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Review! Nov 2nd Sunrise to GT, Princess Cays and Nassau


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Day 1: See ya Chicago!

We traveled on the Carnival Sunrise embarking on 02Nov19, and returned 07Nov19 out of Fort Lauderdale/Port Everglades. Traveling were two children 3 & 6, wife and myself. Wife and I have one prior cruise experience on the Destiny in 2011. We had a blast, and have no real complaints about the trip - a couple critiques and suggestions sure! But no complaints. We didn’t take many photos this trip, we tried to live in the moment rather than fuss with review pictures, but I’ll share what I have to share. 


We departed Chicago Midway on Friday the 1st, after taking the kids out of school early. Flight on Southwest was good as expected - line at Midway was a little longer than usual but moved quickly. They are doing some major renovations and things are a little wonky at the moment - no big deal. 


Once in FLL, we took our hotels free shuttle and made it to Homewood Suites in Dania Beach by around 9pm. I’d recommend the hotel for anyone looking for an inexpensive hotel for an overnight stay before cruising. The hotel was very nice - clean, friendly staff, free shuttle to/from airport, quiet rooms, good breakfast, and the shuttle to the port in the morning was efficient. We would have taken uber/lyft to the port, but the two little ones require child seats, so we opted for the easy solution and paid $10pp for the shuttle. No complaints. We didn’t swim in the pool, but the boys couldn’t resist getting their feet wet. We had a late dinner at Wendy’s, which is in the parking lot of the hotel. Despite the proximity to the airport and planes landing right overhead, the rooms remained silent.



We had 12-12:30 boarding time, and took the 11:45 shuttle (time options were 10/1145/1 I think). We got there at about 12:15 and found a long line, apparently due to a communication issue with their boarding system. It got resolved and the lines started zooming, we were on board by about 1:05. We went straight away to deck 10 and found an empty Pig & Anchor where I loaded up on brisket, pulled pork, sausage and mac&cheese. We sat inside Cucina del Capitano where my 6yo found his favorite dish of the trip - linguine with tomato basil sauce. I think he had for they lunch 3 or 4 times at least. I went back for more bbq - it’s pretty good! - and wife ordered some pasta for herself. Not a bad start to the trip at all. Thanks for Jamman for the tips about going straight upstairs. After lunch we popped over to check the kids in at Camp Ocean - we filled everything out online but they have a few lore things to go over, and they gave us a phone since we have the young 3yo. Thankfully it was never needed. The crew at Camp Ocean were very wonderful, always smiling and happy to answer questions, and most importantly the kids loved them! FYI the Camp Ocean crew do accept and split tips, so don’t be shy! After touring the Camp we headed down to our room, guided helpfully by these maps located in every elevator lobby - I thought they were a nice touch. 



We found our room and shortly after our luggage found us as well, we unpacked and settled in. Our room steward Cindy was lovely, and we chose evening service. We had a 6C ocean view on deck two (#2331) which has a sofa that folds down to a twin bed and Cindy set up trundle bed next to the sofa. Even with the extra bed, the room was fine for us - we were only ever there to relax and let the kids wind down with video games. 


We tried to get into the pool just as Muster was being called - thankfully it was quick because the kids were antsy! Back up to lido aft to enjoy the Tides pool for a bit, and watch the Celebrity Equinox sail away before we shoved off. We cleared the channel and were away! We headed back to the room to change before dinner and explore the ship a bit. We made our way up to decks 10-14 and enjoyed a lovely first sunset at sea. 




We had a shaky dinner in the MDR, the service was just off. Apps came after entrees, desert never showed up, but at least the food was good! We shipped the kids off for the first night of Camp Ocean. The elder was nervous at first but we calmed him down and after that he didn’t want to do much else besides be at Camp Ocean! The little guy loved it as well. 


We wandered around the ship child-free for a bit, enjoyed some music here and there and just relaxed. Somewhere along the way we signed up for the Dr. Seuss breakfast, which would be tomorrow at 9am. We picked the kids up and had a fairly early bedtime.

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Day 2: At Sea

We had a leisurely morning, and took our time getting to the deck 3 dining room for breakfast. The Dr. Seuss breakfast is very well done, with nice decorations and happy servers. Kids has (very!) green eggs and ham, wife had omelette and I had the filet and eggs. All was very good!




After breakfast we shipped the kids off to Camp Ocean and enjoyed some time on deck. It was a bit warmer than our northern climate, but we loved it. 


Even found a towel animal on deck!


We got the kids for lunch and went to Cucina del Capitano. Kids enjoyed their pasta and adults devoured some Guys Burgers (with a side of pasta!) So so tasty! After lunch it was into the pools and water slides for a bit, then relaxing wind down time back in the cabin.


