Bon Voyage Magazine

Carnival Cruise Lines Cruise Reviews

These boisterous ships woo party animals, as well as fun-loving families and singles, with constant entertainment (think poolside hairy chest contests, after-hours comedians, buckets of beer, plenty of activities for kids) and increasingly impressive food, including burgers by Food Network star Guy Fieri. Carnival has begun to host onboard concerts by big-name performers — including Jennifer Hudson, Chicago, Jewel, and Leann Rimes — on regular sailings and has partnered with Dr. Seuss Enterprises for themed story hours and kid-friendly "Cat in the Hat" brunches.

Review Summary

  • Couple
    3.6
  • Family w/young children
    3.6
  • Family w/older children
    3.7
  • Singles/Friends
    3.7
  • Large Group
    3.6

Carnival Cruise Lines sails 24 ships.

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21079 reviews from our community




Traveled As:
Family w/older children

Room Type:
Oceanview

Experience:
4-6 cruises

1
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3 star
3 star
3 star
empty star
empty star

Good parts and bad

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Carnival Inspiration | Sail Date: Jul 18, 2014


We took our four grandchildren on this trip as a congradulations to them for their straight "A" report cards.  We had a wonderful time with the kids. The food was fine.  The crew was great. 

 However, when our 9 - 12 year grandchildren even commented that they thought that Carnival was constantly, cleverly working the cruisers for  money, it was a concern. As an example, bingo was $20 for a sheet of 3 tickets. At least 300 people played.  There were 3 games. One for $100, one for $125 the last for $150.  We waited for 30 min for them to sell the tickets.  The games were over in 20 minutes...not much for the cost.  Just one example.  The kids were also upset that they were led to believe that the Build a Bear was for St Jude's.  When they got there they were told that only if they bought  the bears that were already made would the money go to St Judes.  

The other reason that I would not give the cruise more stars is that although in general the ship was clean, my cabin's toilet was not cleaned  for the three days of the trip

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Family w/older children

Room Type:
Inside

Experience:
2-3 cruises

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5 star
5 star
5 star
5 star
5 star

We had a great time

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Carnival Splendor | Sail Date: Jul 14, 2014


we thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this cruise and were impressed with the staff in the dining room and the steward.  Everyone was helpful and made our cruise memorable in all the best ways.

 

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Traveled As:
Family w/young children

Room Type:
Inside

Experience:
2-3 cruises

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2 star
2 star
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Don't Travel On This Ship

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Carnival Splendor | Sail Date: Jul 14, 2014


This was my 3rd cruise, second time on Carnival. I've gone on a Royal Caribbean out of Florida (5 day trip: CoCo Cay, Nassau, Bahamas---$350 +taxes and port fees), I went on Carnival Splendor leaving out of New York in March 2014 ($350 +taxes and port fees) and then the same exact ship in July 2014 ($850+taxes and port fees). 

 

Why the same boat twice? My fiance and I needed a desperate break away and Carnival was selling March tickets for $350, so we said why the hell not! At the same time, my family really wanted to go on a cruise, and at the time it was cheaper to book on Carnival then other ships. Plus Carnival seemed to have a good reputation.

 

After my March trip I really wanted to cancel my July trip, but it wasn't feasible. So we went, and while noticed they treat the summer cruisers to better things (not food, food remained the same), we did see better shows and better movies.Carnival does try to providea variety of food, but Royal does a far better job. Not only did Royal provide a huge variety of food, the quality seemed better. One thing I really hated on Carnival is their lack of good coffee. The coffee is bitter and tastes like a dirty water.  I also missed Royal's 24 hour food options, which were significantly better than Carnival's pizza options. The only other thing that was a saving grace for Carnival was that their side of the private island, CoCo Cay, was absolutely amazing. Crystal clear calm waters that were shallow for dozens of feet. It was amazing and gorgeous and everything we wanted. But it's not enough to save them.

 

However, I will never cruise out of NY on a Carnival ship ever again. In fact, I don't think I'll ever cruise Carnival again. My experience with Royal was leagues better. The food was better, entertainment was better. The only thing is service is equal, I felt both ships have amazing workers. 

 

Carnival, and especially the Splendor, has horribly ugly and tacky decorations. I felt like I was in some trippy giant copper penny for over a week. In addition, the lay out is incredibly poorly designed. They put a smoking open door casino in the middle of the ship, by the end of the week, you can smell cigarettes over large parts of the ship--DISGUSTING. And no matter what, every day I couldn't get a seat for my family on the outdoor decks, and the pools were constantly stuffed with tons of people---which made them look like germ pools. for such a large ship they should have hired a much smarter designer! 

 

Save your money and spring for cruise out of Florida, on Royal Caribbean. I'm already sorry I wasted two vacations on Carnival! My next trip is going to be Royal Caribbean on one of their new, larger liners and in a balcony room! 

