Carnival Venezia Review

A great cruise on a charming ship...but it's not the "classic" Carnival party-ship experience

Review for the Bahamas Cruise on Carnival Venezia
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MikeAndLisaCruisers
2-5 Cruises • Age 60s

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Sail Date: Jan 2024
Cabin: Balcony

Truth be told, we chose this cruise because Carnival gave us a ridiculously good deal on it (probably due to it originating in New York in the winter, which turned out to have some mild weather issues). But the Venezia proved to be a charming ship with some sophisticated design features that we really enjoyed. Some features, like the luxurious Italian decoration and theming (including a Venetian gondola boat in the dining room), and unique dining and drink options, are welcome. Others, such as the small pool decks and pools, the limited sunbathing areas, and the practically nonexistent "sports bar" spaces, may make this ship a "pass" for cruisers looking for the classic Carnival "party 'til you drop" experience. But if you're after a relaxing cruise on a stylish, upscale ship, you'll find a lot to like here.

As background: the Venezia is a Vista class ship that was formerly operated by Costa, a Carnival subsidiary, for the

Asian market, but was transferred to the North American market due to low cruising demand in China. The orientation towards the Chinese market goes a long way to explaining why the ship has such limited pool and sunbathing space - in Asian cultures, sunbathing is not "a thing" as it is in the U.S. Therefore, the Venezia's main pool is small, and you don't get the huge surrounding decks of sun lounges as you'll find on other Carnival ships, and the sail-away party is a lot more subdued. On the other hand, the Venezia's Lido pool is covered, so you can swim in inclement or cold conditions (such as the ones we encountered on our cruise), and the pool area looks more like a center court at an upscale mall than a Lido swimming deck. Some might not appreciate it; as we don't usually spend much time at the Lido pool, it didn't bother us. If you're looking for something to do, check out the second floor of the Lido surrounding the pool, which is enclosed for weather and includes a small library, a Bocce ball court, and some handy areas to snooze.

Cabin Review

Balcony

We got a sweetheart deal on this cruise, but as part of the deal, we could not pick our own cabin, and were assigned a handicapped balcony room. We're not handicapped, but we appreciated the extra space - the cabin is quite a bit bigger than a standard balcony room. On the minus side, handicapped rooms don't have as many cabinets, so storage was a bit small. We made it work nonetheless.

The room was fairly standard otherwise, with comfortable bedding. Steward service was absolutely top notch.

One neat feature of the Vista class ships is the "secret deck," which is located on deck six on the forward part of the ship. It's an outdoor deck right underneath the bridge, and the views are stunning. The door for this deck was right outside our door, so we used that deck quite a bit, when the wind allowed (this cruise was VERY windy).

A caveat on lower deck cabins in the bow of the ship - if you're in rough seas, you'll hear quite a bit of banging when waves hit the bow. This happened on our cruise quite often.

Port Reviews

Miami

We did a South Beach excursion day, offered through Carnival. Bit overpriced, and you can certainly Uber it from the port to the SoBe area, but with traffic being what it is, it's nice to know the ship won't leave without you. The color commentary from the tour bus lady was not great, but we were able to get off the bus and explore the area for a couple of hours and enjoy the architecture, some shopping and some astronomically overpriced tacos.

Nassau

We did a family beach day at Blue Lagoon Island. The beach was nice, if small, but did not face the ocean, but the space was clean, drinks were STRONG, and the food was decent.

Half Moon Cay

This was our first time at Carnival's private island, and it was terrific - big, open beaches, gorgeous water and sand, and lunch was included and delicious. If you're doing this, we highly recommend a beach clamshell, which is cheap (like $25 per shell).

Freeport

In fairness, we didn't do any excursions (and there are apparently quite a few good ones with this port), but this was our fourth port day in a row, so we were basically burned out on "beach life" and wanted a relaxing ship day. We checked out the small shopping area in the cruise port, which was basically a bunch of cheap souvenirs, and went back aboard and hit the Serenity deck. If you visit Freeport, be sure to do an excursion of some sort, or just make it an "on board" day and enjoy the ship.

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