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
The Sunshine was a beautiful ship. It seemed brand new and not renovated. All the FunShip 2.0 enhancements are great improvements to older ships.
This was only my second cruise and was amazed at the size of the ship. Previously I was on the Fantasy, and boy what a difference.
We boarded in Port Canaveral FL, and compared to Charleston SC, it was a fast moving event. I do not think my wife and I stopped longer than 3 minutes at any point until we were on the ship. Leaving the ship after the cruise went even faster, we were on Deck 1 and carrier our bags, so we were the first group to debark. We were off the ship to the rental car office, had the car and going to breakfast before 0830 in the morning. We always stay an extra day after the cruise to enjoy the Florida Beaches, so the quicker we can get to that beach the happier we are.
The Fantasy staff I feel were a lot more attentive than what the staff on the Sunshine was, but that might of been because of the amount of guest. This was about the only complaint that I had for the whole cruise, so you know it must of been good.
Positives:Serenity Deck was the largest that I have seen on a ship. The Steak House was well worth the extra cost, we did find out that if you buy a bottle of wine they will keep it chilled for you until your next meal if you don't finish it. Burger Place was good, but really crowded at times.
All and All for my second Cruise I really enjoyed the time I spent on this ship.