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We were so excited in anticipation of a brand new ship for Carnival on the West Coast leaving out of Long Beach, CA. This was so worth the wait. As background, we were on the early cruises of the Carnival Vista and had been greatly disappointed. The Vista was new and shiny, but was crowded and poorly designed. This gave us some hesitation because the Panorama is a Vista class ship. So we would run into the same type of issues on Panorama as we did Vista? Nope. Not even a little. We would certainly have to mention that the Long Beach port is not used to boarding a 4,000 passenger cruise ship so traffic flow into the actual port was slow, but we are sure that will improve. Once we checked our bag with a porter, we walked the 1,000 feet over to the Queen Mary and took advantage of our free (unguided) admission to see the QM that came with our Panorama boarding pass. We had priority check-in as part of the Premier Cruise (Carnival Players Club) so we wandered over at about 1:00 to embark. They have really worked hard on the embark process with most Carnival Cruises we've been on and it shows. The issuance of the Sign and Sail Card on your cabin door has been a game changer. We were on the ship in about 15 minutes. Of note is that there is quite a bit of walking up ramps to get to boarding level, so if you have any issues with mobility you might want to consider the elevator option. The first views of the Panorama are breathtaking. Shiny and brand new she sits proudly in Long Beach waiting for you to board. Although you get a glimpse of her full profile, you cannot fully take her in until you are on a tender heading to Cabo or docked in Mazatlan or Puerta Vallarta. The crew is there to greet you as you stream on guiding you to Lido or to Pig & Anchor BBQ for an embarkation lunch. Since we were always Guy's Burger on Embark day we switched it up and went to Pig & Anchor for a delicious buffet style lunch with no wait. The slow roasted pork is one of the best we’ve had anywhere. We had a Havana Cabana (5215) on the Havana level. We have been on over ten cruises and this is by far the nicest cabin we’ve had. The cabin itself is standard size but being shiny new and barely used certainly adds to its appeal. The Havana decorations and the handy USB plugs make this a very clean and comfortable place to live for seven days. The key to the enjoyment of this room is the cabana/porch outside your room. Larger than a standard balcony, it’s a perfect place to relax. You are not directly on the water as you are in a standard balcony but you have a small walkway outside your gate and then see directly off the side of the ship. The swing chair and your own dedicated chaise lounge and table make it a wonderful place to relax. It was January and a little chilly at night and during sea days, but we still made the best of it. You may be concerned that people would be walking by your patio door all the time, but the only ones you would see is the 15-20 that are on your side of the Havana area as others cannot access this area without going through the Havana pool area (wristband required) or out their own Cabana door. What a pleasure this was to walk out your cabin sliding door, through your patio and down twenty feet to the beautiful and never busy Havana pool area. We have been on over ten cruises and have NEVER been in the hot tubs on Lido or Serenity because they are always mobbed and a lot of times by loud teenager or young kids. Not so in the Havana area! Excellent views off the back of the ship and a beautiful pool and hot tub to swim in with your new neighbors. Yes, the water was too cold in the pool but the hot tub was perfect. Get a drink from the wonderful Havana attendants and relax in the plentiful and never busy chaise lounges and couch lounges. What a perfect and relaxing time! The surprising fun time of the cruise was the Carnival Kitchen. A series of cooking classes available for a fee includes small classes with lots of one on one training from Carnival Chefs and allowing you to prepare and cook your own meal – and eat it! At the end of the training and demo the chefs also make you a nice meal an let you sample what you’ve made as well. We did two classes: the Master Pizza class and the En Fuego Latin Cooking class. We had an absolute ball in both of these. We would have done more, in fact really wanted to do the pasta from scratch class, but it was sold out quickly. Do not hesitate and book early through the “specialty” dining area of the website. We were on the “Players” cruise for Carnival so we spent a few hours in the casino. Nice room with excellent servers and staff but you just cannot get away from that horrible stale smell of cigarette smoke when you are in there. Not to go off on a rant, but how they still allow cigarette smoking in casinos on a ship is beyond me. With that in mind, we really did enjoy our time playing in the casino. The ship entertainment was pretty good. The first night show was a Broadway review and a performer who worked the earlier show got injured so they couldn’t do the choreography so they sang from stools in the middle of the stage. That certainly might impair our review of this show, but it was average. The second night of shows, the zombie review was visually excellent with great music and a lot of fun to watch. My wife said it was her favorite show of any cruise line we’ve seen. I’m not ready to go that far but I enjoyed it. We missed the rock and roll show (that we heard was excellent), so I cannot provide any feedback on that. The Love & Marriage show was hilarious as always and even though we’ve seen this show ten times or more, the older couple they got on this cruise that was married 64 years was hysterical. The L&M show is a cannot miss event ! Finally, the Lip Sync Battle was the last night of the cruise. We didn’t expect much and really didn’t plan to go but were just outside the showroom as it was about to start and wandered in. it was PACKED and we ended up standing up in the top level way in the back, craning around a pole to see the show. And you know what? We thoroughly enjoyed it. The two finalists were fellow cruise passengers that were amazing. We had a great time. Of note with the showroom, it is very small for that size ship – so get there early for a big show. They did away with the tables and benches and put regular chairs on the floor. It makes bingo more challenging (they do provide you with clipboards) and you don’t have a table to set your drinks on. We only did one night in the Main Dining Room (“MDR”) on the Panorama. It was beautiful and brand new and the service was excellent. The food was, as is becoming the norm with the “free” food on board very average. We had a beautiful table next to a big window the first night but they asked us to move to a nearby table going forward to help accommodate others. We would be joining this older couple, so we said yes. Then of course we stole some glances at our new “friends” and they were arguing and complaining about everything so we never made it back into the MDR. With specialty reservations (Steakhouse = wonderful) and Teppanyaki (also amazing) and the aforementioned Carnival Kitchen meals, there was no need to go back there. We did take in the Sea Day Brunch in the MDR a couple of sea day afternoons and it was very good. We also had “free” lunch in the Italian Restaurant and it was very good. Debarkation was one of the best experiences we’ve had. We had an 11:30 AM flight out of LAX on debark day (yes, I know….cutting it close), so we carried our own bags off and met in the Casino at 7:30 AM for the unadvertised “early flight” debark. We exited the ship at 8:05AM and were in an uber by 9:00 AM. We were at LAX by 10:00 AM. Such a wonderful time, such a beautiful new ship full of proud employees that are really glad you are there. We cannot wait to go back!

