Disappointing at Best

Carnival Sunshine Cruise Review to Bermuda

Cruises: 4-6 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 17

Overall rating:

2.9 out of 5
Carnival Sunshine

6 Night Bermuda (Charleston Roundtrip)

Sail date: September 22, 2019

Ship: Carnival Sunshine

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 8243

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

Knowing Carnival is rated among the bottom of all cruise lines, we booked this cruise anyway because it was going to Bermuda at a time convenient to us and our traveling companions. While we realize this cruise was diverted due to weather, going to the Bahamas was not what we had paid for. The cruise itself was less than our lowered expectations and the first one where we looked forward to disembarkation. Carnival did offer all passengers a 25% discount on a future Carnival cruise with 2 years. Needless to say, we won't be using it.

Embarkation

5 out of 5
Parking was easy, luggage was handled well, shuttle service was great and boarding was without hassle.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

2 out of 5
While the food was plentiful and appealing to the eye, it was generally full of grease, not well seasoned and had obviously been sitting in a warming area for some time allowing what flavors were there to mute. The sea-day brunch had a fairly limited menu and charged extra for juice which is just ridiculous as juice was available at no extra charge at the self-serve breakfasts. The main dining rooms were clean but crowded with narrow aisles constantly crowded with diners and staff milling around you as you ate.

Havana Bar

5 out of 5

Just aft of the big Lido Market dining area, this is a great spot that not too many seem to know about. We found it after not being able to find a table at the Lido. Tables there were easy to find and some afford a nice view out of large stern windows. Better yet, it features a made-to-order omelet bar at no extra cost that is much better than the fare at the Lido.

Lido Marketplace

1 out of 5

This is the main breakfast and lunch buffet style eating place aboard. At mealtimes it's crowded and tables are hard to find. After the first day at sea, the coffee dispensers all broke down leaving it to the staff to keep running up insulated jugs of coffee to avoid a breakfast mutiny. HINT: Get your food in Lido and then walk aft to the Havana Bar. Better seating, coffee dispensers work and BEST it has its own omelet bar.

Piano Bar 88

4 out of 5

Zak the piano guy is fabulous!!! Get there early to get a seat because it gets jam packed by 9:00PM.

Onboard Activities

1 out of 5
We played miniature golf and pool. Would have tried ping pong if we could have found balls. Also watched a topside movie. The golf was okay. The pool tables were topside and fairly dilapidated. The movie was old. There wasn't much else of interest to us and our friends. We did find a quiet spot in the Library to play cards.

Entertainment

2 out of 5
The evening shows in the main theater were always filled to capacity with cramped seating. This was aggravated one evening when something happened on board which caused a penetrating stink. The smell got into the main theater and other areas of the ship and lingered. You could still smell it from your balcony the next morning. The performers in the main theater each evening were lively and energetic giving their all though the sound was quite loud. However, all three shows we attended were pretty much the same. Elsewhere, two comedians performed to full rooms. One got by with risque and vulgar humor that got old quick while the other had routines that were actually funny. The highlight of the cruise was the piano bar which was also always jam-packed. The singer there was highly energetic and engaging and kept the crowd laughing all evening. The only downside of the piano bar was that the sole crew member taking and delivering drink orders was overwhelmed and had difficulty navigating the crowded room.

Children's Programs

No kids.

Service and Staff

4 out of 5
All personnel were attentive, pleasant and eager to please.

Ship Quality

1 out of 5
The layout of the ship is horrible. The main passageways on each deck are serpentine making it difficult to find your way and take a day or two to get used to. The worst is deck 5 where most of the inside activity is. There the passageway requires you to go through the casino to get to either end of the ship. The casino is the major inside smoking area and your eyes water whenever you must pass through it. With at least 80% of the passengers non-smokers, you would think Carnival would do something about this like improve ventilation or partition off the passageway through the casino.

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5
The cabin was clean and had ample storage spaces in drawers and closets. However, we never use drawers and closets in hotels or cruise ships and live out of our suitcases. There was little extra space to open two suitcases other than the bed and couch. As the couch is the only seating and the bed needed for sleeping, the suitcases required constant juggling. The balcony was okay though the balcony dividers were showing a fair amount of rust and flaking paint.

Ship tip

Consider a different cruise line if you really want to enjoy your cruise.

Ports of call

Charleston, South Carolina

5 out of 5
Great port for embarkation and disembarkation. Very efficient with frequent shuttles to and from the parking lot and stevedores to handle your luggage.

King's Wharf, Bermuda Did not visit port

The ship was re-routed to the Bahamas a day before sailing due to a hurricane near Bermuda. The Bahamas have nice beaches but otherwise are generally poor with upscale hotels and walled enclaves for the wealthy and super wealthy. When we first got off the ship in Freeport after a long walk from the ship we were thronged by hawkers of all sorts. Returning to the ship was a relief. We booked an excursion consisting of a tour bus ride around the island. The driver/guide was excellent giving us the history of the Bahamas, explaining the economy (tourism mostly) and telling us about growing up poor in the Bahamas. All told though, there wasn't much to see and, aside from the driver's stories, the main feature of the tour was the air conditioning on the bus.

Disembarkation

5 out of 5
Again, efficient and relatively fast and painless.
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