The 5 Best Carnival Cruise Ships 2024 Ranked for Your Perfect Vacation Experience

Olu Ojo
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Selecting the correct Carnival cruise ship can significantly enhance your sea travel experience, as each ship in the fleet offers a unique set of features to cater to various preferences and vacation needs. Carnival Cruise Line boasts some of the most famous vessels in the industry, designed to create an immersive and enjoyable atmosphere for travelers of all ages.

From sprawling water parks for the young and young at heart to tranquil spa retreats for relaxation seekers, every ship has something special. While cruising is about the journey, Carnival ensures that the destinations and itineraries are as inviting and diverse as the onboard amenities.

Navigating the choices can be daunting, with Carnival’s fleet offering many onboard amenities, dining experiences, and room categories. The key is to identify what matters most to you: Adventure-packed excursions at exotic ports, the gourmet culinary options, or the luxury of a balcony stateroom with ocean views.

Understanding what you value most in your cruise vacation will help determine which ship best aligns with your preferences. Investing time in planning and research before booking can lead to a highly personalized and memorable cruising experience, whether you’re seeking adventure on the high seas or a relaxing escape from the everyday.

Key Takeaways From The Best Carnival Cruise Ships

  • Carnival cruise ships offer a variety of onboard activities and amenities to suit different traveler preferences.
  • Itinerary selection and destination experiences are essential aspects of the Carnival cruising experience.
  • Choosing the right stateroom is important for maximizing comfort and enjoyment on a Carnival cruise.

Finding the Best Carnival Cruise Ship for Your Vacation

Selecting the ideal Carnival cruise ship depends on personal preferences and travel needs. Each ship in the Carnival fleet has distinct offerings catering to different experiences—from family fun to serene relaxation.

1. Best for Families: Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras stands out in the Carnival fleet as the ultimate family-friendly vessel. With features like the Carnival Multiplex and the first-at-sea roller coaster, this ship ensures that family members of all ages can enjoy their vacation. The ship also hosts an expansive kids club to keep younger cruisers engaged.

2. Luxury and Relaxation: Carnival Horizon

For a touch of luxury and unwinding, the Carnival Horizon offers the Cloud 9 Spa and an exclusive retreat called Loft 19. Guests seeking a more upscale experience will appreciate the high-quality service and amenities contributing to the serene ambiance aboard.

3. On a Budget: Carnival Conquest

The Carnival Conquest caters to budget travelers, providing the best value without compromising on the Carnival experience. With competitive pricing, it still offers various amenities and entertainment options, making it perfect for those prioritizing value over luxury.

4. For Solitary Travelers: Carnival Sunrise

Carnival Sunrise is the ship of choice for solo guests, offering the Serenity Adult-Only Retreat and the Alchemy Bar for a more grown-up atmosphere. Single cabins mean no single supplements, making it easier for individual travelers to enjoy their own space while mingling with like-minded adults.

5. Senior-Friendly Cruising: Carnival Pride

Carnival Pride is known to be highly accommodating for retirees, featuring the Serenity Adult-Only Retreat for a peaceful getaway. Its attentive service and the variety of relaxation options make it a favored choice for older guests who prefer a quieter, more relaxed pace of travel.

Top Destinations and Excursions

Carnival Cruise Line offers an array of enticing destinations, each paired with memorable excursions. Below are some highlights:


In the Caribbean, one can’t miss Antigua, where passengers can explore history at Nelson’s Dockyard and Shirley Heights. The Bahamas offers turquoise waters and white sands, perfect for snorkeling.


Cruising to Alaska, travelers encounter stunning glaciers and wildlife. Shore excursions often include whale watching and nature hikes.


European itineraries bring the old-world charm with stops in cities that blend rich history and modern flair. Guests may walk through ancient ruins or indulge in local cuisines.


In Asia, guests experience diverse cultures and vibrant cityscapes, with excursions that may include temple visits or culinary tours.


Mexico presents a mix of culture and relaxation, especially along the Mexican Riviera. Excursions here often involve beach activities and historical sites.

Hawaii and Australia

Meanwhile, Hawaii offers volcanic landscapes and traditional luaus, whereas Australia provides a chance to see the Great Barrier Reef or Sydney’s iconic opera house.

