Update: This post was written in 2019, pre-Covid, some activities and entertainment listed may not be available
Thinking about taking a Carnival cruise? My children and I boarded the Carnival Sunrise cruise ship from New York to Bermuda in May. Learn the in and outs of the cruise ship, including food, family fun, room, entertainment, and the amazing cruise director.
My children, ages 5 and 1.5, took a 4-day Carnival Cruise to Bermuda from New York this past May. This would be my 2nd time on a cruise and my first time cursing with Carnival.
We were all very excited to go on a cruise ship. Since my children were young, I wanted to go on a short cruise, and I didn’t want to travel far to get to the cruise. We live on Long Island, so leaving from New York was the answer to a quick getaway.
After booking the cruise, I downloaded the Carnival Hub app on my phone. If you booked a Carnival Cruise, download the app. It will work as a countdown calendar until you board the ship. Once you board the ship, you will find out everything that is going on, on the ship on the Hub app. For $5 you can activate the chat feature, which allows you to text other people you meet or are traveling with on the boat.
Arriving at the Ship
When we arrived at the port, getting on the ship was easy. We went through security and were able to walk right on the ship. I had purchased Faster to the Fun so we were able to board the ship very quickly. Faster to the Fun cost me about $60. It covered everyone in my room. It allowed me to board and disembark the ship quicker, and also no line at the service desk. If you are traveling with small children, you may want to think about purchasing it to make things go a little quicker. When you have small children, the less you must wait in line the better.
Discovering our Ship
Carnival had just renovated the ship and the Carnival Sunrise had just recently started sailing. It was a beautiful ship. When we got on, there was serving lunch on the Lido Deck. There were so many foods to choose from. They had Guy’s Burgers, the buffet, tacos, pizza, sandwiches, and more. For an extra fee, they had a fish shack.
My children were excited to have lunch and even more excited to have the ice cream, which was along with the pizza, was available 24 hours day!
After lunch, we walked around the ship to find out where everything was. There were a lot of activities:
They had a sports area where they had mini golf, basketball, fuse ball tables, ropes course, and exercise equipment.
Pools, an adults-only pool, hot tubs, water slides, and a splash park. They also have a lot of lounge chairs, and plenty of room to sit down.
Please remember that Carnival does not allow children to wear swim diapers in any of their pools or splash park areas, children must be potty trained. This policy is put in place due to the water filtration system.
Here are some pictures of the deck area
More pictures of the deck
I choose a room on a low level (deck 2) in the middle of the ship. Low and to the middle of the ship is the least rocky. I am so glad I chose that room because we had rough waters. When asked about picking a room, one of the Carnival agents explained to think of the boat as a pyramid, the higher you are, the more likely you are to feel the boat move.
Since I had faster to the fun, my room was ready when I got there. However, I still recommend carrying a day bag with you. If you have faster to the fun, your room will be ready earlier, but that doesn’t mean your luggage will be there when you arrive. It may take a couple of hours. Carry a bag with things you may need, such as a bathing suit, change of clothes, and sunscreen.
I was happy with the overall size of my room. The room had a king-sized bed and a small couch that was also a pull-out bed. The room was plenty big enough for my family. The bathroom, on the other hand, was very tiny, as expected. It was a little hard bathing my 1.5-year-old without a tub, but I managed OK.
Watching the city as we left, the port was amazing. My daughter enjoyed seeing all the skyscrapers. She also wanted to visit the Statue of Liberty and was so excited to see it from the ship.
Shortly after setting sail, you must complete a safety drill called a muster station drill. Every room on the boat gets assigned a muster station to report to in case of an emergency. During the drill, you would report to the muster station, and they will go over how to get off the boat in case of an emergency. Children are also given bracelets with their muster station on them that they must wear for the entire duration of the trip. The entire drill lasts about 30 minutes. Remember the drill is mandatory and they will scan your card to ensure that you reported to your muster station.
The Fun Begins
Right after the muster drill, the fun immediately begins. The music was on, people were outside having drinks and the activities started.
We attended the Hasbro Game Show live on stage. It was a lot of fun. The concept was watching oversize board games come to life on stage. They picked contestants from the audience to compete for prizes.
We attended a lot of the on board activities. My daughter won $250 and a necklace in Bingo, which was a lot of fun. We also attended the on board Michael’s crafts activities, I wasn’t that impressed with that activity.
Build-a-Bear At Sea
We went to Build-a-Bear at sea, which was cute. It was an extra cost $26 for the stuffed animal, and they also had some clothes to choose from. My daughter picked a penguin, and my son picked a dog. They had machines to stuff the bears. They also offered Build-a-Bear cookies and some drinks. My children enjoyed the event.
Dr. Seuss at Sea
The Carnival Sunrise had a Dr. Seuss theme, perfect for my young children. On certain days they had different events to celebrate. They had a Dr. Seuss parade. The children got to follow Dr. Seuss’s characters Thing 1 and Thing 2, The Cat in the Hat, and Sam-I-Am around the boat to one of the lounges for a story-time. This was my daughter’s favorite part of the cruise.
The story Horton Hears a Who was told my our Cruise Director Chris, the Flying Scotsman and other cruise members helped to act out the story. It was very entertaining for both my children and me. At the end of the story some characters came out to take pictures with the children.
Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast
The Green Eggs and Ham breakfast was held on the last morning of our cruise. You had to make reservations when you got on the boat. The dining room was decorated very nicely with a Dr. Seuss theme. They had table decorations and a Cat in the Hat ice sculpture.