The New Crown Jewel of the Carnival Line!

Carnival Panorama Cruise Review by CruiseReferee

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2020
  • Destination: Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Havana Cabana (Balcony)
We were so excited in anticipation of a brand new ship for Carnival on the West Coast leaving out of Long Beach, CA. This was so worth the wait.

As background, we were on the early cruises of the Carnival Vista and had been greatly disappointed. The Vista was new and shiny, but was crowded and poorly designed. This gave us some hesitation because the Panorama is a Vista class ship. So we would run into the same type of issues on Panorama as we did Vista? Nope. Not even a little.

We would certainly have to mention that the Long Beach port is not used to boarding a 4,000 passenger cruise ship so traffic flow into the actual port was slow, but we are sure that will improve. Once we checked our bag with a porter, we walked the 1,000 feet over to the Queen Mary and took advantage of our free (unguided) admission to see the QM that came with our Panorama boarding pass.

We had priority check-in as part of the Premier Cruise (Carnival Players Club) so we wandered over at about 1:00 to embark. They have really worked hard on the embark process with most Carnival Cruises we've been on and it shows. The issuance of the Sign and Sail Card on your cabin door has been a game changer. We were on the ship in about 15 minutes. Of note is that there is quite a bit of walking up ramps to get to boarding level, so if you have any issues with mobility you might want to consider the elevator option.

The first views of the Panorama are breathtaking. Shiny and brand new she sits proudly in Long Beach waiting for you to board. Although you get a glimpse of her full profile, you cannot fully take her in until you are on a tender heading to Cabo or docked in Mazatlan or Puerta Vallarta. The crew is there to greet you as you stream on guiding you to Lido or to Pig & Anchor BBQ for an embarkation lunch. Since we were always Guy's Burger on Embark day we switched it up and went to Pig & Anchor for a delicious buffet style lunch with no wait. The slow roasted pork is one of the best we’ve had anywhere.

