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Complete Guide to Carnival Cruise Ships By Size

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Carnival Cruise Line celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022. In those five decades, Carnival’s Fun Ships have transformed from a cruise line associated with boozy partying to a company well respected for budget-friendly family vacations that offer a tremendous value.

Now more than two-dozen strong, Carnival’s fleet spans 25 years’ worth of ship hardware. While Carnival ships were once considered behemoth floating hotels, the past two decades of mega-ships from brands like Royal Caribbean or MSC Cruises tower in comparison. Many of Carnival’s ships would be considered mid-sized by today’s standards.


That doesn’t mean that Carnival doesn’t compete when it comes to onboard amenities. Newer ships feature attractions like a top-deck coaster and an onboard brewery. There’s also dining options from celebrity chefs like Emeril Lagasse and room categories that accommodate every configuration — even cabana-style patios, complete with hammocks. Plus, the line’s signature friendly service endures, regardless of the age of the ship you’re sailing.

Of course, ship size as well as interior design and at-sea offerings can vary from ship to ship. This guide to Carnival Cruise ships will give you a clearer idea of the size, age, and difference between ship classes across the fleet.

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Guide to Carnival Cruise Ships by Size

How many cruise ships does Carnival Cruise Line have?

By 2024, there will be 27 ships in the Carnival Cruise Line fleet. Carnival Jubilee is a new-build that will join the cruise line in December 2023.

Additionally, two “Italian Style” ships, acquired from Costa Cruises, will join between 2023 and 2024 — Carnival Venezia and Carnival Firenze, respectively.

What is Carnival’s largest ship?

As is the case with many major cruise lines, Carnival’s newest ships are also its largest. Launched in 2022, Carnival Celebration is far and away the cruise line’s most massive vessel. It measures 183,521 gross registered tons (GRT) and accommodating 5,374 passengers. Sister ship Carnival Jubilee will boast the same stats when it launches in late 2023.

In terms of passenger capacity, Carnival Mardi Gras, introduced in 2021, accommodates the most cruisers at a maximum of 6,465 guests (at 180,000 GRT). Following these newest ships, size drops drastically to 135,225 GRT and 135,156 GRT, which are the sizes of acquired ships Carnival Venezia and Carnival Firenze.

In terms of size comparison over the years, some might wonder how do Carnival cruise ships compare to the Titanic? While historic at the time, the Titanic measured only 46,328 GRT. That is nearly half the size of some of Carnival’s smallest ships. The majority of the Spirit Class ships weigh in at 88,500 GRT.


What is Carnival’s smallest ship?

Carnival’s smallest cruise ship is currently its oldest, the Carnival Paradise. Built in 1998, Carnival Paradise measures 71,925 GRT and carries 2,124 guests.

Carnival Cruise Line Ships Ranked Biggest to Smallest

  • Carnival Celebration (2022) – 183,521 GRT, 5,374 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Jubilee (2023) – 183,521 GRT, 5,374 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Mardi Gras (2021) – 180,000 GRT, 5,282 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Venezia (2023) – 135,225 GRT, 4,090 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Firenze (2024) – 135,156 GRT, 4,126 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Panorama (2019) – 133,500 GRT, 4,008 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Horizon (2018) – 133,500 GRT, 3,960 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Vista (2016) – 133,500 GRT, 3,934 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Breeze (2012) – 130,000 GRT, 3,690 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Magic (2011) – 130,000 GRT, 3,690 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Dream (2009) – 130,000 GRT, 3,646 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Splendor (2008) – 113,575 GRT, 3,012 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Conquest (2002) – 110,000 GRT, 2,980 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Valor (2004) – 110,000 GRT, 2,980 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Glory (2003) – 110,000 GRT, 2,980 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Freedom (2007) – 110,000 GRT, 2,980 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Liberty (2005) – 110,000 GRT, 2,974 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Sunshine (2013) – 102,853 GRT, 3,002 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Sunrise (2019) – 101,509 GRT, 2,984 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Radiance (2021) – 101,509 GRT, 2,984 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Luminosa (2009) – 92,720 GRT, 2,260 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Pride (2002) – 88,500 GRT, 2,134 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Legend (2002) – 88,500 GRT, 2,124 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Miracle (2004) – 88,500 GRT, 2,124 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Spirit (2001) – 88,500 GRT, 2,124 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Elation (1998) – 72,909 GRT, 2,190 guests at double capacity
  • Carnival Paradise (1998) – 71,925 GRT, 2,124 guests at double capacity


What are the different Carnival cruise ship classes?

