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I cruised on Carnival Jubilee, here’s my review of the voyage

Carnival Jubilee Review

What comes to mind when you think of Carnival Cruise Line? You might immediately picture a wild, party crowd; some might even dare to call the onboard experience rowdy.

For many years, I avoided Carnival like the plague. I would even roll my eyes if I was docked next to a Carnival cruise ship. Not only did their ships look outdated and drab, but the blasting music was enough to turn me off.

Something changed in 2022 when I found a dirt-cheap sailing on Carnival Ecstasy from Mobile, Alabama. After a dry spell of cruising before, during, and after the pandemic, I was ready to set sail on any cruise.

(Carnival Ecstasy in 2022)

For just $400 each, my sister and I boarded the soon-to-be-scrapped Carnival Ecstasy for a 4-night cruise to Mexico. It completely changed my perspective on the cruise line; I loved the laidback atmosphere, the hearty food, and the fun people. I was hooked and would proceed to cruise on two of the newest ships from the line’s Excel Class: Carnival Celebration and Mardi Gras.

The Excel Class from Carnival is home to the three biggest ships in the cruise line’s fleet. With the inception of these new mega cruise ships, Carnival Cruise Line has reinvented itself. With ships that rival the best at sea from any cruise line, the Excel Class is a perfect fit for many cruisers.

I’ve sailed on 40 cruises in my 29 years of life, so rest assured my opinion is one to be trusted from years of cruising. I’m typically a budget cruiser with realistic expectations, so anything that leaves me impressed is worth noting.


I’ll be sharing an in-depth review of my experience on Carnival Jubilee, which is the newest ship in the cruise line’s fleet. I’ll be sharing who this cruise ship is a good fit for, along with what you can expect from the onboard activities, entertainment, and dining.

Who should cruise on Carnival Jubilee?


It might sound cliche, but Carnival Jubilee has a little bit of something for cruisers of every age. While Carnival Cruise Line is one of the most popular cruise lines in the world, the line particularly appeals to budget-conscious cruisers.

Overall, Carnival attracts a younger crowd due to its fun nature. Everyone onboard is laidback, casual, and very friendly. Nothing about the experience feels snooty, but by the same token, few things onboard Carnival Jubilee feel upscale, traditional, or sophisticated.

First, Carnival Jubilee is a great fit for families looking to get a good bang for their buck. The cruise fare for Carnival Jubilee is quite inclusive with more than one dozen restaurants included. The casual environment is family-friendly with plenty of free onboard activities, including a waterpark and ropes course. Carnival Jubilee also features Camp Ocean, which is the cruise line’s renowned youth and teen program.

During our cruise, we saw many multi-generational families traveling together. Matching t-shirts for family reunions were quite common onboard. Some groups included upwards of 20 different family members!

Mardi Gras

Additionally, Carnival Jubilee has a fun atmosphere with a lively crowd. If you’re someone who likes to have a good time when you cruise, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy the upbeat tempo of Carnival Jubilee. Massive deck parties, a roaring comedy club, DJ tunes in the nightclub, and piano sing-a-longs are just a few examples of the fun that you can have into the late evening on Carnival Jubilee. Because of this, the new cruise ship is a great fit for bachelorette parties, college friends on spring break, and the like.

Finally, Carnival Jubilee caters heavily to a Texas crowd, as the ship sails exclusively from the port of Galveston, Texas. The port is not easily reachable for non-locals, which can make travel to and from the port expensive. You can expect to find a mostly Southern crowd on Carnival Jubilee, filled with locals ready to party.

Adults and kids alike will appreciate so much of what Carnival Jubilee has to offer. While kids can enjoy Camp Ocean and onboard attractions, adults can indulge in spots like the Cloud 9 Spa and adult-only Serenity pool area.

Read more: Top 10 reasons a new Carnival cruise ship is perfect if you’ve avoided Carnival

Sailaway Party

Sailing during spring break meant our cruise in particular had lots of families and college kids looking to party. The Sailaway Party - a must-attend event on Carnival Cruise Line - was perhaps the craziest that I’ve ever attended. If you want to avoid a rowdier crowd, choose a sailing when kids are in school.

