Length: 733 ft
No longer in service for Carnival. Reviews presented for historic reference only.Best For People Who Want
Non-stop hi-jinks like silly adult games, lively casinos, children's activities, spacious cabins; casual cruising style, lots of good old boys and gals from the Deep South among fellow passengers.Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
Sophisticated "seen but not heard" service people; cabins with private verandas; mega-ship action; understated elegance in a low-key environment; no children; dozens of varieties of food.Onboard Experience
Let's be honest here, Carnival's Holiday (oldest in Carnival) and her sister ship Celebration (second-oldest) are some of the oldest vessels still in service in the U.S. cruise market. They are fine ships and were considered state-of-the-art in their day, but so were VCRs, vinyl record turntables and TV shows like "Growing Pains." Today, though Celebration is expertly maintained (getting a multi-million dollar update back in 2003), it inevitably still shows its age when it comes to things like food services technology and high-tech stage shows. So, while there's always fun to be had aboard these Carnival sister ships, keep your expectations in check and try to look on the bright side of life. Roll with waves, go with the flow.
Mostly reserved for budget cruises, Celebration sails out of Jacksonville, Florida, on 4 and 5-night cruises to the Bahamas. And yes, At 46,000 tons, Celebration was considered a mega-liner when she was launched as the second of Carnival's "Fun Cruising" ships, but now her proportions are regarded as "intimate" -- substantially easier to navigate than a megaship. During the summer months there can be literally hundreds of kids on board, and at mid-day the Pool Deck can remind you of a public beach on the hottest day of July.Decor
Scandalously garish at a time when cruise ships were expected to be elegantly somber, they're now seen as representing chief Carnival interior designer and whimsy-monger Joe Farcus at his most restrained! Farcus liberally indulges one of his favorite color combinations; red, blue and purple throughout the ship, dominating the Wheelhouse Bar and the Horizon dining room, but elsewhere the ship encompasses every color of the rainbow, and a few additional ones. Expect lots of chrome, brass, and mirrors, as in a late-'70s disco; keep your sunglasses close at hand even when inside! There is no atrium, only a lobby.
Celebration had a multi-million dollar refit a few years back adding new carpeting, furniture, and wall coverings for a more modern look. The dining rooms were redesigned to optimize food handling and traffic patterns. Staterooms received new curtains, wallpaper, carpet, pillows and bedspreads. Still, a lot of the ships' glitz is wearing off quite literally, as well as metaphorically. You'll notice lots of dulled or scratched reflective metal surfaces, lots of threadbare or stained floor coverings, and peeling window coatings.Public Rooms
Nearly all the public rooms on Celebration are tightly clustered on the Admiral and Promenade decks. The Astoria Lounge is the main showroom. The bars on board are some of the cutest and quaintest little cruise ship bars anywhere. The endless Summer bar has a surfing theme with real outrigger canoes and surfboards everywhere. The Trolley bar, next to the Rainbow Club Casino, contains an actual San Francisco-style trolley car next to a "sidewalk" cafe. The Galax Z Dance Club is where you'll find young adults grinding their way into the nights. The aft-most lounge on Promenade Deck is Islands in the Sky, a live music and comedy venue.
The most you can say for the decor in the dining rooms is that it probably won't spoil your appetite. Glass partitions serve to make them less clamorous than they might be otherwise - clamor being no stranger to Carnival!
In all there are seven bars, six entertainment lounges, a casino, a disco, a library, a video arcade, a children's playroom, a beauty salon, and shops.Cuisine
Confounding the scoffers, Carnival actually serves tastier vittles than several of its higher-priced competitors. Holiday's in particular reflects Carnival's renewed commitment to quality ingredients and imaginative and proficient preparation. Such Asian fusion elements as bok choy and lemongrass have crept stealthily into some dishes, to the dishes' considerable benefit, and your steak is likely to be noticeably more tender than Carnival has dished up in the past. Of course, the age of the dining room and especially the kitchen works against the staff (today's newer ships have made serving hot food to 1000s of people simultaneously an art), so give your waiter a break if something comes out a little hot than you prefer it, he is doing the best he can.
There is nothing wrong with the menu selections, however, or the freshness of the food. It compares to what you will receive on any other Carnival ship. Lunches offer a wide selection of low cal and low carb options. You can choose among a vast array of salads - all, lamentably, with the dressing already applied.
Carnival pizza, available 24-hours on the aft Lido deck, remains the best at sea.Restaurants
Total Choice Dining means passengers are assigned a table for dinner at one of four seatings; 5:45 p.m. or 6:15 p.m. and 8 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. The time you select determines which of the four seatings and which of the the two main dining rooms you are assigned. The Vista Dining Room mid-ship, and the Horizon Dining Room located aft, are both on deck five. Carnival does its best to seat couples with couples, singles with singles.
The Wheelhouse Bar & Grill on Lido Deck offers buffets for breakfast and lunch and then, in the evening, becomes an alternative dining venue for those wishing to dine al fresco or just casually — so casually, in fact, that you'll not only get no cloth napkin, but not even an adult-sized paper one!
Every evening between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., the Wheelhouse Bar & Grill becomes the Seaview Bistro, offering a dinner buffet with no reservations or advance notice required.
Celebration's complimentary sushi bar opens in late afternoons. You'll have to pay for your sake. A 24-hour pizzeria and 24-hour room service menu are also available.Service
Oddly, touchingly, Celebration's having unmistakably entered the autumn of her years seems to have inspired the crew and staff with a remarkable team spirit, intent on making your experience aboard this old gal, soon no longer to be with us, as pleasurable as possible. The crew is efficient, friendly, and, in many cases, implacably zany. (note: they take a strange delight in folding towels to resemble animals.)Tipping
$10.00 per person (over two years of age) per day is automatically added to your Sail & Sign card. (You may also prepay gratuities for all service personnel at a rate of $10.00 per person per day.) Of this, $3.60 is for the stateroom steward; $5.50 for the Dining Room team, and $.90 for service in the alternative dining rooms. Visit the purser's desk during the cruise to raise or lower these amounts.
