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 many complimentary benefits that cruisers will enjoy.
What is included in the basic Carnival cruise fare? For the most part, it is similar to other cruise lines. A stateroom, food, entertainment, activities, and sports are among the major inclusions.
Carnival’s large fleet of ships offers lots for those cruisers who don't want to spend a lot on extras but still have a good vacation.
Here is what you need to know about what is included with Carnival cruise and what is not.
Food and Beverages
You'll never go hungry with all of Carnival's complimentary food options! The Lido Marketplace offers the standard cruise buffet with a large selection of foods such as BBQ, deli sandwiches, salad bar, Asian station, a pasta bar and daily specials.
The main dining room offers 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 (note that not all options are available on every ship in Carnival's fleet):
- Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Chicken serves up crispy chicken with potato salad and jalapeno slaw, or chicken biscuits to start the day off right
- Celebrity Chef Guy Fieri offers a classic smokehouse meal with Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que. Enjoy tender meats with flavorful sides like mac and cheese and collard greens
- Guy’s Burger Joint grills hamburgers with hand-cut French fries, a crowd pleaser
- Blue Iguana Cantina has freshly made tacos and burritos, among many Mexican classics
- 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
- Seaday 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 for 24 hour a day pizza
- The Carnival Deli for that perfect pastrami on rye and other favorites
Guests can enjoy the following free drinks:
- Tea and coffee
- Iced Tea
- Juice (breakfast only)
Activities and Entertainment
Once guests have finished enjoying meals, there are plenty of amenities and activities to keep them busy.
- Family Feud Live based on the iconic game show
- Live entertainment
- Musial Productions
- Comedy Club
- Lip Sync Battle
- Deck parties
- Mixologists competitions
- Night clubs
- 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
- Serenity – Adults Only retreat
Kids clubs are lots of fun for all ages and Carnival offers lots of complimentary options:
- Camp Ocean – Penguins ages 2-5
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.
- Camp Ocean – Stingrays ages 6-8
Activities include everything from science experiments, video games, movies and more.
- Camp Ocean – Sharks ages 9-11
This group is geared toward fun and age-related exciting activities such as dancing, sports, games, scavenger hunts and more.
- CIRCLE “C” – Young teens ages 12-14
A great spot to meet new friends, play sports, play video games, watch movies and more. Teens also get access to the exclusive Circle “C” lounge.
- CLUB O2 for teens ages 15-17
Lounge at Club O2, watch movies, listen to music, dance, jam out at karaoke, and Carnival’s version of prom.
- Seuss at Sea - Carnival cruise 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.
Although there are numerous different categories of statements, all guests will receive:
- Dedicated room steward
- Soft, cozy linens from the Carnival Comfort Bed
- Nightly turndown service
- Television with two complimentary movie channels
- in-stateroom safe
- Full bathroom
- Individual climate control
- Bathrobes upon request
Although most excursions are extra, Carnival treats guests to port stops at their private islands in the Bahamas.
Half Moon Cay
Half Moon Cay is a largely undeveloped island located in the eastern Bahamas. It provides guests with a stunning crescent-shaped beach to swim and lounge on, as well as a variety of activities to fill the day. There are free chairs and loungers on the beach for guests to enjoy.
Included activities on Half Moon Cay include swimming and snorkeling as well as basketball, volleyball, shuffleboard, kids’ playground and aquapark.
Most food is complimentary on the island, including a lunch buffet provided between 11:30-1:30 pm, serving typical BBQ fare with some added Caribbean touches.
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 dessert.
What’s not included with my Carnival cruise?
As with most cruise lines, there are a number of add on packages and activities that can be purchased. Cruisers will pay extra for:
- Gratuities and tips
- Excursions in ports (excluding complimentary options on their private islands)
- Specialty Restaurants (which range from steakhouse fare, to interactive hibachi meals, and seafood)
- Beverage packages (even if you purchase a beverage package, you'll have to pay for any additional beverages on their private islands, as their drink packages are limited to onboard use only)
- Soda, bottled water
- Specialty coffees and teas
- Alcoholic beverages
- Room service
- Thrill and Imax Theaters
- Sky Zone at Sea, Carnival's trampoline Park
- BOLT roller coaster
- Spa and wellness treatments
- Internet /Wi-Fi
- Select onboard activities
- Medical Services
As mentioned earlier, it is important to check which ship you are sailing on or interested in sailing on, as dining venues and included activities vary from ship to ship.