Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line
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Lido Deck
Lido Deck / Carnival Cruise Line
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Atrium American
Atrium American / Carnival Cruise Line
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Burger and fries from Guy's Burger Joint
Burger and fries from Guy's Burger Joint / Carnival Cruise Line
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SkyBox sports lounge
SkyBox sports lounge / Carnival Cruise Line
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Balcony Cabin
Balcony Cabin / Carnival Cruise Line
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BlueIguana / Carnival Cruise Line
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Carnival Valor

Our Ship Review
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

True to the Carnival spirit, this 2,980-guest “Fun Ship” is all about providing playtime for cruisers of all ages. After a 2016 refurbishment, new additions like the popular Alchemy Bar serve up uniquely crafted cocktails, while the RedFrog Rum Bar offers flights of rum and a house brew in a relaxed hangout that features games, including a dominoes table, darts, and foosball.

From poolside parties to competitive rounds of Trivial Pursuit, the enthusiastic crowd revels in the spirited energy. With the Shogun Club Casino, Lindy Hop Piano Bar, karaoke at the Paris Hot Lounge, and even a small arcade for the kids, the Promenade deck is full of happening nightspots. The three-tier Ivanhoe Theater puts on two types of Broadway-style revues, as well as a Towel Animal Theater performance for kids during afternoons at sea. For some late-night laughs, catch an R-rated act at The Punchliner Comedy Club, but get there early as tables fill up fast, and the line to get in snakes almost to the middle of the ship.

What We Love

Easy Escapes: With three- to seven-night itineraries sailing from New Orleans to popular destinations in the Caribbean and the Bahamas, this ship is ideal for those looking to get away for a few days.

Adult Areas: Tucked away from all of the noise, on Deck 12 is the two-level adults-only Serenity Lounge, which comes equipped with hammocks, daybeds, and hot tubs — and it's a welcome respite for the 21-and-over set from the DJ by the main pool. Fancy a dip? Head to the aft of Deck 9 for the adults-only Prometheus Pool.

Best Known For

Big-Name Fun: Carnival’s big-name partnerships include Guy’s Burger Joint, designed in collaboration with Food Network’s Guy Fieri. The popular eatery serves complimentary juicy burgers and fries, complete with a toppings and sauces bar. Kids can head to Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham” breakfast (for a small surcharge), as well as character meet and greets and parades.

Who It's Best For

Families: Parents and kids to multigenerational family groups celebrating milestones and reunions will find plenty to do on board — including the multi-deck Twister waterslides. The whole gang can challenge each other to rounds of mini-golf, take in a show at the medieval-themed Ivanhoe Theater, or watch a “Dive-In Movie” by the pool. Extensive kids programs keep everyone from tikes to teens busy with supervised activities, leaving the adults free to explore the many lounges with live music.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

Break Up With the Buffet: With the exception of the Mongolian Wok, the food offerings in the Lido Restaurant leave something to be desired. We found long lines and many dishes that fell short. Our suggestion? Explore the ship’s other eateries. Make some time for breakfast or brunch (during sea days) in the dining room, or grab a made-to-order breakfast burrito at the BlueIguana Cantina, the under-the-radar best morning meal on board. At night, splurge by paying the specialty dining fee for a four-course meal at Scarlett’s Steakhouse for classics like shrimp cocktail, rib-eye, and cheesecake. 

Neon Patriotism: The ship’s décor is far from subtle when it comes to living up to its namesake’s theme. Although the presidential images and golden eagles can add a patriotic backdrop to a Memorial Day or Fourth of July sailing, it’s a little jarring to see friezes of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln lining the walls of a bright pink dining room.

ShermansTravel Editorial Staff
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger