Read This Helpful Carnival Cruise Review

The following Carnival cruise review is quite balanced, in my opinion, since my family has taken four inclusive family cruises with Carnival to the Caribbean.

Yes, my family has sailed on the Carnival Sensation, Carnival Glory, Carnival Destiny and Carnival Paradise, and each cruise was just fantastic!

We just returned from a 5 day Western Caribbean Cruise to Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands aboard the Carnival Destiny, and I believe it was my best Carnival cruise.

I may feel that way because Jamaica, the first port of call, is my original home and it was great going home. Or, it might have felt that way because I was a part of a group of 19 people, which made the trip merrier.

Anyway, the bottom-line is that you will enjoy your Carnival Caribbean cruise. Our first 2 Carnival cruises did not visit Jamaica, nor were we with a group, but we had fun nonetheless.

You can find many Carnival cruise reviews online, so I sincerely appreciate you taking time to read mine.

Over the next several paragraphs, I will look at some aspects of your Carnival cruise and tell you what I know.

By the way, you should know that Carnival offers the best cruise prices in the industry. Some of the sweetest cruise deals are to be found on carnival last minute cruises.

Let us move on with the review.

Carnival Cruise Review - The Ships

Carnival Cruise Lines is the world's biggest cruise lines (though it does not have the most number of ships), and boasts about 23 cruise liners. Carnival ships are dubbed the "fun ships". They are designed to provide fun for all, but especially for the "young at heart."

Carnival's biggest ship is the Carnival Magic, which is of the same class as the Carnival Dream.

Our most recent cruise was on one of Carnival's bigger ships, Carnival Destiny, which has cabin capacity for over 3,000 passengers and more than 1,000 crew members.

Carnival Destiny docked in Ocho Rios

Carnival Destiny Docked in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Carnival Cruise Review - Caribbean Itineraries

You can find a Carnival cruise ship visiting just about any Caribbean port of call - Eastern Caribbean ports, Western Caribbean ports, and the Bahamas.

Additionally, you can almost find a Carnival cruise sailing from any of the top Caribbean cruise departure ports - New York, Cape Liberty, Baltimore Cruise Port, Jacksonville Port, Port Canaveral, Port Everglades, Miami Port, Tampa Port, New Orleans Port, and the Port of Galveston.

Carnival Destiny leaves Carnival Liberty in Miami Port

Carnival Destiny Leaves Carnival Liberty in Miami Port

Carnival Cruise Lines has 100's of Caribbean sailings to choose from each year plus cruises of varying lengths - 3 day Caribbean cruises, 4 day Caribbean cruises, 5 or 6 day Caribbean cruises and 7 day Caribbean cruises.

Carnival Cruise Review - Pre-Boarding Matters

Carnival's Cruise Fares

Carnival Cruise Lines prides itself on offering cruise prices that just about anyone can afford. Generally, Carnival competes with only one other major Caribbean cruise line - Norwegian Cruise Line - to offer the lowest inclusive Caribbean cruise packages.

Additionally, the third, fourth and fifth persons in a cabin will get a discount – sometimes as much as half the fare of the first and second persons in the cabin.

Booking Your Carnival Cruise

If you have seen any Carnival Cruise Lines ads on TV, you would have noticed the prompt to check with your travel agent. Yes, Carnival sells most of its Caribbean cruises through independent travel agents/agencies.

One such agency is (they offer the same cruise ticket prices as Carnival and sometimes bonuses).

However, you can also buy your Caribbean cruise package directly from Carnival at or you may call them.

Checking In and Printing Cruise Documents

After purchasing your cruise ticket, Carnival requires you to check in online to obtain your "funPass". Online checkin is simple. You need to have an emergency contact person; plus your passport (click for passport requirements) or know what required documents you will travel with; have a credit card to set up your Sail & Sign account or select the option to use cash; etc.

After checking in, you will be able to print your boarding pass/es and your luggage tags.

Carnival Cruise Review - Ship Amenities

Each Carnival ship packs enough provisions to keep you and your family comfortable and entertained.

Your Cabins

My family has tried two types of cabins - inside and outside - onboard Carnival ships and have found both to be comfortable. Once we had an inside cabin for 4; then 1 inside and 1 outside for 5; and finally, 1 outside for 5. We managed well and did not step on each other.

If your family numbers 4 or 5, book your cruise early to secure one of the limited numbers of cabins that can accommodate your entire group.

Ocean view cabin on Carnival ship

Ocean View Cabin on Carnival Destiny

There are bigger cabins on each ship - balcony cabins and even suites. Those cost more, but will provide even more room to snuggle.

My contention is there is no need to go overboard on the price of a cabin, since we spend most time outside the cabin.

Dining Rooms & Your Meals

    Dining Areas

Carnival ships generally have 2 main dining rooms plus other places where food is served around the ship. There is also the main buffet restaurant on the Lido deck - pool deck.

Galaxy Dining Room on Carnival Destiny

Galaxy Dining Room on Carnival Destiny

As far as dining goes, each cruise guest is assigned a table and is allowed to choose a time for dining for the main dining areas - early dining (about 5 pm); late dining (about 8); and your way dining (from about 5:45 - 9 p.m.). The main dining rooms serve 3 or 4 course meals for dinner and are used for open seating during breakfast and lunch. In other words, you will be seated anywhere - no special seats.

