This was our first Carnival cruise. My wife and I are in our late 50’s early 60s. We’ve sailed with Royal Caribbean, Princess, NCL, and for our honeymoon, Home Line. We hesitated sailing with Carnival due to its rep as a beer and pizza cruise line. After reading numerous reviews on how they’ve upped their game, we gave it a shot and were not disappointed.
We sailed on the Sunrise, to Canada and New England. First, this cruise attracts an older audience. 90% of the passengers were older than us, and that was quite OK.
The ship is a rehab, with Carnival adding additional passenger rooms to the detriment of common areas. They were very overcrowded, including the buffet, which was no loss, as cruise buffets in general arent stellar. It was difficult to get seating at the piano bar and the comedy club. We went to the comedy club once, 45 minutes early, and were able to get a seat. The ship was not nearly full, which gives me concern about how it would fare when full. We had an inside cabin, as we love the dark for sleeping. It was amply sized, and we didnt feel at all cramped.
The food was really good. The Guy Fieri restaurants (note, theyre not really restaurant, just take out) were stellar. Some of the best BBQ anywhere and great burgers. Terrific! Make this your first meal when you wait for your room. Lucky Bowl was also exceptional. A cross between pho and ramen for lunch; delicious noodle soup. For breakfast, they serve breakfast bowls. Skip the buffet for lunch and dinner, youre best off at the taco bar (also good for breakfast), the sit down formal main restaurant or the Fieri stops. You can always grab something from the buffet if the other meals dont fill you up.
The only meal that was disappointing was the for-pay Cucina del Capitan. The service was poor, and the food mediocre. If you want to splurge, order the lobster for a $10 dollar premium in the main dining room. Or the seafood tower. I’m sorry we didnt. We saw one the last night, and it was huge. At $60 for two people, it’s a bargain. Also, on the first formal night, they serve lobster for no surcharge. So, dont book the specialty restaurant for formal night. If you want more than one of anything, ask. If youre too timid to ask, ask them how big the lobster tail is and they will heap them on you. Passive aggressive ordering. Youre welcome.
The activities were fun, and the shows were really good for what they were. The only total ripoff is bingo. On the first night, 8 people split the $200 jackpot. On the last night, they advertised a $5000 jackpot. This was a fill-the-card game. What they didnt tell you was that if there wasnt a winner after a certain amount of draws, they wouldnt award the $5000 jackpot. This wasnt advertised, and the winner walked away with a $1000 prize. A lot of angry people.
All in all, it was a great cruise with really good service and food. Good value.