Carnival’s 27 total ships are divided into nine ship classes. While there are of course differences, Carnival has worked hard to provide consistency in many of its onboard offerings through various upgrades and refurbishments over the years. For example, on nearly every pool deck you can expect to see a Red Frog Rum Bar and Blue Iguana Cantina. Guy’s Burger Joint is also a fleet signature eatery from Guy Fieri.


Fantasy Class

Carnival’s current fleet has its origins beginning in the ‘90s, with the two-ship Fantasy Class. This class, originally eight ships strong, is down to just Carnival Paradise and Carnival Elation. This is after six ships were sold off following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Both built in 1998, the remaining ships of the Fantasy Class bear the hallmarks of smaller ships, with less dining options and fewer top-deck bells and whistles. Still, renovations — including major refurbishments in 2018 — have made marked improvements, especially to cabins, adding more much-needed balcony staterooms and suites to each ship.

These are the cheap and cheerful ships. They offer tremendous deals on cruise fares from smaller, Florida homeports like Tampa or Jacksonville. In addition, you won’t find too many nickel-and-diming upsells onboard. Instead, there is only one extra-fee dining experience in the once-per-cruise Chef’s Table. The pool deck burritos and burgers along with the buffet and main dining rooms keep it fast casual — perfect for 20-somethings on a shoestring budget or families with small children who want to keep things easy and kid-friendly.

An Art Deco-style theater with nightly performances; 10 bars and lounges, including a piano bar; comedy shows; a casino; a spa; and an adults-only sun deck provide plenty of entertainment for friends and couples. The Camp Ocean kids club; Seuss at Sea programming; a video arcade; mini golf; and small, WaterWorks waterpark will keep your kids and teens busy on short getaways.

Spirit Class

The Spirit Class contains four virtually identical ships plus a slightly larger ship, formerly known as the Costa Luminosa. Launched in the early aughts, the Spirit Class consists of Carnival Spirit, Carnival Pride, Carnival Legend, Carnival Miracle, and Luminosa.

With the ability to access some small ports and features built into their design that aid in weatherproofing (pools with domes overhead, for example), the Spirit Class have been deployed to some far-flung destinations over the part 20 years.

With a high percentage of balcony cabins, they are fitting ships to sail to scenic destinations. Carnival Pride alone currently sails to the Bahamas, Bermuda, and the Caribbean, but also Europe, Canada, the Panama Canal, and even Greenland.


You won’t have to fly to Italy or the UK to board a Spirit Class ship however. Others like Carnival Spirit sail voyages to Alaska, Hawaii, and more from U.S.-based ports including Seattle, Tampa, or Mobile. While some of these ships were deployed to Australia for a time, that changed following the country’s shutdown during the pandemic.

Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades, as Carnival calls them, hit these ships with the addition of popular mixology spot Alchemy Bar; Bonsai Sushi; Playlist Productions shows in the theater; the Punchliner Comedy Club; and the RedFrog Pub featuring craft beer including Carnival’s own ThirstyFrog Red ale. Still, Carnival’s in-your-face décor, courtesy of longtime, maximalist ship designer Joe Farcus, is not to everyone’s tastes. Others find it charming.

Most of the activities on these ships are centered around a hub on Decks 2 and 3, where the pools and lounges are located. Nightlife, including the remaining bars and restaurants, are on Decks 9, 10 and 11.

There are a few connecting and accessible rooms onboard Spirit Class ships. But there’s nothing groundbreaking apart from standard categories like Interior, Oceanview, Balcony, and Suite.

Carnival Luminosa is slightly larger. It is also at least five years newer than any of the other Spirit Class ships but is similar in layout and amenities.

Conquest Class

The Conquest Class contains five cruise ships of the same size with very patriotic names. These include Carnival Conquest, Carnival Glory, Carnival Valor, Carnival Liberty, and Carnival Freedom.

At 110,000 GRT, these ships aren’t teeny-tiny but also aren’t overrun with other cruisers, accommodating just shy of 3,000 passengers. Spanning 2002 to 2007, these ships have been around the block, but thanks to upgrades they still feature fresh Carnival signatures like the Serenity adults-only sun deck; Alchemy Bar; waterslides; and the reptilian rum and tequila bars of the pool deck.

These ships are a blend of old and new, with one foot in traditional and another that introduced these newer ship concepts in the form of Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades, around 2019. An elegant library might feel out of place, while Bookville — an all-ages reading nook near Camp Ocean kids club — is an interactive new space that’s part of Carnival’s Seuss at Sea family programming.

There are more dining options on Conquest Class ships than Carnival’s oldest vessels as well. These include specialty dining in the form of a steakhouse, Bonsai Sushi, and the alfresco Seafood Shack.

