The Liquid Lounge is the ship's main theater for Playlist Production shows and other events. On a weeklong cruise, there are an impressive four production shows, including several new shows that debuted on Carnival Panorama, to mixed effect.
Broadway Beats takes remixed songs from mostly modern musicals -- we heard music from "Hamilton" and "Dear Evan Hansen" in there, as well as Gwen Stefani's version of "If I Was a Rich Girl," as opposed to the "Fiddler on the Roof" stalwart-- and puts them in front of a very cool LED backdrop that takes you through New York City. We found the show moved quickly and kept the energy going.
Conversely the other new show -- Rock Revolution, the Summer of 69 -- seemed to drag a bit, despite exciting choreography and a live rock band. There's no plot in the show, which features well-known music from the 1960s and 1970s. Here, the LED screen features a constantly changing backdrop of trippy images, but your eye is more likely to be drawn to the band, which play on a stage that extends out into the audience. The highlight comes during Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, when a fleet of drones supplement the action on the stage. A bit of editing and/or time management would make this show better; it ran 45 minutes, which is long for a Playlist Production show (most of which cap at 30 to 35 minutes).
The theater also hosts the "Lip Sync Battle" final on the last night of the cruise, as well as Hasbro, The Game Show and the Love and Marriage Show on nights when the Playlist Production cast has off.
We heard a few complaints about how loud the sound is in the theater, and depending on where you are sitting, the bass can indeed rattle your eardrums. Sensitive ears should try the upper tier on Deck 5.
Days go by quickly on Carnival Panorama, because it's hard to fit everything in. Carnival's newest attractions, Sky Zone, is smartly placed on Deck 7 forward next to the pre-teen and teen clubs. This indoor trampoline park is one of the few activities onboard with an additional fee, but an hour of jumping is only $12 during the day and $18 for the special Glow party at night (and that includes a T-shirt). Toddlers can participate with supervision for $10.
One deck below Sky Zone (and linked with its own staircase) is the also strategically placed Warehouse Arcade on Deck 6. All games costs money, so if you have a kid, setting spending limits here might be key.
Apart from the neon lure of those two spots, families can find trivia games throughout the ship, crafting activities through a partnership with Michael's, sports tournaments and there is always fun by the pool led by the cruise director or your Fun Squad activities team, including complimentary Zumba classes.
Adults can sign up for beer pong, play some bingo, participate in casino tournaments, check out the sales and promotions in the shops (sometimes with complimentary mimosas) or join in pamper parties hosted by the spa.
Ocean Plaza is another hot spot for games and antics like Ship Race, a scavenger hunt.
Once per cruise, a Build-A-Bear workshop takes place; for an additional fee, young cruisers can stuff a bear, shark or turtle to take home in a cool backpack.
The ship is alive all day long but it certainly heats up at night. If it's music you want, or gaming, or shows, or group singalongs or a comedy club or flights of beer or a long evening of wining and dining -- you can find it onboard Panorama.
In addition to the shows in the theater, live music is all around the ship including in the atrium, piano bar, Havana bar, Guy's Pig & Anchor and Ocean Plaza; genres range from a modern strings trio to Latin to acoustic to rock and blues. Plus, the resident DJ takes over the Limelight Lounge after the comedy sets are through, late into the night.
The casino on Deck 4 jingles and jangles late into the night as well, conveniently located off the sports bar and comedy club.
Karaoke is offered almost every night of the cruise; check your daily schedule to see which venue is hosting it on any given night.
Nearly every night of the cruise brings a different themed deck party (expect White Hot, '80s, Motown and more). The turnout for these was always sizeable, with young and older cruisers curious about the commotion and eager to join the dancing.
Dive-In movies at the Seaside Theater are fun for the whole family, and take place each evening on the pool deck -- usually around 7:30 and 10. Occasionally afternoon matinees or midnight showings will take place. First-run movies are rotated throughout the cruise, and blankets and popcorn complete the experience. If you're cruising over a holiday, movies might be themed on various evenings.
Carnival Panorama has an active nightlife, with plenty of music and bars to fit a variety of tastes. The Cheers beverage program allows passengers to order up to 15 alcoholic drinks a day, as well as unlimited sodas, mocktails, bottled water and specialty coffees and teas for a set fee.
Panorama Bar (Deck 3): What makes this atrium bar more interesting and lively than other ship atrium bars is the massive three-deck LED funnel in the center. It changes colors and patterns, and can almost "dance" to the music. There's a spot for musicians overlooking the Atrium Bar, which the cruise director also uses to lead music trivia, events like theme parties and more.
Panorama Casino Bar (Deck 4): If you don't mind the smoke, the circular bar in the casino is similar to the atrium in the sense that an LED funnel sits in the middle and displays sports, news and other distracting tidbits while you take a break from the slots.
