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It was our Destiny to enjoy the Sunshine. Journeys Cruise Review

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We had the pleasure to cruise the Carnival Sunshine eighteen years to the week after we cruised on the Destiny.  We first cruise her from San Juan in January 2001.  We were celebrating my birthday that week.  We did the Sunshine over the same period for the same reason.  

 

Our Destiny cruise had the following itinerary

  • San Juan
  • St. Thomas
  • Antigua
  • Guadeloupe
  • Day at Sea
  • Aruba
  • Day at Sea
  • Day at Sea
  • San Juan.

 

Our Sunshine itinerary:

  • Port Canaveral
  • Day at Sea
  • Day at Sea
  • St. Thomas
  • Day at Sea
  • Aruba
  • Curacao
  • Day at Sea
  • St. Martin
  • St. Kitts
  • San Juan
  • Amber Cove
  • Day at Sea
  • Port Canaveral

 

I am not able to make comparison photos of then and now.  I don't have a scanner available for my negatives from the trip.   Maybe one of these days...

 

We are from Northwest Arkansas.  We booked the cruise a while back to repeat some of the itinerary and celebration.  Most of the time we drive to the port, but considering the time of the year, we flew instead.  I always plan on arriving at the port city a day early, just to cover any weird things that could come up while going.  Since we were flying, we booked flights to MCO on the 11th.  We stayed at the LaQuinta near the airport.  I also booked late flights out of MCO just in case anything delayed our disembarkation at Port Canaveral.

 

I scheduled transportation to the port from MCO via Carnival, so my only concern was getting to and from the LaQuinta.  The hotel managed that complimentary.  

 

We scheduled excursions for St. Thomas, Aruba, Curacao, and St. Kitts.  I was not sure about St. Martin.  The excursions Carnival had available did not cover everything I wanted to see there.  We planned to go to a Mixology class at Bacardi, but the time I could schedule would push getting back to the port in time for leaving.  Therefore, we planned to spend the day in Old San Juan.  Likewise, we made no plans for Amber Cove.  

 

I use a Canon T5i camera with an 18-135 mm lens and a 70-250 mm lens for dry photography and a Nikon Coolpix AW-130 camera for my wet photography.  I shot close to 2000 photos during the trip.  I have thinned them down to a reasonable number.

 

The highlights of the trip:

  • The crew and staff of the Carnival Sunshine
  • St. Martin
  • The production shows
  • The live entertainers
  • Cucina del Capitano and JiJi Asian Restaurant
  • Mikey, Mikey, Mikey
  • The Captain of the ship
  • Our head waiter in the dining room.
  • Friends we met while on the cruise.

 

The lowlights of the ship basically was disembarkation.  I do not hold Carnival, or the staff responsible for the late disembarkation.  There were several mitigating circumstances that delayed it.

 

I have a lot of details and photos to show, so it will take a few days to write the review.

 

 

 

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19 minutes ago, NWACruiser said:

am not able to make comparison photos of then and now.  I don't have a scanner available for my negatives from the trip.   Maybe one of these days...

 

Darn, That would be one comparison that would make your review interesting . Separating it from the normal reviews given here. . Any chance you have a friend with a scanner ???

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We loaded up the Rodeo with our luggage and headed to XNA to start our vacation.  It was cool and raining.  After check-in, we headed through security before boarding the flight.  The flights went smoothly and we arrived in Orlando about 6:00 in the evening.  It was our first flight to MCO.  We shuttled to Terminal B's main entrance to retrieve our luggage.  We called the hotel to have them come and pick us up.  It was nice and warm in Orlando, so we did not mind the wait for the shuttle bus to arrive.  

 

The shuttle driver was a very nice young lady.  She gave us some information about the return to the airport for the cruise pickup.  They were well experienced with it.  She also gave us some suggestions for dinner.  

 

Check-in went smooth and we made our way to the room.  After settling in, we went to Friday's for dinner.  It took about 10 minutes to walk from the hotel to Friday's.  After a mai-tai and shrimp dinner, we headed back to settle in for the night.

 

Even though the hotel was in the flight line for takeoff and landings, we really did not notice the noise.

 

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LaQuinta has a complimentary breakfast that we enjoyed.

