Plan Your Carnival Cruise Lines Vacation
The world's largest cruise line originated the Fun Ship concept in 1972 with the relaunch of an aging ocean liner, which got stuck on a sandbar during its maiden voyage. In true entrepreneurial spirit, founder Ted Arison shrugged off an inauspicious beginning to introduce
superliners a decade later. Sporting red-white-and-blue flared funnels, which are easily recognized from afar, new ships are continuously added to the fleet and rarely deviate from a successful pattern. If you find something you like on one vessel, you're likely to find something similar on another.
Each vessel features themed public rooms, ranging from ancient Egypt to futuristic motifs, although many of those elements are being replaced with a more tropical decor as older ships are upgraded. Carnival is also introducing features either branded by the line itself, such as the poolside Blue Iguana Tequila Bar with an adjacent burrito cantina and the Red Frog Rum Bar that also serves Carnival’s own brand of Thirsty Frog Red beer, or in partnership with well known brands, such as EA SPORTS to create EA SPORTS Bars at sea and Guy’s Burger Joint, in partnership with Food Network star Guy Fieri. Implementation of the new features is scheduled for completion in 2015.
Key Carnival Cruise Lines Tips
Are you a first-time cruiser? View our helpful hints and tips on Your Shipmates, Dress Code, Junior Cruisers, and much more! See Tips
Top Reasons To Cruise
- Fun Not surprisingly, the fleet delivers a high-energy cruise vacation for passengers of all ages.
- Kid's Stuff Each Carnival ship has a water-park area and children’s facilities and programs designed to appeal to the pickiest youngsters as well as their parents.
- Lack of Hierarchy Every Carnival passenger enjoys the same service and attention, including nightly turndown service, room service, and 24-hour pizzerias.
- Quieter Zones For adults only, each ship has a Serenity Deck dedicated to kid-free relaxation.
- Diversions Casinos, spas, and fitness centers are some of the most extensive at sea.
Is This Line Right For You?
Choose This Line If
- You want an action-packed casino with a choice of table games and rows upon rows of clanging slot machines.
- You don't mind standing in line—these are big ships with a lot of passengers, and lines are not uncommon.
- You don't mind hearing announcements over the public-address system reminding you of what's next on the schedule.
Don't Choose This Line If
- You want an intimate, sedate atmosphere. Carnival's ships are big and bold.
- You want elaborate accommodations. Carnival suites are spacious but not as feature-filled as the term suite may suggest.
- You're turned off by men in tank tops. Casual on these ships means casual indeed.
What To Expect On Board
Carnival ships have both flexible dining options as well as casual alternative restaurants. Although the tradition of two set mealtimes for dinner prevails on Carnival ships, the line’s open seating concept—Your Time Dining—is available fleet-wide.
numerous, and the skill of Carnival’s chefs has elevated the line’s menus to an unexpected level. Although the waiters still sing and dance, the good-to-excellent dining room food appeals to American tastes. Upscale steak houses on certain ships serve cuisine comparable to the best midrange steak houses ashore.
Carnival serves the best food of the mainstream cruise lines. In addition to the regular menu, vegetarian, low-calorie, low-carbohydrate, low-salt, and no-sugar selections are available. A children's menu includes such favorites as macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers, and peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches. If you don't feel like dressing up for dinner, the Lido buffet serves full meals, including sandwiches, a salad bar, rotisserie chicken, Asian stir-fry, and excellent pizza.
More high-energy than cerebral, the entertainment consists of lavish Las Vegas–style revues presented in main show lounges by a company of singers and dancers. Other performers might include magicians, jugglers, acrobats, passengers performing in the talent show, or karaoke.
Live bands play a wide range of musical styles for dancing and every ship has a nightclub, piano bar, and a comedy club. Adult activities, particularly the competitive ones, tend to be silly and hilarious and play to full houses. With Carnival’s new branding initiative, look for the introduction of Hasbro, The Game Show, and performances created by Playlist Productions.
Fitness and Recreation
Manned by staff members trained to keep passengers in shipshape form, Carnival's trademark spas and fitness centers are some of the largest and best equipped at sea. Spas and salons are operated by Steiner Leisure, and treatments include a variety of massages, body wraps,
and facials; salons offer hair and nail services and even tooth whitening. Fitness centers have state-of-the-art cardio and strength-training equipment, a jogging track, and basic exercise classes at no charge. There's a fee for personal training, body composition analysis, and specialized classes such as yoga and Pilates.