Cruise Line Focus

Cruise Line Focus: Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line is the kingpin of the cruise industry. It is the largest cruise line in the world based on passengers carried, annual revenue, and total number of ships in its fleet.


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Carnival Cruise Line has a fleet of 25 cruise ships, with four on order (the Vista-class Carnival Horizon and Carnival Panorama, as well as two unnamed vessels). Horizon will join the fleet in 2018, while Panorama is scheduled for delivery in 2019.

Carnival Cruise Lines is a proudly American brand and caters almost exclusively to an American cruise clientele, operating out of the major US cruise ports of Ford Lauderdale, Miami, Port Canaveral and Long Beach.

It also bases ships in Baltimore, New Orleans, New York and Seattle, with additional cruise itineraries from Puerto Rico and Vancouver. There are a total of 19 embarkation ports for the 2018 and 2019 cruise seasons.

Carnival Dream

The lobby atrium aboard Carnival Dream.

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Cruise experience aboard Carnival Cruise Line

The Caribbean is Carnival’s bread and butter. Since 1974 it has been offering short weekend-long, and longer week-long cruises from Southern American ports to the exotic islands of the Caribbean.

It pioneered the ‘fun ship’ concept, recreating the cruise experience in the popular imagination from one associated with old, rich people, to one based around the millennial generation – young families, couples and friends looking for a good time on the high seas.

As such, Carnival Cruise Line’s fleet has changed completely over the last two decades or so, with older second-hand tonnage phased out of the fleet in favour of massive newbuilds packed with on-board activities and amenities.

Carnival was one of the first cruise lines, alongside its major competitor Royal Caribbean, to turn cruise ships into destinations within themselves.

The new Vista-class ships come with a SkyRide attraction that lets you peddle a bicycle-like pod around a suspended track more than a dozen stories above the sea, there are IMAX theatres, a full-sized waterpark called WaterWorks (now being phased in across the fleet as ships undergo refit) and a Seuss at Sea kids club for little ones (along with Camp Ocean).

Mindful of the millions of singles and couples that cruise with the line every year, Carnival also has a Serenity Adults Only area aboard its ships.

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Entertainment aboard Carnival Cruises

Carnival Cruise Lines is all about fun for all ages, with Mixology competitions in its bars across the fleet, and a range of different attractions and activities based on ship class.

There are karaoke clubs, comedy clubs, Broadway quality productions in its theatres (often in partnership with the actual Broadway production company), circus acts, a poolside theatre, games arcades and even mini golf courses.

It’s impossible to be bored on a Carnival Cruise Lines ship.

The cruise line has also started partnering with some of the biggest names in the restaurant world, such as Guy Fieri with the poolside Guy’s Burger Bar, which debuted aboard the new Vista-class ships Vista, Horizon and Panorama and is now being phased in across the fleet.

Types of passengers on a Carnival cruise

Carnival Cruise Lines passengers are predominantly young, middle-class and have families in tow as Carnival’s itineraries and extensive kids’ facilities make its ships attractive to these demographics.

The cruise line generally sails three- to 16-day voyages to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, New England, Bermuda, Europe, Cuba, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

Aboard all of its cruises, Americans make up the vast majority, with a few Europeans on its Mediterranean itineraries.

Cruise ships in the Carnival Cruise Lines fleet:

Carnival Breeze

Carnival Celebration

Carnival Conquest

Carnival Dream

Carnival Ecstasy

Carnival Elation

Carnival Freedom

Carnival Glory

Carnival Horizon

Carnival Legend

Carnival Liberty

Carnival Magic

Carnival Miracle

Carnival Panorama

Carnival Paradise

Carnival Pride

Carnival Radiance

Carnival Sensation

Carnival Spirit

Carnival Splendor

Carnival Sunrise

Carnival Sunshine

Carnival Valor

Carnival Vista

Mardi Gras

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