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beshears

Carnival Sensation or Sunshine

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We (8 of us adults) had planned on doing a much larger ship next year, but with so many people on board, we have decided to check out a smaller ship. 

 

If you have been on either the Sensation or Sunshine within the past year, would you give me YOUR pros/cons of the ship.  I know the ships are not new ship, but there is no

problem with that either. 🙂  Also, do these ships have the Serenity area?

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37 minutes ago, beshears said:

but with so many people on board, we have decided to check out a smaller ship. 

Yes, many CC members here state the Carnival Sunshine seems to be always crowded since the refurb in 2013. In July of 2016, I went, but did not have a problem with the crowds, but other disagree. 

 

38 minutes ago, beshears said:

would you give me YOUR pros/cons

Pros for Sunshine:

 

Plethora of activities

Has a new ship feel

 

 

Cons for Sunshine:

 

Small ship, you will eventually run in to crowd trouble

 

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Sorry, haven't been on either in the last year (Sensation 18 months ago) so I'm crashing your party uninvited. 

 

I would say the biggest concern, though, is that Sensation has a very dated look and crazy, two-toned purple color scheme. One shade of purple is magenta, and the other is dark violet blue, and they don't really even match each other.  It also attracts a sort of low end clientele, not surprising given the pricing and short itineraries. 

 

My understanding is Sunshine has a significantly spiffier and updated look.  If you have someone who you know is picky in this group, they may be immediately turned off by Sensation's ambiance and more pleased with Sunshine.

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No contest. I would choose Sunshine by a mile. Sailed her twice with a third coming up later this year. Has plenty to do for a ship her size, a whole lot of food options, the only three deck high Serenity in the fleet and on  and on.

 

Not a fan of Fantasy-class ships which includes Sensation. Very dated looking with limited venues. 

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Sunshine hands down. Smaller ship that packs a big ship punch with lots of food options and nicer decor. Serenity is really nice as well as Havana bar. Only downside is lido can be jambed as slides are on the stern. not much space back there.

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Sensation Pros:

- smaller, less crowded ship; most areas on Sunshine were always crowded during our cruises 

- quiet Serenity area; Sunshine’s Serenity area is nice to look at, but way too loud on all 3 decks because it is located right next to the Lido pool deck

- much larger lounge for comedy shows; the Limelight Lounge on Sunshine is very small

 

Sunshine pros:

- great selection of speciality restaurants

- one of the nicest lobby bars in Carnival’s fleet; great area for CD hosted events

- the Havana Bar area is a great place to hangout and one of the few places on the ship that never gets too crowded (at least based on our experiences)

- best water slides on any Carnival ship

 

We have sailed on 11 Carnival ships and Sunshine is our least favorite ship. However, that is mainly due to the loud Serenity area and incredibly small comedy lounge, two areas my wife and I usually spend a lot of time at when cruising on Carnival.  If these issues aren’t important to you, and you don’t mind a more crowded ship, I would pick Sunshine. 

 

 

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I'm a big Sunshine fan.  She's got all the amenities of the big ships.  And frankly, we didn't find her particularly crowded.  Personally, I wish they'd turn her into a bit of a Journey specialist. 

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26 minutes ago, PhillyFan33579 said:

Sensation Pros:

- smaller, less crowded ship; most areas on Sunshine were always crowded during our cruises 

- quiet Serenity area; Sunshine’s Serenity area is nice to look at, but way too loud on all 3 decks because it is located right next to the Lido pool deck

- much larger lounge for comedy shows; the Limelight Lounge on Sunshine is very small

 

Sunshine pros:

- great selection of speciality restaurants

- one of the nicest lobby bars in Carnival’s fleet; great area for CD hosted events

- the Havana Bar area is a great place to hangout and one of the few places on the ship that never gets too crowded (at least based on our experiences)

- best water slides on any Carnival ship

 

We have sailed on 11 Carnival ships and Sunshine is our least favorite ship. However, that is mainly due to the loud Serenity area and incredibly small comedy lounge, two areas my wife and I usually spend a lot of time at when cruising on Carnival.  If these issues aren’t important to you, and you don’t mind a more crowded ship, I would pick Sunshine. 

 

 

Wow, you stated my opinions perfectly except for the part about the Sunshine being your least favorite ship. It's actually one of my favorites, but I agree with all the posters about the Serenity area getting crowded.  It was for us August 2018.  BUT, I loved the Piano Bar and it's location.  It seems a bit separated from the rest of the ship, but it was always rocking!  And it's near the Steak House, so we always went into the Steak House Bar for a bit of champagne before going to the PB.  I love both ships.  I personally even like the Fantasy Class ships and of them all, the Sensation is one of my favorites.

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The Sunshine was my favorite ship- here on Cruise Critic it seems people love it or hate it.

 

Sunshine Pros- the ocean plaza area was an awesome, non crowded place to relax.  If it filled up, there were other seats adjacent to handle the overflow crowd.  

 

This ship had more craft sessions than any ship I've been on.

 

Red Frog Pub was great for games like Cornhole and music.

 

The slides were awesome and never really had a long line.

 

Ropes Course was fun to try once but never again for me since apparently I have a severe lack of balance

 

Lots of food options, and Guys/Blue Iguana were never crowded, Pizza line moved slow but the pizza was better than some other ships.

 

Dining room was large enough that our table for 2 didn't feel like it was 2 inches away from the next one.

 

Sunshine Cons- the comedy club layout is weird.  They have TVs because some seats can't see the comedian.  The main show lounge doesn't have spots for drinks, and the floor seating is just chairs.  So if you're short like me, you need to sit towards the front so someone much taller doesn't block your view.  The 3 deck serenity deck- a deck or 2 was always closed due to winds so we rarely got the benefit of all 3 decks. 