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Traveled As:
Family w/older children

Room Type:
Oceanview

Experience:
1 cruise (first)

1
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5 star
5 star
5 star
5 star
5 star

First Cruise Experience

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Carnival Fascination | Sail Date: Jul 14, 2014


Our Travel Agent did an excellent job selecting cabin and suggested activities to do for our very first cruise.  She suggested the early dinning experience and it was wonderful.  The food and staff were outstanding.  Would suggest to that they let guest know that there was only one outlet in the cabin.  Suggest a power strip especially to charge cell phones, razors etc. 

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Traveled As:
Couple

Room Type:
Oceanview

Experience:
1 cruise (first)

1
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5 star
5 star
5 star
5 star
5 star

awesome cruise experience and ship

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Carnival Fascination | Sail Date: Jul 14, 2014


My husband and I went on a cruise with carnival and the experience was real. People said use motion sickness pills or patch of some sort so we won't be ill. The whole cruise we didn't use anything it was awesome. I've told so many of my family members about the cruise and encouraged them to book a cruise. We had a lovely time on and off the ship. The crew members were very helpful with everything. We are looking to sail again a little later this year.

Cruise Photos

my hubby and I enjoying the Bahamas awesome

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Room Type:
Inside

Experience:
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3 star
3 star
3 star
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First time confusion

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Carnival Inspiration | Sail Date: Jul 13, 2014


As a first time "cruiser" I expected more direction on where to go once on the ship we had to figure it all out on our own which was a bit frustrating. Once we figured out what our room number was and where to find it we got "lost" on the ship but it was the start of the adventure. I will say all the professional picture taking was annoying by day 2 and trying to find your picture in all the thousands up on the wall wasn't fun either so we gave up and stopped taking them. We did learn a lot on this cruise which is a benefit considering we had previously booked one for our Anniversary in December, I feel that overall it was a good first cruise and staff was nice our inexperience and lack of help at the start will not stop us from going again.

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Traveled As:
Family w/young children

Room Type:
Inside

Experience:
1 cruise (first)

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5 star
5 star
5 star
5 star
5 star

Ship, Staff, Cuisine, Entertainment, Activities are the best!

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Carnival Magic | Sail Date: Jul 13, 2014


This was my first cruise in 25 years. I took along my 13-year-old daughter.

 

We were treated like royalty. Each night, the restaurant manager Georgianna in the upstairs in the main dining room worked with the ship's chef to offer my daughter a different, delicious menu of choices matching her rather challenging vegan diet needs. She was impressed and ate each and every dish with vigor. After dinner, the daily and nightly activities were numerous and exciting.

 

Cowboy Bill, the comedian, was hilarious. Bob, the lounge singer/piano master, was entertaining, had a deep reportoire of oldies and goodies, is a great entertainer ("Holy ship, come on in!") and I, along with my brother and his pals closed the place up several nights. The theater extravaganzas including the illutionist and his crew were amazing. Capt. Antonio Marchetti commanded the entire operation with the touch of a Da Vinci. Guest Services always met me with a smile and a "yes." Ditto the hotel management pros. All were delightful folks.

 

Shore excursions were a great value,  interesting, fun and always on time. Bravo to them too. Can you tell that we had a great time. I'm already planning my next getaway, this time with my wife and daughter. Of course we'll book the Magic.

Cruise Photos

Piano Bar Bar Master Lido Deck Entertainment Piano Bar Bob and Friends

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Room Type:
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Experience:
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5 star
5 star
5 star
5 star
5 star

Carnival Freedom

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Carnival Freedom | Sail Date: Jul 13, 2014