Itineraries vary, but Conquest Class ships keep it relatively simple, currently sailing from Miami, Port Canaveral, New Orleans, and Barcelona. These are largely warm-weather ships designed for fun in the sun, whether it’s a short stint in the Bahamas or passing through the Panama Canal on a longer voyage.


Splendor Class

The Splendor Class is the only Carnival class containing a single ship. Formerly a Concordia Class vessel with Costa Cruises, Carnival Splendor, built in 2008, is a unique ship.

Splendor is currently the dedicated Carnival ship Down Under, sailing from Sydney as well as Singapore. It carries 3,000-plus passengers through itineraries in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific.

Carnival Splendor boasts the branded Cloud 9 Spa, with thermal suite area. The theater hosts updated shows like “Epic Rock” and game show series “Hasbro, The Game Show.” The Dive-In movies, held in the Carnival Seaside Theater, is aided by a retractable roof.

Still, there is a mix of modern staples like Alchemy Bar and Fahrenheit555 steakhouse, alongside somewhat garish lounges like the El Morocco and somewhat dated staterooms. Some might say the overwhelming pink décor gives the ship its own character. Masala Tiger, the Indian counter in the Lido, is wildly popular and typically has a wait.

There are 1,506 cabins in all, with 68 dedicated as Cloud 9 Spa cabins, a first for the line at the time. These rooms carry a serene, Asian theme as well as upgraded toiletries and robes. They also include a few yoga or fitness classes, unlimited use of the thermal suite and of course, close access to the spa on Deck 11.

Dream Class

The three ships of Carnival’s Dream Class all measure 130,000 GRT. Carnival Dream was unveiled in 2009, followed by Carnival Magic in 2011 and Carnival Breeze in 2012.

The Dream Class is where many innovations that would be developed on Vista Class ships were first introduced. Similar in size, these ships classes aren’t entirely dissimilar. In addition to sports courts and waterslides, there is a ropes course as part of the top-deck attractions on any Dream Class ship. On Carnival Breeze, the Thrill Theater is an indoor, 4D interactive ride available for an additional charge — the first of its kind in the fleet.

Experimentation across the ship class continued. For example, on Breeze, the library became the Library Bar, with self-service wine dispensers. The Cherry on Top candy shop is the place to go for a special sweet treat. Further, cruisers can dig into something savory at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse — a delicious and complimentary offering that expands upon the line’s longtime partnership with “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” host Guy Fieri.

There’s no doubt these ships have plenty to do for all ages, as they sail the sunny Caribbean. Carnival Magic also sails a series of cruises in Canada/New England as well as Bermuda, from Miami and Norfolk. Carnival Dream and Carnival Breeze are currently homeported in Galveston, Texas.


Sunshine Class

The three ships of the Sunshine Class have unusual backstories. They have all been refurbished and renamed. Longtime Carnival cruisers might better know them as the Destiny Class.

Carnival Sunshine first came onto the scene back in 1996 as Carnival Destiny but transformed into the first Sunshine Class ship in 2013. Following a $155-million total refit, Carnival Sunshine emerged brighter and newer. The ship features spaces and amenities similar to a Dream Class ship, but at a size between the Spirit and Conquest classes (102,853 GRT).

Fast forward to 2019 and Carnival did it again. This time, it took 1999’s Carnival Triumph and gave it a $200 million makeover to shine again as Carnival Sunrise. From the top deck down, Sunrise was transformed to include Carnival WaterWorks waterpark, a SportSquare, the adults-only Serenity sun deck, Cucina del Capitano Italian restaurant, and on and on from the Limelight Lounge to the Cloud 9 Spa.

Carnival Radiance emerged in 2021 from its former life as Carnival Victory, built in 2000. With plenty of upgrades (like Shaq’s Big Chicken) to impress its 2,984 passengers, it’s a sought-after option sailing to Mexico and Hawaii from the Port of Long Beach, outside LA.

Carnival Sunrise sails from Miami. Sunshine offers island-hopping cruises in the Caribbean and the Bahamas from the small homeports of Charleston and Norfolk. 

Vista Class

The three modern ships of the Vista Class, kicked off with Carnival Vista in 2016. Larger than previous ships, these vessels ushered in a new era for Carnival. They largely leave the kooky décor behind and instead opt for bright and inviting vacation spaces.

At 133,500 GRT, Carnival Vista, Carnival Horizon, and Carnival Panorama still aren’t considered very large ships in the grand scheme of things. Though, they do accommodate about 4,000 passengers each — a jump in size from the rest of the fleet.

