Year Started: 1972
Ships in Fleet: 24
Summary: The most successful cruise line in history. Don't be misled, a high-quality cruise experience perfect for families and young couples, Fantastic value. the FUN ships, but not "party boats."
Regions:Caribbean Eastern, Caribbean Western, Caribbean
Good for: First-time Cruisers. Families. Singles.
Good for: Value for Money. Overall Service. Children`s Programs.
Good for: Families. Singles. Seniors.
Good for: Singles. Families. Teens.
Regions: Bahamas, Caribbean, Canada/New England, Cruise To Nowhere
Good for: Families. Teens. Children`s Programs.
Good for: Teens. First-time Cruisers. Families.
Regions:Caribbean Eastern, Caribbean Western
Good for: Teens. Singles. Families.
Regions:Caribbean Eastern, Caribbean Western
Good for: Singles. Group. Families.
Regions:Mexico, Caribbean Eastern, Hawaii
Good for: Families. Overall Service. Value for Money.
Regions:Bahamas, Caribbean Eastern
Good for: Singles. Group. First-time Cruisers.
Regions:Bahamas, Caribbean Eastern
Good for: Overall Service. Seniors. Families.
Regions:Bahamas, Bermuda, South America
Good for: Group. Families. Foodies.
Regions:Europe, TransAtlantic, Caribbean
Good for: Families. Value for Money. Seniors.
Good for: Families. Children`s Programs. Singles.
Regions:Caribbean Eastern, Caribbean Western
Good for: Group. Families. Luxury Travelers.
Good for: Group. Singles. First-time Cruisers.
Good for: Singles. First-time Cruisers. Overall Service.
Good for: Families. Singles. Teens.
Good for: Families. Value for Money. First-time Cruisers.
Regions:Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, Panama Canal
Good for: Families. Singles. Children`s Programs.
Good for: Families. Seniors. Children`s Programs.
Good for: First-time Cruisers. Families. Group.
Good for: Families. Group. Singles.
November 23 ~ 30, 2014
Port of Tampa, Florida
I arrived at the port around 10:00 AM. I went through the check in process without any major problems. Soon I was sitting in a holding area waiting for boarding to start. We were told that the ship arrived late and boarding will be delayed. I knew that was wrong as I saw the ship arrive at 7:30 AM on the webcam. Eventually we were allowed to board. I went to my room to drop my carry on luggage and freshen up. I had rented a scooter as my mobility is not as good as it used to be.
Soon I was on my way to get some lunch and take a look at the changes in this ship since my last cruise on her. She recently went in for her 2.0 upgrades. I saw the Red Frog Pub on deck 2 and thought I would visit at least once during the week. I was unable to keep that promise as I never found it open. I went to the main pool area and found "Guy's Burger Joint". A pleasantarea with little redwood picnic tables. It was busy here with many hungry cruisers. Next I saw the "Blue Iguana Cantina" also very busy as it was lunch time. The "Blue Iguana Tequila Bar" and the "Red Frog Rum Bar" were also busy and popular places in this pool area. Then there was the "Alchemy Bar" on deck 2 aft. I only saw it open twice.
I went into the Mermaid's Grille and looked around. The Deli offerings looked great as always. I looked around and found a salad bar and the Pizza Pirate and a buffet and Chef's Choice and Chopsticks which offered great Asian choices. I chose from the Buffet that day but throughout the week I tried most of the others. I admit I was at Chopstix three times during the week. I never went for the pizza since I discovered some time ago that the pizza from Pizza Pirate is tasteless. I am a big fan of the original pizza that was offered when Carnival first started offering pizza.
I continued on with my explorations and went looking for Muster Station "B" It was on deck 3 Port side. I was unable to get out there on my scooter as the base of the scooter was too low to clear the hump in the middle of the ramp. I saw a sign that also pointed out a place called "The Sunset Garden" as part of Muster Station "B". I went in there and found a pleasant little space with huge round windows and lovely hand painted tiles. I found a spot and waited there for the drill to begin. Once the drill was over I decided to finish checking out this pleasant place. I followed the hall way and it lead uphill and down hill and around curves. Eventually it came out on the other side of the hall from where I began. It was a clever way to use some space in the forward area that might have gone unused. I found myself in there several times during the week just to "get away from it all" for a little while.
