Just when you thought Carnival cruising couldn’t possibly get any better, enter the completely transformed Carnival Sunshine. Originally sailing as the Carnival Destiny (launched in 1996), it recently received a magnificent $155 million dollar makeover and re-entered the world ready to take fun to amazing new heights.
As part of their Fun Ship 2.0 initiative to dramatically improve the cruise vacation experience (with new dining experiences, imaginative redesigned spaces and an all-new entertainment lineup), this project is the most ambitious cruise ship makeover in the company’s history.
The Carnival Sunshine offers 6- and 7-day cruises to the Eastern and Western Caribbean
The Carnival Destiny was already an impressive ship (and the largest in the ocean when she launched), and Carnival has made her even better. The new ship is bigger, with beautiful new interiors, more staterooms, and amenities seen on no other ship in the fleet. It took 3,500 people 49 days (and about 250,000 shots of espresso!) to completely transform her from the Destiny to the aptly named Carnival Sunshine.
Boldly Going Where No Cruise Ship Has Gone Before
The Sunshine has reached an altitude of awesome previously unseen in the cruising industry. It has the biggest, wildest water slides ever seen on a ship, along with their impressive WaterWorks water park. If that’s not enough for the thrill seekers out there, behold the SkyCourse: a heart-stopping obstacle course set up several feet above the top deck of the ship! The SkyCourse was the clear favorite for my kids; we have been home several days and they are still talking about how much they loved it. Their only complaint during our entire cruise was that it wasn’t open 24 hours a day (if we’re being honest, mom loved it too; although once was enough for me!)!
Sports and game lovers will have a blast at the open-air SportSquare. It includes a jogging track, basketball court, mini-golf course and more (enjoy a game of Twister or life-sized chess!).
If chilling out is more your thing, head down to the pool area for a “Dive-in Movie”; grab a burger from Guy’s Burger Joint and enjoy your favorite flicks on the giant poolside screen.
Adults can relax (without kids) at the Carnival Sunshine’s gorgeous Serenity retreat. Guests can enjoy a whirlpool on the top deck overlooking the ocean, swim in a pool fed by a picturesque waterfall, or relax on the comfy chaise lounge chairs. Of course, bring your favorite grown-up beverage or reading material and plan to stay a while. My friend and I soaked up some sun by the Serenity pool for a nice afternoon chat while the kids were at Camp Carnival. It was bliss.
All of this sounds pretty fabulous, right? Just wait; we haven’t even left the deck yet!
Hungry? Food is never more than a few steps away. Stop by the BlueIguana Cantina (they have unbelievable breakfast burritos) or back to the other side of the pool for another Guy’s burger. Both are conveniently located by the 24-hour ice cream machines (major win as far as my kids were concerned!).
There are also 2 main dining rooms where you can have a wonderful sit down meal: the Sunrise and Sunset. Choose from a selection of recognizable favorites, or try something new and exotic. The menus are a great combination of both.
Everyone in our group loved the variety of choices in main courses, but we all agreed that our favorite dessert was Carnival’s famous chocolate melting cake. Try it with peanut butter on the side. No, really. Trust me on this. Holy heaven in a ramekin dish!
The specialty restaurants on board are a great choice if you want to splurge a little. For an added fee, you can dine at Farenheit 555 (Steak = YUM), Cucina del Capitano (their lunch pastas are complimentary but dinner is extra), and Asian amazingness at Ji Ji Asian Kitchen. All three restaurants offer up some of the best cruise food you could ask for, and the service to match.
Thirsty? No Problem.
The Carnival Sunshine’s got you covered. Sports fans will enjoy a cold one at the EA Sports Bar. Those who want to enjoy a drink in a quiet, cozy atmosphere can duck into The Library Bar for a glass of wine. The RedFrog pub is where you want to go relax, enjoy some great conversation and try Carnival’s specialty brew, the ThirstyFrog Red. No worries, though; you can also find a PYOB (Pour Your Own Beer!) station in the main dining area of the Lido deck. They have ThirstyFrog too!
Two of my favorite places to enjoy a drink have to be the Atrium and the Alchemy Bar. The Atrium is just a great place to enjoy some of the beauty of the ship and watch the hustle and bustle of cruisers shopping, getting pictures taken or heading to a show.
