Helpful Carnival
Cruise Review


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

Yes, my family has sailed on the Carnival Sensation, Carnival Glory, Carnival Destiny (now Carnival Sunshine), Carnival Paradise, Carnival Victory, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Elation, Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Sunrise, Carnival Horizon, and Carnival Spirit - in that order.

Each of our Carnival cruise ship vacations was fantastic!







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Most Recent
Carnival Caribbean Cruise

We returned from an 8-night  Eastern Caribbean Cruise to St. Maarten, Amber Cover and San Juan December 2023 aboard the Carnival Spirit, and it was truly a great cruise getaway.

On that cruise we joined friends celebrating their mother's 80th birthday. It was truly a great time of fun visiting beaches, enjoying Amberbottom linean Juan and basking in all that the ship offered.

The bottom-line is that you will enjoy your Carnival Caribbean cruise. Our first two 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. 


Mini Golf on Carnival Victory


Carnival Cruise Review
The Ships

Carnival Cruise Line is a member of Carnival Corporation & PLC, the world's biggest cruise line. Carnival itself has about twenty-four 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 four largest ships are the Carnival Jubiliee (2023), Carnival Celebration, Mardi Gras and Carnival Panorama.



Carnival Cruise Review
Caribbean Itineraries

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

Additionally, you can almost find a Carnival cruise sailing from any of the top Caribbean cruise departure ports in the United States: 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 Cruise Line 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 Liberty Docked in Barbados


Carnival Cruise Review
Pre-Boarding Matters

Carnival's Cruise Fares 

Carnival Cruise Line prides itself on offering cruise prices that just about anyone can afford. Generally, Carnival competes with only one other major Caribbean cruise line - MSC Cruises - 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 Line 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 CruiseDirect.com (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 Carnival.com 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 "Fun Pass". Online check-in 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. 


Towel Animal On Carnival Ship


Carnival Cruise Review
Cruise 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.

We had tried interior cabins for four and five guests and oceanview cabins for the same. We have not had an issue with the size or comfort of our cabins.

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

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 of our time outside the cabin. 

Note: Carnival ships have some of the largest cabins at sea.


Dining Rooms & Your Meals 

          Dining Areas

Carnival ships generally have two 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. 



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 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 buffet restaurant.

Additionally, Carnival Cruise Line 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 cuisines. 



Fun Amenities 

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

    Pools

- 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. 

    Games

Depending on which Carnival cruise ship you sail on, there will be a shuffleboard, table tennis equipment, a 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 on board 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 are 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 handful of shops on board - general merchandise, ship branded items, gift shops, jewelry shops, somewhere for duty-free "spirits" and more.

You will also always find someone selling gold and silver by the length. 



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 on board a Carnival cruise ship.

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

Dream on... 



Carnival Cruise Review
Provisions for Kids

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

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

Camp Ocean 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 Ocean and a group of well-trained counselors who assist him/her.

Your children will be well cared for.

Camp Ocean Carnival is designed for children six through eleven and there's provision made for teenagers too. 



Carnival Cruise Review
The Crew

After sailing on a 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 works well together to give you a memorable cruise ship vacation.

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

For about two hours, all returning guests will be invited to the main theater for chit chat, finger foods and free drinks. It is the only time that the bar will be open, while on board. 

Ask about Carnival's VIFP (Very Important Fun Person) Program to learn much more about how they recognize returning guests.


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 that I enjoyed all of my Carnival cruise vacations 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.

Remember to add some pictures to show off a bit!

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