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7 Carnival Cruise Ships to Avoid

7 Carnival Cruise Ships to Avoid

Post created June 5, 2024

Determining which cruise ship or cruise line is right for you can be a bit of a feat. There are countless options and hyper-specific reasons to opt for one ship over another. Plus, many cruise lines have reputations built up over the years, both positive and negative. When it comes to Carnival Cruises, which ships should you avoid according to actual customer reviews? What are some of the worst Carnival Cruise ships currently sailing today?

Utilizing CruiseCritic and additional passenger critiques, here are seven (in no particular order) Carnival cruise ships you may not want to consider for your upcoming travel plans. 

Carnival Luminosa

©"Carnival Luminosa at Brisbane Australia (cropped)" by Cantthinkofaname5 is licensed under BY-SA 4.0. - Original / License

The Carnival Luminosa kicks off our list of the worst Carnival cruise ships. While a relatively new ship to Carnival after it acquired the ship from Costa Cruises (it debuted for Carnival in 2022), the Luminosa is making a disappointing splash so far. According to CruiseCritic, this particular Carnival ship has a decent editor review of 4 out of 5. However, customers give it a 2.5 on average.

Critique of Carnival Luminosa

©"Outbound 5666" by Chris Light is licensed under BY-SA 4.0. - Original / License

There are many reasons why the Carnival Luminosa is disappointing its passengers. Not only does this particular ship cater to a young, potentially rowdy crowd, but it also feels cramped. The pools are reportedly small, the food is bland enough for passengers to avoid, and the entertainment is lackluster overall. Perhaps more positive reviews will surface in time!

Carnival Vista

©"2017-03-30 CARNIVAL VISTA - IMO 9692569, off Oranjestad, Aruba" by Gordon Leggett is licensed under BY-SA 4.0. - Original / License

While laid-back and full of entertaining amenities, the Carnival Vista maintains a blase 3.6 out of 5 on CruiseCritic, according to actual passenger reviews. Capable of accommodating nearly 3,000 passengers, the Vista is designed for thrill-seeking groups and those looking for extroverted, social opportunities. 

Critique of Carnival Vista

©"Carnival Vista Water Park" by Michael Au Photography is licensed under BY 2.0. - Original / License

Despite there being plenty to do, almost too much to do, the Vista disappoints passengers in terms of its layout and fine dining experiences. It’s easy for this particular ship to feel overwhelming, with slow elevators and even slower disembarkment processes. Plus, this budget-friendly ship often ends up drowning in bored, mischievous, and drunk young people, depending on the time of year.

Carnival Venezia

©"Carnival Venezia's maiden arrival at Bermuda 2" by Yankeesman312 is licensed under BY-SA 4.0. - Original / License

Heavily influenced by Italian design and dining options, the Carnival Venezia is poorly rated by customers. Another carry over from Costa Cruises to Carnival in 2019, this ship is more unique in its offerings compared to other Carnival vessels. However, it still falls short in many categories, including its pool experiences and food quality. 

Critique of Carnival Venezia

©"Carnival Venezia Leaving Barbados" by A Guy Named Nyal is licensed under BY-SA 2.0. - Original / License

Ranked at 3 out of 5 stars on average, the Venezia disappoints passengers because of its layout and small, odorous rooms. Even the larger suites onboard the Venezia seem smaller than other cruise ships. Plus, regardless of how large the rooms are, no passenger enjoys smelling cigarette smoke for the duration of their trip! 

Carnival Horizon

©"Carnival Horizon's bow" by Mason Piscitelli is licensed under BY-SA 4.0. - Original / License

The Carnival Horizon debuted in 2018 and has a capacity for up to 4000 guests. With a bold design and contemporary color scheme, the Horizon looks tasteful and exciting. However, reviews are mixed when it comes to just how much excitement is onboard this particular Carnival vessel. 

