Carnival Celebration Cruise Ship: Overview and Things to Do

Here's everything you need to know about the Carnival Celebration cruise ship, with an overview and things to do.

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The second Excellence-class cruise ship for Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Celebration is a long-awaited addition to the Carnival family. Named after the original 1987 ship, Carnival Celebration offers cruisers the biggest, best, flashiest and newest of family-fun cruising with a bevy of cool features. 

The largest ship in Carnival’s fleet to date, Celebration provides plenty to do over its six ship “zones.” If you’re planning a Carnival Celebration cruise for the near future, then, you’ll want to be sure to plan carefully. With so much to do and see, prioritizing is a must!

Ready to learn more? Here’s everything that you need to know about Carnival Celebration, including what to expect, what to do and what not to miss. 

Carnival Celebration Stats

This ship is mammoth, to be sure. However, for its giant size and its status as the largest Carnival ship to date, that doesn’t make Carnival Celebration one of the world’s overall largest. As it currently stands as of the ship’s debut, it sits just outside the world’s Top 10 largest cruise ships.

Carnival Celebration Cruise Ship in Grand Turk
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line
  • Gross Tonnage: 183,521
  • Length: 1,130 feet (340 meters)
  • Decks: 19
  • Passenger Capacity: 5,374
  • Maximum Passenger Capacity: 6,500
  • Crew Capacity: 1,735 
  • Staterooms: 2,600

Construction and History 

Carnival Celebration has been a long time in the works. The ship was initially ordered in 2016, before construction started in 2021. The ship was built by Meyer Turku in Finland at a cost of $1 billion. She is the second in the fleet fully powered by Liquefied Natural Gas LNG.

The ship was only completed in November 2022, with the delivery ceremony taking place at the shipyard early that month. The vessel became the first new Carnival cruise ship to arrive in the UK in 20 years for its maiden voyage out of Southampton on November 6, 2022. The ship first arrived at its homeport of PortMiami on November 20, and later that same day, the official naming ceremony took place at the new Terminal F.

Carnival Celebration Delivery
Photo Credit: Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Celebration, while impressive in its own right, is not the first of its kind. The ship is the second Excel-class cruise ship to come from Carnival Cruise Line, following in the footsteps of sister ship Mardi Gras. Carnival’s Mardi Gras cruise ship debuted in the summer of 2021. 

The two ships within the Excel class share very similar features, such as the themed zones, but Carnival Celebration has a few of its own tricks up its sleeves. Keep reading to find out just what those special, unique features are! 

Staterooms 

There are more than 2,600 staterooms aboard Carnival Celebration, meaning you’ll have plenty to pick from when it comes to choosing the perfect place for you and your family to stay during your cruise. Stateroom options include:

  • Interior staterooms, which are the most affordable, yet not like the interior staterooms you might be used to
  • Oceanview staterooms, for views of the water
  • Balcony staterooms, for extra outdoor space

No matter which of these basic stateroom styles you choose, though, you’ll find that each features modern decor, lots of extra space, light and airy color palettes and extra modern features such as backlit mirrors. 

Suites

Of course, there are also several specialty suite and stateroom options available on Carnival Celebration

To start, there are the newly introduced Excel suites, which just premiered on the Carnival Mardi Gras cruise ship. Excel suites differ in terms of what they offer (some are larger than others and feature extra amenities such as private outdoor hot tubs or wrap-around balconies). All, however, offer access to special amenities, such as complimentary access to the new Loft 19 space.

Another brand-new, Excellence-class feature, Loft 19 is like a VIP area of the ship, where you can enjoy extras and amenities that aren’t open or available to just anyone.

Carnival Celebration Loft 19
Carnival Celebration Loft 19

There are private cabana rentals (Excel suite guests receive priority access to the cabana rentals), concierge service, lunch delivery and more. Loft 19 is designed as an alternative to the main pool area, and suite guests get access before anyone else.

Other specialty room options include the Family Harbor staterooms and suites, which are designed specifically with family needs in mind. If you book a Family Harbor stateroom or suite, you’ll get access to the Family Harbor Lounge, which provides snacks, board games, family movies, video games and more, all day long. Guests in these suites likewise get extra free amenities such as babysitting services and free dining for kids.

There are also the Cloud 9 Spa suites and staterooms, which are designed with relaxation in mind, with extra-special toiletries, comfy robes and slippers, and unlimited access to spa spaces such as the thermal suites. Guests also enjoy spa discounts and free fitness classes.