My dining choice was as always "Your Time Dining" That was always served in The Normandie Restaurant upper level. This was on Deck 3 aft. The first night my dining companions were nice and very interesting people. We all decided to ask if we could sit at the same place with Eco as our server every night. It worked out well. For the most part the group remained the same every night.
I did not get to see anything in the Taj Mahal lounge. I found the "accessible" entrance to be difficult to maneuver on a scooter. They provided a ramp that lead up to the doors of Butterflies and to get into the Taj Mahal you had to make a sharp right turn in a narrow space. If you were not careful you could hit the post at the top of the ramp while making the turn. Also you had to be careful of not hitting the edge of the glass doors on the left. Someone had done this leaving a sharp and scary looking and dangerous edge on the door. This ramp made no sense at all as it made it easier to get into "Butterflies" but as you entered the doorway there it lead to stairs downward. On a scooter? Uh...... No thanks. I would have thought that to make a straight ramp up to the entrance of Taj Mahal would have made much more sense than an accessible ramp to a stairway but then..... what do I know? I went back there one more time to get to the VIFP party. I went early so I could safely make the turn to the Taj Mahal. I was safely up there and in a place where I could enter the Taj Mahal for the party. I was sitting there patiently waiting for time to go in. A blond man that was obviously staff came along and saw me sitting there waiting. He made a snide and hurtful remark about being there too early and went along inside. I was stunned and could not stop the tears. I made my way back down the ramp and left. I did not report him nor did I even try to maneuver my way up there again for anything.
This subject has never been discussed by me before but I think it is worthy of some discussion. As a person who has worked with and advocated for people with disabilities for a long time I am ashamed that I never noticed the lack of accessibility for them on cruise ships before. It took me having to be in that place myself to notice. As previously written in the last paragraph the accessibility ramp was a half hearted attempt at accommodating a population of people who need a bit of extra care. First we will start with tendering ports. We were scheduled for two on this cruise. I meekly accepted that I would have to stay aboard the ship at Belize and Grand Cayman. Why? Is it that hard to find tenders that would have a deck which is accessible to those with wheel chairs and scooters? Another thing that bothered me was there were NO excursions to accommodate people with mobility devices. If we are able to get off the ship we are left to explore just the areas around the ships. Usually these were shopping areas. Not a great thing for those of us that are just not into shopping. I can walk but I have to do so slowly and stop to rest and catch my breath a lot. I would never be able to make it to the pick up area for the excursion busses. We purchase tickets for cruises to foreign places and it would be nice if we could see those places. We want to see more than shopping areas at docks that are built to benefit the cruise line. If my opinion as a guest counts I think this is an area that demands quite a bit of improvement.
Dinner time Sunday evening. I went to the dining room and was escorted to a seat. I had delightful dining companions and really enjoyed my time with them. Eventually I looked at the windows and noticed that the lights were not moving past us. I thought this was odd as we were supposed to be moving down the channel to the gulf. I had not noticed that we had not even sail yet. We never got off until after 9:00 PM I was never able to learn why this was. In any case it did not affect the cruise for me at all. I went along enjoyed the ship and all it had to offer. We had no casino of course nor were the shops open but I managed to keep busy.
Monday we had a nice sunny day at sea. I enjoyed the pool area even though I did not swim. I also spent quite a bit of time in the Serenity area too and really relaxed out there just enjoying the quiet and the soothing music along with the sway of the ship over fairly calm water was better than a lullabye to a baby. Soon I drifted off to dreamland.
Tuesday dawned rainy and very windy. We were supposed to be in Belize that day. Upon arrival there we were told that it was too windy for transferring guests to the tenders and we would be sailing on towards our next stop at Mahogany Bay. So we had another sea day. I was unable to get off anyway because it was a tender port so I was unaffected by the change. I felt bad for those that were looking forward to this port. While I am thinking of this I wonder why people who cannot even get off the ship at certain ports are charged port taxes for that port at all.
While we were at Mahogany Bay it was raining and I decided to stay aboard even though I really wanted to see this port. I had never been there before. I just did not want to get soaked. So I spent the day keeping busy. At one point during the day it was announced that they secured a place for us at Costa Maya instead of Grand Cayman which was supposed to be our next stop. That was fine with me since I could not get off at Grand Cayman anyway. As we arrived at Costa Maya you guessed it, it began to rain again so I stayed aboard again.
