Carnival Venezia might seem like a new ship, with a 2023 christening in New York City by godfather Jay Leno.
But the ship has a special history. Carnival Venezia was originally built in 2019 specifically for the Chinese market where it sailed until March 2020, before coming back to Europe and the subsequent pandemic lockdown. So even though Carnival Venezia cruise ship is almost four years old, it hasn't actually sailed for more than a handful of months -- and now it has a completely new identity.
Redesigned for US passengers and rebranded as "Carnival Fun, Italian Style," Carnival Venezia is definitely a departure from the typical Carnival look and feel. But once you get used to the faux marble columns, the gold balustrades, the rococo inlays and the Venetian artwork adorning every available space on the Carnival Venezia ship, you notice the clever touches the Carnival redesign team has made: the first Guy's Burger to feature a pizza burger (yes, really); Tomodoro, a Mexitalian taco restaurant; Amari, the Italian version of the Alchemy Bar and a main dining room, Canal Grande, which an actual gondola in the center.
We feel the 4,090-passenger Carnival Venezia cruise ship will work for New Yorkers, who will enjoy and relate to its Italian touches. The one area which may be a pinch point is the Lido Deck, or main pool deck, which has a small pool and very limited sunbathing. This is adequate for northern sailings, as there are plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants to keep people occupied, as well as a retractable glass roof. But we're not so sure how the pool size will stand up when the ship moves to Florida for winter 2025.
Carnival Venezia's deck plan includes an adults-only spot the Serenity Deck on Deck 15.
As you tour the Carnival Venezia ship, you'll find the outdoor sports facilities which include a running track, pickle ball and basketball court, ropes course, waterpark, mini golf and gym, and Camp Ocean, the Kids' Club all on Decks 11-14.
The double-deck Lido Marketplace is like an Italian piazza, surrounded by cafes, bars and restaurants, including a new venue Tomodoro; Guy's Burger Joint and the buffet. It's enclosed with a sunroof (or "magrodome") which opens and shuts depending on the weather. There is a small pool and also a stage and a screen for late-night movies.
At the back of the ship, you'll find a second pool. Though not huge by modern cruise ship standards, the pool has a more typical sun deck, with lots of loungers and space to sunbathe.
Decks 6-9 are all cabins. You'll also find cabins on decks 10-14, including some suites.
The heart of the ship is the triple-deck atrium, aka Piazza San Marco, as it's meant to represent Venice's main square. Most of the bars, restaurants and shops come off here, including one of the two main dining rooms, Marco Polo Restaurant (Deck 3). At the back of the ship, you'll find Canal Grande, the second main dining room. At the opposite end of the ship is Circle C, the teen and tween hangouts.
The main theater, Teatro Rosso, and the Limelight Lounge, which is for late night dancing and stand up comedy are on Deck 4, where you will also find the shops, casino and a brand new bar for Carnival -- Heroes Tribute Bar, dedicated to veterans.
There are more bars and restaurants on Deck 5, including Frizzante -- new for Carnival and serving bubbly Italian drinks; Amari, which is the Venezia version of the popular Alchemy Bar; Carnevale, which is elaborately decorated and more of a lounge bar; a Piano Bar and the Gondola Lounge. There is also a brand-new for fee Italian restaurant, Il Viaggio and two mainstays of the fleet – Fahrenheit 55 steakhouse and Bonsai Sushi and Teppanyaki.
Carnival Venezia rooms include 2,116 cabins and suites across 12 decks which range from 150-square-foot interiors to balcony rooms measuring 200 to 265 square feet to suites measuring up to 356 square feet.
Post-refurb updates include adding mini-bars and U.S. power outlets to cabins.
There are just 20 Ocean Suites, and they are not so much suites as larger rooms, with an L-shaped sofa and a bigger bathroom complete with a tub and twin tubs.
Carnival has also introduced new Terrazza staterooms -- measuring 200 to 265 square feet -- which are similar to the Havana cabins on other Carnival vessels. Located on decks 5 through 9, the 77 cabins in the new category are available as interiors, balconies -- many with aft-facing views -- and upscale cabanas.
The cabana cabins feature private patios with loungers and a hammock and direct access to Terrazza Carnevale, an exclusive outdoor terraced deck with whirlpools and a bar.
Another new category are family staterooms, which feature a separate room with half-sized tub for smaller kids.
There are also a number of fully accessible cabins across all stateroom categories.
Cabins to avoid are mostly on Deck 1 as they have obstructed views. If you are at all nervous about the proximity of the sea to your room, avoid the balcony cabins on Deck 2.
Carnival Venezia places a strong emphasis on Italian food, and has a new-to-the-fleet upscale Italian restaurant: Il Viaggio, which as the name suggests takes you on a tour of Italy's regional cuisine.
The two main dining rooms are both designed with Italian names, and the menus feature favorites from the popular Cucina del Capitano, elsewhere on the fleet.
Another new dining concept, Il Tomodoro, introduces tacos with an Italian twist; and Guy's Burger Joint even has a burger with a pizza topping.
Familiar favorites Fahrenheit 555 and Bonsai Sushi are also onboard, the latter expanding to the biggest Teppanyaki of the fleet.
Carnival Venezia is a kids' paradise, with enough to keep any age group occupied for hours. Counsellors and programming are both outstanding, as are the facilities, which range from the waterslides, to the ropes course and mini golf; to indoor fun in the arcade and Camp Ocean to the Circle C area for teens and tweens and with multiple games consoles.
The only drawback is two relatively small pools for a ship this size and no dedicated kids' pool.
- Main dining rooms, buffet, and Lido deck restaurants (Guy's Burgers, Tomodoro, Pizzeria del Capitano).
Sandwiches and select pastries at Java Blue.
Salads at La Strada Grill.
Waterslides and splash park
Serenity adults-only pool and sundeck
All evening entertainment and most daily activities
Fitness center (although not classes) and jogging track
- Specialty restaurants (Il Viaggio; Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse; Bonsai Sushi; Bonsai Teppanyaki, Seafood Shack)
Specialty coffee and some pastries and cakes at Java Blue
Spa treatments and thermal suite access
Casino games and slots
Automatic beverage and spa tips
All drinks beyond water, lemonade, iced tea and coffee
Photos and artwork
Carnival Venezia will be New York based until January 2025, when it heads to Fort Lauderdale for the winter, so expect the vast majority of passengers will be from the Tri-State area, with a mixture of couples and families during holiday season.
The ship is welcoming and appealing to a diverse range of passengers and there are regular LGBTQ+ meetings as well as solo gatherings.
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