Year Started: 1972
Ships in Fleet: 24
Summary: The most successful cruise line in history. Don't be misled, a high-quality cruise experience perfect for families and young couples, Fantastic value. the FUN ships, but not "party boats."
Regions:Caribbean Eastern, Caribbean Western, Caribbean
Good for: First-time Cruisers. Families. Singles.
Good for: Value for Money. Overall Service. Children`s Programs.
Good for: Families. Seniors. Singles.
Good for: Singles. Families. Teens.
Regions: Bahamas, Caribbean, Canada/New England, Cruise To Nowhere
Good for: Families. Teens. Children`s Programs.
Good for: Teens. First-time Cruisers. Families.
Regions:Caribbean Eastern, Caribbean Western
Good for: Teens. Singles. Families.
Regions:Caribbean Eastern, Caribbean Western
Good for: Singles. Group. Families.
Regions:Mexico, Caribbean Eastern, Hawaii
Good for: Families. Overall Service. Value for Money.
Regions:Bahamas, Caribbean Eastern
Good for: Singles. Group. First-time Cruisers.
Regions:Bahamas, Caribbean Eastern
Good for: Overall Service. Seniors. Families.
Regions:Bahamas, Bermuda, South America
Good for: Group. Families. Foodies.
Regions:Europe, TransAtlantic, Caribbean
Good for: Families. Value for Money. Seniors.
Good for: Families. Children`s Programs. Singles.
Regions:Caribbean Eastern, Caribbean Western
Good for: Group. Families. Luxury Travelers.
Good for: Group. Singles. First-time Cruisers.
Good for: Singles. First-time Cruisers. Overall Service.
Good for: Families. Singles. Teens.
Good for: Families. Value for Money. First-time Cruisers.
Regions:Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, Panama Canal
Good for: Families. Singles. Children`s Programs.
Good for: Families. Seniors. Children`s Programs.
Good for: First-time Cruisers. Families. Group.
Good for: Families. Group. Singles.
Carnival Paradise March 3, 2014- March 8, 2014
Arrived at the Port of Tampa at approximately 10:30 AM. Check in was easy and efficient. I was sent to the priority boarding area to await boarding. The wait was about 20 minutes. We were taken to the boarding area and in about 10 minutes time we were aboard the ship. I found my room and began settling in by unpacking the things in my carry on. While doing that my suitcase arrived and I finished unpacking. Unpacking done I went up to deck 10 for some lunch. After lunch I wandered around getting familiar with the layout. I was surprised at the dÃ©cor of this ship. Other ships of it's era are bright and colorful. This ship is subdued but pleasant for the most part. I did find one room that was just plain ugly. That was the Rex Lounge. The whole room was covered in bands of different animal prints even the ceiling. I have not seen a room this ugly since I saw the "Jungle Room" at Graceland.
I discovered that I was assigned late fixed seating. I hadasked for "YTD". I was unable to find the Maitre' D to get that straightened out so I ate late that night. The next morning I got it straight. I went to the dining room to eat most meals. The service was not just great but fantastic! This service team was right on the ball every meal. The food was excellent and I enjoyed many of my favorites.
I did not see a lot of the entertainment but what I did see in the main show room was very good. The dance team was excellent.
I stayed aboard the ship in Grand Cayman as I have been there many times. I did go ashore to wander the shops on the pier.
The food was very good and I was more than pleased with that. Everything was fresh and delivered in a timely manner.
I have to say this has been my best cruise ever. I had lots of fun and everything about this cruise was pleasant.
must admit, after reading the earlier reviews posted prior to my trip, I boarded the Sunshine with the expectation I was going to be underwhelmed-wrong!
My father in-law and I (somehow) talked our spouses into turning the two of us loose for a week in the Caribbean to get some sun and shake out of the midwestern cold weather blahs. The wives had too much Christmas planning to do to get away and cut the boys loose for a week. Fyi, we are 60 and 82, so it wasn't like we were going to find a tattoo parlor, buy stock in a rum distillery and find a couple of bikini clad maidens and forget reality-we just needed some sunshine!
Mission accomplished, big time.
We cruised from New Orleans on the Sunshine for a 7 day run to Jamaica, Caymans, Cozumel.
Our plan was to do some light site seeing and get a tan, have a few cocktails, eat too much.
Now, as to the ship. We both thought it was wonderful! Clean as a whistle, everything in fine working order, every single staffer pleasant and efficient, the layout simple and easy tomaneuver.