Carnival Excel-Class Suite
Carnival Excel-Class Suite

Lastly, the Havana staterooms and suites are, similar to the Loft 19 spaces, part of a VIP area of the ship that tries to create a more calming and exclusive atmosphere. All guests in the Havana area are 12 and up, so there are no screaming kiddos around (in case that’s not your preference). Plus, the Havana area includes its own bar and pool, where only Havana guests are permitted. 

Free Dining 

You’ll definitely not go hungry aboard Carnival Celebration — even if you don’t want to spend extra on for-a-fee dining. There are lots of free dining options aboard this ship. Free dining options include:

  • Big Chicken
  • BlueIguana Cantina
  • Chibang
  • Deco Deli
  • Guy’s Burger Joint
  • Guy’s Pig and Anchor BBQ
  • Lido Marketplace
  • Miami Slice
  • Street Eats
  • Swirls Ice Cream
  • And, of course, the ship’s main dining rooms 

Among these free eateries, brand-new options include Miami Slice, which is the new pizzeria for Carnival Cruise Lines. Deco Deli is also new, and offers your typical deli sandwich experience, but with a slight Cuban twist. 

Carnival Radiance, Big Chicken
Big Chicken on Carnival Cruise Line

Others may be more familiar to you, especially if you’ve cruised on some of Carnival’s newest ships in recent years. You’ve got your celebrity and celebrity chef-endorsed offerings, such as those from Shaq (Big Chicken) and Guy Fieri (Guy’s Burger Joint and Guy’s Pig and Anchor BBQ). There’s also the new-ish Street Eats restaurant that allows you to try a bunch of different international cuisines in one spot, every day. Chibang is likewise really new, premiering with Mardi Gras, and offering Chinese and Mexican fusion cuisine. 

Specialty Restaurants

But what if you want to splurge? In that case, you’ll find lots of great specialty restaurants aboard Carnival Celebration as well, both newcomers and old classics. Specialty restaurants include:

  • Bonsai Sushi
  • Bonsai Teppanyaki
  • Cucina del Capitano
  • Emeril’s Bistro 1396
  • JavaBlue Cafe
  • Rudi’s Seagrill
  • The Seafood Shack
  • Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse
Rudi’s Seagrill on Carnival Celebration
Rudi’s Seagrill on Carnival Celebration

If you’ve yet to cruise on an Excellence-class ship, you’ll notice that a few of the newer options here include Rudi’s Seagrill, serving seafood in a high-end environment, and Emeril’s Bistro 1396, which is celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse’s first restaurant at sea.

Bars and Lounges

Just like there are plentiful dining options aboard Carnival Celebration, there are likewise loads of watering holes on this ship. Bars and lounges include:

  • Piano Bar 88
  • Tropicale Bar
  • The Golden Jubilee
  • Latitudes Bar
  • Empress Casino Bar
  • Aquaria Casino Bar
  • Limelight Lounge
  • Alchemy Bar
  • Bar 820
  • Heroes Tribute Bar & Lounge
  • The Watering Hole
  • RedFrog Tiki Bar
  • Tides Pool and Bar

Some of these places are familiar to frequent Carnival cruisers, such as the long-standing RedFrog Tiki Bar. However, others are brand new, such as The Golden Jubilee, a unique bar that’s a nod to Carnival’s storied past, with decor from prior ships used to create a gorgeous Art Deco-style, upscale space.

The Golden Jubilee, Carnival Celebration
The Golden Jubilee, Carnival Celebration

Aquaria Bar likewise features unique decor, including glass murals that were originally created for Carnival Victory, a ship that dates back to 1998. 

Activities and Entertainment

You could likely enjoy a full Carnival cruise just by kicking back in your stateroom or suite and taking advantage of all the accompanying amenities, while also jumping from restaurant to restaurant and from bar to bar. However, there’s so much more to do and see on this cruise ship! Here are a few of the highlights.

The Second Roller Coaster at Sea: BOLT

BOLT was a big deal when it debuted on Mardi Gras, and it’s still a big deal now. The second-ever roller coaster at sea, this roller coaster is situated in the Ultimate Playground portion of the ship.

Carnival Celebration BOLT Roller Coaster
Carnival Celebration BOLT Roller Coaster

The electric, motorcycle-style ride takes you on a gravity-defying journey up and over the deck, as well as the ocean. Not for the faint of heart, BOLT is a can’t-miss for any adrenaline junkie cruiser.

