By Nancy Schretter
The Carnival Sunshine’s massive $155 million renovation has turned the ship into a major playground for families. There’s something for every age group and interest onboard this ship. That kind of diversity is particularly important for parents in choosing a venue for their next family or multigenerational vacation.
Here are five features that have proven to be a hit with families on the newly revamped Carnival Sunshine:
1. WaterWorks. The Carnival Sunshine’s recent makeover gave it the largest waterpark in the Carnival fleet. This popular area features two twin spiraling Speedway Splash racing slides, the 334-foot long Twister waterslide – the longest on any Carnival ship, a kids’ Splash Zone area, and a huge 150 gallon tipping bucket for getting soaked. WaterWorks is a big hit with families on the Carnival Sunshine, particularly on hot weather days or after lengthy shore excursions. Guests cruising with kids – and those who are kids at heart – should plan on spending plenty of time here while sailing on this ship.
2. SportSquare. Carnival Sunshine’s new SportSquare is a fun outdoor recreation area located at the very top of the ship. Families flock here to try out the SkyCourse, Carnival’s ropes course at sea. Guests are strapped into a safety harness and then head out to traverse the aerial course’s rope bridges, swinging steps and balance beams. There’s also a jogging track, a lighted basketball/volleyball court, ping-pong and foosball tables, a nine-hole miniature golf course, and much more.
3. Cool Kids & Teens Activities. Kids and teens get special attention on the Carnival Sunshine. As part of the renovation, the ship has a three room Camp Carnival playroom area and all youth programs are now located in the same section of the ship. A new outdoor play area for little ones was added as well. The Sunshine’s free Camp Carnival program focuses on children ages 2 to 11 and is divided into three groups: 2-5; 6-8; and 9-11. Camp hours are long and vary somewhat by day, but typically last from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Once the Camp Carnival programs end at about 10 p.m., Carnival’s late night children’s programs and events get underway. The Camp Carnival Night Owls parties are divided into three different age groups: Owl Jams for ages 2-11; Fun ‘Til One for ages 6-8; and Fun at Sea for ages 9-11. The Night Owls program also features nightly group babysitting services for a small fee per child. Tweens and teens have their own expansive, well-designed areas on this ship as well. Club O2 caters to older teens ages 15-17 while ‘tweens ages 12-14 congregate at Circle C, another dedicated club-type space devoted specifically to this age group. Youth counselors on the Carnival Sunshine speak multiple languages including English, French, Spanish, Serbian and Afrikaans.
4. Family-Oriented Programming. If your family loves family game night, competitions and winning prizes, Hasbro, The Game Show is the place to be. Hasbro, The Game Show is a series of TV-quality, larger-than-life shows held in the Carnival Sunshine’s Liquid Lounge. A wide variety of Hasbro games are offered, including SORRY! SLIDERS, SIMON FLASH, YAHTZEE BOWLING, OPERATION SLAM DUNK, and CONNECT 4 BASKETBALL. For families who enjoy outdoor entertainment, the Carnival Sunshine features a huge LED flat screen that overlooks the pool, offering “Dive In Movies,” sporting events, concerts, and shows. The Sunshine’s Warehouse Video Arcade also contains a wide array of fee-based arcade and video games.
5. Value-Oriented Dining Venues. Older kids and other family members can easily get bored eating in the main dining room night after night on their cruise vacations. That can lead to a big specialty restaurant bill on some cruise lines, but not on the Carnival Sunshine. This ship features a number of free and low-cost specialty dining options that are great for families. Developed in partnership with Food Network star Guy Fieri, Guy’s Burger Joint serves up free special recipe burgers and fries poolside. On the other side of the pool deck, BlueIguana Cantina offers complimentary tasty burritos and tacos along with a large fixings bar. This ship also offers two of the best value-priced specialty dining options at sea. JiJi Asian Kitchen and Cucina del Capitano both serve large three- and four-course family style meals for $12 per adult and $5 for kids 11 and under. Both get rave reviews. Families also have lots of options for food selections in the Carnival Sunshine’s Lido Marketplace and its main dining rooms, as well as 24-hour room service and thin-crust pizza from Pizzeria del Capitano. For a treat, head to the Shake Spot for a handcrafted milkshake or float. The Carnival Sunshine can easily accommodate food allergies at both its main dining room and specialty restaurants. Make sure to notify the ship and provide specifics about any food allergies at least four to six weeks in advance.
For more information on the Carnival Sunshine, visit the Carnival Cruise Lines website at www.carnival.com.
Nancy Schretter is the Managing Editor of the Family Travel Network.
Photo credits: Nancy Schretter