With 25 ships now active in its fleet with several more already under construction and planned for future expansion, sailing more than 11 million passengers per year on more than 1,500 voyages with itineraries all over the world, it is no surprise that Carnival is the most popular cruise line on the planet. But how do you go about booking your cruise on Carnival Cruise Line?

Research, Research, Research

Just because Carnival is the largest and one of the most well-known cruise lines in the world doesn’t mean it is right for your cruise vacation plans. This cruise line has aptly branded its ships as “Fun Ships” with a focus on casual activities for a good time – daily drink specials, entertainment galas, trivia contests, hairy chest pageants, quirky towel animals, comedy shows, bingo games and more. All of these options can make for an amazing getaway, but can also add to a party boat type of atmosphere that may not appeal to passengers who prefer more subdued vacation options.

Even if you know the Carnival Cruise Line vibe is ideal for your vacation, you should still research your different options with the cruise line. Each of the line’s ships has a different character and personality, with different onboard features and amenities. Check into recent updates, upgrades and renovations on each ship, as well as what cabin types are available. Previewing deck plans can also help you get a good sense of the ship and whether it will be right for your vacation. Finally, check the different itinerary options available and what destinations each ship will visit, including what types of shore tours and excursions may be available to help you explore each port of call.

Once you have learned enough about the line, ship and your travel options, it’s time to book your Carnival cruise.

Booking Directly With Carnival Cruise Line

Booking your cruise directly with Carnival Cruise Line is easy and can ensure you the very best deal with Carnival’s best price guarantees. Booking online is easy – simply visit Carnival.com and click on the “Find a Cruise” option. You can then narrow your search options by using specific cruise dates, a preferred embarkation port, generalized sailing dates or even the duration of the voyage.

Last Sea Day Carnival Cruise
Photo By: Melissa Mayntz

Once you have the list of results, you can select the exact cruise you want to take, choosing the ship, itinerary and sailing dates. You will then be asked about the number of staterooms you need to book, how many passengers will be traveling and whether you are eligible for any discounts, such as state of residency, special options for passengers over 55 years old, military discounts and great deals for guests who have cruised with Carnival before.

Next you will choose your room type, from interior cabins to oceanviews, balconies and suites. Depending on the ship, there may also be specialty suites and other unique cabin options to choose from. You will then check which rate options are best for you, including deals that may offer free upgrades, onboard credit or other promotions.

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The next step is to choose your basic cabin location, whether you prefer a cabin in the middle of the ship, or closer to the front or back. You will then be able to see individual deck plans showing available cabins so you can choose your exact stateroom. At any point during this process, you can move back and forth through the booking options to investigate and compare different choices.

How to Buy a Cruise on Carnival Cruise Line
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Once you have chosen a cabin, you will see the total cost for the vacation, including taxes, fees and port expenses. If you are ready to complete your booking, you can choose to add cruise insurance to your purchase before choosing a payment method and completing guest information to make your reservation.

After you have finished your reservation, you can select dining preferences, make arrangements for how you prefer your bed situated in your cabin, set up your onboard account and even start making reservations for spa treatments, specialty dining restaurants and shore tours.

If you would rather work directly with a Carnival representative and book your cruise on the phone instead of on the computer, the process is much the same. The representative will ask questions to lead you through the booking, but you will get the same options and promotions as if you booked online.

Booking Your Carnival Cruise With a Travel Agent

Many cruise travelers prefer to work with independent travel agents, even if they know they are going to cruise with a specific line. A cruise travel agent can help you find the exact cruise to fit your preferences, and can often suggest different options you may not have initially considered. Agents may also have access to additional discounts or savings options, helping you score the very best deal on your cruise vacation. While different agents will have different ways they work with their clients, they will need the same personal information to complete your booking and help you set sail on a Carnival cruise.

No matter how you go about booking your cruise on Carnival Cruise Line, once you have your reservation confirmed, your countdown begins and you’re on your way to a Fun Ship cruise!