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CRUISING WITH CARNIVAL- WHAT'S IT ACTUALLY LIKE?

CRUISING WITH CARNIVAL- WHAT'S IT ACTUALLY LIKE?

Though Carnival Corporation is the biggest single cruise brand in the world, the actual ships of Carnival itself spend very little time in European waters. Unlike the ships of mainstream rivals such as Norwegian and Royal Caribbean, the Carnival ships tend to stay very much in American waters. The brand leaves the European market typically to satellite brands such as Cunard, P&O, Princess and Holland America,

This division of resources has been a largely good thing in the past; it leaves the parent Carnival fleet to concentrate it's vast floating armada on mainly Caribbean and Bahamas itineraries from a string of home ports around the USA. You can board a Carnival ship in New York, Jacksonville, Charleston, Los Angeles, Norfokl, Seattle, New Orleans, Port Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Mobile, and even Tampa. No other line in the business has such extensive and regular coverage from a network of American ports.

These ex-USA sailings, and their predominantly American passenger loadings, mean that Carnival as a cruise experience is more full- on American than any of it's rivals. Playing on it's home turf, Carnival serves up food, fun and accommodations in an environment totally suited to American style and sensibilties. The on board currency is the US Dollar, and the casinos on Carnival ships are usually among the biggest- and busiest- rooms on any given Carnival cruise ship. 

There's little real finesse aboard a Carnival ship; these really are brash, swaggering, rock and roll resorts on the ocean, with an excess of everything from themed bars to round the pool parties. Noise is an inevitable fellow tarveller on a Carnival cruise. The big, well equipped ships are set up to appeal to multi generational families of all ages, and also to maximise on board profit by offering a wealth of seductive, extra charge activities desgined to empty your wallet as quickly as possible.

None of this should be taken to imply that a Carnival cruise is not great value- it is. And the sense of fun is totally infectious, too. Be prepared to party with a lot of other people on board what is, in essence, a ahimmering, pulsating playground that just happens to stop off at some of the sweet spots in the Caribbean, or Pacific Mexico. Food is good, plentiful, and on offer around the clock, from dawn till dusk, Families can arrange for babysitters at night; kids through to teens have their own dedicated clubs and pools, though they do tend to end up in the adults' only pools far to often as well.

If all of the above appeals to you, then chances are that you'll have the time of your life on a Carnival cruise.

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