My father-in-law and I have had 10 cruises between us and can both say this ship was the best we have been on for the overall experience. We have been on the small boats (the original Mardis Gras from Carnival and RCL's Sun Viking) and the mid sizers of Princess and RCL. The Sunshine combined the best of both-quiet spaces of the small vessels and the energy and diversity of the mids.
I can't say enough about the Serenity area-what a perfect spot for us old farts! You could always find shade, and up front it was just us and the horizon. A great bar, no kids, big hammocks, and double bed sized lounging areas for crying out loud! What a great space!!
Very good shows. The dancers were as good as you would find anywhere short of Broadway itself. I mean this- these shows are usually fun, but second tier in the dancers ability-not this group! They are the real deal! The group had adequate voices (hey, if they were great singers on top of their dancing ability this group would be on Broadway and not on a ship) and the production fit their skill sets perfectly-great fun and we thought it was a wow each time! Very happy guys!!
Previous comments suggest the chow was average. I must say, these folks must live at the Ritz and breakfast on Bon Bons-the food was great! We did anytime dining, went early, and were offered a table for two each mealtime. These were either small tables surrounding the center of the dining room or quiet two person booths-both great options.
Good choices for entrees with at least one exotic (for us) starter each meal-great time to try something you wouldn't normally roll the dice on.
Wait staff was awesome-always available, yet unobtrusive-just what you want!
The first night our dining room cocktail staff person decided to adopt us and found us to say hello and visit briefly regardless of where we were seated subsequent evenings-that made us feel super special and we have to give her a personal shout out-Plamena, we will cruise this line and this ship again just to see you again! You are the BEST!!! Of all time!!! If I gush anymore my wife won't let me come back!!!
The pool area:
This ship has a different take here-an amphitheater layout with lots and lots of seating and a very small pool. I must admit, I liked this priority a lot. There were a bunch of large showers scattered about to allow you to "wet 'er down" and cool off without having to jump into the pool. This left the small pool to the little ones and that seemed satisfying to everyone. The kids have a huge pool play area of their own aft, but this main space allowed the moms and dads to be in an adult space with them, yet not worry about crowding out the young adults or old codgers looking too cool off. Very well thought out plan!
We went inside, small. To us the fun is topside and the cabins are for sleeping. The steward had our names down day one and was all over our needs immediately/ These staffers are always the best and work their tails off keeping the guests happy and the cabins spotless! Thank you!
As good as we could ask for, better than advertised, we are coming back for sure (and we will find you Plamena-ouch, honey, quit hitting me...).
Thank you Carnival!
Thomas and Malcolm
Sailed with elderly parents, one of which needed extra help in the dining room. The maÃ®tre 'D and wait staff went well beyond what was requested to make everything perfect. The Captain makes himself available to the passengers, and enjoys meeting each and everyone. His attitude and friendly nature, I'm positive, makes for the happiest overall crew I've seen on over 17 different cruises.
We enjoyed a quick 2 night cruise aboard the Imagination late January 2014. Weâ€™re a party of three- me, 40, my hubby, 50 and our 5 year old son. As we live on the Central CA coast, this was a convenient trip for us.
Overall, we enjoyed this short getaway and our expectations on the Imagination were exceeded.
We sailed in an oceanview cabin this time (R43 on the Riviera deck), rather than our standard balcony cabin. We were very happy with the size of the room, and the layout as well as the fact that the cabins below and above us were also cabins- so there was no chair dragging/people walking/loud lounge noise, etc. The window was very large, and helped us to avoid that claustrophobic feeling that can creep in when we donâ€™t have a balcony. Unfortunately, we had rainy, very cool weather by Southern CA standards, so we didnâ€™t get to enjoy as much time outdoors on this cruise. It drizzled pretty much the whole time, with a great break in the rain while we were in Ensenada.
The feeling the MOMENT we walked on board wasupbeat, cheerful, and music filled. Every employee in the atrium greeted us, and the music playing let the passengers feel the vacation mood immediately upon boarding. The dancing towel animal, Ellie the Elephant is adorable, and really added to the smiles. The renovations on this ship were awesome (we cruised on it pre-renovation 8 years ago). They did a great job making the ship feel as new as possible- the pool deck looks great and the public rooms and atrium are very obviously updated. Passengers were respectful and party-focused, but not rowdy or obnoxious, from what we noticed. We noticed that a lot of people were carrying around beers and/or bucket of beers immediately after boarding- getting the fun started. We had thought that this cruise might be too rowdy and loud for us, but it wasnâ€™t. It was fun to watch the many bachelorette party groups, families travelling in large groups together and groups of girlfriends looking for a weekend getaway.
