Counting the cruises you can take with Carnival
Setting sail with Carnival Cruise Line is a wonderful vacation for everyone, from couples to girlfriend getaways to families. After all, Carnival does claim to be home of the “fun” ships. At the same time, though, choosing a ship for your cruise can be overwhelming. Trying to determine which has the best dining, entertainment and calls of port for your group could warrant a separate vacation all its own. To ease the process, here’s a “cheat sheet” to help you find the cruise of your dreams.
Meet the family
Carnival Cruise Line currently maintains 25 ships in eight classes. The oldest class, Fantasy, has the most ships with eight, launched between 1990 and 1998. Introduced in 1999 and 2000, the Triumph class claims two ships: the Triumph and the Victory. The four ships of the Spirit class – Spirit, Pride, Legend and Miracle – launched between 2001 and 2004. The second largest class, Conquest, is comprised of the Conquest, Glory, Valor, Liberty and Freedom, all introduced between 2002 and 2007.
The Carnival Splendor is the lone ship in the Splendor class and set sail in 2008. The Dream class features three ships – Dream, Magic and Breeze – unveiled between 2009 and 2012. After the Destiny was refurbished, it was reintroduced in 2013 as the Carnival Sunshine and represents the Sunshine class. In 2016, the Vista class, Carnival's newest, came into being with the launching of the Vista, which will be joined by the Horizon in 2018.
Head of the class
Choosing the most popular Carnival Cruise Line ship is like choosing a favorite child; it’s impossible to make that choice. Why? With 25 ships to choose from, everyone has a favorite. Criteria for a favorite range from restaurants, entertainment and amenities available onboard to ship size to the cruise itinerary. Some travelers select a ship based purely on where it’s headed, while others just want to sail with a smaller crowd. Newer ships always see a spike in booking because everyone wants to check out the latest innovations. So, determining which ship in the Carnival line is the “most popular” really depends on who you ask.
Lost in the crowd
With the “bigger is better” attitude of cruise lines today, it’s not surprising the newest ships are also the largest. For example, the Carnival Vista has a guest capacity of 3,934. For those not bothered by crowds, these larger ships can be a great choice because they usually have most, if not all, of the latest restaurants, entertainment and amenities available from Carnival today.
For travelers who prefer a smaller ship with fewer people, choose an older ship, like the Carnival Elation. It carries just 2,054 guests, a vast difference from that of the newer ships. Guests may sacrifice the modern updates of the larger ships, but could feel more at home with the smaller size.
Cruising for savings
All travelers want to get the most bang for their buck, and it’s no different with cruises. With Carnival Cruise Line, there are many ways to score an affordable cruise vacation. For guests who can drop everything and leave at a moment’s notice, last-minute cruise bookings can be had at greatly reduced rates – as much as 80 percent off the original booking price. However, the majority of vacationers don’t have that flexibility and should book as far in advance as possible. Carnival lists its latest travel deals on its website, so search it for offers that work with the cruise you want.
Also, choosing cruise dates during “low” season – avoiding major holidays and April through July – can also be rewarded with lower rates. After the cruise is booked, keep an eye on the Carnival website. If you see the same cruise offered at a lower rate, call customer service and request that rate. Price differences generally are refunded to guest accounts as onboard credit, which can be used to purchase alcohol, spa treatments, souvenirs and so on.
Cruising with Carnival Cruise Line provides a lot of variety for a vacation. Spend time researching the ships and the itineraries to find the cruise you’ve always wanted.