New Orleans

The city is rich with jazz, Creole cuisine, and distinctive French architecture for those embarking from New Orleans. Carnival ensures that each destination provides a variety of excursions for all interests, whether it’s adventure, relaxation, cultural exploration, or family fun.

Onboard Amenities and Dining Experiences

Carnival Cruise ships are renowned for their broad entertainment and dining options catering to all age groups and tastes. Each vessel boasts unique amenities that promise fun and excitement during the voyage.

Thrill-seekers will find the onboard roller coaster and SkyRide heart-pumping attractions offering stunning ocean views. The ropes course provides an adventurous challenge high above the deck, adding to the exhilarating experience. Dr. Seuss WaterWorks offers whimsical water slides and splash pads for family-friendly fun.

Carnival’s culinary offerings are just as diverse, ranging from casual eateries to upscale dining experiences. Guy’s Burger Joint serves up mouthwatering burgers crafted by celebrity chef Guy Fieri. At Bonsai Teppanyaki, diners can watch their meals prepared with flair right at their tables. Cucina del Capitano delivers a warm, family-style dining environment for those craving Italian. At the same time, JiJi Asian Kitchen presents an array of pan-Asian specialties.

  • Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse is the go-to for premium cuts and a sophisticated atmosphere.
  • RedFrog Pub embodies the lively spirit of the islands with its private-label brew.
  • For a good laugh, guests can visit the Punchliner Comedy Club, which features a lineup of top comedians.

Completing the onboard amenities is the chance to catch a blockbuster at the IMAX theater, offering an immersive movie experience at sea. Every Carnival ship truly lives up to the moniker of Fun Ship, providing endless entertainment and dining options that ensure every moment on board is memorable.

Choosing the Right Stateroom

When selecting a stateroom on a Carnival cruise, passengers have various options catering to different preferences and needs. Each type of cabin presents its own set of amenities and levels of service. Balcony cabins are popular choices offering private outdoor space. They provide a feel of spaciousness with the addition of a balcony, which is typically around 75 sq ft.

For those cruising with family, Family Harbor staterooms, positioned near the exclusive Family Harbor Lounge, are tailored to ensure comfort for adults and children. These rooms offer additional benefits such as free dining for kids and one day of free Night Owls babysitting service.

Here is a simple breakdown of the primary stateroom categories:

  • Interior cabins: The most cost-effective option, ideal for passengers who plan to spend most of their time enjoying the ship’s numerous activities.
  • Oceanview cabins: Feature a window or porthole offering natural light and an ocean view.
  • Balcony cabins: Include a private balcony, adding extra space to enjoy the sea breeze.
  • Suites: The most spacious and luxurious option, with exclusive amenities and VIP services.

Passengers seeking relaxation should consider a Cloud 9 Spa stateroom, which provides convenient access to spa facilities and treatments.

Lastly, amenities and service quality are consistent across all stateroom types, ensuring a pleasant stay aboard a Carnival cruise. Passengers can expect attentive service, daily housekeeping, and 24-hour room service, ensuring their needs are met with the highest standards regardless of their chosen stateroom.


Carnival Cruise Ships are celebrated for their value and enjoyment. Among peers like Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Princess Cruises, these ships stand out for their festive atmosphere and array of onboard activities. When choosing a ship, prospective travelers consider various U.S. departure ports, such as Port MiamiPort CanaveralGalvestonLong BeachBaltimoreCharlestonMobile, and Jacksonville.

Each port offers different itineraries and experiences. PortMiami and Port Canaveral, for instance, provide extensive Caribbean adventures. Meanwhile, the Galveston port allows cruisers to explore the Mexican coastline easily. The Long Beach port caters to those looking to cruise along the Pacific to destinations like Hawaii and the Panama Canal.

Selecting a cruise ship and departure port is integral to the cruising experience. Here are the top picks based on recent reviews:

  • Carnival Breeze and Carnival Mardi Gras are often highlighted for their innovative features and onboard experiences.
  • Carnival Panorama is praised for its ship layout and cleanliness.

