What’s Included In A Carnival Cruise?

by Ray Roman | Last updated on July 26, 2023

What’s Included In A Carnival Cruise? Cruising remains a favorite vacation option for many, primarily for its combination of value, convenience, and variety.

When it comes to affordable and fun-filled cruise vacations, Carnival Cruise Line continues to be a preferred choice, particularly among families. With a wide array of onboard amenities and many destinations to explore, a Carnival Cruise vacation offers an enticing proposition.

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What’s Included in a Carnival Cruise


Your cruise fare covers the cost of your stateroom for the entire duration of the trip. Carnival ships offer a wide array of room categories, from interior cabins to suites and everything in between. The selection of your cabin type is the main driver of the total cost of your cruise.

Certain cabin categories provide cruisers access to exclusive areas of the ship, like the thermal suite and free fitness classes for the Cloud 9 spa staterooms, an exclusive pool area for Havana staterooms, and special perks for families in the Family Harbor staterooms.

Be sure to review the benefits associated with each cabin before selecting the perfect fit for your cruise.

Food and Drinks

Three meals a day and snacks in between, are included in your cruise fare at the casual Lido Marketplace buffet. The buffet offers a variety of menu items for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Complimentary casual dining options vary from ship to ship and can include offerings like Guy’s Burger Joint, the Blue Iguana Cantina for Mexican favorites, Java Blue coffee shop, and soft-serve ice cream, among others.

In addition to casual dining, cruisers can also dine for free in the main dining room. The menu changes nightly, and the dining room is open on select days and hours for a sit-down breakfast and a special sea day brunch.

When it comes to drinks, iced tea, lemonade, filtered water, some juices, hot chocolate, and drip coffee and tea are included.

Onboard Activities

The Carnival Fun Squad ensures there’s always something to do on the ship that won’t cost you a dime. All Carnival Cruise Line ships have a large pool deck for all cruisers to enjoy, with at least one main pool, hot tubs, and loungers.

Other included activities include basketball courts, mini-golf, ping-pong tables, a ropes course, modern fitness facilities, an outdoor jogging track, trivia, cooking demonstrations, karaoke, and games.

Nightly Entertainment

A Carnival Cruise ship comes alive at night with plenty of entertainment options, including featured playlist production shows, family-friendly shows, piano music, comedy shows, sporting events, and more. None of these shows require advanced reservations.

Youth Programs

Carnival Cruise Line offers youth programs for children aged 2 to 17 years old. Camp Ocean offers supervised, age-based activities such as arts and crafts, games, movies, and more. Teen hangout spots for those aged 12-17 also provide dance parties, games, video games, and movies.

What’s Not Included in a Carnival Cruise

Now that we know what’s included in a Carnival Cruise let’s find out what isn’t.

Alcoholic Beverages

Alcoholic beverages are not part of the cruise fare on Carnival Cruise ships. Beer, wine, cocktails, soda, specialty coffee and tea, and bottled water cost extra.

Depending on your drinking habits, purchasing the Cheers Beverage package might be more cost effective than paying a la carte pricing.

Specialty Dining

While many dining venues are covered in the Carnival Cruise fare, the cruise line also offers upcharge dining options and experiences, such as Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, Bonsai Sushi and Teppanyaki, Seafood Shack, Gigi’s Asian Kitchen, and others. Some restaurants have a flat fee, while others have a la carte pricing.

While cruises provide excellent vacation value, not everything is included in the cruise fare. Below are some of the extras:

Alcoholic Beverages

Alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine, cocktails, specialty coffee and tea, and bottled water, are not part of the cruise fare. This is where the “Cheers!” beverage package might be beneficial, depending on your drinking habits.

This package includes a variety of non-alcoholic beverages, beer, wines by the glass, cocktails, and a wide selection of high-quality brand-name spirits priced up to twenty dollars, among others.

Cruise Gratuities

Cruise gratuities or service charges are additional fees not included in the standard cruise fare. These charges serve as a means to reward the hard-working crew for the excellent service provided during your cruise vacation.

Select Activities

While many onboard activities are included, several additional ones come at an upcharge. These include group fitness classes, cocktail tastings, and video arcades.

What’s Included In A Carnival Cruise – Final Thoughts

There is quite a lot that is included in a Carnival cruise. You can potentially go on a cruise and not spend that much more than what you already paid for the cruise.

The key to staying within your budget and taking advantage of what is included is to be informed ahead of time.

Know what is included and what will be an extra charge so you are not hit with fees and charges later on. Happy Cruising.

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