Carnival Celebration, which just debuted in November 2022, is the cruise line’s newest ship. We booked one of Carnival Celebrations inaugural sailings from North America, sailing from Miami to the Caribbean over the course of a 7-night itinerary.
The brand-new cruise ship from Carnival Cruise Line was stylish, chic and trendy. As someone who’s sailed on Carnival a few times, I was blown away by how modern Carnival Celebration was.
For years, Carnival resisted the industry-wide trend of building massive mega-cruise ships that can hold upwards of 10,000 people onboard. With the creation of the Excel-class, Carnival Cruise Line finally hopped on the industry bandwagon by building new ships that can hold 40% more passengers than anything the cruise line had built before.
As the biggest cruise ship for the cruise line, Carnival Celebration (and her sister-ship, Carnival Mardi Gras) truly represent a new era for Carnival Cruise Line.
The newest cruise ships are built with more stateroom choices than ever before. From inside cabins to solo accommodations and luxurious suites, there's a cabin onboard to accommodate a wide range of travel needs and budgets.
The newest cruise ships are being built with more balconies than any other stateroom category, and Carnival Celebration is no exception. As much as I love a balcony, it's not always in my budget to splurge on the up charge.
Instead, I almost always book an inside cabin guarantee because it’s the cheapest option and I’d rather save my money on specialty dining or excursions.
For our sailing on Carnival Celebration, my sister and I were staying in an inside cabin guarantee. It’s inherently more expensive to sail on a brand-new cruise ship during its inaugural season, so we were content booking an inside cabin because of its affordability.
As chance would have it, we were sailing the same sailing as my coworker and his family! In all my years of cruising, I’ve never ran into someone I know onboard a cruise ship, so this was a fun coincidence.
Having someone else onboard our Carnival Celebration afforded us the opportunity to see how their balcony stateroom compared to our inside cabin.
Although we were staying in a budget-friendly inside cabin, my coworker, along with his wife and kids, were staying in a balcony stateroom.
Our inside cabin on Carnival Celebration, nestled on Deck 4, was considered a standard inside stateroom with 160 square feet of space. Had we booked a premium inside cabin, the stateroom would have had an additional 40 square feet, allowing room for a small couch.
Since I was sailing with my sister, we opted to have the king bed split into two separate twin beds. Splitting the king bed into twin beds usually makes an inside cabin feel more open - and we found this to be true in our cabin. However, the unused bunk beds above us did make the space feel a bit more cramped than we anticipated.
Our inside cabin did not have anywhere to sit in the stateroom other than on the beds or the vanity ottoman. The bunk beds also cut into the sitting space above the twin beds, which did not leave much headspace room for sitting. We mentioned multiple times that having an area to sit other than our beds would have amplified the experience.
We were surprised to see our stateroom could accommodate up to 4 people; it would have been very cramped in the cabin at full capacity unless the additional 2 guests were small children. Even then, it would be a tight squeeze.
On the other hand, my coworker's extended balcony stateroom had more space to accommodate his family of 4 - including a very spacious private balcony.
Both staterooms could technically accommodate 4 people, although the extended balcony stateroom felt much more spacious for a family.
The layouts between our inside cabin and the extended balcony stateroom were totally different; however, the decor, color schemes and carpet were identical. My coworker's cabin had extra space that did allow for the addition of framed artwork above the sofa, appropriately featuring dolphins swimming.
Of course, the natural light coming from the balcony makes a huge difference in the stateroom's ambiance. While our room was pitch-black all the time, which is perfect for napping and sleeping, not having any natural light can be an issue for some.
Located on Deck 10, my coworker's extended balcony stateroom felt very spacious and functional. The cabin features a considerably large balcony with 46 square feet of outdoor space. These extended balconies are approximately 50% bigger than a standard balcony, although there is no extra furniture on the extended balcony.
The extra space in my coworker's extended balcony stateroom allowed for a sleeper bed, in addition to an overhead bunk bed.
While our bunk beds went unused, my coworker was traveling with his two children, aged 12 and 8; therefore, the extra beds were necessary to comfortably sleep everyone in his family during the cruise.
The sofa in the extended balcony stateroom converted each night into a sleeper bed (not to be mistaken with a roll-out couch). Essentially, the stateroom attendant would remove the back cushions each evening and the sofa was transformed into a twin bed. During the day, the sleeper bed served as a couch for the stateroom.
