Carnival Sunshine - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Carnival Sunshine

★★★ +

Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 372 out of 500

Accommodation: 144 out of 200

Food: 226 out of 400

Service: 254 out of 400

Entertainment: 74 out of 100

Cruise: 263 out of 400

Overall Score: 1333 out of 2000

Carnival Sunshine Statistics

Size: Large Resort Ship

Tonnage: 102,853

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: Carnival Cruise Lines

Former Names: Carnival Destiny

IMO Number: 9070058

Builder: Fincantieri (Italy)

Original Cost: $400 million

Entered Service: Nov 1996

Registry: The Bahamas

Length (ft/m): 892.3/272.0

Beam (ft/m): 116.0/35.3

Draft (ft/m): 27.0/8.2

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (63,400kW)/2

Passenger Decks: 12

Total Crew: 1,150

Passengers (lower beds): 3,006

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 34.2

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.6

Cabins (total): 1,503

Size Range (sq ft/m): 179.7-482.2/16.7-44.8

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 418

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 25

Wheelchair accessibility: Good

Cabin Current: 110 volts

Elevators: 18

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 3 (1 w/sliding glass dome)

Hot Tubs (on deck): 7

Self-Service Launderette: Yes

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


This is a vibrant ship suited to first-time casual cruisers

Overview. Carnival Sunshine (formerly Carnival Destiny) was the first cruise ship whose gross tonnage exceeded 100,000. After a lengthy refurbishment, the ship shouts ‘party, party, party!’ It’s a good ship for families with children.

The Ship. The ship has short bows and a distinctive, large, swept-back wing-tipped funnel. Tiered sunbathing decks positioned between small swimming pools, several hot tubs, and a large poolside movie screen have transformed the area into a relaxation zone, complete with a small waterfall feature.

Also, on the open deck and aft of the funnel is WaterWorks, including a thrilling 334ft (101.8m) -long) Twister water slide (it’s the longest in the fleet), and Speedway Splash slide - so you and a competitor race down the Twister to a splashy finish.

The interior decor is a sensory wonderland. There are three decks full of lounges and bars, lots of rooms to play in, and a double-wide indoor promenade. A glass-domed rotunda Sunshine Atrium lobby - with bar, two panoramic elevators and dual stairway - is nine decks high. An always busy Sunshine Casino has ample gaming tables for serious gamers (poker, craps, blackjack, and roulette), and over 320 slot machines.

In spring 2013 a much-needed makeover (costing $155 million) lasted almost three months and added two half-decks at the front of the ship, extended two other decks at the aft, added 182 cabins (but no extra elevators), and several new and other much revamped eateries. Public rooms include Piano Bar 88 (named for the 88 keys on a grand piano); Alchemy Bar, for good cocktails created by a ‘mixologist’ (bartender); a (music-free) Library Bar; an EA Sports Bar (interactive, and with sports results on the 24/7 sports ticker); and an art gallery.

Families. Youngsters have their own play areas, with children’s programs divided into five age-specific groups under Camp Ocean (ages 2−11 - with children ages 2−5 called ‘Penguins’; 6−8-year-olds called ‘Sting Rays’; 9−11-year-olds called ‘Sharks’). Tweens have ‘Circle C’, while teenagers have their own ‘Club O2’ - a chill-out (no adults allowed) room/disco. Also, soft-drinks packages can be purchased for children (and adults).

There are lots of sporty-exercise-type things for kids to do, too, like take the adventure course - with its tightropes, nets, and swinging planks, not to mention the real ‘wow’ - the two water slides in the Waterpark.

Accommodation. There are several accommodation categories (Captain’s Suite, Grand Suite, Ocean Suite, Premium Balcony Cabin, Scenic Oceanview Cabin, Oceanview Cabin, Interior Cabin, and Small Interior, and a multitude of different price grades, depending on size and location. Over half of all cabins have an ocean view and, at 225 sq ft/21 sq m, they are a decent size. The cabins, spread over four decks, have private balconies with glass rather than steel balustrades for better, unobstructed ocean views; balconies have bright fluorescent lighting. However, there are many, many interior (no-view) cabins.

During the 2013 refit, 95 Cloud 9 Spa Cabins were added over three decks in the front of the ship, adjacent to the Cloud 9 Spa and Serenity adult-only area; these have all the usual fittings, plus special spa-like extras, and access to the Cloud 9 Spa.

The standard cabins are of an adequate size and are equipped with all the basics, although the furniture is angular (think Ikea flatpack), with no rounded edges - in other words, nothing is superfluous. Three decks of cabins (eight on each deck, each with private balcony) overlook the stern.

