The 8 categories of Carnival Cruise Line ships, defined

Editor’s word: It is a ordinary put up, continuously up to date with new data.


Enthusiastic about a cruise on a Carnival Cruise Line send? Fortunately, you’ve gotten a large number of choices.

Via the tip of 2022, Carnival could have 25 vessels in provider. That’s extra ships than some other main cruise line excluding Royal Caribbean, which has 26 vessels.

Usually, Carnival ships are massive however, excluding one exception, they’re now not giants by means of as of late’s requirements. In 2021, Carnival started running its first actually large send in years — the 181,808-ton, 5,282-passenger Mardi Gras. Rather then Mardi Gras, Carnival’s best vessel is the 4,008-passenger Carnival Landscape, which measures simply 135,000 lots. That’s about 40% smaller than the most important ships operated by means of Royal Caribbean.

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Six of the 25 vessels Carnival will perform by means of the tip of 2022 measure not up to 100,000 lots, which makes them virtually mid-size by means of as of late’s cruise send requirements.

It is a notable exchange for the logo from simply a few many years in the past. There used to be a time when Carnival operated one of the vital best cruise ships on the planet. On the other hand, for a few years, it has held again from following opponents similar to Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises in construction ever-bigger ships. Mardi Gras is now the one Carnival send at the listing of the sector’s 50 best cruise vessels.

The arriving of Mardi Gras in 2021 marked a significant turning level for the road. At 181,808 lots, it’s the Eleventh-largest cruise send on the planet and 35% larger than the road’s next-biggest send. Two extra ships within the collection — Carnival Birthday party and Carnival Jubilee — will arrive in overdue 2022 and 2023, respectively.

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Carnival cruise ship
Carnival ships are simple to identify at sea, due to their unique wing-shaped funnels. (Photograph courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

The excellent news for the ones of you seeking to get a maintain on all of the choices inside the Carnival fleet is that the road’s 25 ships can simply be bunched into simply 8 teams of vessels that experience equivalent facilities. If you understand one member of the crowd, you understand all of them.

Every of those teams — referred to as “categories” in cruise business lingo — is made up of ships that have been built round the similar time with the similar elementary design.

In This Publish

An creation to Carnival Cruise Line ships

As discussed above, Carnival’s 25 ships may also be damaged down into 8 distinct teams or categories. A key element about Carnival ships is that there are a large number of similarities from category to category inside the Carnival fleet.

Not like Royal Caribbean and a few different cruise strains, Carnival doesn’t all the time enormously exchange the design of its ships from category to category.

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As a substitute, Carnival most often takes an incremental solution to design adjustments for its new categories of ships. You’ll to find so much in commonplace between the Vista category and Dream category, as an example. Those two categories aren’t all that other in really feel from the sooner Splendor and Conquest categories of ships, even though they’re slightly larger.

Carnival cruise ship
Carnival’s latest ships are loaded with balcony cabins. (Photograph courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

That stated, Carnival is in the course of a significant exchange in its philosophy on send design. Its new Excel-class vessels — which first debuted in 2021 with the arriving of Mardi Gras — are a ways larger than its previous ships, and they have got a large number of new options and facilities (together with the first-ever curler coaster on a cruise send — and, no, we’re now not making that up).

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For a few years, Carnival prompt transparent of the massive send developments within the business. Executives idea the ever-bigger vessels being deployed by means of such strains as Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises have been too giant to make for an stress-free cruise revel in. Now, Carnival is switching gears and becoming a member of in at the race to giant ships — without a doubt since the large ships unveiled by means of another strains had been greatly well liked by cruisers.

At Carnival, as at different strains, the most important ships within the fleet have essentially the most facilities, eateries, lounges, bars and deck-top sights than the smaller ships. This is a large plus for vacationers who love to have a large number of choices when vacationing. On the other hand, Carnival’s best ships additionally sail with extra passengers, which generally is a turnoff should you’re the type of traveler who likes a extra intimate revel in.

deck of Carnival cruise ship
Some Carnival ships, together with the year-old Carnival Landscape, have massive water park complexes. (Photograph courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

Usually, Carnival’s best and maximum amenity-packed ships are its latest ships. If you happen to’re in search of a cruise revel in with essentially the most imaginable onboard actions and venues, you’ll wish to steer towards the vessels in Carnival’s new Excel category and its rather younger Vista and Dream categories.

If cruising in a extra intimate setting is your desire, you’ll wish to take a look at a few of Carnival’s older categories of ships together with the Spirit and Fable categories.