These cruise ships aim to grab your attention with wow-worthy features like the pedal-powered, top-deck SkyRide; the SkyZone trampoline park on Carnival Panorama; or the Dr. Seuss-themed waterpark on Carnival Horizon. Meanwhile, IMAX theaters can be found on Vista and Horizon.


The first-in-class additions don’t end there. Carnival Vista introduced entirely new cabin categories in Havana Cabanas and Family Harbor. These keycard-accessed areas of the ship not only contain swanky new types of staterooms, but dedicated spaces for occupants. Perks of family-minded Family Harbor rooms extend to a free night of babysitting and free specialty restaurant access for under-12s. Those staying in the Havana area have their own themed pool and sun deck.

Date night onboard these ships is a no-brainer, with ample bars including the line’s first working brewery in the expanded Guy’s Smokehouse | Brewhouse concept, which debuted on Carnival Horizon in 2018. For foodies, Carnival Panorama’s Carnival Kitchen is the seriously cool opportunity to book a cooking class, from a full Indian feast to the secret behind the line’s fan-favorite chocolate melting cake. Kids 12 and older can join in on the culinary action.

Geared up for tropical weather, sail Carnival Vista to the Caribbean and Bahamas from Galveston or Port Canaveral. You can also sail from Miami to the Caribbean year-round on Carnival Horizon or from the West Coast to Mexico on Carnival Panorama, homeported in Long Beach, California.

Excel Class

The three ships of Carnival’s recent Excel Class usher into an era of mega-ships. About 35 percent bigger than the Vista Class, Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration, and Carnival Jubilee measure a whopping 183,521 GRT. Further, they invite upwards of 6,000 guests apiece at full capacity.

If their namesake is any indication, these ships are ready to party. BOLT is the first roller coaster at sea, parading its way to sea with the debut of Mardi Gras in 2021. It wouldn’t be in true Mardi Gras fashion if there wasn’t a bit of New Orleans. So, Chef Emeril Lagasse helps out with creole flavors at Emeril’s, the flagship restaurant of the French Quarter ship neighborhood. Creative new bar concepts, like the Fortune Teller Bar, are located here as well.


Also new to the fleet beginning with Mardi Gras is Rudi’s Seagrill, an upscale seafood restaurant; Big Chicken, Fun Ambassador Shaquille O’Neal’s homage to home-cooked poultry; Chibang, a Mexican-Asian fusion eatery; and Street Food, which mimics the style of food trucks with three stands featuring tasty finger foods like dumplings, kebabs, and fries.

Loft 19 is a swanky new sun deck with cabana rentals available to all, but come included with a booking in a Carnival Excel suite.

The Excel Class is accelerating Carnival Cruise Line into the future, with advancements like the use of LNG fuel. Although, it’s also celebrating the company’s half-century of cruise experience with nods to its history. Aboard Carnival Celebration, the Golden Jubilee is an homage to ships of yore as a bar filled with artifacts and reclaimed décor from previous or refurbished vessels. It’s a great place to make use of your Cheers drink package!

In addition to the theater, Celebration Central is a show space employing hi-def video screens and state-of-the-art effects across three decks.

As of publication, Carnival Jubilee has yet to debut, but Carnival has teased an underwater ocean theme to some public spaces. In the Currents section, find new craft cocktail lounges the Golden Mermaid and Inks Ph.D. with cutting-edge mixology. In Shores, enjoy boardwalk-style eats and amusements.

From the world’s cruising capital of Florida, while Jubilee homeports in Galveston, the Excel Class is currently sailing the turquoise waters of the Caribbean year-round.


Venice Class

The two recent acquisitions of Costa ships form the “Italian famiglia style” Venice Class. Rolling out over 2023 and 2024, Carnival Venezia and Carnival Firenze are retaining and celebrating their Italian roots with themed public spaces and restaurants, among other touches.

Carnival is joining together its classic offerings such as the Fahrenheit555 steakhouse, kid and teen clubs, Piano Bar 88, SportSquare and WaterWorks together with a lounge inspire by Venice or an Italian-Mexican fusion venue called Tomodoro. Don’t forget about the wine and coffee, all molto Italy.

Carnival Venezia set sail in 2023, now cruising from New York. Carnival Firenze will sail to Mexico from Long Beach in spring 2024.

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Did you find this guide to Carnival cruise ships by size helpful? On which classes of Carnival cruise ships have you sailed? Drop us an anchor below to share your favorite ships from Carnival Cruise Line.

The post Complete Guide to Carnival Cruise Ships By Size appeared first on EatSleepCruise.com.

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