Today we begin a new feature, profiling a number of popular cruise ships. Cruise Addicts members know that matching the right ship with the right traveler is important to get the most out of a cruise vacation. In addition to the facts and features, we’ll tap member reviews and comments for first-hand accounts of the actual experience of sailing. In the end, we’ll help you make the right choice, one that will bring lifetime quality cruise memories.
Carnival Sunshine was originally launched as Carnival Destiny in 1996 and inspired other similar ships including Carnival Victory and Carnival Triumph, once considered part of Carnival Cruise Line’s Destiny-class ships. In May of 2013, Carnival Destiny was pulled out of service and underwent a $125 million transformation, stripping the ship to the bare walls and rebuilding several sections to accommodate all elements of Carnival’s Funship 2.0 Initiative, an effort to upgrade existing programming with a current, relevant cruising experience.
Still considered Destiny-class, Carnival Sunshine has all the onboard experience elements of Carnival’s newest ship, Carnival Breeze but often sells at a reduced fare, with standard rates priced about 10% lower.
Carnival Cruise Lines new Camp Ocean, a new marine-themed children’s program, is a new program that immerses children ages 2-11 in the wonders of the sea through fun, engaging and educational experiences.
Three age-related categories each have their own identity: children ages 2-5 will be dubbed “Penguins,” with those ages 6-8 called “Sting Rays” while 9-11 year olds will be “Sharks.”
In developing the new Camp Ocean program, Carnival convened a Carnival Play Panel comprised of experts in child education, media and play to develop and curate the more than 200 new activities to resonate with today’s children and to continually review and guide updates to the children’s programming.
Camp Ocean activities span across 11 key categories of play, including the core themes of active play, games, free play, arts and crafts and digital, coupled with additional categories such as role play, music, party time, science and discovery, social and food fun, all designed to find the ideal combination of activities catering to children’s varied interests.
In addition to main dining offered in early or late seating, Carnival Sunshine also offers an open seating-dining concept, allowing more flexibility in dining time. Also featured, a number of specialty dining options, some included in the price, some for an additional fee:
Ji Ji Asian Kitchen,a new full-service restaurant/food experience that only appears on Carnival Sunshine, for now. Look for this winner to be added to other ships in the fleet at some point. Free for lunch, $12 (cheap) cover for dinner. Go there, eat, before they figure out they need to raise the price.
Cucina del Capitano, offering Italian favorites and new Carnival classics served family-style in an engaging atmosphere reminiscent of a cozy Italian home. Look on the walls for photos of Carnival Cruise Line Captain’s, a Captain’s dress uniform and more.
Guy’s Burger Joint,a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieriserving handcrafted burgers and fresh-cut fries. We saw this debut in New York when Carnival’s partnership with Fieri was announced and Guy himself cooked the burgers. On Carnival Sunshine, its as though Guy is hiding back in the kitchen somewhere. They are just that good.
Pizzeria del Capitano, is the ship’s 24-hour pizza place with twist. Sharing a kitchen with Italian eatery Cucina del Capitano, Pizzaria del Capitano has five varieties of hand-tossed artisanal-style pizza, all available free of charge.
JavaBlue Café,offering lattes, cappuccinos and other caffeinated favorites, as well as “spiked” coffees made with liqueurs, and deliciously decadent confections next to the Shake Spot and not far from the Taste Bar and more.
The Taste Bar-Complimentary bite-size offerings inspired by popular Carnival dining venues, along with a signature cocktail tied to that eatery’s particular theme available for purchase.
Shake Spot, the ideal “chill” spot where guests can enjoy hand-crafted milkshakes and floats, including “adult versions” of the frozen confections, available with fun toppings. Located next to JavaBlue specialty coffee venue in the Ocean Plaza area of the ship.
Sea Dogs – A hot dog-shaped cart within the SportSquare outdoor recreation area offering complimentary all-beef franks and traditional toppings
Top Deck Features
SportSquare, an open-air recreation complex that includes a ropes course, mini-golf course, a basketball court, jogging track, ping pong, foosball and pool tables, and more. Especially popular and unique, the ropes course on a day at sea can be challenging or closed if high seas might throw someone off the ship.
