Once upon a time, I dreamt of flying my family to Europe and cruising the Mediterranean with Carnival Cruise Lines. When I heard that the newly-renovated Carnival Sunshine cruise ship would have ports of call in the Mediterranean, I set my sights on its fabulous itinerary. But then something amazing happened: I was invited on a press trip onboard the very ship that I wanted to cruise! This meant that my cruise and my airfare would be complimentary...and that I could bring Angeline!
Now, you might realize from reading other posts that I'm already a huge fan of Carnival Cruise Lines. Our first cruise was with Carnival in 2006, and since then we've had two more, all week-long cruises in the Caribbean. It's so convenient with such a selection of Carnival ship being right there at the Port of Miami! The thing is, all of the ships I've cruised on were "new" ships, less than 10 years old, which meant that Angeline and I were used to a certain level of entertainment and dining options. I knew that Carnival had spent over $155 million dollars renovating the former Carnival Destiny, which had been sailing since 1996.
I wondered, would the staterooms be smaller than we were used to? Nope, they were big and roomy!
Would the dining rooms be smaller, would they be as pretty?
Nope, definitely not smaller, and every bit as pretty as we were used to!
Would the pools be smaller?
Nope, the pools were nice and big! And there were plenty of pools to go around - even an adults-only pool in the Serenity area!
Would there be as many lounge chairs?
Yep, there was!
Would the food be as tasty? Oh yeah, baby! Just as fab as I remembered when we sailed on the Carnival Liberty!
Our first day on board, I attended a little press conference where we learned about the transformation Carnival Cruise Lines performed turning the Carnival Destiny into the Carnival Sunshine.
They began with adding 14% more guest rooms (182 additional guest rooms) - that means 14% people having fun on a new FUN Ship, but where would they put them all?
Well, they increased the bar seating by 32%, the dining rooms by 19%, 14% more pool loungers, and 25% more kid-friendly spaces to give all those new passengers lots of places to hang out on their cruise.
They added the new Waterworks water park and sports recreation area, which we've never had on one of our cruises before. It was amazing, even for me!
Not only is there a super awesome water slide, and kind of a splash area beneath it, but there are sports activities for the kids and teenagers to play too, like basketball and other games.
During the renovation, Carnival Cruise Lines also added those Fun Ship 2.0 features that we've all come to know and love: Carnival branded experiences!
The Game Show - A trivia game that the entire family can enjoy!
Red Frog Pub - A real, authentic pub experience where adults can enjoy a cocktail after a long day of family fun.
Blue Iguana Cantina - Authentic Mexican tacos and burritos, made to order so that you always get exactly what you want - especially with that salsa toppings bar! Want a shot of tequila with your pals afterwards? There's a bar there too!
Alchemy Bar - Another great spot for adults to wind down after a long, fun-filled day!
Jiji Asian Kitchen - Asian fusion dining at its best!
Library Bar - A quiet, mellow place to have a cocktail or simply read a book and escape for an afternoon reprieve.
Cherry On Top - Yes, a candy store right on the Carnival Sunshine! Chris and I fell in love with Candy on Top while we were on the Carnival Liberty earlier this summer and I was delighted to find that there was one on the Carnival Sunshine!
Of course, with the Carnival Destiny being dry docked to undergo these enhancements that would lead to it becoming the Carnival Sunshine, Carnival did more than add of all these super fun features.
The Carnival Sunshine was the first Fun Ship to undergo operational enhancements like product upgrades, an upgraded fire suppression system, added emergency backup generator to power toilets, elevators, food service in unlikely event of loss of main power, the re configuring of key systems to improve redundancy propulsion and main power, the addition of a second generator that will help expand hotel services in case of loss of main power, and the rewiring of engine rooms so that if something happens to one engine, it doesn't knock out the other.
More fun, more features, and more safety - it's no wonder the Carnival Sunshine totally knocked our socks off!
You can find out more about the Carnival Sunshine, along with deck plans, onboard experiences, and itineraries at Carnival.com!