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Calling on Carnival Experts for Input!


L1211
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Greetings experts, have just a few questions before our 10/4 sailing on Sunrise!  
 

Sister and I are taking darling mother on her first cruise in 15 years.  Sister is an avid cruiser, but also has not been on Carnival in 15 years.  We both have mostly sailed NCL and RCL with our families.  I did a “rust bucket” cruise on Victory with my oldest DD who couldn’t make our RCL spring break cruise in 2018. I was worried about the older ship but we LOVED IT and had a wonderful, but short sail.  My only real complaint was not the dated ship but the lines!  Never experienced waiting in lines as such on other carriers. Smaller ship with lots of pinch points for sure. 
 

Darling mother only wanted a shorter cruise so we found the Sunrise.  It appears to have been nicely updated and we can’t wait to step aboard!  Since none of us are carnival experts, thought I’d come to the source for a few questions. Thanks in advance for your input!

 

Drink package - I know we have a 15 drink limit in a 24 hour period.  
- does that include any non-alcohol drinks in the count?
- I know you may only get one drink at a time,

 But can you get a bottle of water or can of soda at the same time?  Do I need drinks for the cabin (water, soda) or can I pick up from bar to keep in room?

- I believe the limit was $20 per drink.  So, can I get a $9.50 margarita but upgrade the tequila to a more expensive call shot? Can I add a float of contreau versus triple sec to the top? Is that one drink or two?

- how easy is it to get wine by the glass in the MDR?  Need to bring a glass with us or quick service? 
- is there an upgraded drink package?  We upgraded on NCL in January, 2020 and loved the higher end wine. Not sure Carnival offers such?

- is Java Blue the only place to get speciality coffee?  I found that to have one worker and long lines each time I tried to get morning coffee on Victory.

 

specialty dining- we’ve booked at Cucina and Fahrenheit 555.  
- is this like NCL, limit to one entree but as many apps and sides as you like?

- is the steak house comparable to Cagney’s? 

- does Guy’s have a veggie burger?  
- any plant-based meats at Blue Iguana or Deli?

 

ports

- HMC looks amazing!!  Any advice? 
- amber cove appears to be a port not a private island. Is there a beach?  Recommendations?

 

We checked in at midnight and have 10:30 boarding times and group A02. What time to arrive at port of Miami?

 

I had faster to the fun last sail. That seems to be gone. I assume rooms ready around 1:30?

 

Shows- I remember great comedy onboard but no production shows to speak of.  Anything we should not miss?

 

Huge thanks!!

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Sunrise added cabins when it was upgraded so it has one of the least space per pax ratios of any ship. No ship is sailing at 100% and not sure ncl sailed enough to know. Rcl is sailing at 35% or under, but carnival is giving away cheap cabins to sail at about 70%, so double what rcl sails at. Masks must be worn inside at all times. Rcl has casino and show areas marked as vaccinated and you can remove masks. I got very tired of wearing a mask.

 

I did upgrade to patron tequila for my one margarita, I had cheers but didnt make much use of it.

 

Twice I asked for wine similar to german riesling. Both times got italian. One I think was moscatti, so sweet, neither to me were similar to riesling.. either they are clueless about wine or dont have anything I liked. After the 2nd I gave up.

 

Yes it's easy to upgrade liquor, no charge. Ask for whatever you want. They had patron silver, not reposda.  Drink service was very good, no complaints. Except the wine list I didnt like.

 

Oh shows.. I went to 3 but got tired of masks. Comedy club is a favorite and piano bar.

 

If you order speciality coffee and it's the wrong thing, I had to wait 5 minutes to reorder. I assume it's the same for alcohol. Mostly I did specialty coffee, a few milk shakes and a few pepsi. Maybe 1 drink or less a day. Lemon drop is a nice smooth upgraded drink. 

 

Only alcohol counts toward the 15, the rest you can just ask and sign for. 

