Opinion8 Things Carnival Does Better Than Most Cruise Lines 

8 Things Carnival Does Better Than Most Cruise Lines 

Many cruise passengers fall into one of two categories.

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  1. You LOVE Carnival Cruise Line or
  2. You CAN’T STAND Carnival Cruise Line

Here at Cruise Fever, we understand that sentiment. Everyone has their preference and they are free to form their own opinion.

But……the girl writing this article happens to fall into Category 1. I love Carnival and I’m ready to tell you exactly why I think they are better than most other cruise lines.


1. More Complimentary Food Options

Variety is the spice of life and Carnival owns the entire pantry. From burgers to tacos and everything in between, you will find it on a Carnival cruise ship.

From the moment you board the ship, there will be an abundance of food options just waiting on you to claim them. After you drop by your cabin, be sure to walk up to the lido deck and take your pick of a variety of tasty options.

The Lido deck will be buzzing with activity when you arrive. In fact, it may be difficult to find a seat on embarkation day. The main buffet will have a theme such as Italian, Caribbean, or Mexican. There is always a fully-stocked salad bar nearby, serving fresh veggies, pastas, and a wide variety of dressings.

If a more “traditional” lunch fare isn’t in your plan, keep touring the Lido. Carnival is known for its “almost 24 hours a day” pizza. Workers quickly make delicious pizzas like Margarita, Pepperoni, and Quattro Formaggio. If a deli sandwich is more your style, they’ve got that too!

Is a delicious burger or taco more your style? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Celebrity chef, Guy Fierri offers some of the best burgers at sea. Be sure to check out Guy’s Burgers for lunch, any day of the week. Located next door, you’ll find the Blue Iguana Cantina. You can grab fresh tacos or burritos here, then pile on the toppings at the salsa bar.

Guy's burger joint
Guy’s Burger Joint on Carnival has my favorite hamburger and it’s all included in the price of the cruise.

At dinner time, many enjoy the complimentary dining room fare. If you’d rather have some of the same food options in a casual setting, check out the lido buffet.

When it’s time for breakfast, head back to the Lido. Serving up an impressive buffet, you are sure to find something that you love. Always a popular option, the omelet stations have a line for a reason. Here, you can get omelets cooked, just the way you like. If you want something a little more spicy, head out to the Blue Iguana for a breakfast burrito.


2. Wide Range of Embarkation Ports

If you call the United States home, you won’t have to travel too far to board a Carnival ship. There are options on the East Coast, West Coast, and in-between!

Florida is King in terms of home ports with multiple ships in Miami, Port Canaveral, Tampa, and Jacksonville. Just a short distance away, Mobile, Alabama will soon be home to a Carnival ship this fall. New Orleans, Louisiana and Galveston, Texas are other popular options for Southern cruisers.

Located slightly to the north, Carnival also offers some sailings out of Charleston, South Carolina. Baltimore, Maryland, Norfolk, Virginia, and New York, New York round out the Eastern offerings.

Cruisers located on the West Coast can choose ships that leave from Long Beach and San Francisco, California. Alaskan cruises are also popular options during the summer.

If you are located outside of the United States, don’t worry. Carnival also offers ships departing from Brisbane, Barcelona, London, Rome, Singapore, and Sydney.


3. Provides a Casual Atmosphere

Carnival Cruise Line takes pride in providing a casual atmosphere for its cruisers. You don’t have to worry about dressing up during the day or adhering to a particular dress code ( but let’s not be indecent, folks) until visiting the dining room.

You will likely see a majority of cruisers in shorts and t-shirts on many of the decks. Bathing suits and swim shorts are the norm around the pool.

If you plan to eat dinner in the dining room, please be aware that there are some rules to follow, though nothing too stringent.


4. Large Variety of Ship Sizes

Carnival Cruise Line offers a wide range of ship sizes, to accommodate everyone’s personal preference. Like most of the larger cruise lines, Carnival’s brand new ships are always larger than the previous ones.

Read: Carnival Cruise Ships, Newest to Oldest

If you prefer a smaller ship that still offers plenty of amenities, try Carnival Paradise or Carnival Elation. Both of these ships are 70,367 gross tons.

At the other end of the spectrum, you will find Carnival Celebration. This massive ship comes in at 182,800 gross tons in size.

You are guaranteed to find a ship that suits your tastes. There are numerous ships between these two strikingly different sizes. After cruising on a few different ships, you will find the one that fits “just right”.


5. Cutting Edge Onboard Activities

Carnival is always at the top of the pack when adding new and exciting activities to their ships. Keep in mind that many of the newer attractions are located on the larger ships.