My daughter and myself sailed on the Carnival Freedom July13-21 for an 8 day Southern Caribbean Cruise.  I purchased the "Faster to Fun" package, so we could board early and our bags would be delivered quickly.  The boarding process went smoothly without any issues.  The faster to fun advertises that your room is available right away, but that wasn't the case, though I just walked right to our room and put our things down.  They had signs up saying that the rooms weren't available.  I had already booked our excursions at every Port prior to sailing.  I compared prices for the excursions prior to buying, both from Carnival and outside vendors.  I am pleased to say that Carnival has finally woken up and their prices were right in line with the outside vendors.  We Power Snorkeled in Grand Turk, great excursion.  Indian Caves in Dominican Republic, another great excusion, I didn't even mind the stop downtown to do some shopping.  Mini-Jeeps in Curacao, the actual Jeep tour was great!  The beach portion was a waste of time, I didn't want to get all wet and salty and then get dirty on the Jeeps.  The drinks at the beach were just as expensive as they were on the boat!  We did the submarine in Aruba, that was another great excursion!  This was the first time I experienced the art auctions onboard and really enjoyed them!  I won  2 prints at the raffles and bought 2 prints.  We like the Anytime Dining, as we can go whenever we want.  We also like to share a table with others to meet new people.  My daughter participated in the 02 teen group and had fun with that.  The Guy's Burgers are fantastic!!!!  I found it strange that the pizza place would not make pizza to order, you have to select from the pizzas on the menu.  I wanted pepperoni and mushroom and couldn't get it even though I could get a mushroom or pepperoni pizza?????  We had one great waiter in the Chic dining room, the others were just average and didn't even bother to introduce themselves before taking our order.  Food is good in the dining room with a good selection.  For those that have never cruised before, you can order anything you want, even ordering several appetizers and entrees.  The deserts........ this is where I feel Carnival is REALLY lacking.  Their deserts are frankly, boring.  They really need to step up to the plate and get some pastry chefs on board as that was a huge let down!  Room service is very limited.  I had the bottomless bubbles plan, which is unlimited soda, and they wouldn't bring me soda with room service.  Frankly, the breakfast buffet is pretty poor with the same things over and over, every day.  By the time you get to your table your food is cold.  I like the fact that even on these larger ships, you don't feel over crowded while on board.  They have the disembarking at Port down good, so there wasn't any problem getting off or on the boat.  Rooms were nice and service there very good.  All employees are friendly and helpful.  I rented the small video camera that they have for $60 for the week.  It comes with a 16g card you keep.  I always bring my laptop, so it worked well for me downloading the videos every day and recharging the unit.  The drawback with it that you can't "view" what you are filming, it is just a point and shoot camera.  But, it is waterproof down to 30ft, they provide you with a floating wrist strap and a headstrap system for hands-free operations. Disembarkation is a slow tedious procedure, no where near the efficiency of all the other disembarkations at the other ports.  It could use some improvements.  

 

When comparing Carnival to other cruiselines I have been on, none of them could compare with what they provide for the price.  If you are looking for a highend experience, this isn't it.  But if you want a fun, reasonably priced vacation, this is it.

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Room Type:
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Experience:
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5 star
5 star
5 star
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5 star

southern Caribbean was beautiful! Wonderful islands!

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Carnival Freedom | Sail Date: Jul 13, 2014


We loved this cruise and did some fantastic excursions!  Seas were a little rough down south but not too bad!   Had a great cabin Stewart that pleasantly greeted me every day!  Edy was our waiter at dinner and he was fabulous!!!  and Allen made sure we had great drinks by the pool!!  My only suggestions for carnival would be better food selections for dinner, and have it again.  Sometimes you would get something and like it but couldn't get it again.  Loved the ship!  Activities sometimes seemed thrown together.  Jennifer was great and fun, but Ashley was a grump and sometimes short with people.  I am single and they only had one singles activity but had gay and lesbian activities nightly.  Great cruise and would love to go again!!!!

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Traveled As:
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Room Type:
Oceanview

Experience:
7+ cruises

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4 star
4 star
4 star
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empty star

Southern Caribbean Carnival Cruise

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Carnival Freedom | Sail Date: Jul 13, 2014


Our cruise to the Southern Caribbean was enjoyable.  The weather was great, the ports were beautiful, and the ship was nice.  We especially enjoyed Curacao with its beautiful, colorful, quaint buildings.  We would have liked to have had more time in port for exploring.  My one big concern with the ship Freedom was the strong nicotine smell in the hallways and stairs near the casino area.  It's a shame passengers had to give up clean air to cater to the smokers who frequented the casino.  I think Carnival should take a very strong look at their policy regarding smoking in various areas of the ship.  Food was good and plentiful.

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1 - 10 of 21079 reviews

Photos for Carnival Cruise Lines

Ships for Carnival Cruise Lines

Name Age Rating Reviews
Carnival Sensation 20 years, 8 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 half star empty star

