What's Included on a Carnival Cruise

What is Included on a Carnival Cruise & What’s Not

What is included on a Carnival Cruise is a common question people have when planning a cruise vacation.

This article is a must read before heading out on your first cruise as it will detail what is included in your cruise fare as well as what will cost extra.

What is included on a Carnival cruise and whati isn't.  This article is perfect for first time cruisers planning their first cruise vacation.

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The short answer for what is included on a Carnival Cruise is:

  • Transportation
  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Activities
  • Entertainment
  • Youth Clubs

Keep reading for greater details.

Carnival ships offer great value and fun for the whole family.

What is included on a Carnival Cruise


Whether you are looking at Caribbean cruises, Alaska, Europe, Panama Canal, or New England cruises, you are going to see some incredible places.  All without having to pack and unpack. 

Often you will visit places you might not have otherwise. Cruise itineraries have a combination of stops in ports of call allowing you explore new places and sea days, giving you time to explore the amazing ships.


The rooms on a cruise ship are called staterooms or cabins.

There are different categories of staterooms on a ship, all with different costs.

The main types of staterooms on a cruise are:

Interior Stateroom

An interior stateroom is the least expensive room category and they do not have windows.  If you are on a tight budget or don’t plan on being in your room much, you might consider this option.

Outside Stateroom

An outside stateroom has a picture window looking out at the ocean.  These windows do not open.

Balcony Stateroom

A balcony stateroom, as the name suggests, has a small balcony attached to your cabin allowing you to enjoy the ocean sights, sounds, and smells.


Carnival Cruise Line ships have a variety of suites on their ships ranging in size, amenities, and price.

Carnival cruise towel animals.


A Carnival cruise includes amazing, all you can eat food.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks are all included in your cruise fare and is available at a number of venues.  You will find both fine dining and casual dining options.

In my opinion, Carnival as the best selection of free dining options.  On our last Carnival Dream cruise we ate at only the included restaurants and never felt we were missing out.  We thought the selection and the quality was excellent.

Carnival Corporation, like Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, and most other major cruise lines offer a number of specialty restaurants that do have an additional charge.  It is optional to eat at these.

We will cover the extra cost restaurants in the next section.

Carnival Cruise Included Food

The following Carnival Cruise Line restaurants are included in your cruise fare.

Main Dining Room

Each Carnival ship has a main dining room offering fine dining with a different menu nightly.  Food at these dining rooms are included in the price of your cruise.

The larger cruise ships have two main dining rooms.  You will be assigned to one of them.  They offer the same menu.

The Carnival Cruise main dining rooms are open for breakfast and dinner.  Be sure to check out the Carnival Sea Day Brunch too.

Lido Restaurant

The Lido Restaurant, called Lido Marketplace, is the buffet restaurant on Carnival’s ships.  The buffet restaurant has a great selection of food options available for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and desserts. 

You do not have to pay extra to eat at this casual dining spot.

In the Lido Marketplace you will find a non-alcoholic beverage station with coffee, tea and juices in the morning, and usually iced tea in the afternoon.  Ice and water is available all day.

The main dining room and buffet restaurant are probably what you’d expect to find on a cruise ship.  But Carnival has so much more.

Guy’s Burger Joint

Guy’s Burger Joint is a popular alternative restaurant and is one of my family’s favorite lunch or early casual dinner spot.

Many other cruise line’s charge extra for their specialty burger restaurants, but Carnival does not.  Yay Carnival!

You will find a Guy’s Burgers on all of Carnival’s ships.

Guy's Burger Joint on Carnival Dream is a must try, it's absolutely delicious. The best part is that there is no additional charge to eat there.
Guy’s Burger Joint on Carnival Cruises serving up delicious burgers for no additional cost. Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line.

Blue Iguana Cantina

Blue Iguana Cantina is another popular and complimentary food venue found on all Carnival ships. 

Carnival BlueIguana Cantina serves up delicious tacos and burritos for breakfast and lunch.

Breakfast burritos from Blue Iguana Cantina on Carnival Cruises are free and a must try food.
Breakfast burritos from Blue Iguana Cantina are free to enjoy. Photo from Carnival Cruise Lines

Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que

Another Carnival restaurant by Guy Fieri.  Pig & Anchor is open for lunch, is included in your cruise fare, and is available on many of Carnival’s ships.


