Friday 11 November 2022

Everything you need to know about Carnival Celebration

(Press event with Carnival Cruises - see disclaimer)

On November 6th, Carnival's newest excel class ship Celebration arrived in Southampton ahead of her maiden voyage to Miami. The cruise line's second excellence class ship, Celebration is the sister ship to Mardi Gras and coincides with the line's 50th anniversary so there were plenty of celebrations to be had! 

Just like sister ship Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration has six Zone themed areas that bring together incredible experiences and flavour. New flavours you haven't experienced yet, nobody has! Discover Latitudes, The Golden Jubilee, Emeril's Bistro as well as the return of innovations such as BOLT, their onboard rollercoaster, Bonsai Teppanyaki, RedFrog Tiki Bar, Family Feud Live, Havana Bar, Seuss at Sea, and Playlist Productions.  

Ship facts
Maiden voyage 6th November 2022
Builder Meyer Turku
Tonnage 183,900
Length 345m
Beam 42m
Decks 19

Plus all of this is powered by clean LNG fuel... Do you want to see more?

Carnival Cruises have been sailing people around the world for the last fifty years, they've built up an incredibly impressive cult following (some of which we witnessed on Sunday) and been masterminds in making people's holidays special so I really couldn't wait to experience a very small part of that during our visit while she was docked in Southampton ahead of her two-week transatlantic voyage to Miami. 

The ship's Godmother will be Cassidy Gifford, daughter of Kathie Lee Gifford who was a Carnival Cruise Line spokesperson for twenty years. Cassidy grew up around Carnival spending countless family holidays at sea so it was a really exciting choice for the brand to choose Kathie's daughter. 

She will be naming the ship officially on November 20th in Miami!

Whilst we didn't get a chance to see any of the staterooms or standard cabins due to a delay getting on the ship, I will just touch on them quickly before I launch into all the FUN that can be had with Carnival. 

In their own words, design is more than just the way things look and the staterooms aboard Carnival Celebration are packed with innovative changes to both. From ring-lit vanity mirror lights to help you get ready to the way the ottoman cushion flip over to serve as an extra table. Experience more comfort, better lighting such as reading lights recessed into the wall so you can read in bed without waking anyone else up and storage - all small changes that add to your room and experience. It's thoughtful, guest-centric and with more USB charging ports than you'll ever need.

Family Harbor staterooms have a unique nautical décor, and can be found near Carnival Celebration’s own Family Harbor Lounge - an exclusive spot with breakfast, snacks during the day, plus board games, family movies, video games and more. The benefits don't end there though as children eat free in most onboard speciality restaurants and get a free evening of Night Owls babysitting service, so you can enjoy a little alone time.

You can also choose from interior staterooms, ocean view staterooms, balcony staterooms plus the exclusive Havana Staterooms and Suites and Cloud 9 Spa Staterooms and Suites.

Sign me up for one of the Cloud 9 Spa Suites and I'd be very happy!

One of the most exciting draws to Carnival is of course their zones - they call it 'Vacationing Our Way' featuring six zones to explore, get involved in the fun, and stay and play or relax with refreshments. 

First up is Celebration Central which has been designed to make an impression and oh boy did it! This is Celebration's STUNNING atrium - spanning three decks with a ceiling that appears as a burst of a confetti canon made of approximately 1,400 colour-changing lighting fixtures that will transform from day to night. Functional as it is eye-catching, the space includes 3,000-square-foot floor-to-ceiling windows on the side of the ship that will change into 16 individually controlled, six- by 14-foot LED screens to work hand in hand with the ever-changing entertainment options, including live music, special effects, aerial acrobatic performances, and high-energy shows.

Center Stage features a rotating selection of live entertainment, while Tropicale Bar serves up great drinks with a nostalgia chaser nodding to their first ship to sport the iconic red, white and blue funnel. Aquaria Bar features an ocean-themed glass mural pulled from Carnival Victory that's now a two-deck-high decorative wall. You'll also find JavaBlue Café, Bonsai Sushi and Bonsai Teppanyaki, plus a few very entertaining reasons to come back, like Piano Bar 88, and The Punchliner Comedy Club!

Next, we have The Golden Jubilee, a 21+ bar packed with fun and innovative features and while it's not strictly part of one of the six zones, it is absolutely something to shout about. Carnival Celebration is all about celebrating fifty years of good times and they have paid tribute to this perfectly by creating the space, The Golden Jubilee. 

Like all the bars they've built, this one's designed to help spread good vibes in an atmosphere that makes you want to raise a glass with your neighbour. And in that glass? Vintage cocktail perfection done up in Carnival's own unique style, plus more selections inspired by their history. The bar is so much more than an entertainment spot - it's been made to help the good times flow with a stage ready for live performances. 

The décor is decidedly classic, transporting you decades back through time - made up of actual artefacts from Carnival ships of the past, mixed with design elements inspired by their earlier ships.

You won't know where to look first!

