In fall 2022, Carnival Luminosa became the latest ship to join the Carnival Cruise Line fleet. The 2,260-passenger vessel previously sailed as Costa Luminosa with Carnival Corporation's Costa Cruises brand. It underwent an extensive refit in the run up to its debut with a new name and livery.
Once the crown jewel of the Costa fleet, Carnival Luminosa can't hide its unmistakably Italian roots. From the deck names on the elevator panels to Captain Adriano Bonacchi's cheery Ciao Ciao during announcements, the ship is Italian through and through.
Constructed at Italy's Fincantieri shipyard in 2009, and sailing for Costa Cruises for 13 years, the ship underwent an extensive dry-dock to bring it in line with Carnival's Spirit-class vessels -- Carnival Miracle, Carnival Legend, Carnival Pride and Carnival Spirit. The refurbishment also included the addition of the signature red, white and blue hull livery that was first introduced on the cruise line's new flagship Mardi Gras in 2021, and is now being rolled out to other ships in the fleet. The throwback funnel design that once adorned some of Carnival's earlier vessels has been retained.
Aimed at families, couples and solo cruisers, Carnival Luminosa is not Sydney-based, but Brisbane. While yet to be fitted out with the usual Carnival attraction hallmarks (roller coasters etc.) this compact, fun ship delivers.
Luminosa's interior design is not as bold as sister Carnival ships, but still bright and breezy, and although the decor is more 2009 than 2022, every public space and each cabin we viewed was in remarkable condition with no sign of wear and tear.
Kids Clubs cover four age groups: the family pool, amusement arcade, Warehouse, and several Dr Seuss special events. The Serenity Retreat on Deck 9 Aft is 'Adults only' with a bar, pool and whirlpool.
Carnival Luminosa has been adapted to offer passenger favorites and signature Carnival experiences across dining, bars and entertainment such as Playlist Productions, The Punchliner Comedy Club, Limelight Lounge, Piano Bar 88, Alchemy Bar, RedFrog Rum Bar, Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, Chef's Table, Bonsai Sushi Express and Seaday Brunch.
The ship's spa has been transformed into the line's traditional Cloud 9 spa -- which will also offer a dedicated stateroom category -- and one of the pool decks has been reconfigured as Carnival's Serenity adult-only retreat.
Carnival Luminosa has 1,130 cabins and suites, which range in size from 13.65 square metre Interior stateroom to 68.09 square metre Grand Vista Suites. 662 cabins and 106 suites have balconies.
Carnival Luminosa offers eight levels of staterooms: Interior, Ocean View, and Balcony cabins, Junior Balcony and Panorama Suites and Cloud 9 Spa suites and two versions of Grand Vista suites with subcategories bringing a total of 14 configurations across the ship. Additionally, 68% have balconies with 23 accessible suites. For families, there are 102 connecting rooms.
The best cabin on board has to be a Grand Vista Suite. For space alone it’s a winner. But there’s nothing better than enjoying a glass of bubbles on the aft-facing wraparound balcony at sunset. The addition of a bathtub means a long luxurious soak is only minutes away.
All the amenities that come with suites like priority check-in, boarding and disembarkation can make the difference between a good cruise and a dream cruise. Little extras count too like bathrobes and the first two bottles of water are included.
What’s the worst cabin on Carnival Luminosa? A basic interior cabin can never complete with a Grand Vista Suite. But for the budget conscious Interior cabins can offer real value.
Category 4K aka interior cabins have an obstructed ocean view. It’s usually obstructed by a lifeboat do sport floor to ceiling glass to ensure plenty of light. While you can see the sky - this is not one for those longing for uninterrupted ocean views.
The rooms and cabins to avoid on Carnival Luminosa are interior cabins with picture windows and a walkway view. If you can see out those on the walkway can see in. So keep those curtains closed 24/7 if you don’t want other cruisers catching you in nothing more than a towel.
Overall, the staterooms and suites are generally well-maintained and exceptionally clean. After thirteen years and minimal refurbishment, it's commendable how fresh the cabins have remained despite the dated decor.
Lido Marketplace on Deck 9 is the buffet option for breakfast, lunch and early dinner, with the Main Dining Room Vela Restaurant on decks 2 and 3 covering lunch and dinner. Then, a sleep-in is guaranteed with the always-popular Seaday brunch, while Italian and Mexican nights mix it up a little.
The only additional fine dining is Fahrenheit 555 and the Chef's Table. Room service, Sushi Bonsai Express, Java Blue Cafe and coffee at the Atrium Bar are also extra.
The made-to-order Del Capitano Pizzeria, Deli Artisan Eats, Ol' Barbecue and Taco and Burrito spots are good options if the buffet is not your thing and you want something more casual than the Vela Dining Room.
Meals in the Vela main dining room, Lido Marketplace buffet, and at Pizzeria del Capitano, Burgers, The Carnival Deli, Tacos and Burritos.
Access to the adults-only Serenity Retreat with pool, whirlpool and sun deck area and Dive-In Movies at the family pool deck area.
Most daily activities and experiences, unless noted below.
The fitness centre is included as is Carnival's Camp Ocean kids club until 9 pm for children aged two to 17.
All drinks beyond water, tea, coffee and select juices in the Lido Marketplace Buffet and Vela main dining room are at extra cost. Specialty (barista) coffee is also additional.
All Cloud 9 spa treatments, along with fitness classes and personal training and access to the Cloud 9 thermal area are additional.
Room service and specialty dining - Fahrenheit 555, Bonsai Sushi Express and Chef's Table are extra.
Shore excursions, Wi-Fi, activities such as casino gaming and bingo come at an extra cost as are photos and after-hours babysitting in Night Owls.
Although not primarily designed with children in mind, kids of all ages can have a ball on Carnival Luminosa; and it’s included in the fare.
Camp Ocean must be the first port of call. It’s like a camp at sea for 2-11 year-olds, with a range of kids only and family activities each day. There’s Conga for Kids, Family Arts and Crafts, Board Games Fun, Science & Discovery and more. For 12-14 year-olds Circle C hosts dance parties, outdoor movies and more in the special Circle C area. Club 02 is for the 15-17 year-old group with sport, karaoke and video games.
As well there’s mini golf, competitions, basketball and games on deck. Downloading the Carnival Hub app will give you a heads up on all the day’s activities.
For the most up-to-date protocols, please refer to Carnival Covid-19 Guest Protocols for testing, mandatory masks and vaccination requirements.
The guests on board Carnival Luminosa are a mix of young families, fun-seeking over-50s, couples and single-parents with teens and 30 to 60+ singles. The compact ship and small passenger numbers ensure its not only kids making new friends.
The 1,050 crew come from across the world. While the senior crew is predominantly Italian, many of the crew call Indonesia, India, and the Phillipines home. And they smile and do their job diligently.
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Surpassed initial expectations, did not meet Carnival standards
Wonderful cruise on a great ship with friends and family