Cruise ship tours: Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Sunshine

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Originally built in 1996 as the Carnival Destiny, the renamed Carnival Sunshine was taken out of service in early 2013 for an extended makeover that has left large areas of the vessel looking as good as new.

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Unprecedented in cruising history, the $155 million overhaul of the Carnival Sunshine involved an almost complete gutting and rebuilding of the ship’s public areas, and it now boasts almost all-new deck-top zones, a major expansion of dining options and re-imagined entertainment spaces.

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During the makeover process, which lasted more than two months, an entire deck was added to the front third of the ship, allowing for a new adults-only lounge area and more cabins.

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The hub of the top deck of the Carnival Sunshine remains the main pool area, now called the Beach Pool.

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New on the main pool deck is a large LED screen that’s used at night to show movies under the stars and more.

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Looming above the rear of the ship, the new WaterWorks area offers three water slides that rival anything found at a land-based resort: The scream-a-minute, 334-foot-long Twister, and dual racing slides that together are called the Speedway Splash.

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Standing out in bright yellow, the Twister slide soars over the back of the ship.

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WaterWorks also is home to a splash zone aimed at the littlest tots and a 150-gallon ‘dump bucket’ that sends water cascading over a wide area when you least expect it.

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A new deck-top activities area on the Carnival Sunshine called SportSquare features one of the first ropes courses at sea, a jogging track, a nine-hole miniature golf course, a basketball court, and ping-pong, foosball and pool tables.

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One of the first ropes courses on a cruise ship, Sky Course lets passengers (in harnesses) climb on an obstacle course high above the sea.

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Added during the makeover, the Carnival Sunshine’s new ropes course is one of fewer than half a dozen that exist on ships. The first ropes course at sea debuted in 2011 on the Carnival Magic.

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The new SportSquare area is home to a hotdog stand open on sea days.

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An outdoor foosball table at SportSquare. There is no charge to play.

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SportSquare’s basketball court is one of its most popular features.

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Twister anyone? The game is built into the playful architecture on display at SportSquare.

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Part of SportSquare, the Carnival Sunshine’s nine-hole miniature golf course wraps around the vessel’s funnel and is available free of charge.

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The SportSquare jogging track is relatively short, with 10 laps making a mile.

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A key part of the Carnival Sunshine’s makeover was the addition of a three-deck-high, adults-only Serenity lounge at the front of the ship that includes a circular pool.

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The Serenity lounge is available to passengers at no extra charge.

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Plush loungers and circular rattan chairs are among the features of the Serenity area, which fills up fast on sea days.

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A view of the Serenity pool from the adults-only area’s second level.

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Serenity also is home to a single hot tub.

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Faux palm trees and bright yellow umbrellas give the Serenity area a resort-like feel.

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The makeover of the Carnival Sunshine brought a wide range of new eateries, including the deck-top Guy Fieri-created Guy’s Burger Joint.

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Also new around the pool deck is the RedFrog Rum Bar, a themed outlet that serves up mojitos and other rum drinks.

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Opposite the RedFrog Rum Bar on the pool deck is the BlueIguana Tequila Bar, where margaritas are the focus.

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The fourth and final major addition to the pool deck of the Carnival Sunshine was the BlueIguana Cantina, a Chipotle-like burrito bar that serves made-to-order burritos and tacos.

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The outdoor Promenade on Deck 5 remains a quiet place to escape the crowds of the ship.

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More lounge chairs are located along the sides of the ship between the main pool area and WaterWorks.

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The hub of the Carnival Sunshine’s interior is the Atrium, a soaring, flashy space that is surrounded by shops and has a bar at its center.

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The Atrium is home to live music daily.

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The Sunshine Casino features table games as well as slot machines.

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The Sunshine Casino is open when the ship is at sea and is one of the few places on the vessel where smoking is allowed.

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Among several new bars added during the Carnival Sunshine’s makeover in 2013 was the Alchemy Bar, where bartenders dressed as pharmacists concoct alcoholic “prescriptions” for customer.

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Adjacent to the Alchemy Bar is the Ocean Plaza, a lounge area with a dance floor that features live music at night.

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The dance floor at the Ocean Plaza.

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Carnival Sunshine is the latest Carnival ship to get a RedFrog Pub, a concept that first debuted on the Carnival Magic in 2011. Carnival’s own brand of beer, ThirstyFrog Red, is among the options on tap.

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Carnival Sunshine’s RedFrog Pub is the largest to date on a Carnival ship, but unlike similar venues on the Carnival Magic and Carnival Breeze does not serve food.

