4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
Carnival offers the usual assortment of onboard activities, from traditional napkin-folding classes, Vegas-style revues and kitchen tours to belly-flop pool contests and water slide races. All of its ships offer size-appropriate spa and fitness facilities and have multiple pool areas. On Destiny-class ships and all subsequent new-builds save for Carnival Dream, one pool always lies under a retractable roof so it can be used year-round. Casinos on Carnival ships are elaborate, Vegas-style rooms with all the neon and flash one would expect.
Carnival is increasingly experimenting with dining venues on its ships. Although traditional two-seating dining arrangements -- passengers can choose 6 or 8:15 p.m. -- are still available in the ships' main restaurants, the line has also added Your Time Dining, which allows passengers to eat in the main dining room anytime between 5:45 and 9:30 p.m.
Beyond traditional dining, Carnival has focused on expanding its casual dining options. An Asian-themed buffet station, a New York-style deli, a 24-hour pizzeria, a pre-dinner sushi bar and Indian food are all now staples onboard. Most ships also have an upscale, for-fee alternative restaurant serving steakhouse fare. Carnival Magic features a for-fee Italian restaurant serving handmade pastas. Carnival Breeze also has the venue.
Also available on all of Carnival's ships is The Chef's Table dining experience, which affords a dozen passengers a multi-course dinner with a master chef, a private cocktail reception and a tour of the galley and its operations. This dining option usually takes place in a nontraditional venue, such as the galley or library, and it can be booked onboard at the information desk for a per-person cost of $75.
In the spa arena, Carnival has remodeled its SpaCarnival spa and fitness facilities. Other highlights include Internet cafes and the introduction of in-cabin amenity baskets. Carnival Splendor, Carnival Dream and Carnival Magic offers the line's first thalassotherapy pools, thermal suite and spa cabins in its Cloud 9 Spa.
Most ships feature the Seaside Theatre, an outdoor big-screen movie setup located poolside. Similar to sister line Princess' Movies Under the Stars (M.U.T.S.) concept, passengers can enjoy concerts, news and sporting events during the day, and movies at night.
For the most part, passengers are a broad crisscross of Americans; according to Carnival, 30 percent of its passengers are under 35, 40 percent are between 35 and 55, and 30 percent are over 55.