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ATLTech76

Carnival Cruise Recommendations

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Hello. 

 

I am planning a group trip and Carnival cruises seem to be priced really well. I am looking to leave from a port in Florida, Alabama or Louisiana. The group will range from late 20s to mid 40s. Things like casinos, dance / night club, karaoke, comedy, shows, activities like bingo and relatively good food is highly desired.

 

What particular Carnival ships and ports do you recommend? I have read some reviews regarding Carnival Conquest out of the Miami port being "interesting" with cruisers smoking marijuana in their room, etc. I am looking for a lively, great time for all of the attendees less exposure to things like people smoking marijuana, poor service, etc. 

 

If not Carnival, what cruise line / ship / port combination do you recommend? Thanks!

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Hi,

 

Has anybody in the group sailed before? If so, what cruise lines, destinations, etc? If you give us a bit more information about how many days you want to sail for, and what you wish to do ashore, it may be easier to help you narrow an itinerary down.

 

Most of the activities that you listed carry over from one ship to another across the Carnival fleet, so you can expect to find the experience in that regard to be fairly similar. But there are several classes of ship, ranging from 30 year old Fantasy class ships to brand new Vista class ships (as well as the upcoming Mardi Gras which will be launched this year). Some will be more traditional while others will have more bells and whistles. 

 

Where’s the majority of the group coming from? If most people are geographically closest to one specific port of embarkation, it may be desirable to focus on that one in particular. That’s what we did last year when we organized a group cruise. Most of us live in the Atlanta area, so it made sense to sail from Mobile which was an easy 4 hour drive. The ship was older and smaller, the itinerary wasn’t the most exciting, but we had an absolutely fantastic time. And the convenience of sailing from a port of departure close to home made it easier for more people to join the group. 

 

Just give us us a bit more details about your group and hopefully we can help. 

 

 

 

Edited by Tapi

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I have sailed once before a few years back on Royal Carribean to the Bahamas. We are looking to sail Friday through Monday probably to the Bahamas. I don't believe there will be many who will do excursions so that is not a big deal. We are mainly looking for a ship with good entertainment, decent cabins, relatively decent food and good nightlife. It will be a mix of males and females, no couples among us. 

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1 minute ago, ATLTech76 said:

We are looking to sail Friday through Monday probably to the Bahamas. 

A Friday to Monday itinerary to the Bahamas will narrow things down considerably. Currently, Carnival offers these 3 night itineraries from Miami and Port Canaveral, FL. The ships operating this route are in the same class, so they will be almost identical in terms of entertainment, cabins, food and nightlife, except for decor. 

 

Based on your screen name, I’m guessing that the Carnival Liberty out of Port Canaveral will be more advantageous to you coming from the Atlanta area, specially if you’re planning on driving. We live in the Atlanta area and have driven to Port Canaveral several times. A bit long, but definitely doable. 

 

As far as other cruise lines go, and based on your group description, Royal Caribbean may be your other option out of Port Canaveral. They also offer 3 night itineraries and target your group’s demographic.

 

Hope the information is helpful!

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Tapi said:

A Friday to Monday itinerary to the Bahamas will narrow things down considerably. Currently, Carnival offers these 3 night itineraries from Miami and Port Canaveral, FL. The ships operating this route are in the same class, so they will be almost identical in terms of entertainment, cabins, food and nightlife, except for decor. 

 

Based on your screen name, I’m guessing that the Carnival Liberty out of Port Canaveral will be more advantageous to you coming from the Atlanta area, specially if you’re planning on driving. We live in the Atlanta area and have driven to Port Canaveral several times. A bit long, but definitely doable. 

 

As far as other cruise lines go, and based on your group description, Royal Caribbean may be your other option out of Port Canaveral. They also offer 3 night itineraries and target your group’s demographic.

 

Hope the information is helpful!

 

 

Yes, I am in Atlanta. I was looking at reviews of Miami and the Carnival Conquest. Unfortunately, many of the reviews made it seem like it would be unpleasant. So I am looking for an alternate cruise ship from Carnival in Florida. I will check out reviews on the Liberty and see what cruisers are saying. I’m trying to gather enough info concerning the ships to make an informed decision on what to book for our group. 
 

Thank you for the info. 

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If  you are also considering Royal Caribbean perhaps a post on that board would help you decide. 

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16 minutes ago, ATLTech76 said:

I was looking at reviews of Miami and the Carnival Conquest. Unfortunately, many of the reviews made it seem like it would be unpleasant.

Short cruises by nature won’t be quite like longer ones. They tend to be cheaper, rowdier, with a younger crowd trying to pack as much fun as they possibly can in the shortened amount of time. This can sometimes translate into a less than pleasant experience, no matter what cruise lines you choose. I’ve sailed short itineraries on both Carnival and Royal with very similar experiences. 
 

Based on what I’ve experienced, I’d probably give Royal a slight edge over Carnival when it comes to short cruises. Ships are a bit nicer, and you get to visit their private island, Coco Cay. But I still believe that the overall onboard experience will be fairly similar. If you were looking at longer cruises, I’d put more weight on the cruise line and ship, but for a quick weekend getaway, I’d be more focused on price. 

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There are very inexpensive 4 Night cruises out of Jacksonville on the Ecstasy as well. It is an older and smaller ship but only about a 5 hour drive.  

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Don't expect Rave Reviews from any 3 night weekend cruise .

Far too short to be worth a long drive  .

Contains the worse 2 nights of any cruise , embarkation  night and farewell night .

Did I mention Party People ?

 Also , anyone smoking anything in a Carnival cabin or balcony , is violating the rules .

Edited by MCC retired

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15 hours ago, MCC retired said:

Don't expect Rave Reviews from any 3 night weekend cruise .

