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On Board with Carnival

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.


Carnival offers a variety of lodging options. On the cruise line's 26 ships, you'll find four different types of cabins: Interior Staterooms, Ocean View Staterooms, Balcony Staterooms and Suites. Select ships also include one or more special cabin classes: Cloud 9 Spa Staterooms, Family Harbor Staterooms and Havana Staterooms.

Interior Staterooms are Carnival's smallest, most affordable lodging option. These rooms measure about 185 square feet and offer two twin beds (some of which convert into a king-sized bed) and a full bathroom. These staterooms, which comfortably sleep two guests, also feature flat-screen TVs, safes and bathrobes (upon request). Some come equipped with minibars and portholes, picture windows or French doors, while others offer extra kids amenities or unique decor themes. (The views offered from rooms with windows are either of the water line or the ship's deck and are often obstructed.) An Upper/Lower Interior Stateroom is another option; this cabin maximizes space with one twin bed and either a pull-down bed or a sofa bed. Note: Not every ship offers every type of Interior Stateroom, so be sure to check Carnival's website for additional information about your specific ship.

Ranging between 185 and 320 square feet, Ocean View Staterooms give travelers more space than Interior Staterooms, as well as better sea views. These cabins contain twin beds (some of which convert into a king-sized bed) and full bathrooms (some with separate washrooms), plus the amenities found in Interior Staterooms. Some rooms also boast sofa beds. While most of these rooms sleep two to four guests and are equipped with standard windows, select Ocean View Staterooms have floor-to-ceiling windows. If you're traveling with a larger group, consider one of the Deluxe Ocean View rooms, which can accommodate up to five guests. Only available on select ships, this option features two twin beds, two pull-down beds and a sofa bed.

If you're looking for an even better view, you can find it in Carnival's Balcony Staterooms. These accommodations are 185 square feet and come appointed with private balconies furnished with patio chairs and small tables. These cabins include twin beds (some of which convert into a king-sized bed), plus all the amenities offered in other staterooms. You'll have your choice of a handful of different Balcony Stateroom types, which vary by deck location and balcony size.

Carnival rolls out the red carpet treatment for suite occupants: If you book this lodging option, you'll get VIP check-in (complete with an expedited embarkation and debarkation process) and the largest accommodations available. Occupying between 275 and 750 square feet of space, suites come equipped with twin beds that convert into a king-sized bed, double sofa beds, balconies, minibars and walk-in closets. Most suites also offer whirlpool tubs. Cabins available in Carnival's suite category include Junior Suites, Ocean Suites, Grand Suites and Captain's Suites.

Some ships in Carnival's fleet offer specialized Cloud 9 Spa Staterooms outfitted in a soothing, neutral color scheme. All of these staterooms include complimentary access to spa facilities, priority spa reservations, two free fitness classes and specialty toiletries. You can book Interior, Ocean View, Balcony or Suite category Cloud 9 Spa rooms – which range between 185 and 275 square feet – on eight Carnival ships: Breeze, Dream, HorizonMagic, Panorama, SunriseSunshine and Vista.

Family Harbor Staterooms are a specialty cabin option on Carnival's HorizonVista and Panorama ships. Designed for families, these accommodations – which are available in all four stateroom categories – feature American nautical decor and are conveniently stationed near the Family Harbor Lounge. There, families can play games, watch movies or enjoy meals together. Each Family Harbor room measures between 185 and 275 square feet and comes with extra perks, such as free kids meals in most premium onboard restaurants and one night of complimentary babysitting.

Three of Carnival's largest ships – Horizon, Vista and Panorama – feature Havana Staterooms. These colorful, resort-inspired accommodations include exclusive daytime access to the Havana Pool. Havana cabin options range from 185-square-foot Interior rooms to 260-square-foot Havana Cabana suites. Suites offer rain showers and patios with hammock chairs. To book a Havana room, all occupants must be at least 12 years old.

What's Included in the Price

  • Dining Costs

  • Onboard Activities


Carnival keeps the atmosphere energized around the clock with its plethora of onboard activities and amenities geared toward kids and adults. Cruisers of all ages can enjoy Carnival's swimming pools, whirlpools, waterslides and water parks, which vary by ship.


Sports fans can take advantage of the equipment on board: All of Carnival's vessels have pingpong tables and mini-golf courses, while some ships offer ropes courses, outdoor jogging tracks and even basketball courts (which can also be used to play soccer and volleyball). If you don't want to break a sweat on the court, you can get your heart racing at the fitness center, where you'll find cardio equipment, free weights and fee-based classes like yoga, Pilates and cycling. Outdoor gyms with punching bags and exercise bikes are also available on select ships. When it's time to unwind, make your way to the spa. Each ship's spa offers treatments like facials, hot stone massages and body wraps. The peace and quiet carries over to the Serenity Adult-Only Retreat (available on most ships). These spaces allow guests ages 21 and older to relax by the pool or take in sea views while sipping cocktails.

