Carnival Ship Classes – The Complete Guide

by Ray Roman | Last updated on January 12, 2024

Carnival cruises are renowned for their incredible onboard activities and relaxed, family-oriented atmosphere.

Ideal for those seeking cost-effective, straightforward enjoyment, featuring a fleet of 8 Carnival ship classes and 25 ships overall, sailing from numerous ports across the United States.

Carnival Ship Classes

While Caribbean cruises are a favorite, Carnival also explores destinations like Mexico, Europe, Australia, Hawaii, and Alaska.

Refer to this Carnival fleet guide to discover the perfect match for your vacation needs.

8 Carnival Ship Classes?

Carnival Cruise Line boasts a diverse fleet of 8 distinct classes, such as Excel, Dream, Splendor, Conquest, Spirit, Sunshine, and Fantasy.

Each class offers unique amenities, cruise experiences, and destinations, making selecting the ideal Carnival vessel to suit your preferences easier. Let’s get started with Carnival cruise ships by class.

Excel Class

Featured On: Mardi Gras, Celebration

Excel Class ships are the largest and newest in the fleet. The ships with Excel Class also have the most amenities and activities on board.

Carnivial Mardi Gras
Carnival Excel Class | Carnival Mardi Gras

Noteworthy amenities include restaurant options, bars, roller coasters, and fun games such as Family Feud. Due to their size, these ships may be more crowded and have less of an intimate feel.

Vista Class

Featured On: Vista, Horizon, Panorama

Vista is the second more extravagant Carnival Cruise class. Vista Class is an excellent option if you’re looking for a more classic Carnival experience. Highlights include SkyCourse and IMAX theaters.

Dream Class

Featured On: Dream, Magic, Breeze

Dream Class ships are very similar to Vista Class ships, although they are slightly smaller in size. Dream Class is great for families and includes amenities such as video arcades, waterparks, mini golf, and a karaoke bar.

Carnival Dream 01
Carnival Ship Classes | Dream Class | Carnival Dream

Spendor Class

Featured On: Splendor

Larger than the conquest (below), Splendor Class activities include things like casinos, comedy shows, waterparks, multiple pools, and so much more.

Conquest Class

Featured On: Conquest, Glory, Valor, Liberty, Freedom

While Conquest Class ships are slightly smaller, they have plenty to offer guests in terms of amenities.

They include activities like an adult-only top deck, great restaurants and dining options, and mini golf. If you want to avoid crowds, these ships are a great option.

Carnival Freedom 2021
Our son Tyler and friend PK, ready to board the Carnival Freedom

Spirit Class

Featured On: Spirit, Pride, Legend, Miracle

If you’re looking for adventure, then the spirit class is for you! These ships sail to amazing locations such as Australia, Alaska, and Europe.

Plenty of amenities and activities are on board to keep you busy such as spas, pools, waterparks, and the famous SkyCourse.

Sunshine Class

Featured On: Sunshine, Sunrise, Radiance

These are Carnival’s smaller and older ships. Don’t worry; these ships have all undergone various renovations and offer similar amenities to the newer Carnival cruises.

Fantasy Class

Featured On: Ecstasy, Sensation, Elation, Paradise

Fantasy Class ships are the smallest in the Carnival fleet. Fantasy Class is a great option if you’re looking for a more intimate cruise experience. Be aware that there are fewer amenities onboard these ships.

Carnival Cruise Cabins and Suites

Carnival offers several different cabins and suites for cruisers to choose from. These include…

Specialty Suites

Offer: Family Harbor, Cloud 9 Spa, Havana

The specialty suites are the most extravagant on the ship. Depending on the specialty suite you choose, some of the suites cater specifically to families with kids, while others cater to couples and those wanting more outdoor space. Specific ships offer different specialty suites.

Suites

Suites are the most spacious onboard Carnival Cruises. They sleep five guests, have their own balconies, and offer a host of amenities.

These include things like priority embarkment and disembarkment, priority dinner reservations, complimentary water, pillow-top mattresses, and comfy bathrobes.

Balcony

Balcony staterooms are a step down from suites and feature their own balconies, which are fantastic for longer cruises with more time at sea.

Ocean View

Ocean-view staterooms are larger than interior rooms and include a window. These rooms can accommodate up to 5 people, but only three people comfortably. You can request a connecting room for a bit more space.

