All Carnival Ships From Best to Worst! (2024) - Cruise with Leo

All Carnival Ships From Best to Worst! (2024)

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carnival ship

Over the years, Carnival’s fleet has grown remarkably! Today, 27 ships are part of the American company, an impressive number that makes it the cruise line with the largest fleet in the world!

I realize that, with so many ships, it can be difficult for passengers to determine which ship best suits their needs.

So, I decided to create a ranking, based on passenger reviews, showing which ships are considered the best and the worst in the fleet.

Consider that the ranking is based on personal preferences, it might vary depending on your needs and the type of trip you prefer.

Overall, all Carnival ships maintain a high quality and good standard that is consistent across the fleet.

26. Carnival Paradise

Carnival Paradise
Carnival Paradise

Carnival Paradise was launched in 1998 and is the second oldest ship in the entire Carnival fleet.

It basically offers a classic cruise experience with all the activities you would expect from Carnival, although it is undeniable that the ship shows its age in some areas.

The ship’s smaller size (can accommodate approx. 2,190 passengers) is perfect for those who are looking for an easier-to-navigate and more relaxing ship.

However, this also means that some facilities, like the pool and the Serenity adults-only area, can feel crowded, especially during peak times.

For example, passengers have noted that finding a lounge chair by the pool can be a challenge due to people reserving them early with towels. By the way, I’ve written an article on how to outwit chair hogs on cruise ships.

In addition, quite a few passengers highlight issues related to outdated decor and occasional maintenance problems, but I think these problems are to be expected when choosing a ship of this age.

25. Carnival Venezia

Carnival Venezia
Carnival Venezia

Carnival Venezia was introduced to the Carnival fleet in May 2023 after being moved from Costa Cruises (a cruise line that is part of the Carnival family).

The special quality of this ship is the unique blend of Italian elegance and Carnival’s fun atmosphere.

It’s a fairly large ship with a capacity of 4,090 passengers. Since it is relatively new, passengers have found everything in perfect working order and exceptionally clean.

Why is it in such a low position then? The ship was initially designed for the Asian market, so the pool area is way smaller than usual.

It seems that sunbathing areas are also smaller, so some outdoor spaces are often too crowded.

24. Carnival Elation

Carnival Elation
Carnival Elation

Carnival Elation is the oldest ship in the Carnival fleet. It was launched in 1998 and refurbished multiple times, including a significant update in 2017.

It can accommodate 2,190 passengers and, when you get onboard, you will notice the smaller size compared to the newer mega-ships.

I don’t consider size either a negative or a positive point. Some passengers prefer bigger ships, while others like smaller ones because they’re easier to navigate and less overwhelming.

Coming back to this ship, the decor can feel quite dated, featuring a mix of 1970s geometric designs and Vegas-style elements, but it doesn’t affect the overall fun experience most passengers have.

In my opinion, it could still be a good option for more intimate and budget-friendly cruise experiences.

23. Carnival Splendor

Carnival Splendor
Carnival Splendor

Carnival Splendor was launched in 2008 and is a Concordia-class ship. It’s the only ship in this class because the design was adapted by the Concordia class in the Costa Cruises fleet.

This name may sound familiar, as the class was named after the Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that capsized several years ago.

Back to Splendor, it was frequently updated over time and now has a passenger capacity of about 3,000 people.

Passenger reviews highlight the friendly and hardworking crew, who contribute significantly to the positive onboard experience.

However, some reviews note that the ship shows signs of age and occasional maintenance problems. I read a couple of reviews that talked about brown water from the taps.

Usually, tap water is safe to drink on cruise ships, but if you don’t wanna pay for a bottle there are 10 other drinks that are always free.

22. Carnival Freedom

Carnival Freedom
Carnival Freedom

Carnival Freedom was launched in 2007 and refurbished in 2019. It’s a Conquest-class ship with a capacity of 2,980 passengers.

The refurbishment brought in several popular features from Carnival’s Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades, including a nice waterpark with a 203-foot-long slide, new shops, Guy’s Burger Joint, and BlueIguana Cantina.

However, some passengers have noted issues with noise in cabins located near busy public areas, and occasional crowding in popular venues.

With these minor drawbacks, the overall feedback for Carnival Freedom is mixed.

21. Carnival Liberty

Carnival Liberty
Carnival Liberty

Carnival Liberty was launched in 2005 and refurbished in 2011 as part of Carnival’s $500 million Fun Ship 2.0 initiative.
If I remember correctly, Carnival Liberty was the first ship to showcase many of the new dining and bar options.