 

I did 6 nights of specialty. They have 3 dinner coupons you can buy. With or without chops. The food in the steak place was good service so so, very very busy. The prices were right 98 for 6 pay dinners cant be beat. 1 entree 2 appetizers but if you asked they would give another appetizer. I'm sure I missed some questions.

 

20210911_134902.jpg

Edited by firefly333
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2 hours ago, firefly333 said:

Sunrise added cabins when it was upgraded so it has one of the least space per pax ratios of any ship. No ship is sailing at 100% and not sure ncl sailed enough to know. Rcl is sailing at 35% or under, but carnival is giving away cheap cabins to sail at about 70%, so double what rcl sails at. Masks must be worn inside at all times. Rcl has casino and show areas marked as vaccinated and you can remove masks. I got very tired of wearing a mask.

 

I did upgrade to patron tequila for my one margarita, I had cheers but didnt make much use of it.

 

Twice I asked for wine similar to german riesling. Both times got italian. One I think was moscatti, so sweet, neither to me were similar to riesling.. either they are clueless about wine or dont have anything I liked. After the 2nd I gave up.

 

Yes it's easy to upgrade liquor, no charge. Ask for whatever you want. They had patron silver, not reposda.  Drink service was very good, no complaints. Except the wine list I didnt like.

 

Oh shows.. I went to 3 but got tired of masks. Comedy club is a favorite and piano bar.

 

If you order speciality coffee and it's the wrong thing, I had to wait 5 minutes to reorder. I assume it's the same for alcohol. Mostly I did specialty coffee, a few milk shakes and a few pepsi. Maybe 1 drink or less a day. Lemon drop is a nice smooth upgraded drink. 

 

Only alcohol counts toward the 15, the rest you can just ask and sign for. 

 

I did 6 nights of specialty. They have 3 dinner coupons you can buy. With or without chops. The food in the steak place was good service so so, very very busy. The prices were right 98 for 6 pay dinners cant be beat. 1 entree 2 appetizers but if you asked they would give another appetizer. I'm sure I missed some questions.

 

20210911_134902.jpg

When did Carnival start a specialty dining package???

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8 minutes ago, bafinegan said:

When did Carnival start a specialty dining package???

Since they restarted after covid. I'd seen a lot of posts about them and had obc so I went first thing to buy one of each. If I was more of a steak fan I would have bought 2 of the ones for steak house. They arent just for dinner as I used my last 15 credit for a 2nd lobster roll for lunch the last day at seafood shack., you just tear off the strip for the credit and hand it to the to lay. Sushi and seafood shack added a mandatory tip. I did the chefs surprise me at the sushi restaurant.  Not my favorite but might as well try it i thought. The one for 1 for 15, 2 for 22 price on the sushi menu. Seafood shack and sushi it's a credit of up to 15 from the menu like I could have 2 lbs of crab for lunch for $14, but I wanted the lobster roll for 12 so didnt get full value, but whatever, I could have. 

 

 

20210919_084047.jpg

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Your questions about the ports -- We just got back from HMC and AC in August off the Horizon.   It was our first time to visit both ports.   I had heard so many rave reviews about HMC, and after being there, I have to agree 100%.    It's a peaceful beach day, with perfect water to play in for hours.   Didn't try the food -- it is an included buffet (since it's Carnival's island, the food is included), but it closed by 1:30 and we had not planned for that.   By the time we got tired of the sand and sun, it was too late to eat.  So keep that in mind!   They have servers walking around with drinks that you can purchase, as those are NOT included on your Cheers package.   All you really need for the day is a beach chair -- and if you aren't getting a Cabana, then I'd suggest reserving the clamshell which will only fit two chairs -- so if it's 3 of you, then get 2 -- it's well worth the small fee.   It was nice to have the shade, but I really spent most of the time in the water and only used the chair a small amount of time overall.   You don't need to "plan" anything at all for HMC -- just go and enjoy the day.   VERY relaxing!!  

