If you're planning a Carnival cruise in 2024, you might want to become familiar with the upcoming changes and additions that the cruise line is making. If you were hoping to visit Celebration Key, for instance, you'll have to wait one more year, as this port won't open until 2025.
From increasing the cost of Carnival's drink package to redeploying ships from Charleston, South Carolina to Norfolk, Virginia, here are seven big changes you can expect that will impact your cruising experience in 2024 and beyond.
Family Feud Live to come to more ships in Carnival's fleet
Depending on when your next Carnival cruise is, you might have the chance to partake in Family Feud Live while onboard!
By Fall 2024, the popular game show will be available on over a dozen more ships in Carnival's fleet:
- Carnival Vista, September 16, 2023
- Carnival Legend, September 30, 2023
- Carnival Pride, November 19, 2023
- Carnival Miracle, December 14, 2023
- Carnival Jubilee, December 23, 2023
- Carnival Panorama, March 2, 2024
- Carnival Horizon, March 30, 2024
- Carnival Liberty, May 26, 2024
- Carnival Luminosa, June 30, 2024
- Carnival Spirit, July 23, 2024
- Carnival Magic, August 18, 2024
- Carnival Dream, October 5, 2024
“Family Feud Live is such a fun and unique entertainment option because guests get into the action and participate in the same way they’ve watched the game played on TV,” said Chris Nelson, Vice President of Entertainment for Carnival Cruise Line.
“Building on its popularity by bringing it to more ships will ensure that more of our guests get to experience the fun and friendly competition of Family Feud Live.”
Carnival Jubilee to sail out of Texas
Carnival Jubilee, Carnival's newest ship, will be setting sail from Galveston, Texas in late 2023.
Upon arriving in Texas, the ship will make round-trip sailings to the Western Caribbean, stopping at Mahogany Bay, Belize; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Cozumel, Mexico. Carnival Celebration and Mardi Gras, the two other Excel Class ships, will continue to sail from Florida to the Eastern and Western Caribbean.
Onboard, Carnival fans will find brand staples, including Guy's Burger Joint; Cucina del Capitano; the Alchemy Bar; Waterworks; Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Chicken; Playlist Productions, and BOLT, the Excel-exclusive roller coaster at sea.
Compared to the other two Excel-Class ships, Carnival Jubilee will have two brand-new zones— Currents and The Shores—that were inspired by the ocean and beach.
The Shores is reminiscent of a beach boardwalk or pier where the ocean meets land and will be the place where you can grab a slice of pizza, a fresh hot dog, or simply lounge around and look at the three-deck-high fish school art installation.
When you step inside Currents, you'll be transported to an underwater world that changes from day to night! Inks, Ph.D will serve ocean-inspired cocktails for you to enjoy in the ultra-stylish Golden Mermaid lounge. Of course, you can order a cocktail here, too. The menu was inspired by precious gemstones and metals, and the drinks are made with edible glitter!
2024 is the last year Carnival will sail out of Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina is a convenient port for those living in the Southeast. It's a little over four hours from Raleigh, North Carolina and just about five from Atlanta, Georgia. Unfortunately, Carnival will no longer sail from Charleston in 2025.
In mid-2022, SC Ports announced that they would not be renewing their contract with Carnival Cruise Line, meaning that their ships will not be able to begin or end their journeys at the Union Pier Terminal once the contract expires at the end of 2024.
Without cruise ships using the terminal, there will be more space for the redevelopment of Union Pier Terminal, unlocking a transformational opportunity for the city of Charleston.
“It is amazing to see the continued growth of Charleston’s tourism economy, and Carnival is proud to have been a part it of since 2010,” said Matt Lupoli, Senior Manager of Public Relations with Carnival Cruise Line.
Carnival Sunshine will be deployed to Norfolk, Virginia in 2025, where she will continue to offer sailings to The Bahamas and Caribbean.
You might have to pay more for your drink package
Effective, December 1, 2023, Carnival’s CHEERS! Package is going to cost you $10 more per day on short sailings that are 3, 4, or 5 nights.
Instead of costing $64.95 per person, per day, the Cheers! Package will now cost all guests $74.95 per day, plus an 18% service charge. Of course, you're able to save money by purchasing your package in advance through Carnival's Cruise Manager.
This will bring the cost down to $69.95 per person, per day.
The price for voyages 6+ nights will remain the same, or $64.95 per person, per day if purchased onboard and $59.95 if purchased in advance.
This means that the minimum price of a drink package for a 3-night cruise will now be about $247. If you wait to get the drink package until you're onboard, you'll pay roughly $18 more, or $265.
A 4-night package will cost $353.76 onboard, while it will cost $330.16 if you purchase it in advance.
Faster to the Fun also received a price increase
If you aren't staying in a suite, you might be considering whether purchasing Faster to the Fun is worth it or not.
Compared to 2023 pricing, the package has increased from $10-$20 per stateroom, depending on the length of your cruise and what ship you're sailing on:
- $69.95 for cruises that are 2 or 3 nights
- $99.95 for cruises that are 4 or 5 nights
- $139.95 for cruises that are 6, 7, or 8 nights
- $159.95 for 6, 7, or 8-night cruises onboard Excel Class ships (Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration, and Carnival Jubilee)
- $189.96 for cruises that are 9+ nights
With Faster to the Fun, you'll get priority check-in, immediate access to your stateroom to drop off your carry-on bags, a dedicated Guest Services phone number throughout your cruise, and priority Main Dining Room and specialty restaurant reservations, as well as your choice of disembarkation time.
If you have ports where tendering is required, Faster to the Fun grants you priority tendering access, as long lines are common when everyone onboard wants to disembark at the same time.
Read more: 17 Carnival Cruises Tips & Tricks (2024)
Carnival Firenze to join the fleet and sail from Los Angeles, CA
Carnival Firenze, the second Costa by Carnival ship, will join Carnival Panorama and Carnival Radiance in Los Angeles in 2024. She'll offer 4- to 7-night cruises to Baja Mexico and the Mexican Riviera.
Guests onboard will be able to enjoy Carnival's typical food, entertainment, and service with exclusive new experiences inspired by Costa’s Italian heritage.
Piazza Duomo, the ship's atrium, was inspired by Florence’s iconic domed cathedral, and beloved favorites, like Guy's Burger Joint, will have an Italian flair. Like Carnival Venezia, Carnival Firenze will also feature Tomodoro, the cruise line's Mexican-Italian fusion restaurant.
Carnival Cruise Line will be rolling out a new debarkation system for guests who want to take advantage of luggage assistance (i.e., placing bags outside of your cabin the night prior) but a more flexible disembarkation time.
"We always want debarkation to be as easy as possible. Sometimes it is, sometimes it is not," said Carnival Brand Ambassador John Herald.
The new system will let passengers select a departure time on the HUB app. On the day of disembarkation, they'll receive notifications via the app that will let them know when they're able to get off the ship. This means that there won't be any hassle of having to go to Guest Services to claim luggage tags.
Currently, this system is only available on Carnival Conquest, Spirit, Dream, and Elation. While there are plans to slowly roll it out across the entire Carnival fleet, there's no set date as to when passengers can expect it.