3.6 out of 5

1322
Carnival Glory 11 years, 0 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 half star empty star

3.5 out of 5

1240
Carnival Imagination 19 years, 0 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 half star empty star

3.6 out of 5

1194
Carnival Inspiration 18 years, 4 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 half star empty star

3.6 out of 5

1079
Carnival Valor 9 years, 7 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 star empty star

3.8 out of 5

1020
Carnival Paradise 15 years, 8 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 half star empty star

3.6 out of 5

994
Carnival Fascination 20 years, 1 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 half star empty star

3.6 out of 5

971
Carnival Legend 12 years, 3 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 star empty star

3.8 out of 5

957
Carnival Fantasy 24 years, 4 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 half star empty star

3.6 out of 5

938
Carnival Triumph 15 years, 0 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 half star empty star

3.6 out of 5

934
Carnival Victory 13 years, 11 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 half star empty star

3.6 out of 5

923
Carnival Elation 16 years, 4 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 half star empty star

3.7 out of 5

910
Carnival Ecstasy 23 years, 3 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 half star empty star

3.5 out of 5

905
Carnival Liberty 9 years, 0 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 star empty star

3.8 out of 5

860
Carnival Pride 12 years, 6 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 half star empty star

3.7 out of 5

760
Carnival Conquest 11 years, 7 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 half star empty star

3.7 out of 5

760
Carnival Freedom 7 years, 4 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 half star empty star

3.7 out of 5

726
Carnival Dream 4 years, 10 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 half star empty star

3.6 out of 5

713
Carnival Miracle 10 years, 5 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 half star empty star

3.7 out of 5

691
Carnival Splendor 6 years, 0 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 half star empty star

3.5 out of 5

610
Carnival Spirit 13 years, 3 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 half star empty star

3.7 out of 5

480
Carnival Magic 3 years, 11 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 star empty star

3.8 out of 5

377
Carnival Breeze 2 years, 1 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 half star empty star

3.6 out of 5

243
Carnival Sunshine 17 years, 9 months old
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 half star empty star

3.5 out of 5

105

Ports in Carnival Cruise Lines

Cozumel, Mexico (8635 Reviews)

Sitting just off the gorgeous Yucatan coast, Cozumel revels in its mythic white-sand beaches and world-class coral reefs. Yet Cozumel is also the last stronghold of the Mayas, who settled the island in 300 A.D. Residents still speak Maya, and sometimes wear traditional Mayan clothing. Nearby stand the great pyramids and temples of their ancestors.

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Nassau, Bahamas (7655 Reviews)

Nassau/Paradise Island is the capital of the Bahamas. Explore Parliament Square, the government center that dates back to the early 1800s or check out the port's vibrant night life, including more casinos, theatres, and fabulous cuisine than you could possibly fit into a short stay. During the day, there's plenty of golfing, tennis, and swimming.

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George Town, Grand Cayman (5303 Reviews)

George Town is the capital of the Cayman Islands, and is situated directly on Grand Cayman. Once a center of turtle fishing, the area is now a popular tourist destination. Snorkeling and diving are especially popular, and the opportunity to swim with and feed the giant, graceful stingrays should not be missed. Don't worry--it is said that no one has ever been stung.

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Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas (4775 Reviews)

Charlotte Amalie, is the capital of the United States Virgin Islands and the most popular cruise port in the Caribbean. Named for a Danish Queen, the city features pastel houses that are heavily sprinkled against a background of emerald hills. Colorful sloops dock along the waterfront, and a few steps back, down alleyways lined with old Danish warehouse buildings, is a world-famous shopping center.

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Philipsburg, St. Maarten (3556 Reviews)

An island under two flags, St. Martin/St. Maarten is French and Dutch. Philipsburg is on the Dutch side and famous for its duty-free emporia and casinos. A short drive will bring you to Marigot, a charming French Colonial outpost featuring shops filled with French fashions and imported Gallic goodies, as well as beautiful beaches.

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Key West, Florida (2955 Reviews)

Key West has the best diving, snorkeling, fishing and boating in the continental U.S. Just a three-by-five mile Island, Key West offers a treat for the masses that flock here. Locals and tourists alike stroll down Duval Street each night to witness the Sunset Celebration, where they find hand-made souvenirs, munchies, cold drinks and a show so spectacular, only nature could have created it.

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Belize City, Belize (2743 Reviews)

Belize City is the country's chief seaport, so snorkeling and diving is big here...bring a suit! Travel to a city previously inhabited by the Mayan people at Altun Ha, ancient temple of the Sun God. Or visit the Belize Zoo or Baboon Sanctuary. Gales Point is a great place to view manatees!

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San Juan, Puerto Rico (2428 Reviews)

The fortress of El Morro guards the harbor against long-gone Sir Francis Drake and his British privateers. The colorful streets of Old San Juan retain the Latin flavor of its seafaring past, when this was the heart of the Spanish Main. Sample the fiery rum made here, or indulge in an icy treat made from fresh tropical fruit and enjoy the Caribbean atmosphere.

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Ocho Rios, Jamaica (1858 Reviews)

With its swaying palms, glistening white beaches, and sophisticated resorts, Ocho Rios is a favorite vacation spot. For a splendid view, visit Shaw Park Gardens, overflowing with fragrant flora and refreshing waterfalls, or enjoy a refreshing trek through Dunn's River Falls one of the most celebrated attractions of the Caribbean.

Learn More »

Freeport, Grand Bahama Island (1812 Reviews)

Freeport/Lucaya is located on Grand Bahama Island and is the second largest city in the Bahamas. Freeport's many beaches offer you the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to actually swim alongside dolphins! Freeport is truly a sports-lover's paradise; besides the scuba-diving, windsurfing, and fishing, Freeport boasts first-class golf courses!

Learn More »

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