The 2,984-passenger Carnival Sunrise is NOT a quiet ship. It bustles day and night, with constant activity. If you like group activities, you can bounce from trivia to bingo to crafts to a bean bag toss competition all in the course of a few hours. If you prefer a few thrills, you can race down a water slide, traverse a ropes course or challenge a friend to a basketball game. If you're into sunning and swimming, you can join the crowds on the pool deck, or find a comfy day bed on the adults-only Serenity Deck.
The fun doesn't stop at night. There are musical shows and guest performers, a lively casino, outdoor movies, deck parties, bars with live music and comedy that ranges from family-friendly to R-rated.
The downside of all the bustle is that it's hard to find quiet. Book a balcony cabin or suite if you need to escape the crowds; breakfast and lunch in the dining room or speciality restaurant is much more relaxing than braving the buffet. The ship's design creates bottlenecks, especially around the pool deck dining venues and forces passengers to walk through the smoky casino to access the major midship dining and entertainment areas.
Carnival Sunrise has a wide range of restaurants, including barbecue, sushi, Mexican and seafood. Food ranges from adequate to good in the free venues; you'll need to pay for a more memorable dining experience in the steakhouse or Italian restaurant. (The free pizza is excellent, however.) Be aware of constant opportunities for upcharges, whether that be waiters continuously asking if you want a drink or extra-fee menu items in otherwise complimentary venues.
Cabins are basic but spacious, with plenty of options for families and groups wanting to be together. Suites give more space but don't come with tons of perks or fancy decor.
Sunrise is kid-friendly, with complimentary drop-off kid activities, general family activities and kids' menus in nearly every restaurant. It can carry close to 1,000 under-18s during school breaks; kid-avoiding couples should watch out.
The crew is friendly and helpful, and the entertainment staff is tireless in their efforts to show everyone a good time. Whether you have one depends on whether you're energized or fatigued from the nonstop people and activity.
Daytime: Casual dress for the weather, with shorts, jeans and tees are the norm.
Evening: Most nights are casual; jeans and dress shorts are OK, but some prefer khakis, sundresses or pants with cute tops. One or two elegant evenings (depending on how long your sailing is) are an opportunity to dress up (especially for photos) in dress slacks and dress shirt or suit and tie for men, and cocktail dresses or dressy separates for women. (And people do get all dolled up unless they plan to eat in the buffet.)
Not permitted: Cutoff jeans, sleeveless or T-shirts, gym shorts and swimwear are not permitted in the main dining room and Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse.
At night, cruisers pack the Liquid Lounge to see the high-energy Playlist Productions musical shows with fun effects. Shows aren't much longer than 30 minutes and feature oldies-but-goodies as well as modern hits off today's radio.
Carnival Sunrise lives up to Carnival Cruise Line's motto of "fun for all." Sea days are packed with all sorts of activities -- multiple trivia games, shopping and spa seminars (be careful, they're trying to sell you something), games, crafts and meetups. Many cruisers participate -- but just as many are relaxing in the sun, crowding the pool or enjoying the water slides, ropes course and basketball course up on the top deck.
If you'd like to see crew-only spaces, such as backstage and the bridge, and meet the captain, book the Behind the Fun Tour at the shore excursions deck. It takes place on the last sea day and can accommodate a maximum of 17 people, with only a few time slots, so book early.
One of the most popular spots to be in the evening are the family-friendly and off-colour comedy shows in the Limelight Lounge. Or enjoy the various bars around the ship, from the laid-back RedFrog Pub to the sing-along Piano Bar 88.
The casino is lively whenever it's open, and you're forced to walk through it to get across Deck 5. (If you don't like smoke, you'll need to cross on Deck 6 instead.) You'll find lots of slots and table games, plus daily tournaments and special prizes. Kids have their version at The Warehouse arcade next door.
Carnival Sunrise does not have a nightclub, though either the atrium lobby or Limelight Lounge serves that purpose for after-show music and dancing.
Poolside movies and deck parties move the crowds to the open decks at night.
Carnival Sunrise passengers tend to keep the bars hopping and the action going late into the evening. Consider the Cheers! drinks package if you plan on drinking several beers, cocktails and glasses of wine daily.
Limelight Lounge (Deck 4): This secondary show lounge is tucked away on Deck 4 midship but you can only get there via a stairway around the corner from the casino (right past the smoking section at the bar). It's home to the Punchliner Comedy Club shows; a weeklong cruise will likely have two comedians onboard, performing family-friendly and R-rated shows. (If you're easily offended, you won't enjoy the adults-only, late-night shows.) Karaoke and after-hours DJ dancing also take place in this space.