One of the most exciting activities is BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster. This rollercoaster at sea will take you on an adventure like never before. This option is available on Carnival Celebration and Mardi Gras.

bolt roller coaster carnival
Photo Credit: Carnival Cruise Line

Skyride is a popular option on Carnival Panorama, Carnival Horizon, and Carnival Vista. Similar to a bike, the Skyride allows you to ride around the ship, above the pool deck.

Love watching movies at sea? If so, be sure to check out Carnival Horizon and Carnival Vista. Both of these ships have an IMAX movie theater onboard.


6. Budget-Friendly

For a great value with plenty of amenities, Carnival Cruise Line is a wonderful option. With frequent sales and reductions in deposits, it’s pretty easy to find a good deal on a Carnival cruise.

View: Best Deals on Carnival Cruises

Once you’ve cruised with Carnival, past guest offers are frequently delivered to your inbox. Oftentimes, Carnival will have sales over holidays and Black Friday is always a popular time for a good deal.

If you’d like to book a cruise and don’t really want to pay the entire amount up front or on your final payment date, Carnival can help with that. They now offer installment payments that can help you easily budget your next cruise vacation.

After boarding the ship, you can make a Carnival cruise as inexpensive or as expensive as you’d like. Aside from gratuities (which we always recommend), there really are no other fees that you will be charged, unless you specifically welcome it. If you don’t want alcohol, don’t buy it. If you don’t want to eat at a specialty restaurant, don’t go. If you’d rather walk around the port and not book an excursion, you certainly do not have to.


7. Great Casino Perks

If you enjoy slots or table games, Carnival is where it’s at! You’ll definitely want to join the Carnival Players Club. It’s free to join and inserting your Sail & Sign card into a machine will get you started.

Always make sure your card is in the machine while playing. You will gain points while playing and you can earn free drinks after a certain amount of points are earned. If you are playing at a table, be sure to present your Sail & Sign card to the dealer.

After joining the Players Club, you will have access to additional cruise discounts and special packages. Some special casino cruises give players free drinks, gifts, and amenities in their cabin.

Some cruisers enjoy the slots and blackjack tournaments that the Players Club hosts. Members are eligible to participate in a variety of tournaments held throughout the year.


8. Large Selection of Shore Excursions

If you have an idea of something you’d love to do at a destination, Carnival probably offers it as a shore excursion. From low activity levels to strenuous, each port has a list of offerings that are available.

Many vacationers love a day at the beach. Carnival offers several excursions that will take you to private, all-inclusive beaches or resorts. Many of these excursions include lunch and water sports.

A Carnival excursion in Roatan takes you to an all-inclusive beach club

Archaeological ruins are another popular option. Belize and Mexico have several ruins locations with transportation included. Many of these shore excursions are longer but worth it for the education and once in a lifetime experience.

Some people enjoy booking shore excursions through private vendors, and that’s perfectly fine. Just know that Carnival offers a convenient option and some additional peace of mind when getting back to the ship on time.

If you decide to book a Carnival cruise, you will have a great time. They are known as “The Fun Ships” for a reason. They have your enjoyment in mind and do everything they can to make sure you have fun.

With that in mind, any cruise is what you make of it. There will always be something that can be improved upon or might need a little work. Maybe your steak is a tiny bit overcooked one day, or you have to wait in line for something longer than you’d like. Just consider this – You are lucky enough to be on a cruise and that is better than being at work any day!

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Kristi Sellers
Kristi Sellers
Kristi took her first cruise when she was 12 years old and is currently planning her 20th. When she isn’t cruising, she loves to visit the Smoky Mountains. Kristi lives in Alabama with her husband and fur baby, Chico.
Opinion8 Things Carnival Does Better Than Most Cruise Lines 


  1. Totally agree. I’ve been on the main 3 affordable lines and Disney with a total of 19 cruises. My Carnival trips were more enjoyable and had awesome crews/staff. They’re my 1st choice every time.

  2. I also fall firmly into category 1! I LOVE Carnival! I see so many complaints about Carnival and yet I have never experienced a bad cruise with them. I did have one trip that left something to be desired but it by no means made me want to go elsewhere.

    • I’m with you my friend! Very cheap food, too many of those that think they are wanted by the general public, nasty acts by so called men ruin it for all.

  3. NCL in particular has better food options. OSheehans is a great free eatery, with many options such as wings and other “pub grub”. Although I do like the breakfast burrito bar on Carnival. But we were recently on Luminosa – the buffet was horrible. Lack of options, and out of many things. Again, the NCL buffet, particularly on the breakaway class (and epic), has a ton more options, and is laid out better to reduce lines.

    The ship size comparison is also odd. Every line has multiple size ships. Royal has 70k size in the vision class, and of course has the gargantuan of the seas ships.

    Value is lacking currently on the Carnival brand. Looks like they are trying to push some away from Carnival toward Princess and Holland. When you do a full cost analysis, Princess and Holland are less expensive right now for many itineraries. We booked a Princess for this reason.

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