An ok cruise that stopped at wonderful ports

Carnival Sunshine Cruise Review

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 16

Overall rating:

3.2 out of 5
Carnival Sunshine

11 Night Southern Caribbean Carnival Journeys (Charleston Roundtrip)

Sail date: December 03, 2019

Ship: Carnival Sunshine

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 7107

Traveled as: Family (older children)

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

Again, an ok experience with great ports to visit. We will avoid the Sunshine ship in the future but will cruise Carnival again if the price and ports are right.

Embarkation

4 out of 5
Very smooth and quick process. The only thing I didn’t like was the EXTREMELY far walk from where I was directed to park to the terminal. No joke, I was at the furthest point possible. Paying a premium rate and having that walk was disappointing.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

2 out of 5
Main dining room experience was VERY inconsistent. We had “my time” dining and tried different times to see if our experience would change. As with most cruise lines, service can be slow as the waiters have too many tables. Any steak we ordered was always over cooked. The morning breakfast buffet was also inconsistent. The eggs benedict might as well have been hard boiled eggs on an English muffin. Omelet bar was good but you had to time it right or wait a long time. Guys burger joint and Blue iguana are great, however seating can be a challenge. The best location on the entire boat is the Bonsai Sushi restaurant - EXCELLENT food and service. Ji Ji’s is a close second.

JiJi Asian Kitchen

4 out of 5

Was very quiet and had good service. Food options are different from the norm and all very good.

Bonsai Sushi

5 out of 5

Excellent service and food. We went back several times. The miso soup was outstanding.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
Fun squad on this ship are great. Mikey, Lee, Houston, and others really get people up, moving, and involved. While there are a lot of places on the ship, none are big enough to hold the crowds. In order to see the main shows in the main theater, you had to arrive when the doors open. If you arrive 15 minutes before showtime, you’ll struggle to get a decent seat, if at all. The comedy club location is near the dining room and you have to walk through it in order to get to the rest of the ship (unless you go up a deck). Multiple times people walk through and the comics start to heckle them. The Red Frog Pub and Ocean lounge are also next to each other and the door separating them must stay closed in order to hear the music in the respective location. Not to mention you had to walk through the Ocean lounge to get in to the pub and block people’s view of the entertainment.

Entertainment

3 out of 5

Liquid Lounge

1 out of 5

Terrible design. Only 2 floors and the seating in front of the stage is all temporary chairs. If you don’t arrive when the doors open, you’ll struggle to find a seat. If you arrive 15 minutes before, you might find 2 seats together but the sight lines will be terrible.

Children's Programs

4 out of 5

Service and Staff

3 out of 5
Room steward was ok. I’m empathetic to this staff as they have a tough job. We did have to escalate an issue to the front desk. One whole closet, and space under the bed, was taken by bedding and the mattress for the 3rd bed. We had no place for our luggage and some clothes. This was resolved day 3.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
As mentioned in other spots, the design is questionable. Lots of spaces but none is big enough and most are next to another venue. You get competing crowds and people walking through all the time. The ship was clean, I’ll give it that. The staff was cleaning all the time. They do a nice job.

Cabin / Stateroom

1 out of 5
DO NOT get this room (7107) if your sailing with 3 people! Carnival should not advertise this as a 3 person cabin. The sofa is not the typical sofa bed you expect, nor what I’ve seen on HAL or RC. Essentially couch cushions make the base and a thin mattress is placed on top. The mattress is kept under the main bed when not in use, therefore eliminating a space for your luggage. The room felt more narrow than rooms I’ve had on Carnival before. After a few days we confirmed this theory by looking in other rooms. The first 4 or 5 cabins on this deck are more narrow for whatever reason. I can only guess that it has to do with the shape of the ship and the deck. We like cabins located far forward as you get less foot traffic and noise. This is the first time we’ve seen a room like this.

Ship tip

Get to shows as early as possible. Main shows, comedy, whatever.

Ports of call

Princess Cays (Cruise Line Private Island)

4 out of 5
If you want a quiet experience, go right after getting off the tender. Go right, over the bridge, and this side is less crowded. The only downfall is that the food on this side closes a little early. Highly recommend water shoes for this island. There are areas where the beach/water is rocky.

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

5 out of 5
Check what port you dock at before arriving.

Grand Turk Island

4 out of 5

Bonaire, Netherlands Special Municipality

5 out of 5

Oranjestad, Aruba

5 out of 5
Check what day you stop in Aruba. We arrived on a Sunday, only to learn that most things are closed. Easily 80% of the shopping is closed. Restaurants don’t open until 4pm but some (like the Hard Rock Cafe) opened at noon for lunch. Even the locals asked us, “why is the ship here on a Sunday?”

Charleston, South Carolina

4 out of 5

Disembarkation

1 out of 5
Utter fiasco. I honestly feel someone with Carnival intentionally created havoc the last day. We left the ship when called only to find the area with luggage tag #8 about empty. Long story short, about 20-30 people (including ourselves) with luggage tag #8 were missing luggage. As the bags were slowly found, all of them were missing tags. We spent an hour locating bags before we left. When we got home and unpacked, I found our luggage tags balled up in an outer pocket of the suitcase. Someone took them off and stuffed in a pocket. I could understand a few bags missing tags because they get ripped off, but to have over 20 people with the same luggage number experience the same problem? Had to be intentional.

Traveler Photos

Room 7107  You can't even step between the beds or the night stand   Note the couch cushion underneath to hold the mattress up. Don't let Carnival tell you otherwise.  You can legally return to the US with 5 bottles of liquor   Actually 6 if one is a local brand. Sushi boat for 2 at Bonsai sushi  Room 7107  You can't even step between the beds or the night stand   Note the couch cushion underneath to hold the mattress up. View from top serenity deck
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