Booked this cruise for my grandson's 16th birthday celebration. As we live in NJ, a NYC departure was a no-brainer for convenience and, as repeat Carnival cruisers, my wife and I were looking forward to a typical Carnival cruise experience. My daughter and son-in-law and our three grandchildren had a less than satisfactory cruise with NCL last year and we assured them that Carnival would provide a much more satisfying and fun experience.
Carnival did not disappoint with anything but the ship itself.
Having heard about the expensive renovations being done to the ship, we expected to sail upon a relatively pristine cruise ship. While one can understand that companies need to maximize profits, it was apparent the "renovations" were not to the ship's systems for additional passenger's comfort. Rather, they were simply for additional passengers.
The ship clearly shows it's age. More rust shows on her than I've ever seen on a cruise ship. Our cabin door had a damaged balcony door handle which physically needed to be positioned properly to latch. Our shower head fell onto my head while showering, requiring a maintenance visit. Closet motion-activated lights did not work. None of this was a deal breaker but one expects a Grand Suite to be, at the very least, grand. We worked around it.
Not sure what the problems were with the air conditioning, but it was sweltering throughout most of the ship for the first day and a half and marginal after that. There was no relief from the heat sailing out of New York. Throughout the entire cruise, we got not one drop of cold water from our sink and water pressure was sufficient but not what we are used to aboard other ships.
It is impossible to overstate the crowded conditions on board and the apparent lack of thought given to the design with which the movement of that number of people would be handled. Navigating most Carnival ships is fairly straightforward for passengers. Not on this ship. Two major choke points exist on the Lido deck between the interior tables and the pool area. To make things worse in these areas, coffee and drink dispensers are located therein. So, in an area through which two people might barely pass, lines formed for drinks, making it almost impossible to get through. As experienced cruisers, we know to avoid the Lido during peak times and that was especially important aboard the Sunrise. Seating seemed very difficult to find. We chose to avoid the buffet most days due to it's limited size and the resultant incredibly long lines. The dining room for breakfast was our preference and the specialty fast food venues like Guy's Burgers, the Deli and Lucky bowl were lunchtime choices. Everyone in our group was more than happy with the selection and quality of food served in the dining room. My grandson has a deadly food allergy and he was given special consideration in that he was able to see the following day's menu and select those dishes which interested him. The chefs then prepared his meals separately and he had a very enjoyable dining experience throughout the cruise.
The seating in the Limelight and Liquid lounges seemed adequate for the numbers of folks we observed attending the shows. Bar areas had plenty of seating and the Red Frog's size was a pleasant surprise.
You might think by now that we didn't enjoy our cruise. Nothing could be further from the truth. My wife and I had a wonderful time and my daughter's family swear they will cruise Carnival again. My grandchildren said it was one of the best vacations they have ever taken.
Carnival's secret weapon is their people. Folks like Chris Williams, the cruise director and his fun squad, the dining room personnel and bar staff, room stewards and other ships personnel make Carnival our choice. We find the vast majority of ship's complement with whom we interact to be welcoming, smiling and friendly.
I have read some reviews in which ship's personnel are described as rude and unresponsive. We have had absolutely zero experiences like that. However, there might be an explanation for some crew frustration: Pat and I normally cruise in late spring (April-May). Young people are still in school at that time of year. By necessity, we cruised in July this year. Never again. During this cruise, we were witness to some of the most arrogant and disrespectful behavior we have ever seen. Teenagers running down hallways and pounding on stateroom doors as they went, wrestling and throwing things at each other in elevator waiting areas, verbally abusing ship's personnel, sitting and blocking stairwells while eating and refusing to move to let people by, leaving their plates of unfinished food on the stairs, screaming obscenities, etc.
I don't think we would ever cruise the Sunrise again but we would certainly cruise Carnival without hesitation.
Not as "Grand" a suite as we hoped but a nice room, nonetheless.
Very short time at the beach.View All 265 Magen Bay Beach Reviews