Eight penthouse suites each have a large private balcony. Although they are quite well appointed, they are really modest when compared to the good-sized suites even in many smaller ships. Other suites each feature a decent-size bathroom and lounge space.

In cabins with balconies, the partition between each balcony is open at top and bottom, so you can hear noise from neighbors. Three categories of cabins, both outside and interior, have upper and lower bunk beds, useful for families with small children.

The cabins have a pastel color scheme and soft furnishings. Interactive ‘Fun Vision’ technology lets you choose movies on demand, for a fee (although the television screen is not very large). The bathrooms, which have good-size showers, have adequate storage space in the toiletries cabinet. A gift basket is provided in all grades; it includes aloe soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, breath mints, candy, and pain relief tablets - albeit all in sample sizes.

Book one of the suite-grades and you get ‘Skipper’s Club’ priority check-in at any US homeland port. Note that the soundproofing between cabins is poor and the cabin doors have (non-closable) vents - so any noise from the hallway filters through.

Dining. There are two principal dining rooms: the Sunrise Forward Dining Room, with windows on two sides; and the Sunrise Aft Dining Room, with windows on three sides). Each is a single deck high and has bright, modern design and decor.

The Sunset dining room has a wall of glass overlooking the stern. There are tables for four, six, and eight and even a few tables for two - nice for honeymooners. Choose either fixed-time dining (6pm or 8.15pm) or flexible dining (any time between 5.45 and 9.30pm). Although menu choices look good, the actual cuisine delivered is adequate, but unmemorable. Still, the waiters try to impress with lots of dancing on tables and other hoopla, telling everyone they’re having fun. Note that the two main dining rooms are not open for lunch on port days.

Other dining options. Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse is an extra-cost, reservations-required dining spot for fine steaks and grilled seafood dishes. There are many tables for two (although they are quite close together) as well as larger tables, the seating is comfortable, and the steaks are worth it.

For casual eats, there’s the Ocean Plaza (Lido Market Place), a large international food court-style self-serve eatery. It’s open for breakfast and lunch, and there are plenty of food displays (it’s a copy of the self-serve Markt Restaurants aboard AIDA Cruises’ ships). It includes a 24-hour pizzeria (Pizzeria del Capitano). Self-serve beer is available (charged automatically to your account swipe card). There’s no bar in the venue itself - but there are several on the adjacent pool deck.

A JavaBlue Café with ‘comfort’ snacks was introduced into the Fun Hub Internet-connect area. A Havana Bar was also added (within the Market Place), as was a RedFrog Pub, pouring Carnival’s own tasty house brew, ThirstyFrog Red. Adjacent, but outside, are Cucina del Capitano (for Italian cuisine, with made-to-order pasta dishes); the BlueIguana Cantina Mexican-style street eatery (for tacos and burritos); Ji Ji’s Asian Kitchen, which features lunchtime stir-fry dishes, while (extra-cost) dinners include more exotic favorites; a 24-hour pizzeria; a patisserie (extra charge for pastries); a car-culture-inspired Guy’s Burger Joint for fast foods like burgers and hot dogs; and a RedFrog Rum Bar.

For something more unusual, or to celebrate, you can also choose to eat at the Chef’s Table (it’s reserved for only 12 hungry diners, at $75 each), which includes a look into the galley when it’s in full operation, followed by a specially prepared multi-course dinner.

Entertainment. The two-level Liquid Lounge - the ship’s showlounge which seats 800 and is the setting for Carnival’s high energy production legs and feathers shows and large-scale cabaret acts - is quite stunning. It has a revolving stage, hydraulic orchestra pit, good sound, and seating on three levels (the upper levels being tiered through two decks). A proscenium over the stage acts as a scenery loft.

Other entertainment options include a Hasbro Game Show and the Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez, and, the Liquid Lounge for those high-volume disco sounds.

Spa/Fitness. Cloud 9 Spa spans two decks, and encompasses 13,700 sq ft/1,272 sq m. It is located directly above the navigation bridge in the forward part of the ship (accessible via the forward stairway). Lower level facilities include a solarium, body treatment rooms, sauna and steam rooms for men and women, and a beauty salon; the upper level consists of a large gymnasium with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides, including forward-facing ocean views, and an aerobics room for instructor-led classes (some at extra cost).

Fitness activity fans can head to SportSquare, an outdoor recreation area with a suspended ropes course (and some great views).