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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Larry Wilson

October 10th, 2015 Rochester, NY

Have been on 18 cruises with Carnival, every one awesome.

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Anna Helriegel

October 10th, 2015 Irmo, SC

We went on Carnival Sunshine August 29 it was great. I was worry about my husband low sodium diet he almost had to have a heart transplant. They made sure everything was the way he needed his meals cook and before we left the diner room they gave him the menu for the next night to order thanks again for your wonderful service. Also this was our favorite cruise Donkey and the rest of the crew did a wonderful job keeping everyone entertain.

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Denise Fritz

October 10th, 2015 Murrieta, CA

Started cruising Carnival in 2012 and in Jan. 2016 I will be going on my 8th cruise with them. This cruise will be a 13 day one. I have only had problems on the smaller ships that are shorter cruises. The Inspiration and Imagination I will never sail on again since they seem to be party ships for the younger generation who love to drink starting as early as they can. All other cruises have been on the larger ships. I have sailed the Miracle 4 times and love it! The cabin stewards are all friendly. The food is great. On the last cruise I did miss the nightly chocolates. Last month I cruised to Alaska with Princess since they leave from California and Carnival leaves from Washington, I live in California and don't fly. I was not happy with Princess at all. I had committed to another Alaska cruise with them next year and then I will be sticking with Carnival.

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cindy

October 9th, 2015 Converse, TX

we've been on 5 cruises thus far, just got off the magic last sunday. Always have a great time, full of fun things to do, the staff always friendly. will be going on another next year, we've been making it an annually thing. the food can be better in the marketplace, but all in all Great Fun <3 Carnival cruising ; )

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Sharon Schiveley

October 9th, 2015 Oakdale, CA

I am booked on my 13th cruise, and I always choose Carnival. We are always treated GREAT by the entire staff, the food is mostly very good, and I'm always extremely pleased with the entertainment. You absolutely can't beat them for the value.

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Kay Dufresne

October 9th, 2015 Tulsa, OK

Had a great time never had been on a cruise . We went for our 50th Wedding Anniversary and i did not want to get off the ship they said your the last one you have to go . Had a wonderful time .. And planning another cruise i would rather to go on a cruise any time rather then to fly ... :))"

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Diana

October 8th, 2015 Nacogdoches, TX

This was our first cruise and we had a great time. Wished the food would've been better but all in all, we had fun! Had great waiters, Emiliano and Puji and great room guys, Darvin and Wayan!! The Frog barstaff was so much nicer than the Blue Iguana ones to me.

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norma

October 8th, 2015 Sevierville, TN

ive cruised with carnival four times and have had a wonderful experience each time.id never consider another cruise line

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Patti

October 8th, 2015 Denver, CO

My husband and I have ben on 9 Carnival cruises. a couple of them with family members. We have enjoyed many islands, Alaska (twice), and Panama. We will be going on another one out of New Orleans in November. Always have a good time. New Years cruises are great. We have been on 3. Carnival has always been fun.

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Cathy Blevins Short

October 7th, 2015 High Point, NC

We had a great cruise on the Fantasy September 19 seven night cruise. Alex our cruise director was awesome. We sailed with Butch a few years ago and he was our favorite cruise director and that is who I can compare Alex to. He was fun and we would see him all around the ship. If I had a complain it would be the music need more for the 50 plus crowd. We have been on 20 Carnival cruise and love Carnival. I just wonder why we don't get a comment email like my friends get who have been on two cruises.

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carlosvizcaino

October 7th, 2015 Riverside, CA

great vacation for us two no commplaints we had a blast carnival dream was so much fun will do it again nxt. yr.the crew is great always going out of there way cleaning. we made three stops on the islands the beaches where amazing crystal clear warm i will book another...thanks carnival dream...

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Gary Sanders

October 7th, 2015 Lorain, OH

Carnival is our favorite cruise line...their employees and service is outstanding....only negative experience is ongoing with Carnival's constant downsizing....with each new trip something on the ship is missing for instance removal of entertainment in the Steakhouse or the lesser quality of food in the dining rooms. The shore excursions are also more pricey and are shorter in length.....

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marshall krug

October 7th, 2015 Fort Lauderdale, FL

too many kids/teenagers. too many drunks, too rowdy. food awful. never again.

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Richard White

October 7th, 2015 Winter Park, FL

My wife and I have been on 3 cruises with Carnival. The first two were GREAT, this last one on Carnival Sunshine was garbage. They serve leftovers the whole trip and we had to eat most of our meals off the boat. We will never go on the Sunshine again

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Linda Chain

October 6th, 2015 Lawrenceville, GA

Great price and wonderful cruise. Really good service. it would be nice if there were easier steps to get in and out of the adult pool. The ladders are difficult for us seniors. I will cruise on Carnival again soon.

