Everyone has their favorite cruise line, and the reasons for loving a particular line can vary widely. Maybe one person loves the simple, small touches that can differentiate one line from another. Other people may love the big differences — such as the feel of the ship or the cost of the average trip.
No matter what makes you love a cruise line, whether it’s something big or something small, those things can make all the difference in the world between sailing on a cruise that’s “ok” and one that’s the memory of a lifetime.
As the world’s largest cruise line, there are obviously lots of people that love Carnival. And if you have yet to take a trip on Carnival — or have taken one but didn’t see what the fuss is about — you might be wondering just what it is that endears so many cruisers to the cruise line.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the biggest reasons that cruisers love to sail Carnival.
Carnival Cruises Are Affordable
In most ports, Carnival offers the most affordable cruises across the board. For instance, a recent search for a balcony cabin for a 7-day cruise to the Caribbean from Galveston aboard the Carnival Breeze costs $794 per person for an early April departure. Royal Caribbean offers a similar trip that departs the same day at $899 per person.
Keep in mind that this is just the price to get on the ship. Carnival also offers less expensive gratuities, dining options, and drink packages. In total, Carnival can save some passengers hundreds of dollars versus other cruise lines.
Carnival Sails a Ton of Routes
As the world’s largest cruise line by number of passengers, you know that Carnival has to sail a lot of ships — and that means a lot of routes. In fact, the cruise line sails from many ports that aren’t otherwise served, including places like Mobile and Charleston. Given the convenience of driving to a port versus flying, sailing out of places other than Miami and Galveston means that a lot more passengers can sail affordably — without having to purchase airfare.
Carnival Has Cruises to Match Any Schedule
Only have four days in July that you can sail? Or maybe you have a week for vacation, but it’s in October. People love Carnival because no matter when — or how long — they can take a trip, the cruise line has options for them at ports around the country. There’s no need to fuss over a schedule of ships that only sail part-time from a port.
Carnival Doesn’t Nickel and Dime (As Much)
There’s a disturbing trend among cruise lines. If you’ve visited Las Vegas, then you know what we are talking about. Las Vegas has turned from a cheap getaway to an expensive one. Gone are cheap buffets and many hotels offer “resort fees” in addition to the price of the hotel. Nearly all entertainment is pricey, as are restaurants.
Cruise lines aren’t Las Vegas yet, but the trend is there. Many lines charge ridiculous amounts for things like specialty restaurants or Internet.
To be sure, Carnival has plenty of extra charges to entice you to spend, but they also have affordable rates on many of them. For instance, the popular Guy’s Burgers is free, as are many other restaurants on board. Internet offers pricey options, but you can get service to access Facebook and other popular services for only $5 per day.
One of the unique features on Carnival are the towel animals. At this point the cruise line is famous for them. When your room is cleaned, you can always expect a towel animal to greet you when you get back.
It’s a small item, but if Carnival were to end towel animals, there would be outrage!
Ships Are Big… But Not Too Big
The trend in ship size is to go bigger and bigger. Each year brings larger cruise ships. Carnival definitely is going bigger with its ships, but within reason. For instance, while Royal Caribbean now has ships that carry nearly 7,000 passengers, Carnival’s newest ships carry 4-5,000 passengers.
Large new ships attract passengers, but if you are someone that would like to sail on less crowded ships, then there comes a limit to how big a ship you’ll like. In fact, a large percentage of people who recently took a Cruzely survey said that too many people on ships was one of their biggest frustrations. Carnival finds a happy medium with big… but not too big.. ships.
The Festive Atmosphere
Every cruise line has a different personality. While some steer toward luxury and service, that can also be too uptight and stuffy for some passengers. Carnival aims to have “fun ships” with a relaxed, party-like atmosphere. The decor is bright and colorful. And the entire attitude of ship’s staff is fun-loving.
In short, if you’re the sort of person who likes to hang out in flip-flops by the pool with an umbrella drink, then you’re likely to enjoy Carnival.
Carnival Has Staggered Check-In
Recently Carnival has implemented a new type of check-in that makes the day of your cruise much easier.
In the past, there used to be an open boarding window. So if your ship departed at 5 p.m., you might be able to board any time between noon and 4. That open boarding led to a lot of people — and long lines — trying to get on the ship right when first allowed to board. Meanwhile, if you showed up toward the end of boarding, there were no lines at all.
Carnival made a smart change and began assigning 30 minute windows to board. This spreads boarding across several hours meaning that there is a steady stream of people boarding — but no enormous lines. It’s a smart change that made Carnival boarding much easier.
Carnival Allows Drinks When Boarding
Remember how we said that many cruise lines like you nickel and dime you? In that same vein, almost no cruise lines allows you to bring beverages on board, aside from a bottle of wine or champagne.
Carnival allows guests to bring on a dozen canned drinks (such as soda or tea) per person. That may not sound like much, but considering that a can of soda can run about $2-3 on the ship, that’s a considerable savings during your vacation.
Have another reason that you love Carnival? Let us know in the comments below.