 

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After breakfast, we checked out of the hotel.  We met a young lady from Jamaica who was checking out also.  She was heading to the Sunshine as a Jewelry Sales person.  So we had already made a friend, before we even embarked onto the ship.

 

We shuttled back to the the airport.  They dropped us off at Terminal B's pickup zone.  We gathered our luggage and headed in to meet the Carnival representatives for the shuttle to the port.  We signed in and had to wait for a bus.  While waiting, we met a couple from Wichita KS.  They were very nice and we talked to the several times while on the ship.

 

The bus arrived and we were off to Port Canaveral.  

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18 minutes ago, BoDidly said:

 

Darn, That would be one comparison that would make your review interesting . Separating it from the normal reviews given here. . Any chance you have a friend with a scanner ???

I really do wish I had a way to scan them.  I will see what I can do.

 

Edited by NWACruiser

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Looking forward to the remainder of your review. We board the Sunshine next week and I can't wait.

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I look forward to the rest of your review. We will be on the Sunshine in November. It will be our first cruise, so I especially love to read reviews of others experience aboard "our" ship. Thank you for sharing!

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I am currently investigating a scanner.  This will solve the problem.

 

I reviewed my photos from the trip (that I printed out) and found it to be interesting on the changes made to the Destiny.  

  • There was a covered stage on the Lido deck that had live music at times.  They also used it to do the contests.
  • The main pool had a swim-up bar.  
  • The forward decks have been modified for new cabins and amenities such as Serenity.
  • The aft decks have been modified.  The "funnel deck" is now a mini golf course. 
  • They moved the slide from the forward stack to the aft stack.  
  • The theater was changed from three stories (Decks 3, 4, 5) to two stories (4, 5). 
  • The permanent seating in the main theater was removed from the lower level and reconfigured to be modified on a hurry.
  • The atrium had a square bar and they made it round.  
  • They added a lot of hanging fixtures in the dining room and the atrium.
  • They added the FunShip 2.0 attractions to the lido deck.  

Anyhow, once I resolve the scanner issue, I will add the comparisons between the two "ships"

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Getting back to the review, we made it to Port Canaveral.  The bus driver was not sure where to go, as it was his first trip to the port.  We went around in circles a bit before he found the bus parking.  We got off the bus, verified our luggage was present and walked to the port to embark.  We needed to have a photo ID and our boarding pass out as we approached.  

 

Check-in went smoothly.  We arrived a few minutes early.  They put us in the early-birds line.  That was perfect as it was shorter than the current arrivals line.  I figured they would hold us in the line, but we went through entry right away and was given a zone to wait for.  

 

We had to wait about 15 minutes before we embarked onto the Sunshine.

 

We did something smart, though.  We checked the smaller pull-behind luggage with the porters and did not have to drag them through the ship for two hours before we could go to the cabin.  I figured there would be no way to lose them since we were already at the ship.  Everything arrived at the cabin just fine, as expected.

 

The first thing we headed for was Cucina del Capitano for pasta lunch.  It was tasty as we had always found before. 

 

After lunch, we wandered around the ship to get familiar with the layout.  We found the barbecue on deck five.  Even though we were full, we sampled the BBQ.  It is not Kansas City BBQ by any means.   But it was good.  The meat was tender and juicy.  The sauces were standard fare.  The sides were good.  

 

1:30 came around and we went to our cabin. 

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The sign and sail cards were ready for us.   The stewards were still cleaning cabins and we had to wait a minute to get into the cabin.  But we got to meet the stewards right away.  They were very busy since the ship was full and there was an abnormally large number of priority boarders.   

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Siradana and Gordana, our steward and stewardess for the two weeks.

 

I dropped off the carry-on and stepped into the hall only to see our luggage coming to the cabin.  We were able to unpack right away, before muster drill began.  

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Muster drill was interesting.  Some sections of the ship met outside and other areas met inside.  We were forward and met inside.  It was the shortest muster drill I can remember.  They went over all the rules and procedures within 15 minutes.  

 

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Muster Drill in the Liquid Lounge

 

Once Muster drill was over, it was time to head to the Lido deck for the Sail-Away party.

