This is the Carnival Sunshine through my eyes.
As usual, once you get on the ship all your troubles melt away. We got this far and came to a screeching halt... lol I was on my tip toes, reaching over people's heads (I know they thought I was nuts) just trying to snap a glimpse of what lay ahead.
After a brief pause we were moving again and officially... Walking On Sunshine! I could not believe we were finally there! The atrium was beautiful. It was like I was in a dream and being woke up by Mark as he was tugging my arm and trying to get me out of the way. I was now the one impeding traffic while I was staring up in awe. The Carnival Sunshine was beautiful.
We had no trouble finding our rooms and I was pleasantly surprised to see the decor in the hallway. I love the wooden looking doors. They are still metal doors for those of you who freak out about those things ? ... and what do you think was sitting in front of our door when we rounded the corner? Our luggage!! The porter outside with the little dollie had managed somehow and it was all there. It was the fastest our luggage has ever arrived (could have something to do with the delayed check in process that took forever earlier... but it was still fast!) I was able to get our room decorated right away.
We had 2 balcony rooms. Deck 8 technically forward, but it was really on the line at mid ship. The room itself seemed about the same size as all the others. The only differnece was we had built in shelves in the wall around the desk area, which was really nice... the coffee table was rectangle, not oval... there were not shelves in the 2 main closets. The shelves were located in the first closet that contains your safe and there is extra bedding on all those shelves... I did not have a full length mirror and missed it often.
The MAIN difference I noticed was the bathroom. Perhaps they are the same square footage (I don't really know). The sink vanity is half the size we are used to and the shower is twice as long. It is functional, however it is possible to sit on the toilet with your feet in the shower and wash your hands all at the same time.... Not that I tried... please delete that mental picture. Thanks.
Now here is a truly awesome part... On our cruise last May aboard the Magic we had a room stewardess named Rosie. We LOVED her. She was so funny, upbeat and engaging. She was at the end of her contract then. Who do you think was standing in the hallway when I walked out of our room?? Rosie!! I was so excited to see her and she remembered us ? A great room steward is the icing on the cake for a great cruise and Rosie is one of the best!
So now we were off to explore the ship! ? Trenton is usually the first one down the slide, however, New Orleans was chilly this day. We walked around the Lido deck, checked out the serenity area, pool and water park and he never once asked about putting on his swimsuit. By this point Mark was over the exploring ?
Since Mark was not in the exploring mood I suggested we go find the food. In the back of the boat is the Havana Bar. To the left is JiJi's Asian and to the right is Cucina de Capitano. Both are excellent choices. They both offer dinner at a price. It is free if you eat there at lunch, which is what we did ... often ? My child who won't eat anything related to pasta at home could eat the lasagna from Cucina everyday! The lasagna is not traditional lasagna by the way... just a warning to keep an open mind. We loved it!
JiJi's is mongolian wok style. You pick up a bowl and place your preferred noodles and veggies in it. You will hand it over to the cook. He will ask you what type of meat. I saw chicken, pork, shrimp and calamari options. Then he will ask you what type of sauce which boils down to mild, medium or spicy. I chose the medium everytime. I am a spicy girl and trust me, medium is spicy. It was tasty, but will clear your sinuses ? If I had chosen the hot I don't think I could have eaten it.
In regards to overcrowding and lines cause that is a HOT topic. I can see it here and I can't. Any boat, I have waited in line at Lido or any specialty lunch place. I did not wait in line anymore (actually probably less) on the Sunshine than I have on any previous cruise. What I did notice.... especially breakfast the first sea day is confusion. It seemed people were aimlessly walking around in there trying to find what they wanted (us included). They were also walking around trying to find seating. During the mornings we almost always went back into the Havana bar to find a place to sit. Cucina and JiJi's are the omelet stations in the mornings. I am not sure that the omelet option or the extra seating options are very well known.
Instead of 2 long buffet lines on lido, the main buffet food is located in 2 center islands. Each side has the same food, so in essence you have 4 lines going at once. The salad bars are located against the walls as is the dessert bar. My problem in the mornings is I am a hot cereal girl. I initially couldn't find it. The hot cereal is located on the ends of the center islands. Once I figured this out I thought I was good to go... however, the particular cereal is not always located in the same spot. I would get in one line only to find out it had oatmeal at the end and what I wanted was grits, so I was left to go try to squeeze in the other line.... Me and several other people. Was this a HUGE problem... Nope. We all managed ?
For breakfast, I also noted there was NO BACON POLICE. I am not really a big bacon eater and never noticed this issue before. If I am so inclined, one or two pieces will usually do me. I have been keeping my eyes out for this lately. There was a large plate of (really cooked) bacon and people were putting it on their plates in heaps... literally small mountains. Do you eat that much bacon at home? The little red blood cells in their blood have probably adapted to have snow shoes and walking sticks to trudge through their veins. Anyhow... the folks I saw were piling it up.
The automatic hand washing things are everywhere and kinda cool. Easy way to get the kids to wash their hands. It's fun! I did read a complaint that there were never any paper towels to dry your hands off with and we never encountered this problem.
There were also 2 Pour Your Own Beer stations here. One by the deli and one conveniently located by the 24 hour pizza. I only saw it used once or twice ... perhaps because I wasn't awake at 2 am getting pizza this cruise.
If you head back towards midship and the pool you will find your Guy's burgers and Blue Iguana taco's located by the main pool. Both options were as good as always. Going forward on this deck will land you in the Serenity area. It really is beautiful, however, we did not partake in it. From what I heard the front part of it really isn't "serene" as it faces the Lido deck and the back part (all the way forward) on the boat gets filled up pretty early. Mark walked through one day and said "Man, there are some older people up there that have that whole space locked down!" LOL... So I guess you better claim your seat early. ?