Faster to the Fun
This was our second positive experience with FTTF. While we got to the port so early that it probably didnâ€™t make a huge difference in check in time, we enjoyed the extra attention and would say it is worth the money, even for a 2 day cruise, for OUR situation. We were anxious to film the entire ship, so every hour of this cruise counted and boarding early helped.
As usual, we requested a small table just for the three of us in the early seating, main dining room, but checked with the maitre d on embarkation day and theyâ€™d pre-assigned us to sit with others (not sure why they donâ€™t honor what you request on the website, but oh well). Our request to change to a private table was quickly accommodated, and we were put in a 4-top, banquette style (not my fave- as youâ€™re seated right next others on the bench/table combo). Our main dining room servers were so friendly and caring for such a short cruise, and the main dining room food was great.
Lido Buffet food was better than average and the area was kept clean and well-stocked. The station set up really helps with the crowds- the lines were minimal even during peak times, and seating was always available. I particularly loved the Sandwich station, salad bar, and the Asian food.
This was a â€œone portâ€ cruise, with just a dayâ€™s stop in Ensenada. This was our first time off the ship in Ensenada (we usually sit out this port on longer cruises), so we booked a tour through Carnival to La Bufadora, and enjoyed the blowhole, as well as the BEST tacos (the shop RIGHT near the bus stop at La Bufadora). The vendors were aggressive on the walk to the blowhole, as others had warned, but we made a few purchases, and enjoyed the shopping opportunity. All in all, weâ€™re glad we went, but this is a place you probably only need to see once.
We'd do it again! Hopefully, this time, on the longer 4 day to Catalina.
Here's our video tour of the ship, as well as a quick tour of the stateroom. Enjoy!
My wife and I (mid 50s) take care of our elderly parents and we booked this cruise for some well deserved rest and cold weather getaway. We have cruised with Carnival five previous times and have enjoyed the fun times on board all our past cruises. We flew on Southwest free using our points to fly from Louisville Ky. to Ft. Lauderdale and back to Louisville Ky.
We cruised with another couple from Indiana and met them in Ft. Lauderdale. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday night and stayed in the Comfort suites and cruise port hotel in Ft. Lauderdale. The hotel stay was a free night using our choice privileges points.
Our check-in was super quick and we had a king room on the sixth floor looking out at the cruise pier. The hotel is used by a lot cruisers and was booked full.
Although our overall experience with the Dream in Feb. 2014 was mostly favorable, there were 2 major problems that marred our 7-day cruise of the western Caribbean. One was the captain's decision to bypass Mahogany Bay in Honduras in favor of docking at Port of Roaton further south. This meant a $20 taxi ride to get to the beach. The captain said it was too windy to pull in alongside another Carnival ship already in port. It did not seem particularly windy to us passengers.
The other problem was that my partner, who booked the cruise directly with Carnival, asked specifically for dining room seat with or near 16 other relatives and friends in our group. The others all were clustered together, while we were put into another dining room altogether. The maitre did manage to switch us to a closer table a night later, but it still was a major disappointment.
Some other aspects of the cruise were below the level we experienced on 3 previous Carnival cruises, particularly in dining room food. We also disliked the smoke odor that permeated the casino and nearby areas. Our balcony enjoyment was marred acouple of times by smoke wafting up from the deck below.
I'm an early-morning walker but one stroll on Deck 5 at 6 a.m. was downright dangerous when I found the prow of the ship plunged in darkness. (The sides and aft areas were well-lit). A fellow walker had a flashlight which helped us fumble our way to safety. Theater shows were mostly excellent, but daytime entertainment seemed a little lame (mostly trivia games).
Nothing in the way of educational activities. My partner became sick the last 3 days with a flu-like illness, and Alex, one of the activities staffer,s was kind enough to summon a wheelchair for us and speed us around the lines. This was in contrast to a young woman who berated us for sitting illegally on a lobby couch when my partner became too weak to stand.
This is a beautiful ship with lots to do. I am 22 years old and was never bored morning day or night. Theres lots to do its easy to navigate around and the crew is absolutely amazing. I couldn't have asked for more.
Just returned yesterday from a 4 night cruise with a port stop at Cozumel. The crew on this ship are awesome! So friendly and efficient in what they are doing and seemed to really appreciate it when we took the time to talk with them about "home". The food was very good and plenty of it! The stage shows were absolutely wonderful! The costumes were beautiful and the performers talent was top-notch! There were plenty of activities going on constantly, especially the Super Bowl party! The ship was extremely clean, crew members were constantly busy doing something to make the ship look nice. A very nice cruise, one of the best we've ever had!