Dining and Restaurants

Lido Marketplace

Perhaps the most important aspect of cruising is the food! Trying new cuisine during a cruise is one of the core experiences of sailing. Luckily, Carnival Jubilee has some of the best cruise food at sea - in my opinion.

There are 21 restaurants on Carnival Jubilee, including specialty and complimentary dining choices. There are fewer specialty options than complimentary, which aligns with Carnival Jubilee’s budget-friendly approach to cruising. You can find everything from grubby burgers to higher-end seafood dinners in the specialty restaurant.


As mentioned, there are 12 included restaurants and eateries on Carnival Jubilee. All of Carnival’s signature venues can be found onboard, along with a buffet and two main dining rooms.

Lido Marketplace


Arguably the least impressive dining venue on Carnival Jubilee, the Lido Marketplace is the standard cruise ship buffet. Meals are served here for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each cruise day. There are a multitude of stations to choose from, but you’ll find the variety lacking among the stations.

The dessert station is the best of the Lido Marketplace, including freshly made gelato each day and layered cakes. The decadent desserts provide a small redemption for the otherwise lackluster buffet.

Atlantic and Pacific Restaurants: Main Dining Rooms

Dining Room

There are two main dining rooms on Carnival Jubilee named the Atlantic and Pacific Restaurants. The Pacific Restaurant is the larger of the two, with two decks of tables and panoramic, aft-facing views of the ship. The Atlantic is a smaller dining room with less impressive views.

You can eat dinner here each evening, along with SeaDay Brunch on sea days. Each evening has a theme for attire, including two elegant nights where cruisers are encouraged to dress up. However, I’ve found that “anything goes” is the general theme of Carnival’s elegant nights.


Three-course meals are served in the main dining room with a rotating menu. Daily offerings include classic offerings with some unique options as well like alligator fritters. 

The chocolate melting cake is a Carnival staple - and one of the best chocolate desserts at sea!

Guy’s Burger Joint

Guy's Burger Joint

If you love a greasy, juicy burger and fries, then look no further than Guy’s Burger Joint. You can find a variety of burgers on a curated menu from celebrity chef Guy Fieri (although all of the acronyms can get a bit confusing). There are special sauces and fixings at the toppings bar. The line moved quickly, so don’t be deterred!

Pig and Anchor Smokehouse

Pig and Anchor

A popular venue onboard, the smokehouse serves down-home BBQ for lunch (buffet style) and dinner (sit-down). Another smash hit from Carnival’s partnership with Guy Fieri, the Pig and Anchor Smokehouse serves a variety of expertly smoked meats. My favorite is the pulled pork with mac & cheese and onion strings!

Breakfast is also served here with standard offerings in a small buffet style, although it’s not my first choice in the mornings. Arrive early for dinner if you plan to attend any evening shows, as we waited 45 minutes to dine here two separate times, but you can grab a beer from the Brewhouse while you wait, which is brewed in-house.

BlueIguana Cantina


For Mexican lovers, you can indulge in freshly made tacos and burritos at BlueIguana. This quick-casual eatery is on the pool deck and is open for breakfast and lunch. Breakfast includes breakfast burritos and tacos with your choice of eggs, meats, cheeses, veggies, and potatoes. Lunch serves made-to-order tacos and burritos with a massive salsa and toppings bar.

I typically dine at BlueIguana when I have a full day exploring ports of call or the last morning of the cruise before disembarkation. The hearty breakfast burritos are packed with protein that keeps me full until dinner!

Big Chicken

Big Chicken

Big Chicken makes me think of Chick-fil-A at sea. One of the most popular venues onboard, Big Chicken is an excellent spot for crispy chicken tenders and sandwiches. Open for breakfast and lunch, you can choose from a variety of sandwiches or simple tenders. 

The sauces, crafted by Shaq O’Neal himself, pair perfectly with the chicken entrees and freshly-cut fries. You can also indulge in chicken biscuits and egg sandwiches in the morning for a quick bite to eat.

JavaBlue Cafe


Although specialty coffee is an additional charge, JavaBlue Cafe is a great spot for a complimentary grab-and-go breakfast. The bacon breakfast sandwich is one of my favorites on land and sea. 