 

For AC -- masks are required and it was HOT in August.   We took the Catamaran Sailing/Snorkel tour with the Freestyle Company (it's a Carnival excursion) and I have nothing but good things to say about it.   We really enjoyed it -- almost as much as the Jolly Roger excursion at Mahogany Bay -- and the only difference that makes me say "almost" was the one at AC was more crowded.   The guys were all fantastic, with all skill levels and with those who didn't even go snorkeling, staying on the catamaran playing music and with the drinks flowing the entire time.  The food and drinks were good -- about what you would expect from a boat excursion.     We walked around the port area a bit, but it was SO hot with the masks that we went back to the ship pretty quickly.   

 

Enjoy your trip -- and remember that even if you've been with RCL and NCL, it's all a matter of perspective.   If you think you're downgrading, then you're going to get what you expect.  But the Sunrise is recently refurbished, and we are booked on her for a B2B in a couple of months, and Carnival is always a Fun Ship for us!     

 

 

 

 

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A few thoughts, having sailed on NCL and Carnival many times. 
 

  • Yes, you can easily upgrade any drink to top shelf with the beverage package. If there’s a specific drink you want on a menu, just request that they make it top shelf, or with specific liquors. No issued there.
  • What NCL allows (and few other cruise line beverage packages do) is two drinks at a time. So Carnival and Royal brands don’t let you order a beer and a shot at the same time using your package. I think the waiting time is 5 minutes between drinks. 
  • Drink service in the MDR can be spotty… we’ll always take whatever drink we’ve got in with us, just in case it’s slow. 
  • re upgrade: this isn’t an option, but the included wines by the glass are *exponentially* better than the NCL included wines on the base package. 
  • re coffee: on the vista class ships, the ocean plaza bar also does espresso beverages to reduce pressure on Java blue. 
  • re the steakhouse: we’ve actually found the  Carnival steakhouse a step above Cagney’s. Proteins tend to be higher quality, and the preparations on Carnival are a lot more inventive. Carnival is more in line with a modern restaurant in 2021. Cagneys has a 90’s vibe… not bad, just not a contemporary experience. And yes, most servers will let you try a bunch of apps and sides. 
  • HMC is amazing. Literally one of our favorite ports, and far better than great stirrup cay. Personally, we love renting a cabana: AC, shade, floats for the water, a shower, snacks, loungers, etc. A cabana is a great base for your day, and allows you to maximize your time on the island.  One note: unlike NCL, Royal and Celebrity, Cheers doesn’t work on HMC, so plan accordingly. 
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17 hours ago, bafinegan said:

When did Carnival start a specialty dining package???

I believe they are only available on the Vista Class ships.  It was tested back in 2019 on the Horizon and Firefly recently bought it on the Vista.  I am assuming it's also on the Panorama.  Have not read about any of the other ships in the fleet having it.

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The Blue Iguana Tequila bar is the best place for tequila.  They will have Roca Patron as well as Don Julio Anejo and Don Julio Reposado.  All three are covered under Cheers.  This as well as the Red Frog Pub, not rum bar would be your best bets for daytime alcohol consumption.  For pre dinner cocktails as well as evening drinking, the Alchemy bar is the only place to go, everything on their menu is covered under Cheers.  If you're looking for the best wines on board, go to the bar at Fahrenheit 555.  You can drink there even if you're not dining there.

Floaters on top of drinks are not covered under Cheers.  You would have to wait 5 minutes and order it neat and then pour it on top.  It would then count as two drinks obviously.

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11 minutes ago, SNJCruisers said:

I believe they are only available on the Vista Class ships.  It was tested back in 2019 on the Horizon and Firefly recently bought it on the Vista.  I am assuming it's also on the Panorama.  Have not read about any of the other ships in the fleet having it.

Yes, package is on the Panorama. 

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We did the Sunrise a couple of years ago.  I really liked the layout and I don’t remember it being crowed and that was at 100% capacity. I don’t think production shows are as good as RCL or NCL but they are entertaining and we go to all of them.  Agree with above that Carnival steak house is better than NCL.  We’ve always had great food and experiences in the carnival steak houses. Overall all the food is better in our opinion on Carnival, especially burgers, pizza, deli.  

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