Best Carnival Ships For 2018

best carnival cruise ships 2018 caribbean
Which Carnival ships are worth your attention in 2018? - Photo by Carnival Cruise Line

Looking to take a Carnival cruise in 2018, but not sure which ship to choose? We calculated the best Carnival ships for cabins, dining, entertainment and more based off of thousands of reviews submitted in 2017.

 

Ship Quality

serenity deck carnival breeze ships 2018
Serenity Deck - Photo by Carnival

1. Carnival Breeze - 4.42
2. Carnival Dream - 4.38
3. Carnival Valor - 4.33
4. Carnival Freedom - 4.33
5. Carnival Magic - 4.32
6. Carnival Liberty - 4.25
7. Carnival Vista - 4.25
8. Carnival Legend - 4.25
9. Carnival Imagination - 4.25
10. Carnival Miracle - 4.24
11. Carnival Fantasy - 4.23
12. Carnival Pride - 4.21
13. Carnival Glory - 4.20
14. Carnival Sunshine - 4.15
15. Carnival Triumph - 4.14
16. Carnival Conquest - 4.13
17. Carnival Victory - 4.12
18. Carnival Fascination - 4.12
19. Carnival Inspiration - 4.11
20. Carnival Ecstasy - 4.11
21. Carnival Splendor - 4.09
22. Carnival Elation - 3.96
23. Carnival Sensation - 3.96
24. Carnival Paradise - 3.83

 

What We Expected: Newer generally means better when it comes to ship quality, so it made sense that all of Carnival’s seven-newest ships found themselves in the top seven spots.

What Surprised Us: We had heard layout gripes about Carnival’s newest ship, Vista, but it did raise our eyebrows All 3 vessels from Carnival’s Dream-class (Breeze, Dream, and Magic) beat Vista by a sizable margin.

 

Cabins

best carnival ships 2018 cabins breeze
Balcony cabin on Carnival Breeze - Photo by Carnival

1. Carnival Breeze - 4.53
2. Carnival Valor - 4.49
3. Carnival Dream - 4.43
4. Carnival Vista - 4.41
5. Carnival Liberty - 4.40
6. Carnival Freedom - 4.40
7. Carnival Victory - 4.39
8. Carnival Glory - 4.38
9. Carnival Magic - 4.38
10. Carnival Miracle - 4.38
11. Carnival Fantasy - 4.35
12. Carnival Imagination - 4.35
13. Carnival Legend - 4.35
14. Carnival Triumph - 4.34
15. Carnival Pride - 4.33
16. Carnival Conquest - 4.32
17. Carnival Splendor - 4.31
18. Carnival Sunshine - 4.28
19. Carnival Inspiration - 4.27
20. Carnival Ecstasy - 4.27
21. Carnival Elation - 4.21
22. Carnival Fascination - 4.20
23. Carnival Sensation - 4.19
24. Carnival Paradise - 4.09

 

What We Expected: Breeze-class and Conquest-class ships are quickly establishing themselves as the ships to beat in Carnival’s fleet.

What Surprised Us: Carnival Valor, launched in 2004, beat out seven newer vessels to finish #2 behind Breeze.

 

Food & Dining

best carnival ships dining 2018 burger
Guy's Burgers - Photo by Carnival

1. Carnival Breeze - 4.23
2. Carnival Freedom - 4.22
3. Carnival Dream - 4.22
4. Carnival Glory - 4.21
5. Carnival Triumph - 4.18
6. Carnival Vista - 4.17
7. Carnival Legend - 4.16
8. Carnival Pride - 4.16
9. Carnival Miracle - 4.16
10. Carnival Valor - 4.15
11. Carnival Fantasy - 4.10
12. Carnival Magic - 4.09
13. Carnival Imagination - 4.09
14. Carnival Ecstasy - 4.07
15. Carnival Liberty - 4.07
16. Carnival Sunshine - 4.06
17. Carnival Fascination - 4.06
18. Carnival Conquest - 4.05
19. Carnival Splendor - 4.01
20. Carnival Victory - 4.00
21. Carnival Paradise - 3.99
22. Carnival Inspiration - 3.98
23. Carnival Elation - 3.97
24. Carnival Sensation - 3.91

 

What We Expected: Conquest-class and Dream-class ships dominated the entire category with another stellar performance. We’re seeing a trend.

What Surprised Us: Carnival Triumph finishing #5 ahead of Vista certainly caught our eye.

 

Service & Staff

Bartedner at the Alchemy Bar - Photo by Carnival

1. Carnival Fantasy - 4.58
2. Carnival Dream - 4.58
3. Carnival Triumph - 4.58
4. Carnival Breeze - 4.57
5. Carnival Freedom - 4.57
6. Carnival Miracle - 4.56
7. Carnival Pride - 4.55
8. Carnival Glory - 4.54
9. Carnival Valor - 4.53
10. Carnival Legend - 4.53
11. Carnival Splendor - 4.50
12. Carnival Imagination - 4.50
13. Carnival Ecstasy - 4.48
14. Carnival Inspiration - 4.47
15. Carnival Fascination - 4.46
16. Carnival Sunshine - 4.45
17. Carnival Magic - 4.45
18. Carnival Conquest - 4.45
19. Carnival Victory - 4.44
20. Carnival Liberty - 4.44
21. Carnival Vista - 4.44
22. Carnival Elation - 4.41
23. Carnival Paradise - 4.40
24. Carnival Sensation - 4.40

 

What We Expected: As we saw with Norwegian and Royal Caribbean, service scores were substantially higher than any other category. The narrow range of scores also speaks to Carnival’s consistent product across its entire fleet.

