The following is a guest blog post from our friend Connie. In it she discusses her recent experience aboard the Carnival Sunshine cruise ship. At brettapproved we love it when passionate supporters share travel tips. Thank you Connie!
My husband and I were booked in Cabin 6107 on Carnival Sunshine for nine nights in April 2017 out of Port Canaveral, FL. We booked the cruise in October and got the last available accessible cabin. A review of the deck plan indicates there are 32 accessible cabins, five of which have balconies.
Please note that there is no valet parking when you arrive at Port Canaveral. Bags are dropped at a designated spot and then you park your vehicle. There are a limited number of accessible parking spaces. I would recommend getting there early if you want to secure one of these spots. The staff assigned to provide wheelchair assistance from the parking garage to the terminal were very kind.
Getting through check-in was relatively painless. Wheelchair users are provided with assistance and everyone was very courteous and helpful. The attendant pushed me through check-in, up the gangway to the ship lobby on Deck 3, and to the elevator. At that point I was on my own to navigate to my cabin using my walker.
Cabin 6107 is at the bow of the ship and has a balcony. It is the same size as a regular cabin with a slightly larger bathroom. There is plenty of storage. As with most ships, there is a shortage of electrical outlets. Make it a habit to travel with a long industrial extension cord, a couple of shorter ones and a power strip. It will simplify your life.
The scooter was fairly large and occupied most of the entryway into the cabin. I rented it from one of the two companies recommended by Carnival, and it served me very well. I could not have enjoyed the cruise without the scooter because of the distances between our cabin and everything else on the ship.
Initially we and our four other travel companions were assigned to the Sunrise dining room at the aft end of the ship. After bringing our mobility challenges to the staff’s attention they switched us to the dining room that was closer to our cabin. Servers were wonderful about clearing a path for the scooter, getting me settled, removing the scooter and then returning it to me when dinner was over.
Carnival provides a map of the ship with accessible facilities and routes marked in blue. Most routes through the ship were easily navigable, and the elevators were nice and large.
Carnival Sunshine was launched in 1995 and refurbished in May 2016. It is 896 feet long and carries 3,000 passengers. The restrooms throughout the ship have varying degrees of accessibility, however it was not possible for me to get my scooter inside any of these restrooms. In my cabin I could use my walker as needed to access the bathroom, but it was not feasible to take my walker with me while using the scooter elsewhere on the ship.
As with many cruise ships, the cabin doors are heavy, and on the occasions when I went to or from the cabin alone, it was a struggle to manage the scooter and the door. Likewise, the door to the library was tricky to navigate alone, although other passengers were lovely about opening doors for me.
The bathroom had a roll-in shower and good drains to avoid flooding the floor. The pull-down shower seat was roomy and sturdy. There was an emergency pull cord in the shower and grab bars.
While Carnival Sunshine certainly provides some mobility challenges, the crew is fabulous. Every crew member was unfailingly courteous, helpful, even solicitous. They are stars.