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Background This was our second cruise. We left our kids at home and flew out the night before to Orlando. Stayed at Comfort Suites by the Orlando Airport (which offers shuttle service from the airport). Next day, rented car from Budget and drove to rental location near Port Canaveral. The rental car drop off location was packed due to three ships leaving the same day. Long lines for the shuttle, so ended up taking a taxi from the rental car location to the cruise terminal. Embarkation (Port Canaveral) Arrived at the cruise terminal approximately 4 hours prior to departure time and the lines were fairly long but moved fast. Stood in line for about 30 minutes, then through security and on to getting the room key (sail & sign cards). Walked up to the gang plank and onto the ship in less than an hour from arrival at the cruise terminal. Ship (Sunshine) Dropped off our carry-on bags in the room and began exploring the ship. We didn’t get our checked luggage until later on in the evening, so make sure you have any essentials in your carry-on bags. Ship has three elevator/stair locations (forward, mid, aft), so plenty of choices for getting around. Our room was on deck one, and we used the stairs as much as possible – it was generally faster and obviously better exercise. When we did use the elevators, they were generally pretty quick (never more than a few minute wait). The layout of the ship took a while to get used to. There are a few dead ends, for example: from the mid stair/elevator, you could only get into the back on the forward restaurant. There was nowhere else to go. The forward restaurant only had one level. They still allow smoking in the casino and above the lido deck just under the big screen. As a non-smoker, it was awful to walk through the casino. It was just a big stinky cloud of cigarette smoke. In my opinion, the only place they should allow smoking is at the back of the ship on the top deck. My biggest complaint is with Serenity. Although they do a good job of keeping kids out, it is far from what would be considered “serenity”. There are extremely loud air conditioning units on the starboard side and whenever the ship is in motion, the wind howls. It was so bad some days that personal belongings, chairs, and towels would blow away if not held down. They really need to consider better wind protection on that deck in order to give it a calm, peaceful feeling. There was also only one hot tub on the Serenity deck which was almost always at capacity. It would be nice to see two or three hot tubs up there. Comedy Club We went to almost all the adult comedy clubs. There were four different comedians throughout the entire cruise (Chas Elstner – meh, Russ Nagel – hilarious, Tommy Drake – marginally funny, but whined a lot, and Mark Sweeney – great). The comedy club, Llimelight Lounge, was set up such that there was only once entrance and two separate exits. Thus, when exiting the show, they wanted you to go up a floor, walk through the stinky casino, and back down to level four, and then stand in line at the entrance for the next show. By the second show, everyone figured out you can just go out on the lifeboat deck and walk back towards the entrance. The lounge has plenty of seating, but if you get there too late, you might have to sit on one of the sides and can’t really see the stage. They offer a live shot of the comedian on stage via large TV screens. Entertainment Cruise Director was Jamie Dee. She is highly energetic is involved with almost all the parties and shows. She keeps the guests entertained and well informed. We attended all four stage shows by the Playlist productions dancers/singers. They were all very good, although almost exactly what we saw two years ago on our first cruise (Motor City, Studio VIP, Latin Nights, Epic Rock). Likewise, all the non-production shows were similar to what we saw last time (Welcome Aboard, Love & Marriage show, Hasboro Game Show, etc). We also saw Bobby Borgia (magician) and Manny Zuniga (juggler). Both those acts were just average. Food The lido buffet food is okay, but gets kind of bland after several days. We tried to limit the buffet to just once a day, typically breakfast. For lunch, we would try the specialty restaurants such as Guys Burgers, Blue Iguana Tacos/Burritos, and the Pizzeria. For supper, we ate at the main dining room each night. We got stuck with late dinning, but ended up liking it in the end since we didn’t have to start getting ready until about 6pm. The main dining food was pretty good and offered plenty of different selections. The desserts were all much better than what was available in the buffet. One annoying thing the Maître ‘D did every night during dinner was a “Showtime” where he made all the waiters sing and dance. We found this a big waste of time and prolonged dinner by about 15 minutes. It would be better if they did this once per cruise (or not at all). I prefer to watch a “show” either before or after dinner, not during. We ate at the steakhouse on the last night. The $35 fee per person is well worth it. The steakhouse is of similar quality to a Morton’s or Ruth’s Chris restaurant. This is a must at least once per cruise.  