I was enjoying my breakfast in the lido when we were in one of the ports. A family had stopped behind me to discuss their plans for the day. The boys who appeared to be around 9 and 10 years of age did not want to go ashore. The Mother told them it was okay they could stay aboard the ship. These kids were left loose on the ship all day and not in the care of Camp Carnival. I encountered these terrorists again when I was getting in the elevator on deck 9 and trying to get to deck one. One of them ran onto the elevator and pushed every button and ran out again. I was stuck stopping at every floor all the way to deck one.
I was saddened to see that the Renaissance decor was all but gone on this ship. When I was on this ship in 2007 I fell in love with the timeless artworks. Now just a few pieces remain.
Despite the fact that anything going on in Taj Mahal was difficult for me to get to and that Butterflies was impossible because of the stairs I did enjoy my cruise. It takes a lot for me not to enjoy being at sea. I do not understand why they have these places that are never or rarely used. I never saw the Red Frog Pub open at all during this cruise. Does it open just long enough to give the one free beer every day? The Taste Bar just what is it? I saw an empty cart that never had anyone or anything on it ever. The one thing that was open a lot was the photo shop. They were out and about poking cameras in our faces every chance they get. I always say no but they snap away anyway.
So we had rain and wind and some rough seas. So what? I never sweat the small stuff. Being at sea is what a cruise is all about for me. I put my faith in those that run the ship and of course the man upstairs to get us through safely to our destinations. I enjoyed the cruise and I will work on possibly getting a few things changed. I choose to take a few problems like accessibility and try to turn them into positives. Looking forward to my next cruise, possibly on the Liberty.
We traveled this October 2014 on Carnival Magic and like a dummy I did not lock up my costume jewelry thinking it was only valuable to me. They were between 23 to 70 years old. Now I admit I am really stupid but had them buried in a rather tall bag. Well when I got home 4 necklaces, a ring and some others items I probably do not know about were missing. They were in a cardboard box and a tie jewelry bag. The cruise line said that if the items are not found in 30 days they will be deemed "lost" and it is my word against theirs that I even had these items. In one of the pictures taken on the ship I was wearing one of the "lost" necklaces. My opinion is that the Carnival Staff knows of this policy so it is very easy to have items deemed "lost". Spread the word that Carnival Cruise Lines Policies make it easier for items to "lost" and be sure to lock up every item no matter how valuable they are.......
Just would like to warn travellers Carnival Spirit encourages passengers to do the tour of Yejele Beach ($20 per Adult and $16 child) yet they take no responsibility for the safety of their passengers. There must have been over 1500 passengers that got shuttled out to the Beach, which was beautiful, but the severe currents are so strong even a strong swimmer can get into trouble. My grand daughter, her father and her uncle went out snorkelling but got caught in a rip. The uncle made it back to the beach to raise the alarm asking the carnival staff member in the red top who looked like the only official person they had to send out help as the other two were in trouble and couldn't get back to shore. The staff member stayed quite calm and advised they had no boats or lifeguards but he advised he did call an ambulance. I became frantic and I asked again why they couldn't get a boat or raft out to assist them to which he replied there was none. I reminded him it was a 14-year-old girl in trouble and weneed to have a boat or something to help bring them back before they get taken out. It was then when then two locals swam out and assisted in their return to shore.
My grand daughter was so distraught when she got back to shore and her father was exhausted coughing up water etc. Shame on Carnival for sending so many people out to a location that has no safety rescue in place.
When I got back to the ship I called guest services to express my concerns to which they replied its not Carnival responsibility once passengers leave the ship. This may be the case but wouldn't you like to think they care enough for their passengers especially when they are encouraging the tour. Surly if they can transport all food and drinks to sell on shore to make even more money it wouldn't take much more of an effort to put in place some form of safety rescue. The facilities could easily be left with the locals to look after. My granddaughter was extremely upset by the whole experience and was lucky to come out of it with good results but I encourage Carnival to please look into this before someone loses their life. PS... I was told guest services would get back to me but still waiting............
We got on the Carnival Dream on August 17-24, 2014. We had a great time. Here is how it was like:
Embarkation: We came the day before. We Stayed at the Courtyard Inn in New Orleans. The hotel was great and pretty nice. We had the best hotel we ever had before. We walked to the terminal and it was hard to figure out where to go. We finally made it. They also served water in the terminal. The problem was the long lines.
