Let The Sunshine In On Your Next Family Vacation
By Nancy Schretter, Editor
Cruising is a great choice for family vacations, especially on a ship packed with something for every family member. When Carnival Cruise Lines crafted the Carnival Sunshine through a $155 million extreme ship makeover of the Carnival Destiny, it created a massive playground for families and multigenerational cruisers. The ship works particularly well for families with kids of all ages because of this exciting new mix of venues.
Carnival Cruise Lines expects to host over 725,000 kids on their ships this year, making it the leader in family cruising. With the launch of the dramatically renovated Carnival Sunshine, Carnival Cruise Lines has delivered another "Fun Ship" loaded with a wide range of amenities. Whether your kids are in elementary school or are young adults, a cruise on the Carnival Sunshine is sure to please.
Here are ten things that cruising families will love about the Carnival Sunshine:
- 1. WaterWorks. The Carnival Sunshine’s recent makeover gave this ship 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 fun 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. Guests cruising with kids and those who are kids at heart should plan on spending plenty of time here.
- 2. SportSquare. Carnival Sunshine’s new SportSquare is a fun outdoor recreation area located at the very top of the ship. Families gather here to try out the SkyCourse, Carnival’s exciting 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 youth programs are all 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. Rockin’ Venues for Young Adults. Traveling families come in all shapes and sizes, and many families who cruise include those with young adults. The Carnival Sunshine is a great vacation choice for this age group because it delivers lots of nightlife, fun bars, cool entertainment options, and high-energy onboard excitement. The fun doesn't stop at 10 p.m. on the Carnival Sunshine - after all, this is a Fun Ship! Trained by the award-winning DJ IRIE, the Sunshine's DJs can be found keeping the late night action going in the Liquid Lounge, at deck parties, and throughout the ship. The ship's entertaining Playlist Productions, shorter high-tech shows that combine music with fashion and dance, feature some of today's most popular artists. The late night Punchliner Comedy Club Presented by George Lopez is another favorite with college kids and young adults. For those over 21, the Carnival Sunshine features bars with tons of personality including the RedFrog Rum Bar, the BlueIguana Tequila Bar, and the ever-popular RedFrog Pub. Young adults will also gravitate to the ship’s EA SPORTS bar to watch games and events.
- 5. 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. 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. Families with younger kids will enjoy family time in Camp Carnival during “Fun Days at Sea.” In addition, make sure to take advantage of the many family photo opportunities offered onboard the ship. Sometimes these group pictures are the best vacation souvenirs of all.
- 6. Massive Adults-Only Serenity Area. Carnival knows that parents and grandparents need some adults-only time on vacation. The Carnival Sunshine’s Serenity area offers just the place. Located far from the ship’s waterpark, this three-tiered adults-only escape comes complete with comfy cushion-topped loungers, large clamshell-type shaded chairs, tables with umbrellas and huge whirlpools. There’s even a small pool complete with a waterfall. Admission to this area is free, unlike on some other cruise lines. Those who want to linger can enjoy light fare in Serenity's dining area or a drink from the convenient bar. Grab a towel and savor the sea views up here - they're fantastic.
- 7. Cloud 9 Spa. Guests seeking some "me" time and pampering on their cruise vacation should float on over to the Cloud 9 Spa. The spa provides dozens of treatments including massages, facials, acupuncture programs, body scrubs, medi-spa services, and a lot more. Specials may be available on port days. The Cloud 9 Spa also offers Generation Z teen spa treatments for younger guests ages 13-17. The spa has well-equipped salon and a full fitness center with a nice range of equipment and instructor-led classes daily. If you want to emphasize health and wellness on your cruise – or simply be close to the spa, book one of the Carnival Sunshine’s new spa staterooms and suites loaded with special amenities.
- 8. Cool Places Parents Love. While the kids flock to their activities, adults want to go out and have their own kind of fun. A delectable dinner at the Carnival Sunshine’s steakhouse, Fahrenheit 555, is the perfect treat for a “parents’ night out” or a celebration dinner. Then, of course, there are all the fun bars on the Carnival Sunshine, including the Alchemy Bar, Piano Bar, Library Bar, Havana Bar, RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, the EA SPORTS bar, and the Caribbean-themed Red Frog Pub. There’s a bar or lounge for every type of personality aboard the Carnival Sunshine. They’re all so good - it’s hard to pick a favorite. The Liquid Lounge and Ocean Plaza are great places to go for music and drinks at night, too. Those with young kids might want to avoid booking rooms on Deck 6 right above these two venues, but party people will love dancing the night away at both those spots.
- 9. 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 burgers and fries poolside. On the other side of the pool deck, the 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. Parents will be happy to know that 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.
- 10. Cherry on Top. Kids (and kids at heart) will love Cherry on Top, a retail boutique featuring huge bins of colorful candies, specialty sweets, cards, gifts and more. Here guests can find massive balloon-sized lollipops, candied apples, and every sort of candy and sweet you could imagine. Bulk candies in bins are sold by the pound - make sure to try a few. This cool little shopping venue certainly provides an appealing finishing touch to the ship, perfectly topping off the many family-friendly features of the Carnival Sunshine.
For more information on the Carnival Sunshine, visit the Carnival Cruise Lines website at www.carnival.com
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