Carnival Cruise Lines operates 24 ships featuring voyages lasting 3-16 days. Destinations include the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico, Europe, Alaska, Canada, New England, Hawaii, Bermuda, and Australia. All cruises are family-friendly with lots of activities for children and teenagers to enjoy. Two formal nights are standard on cruises lasting seven nights. Normal attire for men includes dark suits or sport coats and ties. For shorter trips, one night is usually required. All other nights are casual and allow jeans or dress shorts to be worn in the dining areas. The cruise ships request that cutoffs and short-shorts not be worn after 6 p.m.

The Good

Carnival ships contain high-energy entertainment options, from Las Vegas styled revues to glitzy casinos, live bands and comedy shows. You can work out in the fitness center or take a run along a jogging track that encircles the outer portion of the ship. Families can watch movies on a giant outdoor screen or head to the waterpark. Tons of activities are available for children of all ages. Shopping includes themed stores for kids including a candy store.

The Carnival Cruises website offers features to help you plan your vacation and find the lowest prices and discounts on upcoming cruises. Senior discounts, military discounts and other incentives are available as well. If you find a better Carnival advertised deal somewhere else within two days of booking a cruise, Carnival will give you 110 percent of the difference in onboard credit. And with the vacation protection plan, you can get a full refund if you are unhappy with your cruise.

Carnival tries to protect their guests when making a reservation through their cruise lines. They understand that some may need to utilize travel insurance. Carnival’s Cruise Vacation Protection includes protects you with a 100% cash reimbursement of applicable penalties for cancellations due to specified reasons, such as:

  • Someone in your immediate family has an illness or injury, even if they aren’t scheduled to travel with you.
  • You become ill and can’t travel.
  • You are involuntarily terminated or laid off by an employer.
  • A severe weather watch or warning is issued and affects your travel to the port of embarkation.
  • A common carrier delay due to inclement weather causes you to miss more than 50% of your cruise vacation.
  • Or, if you must cancel for ANY OTHER reason, our new “Cancel for Any Reason” feature will provide a future cruise credit equal to 75% of the applicable penalties.

Carnival Cruise Lines feature 6 dining options on their ships which include seafood, burgers, steakhouse, Italian cuisine, Mexican cuisine, and a themed restaurant for kids called Dr. Seuss Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast. A jogging track encircles the outer part of the ship. Spa services, hair salon, and fitness center services are also available. Standard amenities on each Carnival ship also include:

  • 24 hour room service and room steward
  • Soft cozy linens and bathrobes
  • Nightly turndown services
  • Telephone and Television
  • Individual Climate Control
  • Personal Safe for Valuables

Carnival Cruise ships travel to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico, Europe, Alaska, Canada, New England, Hawaii, Bermuda, Australia. Dates and times for when these cruise ships depart depend on a number of contributing factors. Pricing information for some of these destinations are broken down as follows:

  • Alaska: $697-$829 per person for a 7-day trip
  • Caribbean: $159 per person for 4 days
  • Mexico: $169 per person for 2 days- $879 per person for 13 days
  • Europe: $749 per person for 8 days – $1,599 per person for 13 days

Transportation to and from the cruise ship (back to the airport) is also included. Transportation from the airports in Charleston, Jacksonville, New York, Tampa, Barcelona, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Orlando, and others are available. Cruises are available all year long and can extend anywhere from 3-14 days.

The Bad

For those who are looking for a quiet and relaxing getaway, Carnival Cruises may not be the ideal choice. Large crowds and boisterous entertainment options are ongoing throughout the length of the cruise. There are areas of the ship that are private retreats to get away from the bustle, but most options available on the ship are geared toward kids and teenagers and create loud noises that may be disturbing for those wanting to relax.

Offshore excursions cost extra and can be a bit pricey for families seeking an affordable vacation experience. Some of the activities onboard cost extra as well. It is too easy to rack up a large vacation bill with the extra costs involved. Most children’s activities are free, but late-night party program fees and video game charges can add up quickly. On top of regular rates, other costs may include:

  • Taxes, Fees and Port Expenses range from $42.38 to $324.27
  • A $50 change fee per guest will be assessed for ship and/or sail date changes made prior to final payment due date.
  • Gratuities cost $12 per person per day and covers dining and room steward services

Because of the large number of people on board the cruise ships, individual attention may lack on occasion and it may be hard to get the attention of attendants should you need anything. Babysitting is available, but it costs extra. The rate for babysitting is $6 per hour, and $4 for each additional child. For those with infants, you will be required to provide staff with diapers and wipes for children under 2 years old.