Interior

Interior rooms are the most basic and budget-friendly option on Carnival Cruises. Much like ocean view staterooms, these rooms can accommodate up to 5 people, but only three people comfortably. You can request a connecting room for a bit more space.

What To Consider When Choosing a Ship

Of course, destination and budget need to be taken into consideration when choosing a Carnival Cruise. While many of the cruises contain similar amenities, they may not all be included in certain packages.

If traveling as a family, parents will want to consider places to unwind and relax, as well as kid’s clubs and fun spaces. Solo travelers and singles will want to consider the nightlife and choose a cruise geared more toward entertainment for adults.

Newest Carnival Cruise Ships

Discover the latest additions to the Carnival Cruise Line fleet, designed to elevate your vacation experience to new heights.

These state-of-the-art vessels combine innovative technology, captivating entertainment, and unparalleled comfort to create unforgettable moments at sea.

With an array of awe-inspiring destinations, exceptional dining options, and exhilarating onboard attractions, the newest Carnival cruise ships promise to deliver a truly remarkable journey tailored to your every desire.

Carnival Mardi Gras

  • Sails To: Caribbean
  • Sails From: Port Canaveral, FL
  • Duration: 6-9 days

Carnival’s Mardi Gras salutes where the cruise line has been and where it’s headed in the future. Mardi Gras is made for anyone and everyone! The goal was to create an atmosphere where cruising is less stuffy and fancy.

This new ship features zones and six themed areas bursting with new and innovative dining, drinking, and entertainment. Mardi Gras offers BOLT, the first roller coaster at sea, as well as Emeril’s Bistro 1396. Enjoy new bars like The Brass Magnolia and Fortune Teller.

Carnival Celebration

  • Sails To: Caribbean, Transatlantic
  • Sails From: London, England – Miami, FL
  • Duration: 2-5 days, 6-9 days, 10+ days

Carnival Celebration is a toast to the last 50 years at sea for the cruise line. Much like its sister ship Mardi Gras (above), the Celebration features the new six-zone system that highlights incredible flavors and experiences.

Enjoy the second ship to feature BOLT, the first at-sea roller coaster. Enjoy Bonsai Teppanyaki, the RedFrog Tiki Bar, and the Havana Bar. The staterooms are a perfect home away from home for you to relax after fun days on the ship.

Carnival Radiance

  • Sails To: Caribbean, Mexico
  • Sails From: Galveston, TX – Los Angeles, CA
  • Duration: 2-5 days, 6-9 days

Carnival Radiance is new to the fleet in 2022 and was designed for a more intimate cruising experience. With a mass occupancy of 2,984, this ship is perfect for you and your close travel buddies.

Radiance features some exciting new restaurants, including Shaq’s Big Chicken, Guy Fieri’s Burger Joint, and Pigs & Anchor BBQ Smokehouse. Kids on board will love interacting with their Dr. Suess favorites, including an onboard meeting with the Cat In The Hat.

The ship also features a plethora of adult entertainment options, including a SkyCourse, Serenity Adult-Only Retreat, and Alchemy Bar.

Top Rated Carnival Cruise Ships

These exceptional vessels have earned their stellar reputation by consistently delivering unforgettable moments, captivating entertainment, and exquisite dining options tailored to every palate.

With a diverse range of itineraries spanning the globe, the top-rated Carnival cruise ships provide an unmatched blend of luxury, adventure, and relaxation, ensuring that your vacation exceeds all expectations.

Carnival Glory

  • Sail To: Caribbean, Panama Canal
  • Sail From: New Orleans, LA
  • Duration: 6-9 days, 10+ days

Although Glory is a bit of an older ship, built in 2003, it is a beloved favorite with Carnival cruisers. The ship offers a wide variety of entertainment and activities.

For adults, there is a standup comedy club and Playlist Productions that features singing and dancing. Kids can enjoy Seuss at Sea, where they can meet their Dr. Suess favorites and watch the books be brought to life.

The ship also features the WaterWorks waterpark, Dive-In Movies, and many more fun activities.

Carnival Sunrise

  • Sail To: Bahamas, Caribbean
  • Sail From: Miami, FL
  • Duration: 2-5 days, 6-9 days

Carnival Sunrise was recently renovated, and the changes were so dramatic that they had to rename the ship, it was originally the Carnival Triumph.