You can also find sandwiches and small bites throughout the day, along with for-purchase treats like cookies and cupcakes. Prepare to wait for upwards of 20 minutes if you want a specialty coffee, which deterred me most mornings from splurging.

Street Eats

Street Eats

These small food stalls are located right off the pool deck for late afternoon and early evening snacks. The hours change daily, so be sure to check when the restaurants are open. 

There are three different stalls here, including TimeFries (fancy French fries), Mad Sizzle (kebabs), and Steam Dream (bao buns). Some love Street Eats, but it’s not my go-to place onboard.

Coastal Slice

Coastal Slice

Carnival Jubilee’s pizzeria is found midship in The Shores zone. You can grab pizza by the slice or order an entire pizza if you want, all of which are made right in front of you. Coastal Slice is open from the early morning and into the late night.

Cucina del Capitano

Cucina del Capitano

This Italian restaurant on Carnival Jubilee serves up homestyle meals for lunch and dinner. You can dine here for lunch occasionally, although dinner is available each night. The carbonara is to die for and the decor will transport you to Italy! Unlike other renditions of Cucina del Capitano, all meals here are included in the cost of your cruise fare. 



A venue unlike anything at sea, this restaurant has two separate menus with Asian and Mexican options. It won’t be the best cuisine onboard, but it’s a fun twist on cruise ship dining that you should try at least once on Carnival Jubilee. I prefer the Asian food when dining here. 

Like Cucina del Capitano, you don't have to pay extra to eat here, which isn't the case when dining on Mardi Gras or Carnival Celebration, which only includes the first visit. 

Beach Buns

Right next to Coastal Slice is Carnival Jubilee’s sandwich shop. These are made-to-order sandwiches, which include both hot and cold options. There are also soups available to order.

Fresh Creations

Build your own salad located in the adults-only Serenity. Hours vary, but your best bet for a fresh salad is during a sea day for lunch.

Specialty (Cost Extra)

There are only a few specialty restaurants on Carnival Jubilee, and I’ve never really felt the need to splurge on these options when cruising.

Emeril’s Bistro ($)

Carnival Jubilee

Thanks to a partnership with chef Emeril Lagasse, the New Orleans-inspired menu is perfectly priced for small splurges. The breakfast menu is the real star in my opinion, with the Banana’s Foster Crepes and croissant sandwich. The beignets are incredible as well! Other menu options include creole favorites like jambalaya and po’-boy sandwiches.

Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse ($$)


The classic steakhouse on Carnival Jubilee serves a variety of premium cut meats with sides. The steakhouse is a favorite for many Carnival cruisers, although my one experience fell short of other cruise steakhouses. There are classic cuts, like ribeye and filet mignon, along with other meats and seafood options.

Bonsai Sushi ($) and Teppanyaki ($$)


For Asian cuisine lovers, the Bonsai restaurant includes both a sushi restaurant and a classic Teppanyaki grill experience. Sushi can be ordered a-la-carte here, although I’m not a seafood eater, so I can’t provide any first-hand experience with the sushi. However, many claim the sushi is affordable and well-presented.

The Teppanyaki experience is a fun, interactive experience available for lunch and dinner. Not quite as cheap as the sushi restaurant, the Teppanyaki reservations fill up quickly. You’ll enjoy grilled meats with fun tricks performed by the chef along the way, perfect for families with kids!

Rudi’s Seagrill ($$$)


Rudi Sodamin created a lovely menu of seafood options for a more intimate dining experience on Carnival Jubilee. The menu consists almost entirely of seafood, although there are a few non-fish options as well. The decor is cutesy with a sea theme, although not necessarily upscale.

Seafood Shack ($)

Located in Street Eats, you can purchase some a-la-carte seafood items such as oysters, fresh fish, and lobster rolls. Street Eats is available for lunch and dinner on the pool deck.

Read more: Carnival menus 2024: Main dining room, specialty restaurants & more

Bars and Lounges

Carnival Jubilee

Carnival Jubilee is a busy ship and many guests on our cruise had drink packages. Therefore, the bars were pretty packed and service was noticeably slower than I’ve experienced on other ships. As such, I had little to drink during my time on Carnival Jubilee, but that doesn’t mean there is a shortage of bars and lounges.

