Carnival Cruise Line Comparison
Carnival Cruise Line is considered a mass-market cruise. They also own many other cruise lines such as Costa Cruise, Princess, Holland America, P&O, and Aida. Carnival is known as a Fun Ship and they really do a great job at it. Some people don't like to cruise Carnival as they say it's a party ship but I think that depends on the destination.
We cruised with Carnival for 3 days in November 2017 on the Carnival Imagination. We left Long Beach, California, and went to Ensenada, Mexico. This ship, as well as the Inspiration, are definitely party cruises as they're 3-4 days long, often very cheap and attract birthdays, bachelor/bachelorette parties, workgroups, etc.
In December 2017 we cruised for 9 days on the Carnival Splendor. We left from Miami, FL, and went to Nassau, Puerto Rico, Antigua, St. Kitts, and Grand Turk. I didn't feel like this cruise was a party ship. It had many families on it celebrating Christmas and was more expensive due to it being over Christmas.
We also cruised on the Carnival Inspiration for 3 days in November 2019. We left Long Beach and went to Ensenada again for my Husband's annual work trip.
Our rooms on Carnival were always very clean. The room stewards were amazing and very friendly. Carnival does a great job with customer service and it really shows when you cruise with them as all of the staff go above and beyond.
The singing/dancing shows on Carnival are not my favorite. What I really like about Carnivals' entertainment is that they have a Comedy Club that is additional to their evening shows. They often have 2-4 comedy shows a night. Usually, two that are all ages and then two in the late evening that is 18+. These shows are often really funny and a great place to meet up with others in the evenings.
Carnival also has some really fun trivia. We went to the 80's trivia with my Mom on the Carnival Splendor and it ended up turning into an 80's dance party. Obviously this is why Carnival is called the fun ship! They also had some great dance events in the evenings on the outdoor deck. On the last night, they had great dance along with songs like the cupid shuffle and YMCA.
On the Carnival Splendor, they offered outdoor movies on a few nights. On the Inspiration/Imagination, they offered movies during the sea days or in the evenings in the theatre.
One thing I don't like about Carnival is their limited buffet options. During Dinner, they really decrease the food available as I think they prefer passengers to eat in the main dining room. Their breakfast and lunch buffets have a wide variety of items to eat and on the Inspiration/Imagination, they have a grill where you can order omelets at breakfast and hot or cold sandwiches at lunch. They always have a huge variety of desserts available at the buffet as well.
A really fun thing that Carnival does each night is dance and sing in the main dining room. Usually right before your meal is over, the servers will come out and start dancing to a fun song. They will pull up guests and have you dance with them if you want. It's just another thing Carnival does to get guests having fun and it always seems like the staff is having a blast as well.
Carnival doesn't offer a huge variety of drinks at the buffet. You can get juice at breakfast and iced tea at the water machines for the remainder of the day. They also don't have a large selection of tea available. All we've seen is Liptons tea, even at their high tea event in the dining room.
Carnival always has entertainment occurring at their pools. They also have an adult only area. Usually, it's at the back of the ship and is a smaller area than most ships. But the seats are super comfortable and its often really quiet!
One thing that Carnival offers that the other lines we've sailed with don't are self-service laundry. They have laundry rooms on each floor with free ironing. This is amazing as clothes often get wrinkly while traveling, so not having to pay per item for ironing is really amazing. They also have washers and dryers you can pay for to wash your own clothes for longer cruises. On all of the other lines we've cruised with, the only option is to pay for the cruise ship to iron and wash your clothes and they charger per item.
I rate Carnival a 7/10 for the cruises we've been on. They are a really fun ship with amazing customer service. The added comedy club is always fun in the evenings. The staff go above and beyond to make sure you're having a wonderful cruise.
If you have more questions about cruising with Carnival or want to book your next Carnival cruise, click here!!
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