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sjmbruce

Sunshine! So excited! Please share everything!

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I am so excited to be boarding the Sunshine soon! My husband and I are going to celebrate his birthday and it will be our first cruise with Carnival. Please share anything and everything about the Sunshine! Or answer one of my many rambling questions.

 

I bought FTTF. What time should we have an Uber drop us off? What should we do first? What will be open for lunch?

Is there still fun french toast (I saw fruit loop crust) on the seaday brunch menu? We have two sea days - what time is brunch?

How does your time/anytime dining work? I've read about having to go to one floor, put in your name and go to another floor for dinner.

I booked a spa room - anything I need to know or ask for? It looks like we get a discount on services but we need to book on board to get it.

How difficult is it to figure out when places like Guy's or the Blue Iguana are open? I'm hoping Guy's will have a veggie burger option.

How crowded does the Serenity area get? I'm hoping to lay there all day on sea days but don't want to get up at 6am to snag a chair. 

 

I'm sure I have a million more questions but that's all for now. Thanks everyone! 

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Hey @sjmbruce! I can't answer your questions directly but I did want to feed your excitement for your first go at Carnival-- if you have time to kill, I recommend watching Parodeejay's extensive video catalogue of their recent Journeys cruise on the Sunshine. (I've attached a link to their playlist below.) I know Journeys are kind of different from regular cruises but the videos they make show a lot of what they do (and they tend to do a lot), so hopefully this piques even more of your interest in the ship! Happy sailing!

 

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLbURfqJTql-wf8db03Jb7bE6xfslQpaPC

 

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We have been on the Sunshine 4 times and love it! I can't answer all of your questions but I will say that their Serenity deck is probably my favorite of all the ships we've been on, it's big with a pool that has a waterfall. On our last cruise there were chairs there until maybe 8-9 in the morning then they were hard to come by.

 

For anytime dining you check in on the floor below if I remember rightly and they give you a number and you walk up to the dining room. We always eat early so never had to wait, I can't speak to the wait times later in the evening.

 

The Fun Times each day (and in the app if you download it) will have all of the opening times for every venue and restaurant on board. Blue Iguana has a great breakfast, it's my favorite! I don't think Guy's has a veggie burger but if I remember correctly the deli does and you can take it to the Guy's fixin' bar to add stuff to it.

 

Hope that helps some, excited for you!

Edited by thehappierhomemaker
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The Sunshine has been our least favorite ship. The layout is confusing, the ship rocked more than usual, and Serenity is nice but the pool level stays packed all day long. The pool itself was nothing more than a soup of everyone's sunblock. We enjoyed the cruise but there's zero desire to go back on the Sunshine again. 

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We were on Sunshine for a family cruise November, 2018, had a wonderful time! First thing to do now before you leave is download the Carnival Hub app. Once you're on board, then you sign in with your folio number. It will give you all the information about what's going on where, the opening times of all the food areas for breakfast and lunch. You can see the dinner menus, keep up with your account, etc. One poster said they didn't care for the layout, but we loved it! The Ocean Galley area is really enjoyable, they also serve a light breakfast in the mornings. 

 

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We are headed out on our 4th cruise on her in less than 2 months... We like the ship a lot.  2 cruises on her were before she ported out of Charleston.  We live about 20 minutes from the port so now we might have several more on her.  So nice to just be dropped off by family and when we get back just a short Uber home!

It can be a bit confusing(the ship) the first day but if you look at deck plans prior to embarking it's much easier.  Love the steakhouse, food is good on the ship. 

 

Getting on the ship can be a pain, have patience and the ship won't leave with you!

 

Have a wonderful cruise, if you have cruised on other lines Carnival might be a bit different, just remember you are on a cruise!

 

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We were on the Sunshine last March. It was our first cruise ever, and we loved it. The ship was cleaner than I expected, our cabin was spotless everyday. The food was great. We cruised the Eastern Carribeen and the weather and seas were great. You could hardly tell the ship was moving. We didn't have any trouble getting lounges near the pools at all. Would cruise on the Sunshine again in a heartbeat.

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3 hours ago, Bostwick girl said:

The Ocean Galley area is really enjoyable, they also serve a light breakfast in the mornings. 

 

Where is the Ocean Galley?

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Love love love Sunshine. 
 

Download the Carnival App. Once you are on board, it will tell you all dining options, shows and more.   You can reserve your main dining room time there, no need to do the desk thing anymore. 
 

Plenty of chairs in the three level gigantic Serenity!  
 

Sunshine is unique in two small specialty restaurants Cucina and JiJi’s in the area near HAVANA bar (aft. Behind Lido). Only $15 pp. really enhances cruise; we always have at least two meals there.  They do fill up especially JIJis. (Really good Chinese.)

