These boisterous cruise 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.
Carnival Cruise Lines sails 25 ships.
Carnival is a haven for party animals, extroverts, and voyeurs of all ages, plus boisterous families with kids.
Anyone who likes intimate spaces and modulated voices and music should float on another boat. There are few quiet corners — Carnival cruise ships are loud in color and volume.
The variety of entertainment options on a Carnival cruise is impressive, from Vegas-style productions to sports bars and karaoke. Our favorite: the realistic game shows and the comedy clubs, with their R-rated sets.
Carnival caters to kids in a big way, with huge playrooms, video arcades, mini-golf courses, and water slides. Some ships also have a ropes course, and water “sprinklers” for small kids.
Carnival offers more dining options than ever — we’re licking our lips just thinking about the popular (and complimentary) Guy’s Burger Joint, now on six ships and counting.
Roomy standard cabins have nice perks, including mini-fridges and large showers.
The “Serenity” adults-only deck area offers respite for quiet-seeking grown-ups.
We could live without
We bemoan the lack of learning opportunities, from bare-bone libraries to rare lectures and classes.
Turn it down: The volume of the videos shown on the poolside LED screens gives us a headache.
Carnival's string of engine problems — the most notorious of which rendered the Carnival Triumph powerless (and toilet-less and shower-less, too) for days — landed the line in the news for all the wrong reasons.
The cruise was a good time but I did have a few complaints. While most of the staff were friendly, there were some that were pretty rude. For example, I was trying to get breakfast and just as I was reaching for the spoon to dip my scrambled eggs a member of the staff stepped in front of me, slapped a buffet closed sign down and told me I had to go outside to get my breakfast. I was literally reaching for the spoon and all the food was still out and he refused to allow me to make my plate and was quite rude about it. There were several instances were the wait staff would just ignore you while trying to get their attention. During one of the comedy shows I had to get up in the middle of the show and walk to the bar to order a drink because the server just walked by and ignored my efforts to gain his attention at least 4 times.
The pool on the ship is very small and always crowded as there is only the one pool for so many guests.
The food was okay, but the coffee was horrible and the deserts were basically tasteless.
I was not given correct information on how my accounts would be billed and then they tried to charge me for two towels they said had been checked out on the Lido deck and never returned. They eventually got it straightened out and removed the charges but it took my time and some aggravation. Be sure to check your bill at the end of the cruise.
The next time I book a cruise I will book another cruise line or a different ship.
I had a wonderful time on board the Ecstacy. There was always something to do or you could just lounge around the pool. The boat was very clean and well kept the entire cruise. The food was good and fresh.
THE SHIP IS AN OLD SHIP, SO A LOT OF THINGS LOOK DATED. I NOTICED THE CREW CLEANING AND WIPING THINGS DOWN EVERY EARLY MORNING WHEN I GOT UP WHICH IS ENCOURAGING. MY CHOICE OF EXCURSION WAS BAD AT FREEPORT. THE WESTERN HERITAGE AND SNORKEL TOUR GUIDED US AROUND A VERY POOR AND VERY POLLUTED PART OF THE ISLAND. BEST PART OF CRUISE WAS THE EVENING MEALS. VERY NICE.
The staff was outstanding. They were helpful and always cheerful. They took time to get to know the guests that they were assigned to and interacted well with everyone.
This was my first cruise so I do not know how the ship compared with others. I know that the fantasy is an older ship but I was not disappointed with the accomidations. We had an interior room that was everything that we expected it would be.
The staff were good about servicing the room twice a day.
I was a little disappointed with the food. There was plenty of it but it was not always hot/fresh.
MOST OF THE FOOD THAT WAS SERVED ON THE BUFFET WAS COLD BUT WHEN WE WENT TO THE STEAK HOUSE IT WAS WONDERFUL. THE BEST STEAK WE HAD EVER HAD. I JUST THINK IT COULD HAVE BEEN KEPT A LITTLE HOTTER BY THE TIME YOU GOT TO THE TABLE IT WAS COLD.
This was my first cruise, and our first for our family of 5 including kids ages 14, 10, 10. We enjoyed the staff and amenities on board the ship. Our wait staff of Parasian, Gerardo, and Dejana were awesome. Our cabin steward Apolo was very personable and made us feel like royalty. Jasmina in the buffet was friendly and really fun to talk with about her experiences.
My wife and I started the cruise with a spa day, which was very enjoyable and we got discounts for signing up the first day. The staff push a lot of expensive product, but the experience was not diminished by it.
We booked our first excursion through cruisesonly instead of Carnival. The only difference was we were responsible for our transportation to the dolphin park. The taxi was $16 there and $17 back. The experience at the dolphin park was awesome until they hit us up for digital pictures. They wanted $420 for our pictures on a CD. Absolutely crazy. After some negotiations, we got it down to $120 for our kids. Seems wrong for them to charge so much. It was the only unfortunate part of the excursion.
We booked our second port of call excursion through Carnival on the boat the night before. We went to Dzibilchaltun (Mayan ruins). Our guides Kumen and Master Victor were great. We got a lot of knowledge and time to swim in the Cenote, complete with fish that eat the dead skin off your feet. We were given 45 minutes to tour the ruins on our own which was awesome.
Our days at sea were filled with shows, miniature golf, and walking around the boat hitting every ice cream station we could find.
Overall a great experience. Staff were a little pushy with the drinks and things that cost extra. But for those who constantly want a drink in their hand, it might be perfect. The shows were good, but not all the PG-13 were appropriate. More like PG-18.
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