If you've been following along on our cruise journey (Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, Nassau, Miami), then it's great to have you! If you found this post on Pinterest because you booked a cruise with Carnival and you want to know what to expect, well then, welcome too! Let this post stand as my official review. But before we get into my review, let's start with the reason you clicked on this post....6 Carnival cruise tips!
Carnival cruise tips | How to get the most out of your cruise with Carnival
1. Explore the ship
You've got to know the ship in order to get the most out of it! Have we not explored we wouldn't have found the quiet spots, the hot tubs that not as many people use, or the deck with the really good view. Take time walking around your ship so you can go enjoy your hidden gems!
2. Utilize room service
Free room service? Yes, please! Carnival has some food choices you can get for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert without having to pay extra. It's not as good as going to the buffet or restaurant, but it's good enough to make sleeping in & eating in bed worth it. Have a late-night craving of cheesecake while watching tv? Yeah, you can do that too...all the while staying in bed!
3. Go to your designated meal place...at least once
Each cabin gets a designated meal time & place for your meals and though it's tempting to grab unlimited pizza or hit the buffet (no designated time on those) whenever you want, the dinners are way better. It feels like you're dining out at a classy restaurant for free! Plus, the staff do fun things and make it an enjoyable time. It does require waiting for the right time and dressing up a little, but it's worth it.
4. Get a balcony room
This is not a necessity and you can still have a great cruise without it, but not only is having the extra space nice, but it's so calming yet cool to be able to hear the ocean waves right out the balcony door and wake up to the sun! Though you won't be on the balcony 24/7 because you're off exploring, having a cup of coffee in front of the ocean is a highlight.
5. Use your schedule/go to the shows
If you feel bored it's kinda on you! Whether you like karaoke, parties, shows, shopping events, or more, there seems to always be something going on. Sitting by the pool and doing nothing is totally an activity 😉 , but keep a good eye on the schedule to see what's going on. Full disclosure, I fell asleep super early at night and didn't make it to any shows, but Titus went to their Marriage Show and said it was really funny! 😉
6. Get a pool chair early on at-sea days
The decks get pretty packed on at-sea days and it's a little sad to see grown adults fighting over chairs haha, but in order to get a good prime spot for laying out you're going to want to claim it early! And by claim it, I mean find it and sit in it. I think there's some rule about it being okay to be gone for 20-40 minutes, but you don't want to be that person that keeps someone else from using a chair you're not even in. Though you can be the person that watches all the fights happen like I was! 😉
Carnival Cruise Review
The two biggest questions I get:
Did you like your cruise?
Would you do it again?
Yes and Yes!
Alright, that's my review, folks!
Just kidding... 😉
Now, I'm going to be hitting the main things that people are probably interested in knowing about:
Food: The food is good and about as expected if not a little better, but not everything is amazing. The unlimited pizza and soft-serve ice cream are super good, as well as their burgers. Those are so yummy! The buffets I'd compare to a continental hotel breakfast. The sit-down dinners are a lot better but can be a little cold as I think they make a bunch at once and pass them out once they're ordered. But still, good. They had a dessert that was so good I ordered it multiple nights in a row (half brownie/melted chocolate with ice cream...drool)! So I'd give the food an 8/10.
Rooms: Our balcony room was a good size and about what I'd expect for a hotel on the water. The decor wasn't super updated (see below), but that didn't really bother me. Nothing to complain about here.
Atmosphere: Our ship, the Sensation, was older so the decor was pretty outdated. This doesn't really affect the quality of our time cruising, but it did make me feel like I got transported to an 80's casino haha. But the staff were super friendly, helpful, and nice, so that makes for an awesome atmosphere and makes up for any outdated decor!
Curious if this is a party cruise? Family cruise? Honeymoon cruise? I saw all that & more and I think anything goes. One couple got married at sea. Some people were having a family reunion. Some people were taking a family vacay. There are more "adult" activities, but nothing you can't walk away from. Keep in mind that Carnival's slogan is "Choose Fun", so the atmosphere is tailored to be fun and upbeat. It's not a quiet, luxury cruise. But I liked that if you did want peace and quiet, you could easily find it.
One thing I liked about our ship being older & smaller is that there weren't *so* many people there. I never felt suffocated by people. Can't speak for other ships though!
Motion sickness?: I was worried about being seasick because I can feel dizzy just being in the car. Thankfully, it was not as bad as I thought it would be. You can definitely feel the ship moving at times, especially on a windy day when the ocean is choppy. It's a weird feeling and trying to walk throughout it makes the feeling worse. I only had to take motion sickness medicine once though. I just tried not to walk a lot when I felt it move and all in all, it was okay! I don't think it's anything to worry about.
One of our favorite parts about cruising is that you can see a lot of places in a short amount of time without having to deal with sitting in a car, sitting at the airport, etc. It's SO cool to wake up in a new place and not have to do all that "traveling." That definitely makes us want to cruise again and if/when we do, we think a Mediterranean one would be really cool!
What about you? Would you ever take a cruise? Or have you? Share your experiences below!
* in partnership with Carnival Cruise