When evaluating cruise options, travelers should also consider the size and amenities of ships, itineraries, and the cruise line’s reputation. Carnival’s offerings emphasize a balance of relaxation and adventure, meeting various preferences for cruise-goers. Their ships are designed to create memorable vacations, ranging from tranquil retreats to high-energy entertainment, solidifying Carnival’s presence in the industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Carnival Cruise Line continues to innovate and delight travelers with ships that cater to various preferences, from family-friendly activities to adult-only retreats and lively entertainment.

What are the latest additions to the Carnival cruise ship fleet?

Carnival’s dynamic fleet frequently expands, with the Mardi Gras being a significant recent addition, celebrated for its bold features and the first roller coaster at sea.

Which Carnival cruise ships are best suited for family vacations?

For families, Mardi Gras is unparalleled with its array of onboard activities and expansive kids’ club, while Carnival Vista also offers features like the SkyRide and family-friendly Seuss at Sea program.

What options do Carnival cruises offer for adult-only cruising experiences?

Adult guests enjoy the Serenity Adult-Only Retreat across most of the Carnival fleet, providing a soothing escape with amenities such as bar service, whirlpools, and comfortable lounging spaces set apart from the family areas.

Among the Carnival ships, which are known for the best entertainment and party atmosphere?

Passengers seeking lively entertainment and a party vibe will find Carnival ships such as Carnival Panorama and Carnival Vista filled with night clubs, live shows, and deck parties that embody a festive and exuberant atmosphere.

How do the Carnival cruise ships compare regarding guest satisfaction and rankings?

Reviews from sites like and Cruise Critic show mixed responses, but consistently, ships like Carnival Panorama tend to rank high in guest satisfaction, with appealing itineraries and a strong value proposition.

Which ship in the Carnival fleet is considered the most luxurious or offers top-tier amenities?

The Carnival Horizon elevates the cruise experience with luxurious accommodations like Havana Cabanas and Suites, gourmet dining venues, and an IMAX Theater.

What is the best ship Carnival has?

The Carnival Vista has been hailed as the best ship in the Carnival fleet, with its innovative features, such as a suspended cycling track, an onboard brewery, and a SkyRide attraction. It also boasts spacious staterooms and an impressive selection of dining options.

Which Carnival cruise ship is the most fun?

While all Carnival ships offer a fun and vibrant atmosphere, the Carnival Fun Ships are known for their lively entertainment options and onboard activities. However, many guests consider the Carnival Breeze the most fun ship in the fleet. With its WaterWorks water park, mini-golf course, and sports court, there is no shortage of ways to have a good time on board. The ship’s RedFrog Pub and Guy’s Burger Joint are popular spots for guests looking to kick back and enjoy delicious food and drinks.

What is the newest Carnival ship?

The newest Carnival ship is the Mardi Gras, which debuted in 2020. This innovative vessel features unique amenities, including the first roller coaster at sea, a suspended ropes course, and a stunning atrium with three-deck-high glass panels. The Mardi Gras also offers a variety of specialty restaurants, including celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse’s first-ever seagoing restaurant. With its state-of-the-art design and exciting features, the Mardi Gras will surely provide an unforgettable cruise experience for guests of all ages.

What is considered the most admirable cruise line?

Carnival Cruise Line is often considered one of the most admirable cruise lines in the industry. With a focus on providing fun and affordable vacations for all, Carnival has won numerous awards and accolades over the years. They are known for their vibrant onboard atmosphere, diverse dining options, and high-quality entertainment.

Additionally, Carnival is strongly committed to environmental sustainability and social responsibility, making it a top choice for socially conscious travelers. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly vacation or a romantic getaway, Carnival is sure to impress with its exceptional service and exciting itineraries.


  • Olu Ojo

    My name is Olu. I am a passionate entrepreneur who loves to write about Pets, Home Improvement Hacks & Products, Fitness, and Travel Lifestyle. I have two bachelor's degrees in Veterinary Medicine and Applied Accounting with a CPA designation. I currently shuffle time between completing a Master of Business Administration Degree Education, Professional Practice, and Content writing. I have freelanced lifestyle content and posts for many top authority websites like MSN, and Wealth of Geeks.

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