When Carnival Cruise invited us to join them on Carnival Fascination in October for a 4 day trip to the Bahamas, we were so excited. Neither of us had ever been on a cruise ship before, and this was going to be a first for the kids too. Not knowing what to expect, but JBDad was definitely aware that he suffered from sea sickness, so anxiety had slowly stepped in for him with the realisation that he’d be spending 4 days onboard. All in all seasickness wasn’t a problem for any of us, and we had such a great time. Here are our top 10 reasons you will also love cruising with Carnival.
1. The Kids Club is included!
Yes we do love our kids, but from time to time as parents we need a break. As we are travelling full time we don’t get the luxury of having some relaxing time away from the kids. Camp Ocean is great for this. We are always so cautious with who looks after our children, but after the first visit to Camp Ocean the girls were asking to go back again the next day.
If your child is age 2-11 then they have available services to you.
On sea days they close in the afternoon at 4pm and open again at 7pm. If on port days you want to have a free day to explore then they will also take care of your child and provide food. Big thumbs up for the special gift bag they gave both of the girls.
2. See awesome Tropical Islands without the hassle
Best thing about the Carnival Cruise is the ability to have your room located in a different location everyday without repacking a single item. With Carnival Fascination we visited the Bahamas. We had a day on Nassau and a day on Grand Bahama Island stopping at Freeport. We didn’t need to pack and unpack which for us as full time travellers is a dream.
If you really want that day on a tropical beach, or a day to explore town without the kids in tow, you can just drop the kids at Camp Ocean and away you go knowing your kids are in safe hands. Carnival offer so many different locations I’m sure there will be a destination that you really want to visit on their itinerary. You can check out where they go here.
3. Cruise Vacations are Easy to Plan
The thing I hate most about booking our places to visit is trawling the internet for the best deals on hotels, or the best price location, where to eat and what to do when you get there. With Carnival you don’t need to worry as its all done with a quick few steps online. Same comfortable bed each night (no joke its super comfy). Once booked you just rock on up to your cruise port and away you go. If you drive they have plenty of parking for around $20 per day (Port Canaveral Parking Prices), or just get dropped off at their drop off stations.
This was such a breeze for us knowing that for 4 days we didn’t need to worry about transfers or food or hotel changes. Its all done for you.
4. The Food
Ok probably my favourite part of the cruise, ok not probably, most definitely. Hey who else doesn’t want unlimited food 24/7. Yes I said it 24/7! Pizza and Ice-cream are served around the clock at swirls , so if you have the 3am munchies, then pick up that phone and dial for a pizza.
So other than the pizza and ice-cream, and the amazing room service, they have a whole host of restaurants for you to try out. Your evening sit down meal will be printed on your boarding card, our sitting was the 6pm sitting, which was great for us with the kids as you know they are hungry all the time. Evening meals are fantastic, the food quality was amazing and the choices changed each night. From chicken, to steak and vegetarian options, they have a variety of choices. If like my husband you want to try more than one thing, then go ahead and order two meals for dinner (no judgement we promise). As well as the sit down meal you get some entertainment along with way, our server each night was fantastic, he took such great care of us (he also had some moves).
So other than the sit down meal they have plenty of other options for food. They have the Lido Restaurant, which is buffet style, which my kids enjoyed as they could just choose whatever they want. They also had great dessert trays and a chocolate fountain in the afternoon. They also have a deli bar for sandwiches, which also serves your toasted favourites.
If you really want to splurge then for $75 you can join the Chefs table and have a full sit down fancy meal, we didn’t get chance to visit but heard its fantastic.
They also have a coffee bar, if you like a nice coffee or frappuccino then this is the place for you. If you are heading on the Carnival Fascination in 2018, then keep a look out as they will be opening Guys Burger Joint and a BlueIguana Cantina for even more dining options.
Some drinks are included with your cruise which is, juice for breakfast, coffee and tea, water and lemonade. If you want soda then you will have to either pay as you go or purchase the bubbles package, which is much better value for money.
5. Cat in the hat breakfast
Carried on from the food, we have to mention the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast. This was one of our favourite meals. If you love character dining then the kids will really enjoy the chance to meet Cat in the Hat and Thing 1 and Thing 2.
This was an extra cost, but I was surprised that it was just $5 per person, which by any standards is a bargain for what you get. The food is themed, you get Hat Style pancakes and coloured waffles, along with of course Green Eggs and Ham. Food was great, and amazing chance for a one on one photo opportunity with the characters. Kids thought this was truly the best part of the cruise. (You can’t buy those memories)
6. A whole host of activities to keep you entertained
As a first time Cruise goer, I never realised they would have so much to do on a boat. They are just designed to keep everyone happy. So Carnival Fascination has an awesome waterpark for the kids (and adults too). The thought still boggles my mind about swimming while at sea. The kids loved this addition and was it nice to relax on a lounger while they played on the slides. Don’t forget to hop in the pool either if you’re there, you can order your drinks from the bar and relax in the whirlpools or the main pool.
