Upon release, Caribbean Sunset received negative reviews from music critics. In a retrospective review for AllMusic, critic Stewart Mason panned the album, calling it "something of a mess. The songs are among the poppiest of Cale's career, and one gets the sense that it's meant to be Cale's attempt at a straight-up pop album, especially given the Jimmy Buffett-like title and cover photo. " Trouser Press called it his "least interesting album to date", adding that "even if the puzzlingly muddy self-production hadn't stifled everything but his jagged-edged vocals, the songs themselves are too flimsy to support his words or passion. ".