Be aware that whilst Carnival entered 2022 with 25 ships and can finish the 12 months with 25 ships, they received’t be the very same lineup of vessels. The road is in the course of eliminating two of its oldest ships — Carnival Sensation and Carnival Ecstasy — from its fleet. Each will probably be long past by means of the tip of 2022. On the identical time, Carnival will upload a secondhand vessel to its fleet in 2022 which has been crusing because the Costa Luminosa for its sister emblem Costa Cruises. Carnival could also be including the aforementioned Carnival Birthday party to its fleet in 2022.

Additionally, Carnival will start running two extra Costa ships — Costa Venezia and Costa Firenze — in 2023 and 2024, respectively; they’ll care for their Costa branding however be advertised to Carnival’s core North American passenger base. To be advertised as “Costa by means of Carnival,” the sailings at the two ships will happen out of New York and Los Angeles.

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Excel category

Ships in school: Mardi Gras (2021), Carnival Birthday party (coming in overdue 2022), Carnival Jubilee (coming in overdue 2023).

Dimension: 181,808 lots.

Carnival Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras is Carnival’s best send ever. (Photograph courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

If you happen to’re within the “larger is best” camp in terms of cruise ships, that is the Carnival category for you.

At round 181,000 lots, Carnival’s 3 new Excel-class vessels — two of which, Carnival Birthday party and Carnival Jubilee, nonetheless are underneath development — are 35% larger than the road’s next-biggest ships and be offering extra eateries, lounges, bars and deck-top sights than some other ships within the Carnival fleet by means of a ways.

Designed to take Carnival’s “enjoyable send” shtick to a brand new stage, the ships are so giant that, as famous above, they have got room for curler coasters on their height decks — a cruise business first. They even have a a ways broader array of suites than previous Carnival vessels.

A number of the new eating venues on Mardi Gras is the 1st Emeril Lagasse eating place at sea in addition to the 1st Large Rooster eatery at sea. (Large Rooster is a series created by means of basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, who additionally serves as a Carnival spokesperson.)

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Whilst solely Mardi Gras is recently crusing, voyages on either one of the opposite vessels on this collection are already open for bookings.

Along with that includes a curler coaster, Mardi Gras used to be the 1st send from a North The united states-based line designed to perform on liquefied herbal fuel. The gas is touted as being cleaner than conventional send gas.

One caveat to bear in mind should you’re considering of reserving an Excel-class send: They’re going to sail with an excessively massive collection of other people. If being round crowds bothers you, those might not be the ships for you. The vessels are designed to carry a whopping 5,282 passengers at double occupancy. With each and every pullout settee and pull-down bunk stuffed, they may be able to grasp as much as 6,630 passengers.

Vista category

Ships in school: Carnival Landscape (2019), Carnival Horizon (2018), Carnival Vista (2016).

Dimension: 135,000 lots.

Carnival Panorama
The 4,008-passenger Carnival Landscape. (Photograph courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

With the arriving of Mardi Gras, the Vista-class ships are not the most important and maximum amenity-packed ships within the Carnival fleet. Nonetheless, they provide a large number of choices in terms of eateries, bars, lounges and deck-top sights — greater than you’ll to find on maximum different Carnival vessels.

All 3 have water parks with waterslides on their height decks in addition to miniature golfing lessons, ropes lessons and more than one pool spaces. They’re additionally identified for his or her pedal-powered, suspended-in-the-air SkyRide sights.

Carnival Vista and Carnival Horizon even have Imax theaters — the 1st within the cruise business. Carnival Landscape, in the meantime, has the 1st trampoline park ever placed on a cruise send, in a partnership with Sky Zone.

waterslides on Carnival cruise ship
The WaterWorks water park on Carnival Landscape. (Photograph by means of Gene Sloan/The Issues Man)

There’s additionally a smorgasbord of eating places, bars and lounges. A number of the many choices on those ships are Carnival’s first breweries at sea. On Carnival Landscape and Carnival Horizon, Man’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse | Brewhouse gives beer brewed on web site together with fish fry dishes designed by means of the Meals Community’s Man Fieri.

On Carnival Vista, there’s a stand-alone brewery and a separate fish fry venue.

Different eateries at the ships come with informal, Man Fieri-designed Man’s Burger Joint, Chipotle-like burrito spot BlueIguana Cantina, sushi retailers and steakhouses. In addition they characteristic Italian eatery Cucina Del Capitano in addition to JiJi Asian Kitchen. Carnival Horizon and Carnival Landscape even have teppanyaki eating places, and all 3 Vista-class ships have devoted chef’s tables positioned inside of their galleys.