The Bottom Line

Carnival cruises are designed for families seeking a high-octane and affordable vacation. Carnival Cruises is perfect for those seeking colorful and boisterous entertainment options in a laid-back party-style atmosphere. If you are looking for luxury options or personalized attention Carnival Cruises may not be the best choice for you.

All in all we recommend Carnival Cruise Lines for having a great get-a-way experience.

See “Full Details” Tab (top) for further details

Audience & Convenience

Target audience:
  • Young families with children and teenagers,
  • honeymooners
  • couples

3 to 14 day cruises are available

People can cruise all year round.

Destinations for 2015- 2016
  • Caribbean
  • Bahamas
  • Mexico
  • Europe
  • Alaska
  • Canada
  • New England
  • Hawaii
  • Bermuda
  • Australia
Transportation services from airports to the ports
  • Charleston
  • Jacksonville
  • New York
  • Tampa
  • Barcelona
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Los Angeles
  • Orlando
  • Vancouver
  • Baltimore
  • Galveston
  • Miami
  • San Juan
  • Venice
  • Boston
  • Honolulu
  • New Orleans
  • Seattle

Safety

Do they have any security?

Whenever new passengers embark, a passenger Safety Briefing shall be given immediately before sailing or immediately after sailing. Passengers shall be instructed in the use of the lifejackets and the action to take in an emergency. Life jackets are available in Adult, Child and Infant sizes. All children 11 years of age and younger must wear a muster station wristband throughout the cruise.

Carnival is required to provide the Department of Homeland Security with specific guest information and a final departure manifest, 60 minutes prior to the ship’s departure. To comply, you must register in advance of your cruise by going to www.carnival.com/BookedGuest. Please note that to log in or register, you will need your Carnival booking number, ship name and sail date, as well as the last name and date of birth of any one guest in the booking.

How do they prevent theft?

For guests’ convenience and security, a safe is provided in every stateroom and is located in either the closet or a cabinet. The size varies among the fleet; approximate size: 10″(wide) x 9″(high) x 8″(deep).

On the Fantasy Ecstasy, guests must obtain a key from their room Steward. There is no charge; however, a $40 fee will be charged to their Sail & Sign Account in the event the key is lost or not returned by the last evening of the cruise. On all other ships, the safe can be opened by using any type of card with a magnetic strip on the back, such as a credit card.

Carnival employs a high-profile, onboard uniformed security force. These personnel are onboard to make sure everyone enjoys a safe and happy “Fun Ship” cruise vacation. Carnival Cruise Lines is operating at heightened security levels throughout its fleet and is working closely with law enforcement and federal agencies to ensure the safety of our ships and ports.

What precautions do they take for disease prevention? None

Vacation Protection

Carnival’s Cruise Vacation Protection includes protects you with a 100% cash reimbursement of applicable penalties for cancellations due to specified reasons, such as:

  • Someone in your immediate family has an illness or injury, even if they aren’t scheduled to travel with you.
  • You become ill and can’t travel.
  • You are involuntarily terminated or laid off by an employer.
  • A severe weather watch or warning is issued and affects your travel to the port of embarkation.
  • A common carrier delay due to inclement weather causes you to miss more than 50% of your cruise vacation.
  • Or, if you must cancel for ANY OTHER reason, our new “Cancel for Any Reason” feature will provide a future cruise credit equal to 75% of the applicable penalties.

Our plan also provides protection if:

  • A family member back home passes away and you must return from your vacation early.
  • Your luggage is lost by the airline.
  • You twist your ankle and must visit a doctor/clinic while traveling.
  • You incur any other unforeseeable events as listed in the Plan Description.

Price

Prices for cruises to the Caribbean, Alaska, Mexico and Europe

  • Alaska: $697-$829 per person for a 7-day trip
  • Caribbean: $159 per person for 4 days
  • Mexico: $169 per person for 2 days- $879 per person for 13 days
  • Europe: $749 per person for 8 days – $1,599 per person for 13 days

Lowest: $1609-$499 per person

Highest: $1,599-$3,299 per person

Activities/Services

Carnival Cruise Lines feature 6 dining options on their ships which include seafood, burgers, steakhouse, Italian cuisine, Mexican cuisine, and a themed restaurant for kids called Dr. Seuss Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast. A jogging track encircles the outer part of the ship. Spa services, hair salon, and fitness center services are also available.

