My first ever cruise was a few years ago to the Caribbean with Carnival. Needless to say I got hooked and since then went on holiday with different cruise lines and to varies different destinations.
I had good and bad experiences, but with Carnival they were all great! Looking at why, it seems fairly obvious to me.
ACTIVITIES ON BOARD
Carnival brands itself as the “Fun Ships”. There is always something going on on board such as golfing competitions, dancing on the lido deck, towel folding classes, Michael Jackson Thriller dance classes, ice carving and more.
You never get bored and if you are a person that likes to get involved and likes to participate in activities, like me, then this cruise line is for you. You are there to have fun and be entertained!
Saying that, there are of course areas on the ships where you can find some peace and tranquility. However, if you prefer relaxation and a peaceful time on the main lido deck while you are reading a book, I would recommend booking a different cruise line as plenty of activities take place outside in the main pool area.
Still, they are very fun to watch and you do not have to get involved if you do not wish to. One time I saw an old grandma twerking as she was partaking in a dance off competition. Made me laugh so hard that I almost cried. Hilarious!
The food is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! It is the best food I had with any cruise line and the food was outstanding during all my Carnival sailings.
Carnival is at the moment upgrading many of their ships to offer their new food and beverage concepts which includes spaces such as Guy’s Burger Joint (you can customise your own burger – very yummy), Blue Iguana Cantina (make your own burrito), Alchemy Bar (for evening cocktails) and some more.
There is food 24/7 and they have lots of variety. I love going to the restaurant at night to enjoy a three course meal as their menu never disappoints me. There is always something on the menu that I like and I never had food that I disliked.
I also like that Carnival sometimes has themed food days. On my first Caribbean cruise they had a Caribbean lunch buffet and you could have dishes such as Jerk Chicken. I enjoy tasting local cuisine when on board.
I took a Japan cruise once and had Aussie foods on board as the ship was based in Australia before and stocked up there. I was expecting to get some Japanese dishes, but instead was served Aussie sausages almost every day. Needless to say I was not impressed.
Like I said, the food on Carnival is AMAZING and is one of the reasons why I also choose to travel with Carnival over and over again.
The ships are all unique and have their own themes and this is what I love about the Carnival fleet.
Most cruise lines modernise and standardise their fleet and the ships start to look the same. So what is the point of going on ship x if you could go on ship y? They look and feel the same anyways. Boring!!!
I enjoy choosing and exploring a new ship and getting excited about new designs. And Carnival ships are certainly a bit bonkers in terms of design, but it works and that is why I love them! They stand out from other cruise lines that go for modern and contemporary nonstop now.
The staff are very friendly and you can see that they are having fun as well. A few years ago during dinner time, all staff members from the restaurant came out and started to dance to Gangnam Style. Guests even stopped their dinner and joined them. It was brilliant.
Furthermore, the staff know when to stop bothering you. The staff selling you drinks on the Lido deck for instance earn commission as on other cruise lines. Still, if you decline politely they will not ask you over and over again until you buy a drink just to get rid of them, as I had it with other cruise lines.
They know when to stop and this is very important as this can make or break your relationship with the cruise line or in fact any company. If I feel harassed and uncomfortable, I will not book with that particular cruise line again.
The vast majority of its itineraries are short and close to the US such as Caribbean, Alaska and Canada.
Itineraries to the Caribbean can be as short as a few days to a week and this is due to the fact that Americans compared to Europeans have less holiday. So these itineraries cater well for them and offer Americans the opportunity to relax and see something different in a short period of time.
This is also great for people visiting many famous destinations in the US such as New York, Florida, Los Angeles etc as you can easily incorporate a short cruise into your holiday plans.
Or if they seem too short you can combine two cruises and do a back to back cruise. Tada, all of a sudden you are away on a 10 day cruise instead of just a 4 day cruise!
Lastly, the entertainment. As mentioned before there are lots of activities going on throughout the ship every single day and I like to take part in as many as possible.
I particularly enjoy the towel folding classes as I adore the towel animals and wanted to know how they make them and give it a go myself, golf putting or table tennis competitions as well as cooking demonstrations where you can sample the dishes as well. The majority of ships also have an area for basketball and the ships I have been on also featured small arcades. So there is lots on offer!
And of course the evening shows. The couple show as well as Hasbro the Game Show are always worth going to as they are really funny and of course the big production shows are almost as good as Broadway shows. They are innovative, colourful and entertaining. You can also watch a live comedian on board, but if this is all too much for you there are several bars with more subtle music such as jazz.
I never get board on a Carnival cruise and there is so much choice that I sometimes do not know what to do or watch as I want to do everything!
Carnival is my favourite cruise line as it ticks all my boxes. Since my first cruise with them, I have been on board several times again and always had a great time. I have one time even based my holiday around a Carnival cruise as I really wanted to sail with them once more.
The cruise is always packed with fun activities so no one gets bored. There is always something to do and people are there just to enjoy themselves and have a good time. Is this not what holiday is all about?
And finally, plenty of people put Carnival into the low budget category as the cruises can be very cheap compared to other cruise lines. And people I met say this with a bad connotation or when I tell them that I love travelling with Carnival they say “really?” Statements and comments like this make me angry as I would argue that Carnival offers great value for money!
Yes, the cruises are cheaper compared to an NCL, Princess or Cunard cruise, but they are as good and I dare to say (sometimes) better? Just because you pay more money for a cruise does not mean that you have a better experience necessarily or that the cruise is better.
With cruises it comes down to your preference and I believe there is a cruise and a cruise line for everyone. For me, Carnival is at the top.
What are your thoughts on Carnival?