 

Speaking of Havana, those above mentioned restaurant areas offer much superior buffet/lido seating for breakfast and lunch, away from the crowds. Suggest you locate this when you board. At mealtime, drop a book or a hat on a table there , walk around lido and get your food, return for a leisurely meal.  And do notice they put out Cuban lunch specialties near the Havana bar, JiJi side. 
 

Havana is also where the omelet stations are. And they serve great to order pasta on one side at lunch, Mongolian on the other. Lines for the latter get long as people discover it during the cruise. Empty first day!

 

Have fun!  (Another secret: Promenade deck 3, right below the lifeboats- great open space with some chairs and loungers. Very private and shaded. One side is smoking the other not.   And one more:  deck 6 and 7 have secret mini-decks in the very bow of the ship. Windy when moving, but great as you are pulling into port. )

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1 hour ago, tandemcruzr said:

Where is the Ocean Galley?


I believe it is deck 5. Right outside the Red Frog Pub. (Aft).   

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34 minutes ago, TrinaLC said:


I believe it is deck 5. Right outside the Red Frog Pub. (Aft).   

OK, got it. On the Deck Plan it's labeled as Ocean Plaza, between the Red Frog Pub and the Taste Bar. Thanks for the quick reply.  🙂

 

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I'm getting old, lol. The correct name is the Ocean Plaza and it is on Deck 5. It's a very popular area. On our cruise, that's where the various trivia games and things like that were held. The Build A Bear workshop was held there, and usually a band of some kind in the evenings.

 

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Taste bar is gone. The Ocean Plaza offers light breakfast and lunch. On embarkation day they serve barbecue, which is similar to the offerings on the ships that have the standalone BBQ.

The plaza is also where you check in for ATD, though now you can check in on the Hub app. Check the musical listings as there are some great shows around dinner time. As others said, lots of activities are held there. Build A Bear, the Seuss parade starts there, animal towel folding class and tons of trivia. With the pub and Alchemy right there it is a great gathering space.

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I went on the Sunshine two years ago? On an 8 day eastern out of PC, Great ship and crew and has all of the newer amenities that you would come to expect. But on Sea days she will feel cramped. I understand it can feel like that on any ship but you honestly feel it on the Sunshine when they added more Rooms on Lido it has a few really bad choke points. She has literly the best adult only area in the entire fleet bar none it can't be beat, The three tier style plus the waterfalls? Amazing I always sat up there at night to watch movies because it gives you a perfect view and no one wants to sit up there for some reason?  I had a OS On this cruise and the space can't be beat, I Will share some photos of my cruise.

 

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I just got off my 2nd cruise in the past two months on the Sunshine this morning.  I did one in December in a Spa Balcony with my mom and one the one this past week (me, H & son) in a Spa suite. These were my first sailings on Carnival - we wanted to try this ship because it sails 1 1/2 hours away. I'll try to answer your questions then give some comments.

As others have said, download the HUB app now. Once you get on the ship and put your phone on airplane mode, you can sign into the app with the ship Wifi. It gives all the opening times, happenings, etc.

 

What time is your boarding appointment? I would have Uber drop off about 30 minutes before. Several places will be open for lunch. I would either go to Ocean Plaza or the buffet (Havana bar area for seating), grab lunch and settle in until the rooms are ready at 1:30.  Depending on when you are going, it can be pretty cool and windy at the Charleston port, so hanging around the pool sometimes isn't an option.  Brunch was 8:00 - 1:00. We didn't try it, though We wanted to, because getting chairs in the Serenity area took precedence, lol.

 

With anytime dining, Once any time dining opens each day, you can either make a reservation at the time you're ready to go on the app (It will show you what the wait time is and you put in for a table and it will tell you when your table is ready) or You can get in line on the fifth floor in the ocean plaza area and make a reservation, then walk or take the  elevator down 2 decks to the anytime dining room (Sunrise).  We used the app because was easier.

 

Spa rooms get robes and slippers and passes for the steam/sauna rooms and heated loungers for the first two guests. I'm not sure about how spa cabins get their discount as we didn't do any treatments.

 

I was usually in the serenity area by 9 to get a good chair by the sides looking out over the ocean on the very top deck. It started getting full by 10:30 or so.

 

The layout of the ship is weird, especially trying to get to the Sunrise dining room - you can't just get to it by going directly to the very aft of the 3rd deck because the galley is in the way. If you don't want to walk through the Casino on deck 5, which is horribly smoky, you can go to deck 2 or 6, walk the length of the ship to the last set of elevators/stairs then go to deck 3 from there.  

 

The Serenity area is really nice, we spent a lot of time there when not in our balcony.


