1. Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Cruise Lines operates 24 ships featuring voyages lasting three to fourteen 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

  • Great entertainment options
  • Discounts and deals available
  • Vacation protection

Entertainment Options

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.

Discounts and Deals

The Carnival Cruise's 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.

Vacation Protection

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 protects you with a 100 percent 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 percent 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 percent of the applicable penalties.

Amenities

Carnival Cruise Lines feature six 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

Destinations

Carnival Cruise ships travel to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico, Europe, Alaska, Canada, New England, Hawaii, Bermuda, and 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 seven day trip
  • Caribbean: $159 per person for four days
  • Mexico: $169 per person for two days- $879 per person for thirteen days
  • Europe: $749 per person for eight days - $1,599 per person for thirteen days

Transportation to and from the cruise ship (back to the airport) is also included. Transportation from the airports in New York, Los Angeles, Orlando, and others are available. Cruises are available all year long and can extend anywhere from three to fourteen days.

The Bad

  • Not a relaxing environment
  • Other fees can stack up
  • Babysitting not included

Not for a Relaxing Getaway

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.

Other Fees

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

Babysitting is not Included

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 two 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.

User Reviews

Star Rating

4.3
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711 Reviews

Review Breakdown

5 star
58%
4 star
24%
3 star
8%
2 star
5%
1 star
5%

Sentiment Criteria

Value for your money
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Quality of product or service
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June 21st, 2015 Lewisburg, OH

we had a very bad experience,we took a cruise,or should i say we booked a cruise for that date ,we got on the ship 3days later(mar 30th,we were suppose to get on mar 28th) .. due to plane departure,and carnival cruise lines,we purchased transfers,when we got to miami ,we called and they said they would send someone and never did,about a half an hour later we got a taxi, we were 3 minutes late ,After extensive travel ,getting on 7 planes ,we finally got on.some at our expense we got on ship at Domonic Republic on tues, which made it a 5 day instead of 8 day, we bougt insurance.we only got back 500 apiece,which was our out of pocket we expences, We contacted carnivale .they would do nothing, we have traveled carnivale lmany times,we probably wont ever again!We didnt expect a full refund, but we at least thought,they would offer another cruise at a discounted price,

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livorsi

June 21st, 2015 Sod, WV

I'm 69 years of age. i been on 3 cruises with carnival,going on number 4 in oct. and planning one for sept. 2016 to new England. the thing i love most about carnival, they did not forget the cruiser, plus the food, shows,casino etc. it's a 10 for me

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Linda A Balcom

June 21st, 2015 Bainbridge, NY

Got back from Carnival Cruise May 5, 2015 and already am ready to go again. This was our 8th Carnival Cruise and we have a wonderful time every time we go. Never had a bad experience Every thing is wonderful. The staff the room everything.

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Gayle Reed

June 20th, 2015 Russellville, AR

Sailed June 6 on Freedom. It was a great trip and the staff was excellent. The staff member that cooked omelets in the am (I think his name is Ram) was above great. He inquired of my daughter where I was the morning I missed getting an omelet. How many people would have missed one person (Me) when there were 3700 people on that ship, I was really impressed!!! All the staff I encountered were great, all smiles and how are you? Loved our trip.

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Julie

June 20th, 2015 Everett, WA

The crew was fabulous and treated everyone like royalty. The entertainment was great and continuous. The food was fabulous, with options for everyone and food service at all times.

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Sharon Lauer

June 20th, 2015 Rockford, IL

Can't wait until I can go on another Carnival Cruise. Just finished Carnival Pride 7 days in Bahamas, wow what a great time, good service, good shows and the waiters and everything was awesome which rates a 10+ for me. I will definitely take another Carnival Cruise again.

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Patricia Hildebrand

June 20th, 2015 Davenport, FL

Took 6 carnival cruises last year....the Liberty is the best! However, the changes to the gold level have left us less than pleased. First as a reward for multiple cruises we were gifted with a drink, with limited time to use it, we managed. That was taken away and we were rewarded with a bottle of water instead. This was in addition to the cocktail party to which we were invited. Now the party has been taken away and we are back to having a "free" drink with stipulation that it be used on the last evening....what the heck, it wasn't great using the first drink as it had to be morning or seaday brunch, and now that the drink is back and the party is gone, we have only one evening in which to enjoy the drink. Think the bottom line is getting in the way of customer service and encouraging returning guests.

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John Ramey

June 19th, 2015 Saginaw, MI

My wife and I love Carnival. We take 2 cruises a year and will until we can't go anymore.

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Debi Mullen

June 19th, 2015 Sarasota, FL

Our experience with Carnival?? I will NEVER take a Carnival ship again!!!! We are 4 star mariners with Holland America--did they change when Carnival bought them??? Yes, the entire cruise line changed. No more personal experiences with the crew, no more Holland nights, nothing personal as before. When we cruised with Carnival?? One cruise we would not even go to dinner due to the mess of teen agers on the cruise. Another cruise we could not even get into a bar due to the under age kids drinking in the bars. Holland America we love and cruise 2 x a year---do we like it as much as we did when we first started cruising with them?? No, not since Carnival cheapened their style, we will stick with Holland and never ever cruise on Carnival again!!!

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b. kloss

June 19th, 2015 Pinehurst, NC

Just did the Carnival Conquest. Loved it. Loved the towel display they did at the pool. really neat. The hamburger food bar was good beef and excellent taste. Cant wait to go on it to aruba and the other islands. Always enjoy turks for Carnivals stop at go to jim buffets Margaretaville.

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angel

June 19th, 2015 Winter Garden, FL

2 time in 1yr and goind to my 3 in nov. this is the best for your money.