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ride on Carnival cruise ship
The SkyRide enchantment on Carnival Landscape. (Photograph by means of Gene Sloan/The Issues Man)

The Vista-class ships have been, significantly, the 1st ships within the Carnival fleet to boast unique, keycard-restricted cabin spaces — a development that has been rising at many mass-market strains. There are two such spaces on every of the Vista-class ships: Havana Cabanas and Circle of relatives Harbor, the latter of which is in particular aimed at households.

The water park house on Carnival Horizon is especially alluring should you’re a Dr. Seuss fan. Distinctive a number of the water parks within the Carnival fleet, it has a Dr. Seuss theme.

The ships grasp about 4,000 passengers every, in keeping with double occupancy.

Be aware that the 2 Costa Cruises ships becoming a member of the Carnival fleet in 2023 and 2024 (Carnival Venezia and Carnival Firenze, respectively) are sister ships to Carnival Vista, Carnival Horizon and Carnival Landscape. Whilst they’ll care for their Costa branding, they have got a equivalent elementary structure as the 3 Vista Elegance ships.

Dream category

Ships in school: Carnival Breeze (2012), Carnival Magic (2011), Carnival Dream (2009).

Dimension: 130,000 lots.

carnival cruise ship
The three,690-passenger Carnival Magic. (Photograph by means of Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line)

Carnival’s Dream-class ships are kind of the similar length as its Vista-class ships, and the 2 categories have so much in commonplace. Nonetheless, there are a couple of key variations.

For starters, the Dream-class ships don’t have Imax theaters or trampoline parks. Each have been inventions that debuted with the Vista-class ships. In addition they lack unique, keycard-restricted cabin spaces and one of the vital eateries discovered on Vista-class ships.

Nonetheless, for essentially the most phase, should you’ve been on a Vista-class send, you’ll right away really feel at house on a Dream-class send.

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Dream-class ships proportion one of the vital identical facilities as Vista-class ships. As an example, Carnival Dream and Carnival Magic each characteristic ropes lessons on their height decks whilst Carnival Breeze has a 4D “thrill theater.” Those inventions first debuted on Dream-class ships. 

Dream-class ships additionally be offering water parks with waterslides on their height decks, miniature golfing lessons, sports activities courts for basketball and volleyball, and more than one swimming pools.

Internal venues on Dream-class ships come with Punchliner comedy golf equipment, piano bars, casinos and showrooms for large manufacturing presentations. The eating choices are very similar to what you’ll to find on Vista-class ships; Man’s Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, steakhouses and the Italian eatery Cucina Del Capitano are incorporated on all 3 vessels.

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Two of the 3 ships — Carnival Breeze and Carnival Dream — even have sushi eateries, whilst Carnival Breeze and Carnival Magic have Carnival’s Caribbean-inspired watering hollow, RedFrog Pub.

The ships on this category grasp 3,646 to three,690 passengers, in keeping with double occupancy.

Splendor category

Ships in school: Carnival Splendor (2008).

Dimension: 113,300 lots.

Carnival Splendor is an outlier within the Carnival fleet — a boat that makes up a category all its personal. That stated, it has so much in commonplace with the ships of Carnival’s Conquest-class ships (see beneath).

Initially designed and ordered for Italy-based Costa Cruises — a sister emblem to Carnival — the send is if truth be told a sister vessel to Costa’s 4 Concordia-class ships. It’s going to be acquainted to someone who is aware of Carnival ships since the design of Costa’s Concordia category used to be founded upon the design of Carnival’s Conquest category, and the 2 categories are very equivalent.

The principle distinction between Carnival Splendor and its Conquest-class cousins is that the previous has an enlarged and redesigned height deck house. The construction round the principle pool of the send is noticeably other, with a retractable, glass-topped magrodome that you simply received’t to find at the Conquest-class ships, in addition to a water play house for youngsters. The send additionally has a larger spa house.

Rather then that, even though, Carnival Splendor is mainly a variation of the Conquest-class ships. Dimension-wise, it’s only a few thousand lots larger. It holds 3,012 passengers, in keeping with double occupancy.

Conquest category

Ships in school: Carnival Freedom (2007), Carnival Liberty (2005), Carnival Valor (2004), Carnival Glory (2003), Carnival Conquest (2002).

Dimension: 110,000 lots.

At 111,000 lots, the Conquest-class ships (and Carnival Splendor, famous above) are about 20% smaller than the more moderen Vista-class and Dream-class ships. Because of this, they have got fairly fewer facilities.

