CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES
3655 N.W. 87th Avenue
Miami, FL 33178-2428
COMPANY OVERVIEW: Carnival's successful formula is to provide well-priced cruises to a wide variety of destinations on glitzy ships, offering a wide range of activities and comprehensive, year-round children's programs for children as young as two. Carnival tends to have lower rates than other cruise lines, and their wide variety of itineraries, kid-friendly facilities and extensive children's programs make it a great choice for many families. Carnival is expected to host 500,000 children this year, a 300 percent increase from 10 years ago. This translates to roughly half of the children carried by the entire North American cruise industry, based on numbers provided by CLIA member cruise lines.
DESTINATIONS: Alaska, Bahamas, Canada/New England, Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, and Transatlantic Sailings
KIDS/FAMILY PROGRAMS: Carnival offers "Camp Carnival," a children's program, on-board every ship and every sailing year-round. Camp Carnival has separate activity groups for ages 2 to 5; 6 to 8; 9 to 11, and 12 to 15 year-olds. The program is also one of the few at sea whose counselors will change diapers for campers age two and younger. Kids can sign themselves out of the Camp Carnival program at 9 years of age.
SPECIAL PROGRAMS: "EduCruise", offering fun, interactive projects focusing on the cultures, landmarks, history and geography of the cruise destinations. "H2Ocean", a science program with hands-on projects. "WaterColors", an arts and crafts program which enables kids to create their own artistic masterpieces using paper mache, oil paints and watercolors. "SeaNotes", a music program that introduces kids to different musical instruments and types of music. "ExerSeas", a recreational fitness program that encourages kids to play through intense physical activity. Programs vary by age, and not all programs are available on every ship.
CHILDREN'S FACILITIES: Carnival offers dedicated facilities for the Camp Carnival program on every ship in their fleet. The size and scope of the facilities, however, do vary by ship. On the Carnival Valor, for example, children enjoy a 4,200-square-foot play area that includes a 16-monitor video wall, a large arts and crafts center, a soft play area, a computer lab, a children's library, and a 1,800-square-foot teen dance club/recreation area called "The Caboose".
YOUTH COUNSELORS: All youth staff must have a bachelor's degree in an education-related field or significant experience in child care, and pass a security check prior to employment. Depending upon the ship capacity, itinerary and time of year, Carnival usually staffs between 10 and 16 youth counselors on board each ship year round. The smaller ships have 10 youth counselors in a slow season and another one or two counselors during busy seasons. Larger ships could have as many as 13 counselors during the slow season and up to 16 counselors during busy periods. Most of Carnival’s youth counselors are from the United States, Canada, England and Peru. All youth counselors either have a college degree in education, child psychology or youth recreation, or have professional experience with children, such as teaching, daycare or camp experience. The youth staff is professionally trained in CPR and are able to provide basic first aid for cuts and bruises. They are told to contact parents/guardians as well as the infirmary for any medical emergencies.
HOURS OF OPERATION: On sea days, Camp Carnival operates from 9:00 A.M. to 10 P.M. except for a dinner break from 6 P.M. to 7 P.M. In port, the ships offer a supervised free play program that starts 15 minutes before the earliest shore excursion. Typically, scheduled Camp Carnival activities start at 2 p.m. on in-port days and last until 10 p.m. On the two formal nights, counselors usually take the children to a supervised dinner at the Lido café. On some ships, kids can dine with their youth counselors each evening.
TEEN PROGRAMS: Camp Carnival's teen program only includes children up to 15 years of age. Generally there are about six to seven hours a day of teens activities offered, mostly in the afternoon and evening. Typical teen activities include: Ping-Pong tournaments, a pool party, pizza party, and a lip-synch contest. Carnival also offers teen-only shore excursions fleet-wide for children ages 12-15. Carnival has also instituted a fleetwide youth spa program, where children ages 12-14 and their parents can enjoy body and beauty treatments together on in-port days.
DEDICATED TEEN FACILITIES: Many Carnival ships feature dedicated teen facilities, but they are not offered on every ship in the fleet at this time. Currently, ships that have dedicated teen rooms include the Carnival Conquest, Ecstasy, Elation, Fantasy, Fascination, Glory, Paradise, Sensation, and Valor. The size of the teen facilities vary by ship. Teens also tend to congregate in the game/video arcades available on the ship.
FAMILY PROGRAMS: Carnival offers family and multi-generational activities on some of its ships. These include arts and crafts sessions, family water play, and make-your-own sundae sessions.
BABYSITTING: This is one of the few cruise lines where youth counselors do change little ones' diapers. Group babysitting is available from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.; $6 per hour first child; $4/hour each additional child in the same family. Note that children under two years old can participate in group babysitting (cribs are set up in the youth room). Group babysitting is also available for children under 2 years old from 8 a.m. to noon on in-port days. Private in-room babysitting is not available.
KIDS SHORE EXCURSIONS: Teen-only shore excursions, led by a youth counselor, are offered fleet-wide for kids ages 12-15.
KIDS/TEENS SPA SERVICES: Carnival has instituted a fleetwide youth spa program, where kids ages 12-14 and their parents can enjoy body and beauty treatments together on in-port days. Packages are available in mother/daughter and father/son combinations, and include hair and nail treatments, health evaluations, and foot and scalp massages. Spa services are available for guests ages 12 and older.
SPECIAL KIDS RATES: Carnival offers third and fourth guest rates. No special children’s rates are available.
SINGLE PARENT RATES: No
SPECIAL PRICING FOR FAMILIES IN MULTIPLE CABINS: No
CRIBS AVAILABLE: In-cabin cribs are available upon request, but make sure to reserve these when booking.
STROLLERS AVAILABLE: Single and double strollers are available for rent by the day for $25 for the week. Bouncy seats and travel swings are available for rent as well.
SPECIAL FAMILY FEATURES: Most staterooms designed for families consist of twin beds that convert to a king plus one or two upper berths. Quads with two uppers are large enough to accommodate a fifth berth in the form of a rollaway cot or a crib (both are available from the line) on certain ships only. The cabin stewards go out of their way for kids, even making amusing arrangements (such as animals shaped from towels) to place on a child's pillow at bedtime. Kids also enjoy turndown service offering freshly baked chocolate chip cookies on at least one night during their cruise. GameBoy Advance gaming units are available for rent.
DINING OPTIONS: Kids' menus are available and all ships have a "bistro" for informal dining. Contintental room service breakfast is available. The "Fountain Fun Card" is available for purchase for a one-time fee of $28 for 7-night cruises and less on shorter cruises, providing unlimited soft drinks throughout the cruise. On some ships, kids can dine with their youth counselors each evening.
MINIMUM AGE TO SAIL: Infants must be at least four months old. Women who are 31 or more weeks pregnant may not sail.
COMMENTS: Carnival's family-oriented facilities are generally excellent, especially on their newer ships. Kids and teens tend to congregate around Carnival's pools. All ships have a children's pool with a small, kiddie-sized water slide as well as a larger pool with one or more twisting slides.
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