 

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Good to know embarkation and the muster drill were quick and easy! I'm following and looking forward to reading more, I only got 81 more days until I sail away on the Sunshine :classic_biggrin: 

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On 2/4/2019 at 10:08 AM, CJDepew said:

Looking forward to the remainder of your review. We board the Sunshine next week and I can't wait.

 

 

Us too!  Going on the 8 day Southern itinerary?

 

 

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My photo/negative scanner will arrive this Friday.  I will have the ability to compare the ship then and now before I complete the review.

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👍 Tagging along for the review. Sorry you had to dig into the purse .  

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Off to the Lido deck for the sail-away party...  

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Since we were the last group to be released from the muster drill, the elevators were busy, busy, and....  busy.  We finally caught an elevator and made our way to the Lido deck.  The music was playing and some people were dancing.  

 

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Mikey was leading the way!

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What can I say about the cruise director for this adventure...  HE WAS FANTASTIC.  The guy had so much energy and seemed to be able to do his job all day and night.   You never knew what his next outfit would be.   He is the best CD we have had on a cruise so far, and we have had a slew of good ones lately.  

 

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Even though gold and platinum guests made up two-thirds of the passengers,  and there were only 109 guests under 18, the energy was very high on the Lido deck. Everyone was ready for a fun-filled cruise!

 

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The Fun-Crew added a lot to the cruise.  

 

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Mikey Cyrus

 

 

 

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We had a little time to check out what ships were in port, before we had to head to dinner.

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Carnival Breeze

 

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Disney Dream

 

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Norwegian Epic

 

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Oasis of the Seas

 

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Exploration Tower

 

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Disney Dream on its way.

 

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Pelicans checking out the Lido Deck party.

 

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The Carnival Sunshine was getting ready for its departure.

 

We had to head to dinner before the ship left the port.  So we did not see our departure.

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After dinner, we had to make an important stop in the Sports Bar.

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GO CHIEFS!

 

We finally broke a long curse and won a home playoff game at Arrowhead.  I will discuss the next game later, so please keep the comments to this game.

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We had two days at sea to rest and relax.  We went to a photography seminar on the first sea day.  The seminar was more on the level of an amateur photographer, and, photos taken on a cell phone.  I learned a few things about the Galaxy 7 phone.  

 

Our first night in the dining room was not as smooth as we had in the past.  The head waiter seemed to be doing most of the work, and the rest of the staff seemed to be confused.  Service was erratic at best.  The second night was not much better.  This was not the norm for our experiences with the dining staff on any of our previous cruises.   Apparently, the assistants were new to the ship and needed time to adjust.   It improved immensely after a few days as everyone seemed to figure out their roles.

 

Tonight was the Motor City show.  We caught the second show.  We arrived early to line up for the show.  We were able to get a decent seat.  

 

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They had a pre-show with audience participation.

 

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Then the real show began...

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Once the show was over, Mikey led the troops out to the Atrium for an after-show party.   

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Motown native...

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Sea day 2 was another day to relax on the ship and take advantage of the good weather.  It was also the anniversary of my 29th birthday.   I stopped counting after that one :).  

 

We made it up to the Serenity deck for the sunset.

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This was the first ship we have cruised on that had the Cucina del Capitano restaurant.  For a small premium fee of $15 each, we celebrated there.

 

On the way in, I noticed this:

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It is an automatic hand washing station.  

 

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We enjoyed some wine with the dinner.

 

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The meatball was excellent!

 

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Cheers!

 

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Natasa was a great waitress

 

She had the Cavatelli and I had the Pollo Parmigiana Della Cucina for dinner.  Both dishes were very good.  I did prefer the Cavatelli though.  We were completely stuffed after we ate.   

 

I will say that I have eaten better Italian food, but, I have also eaten a lot more worse Italian food.  I definitely recommend Cucina del Capitano.  

 

 

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18 hours ago, GeorgiaMomof4 said:

 

 

Us too!  Going on the 8 day Southern itinerary?

 

 

Yes, ma'am. So excited I can hardly stand it.

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Great review so far, NWA Cruiser. Glad you had a wonderful birthday!

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Sounds like you had a great cruise.  Loving the review and looking forward to the rest 🙂

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