Ooh... saw these pictures and almost forgot. Trenton attended Camp Carnival only 1 day I think. He had a good time, but has more fun with us. I did notice the counselors for his age group on this ship were HANDS down more friendly and engaging than the past. They were always that way when he was younger, but the older age group ones haven't seemed to be. I found this little secluded spot they have for the little ones to play. When Trenton was younger he would have been all over this!
One deck up is the Sports Square. This place is so much fun! This cruise I think they say there were 400 guests on board under the age of 18, which really isn't many. I can say the sports square was busy, but never seemed Over-Crowded. A cruise during the summer or spring break, might be different. There was ping pong, pool, twister, checkers, chess, bean bag toss, whatever that game is that's like shuffleboard, but it's on the floor, not a table and you use a stick ?? That was there ? Basketball, mini golf... I am probably missing some more. The hot dog stand was also up there.
One deck above that is THE ROPES COURSE! Trenton did this multiple, multiple, multiple times. The rules are posted. You must be in dry clothes, closed toe shoes and no articles on you that can fall off. You also must be 48 inches tall. They do have lockers there if you need to lock up your belongings. They will let you go around twice before they ask you to get back in line. Trenton seemed to like this course better than the one on the Magic.
Now that we have covered the outside… Here’s a glimpse of the inside. Moving a little further down the boat we will head to Deck 5. This is one of the very few ships I know of that have cabins located on this deck. We learned during the Ships Life Q&A that Jamie, the cruise director and all of the Bridge officers sleep on Deck 5. She says you will know you are close to their cabins by the massive amounts of cologne you smell ?
The Alchemy Bar is in its usual location. Bartenders here were fabulous as always and my favorite drink is still the Pineapple Chipotle Martini. The stage is located a little different on this deck and I like it. It is in a good spot… NOT shoved in the corner of the casino and has lots of good seating around it. The seating leads into the Red Frog Rum Bar. We didn’t spend much time there this cruise, but I snapped a few pics for you guys.
There is not window seating along the promenade here like on many other ships and I have heard some complaints on this. I will say the picture people seemed to be better placed. It didn’t seem to be such a crowded hassle on elegant nights.
The casino is the casino! Mom sat down on the 2nd night and won $1000 on one of the machines... so my friends it can be done ? That is always exciting. There was practically ZERO poker playing on this cruise. They did have 1 table, but I never saw a game going. I thought that was strange. We tried several times to win the cash cube game and were rather unsuccessful ?
The arcade on this ship is located just outside the casino and right next to the candy shop. I liked this!! Usually the arcade is stashed away somewhere… away from everything. Took us 3 days to find it on the Magic! This one was convenient and a good size.
Deck 4 is a strange bird. I am just going to throw that out there. I never had the opportunity to cruise on the Destiny, so I am not sure what state that floor was prior to renovations… but it appears whoever designed it spent a little too much time at the alchemy bar and was a little tipsy when the floor plan was laid. ~ Strickly a personal opinion
Starting mid ship you will find the Library Bar. This is very nicely done. Has a decent book and game selection. It also has a wine vending machine… which while I didn’t try it, looked rather cool.
Outside the Library bar there is a little winding road that takes you to the Piano Bar, Bonsai Sushi and the Steakhouse. Walking through you will end up in the Limelight Lounge which is where you will go for the comedy shows. They have the doors shut and the line starts about 30 minutes prior to each show.
The kicker here is the dining room is on the other side of the Limelight lounge. You are never able to walk THROUGH it and have to go up to the 5th floor… over to the aft elevators and then back down to get to the dining room. More than once I found myself stuck… and noticed that we passed the same people multiple times until we all realized we were trying to get to the same place and finally all banded together. On the same note… If you came out of the dining room and wanted to go to the comedy show you cannot enter through the doors that are there. They are exit only. You must go up to 5… down the hallway and back down the next set of elevators, then walk down the hallway back to the Limelight lounge. It really isn’t a good flow and probably my only real complaint. If there is ever any mention of a design flaw... It's here!
The other way on deck 4 takes you through the photo gallery and then to the Liquid Lounge. The Liquid Lounge is located on decks 3 and 4. One large complaint here is the size of the lounge.
It is smaller and it is harder to find a seat… but we were always able to sit. Perhaps it isn’t where we would NORMALLY sit… but we had a seat. More people were forced to sit in the upper levels. On the bottom level there are movable chairs and no tables. I only missed the little tables during the past guest party ? Really, there were no other issues.
So that’s the boat in a nutshell… Now for the Yay or Nay.
Would I sail this ship again?
YES, it a heartbeat. All four of us LOVED the Sunshine. We had a great room steward. There was a mistake on Day 1 and we had been assigned to Late Seating which we did not request. I spoke up and it was changed immediately. We had Your Time Dining and service went well. Food was always timely and hot. We never waited to be seated. We did not encounter any staff that wasn't friendly. I found NO smells and you guys know I am a sniffer. Our cabins were in good working order. The ship was truly beautiful. The ceilings weren't leaking and I found NO buckets. Mom's one complaint is you are unable to view the menu and your S&S account on the TV like we have been able to do on other ships... and I am not really sure why.
I am not saying no one has ever smelled a bad smell or perhaps saw a bucket... but it isn't a rampant problem and I found none on the 7 days I lived on this ship and I was looking for them.
I did take a poll from our facebook group and here was their response.
And... I didn't vote ? So 2/3 of the families I cruised with loved it and would go again. 1/3 liked it, but would prefer another boat. NO ONE thought the cruise sucked and that the boat needed to be retired and scrapped for metal ?