Never again will we sail on Carnival.
Sail date, yesterday 1-27-14. After booking a hotel the night before, and traveling to the docks, we learned that Carnival had cancelled our reservations. They said e-mails were sent, but we didn't receive any. Come to find out, they had the wrong e-mail address. Also, in the days leading up to the cruise, the Carnival web site said "welcome, 14 days til cruise", 12 days to cruise, 9 days til cruise, etc.. It was counting down the days til our cruise. It gave no indication to us that our cruise had been cancelled.
The lady at customer relations said that it was "impossible" to not get e-mails, and it was "impossible" for the web site to count down the days if there was a cancellation. But it did happen that way. She basically called me a liar, and offered no compensation, future discounts or anything. Not only that, our deposit, and cancellation insurance was forfeited.
Never again will we sail on Carnival.
I just went on a 7 day cruise through the Eastern Caribbean with my family as well as 5 others families we know, and I think that we could all agree that it was one of the best vacations ever!
The food on the ship was delicious!! We didn't eat anywhere where you had to pay more for, however. Guy's burgers are definitely worth trying, the burgers were messy but some of the best I have ever tasted!! I never got to try the tacos but other people from our group tried them and loved them! The breakfast buffet was very good and had something for everyone! Eating in the dining room was always a pleasure. They have some very different foods on the menu that you can try, and most of them I would recommend trying! If you try something and don't like it, they will give you a new meal!
We were supposed to go to Grand Caymen, however the weather did not allow us to.
Cozumel- Here we went swimming with the dolphins on a resort! Before swimming we were given a short tour and mini history lesson, whichwas fun even for the younger kids! The weather was not wonderful when we were there however the experience was still outstanding! As we got ready to swim with the dolphins we were given a short lesson on the appropriate commands you could use on the dolphin then we were given life jackets and we headed out to the water. The dolphins were very nice an easy to work with!
Belize- Here we made the mistake of taking the wrong tour! It was 3 hours long and cost us $100!!! We were only taken through the crappy part of the island and the guide was very quiet and boring! Most of us actually fell asleep on the tour! If you go to Belize I would recommend signing up for an excursion through carnival!
Roatan- The boys in the family went zip lining and had a blast! They even ended up getting to go to the beach for free when I should have cost another $40 per person! Us girls got off the ship and right down the bridge was an area with a bunch of shops! We spent a couple hours there! It was a nice area and the prices were reasonable! We are already talking about taking a vacation back for a week next year!!!
The cabins are small and we had to have to desperate cabins for a family of 5. It was cheaper to get the two small cabins and we didn't spend much time in there anyway!! The stewards are so nice just like every other worker on the ship! Our room was cleaned twice each day! Once in the morning, where they would clean the bathroom, vacuum, and make the beds, as well as once at night, where they would turn down the beds, leave a towel animal, and reclean anything that needed it. Our cabin was on deck 2(one deck below the lobby). The boys cabin was in the middle of the ship and our cabin was way in the back. It was a long walk all the way back to our cabin but with all of the food we ate it was probably a good thing!
I didn't get to see any of the comedians but from what I heard, I didn't miss out on much!!
I saw every one of the playlist production shows and they were all amazing! I thing my favorite was either motor city or divas, however everyone of the shows had wonderful singing and dancing!!
David Lazarus was a solo act and sang in the lobby as well as on the lido deck! I loved listening to him! I went to everyone of his shows that I could! I also bought his cd at the end of the week! Not only was he an amazing singer, but he was also great to look at and very sweet!!
The kid clubs were fun for all of the kids! Circle C (12-14) was a lot of fun! The kids could just go there to play woo and hang out! Because of the age, they were allowed to come and go as they pleased! The club for the younger kids was also very fun however they are not allowed to leave whenever they want to. They have to have someone sign them out. I wish you could sign something saying that your kid can leave whenever they want!
There were plenty of places for the adults to hang out and grab a drink! I think my favorite hangout place was the piano bar on deck 5! It was fun for the teenagers on the group as well as the adults! There is a guy who sits at a piano singing and playing the piano. Then around him is a bar where you can sit and play instruments (maracas, cowbell, etc.) then there were couches and tables around the room! You could request songs for the guy to play and even go up and sing with him! There was also a small area for dancing!!
This was my favorite vacation so far an I was definitely not ready to leave!!