We had a Havana Cabana (5215) on the Havana level. We have been on over ten cruises and this is by far the nicest cabin we’ve had. The cabin itself is standard size but being shiny new and barely used certainly adds to its appeal. The Havana decorations and the handy USB plugs make this a very clean and comfortable place to live for seven days. The key to the enjoyment of this room is the cabana/porch outside your room. Larger than a standard balcony, it’s a perfect place to relax. You are not directly on the water as you are in a standard balcony but you have a small walkway outside your gate and then see directly off the side of the ship. The swing chair and your own dedicated chaise lounge and table make it a wonderful place to relax. It was January and a little chilly at night and during sea days, but we still made the best of it. You may be concerned that people would be walking by your patio door all the time, but the only ones you would see is the 15-20 that are on your side of the Havana area as others cannot access this area without going through the Havana pool area (wristband required) or out their own Cabana door. What a pleasure this was to walk out your cabin sliding door, through your patio and down twenty feet to the beautiful and never busy Havana pool area. We have been on over ten cruises and have NEVER been in the hot tubs on Lido or Serenity because they are always mobbed and a lot of times by loud teenager or young kids. Not so in the Havana area! Excellent views off the back of the ship and a beautiful pool and hot tub to swim in with your new neighbors. Yes, the water was too cold in the pool but the hot tub was perfect. Get a drink from the wonderful Havana attendants and relax in the plentiful and never busy chaise lounges and couch lounges. What a perfect and relaxing time!

The surprising fun time of the cruise was the Carnival Kitchen. A series of cooking classes available for a fee includes small classes with lots of one on one training from Carnival Chefs and allowing you to prepare and cook your own meal – and eat it! At the end of the training and demo the chefs also make you a nice meal an let you sample what you’ve made as well. We did two classes: the Master Pizza class and the En Fuego Latin Cooking class. We had an absolute ball in both of these. We would have done more, in fact really wanted to do the pasta from scratch class, but it was sold out quickly. Do not hesitate and book early through the “specialty” dining area of the website.

We were on the “Players” cruise for Carnival so we spent a few hours in the casino. Nice room with excellent servers and staff but you just cannot get away from that horrible stale smell of cigarette smoke when you are in there. Not to go off on a rant, but how they still allow cigarette smoking in casinos on a ship is beyond me. With that in mind, we really did enjoy our time playing in the casino.

The ship entertainment was pretty good. The first night show was a Broadway review and a performer who worked the earlier show got injured so they couldn’t do the choreography so they sang from stools in the middle of the stage. That certainly might impair our review of this show, but it was average. The second night of shows, the zombie review was visually excellent with great music and a lot of fun to watch. My wife said it was her favorite show of any cruise line we’ve seen. I’m not ready to go that far but I enjoyed it. We missed the rock and roll show (that we heard was excellent), so I cannot provide any feedback on that. The Love & Marriage show was hilarious as always and even though we’ve seen this show ten times or more, the older couple they got on this cruise that was married 64 years was hysterical. The L&M show is a cannot miss event ! Finally, the Lip Sync Battle was the last night of the cruise. We didn’t expect much and really didn’t plan to go but were just outside the showroom as it was about to start and wandered in. it was PACKED and we ended up standing up in the top level way in the back, craning around a pole to see the show. And you know what? We thoroughly enjoyed it. The two finalists were fellow cruise passengers that were amazing. We had a great time.

Of note with the showroom, it is very small for that size ship – so get there early for a big show. They did away with the tables and benches and put regular chairs on the floor. It makes bingo more challenging (they do provide you with clipboards) and you don’t have a table to set your drinks on.

We only did one night in the Main Dining Room (“MDR”) on the Panorama. It was beautiful and brand new and the service was excellent. The food was, as is becoming the norm with the “free” food on board very average. We had a beautiful table next to a big window the first night but they asked us to move to a nearby table going forward to help accommodate others. We would be joining this older couple, so we said yes. Then of course we stole some glances at our new “friends” and they were arguing and complaining about everything so we never made it back into the MDR. With specialty reservations (Steakhouse = wonderful) and Teppanyaki (also amazing) and the aforementioned Carnival Kitchen meals, there was no need to go back there. We did take in the Sea Day Brunch in the MDR a couple of sea day afternoons and it was very good. We also had “free” lunch in the Italian Restaurant and it was very good.

Debarkation was one of the best experiences we’ve had. We had an 11:30 AM flight out of LAX on debark day (yes, I know….cutting it close), so we carried our own bags off and met in the Casino at 7:30 AM for the unadvertised “early flight” debark. We exited the ship at 8:05AM and were in an uber by 9:00 AM. We were at LAX by 10:00 AM.

Such a wonderful time, such a beautiful new ship full of proud employees that are really glad you are there. We cannot wait to go back!
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Cabin Review

Havana Cabana (Balcony)
Cabin HE
Beautiful room with a wonderful patio with direct access to the Havana area. We do not ever want to stay in a different cabin ever again.
Promenade Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Rhythms of the Night
    By far, the best excursion on any cruise line at any port. A mix of a fun boat ride to a private island where you may just see whales to a fabulous steak and chicken dinner, to a Las Vegas Cirque level show to a hilarious performance from your boat crew on the way back. We could not recommend this excursion more.
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