Amenities include:

  • 24 hour room service and room steward
  • Soft cozy linens and bathrobes
  • Nightly turndown services
  • Telephone and Television
  • Individual Climate Control
  • Personal Safe for Valuables

Onboard activities include:

  • Hasbro Board Games show
  • Miami Heat DJ
  • Plays
  • Comedy Clubs
  • Seaside Theatre
  • Limelight Lounge
  • Nightclub
  • Live Music and Karaoke
  • 3D Thrill Theater
  • Serenity Adult Only Retreat
  • Waterpark
  • Skyride
  • Bingo
  • Internet Café
  • Cherry on Top Candy Store
  • Beary Cuddly Workshop

Service Fees

Do any of the services on the boat cost? No

Taxes, Fees and Port Expenses range from $42.38 to $324.27. A $50 change fee per guest will be assessed for ship and/or sail date changes made prior to final payment due date. Gratuities cost $12 per person per day and covers dining and room steward services

Contact Information

Contact online by filling out a short form at http://www.carnival.com/core/contactus.aspx?icid=CC_Footer_89

Call Customer Service: 1-888-227-6482

Are there any inaccuracies in this review? We take our accuracy very seriously and would love your feedback. Give feedback here.

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490 Carnival Cruise Lines Reviews

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  1. User Score

    4

    March 13th, 2016 Fruitland Park, FL

    Passenger on Sunshine 2-21-16 to 3-4-16. Very old ship. Poor elevator function and poor layout. Outbreak of Norovirus with passengers leaving ship via ambulance to local hospitals. Even after outbreak, in dining room each table shared cream pitcher, salt and pepper, butter dish and basket of rolls. Why not use single packs for safety? also at beverage centers all cream and milk was in large pitchers for multiple use. All of these modes of transmission of the virus. Severe respiratory illness also spread rapidly through. Of our group of 6, 4 had to spend days in bed due to malaise, cough and sneezing. Food quality only fair. Disappointed in attention to infection control and ship enviornment.

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  2. User Score

    4

    March 4th, 2016 Michigantown, IN

    March 4 2016 I have been on 4 cruises with carnival .The last one was a little disappointing. I talked a couple into going with us, telling them about how the food was.The buffet was not like I remember. The hot food was cool at breakfast and lunch, and selection was poor. The rest of Dream cruise was fun.

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  3. User Score

    8

    November 24th, 2015 Texas City, TX

    I have been on 10 Carnival Cruises and have enjoyed them all. The last cruise was alittle disappointing. They have changed some of the small but important things. There was not an ice bucket or ice in our room. We did not get the chocolates in our room, and any extra condiments in the restrooms like we had in the past. When I asked about them, they said they were stopping that as a means to become more Americanish so that people would like that better. I had to ask for a spoon at the dinners so I could stir the tea. They said they were setting the tables now the way the Americans are use to. We use spoons in Texas to stir our tea!! I made a reservation for my 11th cruise but it will be on Royal Caribbean this time.

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  4. User Score

    10

    November 22nd, 2015 Columbus, OH

    it was my frist cruise and i love it all the nice people i meet was great and the crew was to

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  5. User Score

    10

    November 22nd, 2015 Millington, TN

    Just got back from our 4th cruise and the second cruise on the dream out od NOL. This was the best one yet. I had more fun and met some of the best people on this cruise. The only thing lacking was the dinning help was a little slow on checking on us once we were served. The casino employees were the best and most friendly we have ever experienced and played a big part in the enjoyment since it rained one full day at sea. House keeping was an a plus also. Friendly and very concerned that we everything in our room was to our satisfaction. Thanks Carnival, the crew of the Dream will be hard to beat.

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  6. User Score

    10

    November 21st, 2015 Suffolk, VA

    this was my wife and my first cruise and we took it to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. From the first minute we arrived at the cruise terminal to the end of the cruise the service and friendliness of the entire staff was remarkable. We enjoyed our shore excursion of the jeep tour of Freeport and it was my first experience of driving on the wrong side of the road and not getting a ticket. We enjoyed this cruise so much we have already placed a deposit on an 8 day cruise next year and it also will be with Carnival Cruise Line. Thank you Carnival for the wonderful memories we will always cherish.

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  7. User Score

    10

    November 21st, 2015 Westville, IN

    One of my best cruises – so much fun. The greatest Crew members that make you feel so special. Can’t wait till my next one in 2016. I love Carnival Cruising. A devoted Carnival Cruise Fan. Just wish I could afford to go on more ;-). Maybe after retirement.