Limelight Lounge (Deck 4): This large club serves as the spot for Punchliner Comedy shows during the evening; come early to get a seat, as these are very popular. Around 10:30 p.m. or so, it turns into a nightclub with different types of dance music.
Heroes Tribute Bar (Deck 4): Brand new to Carnival, the Heroes Tribute Bar replaces the SkyBox sports bar -- don't worry, you can still get scores and watch the game(s). The brainchild of Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy, Heroes is a genuinely moving space, with photos of veterans returning home from duty, as well as emblems from the different branches of the armed forces. There's a special drinks menu, with military-themed names and a portion of the proceeds support Operation Homefront.
Alchemy Bar (Deck 5): Known for specialty cocktails like the Cucumber Sunrise, this bar has quirky drinks, outgoing bartenders and serves as a social hub near the specialty restaurants; it's almost always busy in the evening. If you feel daring, let the mixologist come up with a custom drink, just for you -- we overheard one patron do just that, and she said it was the best drink she ever had.
Guy's Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse (Deck 5): Like beer? This is your spot onboard. Four types of beer are brewed onboard here under the ParchedPig moniker, ranging from a farmhouse ale and toasted amber to an IPA and a smoked porter; try them all as a sampler. (You can get other types of beer here too). If beer isn't your thing, there's also a focus on bourbon, as well as drinks garnished with -- what else in a BBQ joint? -- bacon.
On sea days, you can tour the brewery, for a fee. At night, there's live music inside on a small stage, mostly country and classic rock. On nice evenings, you can sit outside in a space on the deck. Guy's might not be your first thought for an evening tipple, but we found quite a few inventive drinks here to kick off -- or end -- the night (including a nonalcoholic menu).
Piano Bar 88 (Deck 5): Who doesn't love a singalong? On Carnival, piano bars have always been a mainstay and this one is no different. The idea is to make a request on a slip of paper and sit piano-side to get the musician's attention. On our cruise, there was an early-evening player who serenaded the steakhouse and other patrons with the keys, but didn't seem to know a number of popular songs and was not able to take most requests. A late-night player was much more knowledgeable and encouraged participation; considering the likelihood of songs getting a little wild, these shows are 18-plus.
Havana Bar (Deck 5): The signature bar of the Cuban-themed Havana section on Carnival Panorama, the Havana Bar is a gorgeous, sprawling space that channels the spirit and look of the island. Latin American cocktails such as mojitos, daiquiris and other rum favorites dominate the drink menu, although you can also order strong Cuban coffee. A Latin band plays in the evening, drawing a lively dance-focused crowd.
There's an outdoor section to the Havana Bar, near the Havana pool. This area is closed off, however, to passengers who aren't staying in the special Havana cabins.
RedFrog Rum Bar (Deck 10): Carnival's dual pool bars, of which RedFrog is one, are characteristically colorful and fun. The fruity rum drinks here are the specialty and the bar can get packed during sunny days.
BlueIguana Tequila Bar (Deck 10): The second of the Carnival Panorama's pool bars, the BlueIguana bar channels all things tequila, with margaritas and other drinks. Mexican beers and tequila cocktails are also available. We predict that on Carnival Panorama's Mexican Riviera sailings, this bar will be even more popular than usual.
Serenity Bar (Deck 15): This outdoor bar serves the adults-only sun deck area, with an exclusive menu that includes specialty sangrias (by the glass or pitcher), along with a menu of frozen and skinny cocktails. Try the Serenity martini.
There are two pools open to everyone onboard Carnival Panorama. The Beach pool is the main pool where all the poolside fun happens. You'll find it midship on the Lido Deck (Deck 10). There is a whirlpool on either side, each covered by a tiki-style roof.
The Tides pool is at the back of the ship on Deck 10, overlooking the wake. Like the Beach pool, it has a whirlpool on either side, though these have no shade. Both pools are open to all ages.
The Havana pool and whirlpools are on Deck 5, but only accessible to those staying in Havana staterooms. You can see the space from the Havana Bar, and it looked secluded and dreamy.
For those looking for a bit of seclusion without paying the price, Deck 15 has two whirlpools in the adults-only Serenity area, but no pool. Watching sunsets from here and chatting with fellow passengers became an evening tradition for us.
Carnival WaterWorks is Panorama's water park, located at the top of the ship (you'll need to take the staircase from the middle of Deck 12 to get there) and it's hard to miss. Choose from two waterslides -- Red Fun (minimum height 4 feet) or Blue Fun (minimum height 3 feet and 6 inches) -- plus a splash park below that includes jets, sprays and buckets that drench. The blue slide is enclosed, but the red one requires a raft and won't operate in extreme wind or weather. Both are indeed fun, as advertised.
