"Vivi? Do you like boatcations?" "Yes, I do very much. Thank you." #Boatcation #CarnivalSunshine
Vacation, you're both doin' it real, real well. #Boatcation
One of the main reasons we chose this ship was because of these beauties right here. Unfortunately, they have been out of commission since we boarded. :(
My #Boatcation crew, two bottles of sunscreen down, 4 days to go.
Fuzzy headed Caribbean alarm clocks. Free tote bag with purchase. #Boatcation
Between the ropes course and swimming all day she may come back stronger than Chuck Norris.
After seven days on a cruise ship, she learned how to sleep in. #Boatcation
These two.

Most of our time was spent on the water slides, can you tell? One major bummer is the big slides weren’t working for the first four days (half) of our trip. Since school was back in session, there weren’t many kids on board so it didn’t seem to be a huge priority to get it fixed, but the families who were on board were pretty bummed. The ship we were on, Carnival Sunshine, was actually retrofitted and relaunched last year (originally built in 1995.) While we could tell it was an older ship (based on layout) everything on it felt fresh and updated. There were a lot of differences between it and the Breeze (Launched in 2012. Addie, my mom and I went on it last year) but the experience was just as enjoyable. The staff of the Sunshine seemed much more personable, perhaps because it is smaller so was easier to keep track of people? (Breeze passenger capacity: 3,690 – Sunshine: 2,642) I also have to say that the Red Frog Pub on both the Breeze and the Sunshine found some of the best acoustic performers I’ve ever heard on land or sea. Good job, guys.

And in case you’re all “Where’s Addie?” Addie made friends. SHE MADE FRIENDS. SHE RAN OFF WITH HER FRIENDS! My little introvert made friends! We barely saw her but we didn’t really care because she was HAVING FUN WITH HER NEW FRIENDS! (Total benefit to cruising with kids her age: she was able to sign herself in and out of Club Carnival so she could go to the activities she wanted to (she loved anything crafty as well as the scavenger hunts) then leave when things got too loud.) We had walkie-talkies (Vivi called them docky-dockies) so we could stay in contact.

Carnival’s partnership with Dr. Seuss throughout the ship was pretty adorable. The Green Eggs & Ham breakfast was $5 per person and there were actual green eggs on the menu. There was also a Dr. Seuss parade and storytime as well as Seuss themed activities in Camp Carnival. I hate to compare, but Carnival did an amazing job with its partnership while Royal Caribbean’s partnership with Dreamworks left a lot to be desired. (It was very unorganized, un-relateable to the much younger/much older crowd, and the costumes were terrifying.)

Do you have any questions about cruising? Specifically with little humans? I’m going to be doing another post about “What I Wish I Had Known” as well as “What Totally Worked” in regards to traveling on a boat with progeny.

Find out what we did and what we paid for entertainment/food in each port here. (Because knowing stuff like this will save you a ton on a cruise.)

Carnival generously provided us with our cruise fare. Any additional expenses, gratuities, and travel expenses were our responsibility. Opinions, as always, are my own.


  1. Glad you had a great time! (This isn’t about cruising with kids, but a comment and question nonetheless.) I went on one cruise (Norwegian line) to Bermuda with a girlfriend and loooooooved it. I like the fun and dazzle of the boat and the hour long naps I took on deck. I’m eager to go on another, but husband is against it…especially, dare I say?…a carnival one. I’m a little hesitant also, but they are so fairly priced and readily available. I feel like you have pretty high travel standards, so can you share how it lived up to your expectations or exceeded them? Help me convince him…perhaps convince me too!…that we should go and that the boats are clean and the people aren’t scuzzy and the ports are nice. 🙂

  2. It is great fun with the kids sometimes.

  3. Yes – the little humans. The hubby and I are taking them next fall break (2015) on a 7-day cruise (Disney Fantasy – because honestly I couldn’t imagine anyone helping me navigate my children’s FIRST! cruise better than folks affiliated with the House of Mouse – and because I am a ridiculous fan of said Mouse, which the hubby still can’t quite comprehend, but I digress…) I have three girls, who at the time of sailing will be 17, 9 (a few weeks’ shy of 10 – we’re calling the trip her birthday gift!), and 6 and 1/2. I’m quite sure I will only see the oldest when she’s asleep, hogging the bathroom, or for meals (and maybe not even then), but the littles will no doubt require far more attention. Which brings me to my question – the kids’ clubs. I’m not over-protective, I work full time (so my kids attended daycare for years before starting elementary school), and I function best when I am able to carve out some grown-up time for myself. You would think that the kids’ clubs would be a no-brainer, an extension of daycare or a babysitter, etc…but I have quite a bit of unexplained anxiety about leaving my children there. Not so much the birthday girl, but the youngest. You loved it for Addie, but would/did you consider it for Vivi? I’m looking for some honest pros and cons from a seasoned cruiser. (Your wit and sarcasm are an added bonus!)

    karen t Reply:

    @Melissa S., We’ve done 4 disney cruises with the kids in the baby/toddler phase and absolutely loved it. The kids clubs are secured so you don’t need to worry about safety. On our last Disney cruise (Alaska, this past May), our then-3.5 year old did not want to leave the club. She was absolutely spoiled with storytime with Belle, a royal ball, fiesta party with Donald, etc. Lots of character interactions, craft opportunities, dance parties..

  4. I may have missed it but where did you sail out of? We’re looking for cruises out of LA now to save on the airfare. Had ruled out Carnival but will take a second look after your post!

  5. Looks like tons of fun! What camera did you use for the water slide (& underwater island & pool pics in your other post)? Thanks!!

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