Carnival Sunrise is a ship for lovers of comfort food. Free fare includes pizza, burgers, barbecue and pasta. The main dining room takes risks with certain items, but mostly offers American classics, with plenty of meat, fish and chicken. We found meals to be enjoyable but not earth-shattering; the extra-fee venues step the quality up with more rave-worthy dishes. Our biggest complaint is that various free dining venues around the pool deck are counter service only and lines get frustratingly long, especially on sea days.
Sunshine (Decks 3 and 4) and Radiance (Decks 3 and 4) Restaurants
Meals: Breakfast (B), Dinner (D)
Carnival Sunrise passengers can choose from three dining options in the ship's two main sit-down banquet-style restaurants: early seating at 6 p.m. at a set table with the same tablemates every night, late seating at 8:15 p.m. also at an assigned table or Your Time Dining, which allows you to pick when you arrive at the restaurant, with no assigned table, any time between 5:15 and 9:15 p.m.
Passengers with Your Time Dining need to check in on Deck 5 near Bonsai Sushi, and if no tables are available, will be given a buzzer and may have to wait up to a half-hour for a table (usually the wait is 5 to 10 minutes). Best to check in online using the free Carnival Hub app when you're close to being ready for dinner. Those who agree to share a table might get seated sooner.
The dining rooms offer a menu that changes daily but is the same no matter which restaurant you're assigned. Sunshine and/or Radiance serve breakfast and dinner on port days and brunch, afternoon tea and dinner on sea days.
Breakfast is less hectic in the dining room than in the buffet, and the menu covers all the breakfast classics, plus some more unusual choices such as masala dosa and chia seed pudding. On sea days, brunch is offered from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with both breakfast and lunch options. Fresh-pressed juices and seafood dishes (lobster Benedict, peel-and-eat shrimp) cost extra. The Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast, offered once a cruise, does breakfast with a colorful, Seussical twist -- complete with character appearances -- for $6 per person.
On most nights, dinner is called American Table and the ambiance is casual (no table cloths). Diners can choose starters, mains, grilled items, side dishes and desserts; ask your waiter if you have a dietary restriction as dishes aren't marked. Vegetarian options are always available.
The menu includes one appetizer and entree themed to the port of call or cruise region, one daring dish called a "Rare Find" (think alligator fritters or braised rabbit) and extra-fee "Steakhouse Selections" (lobster tail, filet mignon, tower of seafood).
On American Feast nights (which coincide with Elegant Night dress-wise), the menu is smaller and a bit fancier; these nights are when complimentary lobster and filet mignon will appear, as well as white tablecloths and silver sea shell table decor.
Roving waiters offer colorful shots for an extra fee. You can also order wine, soda and cocktails at bar prices.
Service and wait times between courses varies widely, depending on which server you get. In addition, Carnival Sunrise waiters like to liven up meals with song-and-dance routines. Feel free to wave your napkin and join in.
Lido Marketplace (Deck 9)
Meals: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D)
The ship's buffet is a popular daytime dining destination -- possibly too popular. Bottlenecks and chokepoints lead to long lines and congested corridors at peak times, and the all-day deli counter/omelet station particularly backs up. (After 9 p.m., when only the deli and the pizza counter are open, the waits can be up to 20 minutes long.) Seating can be especially difficult to find when the buffet is hopping.
Lido Marketplace serves breakfast staples in the morning. At lunch and dinner, choices include a make-your-own salad bar and premade salads, plus a variety of hot entrees (including a daily soup and a carving section for meat), sometimes themed. Vegetarian salads are marked but not entrees (though there are vegetarian entrees, you just have to look for them); it's not the best dining venue for particular eaters. You'll also find snacks late at night.
The semicircular main buffet line is split into two sides, each with the same offerings. If you want only one thing from this area, you need to go through the entire line; there's no way to jump in and out. Behind are separate stations for desserts/breakfast pastries. Along the port side, behind BlueIguana, is the deli (serving 15 types of sandwiches until 11 p.m.) and Lucky Bowl (offering breakfast bowls and three Asian lunchtime dishes, which change daily).
Drink stations with complimentary water, tea, juice, coffee and hot chocolate, as well as soft serve ice cream and frozen yogurt dispensers, are located inside and outside the buffet. A coffee bar for extra-fee espressos and cappuccinos is tucked in a back corner.
Pizzeria del Capitano (Deck 9)
Meals: Open 24/7
This pizza counter by the aft pool serves five types of pizzas (substitutions aren't allowed), with vegetarian and meaty options, and crispy crust; they're absolutely delicious. Order a personal pizza or by the slice; you might have to wait if you're ordering pies other than cheese or pepperoni. Use the Hub app to have pizza delivered anywhere on the ship for $5. Gluten-free pizzas are available upon request.
