~Two Little Monkeys Hanging Above the Sea~
Twelve feet above the deck that is aptly named “Sports Square”, I am inching my way along the bottom rung of a bright blue cargo net surrounded by a literal sea of deep blue. Our destination aboard the Carnival Sunshine is the eastern Caribbean and Mexico, but for the moment, I am focused on arriving back at the launching point of the ropes course. Carnival is the first fleet to ever offer a ropes course at sea, and it is a wild, although sometimes windy way to pass the time between the lunch buffet and evening entertainment. The Sky Course is just one of the many upgrades that were installed when the Carnival Destiny was retired, and the new Carnival Sunshine was built from the framework.
Everything the Sun Touches
There is a metaphoric story to be told in newest boat in the Carnival fleet. What is now the Sunshine was once the Carnival Destiny, a legendary, record setting ship. In its heyday, the Destiny was the world’s largest cruise liner, and although that honor has been surpassed many times over, Carnival felt that a ship with such a storied past deserved to live on. Rather than scrapping the boat, a complete makeover was proposed with a plan to include some of the best of all the other ships in the fleet in this newest Carnival wonder. After 10 weeks in dry dock, the Sunshine emerged gleaming and so complete re-vamped that even crew members did not recognize the ship. With the sunset of the Destiny, a new day has dawned and everything is bigger and brighter than ever.
~Waterpark with gorgeous ocean views!~
All Decked Out
The best elements of Carnival ships past and present were integrated into the redesign of the Carnival Sunshine. Sunshine is the first ship to include all of the Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements, including new restaurants, bars, entertainment options, and fun activities. All of the staterooms were refreshed and 182 new staterooms were added. The top decks have been completely revitalized with the addition of the Sports Square complex that includes the Sky Course. Also on the top decks is the edition of Waterworks waterpark that includes Speedway Splash race themed slides and a splashy playground that kids love. Fun for adults has not been forgotten with the addition of the three layer retreat aptly knows as Serenity. Exclusive to the Sunshine are two new gathering locations- Sunshine Bar and Havana Bar. Sunshine Bar is located in the middle of the ship’s Atrium and is an all purpose meeting place for drinks, live music, trivia games, and people watching. Havana Bar has a throwback Cuban atmosphere with Cuban coffee, finger foods, and cocktails.
~BlueIguana and Guy's Burger Joint~
Dining Options Galore
Carnival Sunshine features 10 dining venues that are brand new or completely redesigned. Guy’s Burger Joint and BlueIguana Cantina are two of the new dining options onboard. Guy’s, as in celebrity chef Guy Fieri, offers gourmet burgers and thick cut fries. The BlueIguana Cantina is constantly cooking up fresh tortillas and made to order burritos. Both restaurants have fun themed décor and are located poolside so you are never too far from a snack.
Formal dining is available in the two main dining rooms-Sunrise and Sunset. For an informal meal, the Lido Marketplace features a Comfort Kitchen with American classics or a 24 hour pizzeria with made to order pizzas.
A culinary menu from around the world is available at three specialty restaurants onboard. Travel to Italy for family style Italian dining inspired by the childhood recipes of Carnival’s Italian captains at Cucina del Capitano. Or head Far East to Ji Ji Asian Kitchen, where highly skilled chefs prepare made-to order meals with artistic flare.
~Scenes from the Sports Square~
Nothing But Net,and Ocean Views
Decks 10 and 11 on the ship are synonymous with sun and fun. Sports Square, a open air recreation complex is at the center of the action, with a nine hole golf course, 1/10th mile jogging/walking track, and lighted mini-basketball court. The fun continues around the perimeter of the action with pool tables, foosball, pingpong, Twister, giant Chess, and shuffleboard. And that’s just what’s on the ground. A dozen feet above the deck is the Sky Course, a three level ropes course that challenges balance and coordination while offering the best views on the ship.
Part Two of the on deck expansion is certainly wetter. Waterworks features 40 interactive water features for sun and splashing. The biggest thrill on water is the Twister slide that slips and splashes 334 feet from top to bottom. As the longest slide on a Carnival ship, the slide also features a crystal clear section of tubing that extends out over the deck for an awesome ocean view. Racing is a major pastime in the Waterworks area. Dual 235 foot Speedway Splash slides are the first of their kind in the fleet and offer friends and family the chance to race to the bottom to see who is the fastest slider on the sea.
~Hasbro, the Game Show~
Entertainment and Other Extras
Whatever floats your entertainment boat you will find onboard Carnival Sunshine. Join in a game, get up and dance, sing a song, or laugh it up. The newest fun onboard is HASBRO, The Game Show. This fast paced onstage game show features guests from the audience playing larger than life games like Sorry, Connect Four, and Operation to win prizes. The Punchliner Comedy Club features new comedians each night with family friendly and adults only shows to have you laughing.
A sweet treat is never too far away. Cherry on the Top is a candy and more store that is stocked with more than 80 bins of candy treats. Novelties, gifts, and treats for special occasions can also be purchased here. The Shake Shop is another sweet extra where specialty milkshakes and other ice cream treats can be enjoyed.
Carnival and Kids
Kids are honored guests aboard any Carnival ship, and they even have their own space that is kid-tested, kid approved. Camp Carnival is divided into three age groups-ages 2-5, 6-8, and 9-11, with each group run by highly trained counselors who love kids. Through a partnership with Hasbro, Camp Carnival has a games and toys that kids love, including Twister, Mr. Potato Head, and Play-Doh.
Teens will find they have their own space aboard the ship. Circle C is designed for young teens ages 12-14, and Club O2 is a refuge for teens ages 15-17. Both areas are a great place to hang out, play games, watch TV, and make new friends.
~On our way to Dinner~
Our Carnival Sunshine Experience
In the interest of full disclosure, we ate way more than our share of ice cream cones and pizza, and spent most of the daylight hours playing in the Sports Square. We dressed up for dinner, and then immediately changed into comfy clothes in time to laugh hysterically for the family show in the comedy lounge. In between sea days, we went ashore at some amazing ports, and made even more amazing memories while were there. In other words, we had a great time. Everyone from the tallest to the smallest loved the memories and the moments aboard the Sunshine. You can’t ask for more than that.
~Carnival Cruise Line paid for the majority of our trip onboard the Carnival Sunshine. They did not require that I express a particular viewpoint and all opinions are my own.~