What Surprised Us: Dining scores usually correlate with service and staff, but in this case, Vista performed very well in dining, but towards the bottom in service and staff.

 

Onboard Activities

best carnival ships 2018 sky course
Sky Course - Photo by Carnival

1 .Carnival Valor - 4.18
2. Carnival Breeze - 4.16
3. Carnival Vista - 4.16
4. Carnival Liberty - 4.12
5. Carnival Dream - 4.12
6. Carnival Freedom - 4.11
7. Carnival Magic - 4.10
8. Carnival Fantasy - 4.09
9. Carnival Sunshine - 4.08
10. Carnival Miracle - 4.06
11. Carnival Triumph - 4.05
12. Carnival Glory - 4.03
13. Carnival Imagination - 4.03
14. Carnival Pride - 4.02
15. Carnival Victory - 4.01
16. Carnival Ecstasy - 4.00
17. Carnival Conquest - 3.98
18. Carnival Elation - 3.98
19. Carnival Legend - 3.98
20 .Carnival Fascination - 3.95
21. Carnival Splendor - 3.94
22. Carnival Inspiration - 3.91
23. Carnival Sensation - 3.86
24. Carnival Paradise - 3.79

 

What We Expected: Another strong showing from the Dream-class ships, with Breeze, Magic, and Dream all finishing in the top 7. Vista managed to break into the top 3 with new additions like the Sky Ride and iMax theater.

What Surprised Us: Carnival Valor put up another strong performance, beating out seven newer ships including Vista and Breeze. Conquest-class ships also fared exceptionally well, with sister ships Liberty and Valor finishing first and fourth respectively.

 

Entertainment

best carnival ships 2018 entertainment
Playlist Productions - Photo by Carnival

1. Carnival Fantasy - 4.58
2. Carnival Dream - 4.58
3. Carnival Triumph - 4.58
4. Carnival Breeze - 4.57
5. Carnival Freedom - 4.57
6. Carnival Miracle - 4.56
7. Carnival Pride - 4.55
8. Carnival Glory - 4.54
9. Carnival Valor - 4.53
10. Carnival Legend - 4.53
11. Carnival Splendor - 4.50
12. Carnival Imagination - 4.50
13. Carnival Ecstasy - 4.48
14. Carnival Inspiration - 4.47
15. Carnival Fascination - 4.46
16. Carnival Sunshine - 4.45
17. Carnival Magic - 4.45
18. Carnival Conquest - 4.45
19. Carnival Victory - 4.44
20. Carnival Liberty - 4.44
21. Carnival Vista - 4.44
22. Carnival Elation - 4.41
23. Carnival Paradise - 4.40
24. Carnival Sensation - 4.40

 

What We Expected: We figured Dream and Breeze would be towards the top, but beyond that, we didn’t really see these results coming.

What Surprised Us: The top 4 finishers were all at least 13 years old. For all the hype about newer ships being built from the ground up for the now-standard Broadway performances, it doesn’t always translate into higher scores from passengers.

 

Children's Programs

best carnival ships 2018 childrens programs
Dr. Seuss Bookville - Photo by Carnival

1. Carnival Valor - 4.07
2. Carnival Vista - 4.07
3. Carnival Dream - 4.06
4. Carnival Triumph - 4.05
5. Carnival Breeze - 4.04
6. Carnival Fantasy - 3.98
7. Carnival Conquest - 3.96
8. Carnival Magic - 3.95
9. Carnival Splendor - 3.94
10. Carnival Freedom - 3.93
11. Carnival Glory - 3.92
12. Carnival Pride - 3.91
13. Carnival Ecstasy - 3.90
14. Carnival Fascination - 3.90
15. Carnival Sunshine - 3.90
16. Carnival Victory - 3.90
17. Carnival Liberty - 3.90
18. Carnival Legend - 3.89
19. Carnival Sensation - 3.89
20. Carnival Elation - 3.87
21. Carnival Miracle - 3.84
22. Carnival Imagination - 3.79
23. Carnival Paradise - 3.78
24. Carnival Inspiration - 3.77

 

What We Expected: We've been reading positive reactions to Vista's children's programs, and it looks like it lived up to the hype.

What Surprised Us: Carnival Valor coming out on top was a massive upset that we did not see coming.

 

What We Learned

- Breeze is the top Carnival ship at the moment with 3 first-place finishes. It also nabbed a top 5 spot in every category.

- Dream-class ships are consistent crowd-pleasers excelling in just about every category.

- Vista is a good product with plenty of potential, but for the moment it's lagging behind established ships from the Dream and Conquest classes in just about every category.

- Victory and Triumph aren’t always at the top, but they’re consistently in the top 10, and considering how cheap the fares are, they’re actually a pretty good deal.

- Older Fantasy-class ships have not aged well: Splendor, Sensation, Elation, and Paradise rank near the bottom in every category.

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