I always feel the need to defend Carnival Cruise Lines; I’m here to tell you they have a bum rap!
Can you believe that only 24% of the U.S. population has ever taken an ocean cruise? All of the cruise ships in the entire world filled to capacity all year long, would still only amount to less than of the total number of visitors to Las Vegas according to thestreet.com.
I’ve sailed on five cruises with my sixth cruise in less than thirty days. I’ve enjoyed three different Cruise Lines: Carnival (CCL), Disney (DCL) and Royal Caribbean (RCL). Stop right there; I know what you’re thinking “Dawn, your math skills are lacking, how could you have five cruises under your belt and only listed three cruise lines?” I have actually enjoyed Carnival “Fun Ships” so much; I’ve cruised three different times with my fourth coming up in June.
Most Cruise Lines have multiple ships with tiered classes. What does this mean? The ships vary in size, passenger capacity and amenities. Carnival Cruise Lines has more ships in their fleet than any other Cruise Line, with Royal Caribbean a very close second. I’ve sailed on three different Carnival Ships: Ecstasy twice and the Fascination, both Fantasy Class ships (70,000+ tons, length 855 ft.) My fourth Carnival Cruise will be on the largest class in Carnival’s fleet, Dream Class (130,000 tons, length 1004 ft.) on the Carnival Dream.
Being a self-proclaimed “Disney Dork” and lover of all things Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse, it’s hard for me to type this, but I’ll muster (pun intended) the strength “Disney Cruise Line was very nice and the “Fantasy” was impeccable, but dare I say~ mediocre in comparison, I actually found myself missing the “FUN” of a Carnival Ship. I feel the same about Royal Caribbean, although Disney Cruise Line in my eyes was better than RCL. The price comparatively speaking was drastically different on each Cruise Line; DCL was triple that of Carnival and double that of RCL! The overall cruise price depends greatly on the length of cruise, class of ship and type of room; really the type of traveler you are.
* Traveler Type~ I actually fashion myself an outgoing, savvy traveler whom loves the finer things in life but could survive anywhere if I had too.
I had a lovely time on all three Cruise Lines, they each had their own positive attributes. I think I went into DCL and RCL with higher expectation’s than I did for Carnival; because of the negative connotation attached to CCL. I love certain things about each Cruise Line but ultimately I received more ‘bang for my buck” and “FUN” with Carnival Cruise Lines.
Five Myths about Carnival Cruise Line:
1. Lower Class of People
2. Younger, Partying Crowd
3. Yucky food
4. Tacky, Dated Ships
5. Publicized Mechanical Issues.
I want to dispel these myths as they can be found on all the Cruise Lines; first of all #1, “Lower Class of People” that’s just rude, so I’ll actually speak on the other four.
#2- Younger, Partying Crowd~ I can honestly say on the three Carnival cruises I’ve sailed on, my family including my two teenagers have NOT noticed any tom foolery or public drunkenness besides our own, woot (kidding)!
#3- Yucky Food~ I’m no foodie per se’, but I’ve been fortunate in my 44 years on this earth to have quite a diverse palette and I personally did not think the food was bad, I actually liked it as much as DCL and RCL, shocker, I know.
#4- Tacky, Dated Ships~ Yes, I would say this is not all myth; Cruise Ships in general are a little tacky with “in your face” cruise décor and please don’t get me started on the fluorescent lighting and gold accents, it is not my cup of tea. Carnival Cruise Lines does make a point to refurbish the older ships with modern day upgrades. Disney tops the Cruise Line Industry with upscale “cruise” appeal on all four ships. Carnival’s newer ships are on the right track with the Carnival Breeze and Vista.
#5- Publicized Mechanical Issues~ It happens on all Cruise Lines, but also a negative to having the largest cruise fleet. Ship happens! (damn, I’m funny)
Carnival Cruise Line/Carnival Ecstasy (Fantasy-Class)-Port Canaveral, Florida. Room Type- Ocean View/Our Family of four
Carnival Cruise Line/Carnival Fascination (Fantasy-Class)- Jaxport Cruise Port, Jacksonville, Florida. Room Type- Grand Suite/Our Family of four- Deck 6 Upper
Disney Cruise Line/Disney Fantasy- Port Canaveral, Florida. Room Type- Deluxe Ocean View with Verandah Room/Our Family of four- Deck 10
Royal Caribbean/Majesty of the Seas (Sovereign-Class)-Miami, Florida. Room Type-Junior Suite/Anniversary Hubby & I. Deck 10
Carnival Cruise/Carnival Ecstasy (Fantasy-Class)-Miami, Florida. Room Type- Two Grand Suites/Our Family with Parents- Deck 6 Upper
*Next Trip~ Carnival Cruise/ Carnival Dream (Dream-Class)-New Orleans, Louisiana. Room Type- Two Balcony Adjoining Rooms/ Our Family with Parents- Deck 8 Verandah
When I choose a Carnival ship, I want to pick the one that fits my family’s vacay time frame, nearest port and ultimate destinations. I specifically look for newer or refurbished ships, room size/type and price. We usually choose Grand Suites on Carnival, which gives us ample room for our family of four.
My family is fun natured, likes tidy, upscale accommodations and always loves a good time. We found that Carnival Cruise Lines gives us the most “bang for our buck” and overall “FUN’ that only a “Fun Ship” can provide.
The Verdict is in and Carnival is the winner to us, so all you naysayers out there, leave Carnival Cruise Lines alone; unless you’re booking your next vacation with them!