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Pat

October 6th, 2015 Wilmington, NC

I have been on three Carnival cruises .All three were seven days each. All three were fantastic. My favorite ship was Liberty. My favorite cabin was a balcony suite. The food has been Great. The crew does everything to make your visit enjoyable above and beyound.

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Desi Culpepper

October 6th, 2015 Dallas, TX

Carnival is the Fun Ship! The rates are just one of the reason's, the food, the staff, the over all is the best vacation we could ever have! Thank you Carnival!

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Mary

October 6th, 2015 Hialeah, FL

Carnival Breeze is a beautiful ship, a lot to eat Indian, Italian, burgers, burritos..etc. The aqua park with water slides features lots of things to do. an out side gym, huge adults only serenity area that covers two decks. It's a family cruise great for the hole family & friends. It can be an amazing voyage. The staff was extremely very nice and helpful. We had a balcony stateroom in the 8th floor, which it was beautiful and big for the three of us. We had a wonderful time from start to finish. Loved Jamaica and Conzumel. Grand Cayman I though it was very expensive but the food at the Seafood restaurant was very good. Definitely more Latin clubs late at night would have been a plus.

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Janie K

October 6th, 2015 Panama City, FL

Wonderful experiences on all 14 CCL cruises! Food is wonderful (equal to other popular cruise lines), dining options are varied and provide flexibility for cruisers. Entertainment is includes something for everyone including children of all ages (and adult kids!). Most of the cruise directors are incredibly energetic, friendly and truly dedicated to ensuring cruisers have a great time. The crew is very helpful, most are very friendly and I love hearing about the various countries and backgrounds from crew members. Chips are clean and well maintained. The Fun Ship 2.0 updates really make the older ships so much more pleasant and comfortable. Staterooms are very comfy and room stewards do a great job! Love the many dining/food options and accessibility of late-night snacks and non-bar beverages. After 14 Carnival cruises, I have only good things to say. That does not mean that there may be an inconvenience or irritant once in a while but that is part of life. Most issues are resolved immediately by the staff. Yep, I will cruise Carnival any time!!

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Ina Ange

October 5th, 2015 Chapin, SC

Just returned from our 8 days cruise on the Conquest, I must say first of all the crew we had (dining and pool) were the best ever and we became real friends, shared emails etc. They really took care of us and also prepared a really special meal for us which was not on the menu and we all (7 of us) enjoyed it immensely. The room crew was great as well, saw one of them after the movie and she acknowledged me by name and I called back to her! (Jennifer) Overall we had a great time!! Most of the time people talk about their good time, but I wanted you to know what a great crew you have on the Conquest!

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Dawn Gerundo

October 5th, 2015 Avondale, AZ

We are leaving on our 5th cruise with Carnival this week and we have had a great time on each of them. Each has been different from the others, but always great service and a great time.

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[email protected]

October 4th, 2015 Columbus, OH

My husband and myself had taken our first cruise vacation ever, what a experience it was, from the beginning to the end, I cant say enough good about our experience, we got back at the beginning of september 2015 and we are looking to book another cruise as I speak, great people, great service, great treatment throughout the entire vacation, so If you are one of them not sure, I challenge you to make the choice, you will not regret it...Thank you Carnical Victory...Louise Casto

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Bonione Ingle

October 4th, 2015 Rochester, IN

Price is excellent, food and choices are outstanding and if you can't find enough to entertain you, than that is your fault.

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Trisha Molina

October 4th, 2015 Hollywood, FL

We traveled on the Carnival Sunshine and it was a magnificent ship, our whole family had a fantastic time. The food was wonderful, the service excellent, our cabins were always clean & tidy, great entertainment, we loved everything about this ship!!!!!

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Chelly Lloyd

October 4th, 2015 Wilkes Barre, PA

I will always sail with Carnival Cruise lines. We are set to sail on our forth cruise with them. The pros are always clean and neat spaces. Someone is always cleaning something on that ship and I never got sick even with a crappy immune system. Service is top notch, something happens you don't like they fix it immediately no questions asked. They are friendly and always have a smile. Your room steward remembers your name and gets to know you. Cons the bigger the ship the longer the lines, lunch buffets are a really big pain, and at dinner you wait a while for your dinner. Their seaside bbq was completely unattainable due to a long line. Also bigger boats mean more kids. If your a couple go with the smaller boats its more intimate and less crowed. Other than that it's a must go!!!!

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Tim Mann

October 4th, 2015 Jasper, AL

Wife and I went on a 5 day cruise a few weeks ago. I wasn't sure how I would like my first cruise. It was my wifes 3rd cruise I had a blast. I am ready to go again. The staff and crew on the Elation were the best. Never saw one that wasn't smiling or asking how our day was. Cant wait til vacation time comes around again we will be back on a Carnival cruise.

