Carnival Sunrise and the Sailabration

Where do I even start? What a fantastic cruise! We started off on the 2-day sailing before the Sailabration, stayed on for the big 50th sailing, and then I stayed for a third cruise and worked from the ship. A total of 14 days in all enjoying the beautiful Carnival Sunrise.

Cruise Director

What I absolutely loved: The crew. One of the best crews I’ve ever had the opportunity to meet and interact with! From the moment we got on board, we were greeted by our friendly and fun Cruise Director Mel. Her taglines “Scooby Do Pa Pa” and “But wait, there’s more…” caught on with our group and we waited for them in every announcement. We even recorded her a couple times so we’ll be able to surprise each other post cruise (scooby do pa pa!) She recognized us from day one of the trip and always had time to pose for a quick selfie before she was whisked off to her next activity.


Main Dining Room (MDR)… Gosh, I have so much to say about our Main Dining Room experience this cruise. Sovi, Girlie, and Widhi in the MDR were some of the best servers our group has ever had – and that’s across 90+ cruises. They danced, sang, and made sure we had everything we needed. But it wasn’t just in the MDR. When they saw us out and about around the ship, they’d stop by, say hello – and always called us by name. Truly outstanding service. And speaking of the dining room, Menchie greeted us every night at the host stand as we checked in. She also always made it a point to call us by name; she even remembered our cabin number so she could check us in faster. Santosh, the Maître d’ and Ninad, the Assistant Maître d’ made it a point to stop by our table, chat about what we did in port, made sure we had everything we needed, and always called us by name. Even after my friends left after the Sailabration, he asked if they made it home safe and on the final day asked me to please wish them well – all by name. How they do it, I will never know. Winding out the MDR staff, Jhonnybee made sure we never went thirsty. His smile was contagious and he made it feel like it was his pleasure to serve us.


When we weren’t eating, we were out and about enjoying the entertainment around the ship. Congratulations to Jayne, Carnival Sunrise’s Entertainment Director, for creating such an awesome team – and making sure we were always entertained. The Fun Squad was always out and about around the ship. Maggie, Melissa, and Jefferson always had a smile on their faces and were always willing to stop and say hello. And not just hello, but “Hi Mark, how was your day today?” Such a tremendous guest focus and positivity about them all.

Bryce, the soloist, was fantastic. We saw him play at Red Frog, the atrium, and the Platinum/Diamond parties. He got to know us and would always make it a point to come over and say hello, even if we were all out and about around the ship.

If you ever happen to be on a sailing with comedian Ronnie Bullard, you have got to go to his shows! And not just his adult shows, even his PG shows are hilarious. He was one of the very first comedians I saw on Carnival and to this day, I still laugh when I think of some of his stories and jokes. Ronnie is the only comedian I’ve met that remembers me across sailings and even called me by name this trip when I said hello.

The Playlist Productions cast was one of the best we’ve seen in all of our cruises. Every single performer was mic’ed and each performer had a role to play. The cast has gelled very well together and the leads were phenomenal. We got to see Soulbound, Latin Nights (we sat in the splash zone!), and Vintage Pop. Ryan and Ellen from the Playlist cast made it a point to say hello when they saw us out and about, thanked us for always attending and cheering on the shows, and got to know more about us. Talk about guest-focused, when out in port they even swung by to say hello. I’m not usually a fanboy, but gosh, if you are on the Sunrise, you’ve got to check out this cast!


Our travel group also had the CHEERS! package, and so we visited the Atrium Bar many times (thank you Roma, Elin, and Alquinn for treating us like family). We also spent some time at Alchemy (and by some, I mean every single night). Shout out to Evangely for taking such good care of us. You can tell she loves what she does, and boy is she good at it! She saw us out in port and we got to know her outside of Alchemy which was really nice.

Shoutout to Gabriella, Carnival Sunrise’s Beverages Operations Manager for making sure we never went thirsty. She made it a point to say hello when she saw us about the ship and thanked us for our loyalty.


One of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had cruising. To see 7 ships all together – one from every class of ships Carnival currently operates – was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I had goosebumps as the horns blew. One passenger said that the energy reminded her of New Years Eve, and I completely agree. While we didn’t do the ShipTok (despite about 40 emails from Carnival!), we did watch our fellow passengers, Fun Squad, and entertainment staff dance around. In addition to the ship meet-up, there were 50th birthday touches throughout – from a 50th birthday cake in the Main Dining Room, to a 50th birthday towel animal (still not sure what it was), to photo ops around the ship with banners and signage. I bought way too many Sailabration souvenirs – my suitcases are bulging! We also enjoyed quite a few Birthdaytinis from the Atrium bar. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to participate in this unique sailing – it’s something we will remember for a lifetime.

Better next time…

Like any vacation, there were some things that didn’t quite meet our standards. Of course, none of these things really had any impact on the fun and enjoyment of the cruise, they just didn’t live up to the high standard Carnival has set in the past.

Room Steward

This area fell short of expectations this time around. The first day, they said, “When would you like your room service? I work until 1pm each day.” That was odd. During COVID, we’ve been presented with morning or night service, but it was clear that he did not want to clean rooms at night. Actually, I don’t think he wanted to clean rooms at all as vacuuming was regularly skipped, counters were sticky, supplies weren’t replenished… and, while everyone else around the ship called us by name, our steward called us by the wrong name throughout, despite us reiterating who was who.


This was the most disappointing part of the cruise. I worked the last 5 days onboard and the Wifi was abysmal. I get that it’s satellite-based, but it didn’t matter where we were: at sea, in port, even in Miami. The wifi just simply didn’t work. It might take 2-3 minutes to post a single picture (if it sent at all). And this was on the Premium package. I’m not a big fan of having Wifi on vacation, personally, but if you need it for work or something critical, be warned I was stressed on multiple occasions just trying to connect to email or a meeting. I would NOT recommend trying to work from the Carnival Sunrise.


Be prepared to have your Sail and Sign card (room key) replaced a couple of times. The cards sat for 18 months during the pandemic and peel fairly easily. Several of the folks in our travel group had to have their cards replaced (not a big deal, Abraham and Margie at Guest Services took such great care of us!) Ironically, while this has been an issue for me on every cruise since August, this cruise the Diamond card was the only one that didn’t come apart. Perhaps they’ve worked through all of the COVID stock and these ones are fresh.

Frustrated guests

There were several folks frustrated on this sailing because they thought Carnival should have done more for the 50th celebration. I heard “Carnival had two years to plan…” multiple times. While I was bummed we didn’t get some of the Sailabration stuff (I really wanted a baseball cap and a tshirt! and wanted to try the 50th Birthday beer), overall, it didn’t take away from the excitement and joy that we experienced with the Sailabration.

In summary…

This was one of the best cruises (back-to-back-to-back) we’ve experienced. From the energy that Mel and the rest of the entertainment staff displayed, to the treat-you-like-family crew that Carnival is known for, it was truly a vacation we will always remember. And the Sailabration was just the icing on the 50th-birthday cake!

Thanks for reiterating why we Choose Fun again and again. The Carnival Sunrise crew absolutely nailed it.

2 thoughts on “Carnival Sunrise and the Sailabration”

  1. Mark, It was great meeting you and thank you so much for your help with the Carnival knowledge which helped us take home the coveted 24k gold ship on a stick!

    1. So great meeting you, too! And you EARNED that ship. Hope to run into you again on a future sailing and cheer you on as you apply all of your new-found knowledge. 🙂

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