Critique of Carnival Horizon

Carnival Horizon of the coast of Grand Turk (cropped)

©"Carnival Horizon of the coast of Grand Turk (cropped)" by Elliott Bryson III is licensed under BY-SA 4.0. - Original / License

CruiseCritic editors give the Horizon a 4 out of 5, though guests rate it at 3.5 on average. Both ratings mentioned the apparent lack of relaxing, quiet places to lounge during sea days, something that is quite common onboard Carnival cruises. A lack of an adults-only pool could have something to do with this– or perhaps it is the chaotic way that Carnival chooses to set up its numerous, often overwhelming, activities! 

Carnival Splendor

Carnival Splendor 2009

©"Carnival Splendor 2009" by Sparrowman980 is licensed under BY-SA 3.0. - Original / License

Sailing out of Sydney and Singapore, the Splendor may not be a convenient vessel for you to board if you live in the U.S. Plus, some of the reviews of this particular Carnival ship may make you hesitate to book in the first place. Much like the other ships on this list, the Splendor receives an average of 3.7 out of 5 from passenger reviews. The main complaint? Both the editor of CruiseCritic and actual customers mention the age of the cabins onboard. 

Critique of Carnival Splendor

©"Aft deck, adults only pool Carnival Splendor" by minnemom is licensed under BY-ND 2.0. - Original / License

The Splendor holds just over 3000 people and debuted in 2008. While not necessarily an old vessel, the Splendor is beginning feel tired, particularly in all of the sleeping cabins and suites. There is a dated edge to the decor throughout this vessel, something that doesn’t pair well with rambunctious families and young people hoping to make the most of their all-inclusive drink packages. 

Carnival Paradise

©"Carnival Paradise Cozumel 2023" by Larry D. Moore is licensed under BY 4.0. - Original / License

Departing from Tampa, Florida, the Carnival Paradise is one of the oldest vessels in the Carnival fleet. Launched in 1998, this ship has a more traditional design– something that definitely contributes to the negative reviews surrounding it. While refurbished in 2018, the Paradise maintains many of its original issues, including high congestion at peak times of day. 

Critique of Carnival Paradise

©"Carnival Paradise in Carnival Cruise Line's new livery" by Crew Center is licensed under BY 4.0. - Original / License

Both actual customers and the editors of CruiseCritic give the Paradise a 3.5 out of 5, citing small deck areas and a lack of restaurants as the main reasons behind such criticism. Not only does the Paradise have fewer eating accommodations compared to the average cruise ship, but it also has a confusing interior design due to its somewhat recent refurbishment. 

Carnival Sunrise

©"Carnival Sunrise in Jamaica" by kahunapulej is licensed under BY-SA 2.0. - Original / License

The Carnival Sunrise departs from Miami and is Bahamas-bound, which should give you some sense of the type of people that may choose to take this cruise. While it’s packed with amenities and capable of transporting almost 3000 guests, the Sunrise earns a staggering 2.9 out of 5 from those who have chosen to come aboard. Why might this be?

Critique of Carnival Sunrise

©"Carnival Sunrise Cruise" by Sushumnarao is licensed under BY-SA 4.0. - Original / License

Like most other Carnival ships, the Sunrise earns a bad reputation for being a vessel solely for partying and rowdy groups. The layout of the ship doesn’t help with this, as the general flow of crowds often passes through entertainment areas such as the casino or poolside destinations. With simplistic cabins, the Sunrise feels as if there is nowhere peaceful to retreat to– something to keep in mind if relaxation is your top priority while on vacation! 

Ashleigh on ferry Island hopping.

Hi, I'm Ashleigh! Welcome to Seattle Travel, my little piece of beautiful PNW. This is home and I'm here to share all my experiences so visitors and locals alike can find the best experiences this part of the country has to offer. I started Seattle Travel in 2012 as a way to journal my experiences and over the years have been encouraged by family and friends to open up my adventures to everyone. I actively seek out the best food, activities, and day trips and give you a local perspective.  The Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful areas in the world and my goal is to let you explore it to the fullest. 


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