Dinner in the MDE tonight was much better, and remained so for the rest of the cruise. The American  Feast/Elegant Night was tonight, and very good. The kids also enjoyed their kids menu, and chocolate melting cake as well! We let the kids go back to Camp Ocean and wandered around for a while before getting an early bedtime for Grand Turk!

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Day 3: Grand Turk!

We were up early and got ready for our first port stop with much excitement. We headed up to Cucina for the omelette station - it was almost totally empty up there! The wife got some pancakes and waffles for the boys and I got omlettes for us. Service was quick, buffet lines were long but moved swiftly. 


After a quick slathering of SPF50, we hit the beautiful shores of Grand Turk. We took our time walking the pier, letting the boys soak in their first tropical beach views - they were in heaven! We then made our way through the port shops and found the rep for Wet Money Enterprises, who we had prepaid $100 for a golf cart with. I showed him our paperwork and we were off and way in about 5 minutes. I’d recommend this place to anyone looking to rent a cart as it was quick and easy, they provided a map and tips. *Pro tip here - you can download maps for offline use with the google maps app on your phone. We were able to use GPS navigation to get around while in airplane mode - no charges!*


Our first destination was to the far end of the island to see the lighthouse. The lighthouse is a bit underwhelming, but I’m glad I went to see it. The ride on the golf cart took a good 30 minutes, but it was a beautiful ride with great views of the beaches, and lots of donkeys too! 



A short ride found us at Bohio Dive Resort. We came here previously on our first cruise and liked it enough to return. It’s paradise! Chair rentals are a bit steep at $10 each, and cocktails aren’t cheap either at about $15 each. But the atmosphere is great, the service friendly and the views are stunning. 




We stayed at Bohio until about noon and started working our way back to the ship. I found a gas station along the way to top up the cart, then stopped at Governors Beach for about 30 minutes. This beach is also mesmerizingly beautiful, with a nice view of ships docked, and a large shipwreck near the beach. There were a few vendors selling snacks and drinks, but they weren’t at all pushy or aggressive - they didn’t even approach us. 


After our short stop we carted back to port, found my cart guy, literally tossed him the keys and that was that. Easiest return ever! We bought our destination magnet for the collection and then got in the back of a massively long line to get on ship. Thankfully we found out it was the line for the Horizon and not the Sunrise. Apparently there was some issue getting people back in the ship causing the long line. I guess I Could think of worse places to have to stand and wait!



We grabbed burgers and pasta for lunch again, and enjoyed them again. We also enjoyed skipping the lines at the buffet. After lunch we went up towards deck 10 or 11 to get a look at the Horizon leaving before heading to the cabin for some wind down time.


We got ready to take the kids to Camp Ocean and enjoy an adults evening. We hit the Soulbound show, scurried over to the Punchliner, and finished up at the Piano Bar.The Soulbound production was very enjoyable, highlighting R&B hits from across the decades with a “spooky” New Orleans/Voodoo experience. I was nervous about making it to the Limelight/Punchliner before a line formed, but we hustled from the Liquid Lounge to the Limelight Lounge and were some of the first inside! The comedy show was more of a rib session than a comedy set - the comedian would find a front or second row audience member and make funny comments about their answers. The room was laughing raucously though, ourselves included, and we enjoyed it a lot. A great laugh is a cure all in my book! From the Limelight Lounge, we wandered up to deck 5 where  I stopped at Alchemy Bar, said “I like bourbon” and watched the wonderful bartender create a delicious drink - well worth it. We enjoyed the music from Red Frog Pub while waiting for Piano Bar 88 to open, and slipped in the door a few minutes early to get good seats. We enjoyed about 45 minutes of great songs in here with Dizzy before going to pick up the kids. I ran up to the deli to wait in line for sandwiches for everyone - ham & cheese, grilled cheese and Cuban - a needed late night snack before bed. Those Cuban sandwiches are fantastic, and I think I must have had 3 or 4 during the course of the cruise.


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Day 4: Princess Cays!


We took advantage of the later arrival time this morning to sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast in the MDR and relax before jumping in the tender to the island. I forget which ticket/times we had, but we got called and were on the boat right around noon.



We hit the beach “to the right”, and rented a clamshell for the day. The cost was $30 and we felt it was totally worth it. The back isn’t tethered down, so airflow wasn’t an issue, and the shade was a welcome respite from the wonderful sun. We picked a nice quiet spot close to the rock wall separating the beach from the channel, and let the beach life take course. We could hear music from the nearby shelter, the water was gorgeous and the sand was soft. We had burgers and hot dogs shortly after arriving, bringing plates back to our clamshell to enjoy lunch on the sand. The food was “OK” - it’s just basic burgers and hot dogs, but can’t ask for more when eating in paradise. After that, I don’t think the boys or I were out of the water more than a few minutes at a time, while mom enjoyed relaxing in the shell. We were able to see several fish swimming right with us near the shore, and along the “wall” there was an abundance of sea life. We didn’t have a snorkel set, but we brought our own swim goggles which worked well enough. A snorkel set well definitely be purchased for future cruises though! After a few hours of beach fun, we made our way back to the tenders, a set sail to the Sunrise.