WaterWorks, an expansive water park with 40 interactive water features, a gigantic drenching bucket, five different slides, including the new racing-themed Speedway Splash, and a 334-foot-long Twister slide, the longest in the “Fun Ship” fleet. Surrounding this area and SportsSquare is a walking/running track. Also available for walkers/runners is a wraparound deck four.
Serenity adults-only retreat is three decks high on Carnival Sunshine, offering plush chaise lounges and chairs, a whirlpool, a waterfall that blocks less-than-serene sounds from surrounding deck areas, a pool, and magnificent sea views
Bars and Lounges
RedFrog Pub,featuring the Caribbean’s best rums and beers – including Carnival’s own ThirstyFrog Red – enjoyed in a distinct British-West-Indies-meets-Key-West atmosphere
BlueIguana Tequila Bar, a fun and festive outdoor watering hole offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers
EA SPORTS Bar, where guests can catch live sporting events, check out scores on the real-time 24/7 sports ticker, and play the latest EA SPORTS video games. The ‘bar’ element is open limited hours daily but the big screen action goes on all the time. Depending on the success of the ship’s satellite reception, this is a wonderful place to watch sporting events of all kinds.
BlueIguana Cantina, a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic, freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas for lunch. Breakfast burritos, also custom made to the selection of each guest are another popular, complementary option.
Alchemy Bar, a vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy” with mixologists who “prescribe” concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients. A lot of how well this venue is done depends on the mixologist and their personality. This is no place for drink order takers and a venue where the talented will earn a following.
RedFrog Rum Bar, a poolside adaptation of the RedFrog Pub offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers
The Library Bar, a hole in the wall at its birthplace on Carnival Breeze, the Sunshine version is a warm and cozy venue offering self-serve wine dispensers and full bar service for those seeking a more intimate spot for before- or after-dinner drinks. The self-serve wine dispensers dispense three sizes at three reasonable prices. A small serving makes experimenting with something new, affordable and easy to do. Also a great place to connect, the wireless internet signal is especially strong here and two direct access Internet terminals are open 24/7 as is the wine-dispensing machine.
Havana Bar, which by day serves as a gathering spot for Cubancoffee and snacks, then at night transforms into a Latin-inspired courtyard for classic Cuban cocktails, music and dancing. This is the first venue seen when entering the aft area of the ship on Lido deck nine. Often overlooked and under-used, this nearly-secret area is a wonderful place to enjoy your selections from the Lido marketplace or explore other options in that same area.
Playlist Productions, which combines captivating live performances of recognizable pop and rock songs and spectacular special effects to create enthralling music revues.
DJ Irie Spin’iversity- taps the skills of highly-talented Miami Heat DJ Irie to train Carnival’s DJ’s providing an element of standardization in what passengers hear across the fleet. We’re looking for but not finding (yet) DJ Irie’s Carnval Playlist on Spotify. That just seems to be a natural next step.
Carnival’s Seaside Theatre, a 270-square-foot LED screen displaying nightly movies, concerts, sporting events and other programming. Unlike similar big screens on other lines, Carnival’s programming is presented as part of a total experience, not THE experience that dominates the deck area surrounding it.
Hasbro, The Game Show, featuring larger-than-life adaptations of the company’s iconic and popular games and presented in the totally transformed Liquid Lounge
The Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez, featuring a line-up of hilarious, laugh-out-loud comedians, part of the line’s partnership with the popular comedian, who serves as Carnival’s “curator of comedy”
Carnival Sunshine sails year-round from Florida’s Port Canaveral on 7- and 8-day itineraries
- 5-day itineraries sail to Nassau and Grand Turk with two days at sea
- 7-day Western Caribbean Itineraries sail to Cozumel, Mexico; Belize; Mahogany Bay; Costa Maya with two days at seas
- 7-day Eastern Caribbean Itineraries sail to Nassau, Grand Turk, St Thomas and San Juan with two days at sea
- 8-day Eastern Caribbean itineraries sail to Grand Turk, San Juan, St Thomas and St Maarten
- Deck Plans
- Transfer information and Directions To Port Canaveral
- Three Unique (And Secret) Features on Carnival Sunshine
- Cruise Addicts Carnival Sunshine Special Edition Podcast