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Marsha

October 3rd, 2015 Metairie, LA

This will be our 7th Carnival cruise. Last year went on the Norwegian Dawn (we won that cruise). Food and service was good. Nothing to complain about, but the atmosphere was were sedate and low key. We really missed the lively and party atmosphere on Carnival. Can't wait for our upcoming cruise.

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Pat Wilkins

October 3rd, 2015 Greenville, KY

I have been on 9 carnival cruises and have loved everyone of them.

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Kenneth May

October 3rd, 2015 Conyers, GA

My wife and i have been on 4 cruises sofar 3 with Carnival and 1 on RCI we found if your just out to party RCI is ok but if you want to bask in the sun thru the day and do broadway shows then off to the comidy shows then hit the slots Carnival cant be beet my only greef with them at this point is thay took the lobster off the menu unless you do 6 or more days with them most real working people cant aford the long cruises i know i cant so now doing a formal dinner to me is ruined just the same i can get anywere the lobsters i only get on cruises other wise i realy cant aford to eat like that i might splurge on out back 2 times a year for my birthday and anniversorys

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Judy Lynn Carton

October 3rd, 2015 Denver, CO

my husband I just came off our first cruise with Carnival I must say we had the best time ever ...... I questioned whether I would enjoy it at all, but wow the room the balcony the FUN was absolutely incredible the staff was awesome going again in march then with any luck next september ...... have and will continue to give this nothing but the highest reviews .... takin the grandkids in march

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Mary Cook Bouffard

October 3rd, 2015 Cumming, GA

Just got home from the Bahamas on the Carnival Sunshine out of Port Canaveral. We had the BEST time ever!!The crew was Amazing!! One thing we found new on this cruise was the entertainment staff (singers/dancers) were out and about the ship many times. By the end of the cruise they knew us by name!! The only bummer was that they no longer serve lobster on the shorter cruises. That was a disappointment, but not a deal breaker! The comedians are so funny!! I can not wait to book our next Carnival cruise!!

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Connie Wilborn Siler

October 2nd, 2015 Richmond, TX

What a wonderful crew they had working on the Magic. I cannot say enough for all of the kindness they showed, the hard work, keeping the room clean, making sure that we had all that we needed.. We had the Lido floor, and the best crew ever working that floor. I wish that I had tipped him more.. The service was spectacular.. In the dining room they went out of their way to see that you had all that you needed, and immediately removed the dirty dishes when you finished each dish... Carnival is a great cruise line to travel. It is first class all the way! Even though we do not drink, gamble, or party, I had the best time ever with my honey ever. The excursions were also great, except I would have liked more time at each port to see/shop more, but I guess in a week that is not possible. I hope that I will be able to afford another cruise in the future. It was awesome.

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Connie

October 2nd, 2015 Olney, MD

Carnival is a great way to have a great vacation!

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Mike Knowles

October 2nd, 2015 Tulsa, OK

My wife and I have been on eight cruises, seven of which were on Carnival. And will be on another before the end of the year. Our second cruise was on another cruise line, and we found that the "fun" or "party" atmosphere was just not there. So we've been back to Carnival ever since. The experience varies from ship to ship. It seems a lot of the culture on each ship is set by the Cruise Director, or at least at high levels in the staff. One of our more recent cruises was a bit of a letdown, or I would have given Carnival a 10. All of the givens were there - level of service, helpfulness of the staff, quality of food, etc. But the "fun meter" only rated in the high 60 to low 70 percentile (a "C minus" grade, if that makes more sense). As I have experienced with most other businesses, the "corporate culture" is established at the top and works it's way down. And each ship crew tends to have it's own culture. I didn't feel my vacation dollars were wasted on that particular cruise - it was still a great experience. But from past experience, it had potential to be much better. Unless that one experience becomes the norm instead of the exception, I will continue to enjoy vacations with Carnival.

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Deborah Wilmott Schob

October 2nd, 2015 New Port Richey, FL

My husband and I have taken at least 7 Carnival Cruises. We have absolutely no complaints. Each trip, ship, and all staff were wonderful. When we want quiet we go to the Serenity Deck. We have also taken our children, their spouses and our grandchildren and it was incredible as well. Ten Stars to Carnival Cruise Lines. The best ever.

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Robin

October 2nd, 2015 Jacksonville, FL

Love Carnival cruise ships. Always something to do on the ship.

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Michael Thomas

October 1st, 2015 Mobile, AL

My wife and I sailed on the Dream Sept 13 to 20, 2015 The cruise was actually better than expected. the ship was clean, the staff in all areas were great. My first cruise on a big ship and I was impressed with how they handle everybody. Great Job! The dinners were average, OK Cheese Burgers and Fries good. I did mention the service was great.