We got some ice cream cones before heading to the room to wind down, then went out to the main lobby to enjoy the Electric Violins. We got there just before they started the first set, and found good seats in front of the bar. My youngest fell asleep, but the rest of us thoroughly enjoyed the show - these ladies are very talented! I took my non-sleeping son out on Deck 3 to watch the sunset and sail away from Princess Cays. We were treated with a lovely view indeed!



We ordered pizza to the room for the kids dinner/adults snack, and then took them to Camp Ocean. We made our way down to the Liquid Lounge and got seats for the Love & Marriage Show. We saw this show on our previous cruise and loved it so we had high expectations. Chris, The Flying Scottsman, did not disappoint, and the show was great. The couples were married 10 days, 7 years, and 60 years! The answers they gave were a hoot, and Chris really worked the crowd and made it hilarious. After the show we headed to the Seafood Shack for dinner. Wife got the lobster roll, and I got the buffalo shrimp. Her lobster roll was just ok, probably wouldn’t get it again for $12. The buffalo shrimp were pretty good, and worth the $6. Service was quick and friendly, and this rear section of the lido deck is always quiet. We strolled for a bit, and picked up the kids before 10pm. I returned to the deli for the usual late night snack, except they had a Korean short rib sandwich which was OK, but I’d prefer the Cuban over it. 


Edited by samrothstein
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Day 5: Funky Nassau!


We had a very leisurely morning today, as we didn’t have much planned for the day. A nice breakfast in the MDR, walking around a quiet ship, some video game and tablet time in the cabin, and I think we were off the ship around 10am. We made it through the port area and onto the streets quickly, and started the walk up to the Queens Staircase. The walk wasn’t long at all, and easy to navigate. We were rewarded with a lovely experience, entering the Stairs from the bottom. This was much more than I expected, and I’m very glad we made the trek. 



After enjoying the views from the bottom, we climbed to the top and paid the $2/$3 fee to enter Fort Fincastle. The fort is kind of small, but pretty interesting, and the views from the top are great!



We took a taxi to Greycliff to see the chocolate factory, but decided against spending almost $100 to tour the factory. Instead we got some candies for the kids, and started heading back towards the ship. We got caught in a sudden downpour, but were luckily able to stay dry under some awnings. I stumbled across a nice little church next to the Pirate/Smugglers Museum.



We made it back on board, and enjoyed a mostly empty and very quiet ship. I get the appeal of staying on in certain ports now! The lido deck had more towel animals than people, which was a treat for the kids. Beware the Nassau lido gators! We enjoyed time in the pool and on water slides with the kids, had some lunch and more pool time. This was a great day on the ship with few people.



The MASSIVE Anthem of the Seas was docked next to us. It looked very fun, and had some weird pod on the upper deck that extended out over the deck. Anyone know what it is?




We were back in the room during sail away, but had some decent views leaving the harbor. The boys were excited to see the lighthouse and the island fade away. They quickly lost interest and were back to tablets and video games. We took the kids for their last Camp Ocean visit, and the wife and I enjoyed some final relaxing time near the Lido pool. I may have enjoyed a few Rum Treasures from the Red Frog Rum Bar. We picked the kids up and went to have our final MDR dinner - my oldest broke down and started crying when they sang the “farewell” song, as it came crashing down that the cruise was coming to an end. He wanted to stay cruising forever! After a lovely dinner we finished packing up our room and took one last stroll around the ship before heading off to bed.

