Charleston, Yes. Sunshine, No.

Carnival Sunshine Cruise Review

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 2
Helpful Votes: 12

Overall rating:

3 out of 5
Carnival Sunshine

5 Night Bahamas (Charleston Roundtrip)

Sail date: February 03, 2020

Ship: Carnival Sunshine

Cabin type: Inside

Cabin number: 9209

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

Would sail from Port of Charleston again, but NEVER again on Sunshine or with an itinerary dependent upon Half Moon Cay or Princess Cays.


5 out of 5
While the port of Charleston leaves a lot to be desired in the aesthetics department, it makes up for it in efficiency. We parked the car at port parking around 11, dropped our luggage, shuttled to port, checked in and were on the ship by 11:30. Again, not as “pretty” or well-marked as other ports, but was my best embarkation experience to date. Disembarkation was equally satisfactory.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

2 out of 5
Overall, the Sunshine conversion from Destiny is a bust. Sure, the new aesthetic is more modern and fresh. However, the removal of public space and addition of guest cabins can be immediately noticed in all dining venues. The staff seem to struggle to keep up with the immense crowds, seating is scarce, and lines back up into doorways and walkways frequently. Sea day Brunch took 1.5 hours to come to the table after being seated. We are among the first tables seated (party of 4) and large parties seated a half hour after us received their food, ate, and left before we had ever received our food. When we did finally receive our food, the order was all wrong.

Cucina Del Capitano

1 out of 5

This is also, like JiJi Asian Kitchen, just partitioned off from the Havana Bar. Nothing about it feels exclusive, nor would I pay for anything here. We had lunch here for the pasta as we have on other ships. At other ships’ Cucina Del Capitano, you sit at a table, are greeted, your order is taken, and food brought to you. On Sunshine, you fill out your pasta order, they hand you a buzzer, and you have to go pickup the food at the bar when it’s ready. The pasta is okay, it‘s just like eating in a more cramped, chaotic section of the lido buffet.

JiJi Asian Kitchen

1 out of 5

This is a curtain separating you from the Havana Bar. Feels cramped, cheap, and thrown together.

Bonsai Sushi

4 out of 5

Very small venue on the Mezzanine deck with maybe 4 tables plus a few seats at the actual sushi bar. The service was probably the best we received throughout the cruise, most likely due to the small number of diners. We had the Sushi boat for two, which comes with 2 rolls, 6 pieces of sushi, a salad and miso soup. Everything was delicious, fairly-priced, and beautifully-plated. The only thing I left one star off for is a lack of variety in sushi rolls.

Onboard Activities

2 out of 5
Nothing too exciting here. The weather wasn’t really suitable for swimming, the hot tubs are always lukewarm on Carnival. Lots of trying to sell overpriced Bingo Cards and Spa Treatments as usual. Karaoke at odd times. DJ/dancing in the comedy club Limelight Lounge, and Comedians performing in the main show lounge/nightclub Liquid Lounge. Also odd.


1 out of 5
The Liquid Lounge wasn’t open as a nightclub, it was used for the comedians. Then they put a DJ in the small and awkward comedy lounge. Don’t get me wrong, I despise the liquid lounge nightclub and prefer the original nightclubs, and the comedians DO need more seating, but this was just backwards. The shows were Studio VIP, which I enjoyed, Latin Nights, which I enjoyed as well, and Epic Rock, which felt very pedestrian and cheesy. Overall, this show cast had some of the worst singers I’ve ever heard on Carnival and based on the looks on others’ faces, I’m not the only one who thought this. The couple singing in the atrium were excellent.

Sunshine Atrium

5 out of 5

Atrium is beautiful.

Liquid Lounge

1 out of 5

Probably my personal least favorite part of this ship. When converting to Sunshine, Carnival increased the passenger capacity and cut the size of the show lounge in HALF. Lines backed up into the atrium before doors opened, and even though I was there before doors opened, it was still difficult to find a seat. The first two shows I was in the very back top row, and the last show I was standing.

Service and Staff

2 out of 5

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
Ship Design 2/10 - The re-fit of this ship is just extremely disappointing. I’d take the Destiny back over Sunshine anyday Cleanliness 9/10 - Crew we’re CONSTANTLY cleaning and scrubbing, and polishing. Took off one star as there is some noticeable visible wear showing on carpets, walls, etc that could use some attention.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5
Size, location, and cleanliness were all adequate and satisfactory. Shelf in closet was broken.

Ship tip

I would not sail Sunshine again. Even if it were free, I would opt to pay for an alternate ship. I would not recommend this ship to anyone unless they live within 20 miles of its port, get an extremely cheap price, and do not mind excessive overcrowding. Worst passenger-to-crew/space ratio of any ship.

Ports of call

Nassau, Bahamas

3 out of 5
Nassau is a good first-time cruiser’s destination, however, it’s highly commercialized, overpriced, and crowded. Much better destinations out there that are worth paying a few dollars more for.

Charleston, South Carolina

5 out of 5


5 out of 5
Seamless. Walked right off, down the gangway, collected luggage, through customs, and shuttled back to our car. From the cruise atrium to our car was around 10 minutes. Fastest disembarkation to date.

Traveler Photos

Calm waters at Princess Cays but "unsafe to tender"
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