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Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

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Cruising with Carnival

Carnival Cruise Line stays true to its lively reputation with its festive atmosphere and versatile entertainment options. Carnival's 26 ships depart from many cities in the U.S., including MiamiLos AngelesBaltimoreSeattle and New York City. With such a large fleet, Carnival offers cruisers their pick of destinations across MexicoAlaskaHawaii, EuropeAustralia and the Caribbean, among other locations. Voyages in 2020 range from two to 16 days, and each ship carries approximately one crew member for every three passengers.

Just as Carnival's cruise lengths and itineraries vary by ship, so do its available shore excursions. You could go on a zip lining adventure in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, sip rums in Bermuda, or sunbathe on a beach in the Bahamas.

Back on board Carnival Cruise Line's "Fun Ships," you'll find plenty of activities to keep you busy. With waterslides, sports courts, casinos, piano bars, comedy acts and nightclubs, Carnival's fleet offers guests of all ages something to enjoy. The cruise line's knack for variety carries over to onboard cuisine, which includes three-course meals served in the main dining room, a Lido deck buffet and specialty restaurants dishing out everything from Italian fare to sake and sushi.

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Carnival Cruise Line stays true to its lively reputation with its festive atmosphere and versatile entertainment options. Carnival's 26 ships depart from many cities in the U.S., including MiamiLos AngelesBaltimoreSeattle and New York City. With such a large fleet, Carnival offers cruisers their pick of destinations across MexicoAlaskaHawaii, EuropeAustralia and the Caribbean, among other locations. Voyages in 2020 range from two to 16 days, and each ship carries approximately one crew member for every three passengers.

Just as Carnival's cruise lengths and itineraries vary by ship, so do its available shore excursions. You could go on a zip lining adventure in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, sip rums in Bermuda, or sunbathe on a beach in the Bahamas.

Back on board Carnival Cruise Line's "Fun Ships," you'll find plenty of activities to keep you busy. With waterslides, sports courts, casinos, piano bars, comedy acts and nightclubs, Carnival's fleet offers guests of all ages something to enjoy. The cruise line's knack for variety carries over to onboard cuisine, which includes three-course meals served in the main dining room, a Lido deck buffet and specialty restaurants dishing out everything from Italian fare to sake and sushi.

Pros & Cons

  • Numerous ships and itineraries to pick from

  • Extensive selection of onboard amenities and activities

  • Variety of dining options

  • Additional fees apply for shore excursions

  • Larger ships can feel crowded

  • Wi-Fi access costs extra

3.81Scorecard
  • 3.6Expert Rating »
  • 3.9Traveler Rating »
  • 4.0Health Rating »

Rankings

Carnival Cruise Line has been ranked based on an expert evaluation of the line's level of luxury, as well as an assessment of user reviews and health ratings.

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Carnival Horizon

Carnival Cruise Line Ships

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On Board

Carnival Cruise Line tends to attract young adults and families looking for an affordable vacation rather than an upscale cruising experience. The company's primary clientele is based in the United States.
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On Shore

Carnival offers an abundance of shore excursions at each port. What's more, Carnival's Shore Excursion search allows you to select your shoreside activities using customized filters that sort by price, duration, activity level and expedition type. Typical shore excursions might include a submarine dive in Aruba , a glacier tour in Alaska or a dolphin encounter in the ...
See details about the on shore experience »

Before You Book

  • Deposits are required for all cruises; deposit and payment due dates depend on cruise length. Final payment is due 60 days before two- to five-day sailings; 75 days in advance of cruises that sail for six to eight days; and 90 days prior to cruises that are nine or more days in length or sail to Alaska, Europe or the Panama Canal.
  • Early Saver, Super Saver and Pack & Go rates are cheaper than regular cruise rates. However, cancellation policies are stricter for these fares: Early Saver rates are eligible for cruise credit as a refund, but Super Saver and Pack & Go fares are either partly or fully nonrefundable. Early Saver rates also include cabin choice and guaranteed price protection. Booking at a Super Saver or Pack & Go rate, your fare is set and Carnival will choose your cabin.
  • Cancellations for a full refund must be made up to 61 days before your trip for cruises up to five days in length; up to 76 days for cruises lasting six to eight days; and up to 91 days for cruises that sail for nine or more days or travel to Alaska or Europe or through the Panama Canal. If you miss these deadlines, you will forfeit your deposit and/or a percentage of the total fare paid. The amount you lose depends on how close the cancellation is to your date of departure.
  • Guests with special needs requests can contact Carnival's Guest Access team at 1-800-438-6744, ext. 70025 or email access@carnival.com before their cruise departure date.

Before You Board

  • Certain ports of call require a passport that's valid for six months after your trip and a visa from the country to which you are traveling, which must be obtained before your cruise. For American citizens ages 16 and older departing from and returning to a U.S. territory (excluding those traveling to Cuba), a government-issued photo ID will suffice. Visit the U.S. State Department website for more information on visa requirements. Also, check the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) websites for the latest vaccination information for countries on your itinerary.
  • Carnival passengers can check in online until midnight the day before their cruise departs. All guests are required to arrive and check in one hour before the ship is scheduled to leave.
  • Up to two pieces of luggage weighing no more than 50 pounds each are permitted per person, though Carnival suggests bringing only one bag per person for cruises that last fewer than six days. Size restrictions apply for bags carried onto the ship by guests, so consult Carnival's website before your departure date.
  • You can begin booking shore excursions and dining reservations at specialty restaurants online once your final payment has been processed until one day prior to your departure. You may also book dining reservations once you're on board. Since excursions and restaurants can become fully booked, Carnival recommends booking in advance.

Disclaimers about ship ratings: A ship’s Health Rating is based on vessel inspection scores published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If a ship did not receive a CDC score within 22 months prior to the calculation of its Overall Rating, its Health Rating appears as N/A; in such a case, the ship’s Overall Rating is calculated using the average Health Rating of all CDC-rated ships within the cruise line. All ship Traveler Ratings are based on ratings provided under license by Cruiseline.com.

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