I’m here to tell you about the Carnival Sunshine cruise ship. We sailed on the Carnival Sunshine out of the Port of Charleston, South Carolina. It was a seven day cruise to Grand Turk, Amber Cove, and Half Moon Cay. This was the first time we had sailed out of a port other than Galveston, and let me just say, if you have the opportunity to cruise out of Charleston, the experience for embarkation was so smooth and very easy. But, that is another story for another time.
The Carnival Sunshine was my very favorite ship to sail on, so far. The other three ships we have been on include the Carnival Triumph, the Liberty of the Seas (Royal Caribbean), and the Carnival Freedom, in that order. The Sunshine is roughly about the same size as the Carnival Triumph, and smaller than the Freedom, but it definitely holds the biggest place in my heart.
(Per Carnival Website) Just to give you an idea measurement wise.
Sunshine Freedom Triumph
Gross Tonnage 102,853 110,000 101,509
Guest Capacity 3002 2980 2754
Length in Feet 892 952 893
Onboard Crew 1040 1150 1100
I’m not sure why this ship seems so much bigger to me, but I loved everything about this ship! The layout, the new amenities it offers, even the fun squad was great.
The Serenity Deck was probably my favorite part of this ship. I loved that it was housed on three decks, that all looked out over the Lido deck. There was something about being in an adult only area, but still apart of the fun, that really appealed to me. We could easily still watch the competitions and happenings going on down on the Lido deck, but still enjoy the amenities that the Serenity Deck has to offer. With that being said, there was plenty of space away from all the excitement of the Lido, to get some actual Serenity as well. They had their own pool as well as their own hot tubs, which I appreciated, because in most pools there are kids running and splashing around. That’s great that they are having a good time, but sometimes you want to just sit and enjoy the pool without being splashed or having lots of screaming. I will say that there never seems to be enough chairs anywhere on the ships, though. They have started implementing the empty chair rule, that if it is left unoccupied for more than 30 or 45 minutes, your stuff will be removed. While it’s helpful, as I will watch that chair, it shouldn’t be necessary.
Side note, I almost got into it with this group of ladies over some Serenity Deck chairs. It started pouring, and everyone scrambled, grabbing all of their things and leaving their chairs completely empty. Well, once the rain was gone, I sat my happy booty in a chair that was COMPLETELY EMPTY, and started to enjoy the break in the rain.(See picture below for said chairs) This lady had the nerve to ask me to move down the row because her friend was sitting there before the rain came and that it wasn’t fair that she should lose her seat. Now look, I made sure to sit in an empty chair, not the ones next to me that did still have things in them. But hey, whatever. I put a smile on my face and moved down as to not make a big deal about it. So all her friends came back and sat down, and she then proceeded to talk about me as if I wasn’t still sitting there, looking straight at her. Then looked over at me and said “You didn’t mind, did you? You still have a seat.” But whatever. Its vacation, you will not ruin this for me, lady.
Back to the Serenity Deck, I enjoyed he bright turquoise chairs and sunny yellow umbrellas, the palm trees and the little covered round chair things. It was all very relaxing and it quickly became my favorite place to be.
Another thing that I have found is really nice about this ship, that was also similar to the Liberty of the Seas (RC), is that it did have the Water Works splash area for the kids. It gave them a special place to go and have a good time, leaving fewer of them running all over the ship. ***Disclaimer: I don’t hate children, but I do feel like sometimes they get a little out of control on the ships, and they aren’t being supervised by their parents, which can cause some annoyance to other cruisers, such as myself**** This ship included the sky course, which was not on either of the other Carnival Ships we have been on before. I did not bring a single pair of closed-toed shoes, apart from my high heels, so I did not get to participate in the Sky Course. However, Tanner did once and it looked like fun. I think the SportsSquare is an awesome addition to the ships and offers lots of fun things to do for everyone, not just for the kids. There was a basketball court, foosball tables, super fun plastic chairs to sit in. There was of course the mini golf course and there was a huge Twister mat painted onto the ground as well as a chess board. There is so much fun happening up there!
The Lido Marketplace was different on this ship as well. I really liked the different seating options it has. For instance it has raised benches against some of the interior walls at you enter the market place that had raised tables and looked out towards the windows. That was a unique feature that I particularly liked. It had a Pour your Own Beer station, but it does charge you a convenience fee and they have a limited selection to choose from. They didn’t have the Pizza Pirate, but they did have a different pizza place that was basically the same. There was more seating it seemed like, all around the marketplace. There was the marketplace, then nestled inside the marketplace was the Havana Bar. It added another layer into the dining area.
We did try out the Shake Spot / JavaBlue Cafe area on this ship. Tanner gave their Amped-Up Strawberry spiked milkshake a try, and we had a huge piece of cheesecake, to share. They were both really good, but you do have to pay extra for this amenity. It was fun to have once, but we didn’t go back every day.
We gave the piano bar a try for the first time this cruise and absolutely loved it! The piano was right in the middle of the bar and it offered a really great time. Our pianist was a hoot and it gave us a good alternative to the comedy shows.
That was one of the downsides to this ship. The Punchliner Comedy club was difficult to get to, and was in a very small area. We didn’t make it to any of the shows due to the difficulty of finding it, then the limited seating. It was nestled back behind all the specialty restaurants, and you could only enter it from one side of the room, and trying to find the correct place to go was very difficult. But, as I said, the piano bar was a blast. And it was at the entrance to that corridor, so it was much easier to get to.
One other downside for me, that isn’t ship specific but Carnival wide, is that I discovered the Lip Synce Battle is the same on every ship. It has the same finale songs as well as the same cruise director bit at the end. That was a disappointment for me, but it was still fun to see how the contestants made the whole experience their own.
The Liquid Lounge was where all the playlist productions and ship events happened, then after hours it turns into the nightclub. I loved this lounge, the electric blues and the round booths on the floor. It has removable chairs on the main floor to open into the dance floor. It was a beautiful lounge, and again, my favorite one so far.
Otherwise, for the most part, this ship had the same things the other two Carnival ships had to offer as well. They all three had the Fun 2.0 upgrade, so it had Guy’s Burgers, which is one of Tanner’s very favorite features on Carnival. The MDR and the Lido deck are all the same with the Red Rum Bar and the Blue Iguana Tequila Bar. The atrium was beautiful with a huge sun hanging over the bar, but it has a pretty similar layout as the other ships I have been on. They had the fun shops and the casino as well as plenty of bars for everyone to get their drink on. Their corridors had some fun tropical images along the walls which added to the vacation feel. It was an absolutely beautiful ship and I cannot wait to sail on it again.
Bye for Now!