I tried. I promise I tried to enjoy myself while living and working on the Carnival Sunshine, but no matter how many beautiful ports were on the ship’s itinerary, that just wasn’t enough to make me want to stay. I honestly hate that the ship was called the Sunshine because it was anything but. While I was on the ship, I only heard one person say that they loved it and wanted to stay. Everyone else was counting down the days until they got to go on vacation or saying that the Sunshine was one of their least favorite ships to work on so far.
I did put in some solid effort to enjoy myself
in between crying myself to sleep most nights. The Sunshine in and of itself is a beautiful ship compared to the Elation. It has so many restaurants, and the guest areas are wonderful and colorful. There’s a lot for both guests and crew to do.
The crew areas were nice as well. I wish people hung out in crew bar more because it was pretty spacious comparatively. The person I hung out with the most on the ship was Carol. She worked in camp as well, but unlike me, she was doing a swing contract and was only on the Sunshine for the summer. She dragged me out to crew bar several times, sometimes just for a drink, other times to dominate me in foosball. We played several games so she could “practice,” but honestly, I don’t think playing against me made her any better because I’m ridiculously horrible. Sometimes while we were playing, other people came and asked to join us. The only time I won either of those games was when I was on the same team as Carol.
Carol also usually brought cards to crew bar. If we were playing against each other, we usually played a few games of War so we could do something mundane and still talk. One night, she taught me to play Rummy, and we ended up playing a few rounds of that and BS with two guys that I met just that evening. I think this is the perfect representation of why I love game nights. It breaks the ice because you aren’t focused on trying to make small talk or get to know total strangers. Instead, you’re focused on playing the game, and a little friendly competition actually helps bring y’all close together.
I went to one crew party that was pretty much a dud. Beforehand, Carol, me and two other campies, Laura and Miosha, had a little cabin party. We had some drinks and played several rounds of Spoons while listening to old school songs by S Club 7 and McFly. The actual party was alright. Not many people were there. I danced to a few songs until a guy got too friendly in spite of the fact that I told him I had a boyfriend.
Side note/getting a little real about ship life: That’s one thing that really bugged me about being on the ship – guys don’t respect relationships. It’s not uncommon for men to have a wife at home and a girlfriend on the ship. They may even be linked up with their boat boo, meaning their ID’s are linked and they move from ship to ship together. Messed up, right? Furthermore, any time I told someone I had a boyfriend, they would ask if he was on the ship. When I said “no,” they would shrug it off, acting like just because my boyfriend wasn’t physically present, it meant they had a chance. Honestly, it’s awful, but I digress.
I did my best to eat all the good food on the ship. Carol and I had the most delicious meal at Cucina del Capitano. I’m drooling just thinking about it. On my last night, Carol, Laura and I ate in the Sunrise Dining Room where I enjoyed some pork chops, frog legs, shrimp cocktail and two desserts – a fruit tray and a cheese tray. I’m out of control. I had many meals on Lido, and any chance I could, I snagged a burger from Guy’s because holy deliciousness. I always loaded it up with mushrooms and bacon. Don’t mind me. Just drooling over here.
Twice I got sushi from Bonsai. It wasn’t the best sushi I ever had, but it’s kind of hard to beat the prices. I frequented the coffee shop, mostly for the milkshake selection. There was so much good food on the ship, it seemed almost criminal to eat in the staff mess.
One of my favorite ways to spend an evening on the Elation was to go to the shows, but the scheduling was different on the Sunshine, so I couldn’t catch as many as I would have liked. On the Elation, the late show was at 10:15 pm, meaning if I got off at 10, I could rush to the theater and catch it. On the Sunshine, the late show was at 9:15 pm, and since most of my shifts ended at 10 pm or later, I didn’t get to watch hardly any of the shows. I did manage to watch Epic Rock, which was good, but not nearly as good as it was on the Elation.
In addition to having fun onboard, I also got off the ship every single chance I could. I only got to visit San Juan once, and it was a late port, so I couldn’t explore as much as I wanted to. I got off the ship by myself because I wasn’t feeling well that day and slept through the phone call that was supposed to wake me up to meet some of the girls from camp to go out to eat and shop. It ended up being perfect though because I ran into two guys from the ship who recommended a local coffee shop called Cuatro Sombras. It was just what I needed. Quiet, cute and affordable. The staff there was super nice and accommodating. I had a chicken salad sandwich that was absolutely divine.
After eating, I walked the streets of San Juan and made several phone calls to some folks at home. It made my heart happy to catch up with my family, friends and boyfriend.
In St. Thomas, I got off the ship twice by myself to walk around the shops. I didn’t have enough time to really do much else, but it was still nice to be off the ship and see the pretty landscapes.
I already wrote about my lazy beach days in Grand Turk. You can read about that here. Beautiful beaches, incredible food and friendly people.
When we ported in New York, Carol, Cassie and I went to this awesome bowling alley called Bowlmor. Each section of the bowling alley was themed toward a different area of New York, including Times Square, Chinatown, Central Park, etc. It was two stories with several bars throughout. The decorations were incredible, and the arcade was huge compared to the one in the bowling alley I go to at home.
We also had brunch at this restaurant in Times Square called Roxy’s Diner. The menu was extensive and of course overpriced because it was in Times Square, but it was pretty delicious. I got eggs benedict with salmon. It wasn’t as good as the ones I get at home at Another Broken Egg, but they were definitely better than ship food.
In the Bahamas, I, of course, had an incredible beach day at Half Moon Cay. A group of us lounged on the beach and had good conversation. I even made a new friend who shared one of the beers he managed to smuggle off of the ship.
In Nassau, I went to my favorite coffee shop, Avista, and took advantage of the speedy WiFi. I did a little shopping before I met up with Carol to go get some Chinese food.
The last port I visited was Bermuda, and I have to admit that it surpassed Half Moon Cay as my favorite beach. Y’all, this beach is incredibly beautiful. There are also tons of rocks to climb on that make for great photos, but it’s also pretty dangerous. There are some cliffs to jump off of, but we weren’t near any that were safe, so we opted to enjoy the pretty beach instead.
I definitely made the most of the short time I spent on the Carnival Sunshine. I made some friends and a few good memories, but the amount of tears I shed and the amount of unhappiness I felt just wasn’t worth it to attempt to stay on the ship for another five months. I’m so much happier now (in spite of the financial hardship I put myself in in order to get off the ship and back home), and I guess I do have the Sunshine to thank for that. I would have never appreciated home the way I do if I hadn’t been so miserable on that ship.
Have you ever left a job that made you unhappy?