From Deck 14, you can conquer the SkyRide (52 inches minimum height) or SkyCourse (48 inches minimum height). The ride allows you to pedal around the perimeter of the ship on a suspended recumbent bike, while the course is a ropes course that will challenge your balance and strength (there is an easy and difficult track, though they both seemed interchangeable at times). Both of these attractions offer stunning views, and may be difficult for anyone with a fear of heights. Both require closed-toe shoes and have weight requirements to be aware of. For safety reasons, you can only film these activities with a GoPro bodycam; nothing in your hands or pockets.
Just below on Deck 12 is SportsSquare, a colorful area with Twister, pool, bean bag toss and other games, encircled by a mini-golf course. Parents can look on from a shaded seating area. The SportsSquare Clubhouse brings some of these games indoors, as well.
The Sports Court, mainly where we saw games of pickup basketball, is also on Deck 12.
If that isn't enough to do outside, you'll find random foosball tables around the upper decks near the Beach Pool.
There are ample blue beach loungers near and above both pools on Decks 10, 11 and 12.
The Serenity Deck, on Deck 15, is only open to adults 21 and older. Here, there are padded loungers as well as clamshell beds (first come, first served) and also tables and chairs.
The Deck 5 "Lanai" provides shaded outdoor seating for the restaurants, but also a nice place to sit and relax in the daytime.
The Havana Plaza on Deck 5 aft is accessible only to passengers staying in those staterooms.
The Atrium is the hub of the ship, and you will find many of Panorama's shops and help desks here. Guest services and the Carnival Adventures (shore excursion) desks are located in the lobby on Deck 3 near the front of the ship, along with the Fun Hub, which consists of a few workstations available for connecting to the internet.
Deck 4, also known as the Mezzanine, is home to a majority of the ship's Fun Shops. These include places to buy duty-free alcohol, branded merchandise, makeup and perfume, watches, fine jewelry, designer clothing, last-minute essentials and even limited-edition Carnival merchandise in partnership with various artists.
The Promenade on Deck 5 is one of the busiest places on the ship, with a majority of Panorama's bars and restaurants, but it's also home to some noteworthy shops and public rooms. Surrounding the atrium there are a few more shops including the hard-to-resist Cherry on Top sweets and gift store. Walking toward the back of the ship, you will pass Library Bar -- it's a closed-off and comfortable space for reading, card play and games; a number of board games are available for free loan. There's actually no bar, but there are enomatic (self-serve) wine dispensers if you want to enjoy a glass of merlot while you lounge.
Also on Deck 5 are the Pixels Gallery, where cruisers can come to shop for camera and video equipment or check out their professional photos from a number of touchscreens, along with Dreams Studio, a portrait studio.
The Future Cruise desk as well as the Shopping Expert desk (where you can find out more about shopping ports) are located on Deck 10 forward (check your daily Fun Times program for hours).
Self-serve launderettes are sprinkled throughout passenger hallways (one on each deck that has cabins) and include two to three washers, dryers and an ironing board. Each load costs about $3.25 (prices can vary) and payment is taken through your Sail & Sign cruise card.
Carnival Panorama offers a number of meetups for affinity groups including Friends of Bill W and Friends of Jimmy K (alcoholic and narcotics support groups); as well as gatherings for veterans and mixers for LGBT cruisers. The Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle was listed on the daily program for the morning of the first sea day.
Los Angeles, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, Cabo San Lucas, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, Cabo San Lucas, Cabo San Lucas, Ensenada, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, Cabo San Lucas, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Los Angeles
As on other Vista-class ships, the Cloud 9 Spa incorporates the fitness center and spa facilities and spans two decks. Massages, body treatments, the thermal suite and the fitness center are on Deck 12, while the salon where facials, hair services, manicures and pedicures take place, is on Deck 14 (there is no Deck 13). An 18 percent gratuity is added to all spa services.
When you show up for a body treatment or massage, you'll be shown to a Relaxation with flavored water and restful seating (note: you don't get time in the Relaxation Room before a facial; at least we didn't on our trip).
A full array of massages -- hot stone, deep tissue, Swedish, bamboo, couples and Thai poultice -- are available, with prices that begin at $150 for 50 minutes. Other services advertised included a pain management "cold therapy" massage, a salt stone massage and a "Thousand Flower" detox wrap that uses green tea balm.
On the salon side, facials, hair services, manis and pedis are all offered. We found our esthetician to be well-versed and knowledgeable in skin care; she picked products that wouldn't irritate our sensitive skin. (Prices for facials start at $165).
True to land trends, the Salon has a full brow and lash bar, with shaping, tinting and extensions available. Medi-spa treatments include Restaylane, Dysport (similar to Botox) and Thermage.
There's also a men's and women's locker room, where anyone can use the sauna.
