stateroom was hot as #$%^! It was at least 80 degrees each night! I don't like sleeping HOT! We brought a power strip which came in handly!!!! Also we bought a $9.00 iron from Kmart to hit those wrinkles because they will not give you an iron and you don't want to look wrinkle wherever you go!