You can find 13 different bars and lounges on Carnival Jubilee. If you purchase a Cheers! drink package, note that you won’t be able to utilize the package until the second day due to Texas drinking laws.

Carnival Jubilee

One of the most notable bars on Carnival Jubilee is located in Currents: Dr.Inks. Due to its location, we found this bar to be busy each evening, especially when live music was playing, but you can find some quirky, ocean-themed cocktails available only at this bar. I tried two different cocktails called Fish Dreams and Sea Foam; I preferred the sweetness of Fish Dreams over the overly coconut flavor of Sea Foam.

Golden Mermaid is another new bar on Carnival Jubilee, tucked away between Grand Central and the bustling Currents walkway. Because of this, we found quicker bar service and a lovely menu of tasty cocktails. I’d head to Golden Mermaid if you sail on Carnival Jubilee, as the service was quicker and the cocktails were arguably better (and still ocean-themed with a fun menu).

Read more: 15 Best Carnival Drink Package Tips

Carnival Jubilee

Carnival Jubilee has other classic Carnival bars, such as RedFrog Tiki Bar and the Alchemy Bar. If you’re wanting a poolside cocktail, you’ll have to brave the crowds at RedFrog, which sprawls across two decks. The chemistry-themed Alchemy Bar is centrally located and features a multitude of science-inspired cocktails.

Other bars include the Havana Bar, Limelight Lounge, Piano Bar 88, Marina Bar, and The Watering Hole.

Entertainment and Activities

Carnival Jubilee

There is absolutely no shortage of things to do when cruising on Carnival Jubilee. Activities and onboard attractions are available throughout the day - whether you’re at sea or docked in port. In the evenings, the ship transforms with nightly entertainment available from bow to stern with production shows and more.


Sail Away Party

Each day, Carnival Jubilee’s Fun Squad will offer a variety of activities for cruisers to enjoy. These are complimentary and range from daily trivia to crafts, games, and other contests. You’ll find themed trivia each day, such as Friends Trivia and SpongeBob Trivia.

Other favorites include scavenger hunts or bean bag toss competitions. You can even find pool deck activities, such as dance classes or other fun competitions. Carnival Jubilee is the only ship to offer the Lone Star Tailgate Party, which is a game-day-inspired event with food, competitions, and prizes.

Onboard Attractions


One of Carnival Jubilee’s most exciting zones is The Ultimate Playground. This is where kids and adults alike can let loose and have major fun riding waterslides, participating in sports competitions, and braving the ropes course.

Waterworks is the waterpark, which includes three twisting and turning waterslides that will get your adrenaline pumping. There are also areas for smaller kids with splash pads and other water fun.

Bolt: Ultimate SeaCoaster is a unique experience you’ll only find on Carnival’s Excel Class ships as the first rollercoaster at sea. Costing $15 per person for two laps, the pricey ride is worthwhile for adrenaline junkies.


The ropes course is a complimentary obstacle course that will take you around Jubilee’s top deck with a series of maneuvers, platforms, and zip lines. You can even stand off the side of the ship for a big thrill!


Punchliner Comedy Club

Carnival Jubilee has top-notch entertainment, especially for Carnival Cruise Line. You won’t find any Broadway shows or big-name productions onboard, but Carnival Jubilee’s entertainment packs a punch.

I was very impressed with the entertainment on Carnival Jubilee, although my third time on an Excel Class ship had more repeat production shows than I anticipated. If it’s your first time on an Excel Class ship, the entertainment will likely be all new to you!

To start, Center Stage is a massive outward-facing atrium that spans across three decks on Carnival Jubilee. The versatile venue has some of the best shows on Carnival Jubilee, including Rio Carnival, We Are One, and The Residency. Our sailing also featured a magician one evening, which was excellent and light-hearted. 

Read more: Photos show Carnival Cruise Line's newest and most impressive ship yet


The tall ceiling space allows for aerialists and acrobatics, which are mesmerizing, but be sure to get there early if you want a seat. The seat situation at Center Stage is dreadful, leading to a tense situation of crowded passengers looking for a chair or couch to sit on.

