Carnival Radiance: Overview and Things to Do

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If you step aboard the Carnival Radiance cruise ship and notice that things look a little familiar, it may be because this ship is nothing new … sort of. Carnival Radiance is the new name for the prior Carnival Victory, which sailed with the cruise line for two decades, starting in 2000. Recently, the ship received a brand-new refit and makeover, after which it received its new name. 

So what can you expect on this cruise ship and what all did the $200 million dry dock include? Here’s everything you need to know about Carnival Radiance, so you can find out if it’s the perfect ship for your next cruising vacation.

Ship Stats and Facts

As Carnival Victory, this ship was ordered in 1997, launched in 1998 and finally christened with its prior name in 2000. Built at an original cost of $410 million, it served travelers from its home port in Miami, with routes throughout the Caribbean.

The original design mimicked that which travelers would find on sister ship Carnival Triumph (now Carnival Sunrise), though it differed slightly from the design of older sister ship, Carnival Destiny (now known as Carnival Sunshine). 

  • Gross Tonnage: 101,509
  • Guest Capacity: 2,984
  • Crew Capacity: 1,108
  • Length: 893 feet
  • Passenger Decks: 13
  • Stateroom: 1,492

Carnival Radiance Upgrades

So what all did Carnival change about Carnival Victory when it was dry docked and the ship received its new name?

The new-and-improved Carnival Radiance was announced in 2018 and began the dry docking process in March 2020. However, as cruisers well know, the industry was heavily disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and so the refurbishments were put on hold.

Originally, Carnival had planned for the upgrades to be completed by late April 2020, but then pushed that to April 2021. When the refurbishments were still not completed by the summer of 2021, rumors began circulating that Carnival was going to simply sell off the ship for parts, but those rumors were debunked and the dry dock was completed in October 2021. Now, the ship finds its new home port in Long Beach, California. 

The primary changes to the ship included the additions of new dining and entertainment options, including the addition of the following restaurants and bars:

  • Lido Marketplace, for casual bites poolside 
  • The Chef’s Table, the multi-course, chef-led dining experience that Carnival cruisers already know and love
  • Bonsai Sushi, for full-service Asian dining
  • Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, for classic American steakhouse fare
  • JavaBlue Cafe, a coffee and cocktail bar
  • Cucina del Capitano, for favorite Italian cuisine
  • Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse, one of Carnival’s newer restaurants, made possible via the line’s partnership with celebrity chef Guy Fieri
  • RedFrog Pub, for Caribbean-style drinks
  • Piano Bar 88, with its sing-along piano bar vibe
  • Limelight Lounge, for drinks and comedy and standup sets
  • Liquid Lounge, an entertainment venue offering shows both day and night
  • Big Chicken, another celebrity-inspired restaurant, this time made possible via a new partnership with Shaquille O’Neal (Carnival Radiance is the first Carnival ship to feature Big Chicken)

In addition to adding new dining and drinking options, the upgrades also included the additions of popular Carnival public and entertainment spaces, such as the SportSquare entertainment complex, with its ropes course and mini-golf; WaterWorks, with its kiddie pools and water slides; and the Serenity Retreat, for adults-only lounging. 

New retail spaces, an arcade and spa were also added, as were some new staterooms.


As mentioned, Carnival Radiance offers a variety of staterooms. There are…

  • 53 suites (including Balcony Captain, Balcony Grand and Balcony Ocean suites)
  • 502 ocean-view balcony staterooms
  • 6 scenic ocean-view staterooms 
  • 304 ocean-view window staterooms
  • 527 interior staterooms 

The stateroom decor is similar to what you likely already know if you’ve sailed with Carnival in the past. There are a lot of blues, reds and oranges, for the colorful vibe that Carnival’s classic ships do so well.

Carnival Radiance Stateroom
Carnival Radiance Stateroom (Render Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line)

The rooms are more reminiscent of a family-friendly seaside hotel than a high-end, luxury hotel in the city, so that’s something to keep in mind if you’re looking for more of an upscale feel. The rooms are still plenty spacious, though, and the suites come with lots of seating, both indoors and out. 

What’s included?

Carnival is known for being one of the more budget-friendly cruise lines, so you’ll find that you don’t have to spend much extra out of pocket during your cruise, in order to have a good time.

Carnival Radiance, Big Chicken
Photo By: Carnival Cruise Line

After you purchase your stateroom, you’ll also enjoy access to…

  • Most of the ship’s restaurants, including exciting new options like Shaq’s Big Chicken
  • All outdoor fun, such as the activities available at the new SportSquare and WaterWorks
  • Daily scheduled activities that range from trivia contests to pool games
  • The fitness center
  • Indoor entertainment venues and shows, from theatrical performances to comedy sets 

What’s Not included?