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Danirl

October 1st, 2015 Cleveland, OH

Just come back from my Cruise and i had the time of my life,, i had so much fun with my family .. and yes we are booking for next yr to go again,,, Thanks so much Carnival,,, P.S. love are cruise director Ross.... And are Porter / room attendant .. Buddy..he was so great,,know my name and called me by it every morning,, not that is customer service... Thanks buddy for making our week....

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Susan Bailey Mccullin

October 1st, 2015 League City, TX

I love going on cruises my very first cruise was back in 2009 on the Truimph out of New Orleans and love it . The room we had was awesome and the staff was so very friendly and we had the best cleaning person for our room , he would always greet us and ask us how are day was or how our night was . I can't remember his name but he did tell us that he was getting married and the his bride to be was also a member of the ship. We have taken several cruises and on different cruise lines but our favorite is the Carnival and we have a cruise coming up in January the 3rd of 2016 and cant wait . I know I will have a blast just like I do every time we set sail with you guys. Thanks for being a great Cruise Liner. Sincerely Susan M from Kemah Texas

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Sandra Lowery

October 1st, 2015 Bellefontaine, OH

I loved this cruise. We had a wonderful room steward that made sure we were kept clean, he went above the call for duty. We tipped him very well. Bagus was his name, on Fantasy, 7th floor, room E126. The food was good. How ever one thing I did not like was in the part of the Univeral lounge area where they sold the jewelry. One worker had these women so hype up that I thought I was going to be crushed in one of their area jewelry sells. I thought this was uncalled for.

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Tiffany Smith-Teasley

September 29th, 2015 Athens, GA

I love the cruise line, and cruises, but I wish that they would go back to when you could purchase vouchers during a cruise for future cruises. It was cheaper deposits, and made it easier to book future cruises.

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Judy Morris

September 29th, 2015 Missouri City, TX

I love Carnival. I am 67 years old and while there are a lot of young people on board, my age group rocks it on board as well. There really is something for everyone. Took my first Carnival cruise in 1999. Have one booked for summer 2016. Can't wait. A great time and shore excursions are of a good variety...something to fit every interest.

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Franklin Sevy

September 29th, 2015 Soddy Daisy, TN

This was our first cruise and our 50th wedding anniversary. Left New Orleans on the Elation September 5. Everyone was great. Great time at Inspearation dinnig Room.Bengmin head of our table was so kind to us. Mertal kept room looking great.The food was Five Star everywhere. Had a wonderful excursion at Cozamel with Megal to the ruins..Blankco was great on Lido deck for dinning. Got some great photos. Thanks Carnival!!!!!!

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Barbara Rhodes

September 29th, 2015 West Monroe, LA

I have been on the Conquest a few times, but just got off a cruise on 9/26 that left me so disappointed. It use to be my favorite but no more. The service was fine what little there was. You could tell that Carnival has cut back, you don't see as much staff as before. We had some rain and I had my feet covered with water going from 9 to 10. Use to always see them pushing water to the drains. I don't know about other people but would pay a little more for better service. Every time we go back they have dropped something else. It may be a small thing but it made Carnival special!

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Lisa Bass Newton

September 28th, 2015 Newnan, GA

It Was My First Cruise and I Loved IT .. I will Be Booking another one Soon !!

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Audrey Stocking

September 28th, 2015 Fayetteville, NC

I've always sailed on Carnival.Since 1987 I've never had a bad cruise.I love all the activities on the ship. I love the shows, never miss one. I love all the ships!

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Norma Lee Rogers

September 27th, 2015 Jackson, KY

Been on 2 so far, Triumph and Fascination, Loved both of them. No Complaints here, Just wish I lived closer to a port where I could go more.Already making plans for another cruise with Carnival. Food was great on both, crew was awesome on both. Triumph I love! I can afford to take a cruise with them, not a dull moment either. And one of the crew that was on Triumph was on Fascination and he remembered me.. 100% Carnival.

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Rita Smith

September 26th, 2015 Hephzibah, GA

I love everything so far I have only been on the Fascination twice. Great service, everybody friendly. You all turned me into a cruiser and would Love to go again. Except I will be going single as I am now a widow and the rooms are so pricey for 1 person Can't handle a inside room. I will sail only on Carnival the best ships in the world.

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William

September 26th, 2015 New York, NY

I love Carnival - entertainment on the ship are superb, great food and great people. I highly recommend a vacation on Carnival.

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Mary Apolinaro

September 26th, 2015 White Haven, PA

I hated Carnival. I was lost so many times it was disgusting. Other ships I was on you were able to walk from the back of the boat to the front on the same floor and this you could not, you had to go to another floor to get where you wanted to go. I will never go on carnival again.