The ship has a passenger capacity of 2,974 and a crew of 1,160, so it’s a good passenger-to-crew ratio for an attentive service.

The cabins are noted for being roomy, with balconies that, while not the largest, offer a pleasant space to relax. However, some reviews mention that certain areas of the ship can feel dated.

20. Carnival Spirit

Carnival Spirit
Carnival Spirit

Carnival Spirit was launched in 2001 and refurbished several times, including a significant update in 2015.

Passenger reviews frequently highlight the friendly and attentive crew, who go out of their way to ensure a pleasant cruise experience.

The ship’s cleanliness and the ongoing maintenance efforts by the crew are also commonly praised. However, some passengers note that the ship’s age is quite evident in certain areas.

19. Carnival Legend

Carnival Legend
Carnival Legend

Carnival Legend was launched in 2002 and is part of Carnival’s Spirit-class ships.

The ship underwent significant refurbishment in 2024 that added popular venues such as the Heroes Tribute Bar, Chef’s Table, a refreshed Cloud 9 Spa, and a new Fitness Center.

Passenger reviews contain both positive and negative aspects. Many appreciate the ship’s friendly and attentive crew, as well as the wide range of activities and dining options.

However, some have noted that, despite the refurbishments, there are still a few things to improve on the ship and I’ve also seen occasional complaints about the quality of food and entertainment.

18. Carnival Conquest

Carnival Conquest
Carnival Conquest

Carnival Conquest was launched in 2002 and refurbished most recently in 2022.

It has a capacity of 2,984 passengers and showcases a design inspired by impressionist art and artists.

It looks like passengers had mixed experiences on this ship. Many appreciate the friendly service and wide range of activities, while some note that the ship can feel crowded, especially during peak times.

Dining experiences seem to vary as well, with some guests enjoying the variety and quality, while others find the buffet lines long and food service inconsistent.

In the article on things not to do at the buffet on a cruise, I explained the trick to avoid queues. Go read it if you haven’t already done it.

17. Carnival Miracle

Carnival Miracle
Carnival Miracle

Carnival Miracle was launched in 2004 and can accommodate 2,124 passengers.
Like many of the other ships, this one has undergone renovations in 2020.

I think that the ship’s decor is a bit eccentric, with public areas named after characters and settings from literature and legends, such as The Raven Library and Mad Hatter’s Ball Lounge.

People usually like this ship because it’s well-suited for a variety of itineraries, including Alaska and Hawaii. Even though, in my opinion, Carnival is not at the top of the best cruise lines for Hawaii

I like that the ship’s midsize design and efficient layout help to minimize crowding, providing a more intimate cruising experience compared to larger ships​

16. Carnival Pride

Carnival Pride
Carnival Pride

Carnival Pride was launched in 2002 and offers a unique cruise experience thanks to its Renaissance-inspired decor.

In addition, this Spirit-class ship, which can carry 2,124 passengers, underwent a significant refurbishment in 2023 to incorporate popular features like a nine-hole mini-golf course and a basketball court.

Like it usually happens with smaller ships, Carnival Pride effectively disperses its passengers, preventing the feeling of overcrowding while still offering a good variety of activities and dining options.

15. Carnival Valor

Carnival Valor
Carnival Valor

Carnival Valor was launched in 2004 and can be considered as a ship that perfectly mixes fun, comfort, and value.

It has a passenger capacity of 2,980 and features multiple pools, a three-deck-high water slide, numerous dining options, and numerous entertainment areas.

Passengers appreciate the port-intensive itineraries, often with fewer sea days, making it ideal for those who prefer to explore.

Moreover, the service on Carnival Valor is consistently praised for being friendly and attentive, embodying Carnival’s “Fun Ship” culture.

I don’t know why but, as some passengers have noted, the kids’ club is unusually located near the spa and Serenity deck, which might not be ideal for everyone.

14. Carnival Glory

Carnival Glory
Carnival Glory

Carnival Glory was launched in 2003 and perfectly embodies Carnival’s “Fun For All” philosophy.

The ship accommodates 2,980 passengers and can be considered as a medium-sized ship.

Despite being one of the oldest in the fleet, Carnival Glory remains a favorite due to its nice atmosphere and variety of entertainment options.

I’ve never been on this one but, according to many reviews, the ship’s design ensures ample space for passengers to move around and enjoy the amenities without feeling cramped.

13. Carnival Radiance

Carnival Radiance
Carnival Radiance

Carnival Radiance debuted in December 2021 after a $200 million refurbishment of the former Carnival Victory. It now offers a blend of modern amenities and cozy mid-sized ship comfort.

