After our recent cruise (Nov/Dec 2023), I thought I’d share some Carnival Celebration tips and tricks to help you make the most out of your cruise vacation.
The Celebration is one of Carnival cruise line’s newest and largest cruise ships. I absolutely loved this ship. There were lots of little features that are different than on most of the other ships in the Carnival fleet.
My 23 Top Carnival Celebration Tips & Tricks
1. Pig & Anchor has a breakfast buffet
I loved that the Pig & Anchor bar/restaurant on deck 8 had a small breakfast buffet each morning. This was extra convenient since our stateroom was deck 8. The more breakfast options, the more spread out people are.
The Pig & Anchor buffet has most of the same food that the Lido Marketplace (the main buffet restaurant on deck 16) has, including eggs benedict, just on a smaller scale.
On our sailing, breakfast was served in the Pig & Anchor from 6:30am – 8:30am on port days, and 7:30am – 10:30am on sea days.
2. Big Chicken has breakfast
Big Chicken is the restaurant cofounded by basketball star Shaquille O’Neal and is on select Carnival cruise ships including Carnival Celebration.
You can find this restaurant located at the back of deck 16 by the Tides Pool. It is open at 7am on port days and at 8 am on sea days.
The Shaq’s Big Chicken breakfast menu includes three items. A chicken & biscuit, biscuit & egg with sausage or bacon, and a three cheese omelet. There is no additional cost to eat here.
3. Bar 820 has specialty coffee & teas
While most people know that the JavaBlue Cafe on deck 6 serves specialty coffee and teas, few know that the Bar 820 on deck 8 serves the same coffees.
The line up for coffee beverages is on the right side of the bar closest to the outside door.
This is a great Carnival Celebration tip as it often wasn’t busy and it is in a great location. You can grab a coffee then head outside on deck 8 to find a comfortable spot or head down to the Pig & Anchor to grab breakfast.
4. Java Blue Cafe has grab and go snacks
The JavaBlue Cafe on deck 6 has a grab and go section where you can grab a salad, bowl of fruit or a sandwich. There is no charge for this.
5. Casino had breakfast pastries (select days)
Now this was a pleasant surprise on one of my morning strolls, but I’m not sure if it is something they do every seaday, or it was just on this cruise. It is worth checking to see if it is out on a sea day morning if you are in that area.
There was a table set up near the card tables with coffee, teas, juices, and pastries.
6. Wave at, don’t push the open door buttons
One of the great things about a newer ship is the innovative features. Beside the doors of the washrooms and other public spaces are a hand symbol. These are the automatic door sensors. To activate, just wave your hand in front of it. The door will automatically open.
This is such a great feature, especially after the dreaded COVID.
I was surprised to see how many people didn’t know that they could just wave and not touch it. I saw person after person pushing it instead.
7. Gelato station in the Lido Marketplace
If you are looking for a frozen treat, there are several soft serve ice cream and frozen yogurt stations around the ship. There is also a gelato station in the main buffet on deck 16.
8. Midnight buffet at the Pig & Anchor
For those who like a late night snack, there is a midnight buffet 11:30pm-1:00am, however it isn’t in the Lido Marketplace buffet as you might expect. The midnight buffet is in the Pig & Anchor, aft on deck 8.
9. First meal is free at Chibang!
Chibang! is one of the specialty restaurants on Carnival Celebration. Chibang! features Chinese and Mexican cuisine, you can see the menu here.
Your first meal at Chibang! on Carnival Celebration is free, then additional meals are $8USD per person.
Carnival Celebration tip – book your reservation early on to avoid disappointment as many people want to take advantage of the free meal here.
10. First meal at Cucina del Capitano is free
Cucina del Capitano is the Italian specialty restaurant. You might be familiar with this if you have sailed on other Carnival ships. On other Carnival ships, there is a charge to eat here, however on Carnival Celebration, you can eat your first meal free. If you choose to eat here again on your cruise, you will be charged $8 per person, which is still a great deal.
Be sure to make your reservation early on as this was popular. Reserve through the Carnival hub app, that is the easiest way. It is great to have some included restaurant options in addition to the main dining room.
11. Don’t miss The Most Magnificent Circus
The Most Magnificent Circus is one of the production shows held at Center Stage, and it is fantastic! One of the best shows I’ve seen on a Carnival cruise ship.
In my opinion, the best seats are on deck 7 up front by the glass. Deck 8 up front against the glass would be my second choice. They do fill up early, be prepared to be there an hour prior to get the best seats. Luckily, there is a bar close by so you can sit and enjoy a cocktail while you wait.
The show has lots of arial acrobatics and the seats further back on deck 6 make it hard to see the show going on above you.
Don’t mistake the “Under the Big Top: Ringmaster Rhapsodies” for “The Most Magnificent Circus” like I did. I got there over an hour early to get a good seat because I had heard the circus show was amazing, only to realize when the show started, this wasn’t the show I thought it was.