Everything in the ship has been updated, including all of the cabins that are beautifully furnished. Sunrise has new dining options as well; the ship features Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, Cucina del Capitano, and Bonsai Express. Entertainment and activities onboard this ship are not lacking.

Have fun at a new Sports Court with mini-golf, ropes course, and WaterWorks. Kids will love Camp Ocean for 2-11 year-olds, and teens can enjoy Club 02, where they can hang out.

Carnival Elation

  • Sails To: Bahamas, Caribbean
  • Sails From: Port Canaveral, FL
  • Duration: 2-5 days, 6-9 days

Carnival Elation is a great budget-friendly Carnival cruise option. Designed to celebrate those who influenced the arts.

Elation gives you tons of fun options at sea! The culinary experiences onboard will have you never wanting to leave.

Enjoy amazing tacos and burritos at the Blue Iguana Cantina or classic burgers and fries at Guy’s Burger Joint.

While relaxing poolside, be sure to grab a drink from the RedFrog Rum Bar or Blue Iguana’s Tequila Bar.

Carnival Dream

  • Sails To: Caribbean, Panama, Canada
  • Sails From: Galveston, TX
  • Duration: 6-9 days, 10+ days

As one of the largest ships in the Carnival fleet, you’ll find that the Dream features the perfect balance between relaxation and amazing activities.

If you’re looking to relax, Carnival’s Dream has you covered with a wrap-around promenade and whirlpools, providing plenty of space to unwind and soak up the sun.

The ship also has an adult-only lounge that offers a separate area to relax, lounge, and enjoy a cocktail.

Parents will love the amount of space for kids’ activities, including a huge children’s center, a fun water slide, and a ton of fun!

The dining options on Dream won’t leave you disappointed with the cuisine from Pizzeria del Capitano and Bonsai Sushi.

Carnival Legend

  • Sails To: Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada/New England, Caribbean, Panama Canal
  • Sails From: Baltimore, MD
  • Duration: 6-9 days, 10+ days

Carnival’s Legend offers a well-rounded passenger experience and a great variety of cruising locations. The ship theme can be seen in the Avalon and Camelot Pools or with a visit to the Club Merlin Casino.

Parents who want to enjoy the nightlife onboard will appreciate Night Owls, where your kids can hang out with constant supervision until the early morning hours.

Kids can also enjoy Seuss-a-Palooza or the onboard Build-a-Bear workshop. Dining on the ship includes the Unicorn Cafe, the perfect place to get your morning caffeine fix or classics like Guy’s Burger Joint and the Blue Iguana Cantina.

Carnival Horizon

  • Sails To: Caribbean
  • Sails From: Miami, FL
  • Duration: 6-9 days

Carnival’s Horizon is a newer ship that offers more accommodation options than most of the other Carnival fleet.

This includes the Family Harbor Specialty Suite which is a dedicated family stateroom that offers its own concierge service and lounge. 

For entertainment, the ship has its own Multiplex with one IMAX theater and one 3D theater.

Kids will have a ton of fun activities to enjoy, including SkyRide and Dr. Suess WaterWorks. Adults can enjoy the Punchliner Comedy Club, Playlist Production, and SportsSquare.

There are also nightclubs and parties for adults, including a White Hot Night Party where you can dance the night away. You won’t find Horizon lacking in culinary options.

The Seafood Shack has fantastic seafood spreads, and Jiji Asian Kitchen offers pan-Asian cuisine.

Carnival Splendor

  • Sails To: Alaska, Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific, Transpacific
  • Sails From: Sydney, Australia – Seattle, WA
  • Duration: 2-5 days, 10+ days

If you’re looking for exciting destinations and adventure, you can’t do better than Carnival Splendor.

This ship will ensure that you have a great time at sea with amazing entertainment and activities. Enjoy the El Morocco Lounge, which offers musical performances, comedy shows, and fun karaoke.

Have a great time at the Carnival WaterWorks or relax at the onboard Jazz Club, The Cool. For extra fun, you can Lip Sync Battle fellow cruisers and make the crowd go wild!

To fully unwind, enjoy Serenity Adult-Only Retreat or the Cloud-9 Spa. Dining options include Masala Tiger, where you can get signature Indian cuisine, and MongolianWok, where you can chow down on Asian goodness.

Additional Carnival Cruise Ship Options

Carnival Breeze

  • Sails To: Caribbean
  • Sails From: Galveston, TX
  • Duration: 2-5 days

Find out more here.