SkyBox Sports Bar (Deck 5): Behind closed doors, SkyBox is the place to catch live sporting events on multiple TVs. It's easy to walk right by and not notice it's there.
Red Frog Pub (Deck 5): One of the bigger drinking venues onboard with a Caribbean vibe, Red Frog serves up Carnival's own brew, ThirstyFrog Red, in pints, four-beer flights (with other ThirstyFrog or ParchedPig brews) or 101-ounce tubes. It's got a stage, a large horseshoe-shaped bar and games like foosball in the back corner. Pre-dinner karaoke and live music draw a crowd.
Piano Bar 88 (Deck 5): Carnival is known for its sing-along piano bars, and each performer tends to draw a following of regulars. Tip the pianist, and he'll play your favourite song.
Alchemy Bar (Deck 5): This popular watering hole pretends to be an old-school pharmacy, where lab coat-wearing bartenders concoct elixirs to cure what ails you. The Cucumber Sunrise is a favourite prescription.
BlueIguana Tequila Bar (Deck 9): Margarita, anyone? This poolside bar serves all your tequila-based favourites, fresh or frozen, including pitchers of margaritas and spiked lemonade. You can get beer, soda and nonalcoholic cocktails here, too.
Red Frog Rum Bar (Deck 9): The yin to Iguana's yang, this bar doles out pina coladas, daiquiris, mojitos and other rum-based drinks to the thirsty pool crowd.
Carnival Sunrise has two smallish pools and a handful of hot tubs. On the Caribbean and warm-weather cruises, the main pool area is packed all day long, and silly games, like the Hairy Chest Contest, take place there. It has a fun, energetic vibe -- but if you're looking for space to yourself, you won't find it here.
Carnival Sunrise is a great ship for outdoorsy types if you aren't afraid of crowds and direct sunlight. Deck 10 is where you'll find the Carnival WaterWorks water park with the 203-foot-long AquaTunnel slide, 212-foot-long Twister Waterslide, a small slide for little kids and a spray area with a dumping bucket.
For more active fun, head to Deck 11 and SportSquare, which offers a jogging track, shuffleboard, basketball court and a ropes course 150 feet above the sea. You'll also find alfresco foosball, pool tables, cornhole bean bag games and fitness equipment that sees more kids than fitness enthusiasts. A nine-hole mini-golf course is on Deck 12.
You'll find plenty of spots to sun yourself around the pool and on the deck right above.
If you need shade, you might find some on the aft deck behind the buffet, where there's a smaller pool and two more hot tubs. There are also some tables and chairs tucked under the overhang of the deck above, though they might be taken up by pizza and seafood eaters.
The most coveted sun deck space is in the two-deck adults-only Serenity sun deck on Decks 12 and 14. This area has padded lounge chairs, day beds and upright chairs, a hot tub and a bar. Though it's next to the water slide entrance and the kids club, noise and rug rats don't really carry over.
You'll find all the usual cruise ship services onboard Carnival Sunrise, including shore excursion and guest services desks; a photo gallery, camera shop and portrait studio; internet stations (find Carnival prices here) and shops selling fine jewelry and watches, perfume, designer bags, Carnival-branded items, clothing, toiletries, duty-free alcohol and cigarettes and more.
There are also DIY launderettes on every deck with cabins. You'll have to pay with your cruise card, but the iron and ironing board are free to use.
If you need cash for your land-based fun, you'll find an ATM, and you can check your onboard account at the Sail & Sign kiosks.
There's a medical centre onboard; you'll have to pay extra to see the doctor.
The Cloud 9 Spa on Deck 11 lures cruisers with the promise of relaxation and rejuvenation. It offers massages (Swedish, hot stone, herbal poultice) from $159 to $235 and from $145 to $185 for facials (price ranges are subject to change). It also offers body therapies (cellulite reduction and seaweed wraps), medi-spa therapies (Restylane and Dysport), men's treatments and shaves, acupuncture, teeth whitening and salon services (manicures, pedicures, hairstyling).
Embarkation day specials reduce rates for treatments done on Day One; depending on demand, you might find daily discounts, as well. If you book multiple treatments, you can access discounts of 10 percent on the first, 20 percent on the second and 30 percent on the third.
The spa's thermal suite is restricted access. Passengers in spa cabins get in for free; everyone else can pay $109 per cruise ($169 for couples). Day passes are available but aren't a great value. The facility offers two saunas, a steam room, heated loungers and an aromatherapy shower.