Carnival Jubilee has a more traditional theatre called the Jubilee Theatre, which has nightly production shows called Playlist Productions. One new show is called Dear Future Husband, which is a cutesy show about a couple getting married on a cruise ship (how appropriate!). Other shows included Celestial Strings and game shows, such as Family Feud and Love and Marriage.


Speaking of gameshows, you can also enjoy Deal or No Deal on Carnival Jubilee. The popular game show takes place at Center Stage and typically draws a huge crowd. Anyone can purchase tickets for the chance to win. You can just watch the live audience member try and win a large cash prize, too! 

Along with headliner shows, Carnival Jubilee comes to life at night. You can expect most people to stay up late in the evenings, meaning a noisy ship for those with an early bedtime. I would suggest packing earplugs or a sound machine if you want to go to sleep early! 

Carnival Jubilee

You can find live music throughout most of the evening, especially at the Piano Bar with sing-a-long tunes. Country bands play in the late evening in Summer’s Landing within the Pig & Anchor Smokehouse, which features a small space to dance too. 

If you appreciate comedy shows, the Punchliner Comedy Club has multiple comedy shows each day. The lines were so long that I was only able to attend one comedy show, otherwise I typically attend nightly for some hearty laughs!


Gamblers can enjoy a huge casino on Carnival Jubilee with plenty of slot machines and table games. The casino is only open when Jubilee is sailing at sea, so the crowds congregate each evening when the sun goes down and the ship sets sail.

Finally, you can’t miss the mega deck parties that take place on the Lido pool deck

Deck Parties

There are two major parties on Carnival Jubilee: The 80’s Rock-N-Glow Deck Party and the White Hot Night Party. If you love music and dancing, you’ll want to stay up late for these, as they attract a huge crowd of party-goers onboard!

Distinct Features

Carnival Jubilee

There were many aspects of my Carnival Jubilee cruise that I loved, but a few of these are memorable enough to share.

  • While the ship is big, the six distinct zones help with passenger flow and crowd control. Two of the zones have new themes, including Currents and The Shores. While I prefer the travel-inspired theme of sister ship Carnival Celebration, the ocean theme on Carnival Jubilee is well-designed and executed.
  • Carnival Jubilee finds a nice balance between modern and trendy design with retro touches. Neon colors and lights are subdued with lighted woodwork and brighter designs. The ship feels stylish without being gaudy or tacky.
  • We stayed in a cove balcony, which was the cheapest balcony stateroom. This was a first for me, but I loved the additional privacy of the cove enclosure and being closer to the ocean on Deck 5.
  • The bathrooms in our stateroom were nicely designed with particular importance placed on the shower design. I appreciated having so much space to shower comfortably with a walk-in shower with a glass door.
  • There are odes to Texas everywhere onboard! Carnival Jubilee was built specifically to sail from Texas and will call the state her home forever. You can find Texas-themed merchandise onboard, the Texas star on her bow, and even a fiery Texas-born cruise director (one of the youngest in the cruise line’s history).
  • Carnival Jubilee only sails 7-night itineraries to the Western Caribbean, so don’t expect to find much itinerary variety.

Final Thoughts

Carnival Jubilee

My cruise on Carnival Jubilee was both exciting and relaxing, although it’s hard not to love a brand-new cruise ship. I greatly enjoyed the dining experience on Carnival Jubilee, along with the entertainment each night onboard. Everything from the dinners in the main dining room to the casual bites from Big Chicken and Guy’s Burger Joint were excellent.

Entertainment was fabulous on Carnival Jubilee, although a few shows were repeats from other ships I’ve sailed on. I particularly enjoyed Rio Carnival, which was a Brazilian carnival theme with flashy costumes and daring aerialists.

Traveling to and from Galveston was cumbersome due to the port’s distance from Houston. As a Florida resident, I’ll probably sail on sister ships Carnival Celebration and Mardi Gras in the future, but this has nothing to do with Carnival Jubilee herself, as the ship is an excellent choice for local Texans.

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