If you're looking for a cruise ship that's big and diverse enough to keep even the most active person happy, it's hard to do better than Carnival Panorama.
The third vessel in Carnival's popular Vista Class of ships, 4,008-passenger Carnival Panorama has something for everyone. Kids will love the gigantic water slides and water park that take up a significant chunk of top-deck real estate. Couples looking to escape the crowds will find a haven on the adults-only Serenity sun deck. Thrill-seekers will enjoy the SkyRide, the SkyCourse and -- new to Carnival -- the SkyZone trampoline park. Add in the constant stream of activities around the ship, most of them free, and you'll see how Carnival Panorama delivers on value.
Also new for a Carnival ship -- and already one of the most popular activities onboard -- is Carnival Kitchen, a dedicated space for cooking classes. There, you can learn to make the line's signature warm chocolate melting cake from scratch or how to cook tasty Indian dishes. The classes are fun, not at all pretentious, and you get to eat what you make.
Foodies will also appreciate all the specialty restaurants, particularly some standout pan-Asian offerings. But what's particularly great about Carnival Panorama is you don't have to shell out money to have a tasty meal. There are plenty of included restaurants, and while service in the main dining room leaves something to be desired, the food is generally yummy.
What Carnival Panorama is not is quiet. The flow of passengers works well -- we rarely encountered bottlenecks or crowds, even at full capacity -- but there's a lot of banging around and noise within the hallways. That's partly due to the sheer breadth of passengers, from kids who wake up early with energy to burn to party-hearty types who stumble home late from the bars. (Walls and ceilings have little soundproofing, so you hear it all.)
Still, Carnival Panorama shows that the line's ships have much more to offer beyond late-night revelry (although there's plenty of that). It's a fantastic ship for families, as well as groups of friends or celebratory events, such as birthdays or reunions. On your cruise, you'll see groups wearing matching T-shirts or hats that are bound to make you smile (even though we predict you were smiling already). You have to work to not have fun onboard.
With its Long Beach homeport, Carnival Panorama draws a large number of passengers from California, as well as nearby states, including Arizona and Nevada. Expect a large number of families in the summer months and during holidays. Big groups of friends and families also find the ship a draw.
Daytime: Casual is just fine on Carnival Panorama, and during the day you'll see all kinds of T-shirts, shorts, sundresses and bathing suits with cover-ups. You'll want to pack according to the climate and bring appropriate clothes and gear for shore excursions and other activities. Note that even in the Lido buffet, shirts, bathing suit cover-ups and footwear must be worn.
Evening: There are two evening dress codes on Carnival Panorama: "cruise casual" and "cruise elegant." On casual nights, men will want to wear longer dress shorts or pants -- jeans are OK -- and a collared shirt. Women can wear sundresses, skirts and tops, dress shorts and capris.
Cruise Elegant nights, of which there are usually two on a seven night cruise, calls for a slightly fancier outfit, such as dress slacks and dress shirts for men and dresses, fancy blouses and pants or skirts for women. You'll see some people going all out in long gowns or a suit, but that's the exception, not the norm.
Not permitted: Flip-flops, sleeveless shirts (for men), cut-off jeans, T-shirts and gym shorts are not permitted in the dining room.
For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Carnival Cruise Line.
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Propulsion system still not fixed, short stay in Cabo, late arrival back at Long Beach