Overall, I enjoyed the cruises -  it served it's purpose and gave us a quick break to the Bahamas - but wouldn't sail this ship again because of several reasons, mainly food variety/quality, quality of entertainment and ship layout.  But, you are on a cruise so enjoy!

 

 

Edited by palmettostatecruiser
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8 hours ago, Cb1977 said:

The Sunshine has been our least favorite ship. The layout is confusing, the ship rocked more than usual, and Serenity is nice but the pool level stays packed all day long. The pool itself was nothing more than a soup of everyone's sunblock. We enjoyed the cruise but there's zero desire to go back on the Sunshine again. 

I'm on it next February 2021 thanks now I'm really looking forward to it.lol.i guess it could be worse luckily it's only 5 days and we live 2 hours from Charleston.

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1 hour ago, Bostwick girl said:

I'm getting old, lol. The correct name is the Ocean Plaza and it is on Deck 5.

Yes, LOL. I'm also in the Senior category.  🙂

 

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1 hour ago, scpirate said:

I'm on it next February 2021 thanks now I'm really looking forward to it.lol.i guess it could be worse luckily it's only 5 days and we live 2 hours from Charleston.


it could get a lot worse!  Sunshine is my current favorite Carnival ship. The two specialty restaurants, and their unique lunch offerings, the amazing three tier Serenity lounge, the quiet promenade deck ... and the start is awesome. We’ve been 3 times, have a 4th booked. We do live in Charleston though!  

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We sail March 2020!!! So excited! I'm giving Carnival another try....last time was very disappointed. This time I'm going without my ex so that will make it all worth it!!!

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2 hours ago, scpirate said:

I'm on it next February 2021 thanks now I'm really looking forward to it.lol.i guess it could be worse luckily it's only 5 days and we live 2 hours from Charleston.

Lol well the OP did ask for everything! It was still very enjoyable but just not our favorite cruise so far.

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23 hours ago, Cb1977 said:

The Sunshine has been our least favorite ship. The layout is confusing, the ship rocked more than usual, and Serenity is nice but the pool level stays packed all day long. The pool itself was nothing more than a soup of everyone's sunblock. We enjoyed the cruise but there's zero desire to go back on the Sunshine again. 


My wife and I have been on 12 Carnival ships and both agree Sunshine is our least favorite Carnival ship. The ship always felt crowded, the comedy lounge is ridiculously small, and the Serenity area is extremely loud due to its location right next to the Lido pool. 
 

Although we likely will never sail on Sunshine again, she does have some nice features. In my opinion she has the best lobby bar and easily the best slides on any Carnival ship. The Havana bar area is also really nice. However, this bar replaced the aft pool on the ship, which directly relates to the Lido and Serenity pools being so crowded. 
 

We still enjoyed our cruise on Sunshine and Mikey Gibson is our favorite Carnival CD. But like you, we will never cruise on Sunshine again. 

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23 hours ago, Cb1977 said:

The Sunshine has been our least favorite ship. The layout is confusing, the ship rocked more than usual, and Serenity is nice but the pool level stays packed all day long. The pool itself was nothing more than a soup of everyone's sunblock. We enjoyed the cruise but there's zero desire to go back on the Sunshine again. 

Aren't you a ray of Sunshine! Every ship has it's issues, some more than others, but many people love the Sunshine. 

Pat

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3 minutes ago, quickrate said:

Aren't you a ray of Sunshine! Every ship has it's issues, some more than others, but many people love the Sunshine. 

Pat


The OP said to share everything, not just positive points. I agree with the poster you responded to with the view that Sunshine has a lot of negative points. However, I do realize a lot of people love Sunshine like you stated and I think the ship has some good points like I mentioned in my last post. However, it’s just not a Carnival ship I would go on again based on the design of the ship. 

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We were on the Sunshine last year.  Most of your questions have been covered.

 

A few more things:

 

The Comedy Club is very small and poorly designed, you will have to wait in a line to get in, try to get there super early so you are near the front of the line so you can pick a seat where you can actually see the stage.

 

You mentioned Guy's and Veggie burgers.  Guy's DOES NOT have veggie burgers too much potential for intermixing with meat products.  Veggie Burgers are available at the Deli section in the Lido. You can feel free to take your Veggie Burger from the Deli and load it up with fixings from the fixings bar by Guy's.

 

Getting to the entrances to the dining rooms is tricky at first.  You can't get to them from the forward areas of the decks they are on, due to the placement of the Galley.  You need to get to the after elevator banks / stairs from a deck below or above.

 

As others have said there are fewer deck chairs vs the number of passengers so you need to get out early if you want a lounger anywhere near the pool or in Serenity.

 

I am sure you will have a great time,

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