Good and bad
Carnival Sunshine Cruise Review to Caribbean - Southern
Sail Date: January 16, 2016
Ship: Carnival Sunshine
Cabin Type: Balcony
Cabin Number: 6263
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 2 years ago
Carnival sunshine, the ship
The embarkation process was acceptable. However the center elevators were sequestered for luggage handling and that caused a big mess as there was no communication to tell the passengers of this inconvenience. As with most ships on embarkation, the ship was very tight, the passageways were narrow. Communication was lacking and some passengers got a bit unruly. The muster drill is a required activity, but it was absolutely ponderous. It took over one half hour while we were crowded on a small deck. Nice way to be introduced to you ship mates. Other cruise lines do this better.
We noticed there are virtually no trash cans on the boat save in your cabin and close to the coffee machines.
We had a balcony room and it was OK. The interior was well laid out with a lot of storage areas. Balconies take a beating from the salt air and ours was no exception. The ensuite bath was laid out very well. It had a large shower, however when you sit on the toilet, one foot was in the shower. The linens we're okay. The ship gives each room 2 deck towels and 1 bath robe. I suppose a second robe could be requested. The towels can be exchanged for fresh at one of two towel stations. Carnival has a policy of not allowing passengers to reserve deck chairs similar to other cruise lines. But many rude customers disregard this and the ship does little to enforce their policy which then simply encourages people to put a towel on a choice chair and go have lunch or whatever. Sunshine was recently expanded to include a couple more decks forward that are reserved for adults – nice touch. However, these outside decks are closed when the breeze picks up.
As with many cruise lines service in the main dining rooms, especially for breakfast and lunch, is slow. At times it is very slow. The food is good, but often has spent a long time in warming ovens. The buffet is good, but fairly limited in selection. Guy Fieri burgers (noon to 5:00PM) were very good - thin and crispy. Fresh made breakfast burritos and lunch tacos were very popular as was the pizzeria. They also had citrus fruits available every day. I have not seen this on 4 previous RCL cruises. Salads were always fresh. The specialty dining rooms are very good. The service is exceptional, but you do pay extra for this. I think it was worth it.
Hand sanitation didn't seem to be as high a priority on sunshine as on other lines. Hand sanitizer is available, but it was by no means mandatory.
Odor control was poor. Certainly the casino is a smoking area and the smoke drifted for a couple decks both up and down. Kitchen odors were also present at all hours far from any restaurant. Public bathrooms are numerous, but poorly advertised. No signs, except on the door.
Entertainment options were not as good as on other ships. The venues are small, so if you want to see a show, get there early. The water slide was pretty neat.
Unlimited sodas and juices are available for some $7.00/day. This is far better than the $20+/day on RCL. Alcoholic beverages were about the same as elsewhere. All of the above are available only from a bar, none of which opened until after 10:00 AM. Most didn't open until 8 or 9 at night, so if can’t get a tomato juice in the morning.
Coffee was pretty good. Each cup was brewed individually. Hot chocolate is also available in the buffet. Yum, yum. And ice is available on deck - something unheard of on RCL. Premium coffee was very good; a shot of espresso was $2.00.
And there are laundry facilities on board for those who didn’t pack enough or don’t want the extreme prices of having the ship do it for you.
All told, we were happy. I would rate this ship as good, not great and about the same as the Freedom or Explorer class of RCL.
Eight nights, 4 sea days, visiting Aruba, Bonaire and Grand Turk. These are out of the way places which require lots of traveling, some 4000 miles. The Dutch islands are quaint as were the locals. I found nothing special about the islands, but it was a great way to see other spots in the world. Grand Turk is one of the rare coral islands. The highest point on the island may not be higher than the top deck, so you can see much of the island from the boat. Great beaches and I’d guess the main commerce is tourism.