Activities: We had alot of choices. The water slide was fun. We went on the slide alot of times. The arcade is good. It was a little hard finding it. Table Tennis was fun. The problem was the lines. We got a sunburn which left me behind with bumps. Another one is that 2 of my trunks had a hole in it. The hole was not too bad.
Food: The food was ok in the Dining room. They need more options. The desserts were good in the Cafe. The Problem was that the burgers didn't taste right.
Cozumel: Cozumel was great. We went to Paradise Beach. Itwas fun. The problems were the people making you waste money to get broke. They kept calling us to their booth.
Grand Cayman: The port was good. They have the best rumcake ever. We just went shopping.
Cabins: our cabins were good. We had a balcony. We only had one outlet. The beds were comfortable and balconies are my favorite. The problem was the air conditioner. We woke up sweaty in the morning. Our beds were stinky.
Debarkation: Debarking was good. There were long lines when we were getting off.
Overall, we will totally recommend people about this ship. It was a fun ship. Please try this ship because you may like it.
Wow! We took our annual family cruise on the Carnival Victory .. what a mistake.!Lots of wasted $$ it was 13 of us.. -
the food was almost mediocre throughout.. we had to eat at the 2 ports in order not to have to eat the food, but had no choice on sea days..
, our cabin bathroom was rusty and tile grout was full of mold..
Another point.. If you have kids do not plan on Camp Carnival.. the times are horribly inconvenient and they are closed often..
Ship is very outdated and definitely overdue for a dry dock.. I have cruised plenty before and this is by far my worst cruise experience.
In April 2013, we board the Carnival Freedom at Fort Lauderdale to surprise our friends for a 7 days crusie. My opinion on food, was adequate no complaint. Room and services very good, no complaint on that.
Pool in rear of the ship, too small for the amount of users, at one time we were all standing in the pool like a bunch of aspergus sholders to sholders. This was too much. I found also that the age group is more incline for young couple, so we did not fit in, and I noted a lot of young men drunk of their skull, and close to a fight. Too much for me.
I like to Casino, however that is where my complaint comes in, THE SMOKE. we cannot go in without passing by a bar, and this where the blanket of smoke start. I felt sick just to make my way in...it 'stink big time. I saw an old man with a churgical mask playing at a machine while the lady beside him was smoking a little cigar that smelt like s.... Poor man. Smoking is not control, you cansmoke on any desk with no respect on the none smokers. We cruise with Princess a lot, and we are back with Princess. The age group fits us, the smoking in well control, every second night, the Casino is a no smoking area and so on, so at least the none smokers can enjoy the casino without being poisoned by the smokers.
Therefore, I assume that the same set up exist on all Carnival ships, and we cruise at sea, it is to enjoy the fresh air, not to be smoked. I know what I am talking about, I was an heavy smoker at one time, and 24 years ago, I QUIT, I am now 70 years old, in good health and wish to remain healthy for a long time. I am avoiding all places where there is possible king of smoking, and Carnival Freedom was not one. Bad experience.
My wife and I spent our honeymoon on the Elation during a 5 day cruise to Cozumel and Progresso Mexico. Since then we have taken that exact cruise again and have booked a third trip this year for our 2 year anniversary. I can honestly say that for the money you cannot find a more enjoyable and relaxing vacation.
The Elation is one of the older ships out of the Carnival fleet, but I must say that it very well maintained. State rooms are cleaned twice a day and public area are cleaned all throughout the day .
The lido deck can get rather congested at times especially on the day at sea. Although I can't compare it to any other ships being that I have not been on any other cruise. Despite how popular that area can be at times I do feel that there is adequate room for those who wish to spend their time there.
The serenity deck is one of my favorite areas of the ship. It's for adults only and being positioned at the rear of the ship guest have a beautiful view of the Gulfof Mexico. My only complaint about the serenity deck is it undersized and guests traveling in large groups have a tendency of claiming the hot tubs as their own for long periods of times. Smaller groups of guests, couples and singles can find it difficult it not completely impossible to enjoy these areas during prime hours.
The Elation has a variety of different bars and night club like venues for adults to enjoy after hours entertainment. Everything from live band Karaoke to DJ's playing dance music. Of course there is also the on-board shows, stand up comedy, and other activities. Personally we usually enjoy doing our own thing but we do enjoy many of the on board activities.
