The Sixth Carry On was launched on the back of the early sixties fashion for holiday cruises, and is noticable for being the first Carry On filmed in glorious Eastman Colour.
Plot synopsis: Captain Crowther (Sid James) is surprised to find that most of his crew aboard this sailing of the SS Happy Wanderer are new - including the doctor, first officer, chef, chief steward, and barman. Aware that he's up for promotion to the trans-atlantic fleet, Captain Crowther is keen to have a trouble-free voyage.
What he didn't count on was chef Wilfred Hains (Lance Percival) suffering so much from sea-sickness that he can't look at the soup without feeling nauseous; Doctor Binn (Kenneth Connor) falling for one of the passengers, and being more interested in operating on Flo (Dilys Laye) than his patients; First Officer Majorbanks (Kenneth Williams) mixing ineptitude with condescention; and worst of all, no respite in alcohol - the previous barman was the only one able to mix his favourite tipple, the Aberdeen Angus!
One by one, they embarrass and disappoint him, and their efforts to get back into his good books only serve to make the situation worse.....
This entry in the Carry On series isn't often spoken about with glowing reports, and the reasons for this are two-fold. Firstly, the script, penned by Norman Hudis, seems to fall pretty neatly between the early gentle comedies of the late 50s (on which previous Carry On films traded so well) and the double-entendre laden gems of the Talbot Rothwell era. As such, it feels like a film that should be funnier than it is, or maybe gentler and more innocent than it tries to be.
Secondly, setting the film aboard ship confined the action to a very tight scope, and as we saw 30 years later with Carry On Columbus, Carry On humour needs space to work.
It's not a bad film, don't get me wrong. There are a number of Carry On efforts I'd pass over for the chance to watch Cruising again - and not just for the wonderful scene where Esma Cannon gets slowly plastered. But it's certainly not one of the strongest in the series.