You can find pizza available 24 hours a day on Carnival.  On some Carnival ships the pizza restaurant is called Pizza Pirate, while on others it is called Pizzeria del Capitano.

Mongolian Wok

Mongolian Wok is a lunch option available only on select ships.  This included restaurant is currently only available on Carnival Breeze, Dream, Freedom, Liberty, Magic, Splendor, and Carnival Valor.

Carnival Sunrise has a similar complimentary lunch venue called Lucky Bowl.

Big Chicken

Shaq’s Big Chicken is a casual dining option open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but is currently only on Carnival’s newest ship Mardi Gras and Carnival Radiance.

When Carnival Celebration and Carnival Jubilee set sail they’ll also feature Big Chicken.

Carnival Deli

Carnival Deli is the name of the sandwich shop on select cruise ships.

This is an option if you are looking or a light lunch or dinner.

Carnival Deli is on Carnival Legend and several other ships but not on all of the Carnival fleet.

Pasta Bar

The Captain’s Pasta Bar is yet another included lunch option on some of the Carnival ships.

Choose from 3 different pastas, 5 different sauces, and a selection of add ons.

You will find the Captain’s Pasta Bar on Carnival Horizon, Breeze, Magic, Panorama, Sunshine, and Carnival Vista.

Soft Serve Ice Cream

All Carnival ships have a soft serve ice cream station they call Swirls.  And the best part – no extra charge.

As you can see, there is a great selection Carnival cruise included food. In addition to these, there are several great pay restaurant options.  Keep reading for the extra charge specialty restaurants.

Cruise planner and journal - printable pdf. For every step of the cruise proccess from planning your cruise, to preparing for your vaction to remembering it. Packing lists and to do lists

What is included on a Carnival Cruise

Onboard Activities

They don’t call them the fun ships for nothing.  There are so many fun active things to do on a cruise, many of which are included in the price of your cruise.  These fun activities definitely make for a great time.

The onboard activities and amenities vary greatly from cruise ship to cruise ship.  Be sure to research the ship carefully before booking. 

Most ships have pools, hot tubs and a fitness center, but first time cruisers might be surprised to find out some Carnival ships have fun amenities like water parks, a basketball court, mini golf, and a ropes course. 

There is no additional cost to ride the waterslides on Carnival Cruises

Read on for the additional cost activities like a roller coaster – yes a roller coaster. 


Nightly entertainment is included in your cruise cost.  The Carnival Hub app will show you the daily entertainment and activities schedule.

Whether you choose to enjoy live music, dance the night away in the night club, take part in a game show, laugh at a comedy show or take in one of the shows, the choice is yours.  All for no extra cost.

Punchliner Comedy Club

Carnival has the Punchliner Comedy Club which has both family friendly and adult only comedy shows.  If you are cruising with kids be sure you are at the right show.

Playlist Productions

The highlight evening entertainment on Carnival cruises are the musical productions put on by Playlist Productions.

Deck Parties

Be sure to take in a deck party or two on your next cruise.  It’s fun for the whole family.

Other entertainment options found on most Carnival ships are Lip Sync Battle and Dive in Movies.  Dive In Movies are movies shown on the big screen poolside.

Carnival Youth Programs

Carnival has 3 age specific youth programs that are included in your cruise fare.

Camp Ocean

Carnival Camp Ocean is specifically for 2-11 year olds.  Here you will find supervised age-appropriate games, crafts, and crafts.  Within Camp Ocean the kids will be separated into smaller age groups (2-5yrs, 6-8 yrs, and 9-11 years old).

Carnival Circle C

The kids clubs on Carnival Cruises are a free thing to do on a Carnival Cruise

Carnival Club O2

Club O2 is the name of the teen club on Carnival.  It’s a fun hangout area for teens 15-17 years of age.  Fun activities, movies, music and video games for your teen and their new friends.

Related posts –

While the youth programs are included please note that Camp Carnival Night Owls has an extra charge.  Night Owls is a supervised program after the other youth programs close.  It allows parents a late night out (currently until 1 am).  It is for kids 6 months – 11 years old.

