Cruise Line Guide: Carnival Cruise Line


Operating a total of 24 ships, Carnival Cruise Line is the world’s largest cruise line and offers sailings to no-end of exotic destinations around the globe. Since it was established in 1972, Carnival has undergone rapid expansion, and its fleet is now said to equate to one fifth of all global cruise traffic.

With such a diverse roster of ships and sailings available, it can be difficult for guests to choose which Carnival cruise is right for them. To help make the decision easier, here’s an in-depth guide to Carnival Cruise Lines – including a brief history of the line, a look at three of their most prominent ships and information on the Australian cruises they offer.

Carnival Cruise Line Quick Facts

• Founded in Florida, 1972
Headquarters: Miami, Florida
Fleet Size: 24 Ships in Service
Ship Classes: Dream, Splendor, Conquest, Spirit, Triumph, Fantasy
Largest Vessel: Carnival Breeze (128,500 tonnes)
Destinations: Alaska, Bahamas, Canada, Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexican Riviera, New England, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Panama Canal

History of Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Cruise Lines was established in 1972 by Israeli businessman, Ted Arison, who had previously founded Norwegian Cruise Lines with business partner, Knut Kloster. Arison is often considered a leisure cruise pioneer after he successfully implemented shorter, cheaper cruises aboard Carnival ships – a move which effectively captured a whole new market of potential cruise passengers.

Carnival Cruise Lines began life with a small fleet of ships, one of which ran aground on a sandbank on its maiden voyage. The cruise line initially purchased second-hand vessels from other cruise lines, before refurbishing and rebranding them in the distinctive Carnival livery. This tactic was cost-effective, and the line quickly assembled a moderately sized fleet which focussed on offering cheap cruises to the Caribbean from the United States.

Carnival Legend

Throughout the 1980s, Carnival Cruise Lines were at the forefront of a multi-billion-dollar shipbuilding boom, which saw the cruise line add three brand-new ships to its fleet before 1987 – including Holiday, Jubilee and Celebration. At this time, Carnival was the first cruise line to advertise on network television, a move which exposed the brand to millions of average Americans who had, until this time, never considered taking a cruise holiday.

At the beginning of the 1990s, Carnival launched the first of its Fantasy-class vessels – the aptly named Fantasy. The ship offered affordable four night sailings to the Bahamas from Miami, and proved so popular that the cruise line would go on to build a further eight Fantasy-class vessels – the most ships of any single cruise ship class.

In the subsequent years after the launch of Fantasy, Carnival continued to expand its fleet, building new ships and creating several ship classes to accommodate a rising number of passengers. The cruise line’s expansion was so rapid that the decision was made to establish a parent company that would separate Carnival Cruise Lines from other lines the firm had acquired – and thus Carnival Corporation & plc. was born.

Throughout the late 1990s and into the 2000s, Carnival Cruise Lines acquired a roster of new ships and expanded into new, increasingly exotic markets. In 2000, Carnival launched Carnival Victory, the world’s first “fun-ship” to sail in Alaskan waters. Carnival was also the first line to offer an all-year “fun-ship” service in Australia, after launching Carnival Spirit moved to Sydney in 2012.

In 2015, Carnival Cruise Lines released details of a new ship scheduled for release in 2016. Named Carnival Vista, the vessel is reputed to be the largest ship ever built by Italian shipbuilders, Fincantieri, for Carnival Cruise Lines. 

Carnival Cruise Line Guests


Due to the budget fares and all-round fun factor offered on Carnival ships, the cruise line attracts families, friends and couples who are looking for an affordable yet entertaining cruise ship experience. Renowned for its Las Vegas style interiors and expansive entertainment roster, Carnival ships are geared towards amusement, which may make them unsuitable for those seeking a luxurious and sophisticated holiday. That said, Carnival is by no means unrefined – with a number of cabin classes and a fabulous range of dining options.

Carnival Cruise Line Ships

Carnival Cruise Line has been at the forefront of shipbuilding for over two decades, and is responsible for some of the world’s most innovative and appealing ocean liners. The cruise line has a diverse range of cruise classes, each offering a different level of refinement. Here, we look at three of Carnival’s ships to explore the facilities amenities they offer.

Carnival Breeze


Built in 2012, Carnival Breeze is currently the largest ship in operation with Carnival Cruise Lines, with a gross tonnage of 130,000 and a total capacity of 4,724 passengers. Breeze was constructed by Italian shipbuilder, Fincantieri, and features the red funnel that has become a trademark design feature among Carnival Cruise Line vessels.

Carnival Breeze has a total of 1,845 guest suites – 851 of which are Oceanview class cabins with an adjoining balcony. The ship also features nine entertainment venues, seven restaurants and a number of sport and wellbeing facilities – including Serenity, an adult’s only health and fitness retreat.

Carnival Spirit

Carnival Spirit

Launched on 1st May 2001, Carnival Spirit is a “Fun Ship”, and was one of the first vessels of its kind to sail Alaskan and Hawaiian waters. In October 2012, Spirit repositioned to Australia, where she offers a roster of sailings from Sydney to the Pacific, Fiji and New Zealand.

Carnival Spirit has twelve guest decks, 1,062 cabins and a total capacity of 2,124 passengers. The ship has a number of fun, Las Vegas themed public areas – including the 1,000 capacity Pharaoh’s Palace – as well as a number of dining, entertainment, sport and wellbeing venues.

Carnival Vista


Set for delivery in April 2016, Carnival Vista is the first of Carnival’s vista class vessels, and will be the largest vessel in the Carnival fleet after its launch. Designed and built by Fincantieri, the ship will have a gross tonnage of 133,500 and will be capable of carrying 3,936 passengers and 1,450 crew members.

Carnival Cruise Line claim Vista will be the most entertaining cruise ship afloat, with a myriad of on-board entertainment facilities including a full-sized IMAX Multiplex cinema, Skyride and an expansive SportSquare. The ship’s maiden voyage is set to take place on May 1, 2016, where it will cruise from Trieste, Italy on a 13 night European sailing.

Carnival Cruise Line in Australia

After Carnival Cruise Line repositioned their ship, Carnival Spirit, to Sydney in 2012, Australian holidaymakers fell in love with the fun, relaxed cruise experience offered by the cruise line. Spirit offers all-year sailings to a number of destinations, including the Pacific Islands, Fiji and New Zealand. After the success of Spirit, Carnival announced they will send a second ship, Carnival Legend, to homeport permanently in Australia – providing yet more fun and exciting cruise holidays for Australian holidaymakers.

If you’re looking for a fun and entertaining cruise experience unlike any other, why not check out our dedicated Carnival Cruise Line page, where we list a range of cruise deals aboard Carnival Spirit and Carnival Legend. Should you require further assistance finding a Carnival Cruise Line holiday to suit you, contact the Cruise1st Australia team today on 1300 857 345.

Images sourced via Carnival Cruises Media Centre, Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Carnival Cruises and Miss Shari.


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