Kids Clubs

Carnival makes sure kids stay entertained with age-appropriate programming. The Camp Ocean (ages 2 to 11), Circle "C" (ages 12 to 14) and Club O2 (ages 15 to 17) programs sponsor group activities and events geared toward each age group. Younger children can enjoy games and crafts with counselors while the older kids play video games, watch a movie, hit the dance floor or sing along to karaoke. For an extra fee, families can also take advantage of their ship's Night Owls babysitting service, which lets children ages 6 months to 11 years participate in supervised evening activities at Camp Ocean until 1 a.m.


When night falls, you and your clan can catch musicals, dance performances, comedy acts and game shows at the theater on each ship. If you're looking for an all-adult crowd and are hoping to win big, head to the casino for table games, roulette and slots. Finally, Carnival's lively lounges and piano bars offer up tunes and a variety of libations.


The price of your cruise includes all meals in Carnival's main dining room, where you'll have the choice of a 6 or 8:15 p.m. seating (or 5:30 and 7:45 p.m. on Alaska cruises). A variety of other food options on board are included as well. Carnival's ships also offer "Your Time" seating, which allows more flexibility with your meal times: You can dine any time between 5:45 and 9:30 p.m. (or from 5:15 to 9 p.m. for Alaska cruises) and request a specific table size or waiter at no extra cost. Main dining room menus vary, but you can expect to see appetizers like Mexican-inspired pulled chicken bites; fresh seafood entrees like salmon and lobster; meat-centric dishes like filet mignon and cornmeal-crusted chicken; and vegetarian options like cinnamon pumpkin cheese pie and fresh vegetables with Indian spices. Passengers with a sweet tooth will be pleased with the dessert selection, which includes ice cream, fresh fruit and warm chocolate melting cake.

Each ship also contains a Lido deck buffet, which serves sandwiches, salads, finger foods and hot dishes, plus a pizzeria and an ice cream bar that are open around the clock. Room service is another dining option available 24 hours a day, though charges may apply. Some onboard specialty restaurants, which boast everything from burgers and barbecue to Asian and Mexican fare, are included in the cruise fare. Reservations are not required at these establishments; guests are seated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Specialty Options

Carnival's ships offer a few upscale restaurants as well. While dining at these establishments does cost extra, it won't break the bank. Multicourse dinners at eateries like JiJi Asian Kitchen and Cucina del Capitano cost $15 for adults and $5 for kids 11 and younger. Meanwhile, a meal at the Steakhouse costs $38 per adult and includes an appetizer, a salad, an entree, a side and a dessert. Most specialty restaurant meal fees also cover waitstaff gratuities. Reservations for the Steakhouse are highly recommended and can be made online or once on board. (Note: Not all ships feature the same specialty restaurants; visit Carnival's website to see which eateries are available on each boat.)

Additionally, each ship features specialty meals like a "Green Eggs and Ham"-themed breakfast with character meet and greets, and a 12- to 16-person chef's table dinner that includes multiple courses and a behind-the-scenes tour of the ship's galley. The character breakfast costs $5 per person, while the chef's table experience ranges between $75 and $95 per person. Reservations for the chef's table dinner are required and can be made online or once on board.

Food and Drink Packages

Drinks like iced tea, lemonade, coffee, hot cocoa and tap water are included in the cruise fare, but you'll be charged an additional fee for beverages like soda, beer and wine. However, Carnival offers the CHEERS! beverage program, where you can pay a flat fee before your cruise departure date ($51.95 per person, per day, plus gratuity) or onboard ($56.95 per person, per day, plus gratuity) to enjoy unlimited soda, beer, wine and cocktails. You can also opt for the Bottomless Bubbles unlimited soda program, which costs $5.95 a day for guests ages 17 and younger and $8.50 a day for guests 18 and older, plus gratuity.

Cruise rates do not cover gratuities – which cost $13.99 per person, per day for standard stateroom guests and $15.99 per person, per day for those staying in suites – but you can choose to pay them in advance online before your departure date. If you do not pay for gratuities before your cruise, they will automatically be added to your cruise account the day before your cruise ends.

Dress Code

While Carnival encourages travelers to dress casually during the day, evening dress codes differ. Most nights you can don "cruise casual" wear (khakis, jeans or dress shorts and collared shirts are appropriate for men; capris, jeans or dress shorts, blouses, skirts and casual dresses are appropriate for women). For formal nights (usually one night for a cruise between two and five days, and two nights for a voyage six days or longer), guests are required to dress in "cruise elegant" wear. Appropriate "cruise elegant" attire includes dress slacks and dress shirts with sports coats for men (though suits and tuxedos are also acceptable), and cocktail dresses, pantsuits, skirts and blouses or evening gowns for women.

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

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