Sunny on the Sunshine

Carnival Sunshine Cruise Review by isupilot

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Trip Details
Background
This was our second cruise. We left our kids at home and flew out the night before to Orlando. Stayed at Comfort Suites by the Orlando Airport (which offers shuttle service from the airport). Next day, rented car from Budget and drove to rental location near Port Canaveral. The rental car drop off location was packed due to three ships leaving the same day. Long lines for the shuttle, so ended up taking a taxi from the rental car location to the cruise terminal.
Embarkation (Port Canaveral)
Arrived at the cruise terminal approximately 4 hours prior to departure time and the lines were fairly long but moved fast. Stood in line for about 30 minutes, then through security and on to getting the room key (sail & sign cards). Walked up to the gang plank and onto the ship in less than an hour from arrival at the cruise terminal.
Ship (Sunshine)
Dropped off our carry-on bags in the room and began exploring the ship. We didn’t get our checked luggage until later on in the evening, so make sure you have any essentials in your carry-on bags. Ship has three elevator/stair locations (forward, mid, aft), so plenty of choices for getting around. Our room was on deck one, and we used the stairs as much as possible – it was generally faster and obviously better exercise. When we did use the elevators, they were generally pretty quick (never more than a few minute wait).
The layout of the ship took a while to get used to. There are a few dead ends, for example: from the mid stair/elevator, you could only get into the back on the forward restaurant. There was nowhere else to go. The forward restaurant only had one level.
They still allow smoking in the casino and above the lido deck just under the big screen. As a non-smoker, it was awful to walk through the casino. It was just a big stinky cloud of cigarette smoke. In my opinion, the only place they should allow smoking is at the back of the ship on the top deck.
My biggest complaint is with Serenity. Although they do a good job of keeping kids out, it is far from what would be considered “serenity”. There are extremely loud air conditioning units on the starboard side and whenever the ship is in motion, the wind howls. It was so bad some days that personal belongings, chairs, and towels would blow away if not held down. They really need to consider better wind protection on that deck in order to give it a calm, peaceful feeling. There was also only one hot tub on the Serenity deck which was almost always at capacity. It would be nice to see two or three hot tubs up there.
Comedy Club
We went to almost all the adult comedy clubs. There were four different comedians throughout the entire cruise (Chas Elstner – meh, Russ Nagel – hilarious, Tommy Drake – marginally funny, but whined a lot, and Mark Sweeney – great). The comedy club, Llimelight Lounge, was set up such that there was only once entrance and two separate exits. Thus, when exiting the show, they wanted you to go up a floor, walk through the stinky casino, and back down to level four, and then stand in line at the entrance for the next show. By the second show, everyone figured out you can just go out on the lifeboat deck and walk back towards the entrance. The lounge has plenty of seating, but if you get there too late, you might have to sit on one of the sides and can’t really see the stage. They offer a live shot of the comedian on stage via large TV screens.
Entertainment
Cruise Director was Jamie Dee. She is highly energetic is involved with almost all the parties and shows. She keeps the guests entertained and well informed. We attended all four stage shows by the Playlist productions dancers/singers. They were all very good, although almost exactly what we saw two years ago on our first cruise (Motor City, Studio VIP, Latin Nights, Epic Rock). Likewise, all the non-production shows were similar to what we saw last time (Welcome Aboard, Love & Marriage show, Hasboro Game Show, etc). We also saw Bobby Borgia (magician) and Manny Zuniga (juggler). Both those acts were just average.
Food
The lido buffet food is okay, but gets kind of bland after several days. We tried to limit the buffet to just once a day, typically breakfast. For lunch, we would try the specialty restaurants such as Guys Burgers, Blue Iguana Tacos/Burritos, and the Pizzeria. For supper, we ate at the main dining room each night. We got stuck with late dinning, but ended up liking it in the end since we didn’t have to start getting ready until about 6pm. The main dining food was pretty good and offered plenty of different selections. The desserts were all much better than what was available in the buffet. One annoying thing the Maître ‘D did every night during dinner was a “Showtime” where he made all the waiters sing and dance. We found this a big waste of time and prolonged dinner by about 15 minutes. It would be better if they did this once per cruise (or not at all). I prefer to watch a “show” either before or after dinner, not during.
