This cruise was booked 16 months prior to sailing. While it is not our first cruise, it is the first with my daughter and her husband who had no previous cruise experience. I sprang the invitation to my daughter just 6 months before the cruise. To say they were excited is an understatement.
We traveled to NYC by train the day before sailing, my wife and I from Boston and my daughter and son-n-law from Philadelphia.
I have become quite disappointed with the embarkation and debarkation process on Carnival in Manhattan and this cruise was not an exception. Up until 2016 Priority Boarding for Platinum, Diamond and Suite guests we always had a VIP lounge and a separate boarding area. The process was fast, efficient and comfortable. No longer is this the case. The Platinum, Diamond and Suite guests no longer have a lounge, and are grouped together with Faster to the Fun and persons with disabilities.
When I was looking for a cruise for September it was exciting to see a different ship was coming to New York. For reasons some who have read my previous reviews are aware my wife and I limit our cruises to those out of New York and Boston. We had not sailed on the Triumph before its transformation to the Sunrise this year. I had actually booked the cruise before the change was even publicized. I prefer the ships under 110,000 so this met my entire criterion.
The ship was clean which given it just went through a $200 million refurbishment should not come as a surprise. While it never, even breakfast at the Lido, seemed crowded it always felt compressed like they want to be all things to all people. Each venue seemed shrunk to fit.
The two exceptions were Pixels and Serenity. Way too much space taken up with this money grabbing venue of which my wife took full advantage. We unfortunately were unable to find any seating at Serenity on the three times we attempted. Simply stated we are not early risers so we just went back to our wonderful balcony which I discuss next under Stateroom.
I was a bit disappointed with the layout of the ship. Getting to the Limelight Lounge on Deck 4 with the Punch Liner Comedy is a bit complicated. You have to traverse the Radiance Dining Room or walk partially through the Casino on Deck 5 then take the elevator or stairs down to Deck 4. Rarely will you be able to enter through the back side next to the Sunshine Dining Room.
I originally booked Grand Suites but about a month before the cruise when we were “visiting” the ship on-line my wife saw the Captain’s Suite. As the saying goes “Happy Wife, Happy Life” so I checked and miraculously there was one of the two Captain’s Suites available. My daughter and her husband were pleased with the Grand Suite but I can not give any details given I did not ever see the suite.
As for the Captain’s Suite, it is a bit more than two people need, separate bathrooms…? really now! Lots of storage space, large televisions in the sitting room and bedroom, lots of electric outlets and USB outlets, huge balcony with a table and four chairs and two lounge chairs and a spectacular view out the front of the ship. The room is directly above the ship’s bridge so the view is as good as the Captain’s.
My wife did find the bathtub while jetted was smaller than previous suites.
The food was fine in all the venues we visited with the exception of the lobster in the MDR and the Seafood Shack. My wife, who is a Maine lobster fanatic found them to be, in her words “slimy”. She did find the shrimp and chowder to be very good and I have the tab to prove it.
Also we are not Sushi lovers, did not find time for the tacos at the Blue Iguana Cantina or Guy’s Pig and Anchor Smokehouse.
I would be remiss to not mention Guy’s Burger Joint. My two previous experiences of biting into a piece of charcoal and then a leather belt will never be forgotten. Being the forgiving type and always giving a second chance, in this case third chance, I went for it. And glad I did. THIS was what I had wanted all along. Even though it was well done, it was still juicy and delicious. I really enjoyed this burger immensely.
We did dine at Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse and Cucina del Capitano and both are well worth the additional fee.
More of an observation rather than a criticism or complaint we have always left the dining room after eating satisfied. This time we felt stuffed. My daughter, who is not afraid of food, was unable to empty her plate on several occasions. It seems Carnival, possibly just this chef, has increased the portion sizes. Previously, we would order another entrée, go to another venue and get something more to eat, get a soft serve ice cream or simply wait till the late night dining at the Lido. None of that occurred on this cruise.
The staff throughout the ship was wonderful. The bar/ lounge staff, the dining staff, room steward guest services, etc. If they ever knew our name, they would always greet us using our names. I’m not sure how they do it, sometimes I do not remember my own.
Al Ernst is one of the funniest if not THE funniest guys I have seen on a cruise ship. Yeah, he doesn’t swear up a storm or look for ways to insult the audience or have a bunch of filthy stories to tell but he is one heck of a great comedian. Thank you, Al for two wonderful evenings of humor.
The shows in the Liquid Lounge were enjoyable with very talented performers. We did find the Electric Violins in the Sunrise Lobby played a louder than we prefer thus did our drinking and socializing elsewhere.
We only left the ship at Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic. We missed this Carnival private port on the Vista in 2016 due to strong winds. We rented an Ocean View Cabana which was very enjoyable. My daughter and son-in-law rode the zip line once and decided as much fun as it was, the trek back to the top really wasn’t worth it. The pool looked very inviting and there were plenty of chairs but I really enjoyed sitting and relaxing in the Cabana with an occasional hop into the water. Getting up the ladder out of the water is quite an ordeal. I suggest a couple more rungs on the ladder deeper in the water. Pretty tough on us older folk (I’m 72) and those who may be a bit on the hefty side.
On the other port days we took advantage of the pool as the ship was vacated of passengers. Ah, maybe this is when we should have visited Serenity! No pool though.
We were told to be in the Liquid Lounge at 8:15 A.M. to take advantage of Priority Debarkation. Not sure why we had to be there when we weren't allowed off until
9:30 A.M. No coffee, juice and pastry were available as has been the case on previous cruises. Had I known, we would have had a relaxing breakfast in the MDR and been the last people off the ship at 10:30.
This certainly wasn’t our first rodeo with Carnival and God willing not our last. Overall the cruise was great with the exceptions of embarkation and debarkation. I hope to sail the Sunrise again and take advantage of the some of the other things it has to offer. While we have been on prettier ships, enjoyed better pampering and sailed for more days we are thankful the lord gave us the physical and financial ability to go on this cruise and will have memories that will stay with us the rest of our lives.
I originally booked Grand Suites but about a month before the cruise when we were “visiting” the ship on-line my wife saw the Captain’s Suite. As the saying goes “Happy Wife, Happy Life” so I checked and miraculously there was one of the two Captain’s Suites available. My daughter and her husband were pleased with the Grand Suite but I can not give any details given I did not ever see the suite. As for the Captain’s Suite, it is a bit more than two people need, separate bathrooms…? really now! Lots of storage space, large televisions in the sitting room and bedroom, lots of electric outlets and USB outlets, huge balcony with a table and four chairs and two lounge chairs and a spectacular view out the front of the ship. The room is directly above the ship’s bridge so the view is as good as the Captain’s. My wife did find the bathtub while jetted was smaller than previous suites.