There is so much included on a Carnival cruise, however there are things that do cost extra that you should be aware of and budget for. If you have an onboard credit you may want to use it one one of these.

Things that cost extra on a cruise


I have no doubt you’ll find the Carnival crew members amazing.  For convenience, Carnival charges each guest their recommended daily gratuity amount. 

The amount of Carnival gratuities is currently $13.99 USD per person per day and $15.99 USD per person per day.  This of course can change, use this only as a guideline.

Shore Excursions

Shore excursions are the tours or activities that you take/do at each cruise stop.  The cost will vary depending on the excursion. 

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Alcoholic Drinks

Speaking of drinks, be sure to check out the Alchemy Bar on many of the ships including Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Spirit, and Carnival Conquest.

Select Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Drinks such as sodas, energy drinks, and specialty coffee cost extra on Carnival.  If you are a soda drinker, consider purchasing Bottomless Bubbles.  This is Carnival’s soda (soft drink/pop) package.


You probably didn’t expect this to be included in your cruise price but I included it just so you are aware that Carnival ships do have casinos and if you like to gamble a bit then it is something to budget for.

Casino is one activity not included on a cruise


The use of the spa facilities and spa treatments cost extra but might be worth it to treat yourself to a pampering.

If you are looking for a free place to relax on the ship, try lounging in the adult only serenity area.  This quieter are has upgraded lounge chairs.

Specialty Restaurants

Select specialty restaurants have an additional cost.  As you read above, you can enjoy a great selection of food included in your Carnival cruise fare, but if you are looking or something different then these options are available on select ships for a cost.

Seafood Shack

Cucina del Capitano

JiJi Asian Kitchen

Bonsai Sushi

Bonsai Sushi is open for lunch and dinner on several Carnival ships.  The pricing here is a la carte, meaning you pay per food item. 

Bonsai Teppanyaki


Carnival Steakhouse is a popular specialty restaurant available on many Carnival ships.  Choose an appetizer, salad, entrée, side, and a dessert for $38USD (may change). 

Emeril’s Bistro 1396

If you are sailing on Carnival Mardi Gras, you may want to check out Emeril’s Bistro 1396 for breakfast, lunch, dinner.  This is the only Carnival cruise ship with this specialty restaurant.

The Chef’s Table

The Chef’s Table is a culinary experience available on all Carnival ships but for a small group of people.  If you are a foodie you may want to splurge on this.  The price is in the $75-$95USD range per person. 

Here is just a sample of the specialty restaurants on certain Carnival ships.  There are other available on the newer ships.  Check out your ship closely for additional dining options.

24-Hour Room Service

24-hour room service is available on all of Carnival’s ships. It is a combination of included in your cruise fare and extra cost.

Continental breakfast is available by room service for no additional cost.

Currently from 6:00am to 10:00pm Carnival has a selection of room service items available for no extra charge, as well as some items such as chicken tenders, philly cheesesteak, and wings that do have an additional cost.

Carnival room service from 10:00pm to 6:00am does have a fee per item.

Extra Cost Cruise Activities

There are some optional activities for even more fun that do have an extra charge.  Here are some of the top activities that cost extra on a Carnival Cruise.

Bolt – Roller Coaster

The Bolt roller coaster on Carnival Mardi Gras has an additional cost.
Carnival Mardi Gras Bolt Roller Coaster (additional cost). Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

Sky Zone

Sky Zone trampoline park is only available on Carnival Panorama, which is currently sailing from the West Coast to Mexico.


There is an IMAX theater on two of Carnival’s ships, Carnival Horizon and Carnival Vista. 

Build-A-Bear Workshop

Carnival has a Build-A-Bear Workshop at sea on select Carnival ships.  The cost varies depending on the stuffy, clothes, and accessories you choose.  Here is the bear my daughter built on Carnival Dream.

Carnival Mardi Gras Bolt Roller Coaster (additional cost). Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

Are Carnival cruises all inclusive?

As you can see from the above points, a Carnival cruise is not quite all inclusive. It does include most of the vacation essentials but the biggest difference is that alcohol is not included.

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I hope this has helped you understand what is included on a Carnival Cruise and what costs extra.  A cruise is a such a great choice for a vacation whether you are cruising solo, as a couple, as a family, or as part of a large group you are sure to have a wonderful time.