Carnival is a relative newcomer to the Australian cruise scene, but it's a great addition. The Carnival Spirit made Sydney her home in 2012 and hasn't looked back - armed with Aussie powerpoints, AUD as onboard currency, the Green Thunder waterslide and of course a BBQ on deck, she has fast become a favourite. She is soon going into drydock to be spruced up and made better than ever with a "Fun Ship 2.0" makeover - new eateries, a SkyBox sports bar, a lolly shop, some entertainment options and more.
The Carnival Legend joined her sister ship in 2014, sailing seasonally from Sydney. This pair of "Fun Ships" as Carnival so aptly calls its fleet, bring some great family-friendly options to Australian cruise lovers, with a small but classic range of itineraries to the South Pacific islands, New Zealand, the Queensland coast and Tasmania.
Snapshot of a Carnival cruiser
What kind of person is likely to enjoy a Carnival cruise - and would you be one of them? If you like to have fun, you just might. Loads of activities and options are a hallmark of any Carnival cruise, and they offer great value for money with very affordable fares. Families love Carnival - but their style of cruising can appeal to all ages, and they are also great for couples who like to be active and entertained. In Australia, the average age of passengers is less than 50, with a main demographic between 35 and 50 years of age.
There's always the option to lie by the pool or hide out in the spa and relax, but those are things you can do on any cruise. If you like to get out and about and try some new things, a cruise on the Carnival Spirit or Carnival Legend is the way to go. Both have packed schedules of organised activities, with cruise classics like napkin folding, mixology and ballroom dancing as well as sports tournaments, trivia, deck games and much, much more. The focus is on fun rather than enrichment, so be prepared for a good time and bring a highlighter for the daily schedule.
The pools and WaterWorks waterpark are also built for amusement. There is more than one pool on each ship, offering plenty of space for everyone to take a dip, and they serve as a focal point for outdoor fun on the Lido Deck. On the Carnival Spirit and Carnival Legend, the water parks include the Green Thunder waterslide, the steepest at sea.
"Fun Ships" they are called, and it's not just about the activities. The decor of the Carnival Spirit and Carnival Legend is whimsical and unexpected - unashamedly colourful and crazy. The Spirit's public rooms have a mishmash of design styles from around the world - Egyptian, Chinese, English and much, much more. The main restaurant is kitted out as a grand French dining hall - your eyes certainly won't be bored!
The Legend takes decor inspiration from its name, with public spaces themed for the great legends of the world. You might encounter Colossus of Rhodes, Atlantis, Merlin, an enchanted forest, Medusa, the Fountain of Youth, Camelot and other famous places and people of myth.
Some prefer the understated decor of more traditional lines, but Carnival ships don't take themselves too seriously! It's all about extravagance.
In both quality and variety, Carnival has put a lot of effort into improving their food offerings over the past few years. Daily menus include classic cruise favourites as well as some more adventurous options, and the buffet has fun stations like a 24-hour pizzeria, a deli and made-to-order omelettes at breakfast. It's great to have so much included in the cruise fare - snacks at the Red Frog Pub, poolside grills, self-serve ice cream and more. The Carnival Spirit will also be getting Guy's Burger Joint and the BlueIguana Cantina in August 2015 to add to its complementary eateries.
Specialty restaurants round out the choices with a great range - Bonsai Sushi, Nouveau Steakhouse and the culinary experience that is the Chef's Table.
While Carnival is great for fun lovers of any group and any age, families appreciate that they are well catered for. The line has a relatively low average passenger age, and children are welcome. Camp Carnival, Circle "C" and Club 02 take care of age-appropriate entertainment and afford parents some time out, which they might like to spend in the adults-only "Serenity" retreat with its fabulous double sun loungers.
The fun-in-the-sun pools and other outdoor options like mini golf provide plenty of opportunity for togetherness, and eating with the kids is easy thanks to children's menus and dinnertime entertainment. The young ones can even enjoy a supervised meal with their new Camp Carnival friends occasionally, and then return for evening activities with the group. Date night, anyone?
Plentiful family accommodations are a high point of the Carnival Legend - the ship has 53 sets of connecting cabins! Parents of babies can request a crib for their stateroom. The minimum age for Carnival cruisers is a young 12 months.
Do those qualities sound like you? Consider a Carnival cruise for your next holiday and find out what the world's biggest cruise line is all about!