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The RedFrog Pub has a small games area that gets busy at night.

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Another new bar on the Carnival Sunshine is the sports-themed EA Sports Bar.

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The overhaul of the Carnival Sunshine saw the main theater down-sized from three to two decks, allowing for more cabins to be added to the ship. It now holds 800 passengers.

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Another addition to the Carnival Sunshine is the Library Bar, a quiet retreat that functions as both a library and a peaceful place to have a late-night drink.

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The Library Bar features a self-serve wine dispenser offering wines by the glass.

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Located on Deck 4, the Piano Bar 88 offers live piano music nightly in a lively setting.

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The new Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse on Carnival Sunshine is a stylish, contemporary space that serves up top-grade steaks and other dishes for an extra charge (currently $35 per person).

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The Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse is open for dinner only.

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The Limelight Lounge on Deck 4 transforms at night into the Punchliner Club presented by George Lopez, where live comedy shows take place almost every night.

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The bar at the Limelight Lounge.

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The Carnival Sunshine has two main dining rooms, the Sunrise Restaurant and Sunset Restaurant.

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Redecorated during the Carnival Sunshine’s overhaul in early 2013, the main dining rooms feature a simpler, more modern design.

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The Lido Marketplace on Deck 9 is the ship’s casual buffet eatery, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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A coffee station in the Lido Marketplace.

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Food items are available on a self-serve basis in the Lido Marketplace.

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Located at the back of the Lido Marketplace is a 24-hour pizzeria serving cooked-to-order, hand-made pizzas.

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While the Lido Marketplace doesn’t have a bar, it features self-serve beer stations (just swipe your on-board charge card and pour).

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The Carnival Sunshine features the first Asian eatery on a Carnival ship, JiJi Asian Kitchen. It costs $12 per adult and $5 per child for dinner. At lunchtime, it offers cooked-to-order Mongolian wok dishes for no extra charge.

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Also new for Carnival is the Cuba-themed Havana Bar, located at the back of the ship.

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Another view of the Atrium.

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The makeover of the Carnival Sunshine in early 2013 brought 182 new cabins, bringing the total number on the ship to 1,503.

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Among the most common type of cabin on the ship is the Ocean View with Balcony, shown here, of which there are 508.

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Ocean View with Balcony cabins feature a streamlined, built-in desk area with drawers, closet space and a flat-screen television.

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Bottled water (available for an extra charge) and a telephone can be found on cabin desk areas. Most cabins do not have mini-refrigerators.

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Closets in Ocean View with Balcony cabins are spacious and have ample room for hanging clothes.

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Located in one of the closets in Ocean View with Balcony cabins are a safe and lifejackets.

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Many Ocean View with Balcony cabins feature sofas that pull out to become an extra bed.

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Ocean View with Balcony cabin bathrooms feature efficient sink areas and large walk-in showers but no tub.

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A walk-in shower in an Ocean View with Balcony cabin.

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Surging Plug Power shares are driving up other fuel cell manufacturers.

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The balcony area of an Ocean View with Balcony cabin.

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Located at the front of the ship, the Cloud 9 spa features 16 treatment rooms.

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The Cloud 9 spa also is home to a hair salon.

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Also located at the Cloud 9 spa is a fitness center that is open free of charge.

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The fitness center features free weights, weight machines and a wide range of cardiovascular machines.

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Carnival Sunshine has a dedicated space for smaller children called Camp Carnival.

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Adjacent to Camp Carnival is Club O2, a hub for children ages 15-17 that’s home to video games and more.

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A third venue for kids, Circle “C” is aimed at the 12- to 14-year-old crowd.

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A relatively new concept for Carnival, Cherry on Top sells candies and other gift items.

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The Guest Services desk on the Carnival Sunshine is located on Deck 3 off the central Atrium.

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Also on Deck 3 off the Atrium is the Shore Excursions desk, where passengers can make bookings for shore tours.

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The “Fun Shops,” as Carnival calls its shopping area, is located on Deck 5 overlooking the Atrium.

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JavaBlue is the Carnival Sunshine’s coffee bar, serving up extra-charge cappuccinos, lattes and other espresso drinks. It’s also home to the Shake Shack milkshake bar.

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Adjacent to JavaBlue is a small Internet cafe area.

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Another view of the Carnival Sunshine’s water slide area.

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Like all Carnival ships, the Carnival Sunshine features a distinctive red, white and blue funnel.

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The Serenity Bar, located in the adults-only Serenity area.