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Are Carnival cruises all-inclusive: here's everything that's included with your Carnival cruise fare

Carnival cruise ship sailing away from Miami

Cruising has become less of an all-inclusive vacation over the years, with cruise companies selling lots of add-ons to increase onboard spending. However, there are still a lot of things included with your cruise fare. 

Oftentimes, what's included will vary from cruise line to cruise line. Disney, for instance, includes soda, while most other mainstream cruise lines make you either purchase each soda individually or get a drink package. Similarly, Virgin Voyages includes Wi-Fi and gratuities in everyone's fare. 


If you are planning to book a Carnival cruise, you're probably wondering what's included in the cost of your base fare and what you'll be subject to paying extra for. The advertised price of any Carnival cruise includes your stateroom, unlimited food in select venues, entertainment, activities, and certain beverages, such as coffee, water, and tea. 

Carnival’s large fleet of ships offers lots for cruisers who don't want to spend a lot on extras but still have a great vacation on the most fun ships at sea!

Here is what you need to know about what's included with your Carnival cruise and what isn't. 

What food are beverages are included? 

guy's burger celebration

Food is a major aspect of cruising, and you should rest assured knowing that you'll never go hungry with all of Carnival's complimentary food options! The Lido Marketplace offers a standard cruise buffet with a large selection of foods such as BBQ, deli sandwiches, a salad bar, an Asian station, a pasta bar, and daily specials.

The Main Dining Room will please those looking for the quintessential cruise experience, with nightly three-course meals, sea day brunch, and a sit-down option for breakfast on port days. 

Carnival has several other free dining options. Not all of them, however, are available on every ship in the fleet. It is important that you research your specific ship before booking to make sure that your desired venues are onboard! 

  • Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Chicken serves up crispy chicken sandwiches and tenders with potato salad and jalapeno slaw. You can also get a chicken biscuit to start the day off right.
  • Celebrity Chef Guy Fieri offers a classic smokehouse meal with Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que where you can enjoy tender meats with flavorful sides like mac and cheese and collard greens.
  • Guy’s Burger Joint grills hamburgers with hand-cut French fries.
  • Blue Iguana Cantina has freshly made tacos and burritos, among many Mexican classics. You can also stop by for a breakfast burrito or arepa in the morning!
  • Street Eats celebrates the best of street food from around the world with everything from bao buns, to pot stickers, creative fries, and kebabs.
  • Lucky Bowl has healthy Asian noodle and rice bowls.
  • Mongolian Wok sizzles with a custom stir-fry bar
  • Sea day Brunch offers classics such as huevos rancheros, French toast and loaded mac-n-cheese.
  • Cool down at Swirls with frozen yogurt and soft-serve ice cream.
  • Pizzeria Del Capitano serves pizza late into the night to satisfy any cravings!
  • The Carnival Deli is the perfect place to go for a pastrami on rye and other favorites, such as a turkey sandwich on a pretzel roll. 

While you have a good variety of complimentary drinks to choose from, such as tea and coffee, iced tea, milk, juice (during breakfast), and water, if you want to indulge in soda, mocktails, or alcoholic beverages, you will have to spend extra.  

Activities and entertainment included on a Carnival cruise 


Just like you won't go hungry on a Carnival cruise, you won't be bored, either! There are plenty of amenities and activities day and night to appeal to a wide variety of interests. 

In terms of entertainment, you can expect to find some combination of the following: 

  • Family Feud Live based on the iconic game show
  • Live entertainment
  • Musial Productions
  • Comedy Club
  • Karaoke
  • Lip Sync Battle
  • Movies
  • Deck parties
  • Mixologists competitions
  • Night clubs
Celebration Carnival Ropes Course

And just like how entertainment and dining venues vary, not all onboard activities can be found on every ship in the Carnival fleet. 

  • Pools and hot tubs
  • Waterpark with slides
  • Sports court for basketball and soccer 
  • Fitness Centre
  • SkyFitness gym on top of the ship
  • Mini golf
  • Jogging track
  • Games
  • Library
  • Serenity, the Adults-Only retreat

Carnival Cruise Line has complimentary youth programming onboard every ship 


Kids clubs are lots of fun for all ages and Carnival offers lots of complimentary options. This means that parents can get some well-deserved alone time while their kids have a blast in a supervised youth center. They may even have more fun than you! 

The youth program is divided into three different groups: Camp Ocean, Circle C, and Club O2. Within Camp Ocean, there are three different age groups, with the youngest being Penguins that serve those between the ages of 2 and 5. 

Carnival’s youngest campers will go on all sorts of adventures as they explore daily fun activities such as arts and crafts, singing, and dancing.


The next group is the Stingrays for cruises that are 6, 7, or 8, and activities include everything from science experiments, video games, movies, and more.