Nonetheless, you’ll to find a large number of the vintage Carnival “enjoyable send” sights on those vessels together with water play spaces with waterslides, miniature golfing lessons and adults-only Serenity deck-top retreat spaces.

You’ll additionally discover a forged array of eateries on every of the ships together with a Man’s Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina burrito retailers and steakhouses.

Along with being smaller than Vista-class and Dream-class ships, Conquest-class ships additionally sail with fewer passengers. The entire Conquest-class vessels grasp simply shy of three,000 passengers at double occupancy — about 1,000 fewer passengers than the Vista-class ships.

That’s a noticeable distinction should you’re the type of tourist who doesn’t love to be round large crowds. For some Carnival fanatics, the smaller length of the Conquest category and Splendor category makes those ships interesting. Others choose the added facilities that include the larger ships.

Spirit category

Ships in school: Carnival Miracle (2004), Carnival Legend (2002), Carnival Delight (2002), Carnival Spirit (2001), and the previous Costa Luminosa, to be renamed Carnival Luminosa (coming 2022).

Dimension: 88,500 lots.

Carnival cruise ship
The two,124-passenger Carnival Spirit sails into Sydney Harbour. (Photograph by means of James D. Morgan/Getty Pictures/Carnival Cruise Traces Australia)

Carnival Spirit-class ships are the adventurers of the Carnival fleet.

The vessels are constructed for “all-weather” cruising, with swimming pools that may be lined by means of retractable domes when it’s chilly and stormy; those are the ships that sail in puts similar to Alaska, the place even in the summertime it may be too cold for sunning on an open pool deck.

Those also are the ships that Carnival makes use of for iciness sailings to the Caribbean from Baltimore, which will contain an afternoon or two of chilly and stormy crusing within the Atlantic.

In some contemporary years, Carnival additionally has deployed considered one of its Spirit-class ships around the Pacific to Australia — essentially the most far-flung vacation spot that it gives on its agenda.

Along with having a weather-proof major pool house, the Spirit-class ships are nice for far-flung locations on account of their rather small length, which lets them get admission to smaller ports. At simply 88,500 lots, they’re a number of the smallest ships within the Carnival fleet — not up to part the scale of Carnival’s new Excel-class vessels.

The Spirit-class ships are significantly decrease and sleeker than maximum different vessels within the Carnival fleet. Passing underneath rather small bridges isn’t an issue for them. Not like a large number of just lately constructed cruise vessels, additionally they are skinny sufficient within the heart that they may be able to squeeze in the course of the outdated locks of the Panama Canal.

The Spirit-class vessels additionally boast the biggest proportion of balcony cabins and oceanview cabins within the Carnival fleet, which makes them best possible for a vacation spot similar to Alaska the place with the ability to watch the surroundings from one’s cabin is a large plus.

They’re additionally rather intimate ships, maintaining simply 2,124 passengers at double occupancy. Via modern day cruise send requirements, that makes them “mid-size” vessels.

Nonetheless, you’ll look forward to finding most of the identical fun-focused options on Spirit-class ships that you simply’ll to find at the line’s larger vessels, together with water parks with waterslides and miniature golfing lessons. Spirit-class ships even have one of the crucial distinctive options in all the cruising business — particular date-night eating places which might be integrated into their funnels and have translucent glass-dome ceilings.

The brand new send that Carnival is obtaining from its sister emblem Costa Cruises, the previous Costa Luminosa, will have compatibility into this category when it arrives. The send used to be constructed to the similar elementary specs because the 4 current Spirit-class vessels on this category, even if this can be a tad larger and will grasp a couple of extra passengers. It dates to 2009.

Sunshine category

Ships in school: Carnival Radiance (2000/2021), Carnival Daybreak (1999/2019), Carnival Sunshine (1996/2013).

Dimension: 102,000 lots.

(Photo by Gene Sloan / The Points Guy)
Carnival Daybreak docked in Bermuda. (Photograph by means of Gene Sloan/The Issues Man)

The Sunshine category (as soon as referred to as the Future category) could also be essentially the most odd category of ships within the Carnival fleet. On paper, the ships on this category are a number of the oldest vessels that Carnival operates. On the other hand, you can also make a controversy that they’re a number of the latest vessels within the line.

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It is because every of the ships on this collection has been virtually totally gutted and rebuilt from the waterline up.

The makeovers of the ships, which started in 2013, have been so thorough that Carnival has given every of the vessels a brand new title. Carnival Sunshine is what old-time Carnival fanatics will consider as Carnival Future. Carnival Daybreak is the previous Carnival Triumph. Carnival Radiance is the send that started lifestyles as Carnival Victory.