The Alchemy Bar is, without a doubt, my favorite bar EVER. That says a lot, because I’m typically not a drinker. But the hip, vintage atmosphere combined with the best drinks I’ve ever had made for one of the more memorable and fun experiences on the ship.
We Love The Night Life
When the sun goes down, the party really gets going! Carnival Sunshine’s Punchliner Comedy Club Presented by George Lopez offers several comedy shows each night; some are family friendly, while others cater to an adult-only crowd. Having had the chance to experience both, I can safely say that no matter the material, the comedians put on a great show!
The Liquid Lounge is another popular night spot. It offers four spectacular musical productions during your cruise, ranging from rock, to dance and funk, to Latin music. I was able to catch a few of the shows while on my cruise and they always performed to a full house! After the last show each night, the Liquid Lounge is converted into a dance party nightclub to keep the music going all night long (okay, maybe not ALL night, but for a really long time at least).
This is just a sampling of what the Carnival Sunshine has to offer for entertainment during your cruise!
A Room With A View
Staterooms on the Carnival Sunshine received a major overhaul, too. More rooms, new décor with brighter Caribbean colors, and even more luxurious balcony suites were added to make your cruising experience that much better. Just the balcony staterooms alone come in multiple options, from Premium Balcony rooms to the Cloud 9 Spa Balcony rooms. Of course, Carnival has the perfect room for your budget, whether it is an interior stateroom or the Captain’s Suite. All rooms come with a full bath and Carnival Comfort linens. Our balcony room was roomy, comfortably slept 4, and offered an excellent view.
Cloud 9 Spa Balcony Stateroom.
Spending Time on Cloud 9
Ready for some pampering? Then you’ll love the new Cloud 9 Spa. Enjoy a full body massage, facial or body wrap. They even have a full menu of men’s services!
My favorite part of the spa area was the thermal suite. Think aromatherapy steam rooms and heated tile beds with an amazing ocean view. Yeah, it was pretty awesome. My friend and I fell asleep on those absolutely fantastic thermal beds (in fact, I think I remember being threatened with physical violence when I told her it was time to go). Anyway, they’re awesome. Just don’t beat anyone up when they tell you it’s time to get ready for dinner, ok?
Fun For All Ages
I think the best part of taking a vacation is the ability to experience it with your family. We can’t forget about our junior cruisers! Their opinion of a vacation can make it either the best family trip you’ve ever gone on or the worst experience of your life. Thankfully, Carnival knows exactly how to make the young ones happy!
Carnival’s children’s programs are all located near the SportSquare and WaterWorks. Convenient, don’t you think? Newly designed (thanks to a partnership with HASBRO), Camp Carnival offers tons of fun activities for 3 different age groups on board: 2-5, 6-8 and 9-11. My 2 kids were in the 6-8 and 9-11 age groups and LOVED Camp Carnival. They didn’t want to leave. Like, EVER. I had to tear them away at 10 pm each evening and listen to whining about how their friends got to stay until 1 am for Night Owls (this is a fee based late program for parents who want a night out!). Admittedly I did give in for one evening so they could stay for a Mardi Gras dance party, and it was totally worth the extra money (roughly $6 per hour per child). Kids got to dance and make Mardi Gras masks and mom got to go to the late comedy show. It was a win-win.
Older kids also have their own spaces aboard the Carnival Sunshine. Circle “C” is a great hangout for young teens (ages 12-15), and features dance parties, games, and outdoor movies. Teens 15-17 will love Club O2, a place where they can watch movies, play video games, and even enjoy a pool party.
As a mom (and teacher), I was really impressed with the counselors, age appropriate activities and attention to detail at Camp Carnival. My kids loved it because they had tons of fun and made friends, and mom loved the fact that they were in a safe, structured environment.
Let The Good Times Roll
The beautiful, transformed Carnival Sunshine really embodies best that Carnival has to offer. After spending a week on this ship it is clear that this company really strives to put the guest experience above everything else. The Sunshine is the perfect example of how Carnival is still setting the standard for family fun and always working to raise the bar even higher.
Head down to New Orleans and hop on the Carnival Sunshine for your next Caribbean family vacation. And Let The Good Times Roll!
For more information on booking your next Carnival Cruise, go to www.carnival.com.
Thank you to Carnival for hosting my crazy crew on this awesome ship! We had a blast!