We ate at the steakhouse on the last night. The $35 fee per person is well worth it. The steakhouse is of similar quality to a Morton’s or Ruth’s Chris restaurant. This is a must at least once per cruise.
 
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Enrichment Activities
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Embarkation
Dining
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Entertainment
Cabin
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Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Ocean View
Cabin 6B 1527
Our room was on the first guest level, mid ship. I had concerns about staying on the first level due to noise from the crew decks below. At night, there was no disruption at all. But during the day there was all kinds of noise. At one point it seemed like they had a metal grinder going. This was only a problem when we tried to take a late afternoon nap. Staying on the first level made it very convenient for getting off the ship at the stops, since they use Deck 0. We had a very friendly room steward who attended to the room twice a day. The bathroom is very small, while sitting on the toilet you have to have one leg in the shower. The lip on the shower floor isn't very high and sometimes water would get all over the bathroom. Not a big deal since there was another drain back by the toilet. We had an ocean view room which was nice to be able to look out to see the weather conditions without having to go upstairs. There was one outlet by the counter area in the room, with two plugs. Overall the room was great – no real issues.
Deck 2 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Catamaran Tour
    We did the catamaran sail and snorkel excursion. It was very typical, snorkel first then enjoy rum punch on the ride back. A short walk from the cruise terminal and onto the catamaran. There were two snorkel locations. The first was in shallow water and we were able to see some fish. The second was at the German shipwreck, but the water was much deeper and murky, thus we only saw a small portion of the ship. The catamaran ride ended at a beach BBQ restaurant where we were served a mediocre meal. Then there was about 45 minutes to kill on the beach. This was right at sunset, so it was getting too cold to enjoy the water or lay out. The views were nice, however. From here, it was a bus ride back to the cruise ship.
    View All 47 Catamaran Tour Reviews
  • Snorkeling
    We did the catamaran sail and snorkel excursion. It was very typical, snorkel first then enjoy rum punch on the ride back. A short walk from the cruise terminal and onto the catamaran. There were two snorkel locations. The first was in shallow water and we were able to see some fish. The second was at the German shipwreck, but the water was much deeper and murky, thus we only saw a small portion of the ship. The catamaran ride ended at a beach BBQ restaurant where we were served a mediocre meal. Then there was about 45 minutes to kill on the beach. This was right at sunset, so it was getting too cold to enjoy the water or lay out. The views were nice, however. From here, it was a bus ride back to the cruise ship.
    View All 162 Snorkeling Reviews
  • Buggy Tour
    At Curacao we did the mini jeep excursion. This seemed very unorganized at first, as they split us into two groups with our group having to go the beach first. This didn’t make a whole lot of sense to us- get wet and sticky with salt water and sunscreen, then go ride on the dusty trails?! It was early in the morning and thus the water felt cold. The beach was overcrowded. The little cove area where we could swim was filled with little jelly fish that afterwards you could tell had bitten you in various places. The slight discomfort from these bites went away within an hour. Finally we got back to the auto shop where the dune buggy tour begins. You spend a majority of the time driving through city streets. I found this kind of boring, as there was no audio tour explaining what you were seeing or where you were. Finally we got to the off road area and got to have some fine. But this is the part where you get covered in dirt. Highly recommending wearing old clothes, a hat, and a bandana. They do provide you with goggles. After the short off-road session, it was a long drive back via city streets. Once back to the auto garage, we rode the bus back to the port.
    View All 14 Buggy Tour Reviews
  • Stingray Swim
    Here we did the Reef and Rays tour. It was a boat ride to a remote reef location to snorkel. The views were nice, but unfortunately the sea was rough which made snorkeling difficult for us beginners. After a few mouthfuls of salt water it was time to get back on the boat. They did offer water and fruit punch onboard. From here we went to a remote island and got to see/hold sting rays. Then back onto the boat and they dropped us off back at the same dock as the cruise ships. This was a nice relaxing tour. We had lunch at Margaritaville which was ridiculously overpriced. Over $50 for nachos and two margaritas! We spent the rest of the time on the beach which is part of the cruise center. It is a nice beach with some mild waves.
    View All 72 Stingray Swim Reviews