Far too short to be worth a long drive  .

Contains the worse 2 nights of any cruise , embarkation  night and farewell night .

Did I mention Party People ?

 Also , anyone smoking anything in a Carnival cabin or balcony , is violating the rules .


The next time I go on a cruise and don’t see anyone smoking on a balcony will be a first for me. My wife and I have done several 3 day cruises and enjoyed them.    We live in Florida and can drive to 5 different ports in 4 hours or less. I don’t think we would do a 3 day cruise if we had to fly or had a long drive like you mentioned. 

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On 1/15/2020 at 9:45 PM, ATLTech76 said:

I have sailed once before a few years back on Royal Carribean to the Bahamas. We are looking to sail Friday through Monday probably to the Bahamas. I don't believe there will be many who will do excursions so that is not a big deal. We are mainly looking for a ship with good entertainment, decent cabins, relatively decent food and good nightlife. It will be a mix of males and females, no couples among us. 

I think it depends on what you consider good entertainment.  RC is generally thought of as better for production shows while Carnival generally has better comedians.  Both had karaoke, piano bar, and house musicians - I find the enjoyment can vary as much from the passenger vibe as it does from the performer. We did a NCL cruise a few years ago from Miami and it also had a party vibe.  I find all lines have reasonable food, but little to get excited about.  I do really enjoy Blue Iguana and generally find Carnival pizza and Guy's fries (burgers are meh to me) above average.

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On 1/15/2020 at 10:30 PM, Tapi said:

Short cruises by nature won’t be quite like longer ones. They tend to be cheaper, rowdier, with a younger crowd trying to pack as much fun as they possibly can in the shortened amount of time. This can sometimes translate into a less than pleasant experience, no matter what cruise lines you choose. I’ve sailed short itineraries on both Carnival and Royal with very similar experiences. 
 

Based on what I’ve experienced, I’d probably give Royal a slight edge over Carnival when it comes to short cruises. Ships are a bit nicer, and you get to visit their private island, Coco Cay. But I still believe that the overall onboard experience will be fairly similar. If you were looking at longer cruises, I’d put more weight on the cruise line and ship, but for a quick weekend getaway, I’d be more focused on price. 

This is the post I needed to read. I believe you are right in that the cost is low enough to attract a certain type of clientele. I am going to consider making the trip a few days longer. Thanks for your insight.

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On 1/16/2020 at 10:20 AM, MCC retired said:

Don't expect Rave Reviews from any 3 night weekend cruise .

Far too short to be worth a long drive  .

Contains the worse 2 nights of any cruise , embarkation  night and farewell night .

Did I mention Party People ?

 Also , anyone smoking anything in a Carnival cabin or balcony , is violating the rules .

Definitely some food for thought. I have postponed the trip and plan to extend it out to 6-8 days max. I believe you are right with the 3/4-day cruises, specifically on Carnival. 

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I've cruised been on 22 Carnival and 8 Royal Caribbean cruises. Honestly, they are similar, but based on what you've described I would recommend the Carnival Fantasy 4 day (Thursday - Monday) out of Mobile. The only port day is Cozumel and that sounds like a port that your group would enjoy. 

 

Just my 2 cents. 

 

Cheers! 

Edited by Wheels87

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10 minutes ago, Wheels87 said:

The only port day is Cozumel and that sounds like a port that your group would enjoy. 

 

Just my 2 cents. 

 

Cheers! 

Cozumel also has some great all-inclusive resorts catering to the cruise community.  

 

If you live in Atlanta, the Carnival Sunshine out of Charleston would also be a good bet.  It has a ton of bells and whistles, a sports deck and a large variety of restaurants and bars.  It also has the Cloud 9 Spa, which if you get a 'spa room' or spa pass (available daily or forthe entire cruise) it gives you access to a variety of steam, sauna, and thermal rooms.  They are nice!  The Serenity Deck (adults only) is absolutely beautiful. 

It tends to do 5 day cruises to the Bahamas.  Half Moon Cay is about the most beautiful beach I have ever been to and is the perfect port for a fantastic beach day.  Nassau and Freeport are two of the other regular stops.  There is a large variety of things to do in Nassau, but do your research as Nassau can be a bit sketchy.  Freeport is not a pretty port to sail into, but they have a lot of excursions that are great fun and there is a pretty cool bar right there at the port.  

Edited by Qchell

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3 minutes ago, Qchell said:

Cozumel also has some great all-inclusive resorts catering to the cruise community.  

 

Yes, that is a great point. Our favorite place in Cozumel is Paradise Beach. We always take a taxi there. Now, they off an all-inclusive option, which includes food from the taco truck, for $63 per person. 

 

Good luck! 

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50 minutes ago, ATLTech76 said:

I appreciate your recommendation. Mobile is close enough to drive to from Atlanta. 

Here’s a link to our cruise on the Fantasy out of Mobile last February. We chose that cruise for a friend’s birthday because of Mobile’s convenient location for those of us who live in the Atlanta area. 
 

We had a great time, the price was very affordable, and the fairly short drive made this decision the right one. But Fantasy is Carnival’s oldest ship, and the experience is definitely not the best that Carnival has to offer. But for our needs, it was the right choice.

 

Heres the link (with some photos). Enjoy!

Carnival Fantasy from Mobile

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Carnival is great and fairly consistent from ship to ship. I recommend taking a Dream class (The Dream, The Magic, or The Breeze) as they have a lot of good amenities for that age group.

 

My favorite ship is the Breeze...here's why and why it doesn't matter:

 

 

 

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For ports, I've sailed out of all the Florida ones except Jacksonville, and I can tell you Tampa and Port Canaveral are by far the best, followed by Miami, and Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale) was my worst experience.

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