Carnival Welcomes a Wild New Ship — and Concept — to the Fleet (What Will Guests Think?)

Cruise lines work hard to ensure that the experience you have on their ships is similar, whether you’re sailing the newest ship in the fleet or one that is decades old. Now, Carnival Cruise Line is about to turn that concept on its head.

Costa Venezia is now Carnival Venezia. Built in 2019, the ship officially joined the Carnival fleet, offering a different Italian themed experience from other ships. Rendering courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line.

As of Wednesday, the cruise line officially welcomed its newest ship to its fleet as the transition was made to take on Costa Venezia and make it officially a part of the Carnival Cruise Line brand. The newly dubbed Carnival Venezia is currently in dry dock in Cadiz, Spain undergoing renovations — including a new paint job and a transition of many spots around the ship.

Once completed, Venezia will debut with Carnival’s the new Italian-themed concept. The ship will depart on a transatlantic trip in late May to New York, where it will then sail year-round beginning June 15.

“We are so pleased to welcome Carnival Venezia to the fleet, which following a dry dock, will debut as our first ‘Fun Italian Style’ ship this May,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “A big thank you to everyone from our sister line Costa and all those within the Carnival family who will work to add the Carnival touches to this ship over the next two months.”

A Completely New Concept Different From Other Carnival Ships

The Italian theme runs through the ship, including a gondola in the middle of the dining room. Image courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line.

This ship will be new to Carnival but was actually built in 2019. Since then it has sailed under the Costa brand. What’s unique is that the ship was originally built for the Chinese cruise market with a heavy theme throughout that focuses on Italy.

Due to the pandemic, however, China was closed to cruising for an extended time. So Carnival Corporation (the parent of Carnival Cruise Line and Costa) decided to transfer the ship to a different market.

With a ship design that’s heavy on Italian influence, it seems likely that the expense and time to completely renovate the ship and make it match the rest of the Carnival fleet was too much. Instead, Carnival has decided to lean into the theme, making this ship unlike anything else that Carnival fans have experienced.

First, the ship will feature Carnival’s blue “wave” hull, but also with yellow accents. And instead of Carnival’s famous “whale tail” funnel, Venezia will keep its current standard funnel with the large “C” logo. So for those used to the look of a Carnival ship, this ship will appear different.

Inside there will be big changes as well. While the ship is essentially the same as the Vista-class Carnival ships (Carnival Vista, Horizon, Panorama) in size and layout, there will be a number of changes. Of course, the first will be the architecture.

“When guests first board Carnival Venezia, they will be immediately surrounded by Italian architectural design both inside and out,” a Carnival press release shared. “The ship’s beautiful atrium is modeled after Venice’s main public square, the Piazza San Marco, whereas the Lido deck draws inspiration from the Italian Riviera with a retractable roof to allow guests to still enjoy the pool year-round.”

Amenities, restaurants, and activities are set to be a mix of Carnival favorites combined with new concepts.

There is a mix of Carnival favorites and new eateries on the ship. Guy’s Burger Joint has a different look and will serve up some special items like a pepperoni pizza burger. Rendering courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line.

For instance, there will be SportsSquare with mini golf, a ropes course, and basketball, but also bocce ball. Guy’s Burger Joint makes an appearance on the ship, but will also have a few new menu options, including a pepperoni pizza burger. The Captain’s Toast during the cruise will have a Venetian theme (complete with guests being encouraged to wear masks). And even the main dining rooms will have the full menu, but add in Italian dishes to round things out.

Other favorites like Seafood Shack, Camp Ocean, the Cloud 9 Spa, WaterWorks, Bonsai Sushi and Piano Bar 88 are all there, as you’d expect on a Carnival ship.

Then there are concepts that are completely new and not seen anywhere else in the fleet.

Venezia will have Tomodoro instead of BlueIguana, serving up Mexican food, but also “Mexitalian fusion” with ingredients like meatballs worked into the menu. La Strada Grill will be aboard, serving Italian street food and sandwiches.

New bars include Amari, which replaces Alchemy Bar in serving higher-end cocktails. And instead of the Havana Bar with a Cuban theme, there will be the Carnevale Bar with an Italian theme. Carnival even plans an Italian Street Party event, complete with spaghetti and gelato eating contests.

The differences go right down to the cabins, which feature Italian styles, including pictures of Venice on the walls.

You can see more of what to expect in the video below:

The Big Question: What Will Passengers Think?

There’s no question that Carnival Venezia will be very different from any other ship in the fleet. However, it won’t be alone. In 2024, Costa Firenze will also join Carnival fleet with the same “Fun Italian Style” branding.

What has yet to be seen, however, is how the new concept will be accepted by passengers. Will Carnival’s loyal fans feel it offers so much of what they love about the cruise line? Or will the Italian theme aboard Venezia be too different from the rest of the fleet?

Either way, once the ship begins sailing from New York in June, it will definitely be something unique for Carnival fans to experience. 

What do you think of the new concept? Let us know in the comments below…

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  1. Just got off of MSC Meraviglia which is an Italian style ship and the rooms were so small I would not sail with them again. Hope you do a better job up grading the ship.


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