As an alternative to the main dining rooms, you may choose to eat all meals in the Sun & Sea Restaurant - buffet style.

Additionally, Carnival Cruise Lines offers a limited number of specialty restaurants, such as a steakhouse or a sushi restaurant.

These restaurants are not included in your cruise fare.

    Your Cruise Cuisine

You will be fed well on any Carnival ship. There is generally too much food to talk about and a large variety of tastes.

Sun and Sea Restaurant on Carnival Ship

Sun & Sea (Buffet) Restaurant on Carnival Destiny

Fun Amenities

There are provisions made for adults and children to have fun.

- Each ship is decked out with 3 or more pools and there is also one for the very young.

    Giant TV Screen
- Some Carnival ships have a huge television on the pool deck, so that people may swim and watch or just see movies under the stars.

Pool and TV on Lido Deck

Pool & Movie Screen on Lido Deck

Depending on which Carnival cruise ship you sail with, there will be a shuffle board, table tennis equipment, a mini basketball court, rock climbing and a mini golf course. There is a video game arcade.

For Your Pleasure & Relaxation

When you think of pleasure or relaxation, what comes to mind? Did someone say spa treatment? Well, you will find special offerings of spa treatments onboard your Carnival cruise ship. Relax and enjoy!

Two things to remember: 1. Spa treatments incur separate charges and, 2. Plan your spa treatment for a day that you are docked at a port of call - prices are better then.

In addition to the spa, there is usually a library or reading room and even a card room (on some ships) onboard your cruise ship. There are also several lounges where you can kick back, kick up and take it easy.

Finally, you may also choose to relax in one of several hot tubs.

For Your Entertainment

Each Carnival cruise is equipped with a beautifully designed theater where all kinds of fun things happen - Vegas-style shows; comedy shows; magical shows; bingo; game shows and more.

Additionally, there small bands found in lounges around the ship; a pool-deck band that entertains while you swim; plus several organized activities led by your cruise director and other crew members daily.

There is a lot to enjoy!

For Your Shopping Desires

You will find a couple to few shops onboard, depending on which ship you are on - gift shops; jewelry shops; somewhere for duty free "spirits" and more. You will also always find someone selling gold and silver by the length.

Shops on Carnival Ship

Gold & Silver Sale on Carnival Destiny

For Your Dreams

Did someone say casinos? For those who dream of making it rich inside a casino, you will certainly get a shot at it onboard a Carnival cruise ship.

The running joke is that the casino is onboard to take your money.

Dream on...

Carnival Cruise Review - Provisions for Children

Similarly to other Caribbean cruise lines, Carnival makes a very special provision for your children. This provision is called, Camp Carnival.

Camp Carnival

Camp Carnival Hallway on Destiny

No, this is not the camp where you drop off your children when you get onboard and pick them up 4-, 5-, or 7 days later when it is time to return home. Nice try!

Camp Carnival is provided to keep your children engaged and entertained for various times throughout each day and by extension it gives you and your spouse some room to spend time together.

Each Carnival cruise ship has a Director of Camp Carnival and a group of well-trained counselors who assist him/her.

Your children will be in good hands.

Camp Carnival is designed for children and teens up to about 16 years old.

Carnival Cruise Review – The Crew

Crew members on Carnival Destiny

Hardworking Hostesses on Carnival Destiny

After sailing on Carnival cruise ship, it is easy to feel that you've visited more places than those listed in your itinerary. That is because there are so many nationalities onboard any Caribbean cruise ship.

Yes, you will find some crew members from Caribbean islands, but mostly from elsewhere such as the Philippines, Eastern Europe and the Balkans - Croatia, Bosnia, etc.

To a large extent, your communication with the crew members will be a smile and "Hello."

Despite multiple ethnicities and nationalities onboard, the crew generally work well together to give you a memorable cruise.

Whether it be your stateroom attendant, the three people who wait your table in a main dining room, the guys who clean up after you in the buffet restaurant, etc., Carnival crew members make a sterling effort to treat you well.

Carnival Cruise Review - Past Guests Recognition

Carnival Cruise Lines makes an effort to incentivize its returning guests. They offer free upgrades on some occasions, onboard credit and a Returning Guests Reception.

For about 2 hours, all returning guests will be invited to the main theater for chit chat, hor dours and free drinks. It is the only time that the bar will be open, while onboard.

There is so much more to say about Carnival cruises, but I will incorporate some things on other pages.

However, it seems unfair to write a Carnival cruise review without noting one negative thing. The truth is, I have enjoyed our three Carnival family cruises and cannot think of one sore thing that stood out.

Unfortunately, my Carnival cruise review may not be quite balanced, but I guarantee that your family will have an unforgettable inclusive Carnival Caribbean cruise.

Have You Sailed With Carnival?

Have you tried a Carnival Caribbean cruise? My family has sailed with Carnival Cruise Lines more than any other and we have had memorable times.

How about you? Please share some of your favorite moments on a Carnival cruise you have taken.

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