In the past, two of my favorite things about Carnival cruises were the Deli, where I looked forward to having a great pastrami sandwich every day for lunch, and the adult entertainment, which always made us laugh out loud. On Carnival ... Read More
In the past, two of my favorite things about Carnival cruises were the Deli, where I looked forward to having a great pastrami sandwich every day for lunch, and the adult entertainment, which always made us laugh out loud. On Carnival Sunrise, the deli was average at best - went there on the first day for my pastrami sandwich but never went back. The sandwich was dry, the bread was dry, the service was blah. We did get to go to the adult entertainment, which was very good, but not because we always wanted to. Sometimes it was our only choice.
The redesign of the ship, which made room for more cabins, took away a significant amount of public spaces. There is very little space in the theatre – no way it can accommodate even ¼ of the people on the ship. And despite what it says in the marketing materials, there is no internet café so you better bring your own tablet or laptop. There is no library, which is truly sad because on a 14-day cruise you will most likely read one book and head to the library for another. And there is really only one area on the ship where you can sit and read – it has about 25 seats.
During our 14-day cruise, we got to see the crew talent show only once. Why? Because our late seating dinner got us to the theatre too late -- all of the seats were taken -- all of the time. And it wasn't just because of our choice of late dinner. Scheduling activities on the ship was horrendous. Often there was something (like a game show) in the theatre right before the crew show - so folks from earlier dinners went to see it and just never left. When we realized that the only way we would get to see the show was to sit on the stairs, we would rush to the Limelight Lounge to try to catch the adult comedy show. And sometimes that too was filled to capacity – no seats. Another issue with the Limelight Lounge was finding it/getting to it. If you came out of the restaurant you could walk 25 feet right into the lounge. But for some dumb reason, they would rope off the area and make you go up a flight of stairs and through the casino to get on line for the Lounge. The smoke from the casino permeated way passed the casino – you could smell smoke in the elevators and for quite a distance on the adjacent floors. They also did not offer even one night of non-smoking in the casino.
On the topic of activities, there were many days when the entire afternoon was trivia after trivia after trivia. Really? That's the best you can offer? While searching in the first days for what I soon learned was the non-existent internet café, I had the chance to speak with a woman who had been on the Carnival Triumph 8 times. She hated what they did to “her” ship and agreed with me on many issues about the lack of space overall.
Food: most evenings we sat with our family for the late seating dinner. Our servers were great – funny and attentive. But the service overall was erratic. Some nights everything went smoothly; other nights things were not hot or the wrong dish was served. Don’t know if that was a kitchen issue or if it was our servers....
Food in the buffet area was mediocre and the lines really, really long at just about any time of day. The bakery section needs a real overhaul. Every day they put out cookies that literally fell apart when you tried to pick them up with the serving spoon. How difficult is it to realize that the bowl is filled with broken cookies and crumbs everyday – so change the recipe!!!! Also, there were usually four or five different cakes to choose from – they all tasted the same.
We would recommend going upstairs to the Italian restaurant for lunch. They don’t really advertise it, so we stumbled upon it. When you get upstairs (from the buffet area), you will be given a seat number and a form to fill out. On the form you can request specific items in your pasta and it will come to you fresh and hot. That was great. Not so great is that you had to ask for something to drink – ice tea or lemonade. And that would put the server out – “Ok, I’ll try to find some for you!” Why not include space on the form for a beverage – too logical perhaps?
The Captain’s party, which was held toward the end of the cruise, was in the theatre. If you are seated anywhere other than the main floor, good luck getting a drink or any hors d’oeuvres. There is no way the servers are going to be able to get to you or climb through groups of people to do so.
That’s my take on the Carnival Sunrise. I usually pick a destination and then see which cruise line will get me there within my timeframe for travel and within my budget. I definitely wanted to see the Panama Canal, and the price was right for this cruise. However, I will not take another cruise on the Carnival Sunrise. And sadly, if this ship’s redesign is the wave of the future for cruise ships, I guess I will be cruising less.
25 nights on Carnival
127 nights on Princess
60 nights on Holland America
32 nights on Norwegian Read Less