Yes~ I LOVE Carnival Cruise Line, REALLY!

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)

My cruises:
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!

2 Comments

  1. kim051172 says:

    I think it depends on the person/family and what they’re looking for in their cruise. My first cruise ever was on Carnival. After I got off the boat, I swore I would never sail Carnival again and I haven’t. This was even before all their publicized issues (2001). There were people letting their children in diapers use the pool, a lot of public drunkenness, people leaving trash all over, and more. I really had no issue with Carnival per se although the ship was in need of tlc even then (which I blamed on passengers treating it so poorly), but had no desire to be around my fellow passengers at all. It has been 15 years ago, so perhaps it’s changed, but with so many other options and the fact that I do prefer the kids’ activities on Disney for my son (we’ve sailed 5 times on Disney with our 6th sailing coming up in September, 2 sailings on Royal Caribbean, and 1 on Holland America), I will continue to not sail Carnival. I look at it, though, as the same as my hotel choices. Budget and moderate hotels have different amenities and different service levels overall than deluxe hotels and that’s ok. If my first experience in a hotel was the same as my first experience on Carnival, I would no longer stay in that hotel chain, either, not when I have so many other options. A good reputation, once lost, is very difficult to earn again.

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    1. dawnsdorkydiary says:

      Hi Kim,

      I’m sorry your experience wasn’t what you hoped with Carnival Cruise Lines. Either I’ve been extremely lucky thus far cruising with Carnival or you were very unlucky. If I have a bad experience with something, I usually try it one more time just to double check, like Mission Space or Star Tours, sick both times on each. The instances you refer to have also happened to me, but not on Carnival Cruise Line. I would definitely go on another Disney or Royal Caribbean cruise, but it might not be my first choice. A more expensive route is not a guarantee that your trip will run smoothly. No matter what Cruise, Vacation or Hotel you stay in, you have good and/or bad experiences, it’s just human nature! Thank you for your response.

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