Playing at the Ultimate Playground

Of course, even if you don’t check out BOLT, you’ve still got to have some fun at the Ultimate Playground. This zone of the ship offers tons to do for every member of the family. There’s the ship’s water park, mini golf courses, sports courses like a basketball court, a ropes course and more. What more do you need?

Mardi Gras Sports Square
Photo Credit: Marc Mayntz

WaterWorks

The WaterWorks part of the Ultimate Playground could be a day of fun all on its own. The water park features three large slides, two racing slides and more. 

The Brand-New Gateway

The Gateway is a brand-new zone unique to Carnival Celebration, so make sure to explore it thoroughly during your cruise. The Gateway is home to several new offerings, including the travel-themed Latitudes bar.

Latitudes Bar in The Gateway Zone on Carnival Celebration
Latitudes Bar in The Gateway Zone on Carnival Celebration

Gateway also offers its own entertainment, via a multimedia wall and 100-foot LED ceiling that, combined, offer scenery, sounds and shows that will have your jaw dropping.

A Night at the Theater

As always with Carnival, Carnival Celebration offers lots of theatrical entertainment throughout each cruise. You can catch comedy shows, music acts, acrobatic performances and more. On deck for the initial Carnival Celebration cruises are Latin-themed performances, circus-style acts and symphonic compositions that reimagine your favorite modern poppy hits.

The Serenity Retreat

For those who want a bit of quiet time and some space away from the kids, but who aren’t staying in a Havana suite or don’t have access to Loft 19, there’s the Serenity adults-only retreat.

Carnival Celebration The Serenity Retreat
Carnival Celebration The Serenity Retreat

This spacious, stylish and oh-so-peaceful area of the ship features its own bar, sundeck and more, away from all the hubbub and crowds. 

Kids Venues

You do, of course, have your standard kids’ venues aboard Carnival Celebration, which you’ve probably already been familiar with if your family has cruised on a Carnival ship in the past. However, one really cool new feature for the kiddos is Space Cruisers.

Space Cruisers is a brand-new program offered in partnership with the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Eventually, it’ll roll out to other Carnival ships but, for now, you can only find it here, on Carnival Celebration

Carnival Celebration Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Jouni Niskakoski / Shutterstock

The program is designed for those ages 2 to 11 and includes space-themed activities and fun STEM projects to add a little educational flair and fun to their cruising experience.

Also Read: Are Carnival Cruises All Inclusive?

Other kids-geared fun can be found at Circle C, the space on Deck 17 designed for preteens, ages 12 to 14, and Club O2, also on Deck 17, but designed for older teens, ages 15 to 17, in mind. There’s also Camp Ocean on Deck 4, for kids ages 2 to 11; this area is also where you’ll find after-hours babysitting services offered. 

Carnival Celebration Itineraries

Enjoy the latest and greatest from Carnival Cruise Line with a trip aboard Carnival Celebration. With so much to do and see and experience on this ship, you’ll find that our recommendations above just scratch the surface. Book your upcoming cruise today to see for yourself.

FAQ

How large is the Carnival Celebration cruise ship?

This large ship ranks as the 11th largest in the world, with a gross tonnage of 183,521 GT and a length of 1,130 feet. There are 19 total decks and more than 2,600 staterooms, which can hold more than 5,000 passengers at double occupancy and up to 6,500 passengers at maximum capacity. The ship also holds a crew of more than 1,700 people. 

What class cruise ship is the Carnival Celebration?

Carnival Celebration is an Excellence-class cruise ship, preceded by sister ship Mardi Gras, which debuted in the summer of 2021. A future Carnival Excellence-class ship is scheduled for 2023, Carnival Jubilee.

How many swimming pools does the Carnival Celebration have?

Carnival Celebration boasts five swimming pools and five hot tubs. These range from the main pool to quieter pool areas.


Holly Riddle
Holly Riddlehttps://hollyriddle.org/
Holly Riddle is a travel and food freelance writer whose work can be found in print and digital publications all around the world. She is additionally an entrepreneur specializing in content and marketing services. Beyond frequent travel, Riddle enjoys cooking, reading, camping and spending time with her husband and two dogs. Her favorite travel destinations include Chicago, Amsterdam, Edinburgh and just about anywhere in the Caribbean. Find out more about us here.

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