Vacationers often start checking the weather forecast for their Caribbean cruise about two weeks before their trip, no matter what the season. Lack of sunshine can be a worry, but there’s no reason to stress if you’ve planned correctly. Simply weatherproof your vacation by choosing the right ship for your next tropical cruise.
Bad weather can test the success of any vacation destination, whether it’s on land or at sea. Cruise passengers can purchase trip insurance to protect against cataclysmic events like hurricanes, but no insurance will guarantee sunny weather throughout your trip. A little rain can spoil plans for days spent tanning in the sun, but if you’ve picked your ship correctly and you’re flexible, overcast skies won’t get in the way of having a great vacation.
To ensure a great vacation, look for a ship with venues and activities to please all ages and interests - no matter what the weather brings. The aptly named Carnival Sunshine, for example, fits the bill perfectly. There’s something for everyone on that ship. Here’s what to check for when choosing a ship for your Caribbean cruise:
Action-Packed Activities: To weatherproof your vacation, it’s important to make sure there’s lots going on throughout the ship. If you’re a Type A cruiser, pick a cruise line that emphasizes entertainment, enjoyment and fun. Carnival cruises are known for their high energy sailings, and on the Carnival Sunshine, the fun never rests. Check the ship’s daily FunTimes newsletter for events and happenings from early morning ‘till late at night.
Quiet Spaces: Want to read a book, but it’s pouring outside? Don’t get stuck spending all your time in your room. Look for a ship that offers quiet, cozy spots for relaxation. The Carnival Sunshine’s Library Bar is perfect for these kinds of pastimes. Pour yourself a glass of wine from one of their dispensers, settle into a comfy chair, and enjoy reading. The Sunshine’s triple-deck adults-only Serenity area is another great place to be when it’s nice outdoors. Unlike on some other cruise lines, admission to the Serenity area is free for all adult passengers.
Lots of Dining Options: It’s easy to get bored eating at the same old place every day, especially if the weather’s not perfect. Choose a ship that will let you change up your dining venues - without breaking the bank. The variety of restaurants and dining options on the Carnival Sunshine will give any guest a sunny disposition, no matter what the weather brings. Guy’s Burger Joint, developed in partnership with Food Network star Guy Fieri, serves up free burgers and fries poolside. Across the way on 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 meals for $12 per adult and $5 for kids 11 and under. Don’t miss the slow-braised Wagyu beef short rib and the Nanjing-style duck appetizers at JiJi – they’re delicious! Guests have lots of options for food selections in the Carnival Sunshine’s Lido Marketplace and its main dining rooms. When it’s time to splurge, however, head straight to Fahrenheit 555 for a delectable steak or lobster dinner.
Fun Kids & Teens Programs: Nothing ruins a family vacation faster than kids and teens complaining that there’s nothing to do. Choose your cruise ship wisely, however, and the kids won’t be whining - even when the weather isn’t perfect. Many cruise lines have great programs and activities to keep their younger guests busy. Kids and teens get special attention on the Carnival Sunshine. The free Camp Carnival program is focused 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.
Great Spa Facilities: If you need a little sunshine on a cloudy day, the Carnival Sunshine’s Cloud 9 Spa could be the answer. The spa provides dozens of treatments including a variety of massages, facials, acupuncture programs, body sculpting, teeth whitening, and a whole lot more. Specials may be available on port days. While the spa's traditional services are available to guests ages 18 and over, selected treatments are also available for younger guests ages 12-17. There's also a well-equipped fitness center here that offers classes daily. If you’re planning to spend lots of time in the health and wellness areas, consider booking one of the Carnival Sunshine’s spa rooms or suites.
Exciting Bars and Nightlife: Caribbean cruises are generally filled with tropical concoctions, dancing and late night deck parties under the stars. Make sure your ship offers a tantalizing array of options for you to enjoy, even if the weather is not cooperating. On the Carnival Sunshine, for example, it’s hard to decide on a favorite bar or lounge simply because there are so many great ones. The Havana Bar is located in the back of the ship and has a hot Latin vibe. Guests can also head to the popular RedFrog Pub, Alchemy Bar, EA Sports Bar, The Library Bar, Piano Bar 88 … the list goes on and on. Live bands, karaoke, comedy clubs and performers are also spread throughout the ship in the evenings, offering guests lots of entertainment choices. High energy Playlist Productions sizzle in the Liquid Lounge, which magically turns into a disco at the end of the show.
Exhilarating Attractions: Waterparks and sports areas are popular on ships, even when the weather is overcast. Look for ships that have areas that work well for your group’s ages and interests. The Carnival Sunshine’s $155 million makeover gave it a waterpark that’s the largest in the fleet with two twin spiraling Speedway Splash racing slides, the wicked fast 334-foot long Twister waterslide, a kids’ Splash Zone area, and a huge 150 gallon tipping bucket for getting wet. Then there’s SportSquare, a cool outdoor recreation area featuring SkyCourse – a ropes course at sea, along with a nine-hole miniature golf course, a basketball court, table games, weight lifting equipment and much more. Families won’t want to miss Hasbro, The Game Show and Dive In Movies at the Seaside Theatre.
If You Go:
For more information on the Carnival Sunshine, visit Carnival’s website at www.carnival.com.