You’ll only need to worry about paying extra for a few items while on a Carnival Radiance cruise. Typically, while cruising with Carnival, you can expect to pay additional fees and charges for…

  • Gratuities
  • Special dining experiences (like the new Chef’s Table experience)
  • Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • Fitness classes
  • Spa services
  • Retail shopping 
  • WiFi
  • Shore excursions 


In addition to the new restaurants mentioned above, what other dining options are available aboard Carnival Radiance?

Guys Burger Joint, Carnival Cruise Line
Guy’s Burger Joint (Photo Copyright: Cruise Hive)

Other dining options include… 

  • The ship’s two main dining rooms, Radiance and Sunshine
  • Guy’s Burger Joint, an older Carnival restaurant made possible from the partnership with Guy Fieri
  • BlueIguana Cantina, which serves more Mexican and Caribbean-inspired fare 
  • Cherry on Top, for your sweet treats 
  • Alchemy Bar, for all your favorite mixology concoctions 
  • Heroes Tribute Bar, a veterans-themed sports bar showing all your favorite games and teams 
  • The casino bar, for drinks while you gamble the night away


There are lots of ways to have a great time when you’re aboard Carnival Radiance. Both indoors and outdoors, entertainment abounds. 

Catch a show at The Punchliner Comedy Club, where you’ll find both family-friendly and not-so-family-friendly shows, at any given hour of the day. For singing, dancing and Broadway-worthy performances all around, check out what’s showing from Playlist Productions. 

If gambling is more your style, head to the on-board casino, where you can enjoy your favorite table games, as well as slots.

Carnival Radiance Adults-Only Retreat
Carnival Radiance Adults-Only Retreat (Render Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line)

For outdoor fun, the WaterWorks water park is where it’s at. The water park features one amazing waterslide, Twister. If you’d prefer to stay nice and dry, check out SportSquare, where basketball, mini-golf, ping pong and other games are on the menu. You can also try your hand at the ropes course, for awesome water views, from high above the ship’s deck.

Check the calendar for Carnival’s dive-in movie nights, too, and catch a favorite flick, pool-side. 

The adults in the family can likewise getaway for some adults-only fun, when they escape to the Serenity Adults-Only Retreat, where the crowd is all over 21 and the amenities include comfy loungers and lots of peace and quiet. 

For Kids

Children will enjoy Carnival’s much-loved Dr. Seuss programming while on the ship. This programming includes the Dr. Seuss Green Eggs and Ham breakfast, story times, crafts, a character parade and more. 

Beyond all the family-friendly entertainment that’s available on the ship, Carnival Radiance also offers the favorite Carnival children’s programming, with special kids clubs for every age group.

Dr. Seuss At Sea
Photo By: Carnival Cruise Line

Children ages 2 to 11 will enjoy Camp Ocean, with its kid-friendly activities available all day long (babysitting services are available after hours). Children ages 12 to 14 enjoy scheduled activities in the Circle C lounge. Teens, ages 15 to 17, likewise get their own spot, in Club O2. 

Health & Wellness

Check out the fitness center for all your fitness needs while on your cruise. However, if you’d rather relax the day away than sweat out your stress, head to the new Cloud 9 Spa, a part of the ship’s recent refurbishments.

You’ll find a full menu of favorite spa treatments, from massages to wraps to facials. You can even book a couples’ treatment, if you want to enjoy a little one-on-one relaxation with your favorite person. 

Thinking of Taking a Carnival Radiance Cruise?

If you’re thinking of taking a Carnival Radiance cruise soon, you’ll certainly find lots to love. This ship offers entertainment for the entire family, plus lots of new dining and entertainment venues, for a fresh, upgraded feel, at a budget-friendly Carnival price.


How big is the Carnival Radiance?

Carnival Radiance comes in with a gross tonnage of 101,509 GT and a length of 893 feet. As such, Carnival Radiance’s size is nothing notable; it’s not even in the top 50 largest cruise ships in the world. The ship features 13 decks and has capacity for 2,984 passengers at double occupancy, or 3,873 passengers at maximum occupancy.

What was the previous name of Carnival Radiance?

Carnival Radiance was previously known as Carnival Victory, from 2000 to 2020. 

What class cruise ship is the Carnival Radiance?

Carnival Radiance is currently a Sunshine-class ship, with sister ships being Carnival Sunshine and Carnival Sunrise. Before the three ships’ refurbishments, the previous class name was the Destiny class, with ships including Carnival Victory, Carnival Destiny and Carnival Triumph.

Holly Riddle
Holly Riddle
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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