When it comes to common myths about cruising, myths about Carnival Cruise Line stack near the top of the pile. One of the industry’s most enduring and exceedingly popular lines, Carnival Cruise Line nevertheless has been the subject of many cruise myths over the years – things that were either once true but are now no longer, or assumptions that are just downright incorrect.
With dozens of cruises on Carnival’s Fun Ships under our collective belts, here are some common Carnival Cruise Line myths – busted.
At one time, Carnival Cruise Line had a reputation – and deservedly so – as the Party Ship. And while that still holds true on many of the line’s shortest weekend cruises from Florida to Nassau and back, the fact of the matter is that those passengers who partied with Carnival in the ‘90’s are now grown with kids – and looking for fun that’s a bit more sedate.
As with any cruise, the shorter the voyage, the more people are there to party and have a good time. If you’re not ready to embrace the party-hard lifestyle, Carnival’s sailings start to mellow out once you hit the five day and beyond mark. By the time you book a weeklong sailing, you may wonder where all the people have gone – and the answer is that they’re resting or taking a quiet evening in preparation for the next days’ explorations.
Today, Carnival’s passengers are predominantly multi-generational families travelling together, along with couples of all ages and walks of life. Solo cruisers are well represented, as are passengers young and old. Everyone’s there to have fun – but for the most part, it’s not as rowdy as you might have heard.
One of Carnival’s superpowers is to punch well above its weight when it comes to onboard food offerings. From free burgers at Guy’s Burger Joint to the more upscale fare offered at specialty restaurants on its newest ships like Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration and Carnival Jubilee, the sheer breadth and quality of the cuisine on Carnival’s ships is likely to surprise even the most subjective tastebuds.
A lot of what keeps us going back to Carnival are its branded partnership cuisine offerings. Shaq’s Big Chicken might be the tastiest at sea, while it’s tough to beat the quality and value at Guy’s Pig and Anchor Smokehouse and Taphouse. Even on older ships, Bonsai Sushi offers up great Japanese eats, while the line’s classic steakhouses offer value and quality rolled into a more elegant, formal setting.
From pizza to burgers to fresh-made sandwiches and elegant dishes in the ship’s main dining rooms and specialty restaurants, you’ll be hard-pressed to find cuisine that doesn’t speak to you. Look for unique menu items in the Main Dining Room, too, like frog’s legs and alligator fritters, on select nights.
This is one of those myths without bearing, akin to Holland America Line only being suitable for “old people” or luxury cruises only being for the ultra-rich. The fact of the matter is that Carnival offers an excellent cruise for multigenerational families.
Every Carnival ship offers dedicated kids and teens’ clubs as part of Camp Carnival, Carnival’s extensive programming for kids aged six months to 18 years of age. The line even boasts a unique partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises that sees characters from the classic children’s author come to life onboard, thanks to special events like Dr. Seuss Storytime and the delightfully whimsical Green Eggs and Ham Sea Day Brunch.
Carnival’s newest ships even have a special Dr. Seuss Bookville area filled with books and toys for kids of all ages.
Beyond its kids’ clubs, Carnival Cruise Line caters to families simply by being affordable. Its staterooms offer plenty of third and fourth berths, and many of these rooms connect – a boon for families travelling together. And, on its newest ships like Carnival Celebration and Carnival Jubilee, Carnival has expanded its offerings to include special Family Harbor staterooms that offer even more space and a dedicated lounge to boot.
Anyone who has a kid knows there’s nothing more relaxing than knowing your child will not be the only one onboard. Carnival has repeatedly said it carries more kids than any other cruise line afloat – annually carrying some 800,000 children.
The numbers speak for themselves: Carnival is an excellent choice for families.
Carnival Cruise Line makes its primary base of operations in the Caribbean and, indeed, most of its shorter sailings operate classic itineraries out of Miami that visit Nassau, Bahamas and a few other ports of call.
But even though Carnival’s bread-and-butter may be the short Caribbean runs out of Florida, those sailings hardly define the line. We found Carnival to be one of the best values in Alaska, and the line has made waves (pun intended) with its massive transpacific repositioning cruises from Australia and Asia to North America, and with its modest but impressive European deployment that sees smaller ships like Carnival Legend sailing the British Isles, Western Europe, and the Mediterranean.
Carnival even has a name for its longer, more exotic itineraries: Carnival Journeys. One of the industry’s best-kept secrets, these sailings are reasonably priced and offer a complete departure from the standard cruise to Nassau. What’s more, Carnival even rolls out special events on some of these voyages, like a Throwback Sea Day, where Carnival trots out menus and branding that were used back in the 1980’s.
We hate this long-running analogy because it simply couldn’t be further from the truth.
The fact of the matter is that Carnival caters to one of the most diverse passenger bases around. And, accordingly, you will see a lot of variety in your fellow passengers. Some will dress up in the evening. Some will dress down. Some are experienced travelers while others are setting out of the country for the very first time.
Shorter cruises draw a more diverse crowd, with plenty of families, couples and solo cruisers represented. Longer sailings departing from more exotic ports, like Dover or Barcelona, command an older, more experienced crowd of cruisers, simply because of the time and costs associated with these longer sailings.
Carnival, like Walmart, does attract people from all walks of life. It’s one of the line’s great strengths. Be willing to embrace that for the best possible cruise experience.