BlueIguana Cantina (Deck 9)
Meals: B, L
Skip the lines at the buffet or Guy's Burger Joint for a satisfying breakfast or lunch of burritos, tacos or arepas. Customize your order by choosing fillings from the chalkboard menu. Don't miss the salsa bar with a huge number of topping options, plus fresh watermelon. Meat and veggie-friendly options are available.
Guy's Burger Joint (Deck 9)
This ain't your grandma's pool grill. Burgers courtesy of Guy Fieri include burgers topped with onion rings, Fieri's special sauces or a second patty made out of bacon. A toppings bar adds more calories with deliciousness like grilled onions and mushrooms. Open noon to 6 p.m. (Vegetarian burgers and hot dogs are available at the deli in the buffet.)
Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse (Deck 10)
If you can't get enough of Fieri, climb to Deck 10 for his Guy's Pig & Anchor BBQ restaurant with smoked meats, your choice of sauce and Southern-style sides like slaw, collards and molasses baked beans. Vegetarians need not make the trek unless you're jonesing for mac 'n' cheese. (Secret find: This counter serves breakfast items from the Lido Marketplace in the morning, so you can skip the long buffet lines.)
The room service menu is divided into breakfast, daytime dining and late-night dining. Continental breakfast, salads, sandwiches and desserts are complimentary. Breakfast can be ordered by marking selections on a card and hanging it outside your door the night before. Certain breakfast and daytime items and all late-night orders (considered 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.) carry a $2 to $6 fee; these items include hot breakfast sandwiches, chicken tenders, Philly cheesesteaks, fries and a dessert doughnut sandwich.
Pricing was accurate at time of review but may have changed since.
The Chef's Table (Deck 3); $95
A private dining room tucked away in a corner of the Radiance Dining Room is the exclusive venue for the Chef's Table, a gourmet multicourse meal served exclusively to 16 diners. The 3.5-hour dining event features a galley tour, complete with Champagne and hors d'oeuvres; a seven-course meal served (but not paired) with wine; and another presentation in the galley. The Chef's Table only takes place on select evenings, and most people book online in advance; dinners can sell out completely before the ship sets sail. Dietary restrictions can be accommodated.
Fahrenheit 555 (Deck 4); $38 for adults, $12 for kids
Tucked away next to the Radiance Dining Room, this steakhouse is great for an upscale date night that shouldn't be missed. Steak is the star, but seafood options also impress. If you want a unique dessert, order "Art at the Table," where the chef paints a board with sauces and scatters treats around it. Reservations are required at Fahrenheit 555; make yours for the first night and you'll typically be rewarded with a complimentary bottle of house red or white wine or 50 percent off other vintages.
JavaBlue Cafe (Deck 4); a la carte
This cafe calls to caffeine- and sugar-lovers with a menu of coffee and espresso drinks (regular or spiked), tea and hot chocolate, Ghirardelli frappes and milkshakes. Giant pastries are also on sale, though there are so many free goodies at the buffet, it's hard to imagine spending money on treats here. Open early morning to late night.
Bonsai Sushi (Deck 5); a la carte, $1.50 to $22
Meals: L (sea days only), D
Grab a seat at the counter or in the bamboo-inspired seating area to dine on sushi, sashimi, miso soup and desserts enhanced with Japanese flavors. Japanese beers and sake are available here, too. Individual items range from $1.50 to $7, a bento box is $10 and a sushi ship for two is $22. Bonsai Sushi is open until midnight if you're looking for a late-night snack. Unfortunately, it's location on each side of the main Deck 5 thoroughfare makes you feel like you're sitting at a food court in a mall; it's not a Zen-like dining experience.
Seafood Shack (Deck 9); a la carte, $4 to per pound market prices
Meals: L, D
You'll get the vibe of a beachy lobster shack at Seafood Shack, located by the aft pool, across the pizzeria. Buckets of shrimp and clams cost $5 to$6; lobster rolls, clam chowder in a bread bowl and fish-and-chips will run you $4 to $12. Fresh lobster, crab, shrimp and oysters are sold at market prices.
Cucina del Capitano (Deck 10); $15 for adults, $5 for kids
Meals: L, D
Carnival Sunrise's Italian restaurant is really just the second level of the buffet. At breakfast, it's the place to order an omelet without waiting in line at the buffet. At lunch, it's a complimentary pasta bar. At dinner, it's a for-fee Italian restaurant, complete with checked tablecloths and waiters singing in Italian. Cucina del Capitano serves lots of Italian favorites, but you'll find neither tiramisu nor gelato for dessert. Also, the vegetarian options are surprisingly limited.
Cherry on Top (Deck 5); a la carte
This candy shop sells bulk candy by the pound, as well as Dr. Seuss-themed and other whimsical souvenirs, and adventure gear like snorkel masks.