Carnival spent $200 million on my own in 2019 overhauling Carnival Daybreak. Along with polishing up on the subject of each and every area at the send, the cash used to be used so as to add vintage Carnival sights that the send lacked; this incorporated a full-blown water park, which changed a unmarried waterslide on considered one of its height decks.

Carnival Daybreak additionally won a SportSquare house on its height deck like those discovered on more moderen Carnival vessels. It has a ropes route, basketball court docket, miniature golfing route, outside pool and pingpong tables. Carnival didn’t finish the deck-top adjustments there. It additionally discovered area for some other signature Carnival providing that were missing: an adults-only Serenity outside front room house with padded loungers, daybeds, a scorching bath and a complete bar.

As well as, Carnival Daybreak now has part a dozen new meals and beverage venues together with a model of Carnival’s signature steakhouse, Fahrenheit 555; Carnival’s signature Italian eatery, Cucina Del Capitano; and a Bonsai Categorical sushi outlet.

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The overhaul of Carnival Sunshine, which came about in 2013, introduced equivalent adjustments, in addition to a whole renovation of the send’s pool house that integrated a multideck waterfall.

Carnival Radiance, for its phase, simply emerged from its long-scheduled overhaul, which used to be not on time in overdue 2021 by means of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Be aware that even after the makeovers, the ships nonetheless don’t have all of the bells and whistles of Carnival’s actually new ships, similar to Carnival Landscape. As famous above, Carnival’s latest ships are larger than its older ships, bearing in mind extra sights, eating places and lounges.

At round 102,000 lots, the Sunshine-class ships are greater than 20% smaller than Carnival Landscape and greater than 40% smaller than Mardi Gras.

The ships grasp from 2,984 to three,002 passengers, in keeping with double occupancy.

Apparently, those weren’t all the time thought to be smaller vessels. Actually, when the road first unveiled Carnival Sunshine in 1996 (again when it used to be known as Carnival Future), it used to be the most important cruise send on the planet. It additionally used to be the 1st cruise send to surpass 100,000 lots.

Now, it doesn’t even crack the listing of the 50 best cruise vessels.

Fable category

Ships in school: Carnival Paradise (1998), Carnival Elation (1998), Carnival Ecstasy (1991).

Dimension: 70,000 lots.

Constructed within the Nineteen Nineties, the Fable-class ships are Carnival’s oldest and smallest ships, and the road is starting to section them out. Going into 2020, the road had 8 of those vessels. Then, it got rid of 4 of them from its fleet quickly after the COVID-19 pandemic started, and this 12 months it’s within the technique of eliminating two extra — Carnival Sensation and Carnival Ecstasy. Carnival Sensation already left the Carnival fleet a couple of months in the past, and Carnival Ecstasy will depart the Carnival fleet later this 12 months.

The Fable-class ships which might be left are most commonly utilized in secondary ports — similar to Jacksonville, Florida, and Cellular, Alabama — that may now not be capable to reinforce larger vessels.

Whilst nonetheless much-beloved by means of Carnival fanatics, partially for his or her intimate length, those ships significantly lack a lot of balcony cabins — the cabin kind that everybody desires at the present time. Many of the cabins on those ships are “ocean-view” cabins that solely be offering a window or a porthole, or windowless “within” cabins.

That stated, all the last Fable-class ships have gone through renovations over time so as to add extra balcony cabins. Relying at the send, there have been between 98 and 150 new balconies added, together with new suites.

The ships have rather fewer facilities and venues than the more moderen and larger Carnival ships. You received’t to find large water parks on those vessels like you might on more moderen Carnival ships; you’ll to find more than one slides and a sprig park for the youngsters, even though. The eating choices also are restricted.

Nonetheless, for a large number of Carnival fanatics, those are enjoyable ships.

Every of the vessels holds from 2,052 to two,124 passengers, in keeping with double occupancy.

Final analysis

Carnival has rather a couple of other categories of ships, however the variations between lots of them aren’t as giant as the variations between categories at different strains. You’ll to find a large number of consistency from send to send within the Carnival fleet in the kind of venues that you simply to find on board. Lately, Carnival has spent $2 billion overhauling lots of its ships to create extra consistency in onboard venues and facilities.

Travelers in search of a large hotel revel in with a large number of choices will have to make a choice considered one of Carnival’s latest ships, that are larger and feature extra facilities. If you happen to’re in search of extra intimacy in a cruise send, one of the vital older categories of ships, similar to the ones within the Spirit category, may well be good.

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Featured photograph courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line.