Yes, they did serve Green Eggs and Ham along with some other favorites. Along with your breakfast everyone received a creamy Cat in the Hat parfait. During breakfast each of the tables were greeted with Dr. Seuss characters. The breakfast was an extra fee of $5 per person. It was definitely worth the price.
If you haven’t cruised before, most cruise lines have a Captain’s Dinner or fancy night. On these nights cruisers dress up to have dinner in the dining room. Of course, if you do not want to go you have other dining options but I recommend going. It’s a fun opportunity to get all dressed up and look fancy. It’s also fun to see everyone else’s outfits.
The food in the dining room on Captain’s night was really good. I ordered the lobster tail with shrimp, I really enjoyed it.
Another fun thing about Captain night is getting your picture taken. Of course, there are photographers every night. But Captain night is a great way to get some nice family portraits taken. I must say the photographers on board were really good. I had some nice shots taken of my children on board. I recommend waiting until the last full day of your cruise to purchase photos (not the morning before you get off). If you wait until the last day, then you have time to look through and pick your favorites. Otherwise, you end up like me and spend a fortune on nice photos. If your cruise if offering a photo package before you set sail, you may want to look into purchasing it as there will be a lot of photos to choose from.
Unfortunately, while sailing, we did not have the best weather. It rained on some days and was windy and cloudy. Some of the outside activities had to be canceled. I have to say the Carnival Cruise staff made up for this in the entertainment area. The people in charge of the activities were really awesome, they were by far my favorite part of the entire cruise. Everyone was so nice and personable. The shows each night were superb. The dancers and singers were fantastic, I was very impressed. They even took the time to take pictures with my children before the show.
The singer in the piano bar was also fantastic. He took requests from all genres of music including rock, hip hop, R&B, country, oldies and more.
Chris the Flying Scotsman
I have to give an entire section to this man, he made the cruise. He was the best entertainer I have seen in a long time. Whatever they are paying him at Carnival, I’m sure it’s not enough. He can sing, and dance, he was funny, he related to the children and the adults, extremely fun and nice, he got the party going and kept it moving, he was the party! He stopped to talk to everyone and even took a picture with my daughter and her friend. I made sure that whatever activity he was doing, I was there, and so was everyone else. Everyone I spoke with on the cruise loved him. I would book my next Carnival cruise based on whether he would be the cruise director on board.
Bermuda was such a beautiful place. My only complaint was that we didn’t have enough time to fully explore the island. The island was very clean, and the people were really nice.
I chose to go to Horseshoe Bay Beach. I didn’t do an excursion; Instead, I took the beach shuttle to Horseshoe Bay. I recommend doing this. It costs $7 per person each way and they drop you off right in front of the beach. When you get off the boat, there are signs to direct you. The line was long but it didn’t take long because multiple vans came at the same time.
Horseshoe Bay Beach was beautiful. It’s a must-see! The beach gets crowded, but if you walk down and to the left (if you’re facing the water, walk to the left), it gets less crowded and even more beautiful. There were different size rocks and little nooks to walk through. The water was crystal clear and calm. The sand had a nice pink hue to it, and it was soft and felt like baby powder. There are only very few small shells.
My Children enjoyed walking around the rocks and looking for the tiny fish swimming in the water.
The picture to the left shows one of the rock areas we could walk through. There was a little bit of water that splashed through.
You can also notice the pink hue to the sand.
This was another beautiful part of the beach. There were so many lagoons-like spots on the beach. Plenty of opportunities to take great pictures. I recommend wearing your best beach attire to get great shots.
Camp Ocean/Club 02
My daughter is 5, and although we registered for Camp Ocean, she did not want to leave her mommy or brother, which was O.K with me. Even though she did not attend Camp Ocean, we did meet a lovely staff member Ms. Bubbles. She greeted my daughter several times on the ship, and we even saw her while we were out in Bermuda. She was sweet and always talked to my daughter about the fun things happening in Camp Ocean. I wished she would have tried it because I spoke to some people on board who’s children did attend and enjoyed themselves. You have to be 2 years-old and up to attend Camp Ocean. By the next time we go on a cruise my son will be old enough to attend, and then they can go together.
Carnival does have a pre-teen/teen hang out called Club 02. My children were not old enough to attend, but it was quite a popular area for the older children on board.
Must Know Information
Faster to the Fun –I purchase faster to the fun after reading great reviews about it. I think it was worth the price, but if you don’t have the extra money, you can live without it. Buying it means: getting on the boat faster, having a room ready when you arrive on the boat, no line at the desk, leave the boat first.
Hub App: Download the Hub app right when you book your cruise. It will work as a count down calendar until you board the ship. Once you board the ship, all the onboard activities will come up. You can also use the hub app to communicate with other people you are traveling with. It costs $5 to add chat to the hub app.
They keep track of towels: In case you didn’t know, now you do. Do not lose your towels or take them home with you, you will be charged a fee. $35 per towel, to be exact. When I arrived at my room, there were three towels in there. You can use these towels at the pool and take them to the beach or wherever you need them. When wet or dirty, you can trade them in for new towels. Do not leave them out on the beach or on an excursion or take them home, or you will be charged.
Photo package: Find out if the cruise you are going on offers a pre-paid photo package. Photographers will take your pictures throughout the cruise, you do not have to purchase them, but often times you will want to take them home. Photos can be pricey, buying the package may help.
Bring a Carry-on Bag: Even if you buy faster to the fun, you should still bring a carry-on bag when boarding the boat. It will sometimes take a couple of hours for your luggage to arrive at your room. Bring essentials such as a bathing suit, change of clothes, and sunscreen.