One that really intrigued me was Havana - fun by night and friendly anytime, Havana allows you to be transported to antebellum Cuba preserved today in old postcards, vintage literature and classic delicacies. Take in great ocean views as you try something authentically Cuban, like café Cubano or handcrafted Cuban cocktails, think daiquiris, mojitos and more.

From relaxing booths and tables to share with family and friends to the outside pool deck where you can lay back and watch the ocean - Havana is a spot that keeps going all day long!

Latitudes is another great spot - a bar with a difference. The classic railway-inspired mechanical flap board is definitely the first thing you'll notice about Latitudes, but what sticks with you about this bar may just be something else.

For instance, the drinks feature a range of speciality cocktails crafted not just to refresh but to actually match the scenery.

What scenery, you're wondering? At Latitudes no matter where you're sailing, the views come to you from any corner of the world. Innovative virtual windows invite you to take in some of Earth's most breathtaking views as you sit back and sip something delicious, whether you're there for a special event, an occasion celebration… or simply a delicious departure from the ordinary.

It's so much more than a cocktail hour, it's an experience you'll never forget.

We really enjoyed walking around the outside decks... you can pretty much loop the entire ship which is perfect for catching views from all angles.

Perfect for in the mornings if you want to start the day with a leisurely stroll!

The Lido felt like the heart of the ship and where so much of the fun happens. The poolside zone is full of delicious and fun experiences such as the RedFrog Tiki Bar - a classic poolside rum bar but with a twist, serving up the good stuff across two decks' worth of South Pacific atmosphere. 

Also, first-time-fresh is Street Eats, bringing together highlights from the world's fast-food cuisine like kebab, bao buns and seriously upgraded fries. Shaq's latest Big Chicken™ restaurant is here, and fan-fave spots like Guy's Burger Joint™, the New England-inspired Seafood Shack™, and BlueIguana Cantina™ taco spot!

The lido is also home to one of the two Swirls locations, the free soft-serve spot!

The Ultimate Playground is THE zone for everybody, all ages and up! Starting with BOLT®, the first rollercoaster at sea - an all-electric thrill ride that puts the power of speed in your hands. Strap in and zoom your motorcycle-style speed machine around an open-air course high, high above sea level. Forget other coasters because this all-electric thrill ride puts you in the driver's seat. That means you actually get to control how fast you go while taking in the 360° ocean views!

The weather on the day prevented us from trying it out but it's definitely something not to miss. There is an additional charge for using BOLT®.

However, included in your cruise is the largest Carnival WaterWorks™ ever with three huge spiralling slides, a giant dumping bucket, twin racing slides and more. When you spot the big slides on board you'll see that they mean business, splashy business: Blue Lightning™ is packed with headfirst, high-speed twists and turns, while Orange Thunder™ starts you off standing before propelling you down into a world of wetness and of course, their signature Twister™ slide keeps on thrilling splash-seekers.

With Carnival Celebration sailing to some seriously sunny locations, the outside decks are where the magic really is so you absolutely cannot miss Summer Landing. 

Known as 'the greatest chill spot at sea' it is THE place to be, especially if you're partial to a BBQ. You'll find Guy's Pig & Anchor Smokehouse in this zone meaning you can get your hands on freshly-smoked faves designed by Guy Fieri and original Parched Pig® beers brewed just feet away.

If you're wondering where the pool and whirlpool are, The Watering Hole is a poolside bar built especially for aficionados of backyard-style relaxation. And for military folks — or folks who just want to raise a glass to them - please report to Heroes Tribute™ Lounge for great service. 

Plus once again, this is the place to get your soft serve at the Swirls™ location.

The final two zones can be found inside the ship...

The Gateway zone is inspired by international flavour and grand locations from around the world. You'll find a rotating selection of these vistas brilliantly displayed right on the innovative LED windows and ceiling, plus theme nights that match including Abroad in Europe, Far East Voyage and Mexico Lindo each featuring food, drink and entertainment to match. Every moment is a special occasion thanks to onboard spots like these - think of restaurants and bars like Latitudes™ with its old-school railway station vibe, The Golden Jubilee™ featuring a unique mix of great drinks and live music, plus Emeril’s Bistro 1397™, which is deliciously all over the map. 

And don’t miss your chance to sip a little cocktail magic at returning fan-favourite Alchemy Bar®.

Finally, you have 820 Biscayne which is unmistakenly Miami and the inspiration for so much from Carnival. Be sure to check out the art deco designs, neon splashes and great flavours at Bar 820 renowned for tropical cocktails and Cuban coffee while Deco Deli serves up a selection of classic sandwiches. 

And like any cosmopolitan centre, dining quality and variety count big - that’s why you'll find Cucina del Capitano and Rudi's Seagrill restaurants in the neighborhood.

Carnival Celebration was exactly that, a celebration and we barely scratched the surface so focusing on the onboard zones made the most sense here. It's fun, it's exciting and it's very geared towards the American market but oh wow was it a fabulous experience to be a part of. 

Carnival is known for fun and that definitely showed during our small snippet of time onboard Celebration. Here's hoping in the future we get to experience a bit more of that fun. 

You can see even more from Carnival on their website - Carnival Cruises

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