For the ultimate family-friendly travel experience, you can’t go wrong with Carnival. Compared to other cruise lines, the passenger demographics generally lean towards a younger crowd. You will typically find plenty of young adults in their twenties and thirties on board, in addition to lots of families with children of all ages. Carnival is clearly aware of this, as reflected in the onboard experience they provide and the amenities available across their fleet of ships. Another difference is in their pricing; they tend to be slightly more affordable than their competitors. This has no substantial bearing on the overall vacation experience, aside from it being a more relaxed environment. For anyone seeking a laid-back, casual setting, Carnival is undoubtedly the way to go.
“The sea! the sea! the open sea!, The blue, the fresh, the ever free!”
The cabins are comfortable, clean and modern, with ample space to store your belongings. All rooms contain bathrobes and offer 24-hour room service and steward service. The beds are comfortable, all fitted with Carnival’s own trademarked linen collection. Suites are available; these sleep up to five people and come standard with a balcony and whirlpool tub. Special family-friendly staterooms contain seating areas and some even have two bathrooms! For an extra-spacious room, the Havana Cabana suites offer an oversize balcony complete with hammock, a rain-shower in the bathroom and exclusive access to the private Havana Bar, pool and club.
The main dining room offers multi-course, restaurant-quality dinner service, and we must add that their soups are divine! An ever-changing menu gives you choices like duck, steak, scallops, plus a daily Rare Finds option, featuring items “you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t yet dared.” Rare Finds may include such delicacies as alligator, frogs legs or snails. On sea days, late risers can head on down to the main dining room for a delectable Seaday Brunch. The main pool deck features casual dining options such as Guy’s Burger Joint, serving juicy roadside-style burgers straight off the grill, and Blue Iguana Cantina, which creates delicious tacos and burritos fresh to order. Pizza Pirate is open 24 hours with toppings to please everyone. The Lido buffet offers a variety of good all-American fare throughout the day and well into the evening; their dessert station is nothing short of heavenly. Just outside the café you will find 24-hour frozen yogurt dispensers – perfect for a cool-down out at sea, a refresher upon your return from a shore trip, or a sneaky midnight snack. Each ship also features specialty restaurants, at an additional cost, for an upscale, sophisticated dining experience at sea.
There’s a reason why Carnival markets themselves as the “Fun Ships.” Enjoy live concerts, karaoke, a sports bar, comedy club, piano bar and plenty of performances at the various bars onboard. Nightly productions at the main theatre are geared towards the age demographic, offering music and choreography to popular styles such as 80’s hits, epic rock, Latin and British favorites. Daytime activities may include cooking demonstrations, mixology contests, dodgeball, art seminars and bingo – or perhaps you prefer to curl up with a good book in the library. Not to be missed is the interactive Hasbro Game Show, which brings classic board games to life.
Every ship features a full-service spa with a menu of health and beauty treatments. The onboard gyms contain top-of-the-line fitness machines and free weights plus, for an additional cost, personal trainers and a variety of class offerings.
Camp Ocean provides ocean-themed activities for children aged 2-11 years in a professionally supervised kids’ area. Camp Carnival, also fully staffed, offers age-appropriate arts and crafts, parties, science and discovery, and physical activities like obstacle courses and treasure hunts. Carnival ships feature kid-friendly pools, many with water slides, along with other fun delights such as sports areas, rock-climbing, mini-golf, educational digital play, and let’s not forget nightly poolside movies. For an extra cost, your kids can enjoy delightful Dr. Seuss character dining at the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast, featuring weird and wonderful food creations.
Carnival itineraries offer trips around the United States, Caribbean, South America, Greece and Southern Europe. Itineraries can be anywhere from three nights to two weeks. Some are focused on special highlights, such as Alaska or the Panama Canal.