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Carnival Cruise Lines sails 25 ships.

About Carnival Cruise Lines

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.

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Best for

Carnival is a haven for party animals, extroverts, and voyeurs of all ages, plus boisterous families with kids.

Not for

Anyone who likes intimate spaces and modulated voices and music should float on another boat. There are few quiet corners — these cruise ships are loud in color and volume. 

We love

  • The variety of entertainment options 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.

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