Why Yes, and No? The Sunrise is a ship that is not new, but is new, a refurbished ship with many new amenities and also many new cabins which means more people. Unfortunately the cabins were put in at the expense of public areas. So, why Yes and No? It's not a great ship but not nearly as bad as some of the reviews are making it out to be.
We were supposed to embark in Manhattan, NY but were notified by Carnival a month before that the pier was being closed by Port Officials due to repairs, so we would embark in Brooklyn, NY after the ship disembarked passengers from the previous cruise in Manhattan and repositioned to Brooklyn. As we live on Long Island and Brooklyn is actually on Long Island, it was not a problem for us, but for others coming from out of the immediate area it posed somewhat of a logistical problem. But this was not Carnival's doing nor fault.
The repositioning also caused a two hour delay in boarding. Carnival gives a choice of boarding times and we had chosen 12:30 to 1:00 PM, now making it a boarding time of 2:30 - 3 PM with sailaway at 6 PM. After speaking to a Carnival agent we were told to stick to the original time of 12:30, then another agent told someone on our CruiseCritic forum to go with the two hour delay. At this point I figured it would be a free for all as people would be arriving at all different times, and I was right. We unloaded at the baggage area at 1:14 PM, and we were on the ship by 1:56 PM, less than 45 minutes. We are not Platinum or Diamond VIFP and did not have FTTF. It went pretty smoothly, very organized, all the staff was helpful and friendly.
Sailing out of Brooklyn you get to see the Statue of Liberty but do not sail by her. So the captain brought the ship out of the channel between the dock and Governor's Island and then turned UP river, just past the Statue and then back down again giving everyone on both sides of the ship some great views of her and great pictures too.
My wife and I enjoyed the ship and enjoyed being on the ship. I can honestly say this was a strange cruise. We were supposed to go to Bermuda for two nights but due to rough seas and a hurricane we were diverted to Charleston, SC , then supposed to go on to Bermuda for one day. So a 25% future cruise credit because of the missed night in port. Then when the ship could not continue on to Bermuda due to rough seas, a 100% future cruise credit and a slooooooow (approximately 8 knots or around 10 mph) cruise home to Brooklyn. A total of five sea days, which we love, and a visit to a port we've never been to. We had some rocky seas and it seemed as if the ship was less stable than others I've been on. People were getting sick and I was queasy, but I had developed a problem in my abdomen just prior to the cruise so not sure how much that played into it. And we did not notice any foul odors or smells nor did we hear of a complaints of any.
The Carnival Sunrise is a nice enough ship, but not too sure about the renovation. Carnival used to boast the biggest cabins on the sea, but it sure didn't feel like that at all. The room was sparse, one picture on the wall, a large screen tv, and that's it, fairly stark, but we didn't go to stay in our cabin. Plenty of food areas, the outside areas are nice, but getting to and from the Lido buffet was cramped, though not as bad as some of the reviews have said. I question that if they would have to close the outside decks due to weather if they would be able to accommodate all the passengers in the inside spaces.
Guy's Burgers and Pig and Anchor were very good, as was the pizza and Blue Iguana Cantina. I only ate breakfast there, but it was a bit different and very good. The Lucky Bowl was good, I enjoyed the Asian "soup" bowls, but didn't eat at the Deli, nor the Seafood Shack.
We always eat at the Steakhouse, and this was no disappointment, very good food, excellent service, and we took advantage of the free wine for the first night. We are not big drinkers, I don't drink at all and my wife lightly, so the bottle lasted the whole trip for her.
Sushi bar was adequate, not great, but very nice over all. We did not eat at Cucina Del Capitano.
Moving forward and aft on some of the decks was impossible causing diversions to other decks by going up or down and then reversing direction on the other side. This was on Decks 4 and 5. (We've cruised on the Carnival Splendor and didn't like it there either). The problem is that you use the elevator to get to a deck, only to find that you need to go to another deck to go through the ship. Also, some of the venues i.e., sushi bar, red frog pub, alchemy and the piano bar on the 5th deck are accessed either by the aft elevator or by walking through the casino, a smoking allowed area. Not good, but not really a deal breaker either.
The entertainment was good, the shows very nice, and the shipboard musicians very good. The cruise director, Mikey, was very good, very high energy, funny and not intrusive. He and his team did a great job keeping things going, especially being as there were extra sea days to cover. We did not go to the comedy shows. The musicians found in the various venues were generally good, some not to our liking, and some were excellent.
The staff; room stewards, main dining rooms, Lido food venues, Farenheit 555, and general cleaning crew, were excellent. They were friendly and very efficient.
In Charleston we walked the Market to the right of the pier on, well, Market St. Nice, it seemed expensive to me, but I'm not a shopper. We also took a one hour carriage ride, with the company with the red sashes, through part of the historic area which was very nice, relaxing and informative. Guide was engaging, knowledgeable and humorous. Fee for the one hour was $28.00 per person.
Disembarkation was very smooth and quick. We chose to have our baggage taken off and we also chose the late disembarkation. Finding our baggage was easy as it was the last set left in our zone and moving through the Customs line was pretty quick too. We were off the ship and waiting for about 10 minutes for our ride to pick us up. Good timing on my daughter's part.
We go on a cruise to have a good time, and plan on it to be a good time. I've never had a bad time on a cruise, and we don't drink or gamble, I figure if you plan on it being good, it will be. Is this our favorite ship? No, but we would definitely sail on her again. At least the next time we'd be way more used to the through ship travelling.
The cabin seemed a little "tight", even for two people The beds were configured as a King size and were very comfortable, but was very close to the wall on the right side making it awkward to get out of. Sufficient storage. Bathroom was adequate. Only furniture in the room was the bed and a chair in front of the desk/make up area. One picture on the wall and the flat screen tv on the other. Several channels were offered, we watched either TCM or the ship channel.
This is the point of embarkation so no sightseeing. A little tricky to actually get to, but the embarkation process was very smooth and quck.
We had never been to Charleston, SC, so the ship being diverted from Bermuda was okay with us. Walked over the the market on Market St. very busy, lots of stuff to see and buy, both in the market and in the shops on either side of the market. We did not take a ship excursion but did take a one hour Carriage Tour of the Historic district with Old South Carriage Co., the ones with the red sash. The Tour was very pleasant, the guide very knowledgeable, engaging and entertaining. At the time the tour cost $28.00 per person.