The food on the ship is plentiful however if I'm being honest it not what I consider high quality. That being said there is nothing wrong with the food, the food safety standards high and I would argue that the meet or exceed the industry standards.Some meal offerings are better than others, but I can guarantee you that you will not go hungry on this ship.
The room service offerings are great and the fact that there is no additional cost for them make them spectacular.
The service that Carnival provides their guest is top notch. I can say that they are friendly and very accommodating.
I sailed June 27th-July 2nd, 2014 out of Charleston to Freeport and Nassau. The ship is older/smaller than other Carnival ships. The ship and food and entertainment were either okay, or not very good, depending on your level of grading. If you want everything to be WOW you might not enjoy this cruise/ship. If you want to leave from the beautiful city of Charleston, have unlimited food, good---not great entertainment, and meet a lot of people from NC,SC, Georgia, this might be a great cruise for you. I really enjoyed the cruise because of the fellow passengers. So many were so friendly, but you have to be friendly too! The bar staff and wait staff were all terrific. The ports of Freeport and Nassau are not exciting to me, so I enjoyed the pool and the ship during port days, except for a brief tour of the local shops and bars. Carnival now has a great drink package for $55 per day per adult. Check it out if you drink more than 6-7 drinks a day. Some in my group did the package, I did not. We all seemed happyeither way. So, to recap, I had a great time meeting people, drinking, seeing okay shows, and relaxing. If you expect too much......sorry. If you live close to Charleston, by all means, give it a try. I have no complaints about the departure, arrival, food, entertainment, cabin, staff, etc. ENJOY! RELAX!
I found Elation to be a great ship - not as crowded as the huge ships so I had more fun
Thought we'd share our Inspiration 4 night experience. I'm 40, DH is 51 and we have a 5 year old son. We've sailed many times with Carnival and this cruise was to celebrate hubby's birthday in early May.
We booked an outside cabin, but received a call a few weeks before the cruise offering an upgrade to a Grand Suite. I researched the price Carnival offered, and it was about 60% less than the normal cabin cost, so we jumped on it, mainly because of the balcony and bathtub.
As always, we purchased Faster to the Fun, and were glad we did. We are the types that love to arrive to the port early and unpack immediately so we can enjoy every moment of the ship on the first day, so it's worth it to us. Plus, with a tender port in Catalina, we thought it would be worthwhile. We probably didn't need it since we'd upgraded to a suite, and we knew that, but we kept the FTTF since we'd purchased it prior.
I'll start with a few overall pros and cons, then break down our experience a little more.
American Table- fun to try something new!
Service in dining room
Waterworks- all of us (yep, even the grown ups) loved the waterslides. The water was chilly, but so was the air. It's just the time of year we traveled.
Lack of suite perks
Had to miss first night in dining room to wait for a private table for our family â€“ so tired of this Carnival- please honor the request for table size made on your website! Some of us just want to dine with our families.
Cigarette smoke coming through vents and doors. No clue where it was coming from, but it permeated our bathroom a few nights on the trip.
Noisy neighbors at times, hosting late night parties in the room.
Overall, we were very impressed with the cleanliness of the ship, particularly due to its age. The staff works so hard to keep everything sparkling and it was clean and bright.
We really enjoyed the balcony and extra space in the Grand Suite. It's odd that Carnival offers no suite perks, aside from priority embarkation, but hey, we save a lot of money sailing with Carnival so I get it. I did have a hard time with the fact that there wasn't even free bottled water with the suite, but again, no biggie.
Our son slept on the full size pull out couch - it was a huge bed for a couch arrangement, and still left plenty of room to walk around the suite when the bed was fully extended and made.
The Jacuzzi tub in the room was really nice, but rather narrow. I'm petite and when I was showering, the tub felt super narrow (like my feet were pressed up against the edges), but it was SO nice to be able to bathe our son, and relax in the tub rather than the standard small shower routine.
Here's a little video tour of the room:
Yes, the ship features the American Table menu. The menu is a little visually confusing at first, but you get used to it. I did find that we tended to order fewer dishes, perhaps because we were SO in love with the "for the table"size calamari every night that we filled up on that. The food quality seemed the same or better to me than it normally did with the old menus and we had no trouble finding entrees we liked. The only thing I didn't care for was the Veal parmesan. Too gamey. We're putting a little food video together too, and will try to post it when its done.