12. Elevator has directional stickers on the doors
The interior doors of the elevator have a sticker showing you which way is forward and which is aft. This is super handy, especially for someone like me who more times than not, turn the wrong way when stepping off the elevator.
This is especially useful on a large ship where you are walking much more than you would on a smaller ship.
More great Carnival Celebration tips
13. Bring a towel (and life jacket for kids) to the Summer Landing pool
There is a beautiful pool aft on deck 8 called Summer Landing. However, there isn’t a towel station or a life jacket rack there. Be sure to grab the pool towels from your stateroom or the main pool on deck 16. Different sized life jackets are also found on deck 16 by the main pool. It is a long way to go if you have to turn back to grab these.
14. Best wake views from deck 8 infinity pool
The view of the cruise ship wake is one of my favorite cruise ship views. The best wake view on Carnival Celebration is from the infinity pool on deck 8. The Summer Landing pool. There are even a few in pool lounge chairs. These do fill up fast.
As you can see there is a large shallow area surrounding the pool so it’s perfect to stand or sit in to cool off.
15. Outdoor TVs
There was no shortage of TVs to watch sporting events on Carnival Celebration, including some outdoor ones. You will find two outdoor TVs at the back of deck 8, by the Summer Landing pool which is outside of the Pig & Anchor. There was also one outside of the Red Frog Pub on the pool deck, deck 16.
16. Back of the Pig & Anchor has foosball and shuffleboard
There is a really great area at the back of the Pig & Anchor bar (deck 8) that has foosball tables, a shuffleboard table, and several TVs showing sporting events. And, as an added bonus, the coolest ice cream and froyo station (an army jeep) on the ship is right beside there.
17. Ride the Bolt roller coaster early on
The Bolt is part of the area called “Ultimate playground” where you will find other activities like a ropes course and sports court. Celebration is the second ship in Carnival’s fleet to feature the sea coaster, the first being the sister ship Mardi Gras.
18. Book your cooking classes early
If you are interested in any of the Carnival Kitchen cooking classes, be sure to book those early. Many were sold out before the cruise started. You can find the list of available cooking classes on Carnival’s website under “manage my booking”.
On my sailing the classes that were sold out several days before the cruise started were the pasta class, bake shop & pie town class, sushi making, pit grill and smoke master class, and the cake workshop.
19. Use the machines to cash out your casino balance
On the last day of your cruise be sure to cash out any remaining funds from your casino bank on your Sail & Sign card. The line up to do this at the cashier is always very long on the last day, instead beside the cashier are machines that can do it for you. They look similar to an ATM. You insert your cruise card, and select cash out. The machine dispenses your cash balance.
20. Bring a USB cord
In the staterooms (or at least ours which was an interior Havana stateroom), there was one plug in at the desk, but there were USB outlets on each side of the bed. I wish I had brought a charger with a USB end. It will definitely be on my packing list for next time.
21. Bring cruise ducks
I love the whole cruise duck thing. If you aren’t familiar with cruise ducks, people will bring and hide rubber ducks throughout the ship. Often they will have a tag attached saying who hid them, the sailing date and ship name. The only rule is don’t put them in the pools or hot tubs and don’t hide them in any of the shops.
It is a great way to add a little extra fun to a cruise. I noticed lots of people out “duck hunting”. Carnival Celebration has so many great hiding spots. I found several on our sailing including a duck coin pouch and a duck eraser. Three of the ducks I found that had tags on them, I re-hid them the following week on the Carnival Horizon.
The picture below are three of the ducks I found and hid again on the Celebration.
22. Use the deck plans by the elevators to find the nearest washroom
This is a cruise tip that I used over and over on this Carnival ship. Especially since the Celebration is tied as Carnival’s largest ship. Rather than walking aimlessly trying to find a washroom, I would find the nearest elevator and staircase. There you will find deck plans for each floor with washrooms clearly marked. I found this much more convenient and faster than just walking and hoping to find one.
23. Explore the ship
Deck 6, 7, and 8 are full of gems. Areas you may like are the Watering Hole, a bar found outside of deck 8, the Golden Jubilee Bar, the Latitudes Bar, Celebration Central, the piano bar, and the Havana bar. Also be sure to check out the incredibly detailed replica of the Carnival Celebration which can be found outside of the Carnivale Restaurant.
Bonus tip – No spa day passes
Some Carnival ships sell a limited number of spa day passes for their relaxation areas, I asked on the Celebration and was told that they do NOT sell day passes, only weekly passes. You can purchase a weekly spa pass for the relaxation areas on the app before sailing if you are interested.
I hope these Carnival Celebration tips will help you make the most out of your cruise on this beautiful ship. I absolutely loved this ship design. If you get a chance to cruise on one of Carnival’s newest ships, do it. There are lots of features that the older ships just don’t have.
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