Finally, the Sharks group is the oldest of Camp Ocean. Guests between the ages of 9 and 11 can participate in fun and exciting activities such as dancing, sports, games, scavenger hunts, and more.

Once a child turns 12, they move into the tweens program, dubbed "Circle C." This club is a great spot to meet new friends, play sports, play video games, watch movies, and more. 

Camp Ocean Carnival Celebration

Finally, Club O2 is for the oldest minors onboard, or those that are 15, 16, and 17. Here, teens can watch movies, listen to music, dance, jam out at karaoke, and Carnival’s version of prom.

Another unique aspect of Carnival's youth programming is Seuss at Sea. Carnival ships feature a variety of activities and programs based on the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss such as character parades, interactive story time, arts & crafts, and other activities.

What amenities come with my stateroom?

Cabin Attendant

Regardless of whether you book the cheapest interior cabin or splurge on a suite, all guests will receive some of the same benefits, including a television, in-cabin safe, ensuite bathroom, and individual climate control.

Moreover, you'll have a dedicated cabin steward. They're the person who is responsible for making sure that your cabin is clean and tidy throughout the cruise. 

While you should not expect them to pick up your vanity full of clutter or put your clothes away in the closet, they will refresh your towels, make your bed, empty the trash, deliver important disembarkation documents, and even leave fun towel animals!

Read more: Carnival Cruise Line cabin guide: interior, oceanview, balcony, and suites

Carnival's Half Moon Cay is a treat for anyone looking for an island escape 

Water sports rentals at Half Moon Cay

Located in the southeastern Bahamas is Half Moon Cay. While most shore excursions cost extra, you can enjoy the island's beaches for free, as well as lounge on a complimentary chair and take in the stunning ocean views. 

Other activities on Half Moon Cay that don't cost anything extra include swimming and snorkeling, as well as basketball, volleyball, shuffleboard, a kids’ playground, and an aqua park.

Most food is complimentary on the island, too, including a lunch buffet that serves typical BBQ fare with some added Caribbean touches.

All of that's to say you can have a great day on Half Moon Cay without spending anything extra! 

Don't see an itinerary with Half Moon Cay? Princess Cays' is another private destination 

Princess Cays beach

Princess Cays is Carnival’s other Bahamian paradise, which is shared with Princess Cruises. The 40-acre retreat is located in the southern part of Eleuthera, a 100-mile-long island east of the capital of Nassau. 

Activities on Princess Cays focus on the island's natural bounties such as its beaches, coral reefs, and calm waters. Guests can lounge at Norther or South Beach, swimming in the water. There is also a kids’ playground, volleyball, and basketball.

Carnival passengers are provided a complimentary buffet while on the island at two different venues, which offer a range of BBQ favorites along with sides and desserts.

What’s not included with my Carnival cruise?

 Tiki Frog Ale

As with most cruise lines, there are a number of add-on packages and activities that can be purchased. When planning your Carnival cruise, it is imperative that you keep these things in mind, as they can add hundreds and thousands to the cost of your vacation!

Gratuities and tips for crew members are not included. As of October 2023, the daily rate for standard staterooms is $16.00 per person, per day, while those staying in a suite will pay $18.00 per person, per day. 

If you plan on doing any fun activities in port, such as zip lining, going on an ATV tour, etc., make sure you factor those into your budget, too! Some tours can cost upward of $100 per person. Of course, if you're going to one of Carnival's private islands, you can enjoy the beaches for free. 

Bolt Carnival Celebration

Some onboard activities are not included, either, such as BOLT, the roller coaster at sea! While only found on Carnival Celebration, Mardi Gras, and Jubilee, this will cost you an extra $15 per person, per ride, which can add up quickly if you have a large family! Arcades, IMAX theaters, and Sky Zone at Sea all cost extra, too. 

While there's plenty of complimentary dining onboard Carnival ships, you may find yourself wanting to treat yourself to a specialty meal at the onboard steakhouse or Teppanyaki restaurant. Again, these are not included, and it is advised that you make reservations in advance! 

Speaking of food, nothing pairs quite as nicely with a juicy steak as a glass of red wine! Alcohol, whether you buy the drinks a la carte or with a drink package, need to be a cost that you consider. Note that drink packages cannot be used at the private islands, though. 


Even if you are not a big alcohol drinker, you'll have to pay extra for drinks like soda, bottled water, specialty coffees and teas, and mocktails. 

Moreover, if you want to stay connected while at sea, Carnival offers a few different Wi-Fi packages that you can purchase. The cheapest and most restrictive is the social plan, which costs $12.75 per day! 

Other things that aren't included in the cost of your cruise fare include room service, spa and wellness treatments, laundry, photos, and medical services. 

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