Poorly designed ship with high wait times and many inconveniences

Carnival Sunshine Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern

Cruises: 2-3 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 6

Overall rating:

2 out of 5
Carnival Sunshine

7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Port Canaveral Roundtrip)

Sail date: September 20, 2014

Ship: Carnival Sunshine

Cabin type: Suite

Cabin number: 12014

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 7 years ago

Review summary

First off, our vacation was memorable and we had a great time.  We are loyal Carnival Cruise customers as we got married on board the Inspiration a year ago.   I just feel that there were too many negative experiences during our cruise on the Sunshine.   First of all, our stateroom was originally 6193.  I was given a call the day before our cruise for an upgrade offer for a suite for $250 more.  I happily accepted thinking that I was in for a greater experience in our new room and being in a suite for the first time.  Turns out, that it wasn't really worth it.  For one thing, our bathroom was very small and much smaller than we expected.  During our trip from Long Beach on the Inspiration, our bathroom was much larger on this ship.  Another major drawback about being on the 12th deck were the elevators.  I feel that the ship is poorly designed when it came to the elevators as only two elevators serve our deck.  While I don't mind taking the stairs, a wife wearing heels on elegant night is less included to take the stairs.  The wait time for an elevator up or down was simply unacceptable.  The wait times were even higher during port days and we even report waiting 15 minutes for an elevator.  If we had stayed on the 6th floor, we'd have many options for elevators.  This is why I feel that our upgrade to the suite was definitely not worth it.   Secondly, we experienced many problems with dining options outside of the main dining room.  One night, my wife and I decided to try out the sushi place.  We ordered the boat for two.  The sushi I ate did not taste fresh at all.  The tuna and the salmon pieces had a rancid smell and after accidentally eating gave me a stomach cramp.  I nearly threw up in the restaurant because of it.   I also feel that the Lido deck isn't properly designed.  For a ship of that size, it seems that the Lido deck isn't big enough to support the amount of guests.  The deck always seemed to be jam packed at eating hours like 11 am - 1 pm.  During this time, there was almost no place to sit.  The temperature was also very miserable during this time as it was usually extremely hot.   Another major ship flaw we noticed were the lounges.  Unless you waited in line for a seat for about a half hour, you would never have a seat at the lounge for any comedy club show.  It makes no sense to have a lounge that can barely seat 50 people, especially with a ship of that size.   Also, the pools were tiny.  The only chance I had to really swim in them was at night when it was colder.  A ship of this size needs more than two small swimming pools.   My experience at the casino wasn't too bad, but the major flaw was the cashier.  There was always a long line of people and only 1-2 cashiers working it.  In addition to this, service was unacceptable when it came to beverage service while gaming. While playing on the Craps table, I ordered a cocktail and it took almost an hour to get to me!  We experienced a similar delay while on the automated poker machines.     Our main dining room was on the 3rd deck and the bathrooms on that deck were incredibly cramped.  I makes no sense to have a men's restroom with only one stall considering how crowded this deck is with the lobby, dining rooms, bar and guest services all on this deck.   I also had a major issue with the photo staff acting hostile towards me.  One of the men working the photo purchases accused me of stealing a picture with my phone and demanded I shut off my phone.  In another instance, I set up a tripod to take a picture of my wife and I in the atrium.  The area was near the dj booth and well away from the gallery display.  A female employee coldly informed me that this picture wasn't allowed and walked away quickly when I tried to argue with her.  Is there a reason why the photo sales staff are incredibly rude?   Embarkation was also a major flaw.  Was there a reason why the Sunshine and the Disney Cruise Line were docked on the same pier?  This made for a traffic nightmare of people leaving the ship and people trying to get on.  After waiting in traffic for nearly an hour with a major standstill, we decided to grab all of our bags and walk.   Overall, though we enjoyed our vacation and our home away from home, I feel that all of these negative experiences on-board the Sunshine really affected our enjoyment.  Though I have sailed with Carnival three times in the past, we are seriously considering changing cruise lines next year.    

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
Main dining room is great. Other stuff, not so great.


3 out of 5
No seating though. Funny shows!

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Great dining room staff! Jaysun, Ronald and Joey were awesome!

Ship Quality

1 out of 5
cramped bathrooms, long wait times everywhere, two tiny pools and not enough seating at the shows

Cabin / Stateroom

1 out of 5
Tiny bathroom. Only two elevators service the upper floors.

Ship tip

Avoid Lido at 11 am to 1 pm. Too small to accommodate the number of guests and you won't find seating. Try room service or get a seat in the main dining room for breakfast.

Ports of call

Port Canaveral, Florida

1 out of 5
Terrible traffic just to get in.

Nassau, Bahamas

5 out of 5
City Tour! Views are amazing.

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

5 out of 5
City Tour!

San Juan, Puerto Rico

3 out of 5
Not enough time to explore. Bacardi factory isn't that great.

Grand Turk Island

5 out of 5
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