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Day 6: Fort Lauderdale


We got up at 6am! for our final breakfast in the MDR, which was again, lovely. Each morning my wife and I both had an omelette with hash browns, and some mornings I got the French Toast as well - it’s fantastic! After breakfast we grudgingly made our way back to the room to await the dreaded announcement. We chose self debarkation, and being that we were on deck two, were off the ship at the Alamo rental desk by 8am. Seriously, self debarkation was a breeze. I don’t know about other higher number decks, but for us it was a breeze. I believe the order was 3,1,2,4, etc so we were the 3rd deck off. Customs and Immigration were minutes long, and then we were off to the shuttle area to get on the free Alamo shuttle. After a short wait with no one else getting on, we were off to the facility. The service here at Alamo was great, we were in, out and on the road in about 5 minutes. We requested a booster and child seat which they seemed to have a stack of. We headed to Fort Lauderdale Beach Park, where we had about an hour to kill before the Museum of Discovery and opened, which is where we planned to spend our day before going to the airport. The beach was lovely here, very quiet this early, and it was hard not to just jump in the sand and relax all day. After our time was up, we took the short drive to MODS, paid $6 flat rate for parking and got there a few minutes early. We chose to visit MODS this day due to its membership in the ASTC program which we were able to use our membership at a local Chicago museum to get free entry into MODS. This museum is pretty fun, was a great way to keep the boys entertained and busy for a few hours, and educational. The free entry made it even better, as it would have been close to $100 for the four of us to enter without it, and that’s a bit steep to kill a few hours. When we were done, we found a Burger King around the corner and walked over - the BK was fine, but there must have been a clinic or shelter nearby, because there were more than a few people who seemed to be down and out, and one incident were a guy came in yelling and cursing. We ate quickly and got out fast! The trip to the airport, rental drop off, bag check and security check all probably took 30 minutes from museum lot to gate. We arrived at FLL right around 2pm for a 4pm flight and finally crossed the threshold of home around 7:30pm. 




  • In summary, we thoroughly enjoyed this trip. The Sunrise was beautiful, the service was spot on (barring the first night), the food was fantastic at every turn, the entertainment was great and Camp Ocean was a huge hit with the kids. Was if crowded at times and in certain places? Sure, but it was no worse than walking in a busy restaurant and such a minor inconvenience I’m at a loss to think of anytime we were put out by crowds or excessive lines. We chose to avoid the buffet, and therefore most of the congestion, and did plenty of research ahead of time to help avoid problems - it worked out well! The layout of the ship wasn’t very confusing at all, I guess I just pay attention to where I’m going, and used the maps in each elevator lobby. The only hiccup we had was getting from the liquid lounge to the limelight lounge, but again, a quick glance at the map showed the way! We were there to enjoy ourselves and we did! We used the Hub App heavily - made dinner reservations for YTD, ordered pizza, checked and scheduled fun times activities and even paid $5 each to chat with each other. On our first night, despite no problems with anything, the wife and I said to each other that we weren’t sure cruising was for us as a family - we just didn’t feel great about it. Since being home I’ve been scouring carnivals website and the school calendars for time we can breakaway and set sail! 


I fully intended this to be quickfire review, and it’s morphed into a 7 page document, so I’m done. I’ll be happy to answer any questions I have, and I plan on scanning these fun times and camp ocean sheets ASAP.

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14 hours ago, Joe817 said:

Bravo! Wonderful review, and beautiful pictures! 👍 I love your writing style, and your way with words. Good job! It sounded like you all had a fantastic time, and I'm sure your kiddos did too! 


15 hours ago, ninjacat123 said:

Great review!! Reminds me of our first couple cruises with our DDs (they started at 4 and 6 years old) and we have been cruising ever since!  Looking forward to hearing about your upcoming adventures with cruising😊

The kids definitely had a blast every moment of the trip. 

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12 minutes ago, pacruise804 said:

Great review!


The pod on Anthem is their "North Star" attraction.  Guests can reserve a spot to go up in it and have a bird's eye view of the area.  I've heard it's better in ports for the view, and sometimes can't be used on sea days with wind.

Wow that’d be great in some of the ports

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Forgot to mention that we prepaid for the social internet plan, and it worked more than we’ll enough for some quick Facebook checks and iMessages in the evenings before bed or wind down time. Facebook and FB messenger worked well for text, photo and video sharing. I was even able to post here on CC in the middle of the ocean. Yahoo mail did NOT work, photos and videos in iMessage did NOT work, Reddit did NOT work, video chat either in iMessage or messenger did NOT work. I did see advertisements for the top tier plan working with Netflix and youtube, but that was of no interest. 

I also scored a Groove for St Jude shirt, as they had moved the event from the Lido deck to the main lobby on deck 3 due to some liquid sunshine when departing GT. 

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On 11/23/2019 at 7:52 PM, Kel040 said:

Great review !!  Thanks for taking the time to share your family trip with us !!  We will be cruising on the Sunrise in January and can't wait !!  🙂


On 11/23/2019 at 8:48 PM, jimbo5544 said:

Nice review, thanks for doing it.  

glad you both enjoyed it, and hope Kel enjoys their upcoming voyage as much as we did

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I noticed you went to cucina del capitano quite a few times with other food.  Can you just go up there to find a seat and not order any pasta or do you need to eat at the restaurant to get a table?  Thanks.  

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25 minutes ago, jdemps said:

I noticed you went to cucina del capitano quite a few times with other food.  Can you just go up there to find a seat and not order any pasta or do you need to eat at the restaurant to get a table?  Thanks.  

I believe lunch there is free.

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