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An Introduction To Carnival: ‘Fun Ships’ & The Most Beautiful Backdrops

An Introduction To Carnival: ‘Fun Ships’ & The Most Beautiful Backdrops

Carnival, a cruise line that prides itself on delivering memorable vacations to its guests with an outstanding value for money, keeps a strong focus on the fun factor.

The ‘Fun Ship’ cruise features day and nighttime entertainment like stage shows, musical performances, casinos and more. This doesn’t mean that Carnival forget about comfort; expect comfy stateroom accommodation, attentive service, delicious food and drink, all with the backdrop of some of the world’s most beautiful ports.

The line was formed back in 1972 and achieved ‘World’s Most Popular Cruise Line’ status in 1987 before being taken over by Carnival Corporation in 1994 (along with Cunard, Holland America, P&O (UK), P&O (Australia), Princess, Seabourn, AIDA and Costa Cruises).

This is your definitive guide to all things Carnival Cruises with everything you could possibly ever need to know with a sprinkle of everything you didn’t think you needed to know…

Meet The Fleet


Excellence Class: Mardi Gras (2020)

Vista Class: Carnival Panorama (2019), Carnival Horizon (2018) and Carnival Vista (2016). 

Dream Class: Carnival Breeze (2012), Carnival Magic (2011) and Carnival Dream (2009). 

Conquest Class: Carnival Freedom (2007), Carnival Liberty (2005), Carnival Valor (2003), Carnival Glory (2002) and Carnival Conquest (2002). 

Spirit Class: Carnival Miracle (2004), Carnival Legend (2002), Carnival Pride (2002) and Carnival Spirit (2001).

Sunshine (Destiny) Class: Carnival Radiance (2000 – Refurbished 2020), Carnival Sunrise (1999 – Refurbished 2019) and Carnival Sunshine (1996 – Refurbished 2013).

Fantasy Class: Carnival Paradise (1998), Carnival Elation (1998), Carnival Inspiration (1996) and Carnival Imagination (1995).

Is There A Typical ‘Carnival’ Passenger?

It is a well-known fact that Carnival is a brand for families and fun-lovers of all ages, along with great value for money. The line introduced a top-notch children’s programme back at the start, putting it in line with Disney Cruises for kid-friendly cruise lines. Its ‘Seuss At Sea’ programme brings Dr Seuss characters and decor to the kid’s clubs, proving the line to be attentive to the younger generation’s needs and wants for a holiday.

carnival dr seuss

Unlike luxury lines, Carnival isn’t known for over-the-top suites; instead, its staterooms are budget-friendly and ideal for families with interconnecting cabins and Family Harbor, the zone with a lounge and staterooms dedicated to families of up to five.

If you’re someone who thinks a cruise should be filled with a wide variety of entertainment, Carnival is the answer. The line offers everything from the Punchliner Comedy club to Carnival Concert Cruises!

carnival entertainment

On-board Entertainment

Carnival is certainly one of the cruise lines up there with one of the best selections for entertainment. It isn’t just limited to bars to visit to try all the cocktails you’ve never had before, or the lounges with the worst karaoke you’ve ever heard before. It’s so much more than that…

Carnival LIVE

Carnival want to take you to incredible destinations but they want to make getting there half the fun! Whilst in port, an all-time favourite musician or comedian will board the ship just for your entertainment, so it’s not always the destination itself that is putting on the best show. You’ll get the chance to meet-and-greet your favourite stars over a drink and a sea view…


Carnival take just ‘watching a film’ and make it into so much more than that; they call stepping into the IMAX Theatre more like ‘taking a brief escape from life’. You’ll have everything from Hollywood blockbusters to recently hit films to IMAX documentaries to choose from. You’ll find the very first IMAX Theatre at sea on none else but Carnival Vista!

carnival imax

Lip Sync Battle

Carnival’s own on-stage take on the hit TV series puts you to the test. It’ll add competition to your holiday where Carnival will provide the props, music, lighting, choreographers and back-up dancers to elevate the performance of your choice!

carnival lip sync battle

CLUE: The Murder Mystery

A real-life board game where the ship is your gameboard and the suspects come to life. It starts with your free CLUE  Case File and the story will unfold before you as you cruise. You’ll have to visit scheduled events around the ship to collect your clues: the Lido Deck, the Promenade, the Library. Not to mention, your cruise ship captain is offering a unique reward for the answer…it’s up to you to crack the case.

carnival clue

Punchliner Comedy Club

Everybody likes a bit of comedy on an evening on holiday so Carnival bring the pros on to their stage to guarantee you some laughter. They promise comedians that don’t hold back on speaking their mind but the ships featuring the Punchliner Comedy Club also schedule family-friendly performances so it’s not one you have to wait until the kids are in bed for.

carnival comedy

SKYBOX Sports Bar

You don’t have to miss your favourite teams just because you’re on holiday.  SKYBOX Sports Bar gets you right onto the 50-yard line of onboard sports action, so order a drink and some snacks while you watch the game live on the big screen. Once the game is over feel free to grab a controller and have your own competition (and it’s all for free!)

carnival sports bar


Another way to see the movies onboard Carnival is parking yourself in front of the extremely large screen under some real stars. Pick a poolside lounge chair, or even the pool itself if you fancy it, and enjoy the latest blockbusters in the open air. You won’t be without popcorn or blankets so don’t worry about lacking any home feelings!

carnival movies

The list of entertainment is endless for Carnival; if you fancy your hand at taking the stage for a solo, don’t worry there’s a Karaoke Bar onboard; or if your prefer a group sing-a-long, head to the Piano Bar; if you prefer to leave it to the professionals, there’s plenty of stage shows featuring musicians, dancers in extravagant costumes and crowd-thrilling numbers.

carnival comedy

The Nightclub awaits for anyone wanting to hit the dance floor; yet another board game to come to life onboard your cruise is Hasbro, The Game Show where you can play giant versions of everything from Connect 4 to Yahtzee Bowling!