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  8. User Score

    6

    November 21st, 2015 Harriman, TN

    Have taken many cruises.I am platinum.In Oct.My husband ,a rider for 55+ years ,refused to ride what we were given,stating it was unsafe.I thought safety was 1st concern. We were refunded only 30%/$60.00.I have contacted several people no one returns emails etc..thank you .we took the Harley in Paradise excursion

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  9. User Score

    9

    November 21st, 2015

    we have been on 1 royal Caribbean cruise, 3 Norwegian cruises , 6 carnival cruises, we have 3 carnival cruises booked in 2016. carnival is the best.

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  10. User Score

    8

    November 19th, 2015 Artesia, CA

    for my first cruise I had very good time will do it again when money be available.

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  11. User Score

    9

    November 18th, 2015 Atlanta, GA

    ive been on a few cruises with carnival and 1 with rci and we are hooked on carnival the best part of going on rci is we had most our kids and 2 of our grand kids with us but now for a real cruise line keep doing what your doing CCL you have us for life great food very well thought out entertainment each night halarious comidy shows if you dont have fun with CCL your most likely a stick in the mud and noting is going to be right for you anyway! Anyway I have a blast each cruise and am booked for another cruise in april now for the only down side we alwas liked to book a balcony for our cruises so we could enjoy the nights under the stars with a glass of wine and a smoke befor bed this cruise i have booked now will be a inside cabin since you are no longer allowed to smoke on the balconys just a thought yes we shouldnt subject others with our smoking any more than nessary but you would think a company that would do so much work to make shure your entertained would have thought out this rule better like give one side of the ships balconys to the none smoker and let us smoke on the other side of the ship im shure everyone would agree its a far better solution carnival already tryed making a ship a smoke free ship and couldnt keep it booked out and ended up loosing a lot of money on that ship that year so being a old country boy that would tell me that there are a lot of people that still smoke and wouldnt even try a ship that is smoke free

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    1

  12. User Score

    10

    November 18th, 2015 Maple Shade, NJ

    Just back from a cruise on the Carnival Pride out of Baltimore. Loved every minute of it and can’t wait to go again. Went to Nassau, Half Moon Cay & Grand Turks.

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  13. User Score

    0

    November 18th, 2015 Lusby, MD

    Carnival Pride three trips. Each of the trips got progressively worse, used Carnival because of Baltimore Port. Last trip balcony stateroom and hallway had smell of raw sewage for entire cruise, complaints got no relief. Food is marginal at best.

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  14. User Score

    10

    November 18th, 2015 Richmond, TX

    Love, Love, Love cruising on Carnival. Always something fun going on and good food to enjoy. Happy people, making people happy!

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  15. User Score

    8

    November 18th, 2015 Dundee, OR

    Port selections have plenty of excursions, food items are broad enough to never be displeased, staff is always willing to help out, prices are competitive, plenty to do on board. Main shows could be a little more exciting. Vessels are always on time, you sense that safety is important. Casino does have many winners.

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  16. User Score

    10

    November 17th, 2015 Fort Pierce, FL

    I have been on 10 cruises all with Carnival. From my very first cruise on the Destiny from San Juan to my 11th cruise on the Sunshine from Canaveral, every cruise has been great. The staff on board always pleasant and very attentive. Rooms were always perfect. Anything we ask for within reason was always immediately taken care of. I am completely satisfied and look forward to more cruises in the future. Thank you Carnival again!

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  17. User Score

    9

    November 17th, 2015 Marietta, GA

    I have been on over 20 Carnival cruises and I am close to the big 70 in age. My husband and I have enjoyed each and every cruise, and love all the attention we get aboard ship. The employees are amazing, food delicious, and entertainment beyond compare. If you travel during winter months, you avoid all the small children and teenagers. We look forward to the two cruises with Carnival we have booked for 2016.

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  18. User Score

    8

    November 17th, 2015 Gig Harbor, WA

    My husband and I joined our son and family along with friends on Carnival for a week, we had a wonderful time.

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  19. User Score

    10

    November 16th, 2015 Destin, FL

    Excellent ships, service, food. Recommend them to everyone! The people that are always complaining are just that way whether at sea or on shore.

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  20. User Score

    10

    November 16th, 2015 Saint Petersburg, FL

    this was our first cruise and family vacation and we loved it we will be booking another one and every year after that also carnival is the most affordable cruise line I did my research on all the cruise lines before we booked!

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    1