After our recent 7-night cruise on Carnival Celebration, I wanted to share the things I loved most about this ship as well as 3 things I didn’t love.
The Celebration is one of Carnival’s newer ships and it is a beauty. We were on the Nov 26, 2023 sailing from Miami.
My Favorite Things About Carnival Celebration.
1. Celebration Central
Rather than the traditional enclosed circular atrium found in the middle of most Carnival cruise ships, Celebration instead has this central area on the side of the ship.
This is a three story theatre type area. Decks 6, 7, and 8. Behind the stage is a wall of windows. Some days the windows are visible while on other days screens come down as backdrops for the shows on the center stage.
There are multiple bars serving this area and you can watch the performers practice.
This “Celebration Central” makes the ship feel much brighter and more airy than many other ships.
2. Summer Landing
Summer Landing is the pool area at the back of deck 8.
This feels like a bonus pool area as this is in addition main pool, Tides pool at the back of deck 16, and the Serenity deck pool.
This is a beautiful pool with a large shallow area (couple inches) surrounding the pool which is great to sit in to cool off. There are even a couple lounge chairs in the shallow area. The back pool wall is glass overlooking the wake.
There are comfortable seating around the pool and even 2 seating areas with outdoor T.V.s televising sporting events.
Just past the pool on the starboard side (right) are 2 large hot tubs and a bar.
3. Guy’s Pig & Anchor Brewhouse
We loved this area. In this case I’m referring to the actual space and not the food as we didn’t eat here.
This is a large bright space with plenty of seating. There is a large bar, several T.V.s showing sporting events, a little stage area for live entertainment, shuffle board and foosball, and this is a place they often host activities.
Some of the activities we saw held here was trivia, line dancing, and other games.
Guy’s Pig & Anchor is located at the back (aft) of deck 8. You can access the outside Summer Landing area from the Pig & Anchor which adds to the bright and airiness of this area. The Hero’s Tribute area is beside which is another great space.
Check out the ceiling – I love it!
Another thing I loved about the Pig & Anchor Brewhouse is that every morning there was a breakfast buffet there. It had the same offerings as the main buffet, just on a smaller scale. I thought this was very clever on Carnival’s part. With the Celebration being a large ship, it was smart to offer a breakfast buffet elsewhere. This really minimized lines.
4. Watering Hole
This is a cute little bar on the outside of deck 8. It’s the perfect spot to grab a drink as you stroll the outside deck, relax in the hot tub or lounge by the Summer Landing pool.
Many of the bars on Carnival ships have their own menu. If you are looking to try something different, give the watermelon crush a try. It is made with vodka, fresh lemon juice, fresh watermelon and watermelon syrup. The cost of this drink (if you don’t have the drink package) is $11USD plus 18% automatic gratuity.
Bolt is the name of the “sea coaster” as Carnival calls it. This was actually more thrilling than I expected.
6. Casino has a non-smoking side
I loved that I didn’t smell cigarette smoke in the casino at all. There is a large non-smoking side, and it isn’t like some, where one bank of machines is non-smoking but the people at the bank behind you are smoking.
Even on the smoking side I hardly noticed the smell. There were times where it took me awhile to even realize I was in the smoking section.
7. Minimal lines!
I have been on other, smaller and older ships that seemed to have long lines at every food venue. I was pleasantly surprised that we didn’t experience really any lines. With so many food and bar options, people were spread out enough that it never felt busy. Minimal lines really contributes to a great cruise experience.
We even had a couple of really rainy days and I expected all of the seats in the bars to be taken as we recently experienced on the Carnival Radiance. I was really surprised when we first stopped at Bar 820 and half the seats were available. We then went to the Pig & Anchor, and again plenty of empty seats.
The Lido Marketplace (buffet restaurant) is often where you will see lines on a ship, however this one was very smartly designed. There were several smaller stations rather than one big long one. If one area was busy, you could go to another and have hardly anyone in front of you. I loved the non busy feeling of this ship.
8. Latitudes Bar
The Latitudes bar is on deck 6 and part of the “Gateway” zone. It is a classy design and a great place to grab a predinner drink. On our sailing there was live music nightly – either an electric violin trio or acoustic music.
I love all the details and signs. The stools have cool passport stamp designs and the “windows” are actually screens with color and movement to replicate outside.
9. All the beverage and ice cream stations
Beverage and ice cream stations throughout the ship was a smart design. You don’t have to always head to the Lido deck to find the water/ice/juice machine. There were beverage and ice cream/frozen yogurt stations in several different locations. Another way they eliminated lines and crowding.