The ship’s layout was designed in 2000, which means that some venues feel a bit small despite the extensive refit.

However, outdoor spaces such as the pool deck and the Serenity adults-only area remain spacious and comfortable.

Passenger reviews emphasize mixed experiences. Some guests have expressed disappointment with crowded conditions, poor food quality in certain venues, and occasional maintenance issues.

12. Carnival Sunshine

Carnival Sunshine
Carnival Sunshine

Carnival Sunshine was initially launched as Carnival Destiny in 1996, and underwent a significant transformation in 2013, which cost about $155 million.

This refurbishment added many of the modern amenities found on newer Carnival ships.

In addition, the renovation introduced several modern design elements, replacing the older ones.

It looks like passengers appreciate the ship’s variety of comforts on board, but despite these positives, some people have noted that the adults-only areas can be a bit small, and the ship’s layout sometimes causes bottlenecks, especially around popular dining venues.

11. Carnival Sunrise

Carnival Sunrise
Carnival Sunrise

Carnival Sunrise was known as Carnival Triumph before its extensive renovation in 2019, and has a passenger capacity of nearly 3,000.

Like many Carnival ships, this one offers a great range of activities that ensures that passengers of all ages can find something enjoyable to do at almost any time of the day.

It looks like this ship is designed with families in mind, offering a rich kids’ club program (Camp Ocean) and family-oriented activities.

During peak seasons, the ship can carry hundreds of children, making it an exciting environment for young cruisers​.

On the other hand, this can be a drawback for those who are looking for a relaxing vacation.

10. Carnival Dream

Carnival Dream
Carnival Dream

Carnival Dream was launched in 2009 and is one of Carnival’s Dream-class ships.

Overall, it offers a good cruise experience, even though reviews can sometimes be mixed.

In particular, passengers often highlight the friendly and attentive service from the crew. From room stewards to dining staff, the crew members are noted for going above and beyond to ensure a pleasant cruise experience​.

At the same time, some passengers have reported issues with cabin maintenance, such as plumbing problems and carpet issues, which were not always resolved promptly.

9. Carnival Magic

Carnival Magic
Carnival Magic

Carnival Magic was launched in 2011 and refurbished in 2021. It is a Dream-class ship with a capacity of 3,690 passengers.

Passengers frequently comment on the wide array of activities and dining venues, which receives high praise.

I’ve seen a lot of reviews mentioning the quality of the food at Cucina del Capitano and the Prime Steakhouse.

Despite its many strengths, some passengers have noted issues such as crowded public spaces and long waits for dining and activities.

A few passengers recommended to dine during off-peak hours and to use less crowded areas like the Serenity Deck for adults​.

8. Carnival Breeze

Carnival Breeze
Carnival Breeze

Carnival Breeze was launched in 2012 and has a capacity of 3,690 passengers. It features various entertainment options, making it ideal for families, couples, and groups of friends.

If you read the review, you will notice that many guests have mentioned specific crew members who made their trip special, such as bartenders at the RedFrog Rum Bar and Tides Bar, and attentive room stewards.

In my opinion, this positive interaction with the crew significantly enhanced the overall cruise experience.

However, some passengers have noted drawbacks, such as the ship’s crowdedness during peak times and the informal party atmosphere, which might not appeal to everyone.

Despite these matters, many travelers still find Carnival Breeze to be a great value for a fun cruise vacation, like many people probably expect from Carnival.

7. Carnival Vista

Carnival Vista
Carnival Vista

Carnival Vista was launched in 2016 and can accommodate around 3,900 passengers.

They have shared mixed experiences regarding the ship.

One passenger mentioned that even on a 10-night cruise, there were still many activities left to explore, emphasizing the ship’s extensive entertainment options.

He enjoyed the SkyRide, 4D Thrill Theater, and the RedFrog Pub trivia sessions but noted missing out on the mini-golf and ropes course due to time constraints.

Another passenger noted that the casino had poor ventilation, making it unpleasant due to the pervasive smoke smell, which extended into the atrium.

They also mentioned that the ship was going into dry dock after their sailing for updates, so some areas might have been due for refurbishment​.

On the positive side, many passengers enjoyed the dining options available, especially restaurants like Bonsai Sushi and Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse.

6. Carnival Horizon

Carnival Horizon
Carnival Horizon

Carnival Horizon was launched in 2018 and was designed as a Vista-class ship developed to offer a diverse and animated cruise experience, in perfect “Carnival Style”.