The fitness centre is spacious, but slanted windows create a lot of unusable space and a mirrored top half limits sea views while working out. The gym is stocked with LifeCycle equipment -- treadmills, elliptical trainers, stationary bikes -- a couple of rowing machines, resistance machines and free weights. A lot of room is dedicated to trainer offices, but the group class space is rather small. It's also used for footprint analysis sessions, limiting stretch space for gym-goers. (Use the space in front of treadmills if you don't need to stretch standing up.)
Complimentary fitness classes include stretching and abs; extra-fee classes include yoga, cycling, boot camp and Pilates. Classes are typically offered in the morning or late afternoon. An unlimited class pass is $79; personal training is also available for an extra fee.
SportSquare offers some outdoor fitness machines, but mostly kids fool around on them. There's a basketball court and jogging track (10 laps equal a mile), as well.
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 colourful, Seussical twist -- complete with character appearances -- for $6 per person.
On most nights, dinner is called American Table and the ambience 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 colourful 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/omelette 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 yoghurt 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 multi-course 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 flavours. 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 omelette 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 favourites, 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.
Carnival Sunrise's cabins are surprisingly spacious (even inside cabins), but storage options are not well thought out (wasted space in the closets and a real lack of drawers). The blond woods and blue highlights give a lovely beachy feel. The variety of cabins is best for families, groups and those looking for options at affordable price points; most standard rooms fit two to four people. Suites are limited, and while they give extra space (with room for up to five) and often gorgeous views, they're not over-the-top luxurious.
Cabins are outfitted with queen beds that can be separated into twins, small bedside tables and reading lights, a desk area with a mirror and some shelves, and closets with hanging and shelf areas (but no drawers for socks and underwear). Excluding inside cabins, most have sitting areas with small couches and coffee tables.
Amenities include a mini-fridge, safe, phone, hair dryer and TV with movies on demand and interactive elements (like checking your onboard account). There are U.S. and European outlets by the desk; USB ports are either by the bed or the desk, depending on the cabin configuration.
Bathrooms have more adequate storage with glass shelves for toiletries and showers with dispensers of shampoo and body wash. Suites and spa cabins get travel-sized bottles of Elemis toiletries.
Be aware, when the ship was rebuilt in 2019, the cabins were created using a non-metal material so if you're the kind to bring your own magnetic hooks you'll only be able to use them on the cabin door and the bathroom door.
There are 46 accessible staterooms across all basic category types (inside, outside, balcony and suites).
Interior: At 185 square feet, inside cabins feel reasonably spacious, probably because they do not have a sitting area. Storage space is limited, especially if you're looking for drawers. The lower categories only have bunk beds or a twin plus sofa bed; look out for a few cabins categorized as inside but that actually have windows that look out on a public walkway area.
Ocean View: Outside cabins are slightly larger at 211 to 220 square feet and include a sitting area. Scenic Ocean View cabins all the way forward feature floor-to-ceiling slanted windows and range from 260 to 320 square feet.
Balcony: Balcony cabins measure 220 to 245 square feet, including the balcony, and feature a private veranda with two chairs and a drinks table. Balcony cabins all the way aft or on aft corners may have extra space inside or out.
Cloud 9 Spa: Cloud 9 Spa cabins are available in inside and balcony categories and are located on Decks 10 and 11. Spa cabins receive Elemis-brand, rather than generic, toiletries, free access to the spa's thermal suite, two free fitness classes and upgraded bathrobe and slippers.
Suites: Carnival Sunrise offers four suite categories. The rooms are the largest onboard but are neither over-the-top luxurious or perks-laden as you might find on other ships. All come with priority check-in, but no other perks.
Ocean Suite: There are 41 Ocean Suites, which measure 275 square feet plus a 65-square-foot balcony. These are essentially larger versions of balcony cabins with more interior space and extra storage.
Grand Suites: Eight Grand Suites measure 345 square feet plus an 85-square-foot balcony. There's no divider between the sleeping and living areas, and bathrooms offer shower–tub combos and double sinks.
Grand Suites with Extended Balconies: There are just two of these suites onboard, which measure 394 square feet and come with a 201-square-foot balcony. They're identical to Grand Suites with the exception of the oversized veranda.
Captain's Suite: Two Captain's Suites take over the forward corners of Deck 9 and measure 587 square feet with a large 263-square-foot balcony. The interior of the cabin is divided into a master bedroom with a king-size bed, a living room that sleeps three with a double L-shaped sofa bed and a bed that pulls out of the wall, and two full bathrooms -- one with Jacuzzi tub, the other with shower. The living room has floor-to-ceiling windows letting in lots of light and a balcony with dining table and lounge chairs. Families will love it.