They have mini golf for everyone to play on the top deck (a little windy I might add) but still a lot of fun, just watch those balls don’t fly overboard.
If you like arcades, they have that too, fun for everyone, you can just pay with your boarding card (another bonus is you never need to carry your wallet). They have PacMan to Air Hockey, we had so much fun here with the kids. If you prefer the other types of game machines, then the Casino is for you. This is probably the busiest place on the ship, they have numerous games and slot machines to play, and its open till late. So if you have some free time while the kids are in Camp Ocean till 10pm then you can always sneak in a game or two.
They have a fitness centre with steam room and sauna, if you like to stay healthy onboard. They also have a running track on the top deck if you like to do that too. If you are more into relaxing than exercising then the Spa is next door, where you can get a lot of different treatments.
If you fancy some trivia, or bingo they have that too. We wandered down to the main palace theatre for an afternoon break while the kids played at Camp Ocean. We played an 80s Trivia game which was so much fun, and we paid to play some Bingo. We didn’t win anything but we love a good game of bingo.
They have giant board games for the kids, a large chess board, and other games too. Make sure you stop by and have a go, they are on the Lido Deck.
Make sure you check out the ships daily itinerary which you will have in your room, or if you download the Carnival app to your phone before you leave, then you can see any classes you may want to attend. They have a whole bunch.
7. Totally family friendly experience
From the little ones to teens the Carnival Cruise offers fun for all ages. With the age brackets being separated and the teens having their own place to hang at club o2, it’s a great way for them to have some independence.
If you have younger ones, then when you arrive in your room, you will love the towel animals, everyday we had a new towel made into an animal. The kids loved these so much they were going to bed with them, only to be upset in then morning when they weren’t intact anymore. One afternoon on arrival back we had a whole zoo with monkey included. It really is the small things that matters, and when you arrive from a long day at shore, to make the kids happy when they are tired is a real treat.
The staff are all so pleasant to the kids, and treat them wonderfully. Even if they push the free unlimited ice-cream too much. (My kids need sleep). Sleeping was a breeze, the girls both had their own pull down bunk, which they loved. Even in limited space it meant they had their own personal space. If you do of course want more room, they have options of adjoining rooms if you do want that evening privacy. If you want the upgrade to a suite then you will be rewarded with more space and balcony. That is what is so great about cruising, they fit every budget.
They have so many live shows during your stay on the boat, and its something different every night. So don’t be bored thinking it will be the same each night, it really isn’t. They have the Hasbro Game Show, which is so much fun for the whole family. If you want a night with a chance to win great prizes and get the whole family on stage to play giant games, then it really is a show you must see. We also had a Diva Show and a Motown show during our time on the cruise, and they both were fantastic, each cruise line has different shows.
If shows aren’t your thing, then they have the Punchliner comedy club and Karaoke (which JBDad enjoyed a little too much). You can also head over to the Piano Bar for an evening sing along, which is a nice scene for relaxing and easy listening to well known songs.
In addition to the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast, they also have a Dr Seuss parade, and the Seuss-A-Palooza storytime where they can enjoy a special story with a surprise.
9. Room Service
We did order room service most days, (who doesn’t want food brought to them for free). Yes they have the free food you can order, as well as the added options of drinks and other food items if you fancy for a price. We would always order in some chocolate milk for the girls (and JBDad), juice and some baked pastries for first thing early in the morning. Was nice to have this delivered at 7am, as long as you order the food on your tag and hang it on your door, you can choose your delivery time and it will be right at your door on time.
If you’ve come back from your shore excursion and just can’t wait until your sit down meal, then its great for that too. You can get in a whole plate of freshly baked cookies and milk, (warning: the kids may eat them all while your in the shower).
So make sure you don’t miss this little gem on your Carnival Cruise.
10. The Dancing at Dinner
We really enjoyed the dancing every night for our evening meal. The staff would get up and put on a little dance parade, don on some flamboyant outfits and sing and dance along to some of your favourite songs. Watch your kids try to leave the table and join in. Some disco lights and happy faces made this a real surprise treat for our meal in the evening. Our host thoroughly enjoyed the dancing as you can see in one of our videos.
10. Shore Excursions
We enjoyed a day at Freeport with an all inclusive beach retreat excursion. They picked us up from the ship and took us to our destination. All the food was included and drinks. The beach chairs and umbrellas were all included and there was plenty to go around. They had a trampoline on the sea, as well as some inflatables. This shore excursion was a really nice relaxing afternoon for us. They have so many options, and you can see what excursions are offered for each destination. Wether you like sports, or snorkelling they have something for everyone. The prices are also really good value, and you will be safe knowing you are not being ripped off by some external company.
Overall we enjoyed our cruise so much, and 4 days was a blast but we could really do longer. We hope to see you all on our next cruise with Carnival.
we were invited by carnival but opinions are 100% our own