Carnival Conquest

  • Sails To: Bahamas, Caribbean, Panama Canal
  • Sails From: Miami, FL
  • Duration: 2-5 days, 6-9 days, 10+ days

Find out more here.

Carnival Ecstasy

  • Sails To: Caribbean
  • Sails From: Mobile, AL
  • Duration: 2-5 days, 10+ days

Find out more here.

Carnival Freedom

  • Sails To: Bahamas, Caribbean
  • Sails From: Port Canaveral, FL
  • Duration: 2-5 days, 6-9 days

Find out more here.

Carnival Liberty

  • Sails To: Bahamas
  • Sails From: Port Canaveral, FL
  • Duration: 2-5 days

Find out more here.

Carnival Magic

  • Sails To: Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada/New England, Caribbean
  • Sails From: Norfolk, VA, Port Canaveral, FL, New York, NY, Miami, FL
  • Duration: 2-5 days, 6-9 days

Find out more here.

Carnival Miracle

  • Sails To: Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico
  • Sails From: San Francisco, CA, Los Angeles, CA, San Diego, CA
  • Duration: 2-5 days, 6-9 days, 10+ days

Find out more here.

Carnival Panorama

  • Sails To: Mexico
  • Sails From: Los Angeles, CA
  • Duration: 6-9 days

Find out more here.

Carnival Paradise

  • Sails To: Caribbean
  • Sails From: Tampa, FL
  • Duration: 2-5 days, 6-9 days

Find out more here.

Carnival Pride

  • Sails To: Caribbean, Europe, Panama Canal, Transatlantic
  • Sails From: Rome, Italy, London, England, Tampa, FL, Lisbon, Portugal, Barcelona, Spain
  • Duration: 2-5 days, 6-9 days, 10+ days

Find out more here.

Carnival Sunshine

  • Sails To: Bahamas, Caribbean
  • Sails From: Charleston, SC
  • Duration: 2-5 days, 6-9 days, 10+ days

Find out more here.

Carnival Valor

  • Sails To: Caribbean
  • Sails From: New Orleans, LA
  • Duration: 2-5 days

Find out more here.

Carnival Vista

  • Sails To: Caribbean
  • Sails From: Port Canaveral, FL, Galveston, TX
  • Duration: 2-5 days, 6-9 days

Find out more here.

Carnival Jubilee

  • Coming In 2023
  • Sails To: Caribbean, Transatlantic
  • Sails From: Galveston, TX, London, England
  • 0Duration: 6-9 days, 10+ days

Find out more here.

Carnival Ship Classes, Tonnage, and Passenger Capacity

Carnival Cruise ShipClassTonnage (gross tons)Maximum Passenger Capacity
Carnival CelebrationExcel183,5215,374
Carnival JubileeXL183,5218,365
Mardi GrasExcel182,8006,630
Carnival PanoramaVista133,5004,008
Carnival HorizonVista133,5004,008
Carnival VistaVista133,5004,008
Carnival BreezeDream128,0003,690
Carnival DreamDream128,0003,646
Carnival MagicDream128,0003,690
Carnival ConquestConquest110,0002,974
Carnival GloryConquest110,0002,974
Carnival LibertyConquest110,0002,974
Carnival ValorConquest110,0002,974
Carnival FreedomFreedom110,0002,974
Carnival IndependenceFreedom110,0002,974
Carnival LibertyFreedom110,0002,974
Carnival TriumphTriumph101,5092,758
Carnival VictoryTriumph101,5092,758
Carnival SpiritSpirit88,5002,124
Carnival PrideSpirit88,5002,124
Carnival LegendSpirit88,5002,124
Carnival MiracleSpirit88,5002,124
Carnival ImaginationFantasy70,3672,056
Carnival InspirationFantasy70,3672,056
Carnival FantasyFantasy70,3672,056
Carnival EcstasyFantasy70,3672,056
Carnival ElationFantasy70,3672,056

Carnival Ship Classes Final Thoughts

Whichever Carnival Cruise ship you select, rest assured that your time at sea will be filled with unforgettable moments.

Carnival Cruises cater to budget-conscious travelers seeking family-friendly excitement, offering a wealth of activities, entertainment, and dining experiences.

Embrace the adventure and delight in the memories created aboard this exceptional cruise line.