It seems like the internet on Carnival Sunshine is incredibly slow. They’re providing it free of charge, so I can’t really complain. However, please bear with me if these blogs are a bit on the short side. Check out my photo gallery at the end.
Snooze, Park & Cruise
We drove to Port Canaveral from South Carolina the night before our cruise. After checking out all of our options, we decided to stay at LaQuinta Cocoa Beach on Atlantic Avenue. We’ve stayed there several times before, and have always been happy with them. This motel was originally owned by astronauts. It was a very good experience and I would recommend this motel. The rooms are updated and clean.
After a less than restful night, just because I was so excited, we had a nice early breakfast at the motel. We then parked our car at the motel and took the Roadrunner shuttle into the port at around 9:30 am. Roadrunner is also a very good shuttle company. We’ve used them several times already.
We got dropped off at Port Canaveral. There was a porter there, but he wasn’t very friendly. We had priority embarkation, so we got to go to the faster embarkation area. I have mixed feelings on departure. We always get there early, around 10 am, but this was the longest time for us to get onboard. I believe that they were dealing with the media after the recent mechanical problems on the ship. And also they seemed to have travel agents going through the ship.
They do have a different sort of check in from any other time that we’ve checked in. Instead of waiting for an agent at the desk to scan us in, they scanned us at our entry point. And that was all we had to do to check in. We were first sent to the suites area to wait since we had priority, but then were told to go to the platinum area to sit. Nothing fancy about the platinum / diamond area. The ladies restroom even seemed to be locked for some reason. No ice water or anything while we waited.
We must have sat there for about an hour when they finally started boarding. It was a bit confusing for us because we are not platinum or diamond, but we had priority boarding because the media rep had gotten it for us. But it only took a couple of minutes an we were on the ship. This was around 11:30 am.
We had high expectations for Carnival Sunshine after doing a lot of research on her. Hearing about all the recent mechanical problems had made me a bit nervous though. She had leaking pipes a couple of cruises below, and on the last cruise had actually listed to one side. It was only for about a minute, but still, that had to be frightening for the crew and passengers.
My first impression of Carnival Sunshine was just how crazy crowded she was. We decided to head down to the Ocean Plaza area on the fifth floor. We had done our homework and discovered that you can get your first meal in that area, and avoid some of the Marketplace buffet crowds. They started serving at 12:00 noon, on the dot. The menu was small, but very good. BBQ pork, beef, and chicken, along with coleslaw, potato salad, and beans. Not bad, and the area was much more pleasant and relaxed than the buffet.
After that we ended up going to the buffet anyway to try and get some dessert. It was crazy crowded. We grabbed something and finally found a small table back by the Mongolian Wok area. I don’t think it will always be that busy, it was just because no one had gotten into their rooms yet.
We ended up getting into our cabin around 1:00 pm. Our luggage wasn’t there yet, and there was no room steward in sight, so we decided to explore more. Our last cruise was on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas, so the Sunshine seems so small. But it’s not a fair comparison since Freedom is so huge. The Sunshine has a number of the usual shops, along with some upcharge restaurants that look really good.
The muster drill wasn’t too bad. We had muster drill station C. While waiting we decided to sit in the Limelight Lounge. While in there they told us that if we couldn’t stand a long time, we could stay in their while the drill was going on. I have back problems, and it hurts when I have to stand too long, so we stayed. It was much more pleasant than standing behind a bunch of people out on deck during the drill. The drill wasn’t terribly organized and it took forever to get everyone’s sail and sign card scanned.
We didn’t sail away on time for some reason. The Disney Magic was having her muster drill when we were supposed to sail, but the Magic sailed before we did. I think we finally sailed around 4:45 pm.
We have an exterior cabin on the first deck. It’s plenty big enough for us, with plenty of storage room. The bathroom is the normal ship bathroom, but the shower is huge for a ship’s bathroom. At least double the size of normal. The beds are comfortable, but Carnival always has the most comfortable beds. There was not a lot of noise in the cabin, but there is some engine noise, and also some vibration. You may want to bring earplugs.
Our steward is Myat. He’s been very good so far. He came to our room towards evening. On Carnival now they ask you when you want your room cleaned. You can have morning, evening, or both if you want. We decided on evening. Those guys are overworked as it is, didn’t want to give him more work.
Our luggage didn’t come till almost 5:00 pm. I was getting a bit nervous. But it did come and it was in one piece.
The rest of the day…
We went to dinner at around 5:15. We have Your Time Dining, and on the Sunshine, instead of waiting in line at the restaurant, you have to check in at Ocean Plaza on deck 5. It’s right outside the casino. It only took about 5 minutes to check in, then we went to the Sunrise restaurant on deck 3 to get our table. We told them that we’d like to share, so we shared a table with two other couples, and one gentleman. We had a very nice conversation.
Our waiter was I Nyoman, and he was very attentive and helpful. The food was good. I had sweet and sour shrimp as my main course and also two appetizers, calimari, and a small salad with oranges and grapefruit slices. The calimari was good, but not so much the salad. Dessert was some kind of Phyllo dough with almonds. That was just okay. We were watching outside, and it was raining like crazy.
After that we went to see a comedian. I didn’t realize that it was not a family friendly show. Normally the early comedian show is family friendly. The first comedian was funny, but I thought that the second was just rude and swearing just to swear. Just not my thing. I wouldn’t go back to his show, but I may try the first guy again. The last show of the day for us was the Welcome show. They have finally changed out the Welcome Aboard show to something new and different, so we did enjoy it. Mikey is our cruise director, and he is delightfully funny.
We went for some ice cream after the show, and then went to our room to finally unpack since our luggage came so late. We didn’t get to bed till after midnight, which is way past my bedtime. But all in all, it was a good day, although a very long one.
As for mechanical problems…
As far as I could tell, there were no mechanical problems, as of yet. I am getting sewage smell in parts of the ship, and the smoke smell seems to be in a lot of places. The ship seems to be sailing smoothly.