Carnival Cruise Line celebrated 50 years of fun and unforgettable memories earlier this year. To commemorate such an incredible milestone, the Miami-based company launched its newest and most fun ship to date, Celebration, during the fall.
Celebration is Carnival's promise for another 50 years, offering families and travelers the best experiences at sea. Sister to the Mardi Gras, Celebration is the second ship from the excel class, and the most fabulous representation of its home port, Miami.
This ship, one of the world's largest, can accommodate over 5,200 guests and has over 20 dining venues, a dozen bars, and lounges spread across six distinct zones. 820 Biscayne, the ship's Miami-themed zone, is named after Carnival's first headquarters address and intended to pay homage to Miami's cultural vibe and its dining and beverage scene. To go with the Miami theme, the ship also added many Cuban motifs on board, representing the significant influence of the Caribbean island on the Magic City.
820 Biscayne houses Miami slice, Carnival Celebration's version of Pizzeria del Capitano, which can be found on other Carnival ships. This included spot serves unlimited pizza at all times of day and features popular Cuban dishes like picadillo (ground beef) on a delicious thin-crust pizza, plus four other flavors. Deco Deli, also located in this area, is a rendition of Miami's Art Deco history with colorful fonts and signage, serving classic deli sandwiches with an expanded menu highlighting Miami staples, including the Cubano, croqueta sandwich, and pan con lechon, all on Cuban bread.
The vessel, which has over 2,600 staterooms, comes at a time post-pandemic when the cruising industry is booming, with fewer challenges and restrictions. It is the second ship in the Carnival fleet to have a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) propulsion system as part of Carnival Corporation's pioneering green cruising platform.
The ship also features The Gateway, an entirely new two-deck area that celebrates travel and the thrill of discovering new places. The entertainment, dining, and shopping zone includes a promenade highlighted by 12 high-definition multimedia virtual windows displaying unique scenes, with design and décor inspired by grand terminals, transportation stations, and departure points around the world. During the day, guests will be entertained by relaxing scenes such as a sunny sky, but at night, the zone will take on varying nightly themes reflected on the interactive windows, transporting guests to far-flung locations worldwide.
"When designing this innovative and transformative environment, we wanted to make sure that there was something new and exciting to see and experience every time a guest walks through the zone between day and night, and from day to day," said Ben Clement, senior vice president of new builds, refurbishment and product innovation. "We also wanted to ensure that the entire promenade in The Gateway was connected and that the upper level was engaged with what is happening below."
Latitudes, a new travel-inspired bar concept, is part of the Gateway's main promenade. The bar was designed to look like a classic airport or train station, complete with travel-themed chairs, menus, and a mechanical split-flap display board, a modern take on the traditional "departures" board custom-built by Oat Foundry in Philadelphia. The board will change to display the bar's daily menu offerings and will include messages to support the imagery on the surrounding virtual windows. It is uniquely designed to come to life periodically with motion and sounds, including the familiar clack-clack sound that sparks memories of past travels. Cocktails, spirits, and wines from around the world, as well as special tastings and samplers, are available.
The Gateway also features Emeril Lagasse's second seagoing restaurant, Emeril's Bistro 1397, with a twist. The menu includes Mardi Gras favorites and the best international cuisines and flavors, with a unique Carnival flair for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The restaurant has seating along the walkway of the promenade, as well as a separate and more intimate dining area with ocean views.
This fabulous area of the ship also includes a large digital map display showing the real-time location of Carnival's ships worldwide. Passengers may also find The Golden Jubilee, a new bar and lounge that ties into the zone's theme of travel, celebrating Carnival's 50 years of fun, and the line's Fun Ships, which have served as its own destinations as well as means of travel around the world for the past five decades. This bar features pieces from other iconic Carnival Ships, which adds to the historical components of Celebration.
The ship's main dining rooms adjacent to The Gateway pay homage to Carnival's history, with the forward Carnivale Restaurant named after Carnival's second ship ever and the aft Festivale Restaurant named after Carnival's third ship. Other guest favorites on board include the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, Carnival Kitchen, and Limelight Lounge. Regarding food, Celebration has something for everyone. Passengers may choose a different option for each of the seven days during the ship's voyages.
As if it wasn't enough, Carnival also added brand news shows for Carnival Celebration to celebrate the uniqueness of the ship. From new main production shows and aerialist acts to game shows, parties, and events, the ship's new offerings have been designed to be as many celebrations as they are performances, with elevated and engaging presentations.
The Most Magnificent Circus, a brand new show, tells a story of self-discovery and acceptance accompanied by reimagined popular hits. During the show, wired-rigged performers showcase their skills while leaving the stage behind to soar above and beyond the audience, creating action in every direction. Color My World, an Indie Rock and Pop Love Story, portrays a popular artist and his assistant embarking on a journey of love through art, color and romance. The musical combines fun dance styles like street jazz, hip-hop, musical theater, and ballet with the best songs from the indie, rock and pop genres. This vibrant and colorful show also features live painting on stage with music and choreography to match, combining different art mediums to create a visually captivating experience.
Visual Symphony uses Celebration Central's (the ship's three-deck-high atrium) 16 massive moving LED screens, lasers, and classic rock music to create a high-tech visual masterpiece. Pushing the boundaries of theatrical performance, the show will fully use the zone's three-deck-high space's cutting-edge technology and special effects. The elevated multimedia experience delivers an extraordinary live performance as the content on the LED walls is synced with the choreographed lighting designs.
Rio Carnival, beginning in May, is a vibrant and high-energy Brazilian extravaganza that will have guests moving their hips in a parade and Celebration of music and dance as the cast performs authentic samba, bossa nova, marchinha, batudada, forro, carimbo, and capoeira to some of the most famous Latin pop songs of all time in both Portuguese and English.
Carnival Celebration also features the award-winning roller coaster at sea BOLT located on the top deck. The top deck also houses the resort-style Loft 19, which can be reached directly from premium category Excel suites. a refuge away from all the noise and never-ending fun, Loft 19 featues two hot pools, sun loungers, cabannas food and drinks.
The ship also has many iconic restaurants that Carnival enthusiasts love. Multiple pools, the iconic Lido deck, a spa, a fitness center, and many shopping options are other highlights worth exploring, making Celebration a unique experience.
"Carnival Celebration builds on the success of our incredible Mardi Gras and the many innovations we introduced with our Excel-class, including a top-deck roller coaster, and offers unique features all her own that give guests a truly incredible new cruise experience to have fun and make memories," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.
The ship has already begun week-long sailings to the Eastern and Western Caribbean, departing every Sunday and visiting popular destinations such as the Dominican Republic and St. Thomas, as well as Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico. If you want to learn more about Carnival Celebration or book sailings, visit the website.
Photography by: Courtesy of Carnival Corporation