For more elaborate steam rooms and heat chambers, you'll want to buy a pass to the thermal suite. Buy a cruise-long pass ($159 per person or $249 for a couple) or stay in a Cloud 9 Spa cabin, which includes cruise-long access in the fare. Day passes on our weeklong sailing were $40 per person for the day; a two-for-one special was available on port days. The complex has heated ceramic loungers, a large whirlpool, a Hamman, an aroma steam room and a dry heat chamber.
The Cloud 9 fitness center can be hard to find on its own; you need to walk past the spa desk to find it. Inside, you'll find great views from the front of the ship. The fitness center is always busiest in the mornings, and in the afternoon before dinner; if you don't want to wait for equipment, work around these times.
In the gym, you'll find a wide range of cardio equipment, including treadmills, ellipticals, bikes and rowing machines. Weight machines and dumbells are also available. There's a studio in the middle of the gym for classes, most of which carry a fee, starting at $12. Sign-ups begin on the first day of the cruise and tend to book up early, so if you want to get your spinning fix, stop by shortly after boarding. Personal training and nutritional consulting are available for a fee.
For nice sunrise or sunset views, do your daily walking or running on the outdoor jogging track on Deck 12; seven laps equal a mile. We found it well-used but still manageable; what's nice is that the track is a dedicated space so you aren't tripping over sun loungers or other equipment. There's fitness equipment interspersed around the track, for people who like to stop and incorporate exercises such as pulldowns or planks during their run/walk.
Carnival is a seriously family-friendly cruise line, but Panorama aims sky high (pun intended) with new attractions like Sky Zone that kids -- toddlers through young adults -- can join in with their families or enjoy on their own. Kids and adults surpassing 4 feet can also reach for the sky with thrilling -- and free -- outdoor activities like the SkyRide cycle or SkyCourse ropes and obstacle course. The water park is right next door.
Of course the arcade is a kid version of the casino, where money can easily disappear with the swipe of a card, and Sky Zone carries a fee, but what we like most for families cruising Carnival Panorama is that the majority of activities -- including the stellar kid and teen clubs -- are free (or low cost).
Carnival's partnership with Dr. Seuss called Seuss at Sea includes a Dr. Seuss Bookville space on Deck 11, near the Camp Ocean kids club, that is a dedicated reading and interactive space for families. A Seuss-a-palooza parade and story time also take place once per cruise.
A family focus is not only given to playtime, but mealtime, as well. Most specialty restaurants onboard offer a reduced cover (or in some cases free) for children to dine at dinner. A dedicated Green Eggs and Ham breakfast is held once per cruise for $6 per person and includes a whimsical themed menu, decorations and character meet-and-greets.
The best thing about Panorama is that families have lots of choice -- whether that's to break off and do things on their own, or spend plenty of quality vacation time together. Kids aren't confined to just the clubs, and families don't have to scramble to find fun ways to bond. An idea as simple as movie night on the pool deck (complete with blankets, popcorn and blockbusters) is a reliable activity -- and most importantly, included in the cruise fare.
The kids club onboard Carnival Panorama is called Camp Ocean, and it is tucked up on Deck 11 midship. It's close to Bookville, the top-deck attractions and also offers "sports" activities in its own private outdoor playground area.
The cheery space is run by trained counselors who divide kids age 2 to 11 into three groups based on age range (2 to 5, 6 to 8 and 9 to 11), though kids may be grouped together if there aren't many onboard. Activities are determined based on age group, but can include a variety of arts and crafts, puzzles, song and dance, and movies and video games. Meals are held under the supervision of counselors, including lunch and dinner. Parents must sign kids under 9 in and out of the program, but can give their 9- to 11-year-olds permission to sign themselves out.
Night Owls is a for-fee babysitting program (held within Camp Ocean) for kids ages 6 months to 11 years that runs from 10 p.m. until about 1 a.m. so parents can enjoy a night out and about on the ship. Owl Jams are themed parties held throughout the cruise that feel like sleepovers for the kids. These run about $15 per party, plus an 18 percent gratuity.
No in-cabin babysitting is offered onboard Carnival Panorama.
There are two teen clubs onboard Carnival Panorama and across the Carnival fleet. The first is called Circle C and is for those ages 12 to 14. Counselors guide activities like dance parties or sports competitions, but the idea is that the "C" stands for chill and connect, and plenty of downtime is given so these young teens can simply unwind in their own dedicated lounge space. Circle C is located parallel to the older teen club on Deck 6.
Club O2 is homebase for teens 15 to 17. Karaoke competitions, games, even a cruise prom are provided, but we noticed that most teens enjoyed hanging out on the stairwell in the general vicinity between Decks 6 and 7 forward, as an alternative to the club. Here they are close to The Warehouse arcade and Sky Zone.
Kids this age are welcome to sign themselves in and out of the club, so often they roved in packs along the pool deck and buffet.