By far the best ice cream and frozen yogurt location is the Army truck in the Hero’s Tribute Bar, which is beside the Pig & Anchor bar, deck 8.
10. Deck 8
Deck 8 was my favorite deck.
There are so many great things on deck 8, some of which I have mentioned above. We by far, spent most of our time on deck 8. You can find almost everything you need on this deck.
Deck 8 has…
- Specialty coffees/teas at Bar 820
- Breakfast buffet (Pig & Anchor)
- Several bars (both inside and out)
- Hot tubs
- Several TVs showing sporting events
- Ice cream
- Pizza (Miami Slice – open until 4am)
- Midnight buffet (Pig & Anchor)
- Deco Deli (hot and cold sandwiches)
- Foosball and shuffleboard (Pig & Anchor)
- Specialty restaurants (Chibang, Bonsai Sushi, Cucina del Capitano, Rudi’s Seagrill)
We loved this ship and deck so much that we have booked again for Nov 2024, and chose a cabin deck 9 so that we are close to all the great things deck 8 has to offer.
11. All the little details
The attention to details was impressive on this ship. I found myself constantly saying or thinking “oooh look at that” or “that’s cool” or “I love that”.
It feels like they went the extra mile in every area of the ship. For example, at the Pig & Anchor, they could have had a regular ceiling instead of the cool tin ceiling you can see above under #3. Or, regular stools would have been fine at the Latitudes Bar, but instead they have cool passport stamps on them (see under #8).
12. Guy’s Burger Joint
While I love Guy’s Burgers on any ship, I did really like that it was a bigger area on the Celebration. Having a bigger area and a deck above the pool, it kept the pool deck from being cluttered with people in line. There was lots of nearby seating, which is lacking on some of the other ships.
The second floor of the Red Frog pub is nearby which is handy. If you cruise on Carnival a Guy’s burger is a must. They are so incredibly tasty and best of all, they are included in your cruise fare.
13. Innovative cabin design
The closet system was another smart design. There were several collapsible shelves. You could have the shelves down to hang longer items or click the shelves into place if that better suits your needs.
The cabin also made my dislike list for a different reason – see below.
14. Specialty restaurants included for one meal
This was a nice surprise on Carnival Celebration. Both Chibang! (a Chinese/Mexican restaurant) and Cucina del Capitano (Italian restaurant) offer your first meal there free. Additional meals were only $8 per person.
This was a nice alternative to the main dining room. Be sure to make your reservation in the Carnival Hub app early on in your cruise as most people take advantage of this.
15. Ropes course
Carnival Celebration has an impressive ropes course complete with a small zipline and a couple of planks. This is a free activity.
There are a few restrictions for the Carnival Celebration ropes course:
- Maximum weight 300lbs
- No open toe or backless shoes (no flip flops or sandals)
- Minimum height 48″
Now for the things that weren’t ideal on this cruise ship. I admit, these three things are a bit of a stretch. I absolutely loved this ship and have already booked to sail on it again. There were three things that in a perfect world would be different but don’t affect the amazing cruise vacation you will have if you sail on the Celebration or one of the sister ships (Mardi Gras and Carnival Jubilee).
3 Things I didn’t love about Carnival Celebration
The elevators are on the small side and there could be a bit of a wait for them. Some of my complaint might actually be with people not having elevator etiquette than with the ship design itself.
Each elevator bank had I believe 8 elevators but they are small. We would be the first ones waiting for an elevator, but when it came, others who had just walked up and were closer to the one that just opened would jump in with no regard that others had already been waiting.
2. The staterooms and especially bathroom are small
Again, I still love the smart design of the cabins but they are on the small side compared to other interior cabins. We spend so little time in our cabin that this really isn’t an issue and storage is great. If they were a bit bigger it would be nice, but again, not a deal breaker.
3. No hot tub in the Havana area
This minor complaint will only affect those staying in one of the Havana cabins. We were disappointed to see that there isn’t a hot tub in this area, only a small cold pool.
While this ship itself has lots of hot tubs, or whirlpools as Carnival calls them, it would have been nice for the Havana area to have one as well.
As you can see the dislikes are minor and rather knit picky. I just wanted to give a bit of a balance to the pros of the Carnival Celebration cruise ship. If you like the newer and bigger cruise ships then you will love the Celebration.
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