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Carnival Panorama Review

Carnival is a good value if you do your homework

Review for the Mexican Riviera Cruise on Carnival Panorama
6-10 Cruises • Age 70s

Rating by category

Value for Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Feb 2023
Cabin: Balcony

As I am a travel blogger and long-time traveler (55 countries), I have sailed on various cruise lines. I think it is important to set your expectations accordingly. Disney: family. Windstar: adventure. Seabourn: upscale. RC: a little of everything. And now Carnival, aka the fun ship: good value.

This was my first solo cruise. I was trying to do an inexpensive getaway from my base in Orange County, CA. I researched flying to Mazatlan and staying in a resort for 4 nights, as well as some similar trips. Guess what? I found I could book an entire week on Carnival -- accommodation, food, entertainment, relaxation, visiting 3 Mexican Riviera destinations -- for less than $2,000. Since my website (journeyswithstephen) is all about upscale travel on a budget, this seemed to fit right in. And it did. For more detail on my extensive research (including reading 128 reviews on Cruise Critic!), see my article: 7 Mexican Riviera cruise tips.

With expectations set, it is safe to say that everything was pretty good. Nothing too disappointing, nothing spectacular. Just good value. Even booking just weeks in advance, I was able to go online to Carnival and score a verandah room, deck 9, midship. Why? I wanted the balcony, for sure, not just for views, but fresh air. My location allowed my to make a quick trip up one flight of stairs to the Lido Deck, which is the center of everything. Buffet, some other dining, pool, and gateway to most activities. But I made sure I wasn't directly under the infamous deck chair scraping and other noise.

Cabin Review


Nice verandah cabin on deck 9 (see above). Comfortable bed and linens. Balcony worth reading a book on. Good service from Jonathan. I knew ahead of time about Carnival's mistake of not placing outlets or USBs near the bed. Tip: Buy a cheap USB-charged desk fan to keep the cabin air moving (and even some white noise) at night.

Port Reviews

Puerto Vallarta

The Las Caletas Beach Hideaway Tour offered good food, unlimited drinks, and a variety of things to do, including just laying in a hammock. Carnival did not honor the :best price guarantee because they said the independent version (same provider) might leave too soon after our arrival. Cost me $50 extra.


Independent small, private, city tour for almost 4 hours, run by Mazatlan Van Tours for just $29. I really enjoyed the Basilica and city market. Also great handicrafts shopping.

Cabo San Lucas

I walked the extensive marina on the waterfront walkway, met a boat owner, and scored a private, glass-bottom boat to the arch.

13 Helpful Votes
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