I’m sorry for the delay in posting part two of my Carnival Sunshine trip report, but things were so hectic with only two days on the ship that I had to wait until I returned to land. I’m home, so here is part two as promised (if you missed part one, you’ll find it here).
The Carnival Sunshine is new in a couple of different ways. It’s new to Port Canaveral, and it’s new in terms of name, but it’s actually the former Carnival Destiny. The Sunshine incarnation counts as new because it was almost completely gutted and transformed into a ship that looks nothing like its original 1996 self. You’ll know it from the moment you spot the water park area before you even board:
I was pleasantly surprised from the moment I boarded the Sunshine and stepped into the eye-catching lobby. I can’t review the boarding process itself, since things went a little bit differently for the media cruise. However, it looks like it would be very standard and smooth: go through security, check in, get your boarding number, and get on the ship when it’s called.You even get to grab a photo with a giant towel animal on your way in (those who have cruised before will understand the whole towel animal thing; otherwise, you’ll learn in the future installments of this Carnival Sunshine review).
The atrium decor is very dazzling and in-your-face, as you can see from the photos. That made it a great gathering place in general and the perfect spot for a lively party on the last night of the cruise, complete with Cruise Director Jaime performing YMCA on the bar and a rain of Mardi Gras beads for the crowd.
My next surprise was the size of the staterooms. I’ve sailed on Disney and Royal Caribbean, and the former has good sized rooms, while the latter tends to have small accommodations. On the Sunshine, I was struck by the wideness of the hallways, and the room itself was a very comfortable size, with a bed, seating area, desk space, and storage niches. There were plenty of outlets to power my various electronic devices, and even a real hair dryer vs. the anemic built-in models on some ships.
I was particularly happy with the bathroom, which didn’t have the micro shower that’s so typical on cruise ships. You actually had enough space to move around without the shower curtain sticking to your back or butt. The Sunshine even had some interesting toiletries that included Breath Right snore strips, are handy in close quarters with a snorer.
I was also impressed with the spa, which is on a par with newer ships, especially in terms of the thermal suite. Heated tile loungers are all the rage, and the Cloud 9 spa has ten of them looking out onto the water. I only got to enjoy one for a short while because my cruise was so brief, but I would normally have spent a lot of time there.
The workout room was very extensive, too, and that’s a good thing, given the caliber of the food served on board.
The Carnival Sunshine has two main dining rooms and three specialty restaurants: Cucina Del Capitano (Italian), Fahrenheit 555 (steakhouse), and Ji Ji Asian Kitchen (the name is self-explanatory). Due to time constraints, I only got to try Ji Ji, but the meal wowed me. I’ll got into details in a future installed of my Carnival Sunshine review, but suffice it to say that I’d eat there every night of the trip if I could. That opinion comes from someone who likes really good Chinese and Thai food but who often has trouble finding it.
The adult sun and pool and relaxation area was also gorgeous, although I never had a chance to hang out there.
The show venues were very nice, and I loved how the Liquid Lounge can go from theater to disco. I thought the seating wouldn’t be good for viewing a show, but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the rock show. It makes great use of the screen behind the performers. The only thing I didn’t like in terms of the lounges was the fact that the comedy show is in Limelight Lounge, which fills to capacity almost instantly. Thus, I didn’t get to see any of the comedy shows.
Still, that was only one small disappointment in an overall amazing cruise. I’m sure I could have gotten in if I’d had more nights to try. One thing I have to say about Carnival: there’s always something going on. Literally, there are always multiple options for something to do.
Stay tuned for the next installment, coming soon!
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