Additionally, each evening the bunk bed would come down from the ceiling for the fourth bed to be used. Compared to our inside cabin, the bunk bed in the extended balcony stateroom was not visible during the day and did not take up space until it was being used.
Comparatively, our inside cabin's bunk beds folded out from the wall, meaning the two bunk beds were always taking up space even if not actively being used.
Given how small an inside cabin already is, having the bunk beds suspend from the ceiling (only when being used) would open up the space more and allow for comfortably sitting on the beds.
Notably, the vanity was nearly identical between our inside cabin and the extended balcony stateroom.
Both cabins featured a vanity with a large mirror that was illuminated with a bright ring light around the exterior, which is perfect for doing makeup or getting ready in the morning without using the bathroom.
Along with the mirror, the vanities in both the inside stateroom and extended balcony cabin also featured drawers under the counter and exposed shelving for additional storage. The drawers in the extended balcony stateroom appeared to be bigger than the ones in our inside cabin.
The small ottoman could be used as even more storage if needed, although we mostly used it as spot to sit. The vanity was also where the obligatory stateroom telephone was located, which is much appreciated compared to older ships that have the phones taking up precious real estate on the nightstand.
We also noted the number of outlets and USB plugs available on the vanity, including 4 USB plugs and 3 additional 120 VT outlets. Older ships only have a limited number of outlets, which can be an issue in this day and age of electronics and devices.
Even between the two of us, we used up nearly all of the plugs to charge all of our devices, including phones, laptops, watches and more. Between the inside cabin and extended balcony stateroom, both vanities featured the identical strip of outlets and USB plugs.
Both the inside cabin and extended balcony stateroom featured a spacious and modern walk-in shower.
One of our inside cabin's biggest surprise was the bathroom; more particularly, we loved the surprisingly spacious and practical shower.
Cruise ship showers have been notoriously small for years with capsule-shaped shower tubes and sometimes clingy curtains. Before, there was barely enough space to bend over if you needed to shave your legs or you dropped something.
Luckily, new cruise ships have been allocating more space to the bathroom shower - and we are all rejoicing because of it!
While we were surprised to see a more spacious shower in our bathroom, we were even more surprised to see the extended balcony stateroom had the exact same size shower as we did. The only difference between our inside cabin stateroom and the extended balcony cabin was the door.
Our shower's door was made of a plastic-like material and maneuvered inward to save space; however, the extended balcony stateroom had a glass door and opened outward. Either way, the shower was thoughtfully designed and it did not go unnoticed.
When comparing the extended balcony stateroom to our inside cabin, the two had the exact same bathroom.
We expected to see more differences between the inside cabin's bathroom and the extended balcony stateroom, but for the most part, they were the same. Both bathrooms featured shelving above and below the bathroom counter.
Although small, the bathroom was well designed to utilize the space. We found there to be plenty of storage between the shelves and counter, along with space in the shower to also store cosmetics.
We appreciated Carnival's attention to detail in the bathroom, from the large shower to the tiling on the floor. Considering our last Carnival cruise had spongy, bumpy and blue flooring, this was a huge upgrade to see the modern design of the bathroom staterooms.
For families traveling together, having the extra space of the extended balcony stateroom would be worthwhile.
For just the two of us, our inside stateroom was more than enough for us to sleep comfortably each evening; however, having 4 people in the standard inside cabin would have been a very tight squeeze. I'd argue that even a family with children would find the space a little cramped.
Budget travelers will find the inside cabins very functional; we felt that Carnival utilized the space as best as the cruise line could. There was a lot of attention to detail to ensure the design optimized the small cabin.
For those able to splurge a bit, it would be worthwhile to book a balcony stateroom to have more space and the addition of a private, outdoor balcony. Those who prefer to spend their time onboard utilizing their balcony would certainly appreciate the extended balcony stateroom.
Either way, I find that I don't spend much time in my cabin when I am cruising, especially on a brand-new ship! Unless I am in a luxurious suite, most of my time is spent exploring the cruise ship or adventuring in the ports of call. Having a comfortable place to sleep and shower is most important, and every cabin onboard a cruise ship will provide that.