 Dining Experience

Carnival will take your taste buds all around the world on just one cruise ship. You can sit down to a traditional Italian at Cucina del Capitano and feel as though you’re in a real Italian Villa! It serves up your favourite rustic specials such as pizza and pasta with a homely, welcoming atmosphere.

carnival cucina

If you head on over to the Blue Iguana Cantina you’ll be tasting the delights of Mexico with freshly made burritos, tacos and tortillas. Add in a margarita and you’ll already feel like you’re on the streets of Mexico city!

carnival blue iguana

Asian food fans will feel at home in JiJi Asian kitchen

carnival asian kitchen

American food fanatics can’t go wrong in Guy’s Burger Joint

carnival burger joint

Other incredible speciality dining venues include The Chef’s Table where you get a backstage pass to where the cooking really happens and a private tour to see the gallery in operation…

carnival chefs table

The Taste Bar where the small treats and sample snacks give you the best of what Carnival has to offer…

carnival taste bar

and Bonsai Sushi where it’s more than just sushi. You’ll dine amongst bonsai trees with sit-down service and affordable menu of delectable sushi…

carnival bonsai

Traditional dining for those that love the typical three courses and wine setup can be found in The Dining Room. The menu rotates night after night and you could be eating steak, roasted duck, scallops or prime rib.

Seating can be reserved in late or early sittings to fit around your day onboard. For something extra special, a trip to the Steakhouse for premium meat and service is available for an extra charge.

carnival steakhouse

Families will also be happy on-board as there are plenty of family friendly dining options available. The little ones will love Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast serving up tasty menus with their favourite Dr Seuss characters.

The whimsical menu offers treats of “Moose juice” and gravity defying pancakes amongst tables as bright and unique as the children’s booked. We promise your kids will thank you for bringing them here!

carnival dr seuss

For more relaxed dining, anyone can head to the Lido restaurant to grab some food from the buffet or a slice from Pizza Pirate which is open 24 hours a day!

carnival pizza

For something healthier, you can order a made to order salad from Fresh Creations or grab a plate from the Salad Bar.

carnival bar

There is a huge amount of choice when it comes to dining on Carnival, and it’s worth checking which restaurants are on board your chosen ship when you book!

Family Friendly Facilities

Carnival has a vast array of activities for the kids to enjoy by themselves while the parent’s lounge by the pool nearby, and activities designed for families to enjoy together.

And it all begins with Waterworks: Carnival’s onboard waterpark. Kids (and parents) can enjoy the Twister waterslide that spirals you hundreds of feet from a height or opt for side-by-side racing slides for you to take part in some serious competition.

The biggest bucket of water you’ve ever seen comes in the form of PowerDrencher whilst you’ll need you to speed suit for Speedway Splash which features special lighting effects and hundreds of feet of racing action.

carnival waterworks

Families and the kids especially will have all sorts of activities to busy themselves with, from mini golf to the skycourse, from SportSquare to the kids clubs which you can read about below…

Camp Ocean is for children aged 2-11 where they’ll be put into age-based, supervised groups with a unique marine-life label; ages 2-5 join the Penguin Colony with activities like Ocean Bingo, ages 6-8 are the Stingrays who will delve into a Pirate Game Night, and ages 9-11 are the Sharks who will love the Marine Life Trivia.

carnival camp ocean

Carnival understands that family-friendly doesn’t just mean activities the kids can get involved in too. While they’re off at the kids clubs you might want some peace and quiet- a secluded haven away from the jam packed, fun-filled scene of the ship. Enter Serenity, The Adult-Only Retreat.

You’ll still feel the sea breeze and that ‘cruise’ feeling you’ve been waiting so long for, but this time with swaying hammocks, complete peace and a nearby bar. Carnival want the parents to have their time to, whether it’s reconnecting with a partner or finishing your holiday book!

carnival serenity

Staff  And Gratuities

Carnival give their guests a recommended guideline to what gratuities are appropriate, but like to stress that the specific amount is a personal matter and completely up to each guest.

Their recommended gratuity prices are $12.95 per person, per day for guests in standard stateroom accommodation, and $13.95 per person, per day for guests booked in suites. Their website breaks down the tipping price per day with $4.05 going to the housekeeping team ($5.05 for suites), $6.40 to the dining team and $2.50 to alternative services.

carnival grats

Carnival state that the majority of the tipping amount goes to employees such as stateroom stewards, dining room waiters; a small portion goes to a mix of other personnel who are in guest-facing customer service positions within areas such as culinary and hotel services, along with certain key positions in entertainment and guest services.

For your convenience, Carnival automatically adds the recommended gratuities to your Sail & Sign account towards the end of your cruise, however, these can be removed by contacting the Guest Services desk at any time of your cruise.

Want To Sail With Carnival? View Cruise Deals HERE 

That was your ultimate guide to Carnival Cruises! Have you sailed with them before? Which is your favourite ship? What cruise lines would you pick Carnival over? Which entertainment facility looks most appealing to you? Leave us your thoughts and comments!

Bulletin Editor

Editor and Creative Copywriter of Cruise.co.uk's bulletin blog, bringing you cruise news, tips and guides daily! - Contact: bulletineditor@cruise.co.uk

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