On Cruises-to-Nowhere, gratuities of $10 per person per day must be prepaid.
A 15% gratuity is automatically added to all beverage tabs. Tip the maitre d', room service, spa, casino and other staff as you deem proper.Entertainment
is Carnival's bread and butter. Las Vegas-style floor shows are presented twice on every cruise in the Astoria Theater. Or you can choose cabaret-style live music, the Red Hot piano bar, the Galax Z Disco or Islands in the Sky for combo music and dancing. The Rainbow Club Casino offers wall to wall gaming with slots and plenty of table games. Late night, you can count on the casino and disco remaining open until the wee hours.
By day, there's a never-ending succession of pool games, hairy chest and knobby knees contests, bingo, horse races, art auctions, and trivia games.
Celebration offers some notable shore excursions. The shore excursion department personnel know their stuff, and enjoy helping, though with an unfortunate tendency to oversell.Cabins
A toiletries basket is provided, but no hair dryer. Oceanview staterooms and suites have a minibar and bathrobes. Many staterooms are popular with families because they accommodate up to four people with surprisingly little friction.
The standard cabins are pretty nearly identical, differing only in their distance above the waterline. While the 10 balconied veranda suites have whirlpool bathtubs, everyone else has to make do with a stall shower.
Do note that Celebration's cabin walls are very thin. If you don't want your neighbors to hear you, whisper, or pass notes back and forth.Fitness/Spa
There's abundant open deck space for sunning, and a large pool with a 14-foot spiral water slide. The Nautica fitness center has state-of-the-art equipment, but these ships were obviously built at a time when the idea of working out on a cruise was fairly risible; the facilities are scandalously small by modern standards, and drab to boot. A golf learning center on Lido Deck aft, complete with an onboard PGA pro who conducts clinics and gives lessons, may help to console any golfers aboard. There are a separate jogging track and a spa offering massage and beautifying treatments.
The spa, of course, is run by Steiner's of London, known to impose onerous sales quotas on its staves; don't be surprised if, while massaging you, your masseuse pretty nearly insists on your buying a bottle of whatever oil she's using.Children's Facilities
There's a playroom for children under three. In-cabin babysitting is available at a rate of $6 for the first child, $4 for each additional child. Group babysitting is free in the children's playroom during selected hours.Attire
Most men opt for dark suits rather than tuxedos on formal nights. By day, dress as though you're on vacation in the Caribbean, which of course you are, in beachwear or even cutoffs. On non-formal nights, tank-tops and shorts are forbidden in the dining rooms.
This was my 4th cruise and my worst. I was very disappointed in the ship. Too small and the entertainment was terrible and had to pay extra to eat in the formal dining room. I would not recommend this cruise to anyone.
This ship is 20 years old, but in very good shape. This was my 4th cruise and I really enjoyed myself.
Cruise director and entertainment staff were fabulous. Others at our dining table who had been on numerous cruises were disappointed in our ship and entertainment options. I'd imagine that if you had been on newer, glitzier ships with ice skating, wave boarding, big shopping malls, etc., this may have been disappointing. I was not disappointed in the least. I found there to be plenty of entertainment options and the overall atmosphere very fun.
Pools are a bit small and fairly crowded, but it didn't stop my kids from taking part.
Food was generally very good, though I was disappointed in the desserts. Ice cream and pizza 24 hours a day was great and my whole family took advantage of that. Our waiter, Wayan, and assistant waiter, Ronald, were fabulous and made paper animals for my kids every evening.
I thought the nightly shows were great, and the daytime trivia, game shows, etc., were very, very fun. We went on the Disney Wonder 3 years ago and had more fun on this cruise.
KeyWest was a charming, quaint port and we enjoyed Ardastra Gardens in Nassau.
I would love to go on one of the newer ships, and hope to do that soon. I will definitely stick with Carnival because Carnival's got the fun -- and it's affordable!
I just returned from a five night cruise on The Celebration 7-14-07 thru 7-19-07. Celebration is Carnival's second oldest ship. The age of the ship did not detract from the cruise experience. There were no hassles from the crew, and there seemed to be plenty of crew. The only issue I had with the crew is that some of them did not smile. Some of them looked like they were tired of their jobs and their blank emotionless stares gave this passenger a not so happy vibe. On a "fun ship" I expect crew members to make quick eye contact with a smile or hi/hello FIRST. A couple of times I said hello first and did not get a response back. Some of the crew were fun to talk with and I tipped them extra with two dollar bills.
All of the crew that I saw were from foreign countries. Several from Ukraine, Peru, Taiwan and many more countries. "Skip" was our cruise director. He was an Aussie or Kiwi. Skip was energetic and did a good job of hosting game shows, and informing the passengers of important information, all witha wonderful sense of humor.
The comment cards that they ask you to fill out made it difficult to score the cruise and the crew accurately, which in my opinion is hard on the crew because it is set up in a pass or fail choice. I wished I could have marked maybe instead of yes or no on some questions. At the end of the comment card questions Carnival asks if you would take this cruise again. This is an example of the pass or fail type questions. I marked NO. The thing is, I'm glad I took this cruise, and I had a great time. I would probably just want to try different cruises in the future.
I recommend the cruise and feel most people will enjoy it.