Took the Carnival Sunrise with my two - year old son, GF, her mom, her brother, my sister, and two friends. We all had an amazing time, and I'm happy to report we now have two more people hooked to cruising!
The ship itself, as I'm sure you know by now is the retrofitted Carnival Triumph, which probably was due for a rebranding after its well - publicized issues. Let me start with THIS VESSEL LOOKS AMAZING! Clean, well maintained, and not dated at all. Sure, you aren't going to get ALL the bells and whistles of the newer ships, but the remodel brought a good 85% of what you'd expect to find on the newer ships of today. Guy's Burger Joint, Blue Iguana Taqueria, a fun ropes course that made this chicken turn right back around after the first platform, Carnival Waterworks, there was plenty to do. In fact, I missed some things on my "list" such as the Serenity Deck because there was never a lack of activity or places to go.
My son spent some time in Camp Ocean and he absolutely LOVED it! I had heard great things about Carnivals' children's programming, and was not disappointed at all. The staff was professional, fun, compassionate, and clearly knew what they were doing. I would HIGHLY recommend Camp Ocean. The Build a Bear Workshop was definitely one of the highlights.
Our sailing was the first on the Sunrise for Erin Weigand, our Cruise Director, and she nailed it! I know she'll have big shoes to fill following in the footsteps of Carnival;'s 2019 Cruise Director of the Year, Chris "The Flying Scotsman" Williams, but she is more than capable. Erin brought an incredible energy, kept us updated, and most of all was FUN, and isn't that the name of the game? GF and I were delighted when she sent a 24k solid gold plastic ship on a stick and a very nice handwritten letter to our stateroom! While we are on the subject of entertainment I would be remiss if I didn't mention that one of the shows, Vintage Pop, is absolutely, without a doubt the BEST cruise ship stage production I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. Top notch performances, sets, costumes, and music. It's a can't miss! One of the leads in particular (the young lady who comes out from under the feathers) is destined to become a star, like HUGE. Also, can't say enough good things about the Electric Violinists, who wowed the crowd several nights in the atrium. The Hasbro Game Show was an absolute blast, and both my GF and I got on stage and made it to the final round!
The Sunrise isn't perfect by any means. In fact, if Cruise Critic allowed decimal scores I'd rate the ship somewhere between a 3.5 and a 3.75 instead of a 4. My biggest complaints echo what some past cruisers have already stated: the buffet is designed horribly and is probably the single reason the line for it is almost always unbearably long. By having choke points at the end of the line, AND especially by putting the salad bar and hot table as one long straight line the buffet gets over loaded with slow moving diners. In addition, some of the buffet desserts (particularly the Chocolate Intensity) were some of the worst at sea, with GF calling the cake "chewy," and not in a pleasant way. Also, let's talk about those cupcakes in Java Blue. Huge, with lots of whipped frosting, they looked Great! We decided to purchase two, at $3 (plus gratuity) each. (Total came to $7.18) GF got a smore's, and I got a dulce de leche. One word, YUCK! The cakes themselves were darn near solid and chewy, while the frosting was a nearly solid mass that was very unpleasant. Even my two - year old wanted no part of it after a few bites.
The Sunrise doesn't ride the water especially smoothly, and even in calm seas several passengers commented on how much shakiness and rocking they felt. This is the first vessel I've ever felt the need to take Dramamine as a matter of prevention. (though I do on each sailing anyway, just in case.)
The atrium was nice, but the view upwards was blocked by some kind of globe art that really took away from the soaring space you see on other ships. The line to Guest Services seemed to be perpetually long.
Let's get back to the positive, because there is plenty of it. the food selections in the MDR were spot on, with the ox tongue being a favorite of mine, Like a piece of just perfectly fatty roast beef it melted in my mouth and was very flavorful. On our last night on the ship I also enjoyed the kitchen's vegetarian special of papadam with raita, dal, and basmati rice, with was prepared and presented exquisitely. Like my past Carnival cruises, the 24/7 pizza at the back of the ship was a huge hit. Seriously, Carnival really nails pizza! Favorites for GF and I included the Quatro Formaggi, and Prosciutto pies. Only thing I have always thought Carnival can do better is add one more employee during peak times, as two workers almost always seem to get overwhelmed. Also, at some point in the last few years they seem to have removed the Caesar Salad from the pizza station menu. (It still appears in the MDR) In the past I used to rave about Carnival's Caesar, but for whatever reason it just seemed good, but not great this time. Could just be me though.
We visited three ports during our five day journey; Grand Turk, Princess Cay, and Nassau. Grand Turk was a lovely little island with your standard cruise terminal area featuring the usual souvenirs, jewelry, bars and eateries. There was a nice monument / information about the Mercury 7 flights and astronauts that splashed down in the ocean nearby. Outside of the tourist area is pretty run down and still sees the lingering effects of a recent hurricane. The beach features some of the best baby powder sand I've seen. Princess Cay is exactly what you would expect from a Carnival owned private island. Gorgeous views, souvenir stands, bars, etc. I've always had a love / hate relationship with Nassau, and that didn't change with this trip. If you've been there once, you know that the peddlers / solicitors can be a chore to move past. There's plenty to see and do in the city, but Nassau is usually a bit too much for me. We did not purchase shore excursions for any of the ports.
As should be expected with Carnival the staff aboard the Sunrise was friendly, attentive, and eager to please. Our Cabin Steward, I Nyoman was fantastic! It seemed like every time we left our cabin for even a short amount of time he came in and made it spotless. I've always said that Cabin Stewards and staff of cruise ships are the hardest working employees I've ever seen, and this staff was no exception!
Overall, despite a small number of complaints we had a fantastic time aboard the Carnival Sunrise. I truly believe that you bring your vacation with you. If you are laid back and go with the flow you will absolutely enjoy the heck out of your cruise. If you're someone who likes to complain, well, you will find things to complain about. As for me, I HIGHLY recommend a journey aboard this ship, everyone in our party had a fantastic time, and can't wait to sail again!
We had an 8B Balcony Stateroom on the Carnival Sunrise, which consisted of a very comfortable queen sized bed, couch, and bunk bed. The cabin seemed a touch smaller than I remember, but not significantly, and that may just be me. There was still enough space for all 4 of us, and our Cabin Steward, I Nyoman made certain that the room was well cleaned, leaving us plenty of space. The balcony was such a delight, though I do wish the glass looking out onto the ocean was a bit cleaner.