 

 

Sensation- I've never been on the Sensation, but I was on the Fascination this year.  I've said this on this board before, but i was prepared to hate the stupid old small ship that was dirty and falling apart.  I was fully prepared to tell my travel partner- I told you we should've booked a different cruise.  

 

Well, the lack of crowds was amazing- we never waited in line, plenty of room in the piano bar, never had to fight for a seat, could always find a lounger by the pool.  We really wondered where everyone was.  So I'd say on the fantasy class, the lack of crowds is really the biggest draw.  You can do whatever you want, when you want.  It's not a case of zigging when others are zagging.   

 

 

 

Edited by purplephenom

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Love the Sunshine have been on it 2 years in a row. If you want a good seat with a stage view get to the comedy club early is my advice and if you want a chair in the senerity area you also need to get there early also. I never felt like it was crowded on the Sunshine. My favorite ship so far.

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We've sailed on both, and I would choose the Sunshine any day of the week over the Sensation.  It didn't seem overly crowded to us and there is more to do than on the Sensation.

 

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Having sailed the Sensation over a dozen times, and the Sunshine only once -- I'd give the Sunshine TWO THUMBS UP 🙂

 

Tom

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Oh my, I am overwhelmed with all your responses. 🙂  They all are so good!  Actually, my youngest son and wife were at our house today, and we were discussing "which" ship to take, as we had planned to do the Horizon, but when I found how how large, and especially ALL the people, and ALL the lines, everyone has said they believe the smaller ship would b better.

 

Now, it looks like everyone was positive about the Sunshine that has posted here.  My son who was with me earlier today was looking at the itinerary, as I want to go back to Jamaica where I started out cruising over 20 some years ago.  When he looked at the "time" that we would be in Jamaica and Grand Cayman, he said it looked like we would be there a little longer than with the time of the Sunshine.

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I apologize!😞 I just came back here to see that I had put Sunshine instead of Sunrise which I meant to do.  The names are so similar.

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14 hours ago, beshears said:

I apologize!😞 I just came back here to see that I had put Sunshine instead of Sunrise which I meant to do.  The names are so similar.

 

 

Tomato...tomahto

 

LOL

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16 hours ago, beshears said:

 My son who was with me earlier today was looking at the itinerary, as I want to go back to Jamaica where I started out cruising over 20 some years ago. 

 

Trying to keep up, but. . . which ship did you actually pick? Sensation? Sunshine? Sunrise? Horizon? I got that Jamaica was a game changer but did not get which vessel is therefore the lucky winner. 

 

And anyway all the ships are good.

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We have not picked the ship as yet, but it will be between the SUNRISE (not Sunshine) and the Sensation.

 

I'm so sorry to those of you who responded to the Sunshine.  Yes, are plans are still to go to Jamaica, but it is the SUNRISE, not the Sunshine that I should have been asking about. 😞 So sorry. 😞  

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I would say most of our advice still holds.  The Sunrise is getting the same polarized reaction that Sunshine got. It's all cleaned up and lots of new features added, several previously underused spaces reconfigured to add for fee restaurants or more cabins.  Some say the additional passengers make the ship too crowded at times. Others say it's fine and the upgrades are nice.  The overall look will be nicer. 

 

Sensation - and all of Fantasy class - has smaller rooms (especially outside cabins which are of a comfortable size on Sunrise), fewer balconies, so they go at a higher price, and a dated look.  However, it often has rock bottom prices and this was the class of ships that revolutionized the industry, introducing the modern megaship.  It worked so well they built 8 nearly identical ships which are all still in service.

 

If the price, schedule, and itinerary end up working out much better for your group, there is nothing wrong with Sensation but there is no denying Sunrise has more bells and whistles and a more current overall look.

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14 hours ago, KmomChicago said:

I would say most of our advice still holds.  The Sunrise is getting the same polarized reaction that Sunshine got. It's all cleaned up and lots of new features added, several previously underused spaces reconfigured to add for fee restaurants or more cabins.  Some say the additional passengers make the ship too crowded at times. Others say it's fine and the upgrades are nice.  The overall look will be nicer. 

 

Sensation - and all of Fantasy class - has smaller rooms (especially outside cabins which are of a comfortable size on Sunrise), fewer balconies, so they go at a higher price, and a dated look.  However, it often has rock bottom prices and this was the class of ships that revolutionized the industry, introducing the modern megaship.  It worked so well they built 8 nearly identical ships which are all still in service.

 

If the price, schedule, and itinerary end up working out much better for your group, there is nothing wrong with Sensation but there is no denying Sunrise has more bells and whistles and a more current overall look.

Just off the Sunrise. I DID NOT like that ship and would not sail on the Sunrise again. Way, Way too crowded. om the other hand I've sailed the Sunshine twice and loved that ship and would be happy to sail the Sunshine again! The refurbs of the SUN RISE & RADIANCE are NOT THE SAME as what they ahve done on the Sunshine. They have spent less money on decking over unused spaces (Look at the deck plans for the Serenity Spance on Deck 14 - on the Sunrise and Radiance it's less THAN Half than what's on the Sunshine. And that's not even including the Sunshine's Serenity area on Deck 10. They also did not deck over the atrium on Deck 10 over the Buffet area on the Sunrise or Radiance, again creating LESS Space than the Sunshine. And of course the Sunshine they converted the Aft pool to Restaurant and seating space for the Buffet, lessing the crowds there.

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I've sailed both several times. Sunshine will offer more of the wow factor and more things to do. However I personally prefer the smaller Fantasy class ships and usually choose Sensation for the service and more intimate vibe.

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