From the reviews, it looks like it’s a ship that is particularly suited for families and large groups. There are plenty of activities on board such as the SkyRide aerial bicycle track, an IMAX theater, and Dr. Seuss’ WaterWorks waterpark.

If you’re a fan of Carnival’s food, this ship has two main dining rooms, a Lido Marketplace buffet, the super popular Guy’s Burger Joint, and BlueIguana Cantina (amongst the others).

Downsides? It may not be the best choice for those seeking a quiet and peaceful cruise experience.

5. Carnival Panorama

Carnival Panorama
Carnival Panorama

Carnival Panorama was launched in 2019 and was the third Vista-class ship in Carnival’s fleet.

It’s well known among cruise passengers for its array of activities and family-friendly atmosphere.

It can accommodate 4,008 passengers, with family-friendly cabins in the Family Harbor area and more luxurious options like the Havana cabins.

A few passengers said that the ship can be noisy, especially because some cabins are near to public space.

​To avoid this problem check the list of the cabins to avoid on every Carnival ship. You will find the exact cabin numbers you should not pick.

4. Carnival Luminosa

Carnival Luminosa
Carnival Luminosa

Carnival Luminosa was originally built for Costa Cruises in 2009 and was moved to Carnival in 2022.

It’s a mid-sized ship, that sails primarily from Brisbane, Australia, and offers a variety of comforts.

The ship’s interiors reflect its Italian roots with a bright and breezy décor.
Some passengers said a few elements look dated, but the overall maintenance and cleanliness are still excellent.

On board, you will find all the Carnival classics since the ship was adapted to the US market.

However, despite its strengths, Carnival Luminosa does have some drawbacks.

Passengers have reported issues with elevator wait times and occasional service delays. However, it looks like these are minor inconveniences compared to the overall enjoyable experience the ship provides

3. Carnival Celebration

Carnival Celebration
Carnival Celebration

On the lowest step of the podium is Carnival Celebration, a ship that was launched in 2022.

Like other ships in the fleet, she features several themed “zones,” including the Miami-themed 820 Biscayne and the New Orleans-inspired French Quarter.

A standout feature of this ship is its extensive range of entertainment options. The passengers loved the live music, karaoke, game shows like Family Feud, and several comedians performing at the Punchliner Comedy Club.

Additionally, there are some amazing deck parties and theme nights, here you can find the schedule for all Carnival ships.

Like many of the largest ships, the common issue noted by passengers is the wait times for elevators, food, and services, which can be long due to the high passenger capacity.

If you don’t like lines, I’ll definitely recommend a smaller cruise ship.

2. Carnival Mardi Gras

Carnival Mardi Gras
Carnival Mardi Gras

Second place for Carnival Mardi Gras, the flagship for the XL Class.

It was launched in 2021 and definitely stands out for its innovative features, including being the first cruise ship in North America powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is very important to reduce the environmental footprint.

Cruise ships already produce a large amount of waste, which is sometimes dumped into the ocean, so it is always a very good thing to take extra care of the environment.

Passengers particularly like the cabins, especially the Cove balcony cabins on Deck 5 that offer a unique experience closer to the sea​.

I’ve explained what the coves are in this article, many people love them and some people hate them, it’s a personal taste.

Negative aspects definitely include crowding. Different people noted that popular venues like the theater, Piano Bar, and Punchliner Comedy Club can get crowded, leading to long waits during peak times.

Additionally, a few people also added that the fitness center can be packed on sea days.

1. Carnival Jubilee

carnival jubilee ship
Carnival Jubilee

Carnival Jubilee is the newest and biggest Carnival ship.

I have to say that I’m quite surprised to see this ship in first position. Usually when new ships are launched the first reviews are quite mixed and passengers always find some problems that are then fixed over time.

However, this time looks like Carnival Jubilee won over passengers right from the start.

Of course, onboard you will find many of the activities for which Carnival is famous, including the BOLT rollercoaster, a ropes course, mini-golf, and a very interesting water park.

You will also find 22 different dining options, so you will definitely never eat the same thing in a row.

The ship is also highly family-friendly, with extensive facilities for kids, including clubs and family-oriented activities, so I would recommend it even if you’re traveling with children.

One of the few negative things I read often is that the high passenger capacity can lead to long lines at popular dining spots and activities, especially during peak times.

I don’t think this can be a major problem since experienced cruise passengers know which places to avoid during peak times.

If you’re still learning, look at the 10 Travel Hacks Only Cruise Pros Know and the 10 Things I Wish I Knew as a Cruise Rookie.


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