Carnival Celebration, January 22-February 5, 2023

How would I describe my recent back-to-back sailings on Carnival Cruise Lines? Three words come to mind: Epic, Fun, and Family.

We spent two weeks on Carnival’s flagship, Carnival Celebration, and had so much fun exploring the ship and experiencing all that this new ship has to offer. We checked out the food, the unique-to-ship entertainment, and of course, the fun (we had some ports, too, but that’s for another post! haha)


Carnival Celebration is the newest ship to Carnival Cruise Line’s fleet. Sister to Mardi Gras, she’s the second Excel-class ship for CCL. While the ship features many of the same features introduced on sister Mardi Gras (think Big Chicken, Street Eats, Emeril’s, Summer Landing, Excel-class suites, etc.), the ship has several new and redesigned spaces.

While our favorite Fortune Teller Bar and French Quarter Zone were replaced with The Gateway, it’s still a lovely space. That’s especially true if you’re a Carnival Cruise Line loyalist as the brand pays tremendous homage to the past, including special pieces from various ships across the fleet and “portholes” that feature Carnival Cruise Lines through the years. Golden Jubilee is pretty much an explosion of Carnival history and tradition – and we were here for every bit of it!

In addition to Golden Jubilee and Latitudes additions, Celebration also rethinks the pizza and deli in 820 Biscayne. Miami Slice was a welcome change to the pizza on board (that we still love, just nice to have some new options). We especially loved the picadillo pizza. Mmmm. Deco Deli has some of the standard sandwiches with a couple new additions. While we prefer the variety of Piazza Panini on sister-ship Mardi Gras, the options were still plentiful and we enjoyed them all. Across the walkway, Bar Del a Rosa has been replaced with Bar 820 (paying homage to Carnival Cruise Line’s original address). We found this bar to be a significant upgrade to her predecessor on Mardi Gras.

Other spaces we fell in love with on Mardi Gras like the new Serenity, Summer Landing, Center Stage, and Chibang all are here. If you’ve sailed Mardi Gras, you’ll simply feel like you’re “coming home” to Carnival Celebration – with some updates along the way.


Gosh, Carnival Celebration does not disappoint in the fun department. Literally, there is something going on all the time. We chatted with another family that was sailing and they shared how they were bored on another cruise line (I won’t share which one, but let’s just say they’ve got a big anchor). “There, you might have had 3 things to pick from. On this ship, there’s like 3 things to do every 15 minutes!”

This sentiment rings true to us. We hit up some new trivias, did several scavenger hunts around the ship (we may have won a trophy!), watched multiple production shows in each of the venues, listened to live music, met the cast of the various shows, rode a roller coaster on a cruise ship, walked the plank on the ropes course… and the list just keeps on going.

Carnival’s slogan of “Choose Fun Together” has never been more appropriate than it is here on Carnival Celebration. As that family we met from Phoenix shared, “if you’re bored on this ship, that’s on you!”


I’ve said this before, but I don’t know that it’s ever been more true: no cruise line can match Carnival when it comes to creating a sense of family. From the crew members that recognized us from previous sailings, to the new crew members we met this trip, it’s the Carnival Cruise Line’s team that keeps us coming back again and again. It may sound cheesy, but these amazing human beings hold a special spot in our hearts for the magical vacation memories they create. Below are just some of the crew that made our vacation extra special these past two weeks. And while we don’t have photos of everyone (Rigoberto was always on the move making up our staterooms and creating amazing towel animals!), we did manage to strike a pose with so many crew members who made our vacation extra special.

Sports Staff

These amazing humans went out of their way to make sure we tried everything in the Ultimate Playground! Emerson, Joseph (Joey), and Frank laughed with us as we rode Bolt, cheered us on when we did the Ropes Course, and always made it a point to call us BY NAME whenever they saw us. If you’re looking for fun, this crew will make sure you find it. Thank you to Joey for letting me live as a Carnival Crew Member for a brief moment one night by wearing the special “comedy doors” vest!

Magic In the Air

Manoj, or Man OJ as he sometimes goes by, made us smile with his magic while making it a point to say hello to us wherever he saw us around the ship. We had many conversations with Manoj about his work and his aspirations. He’s definitely going to do some amazing things, just watch out!

Go out with a Chibang!

We visited Chibang more this cruise than ever before – and part of that was Alina making us feel so welcome every night. She ALWAYS greeted us with a smile, always knew our names, and even made it a point to make sure we were seated with Putra who introduced us to the fact that we could order sambal with our meals at Chibang (gamechanger!) I cannot wait to see the big things that are in front of Alina; she just has such a warm personality and I hope to sail with her again on Jubilee later this year! Putra, thank you for your kindness and never judging us when we ordered one too many appetizers! Putra and his entire team made our dinners an absolute pleasure.

Thirst Quenchers

To say we never went thirsty is an understatement thanks to these amazing crew members. We sailed with Dajana on Mardi Gras where she took care of us at Fortune Teller Bar, and once again, she took care of us – just at the new namesake Bar 820. Jason was our go-to at Golden Jubilee and always made us smile with his “last call” calls! Kim, Anna Maria, and Tuty took such great care of us at Java Blue. Anna Maria and Kim both took the time in the evenings to chat with us about life on a ship, their future dreams and plans, and genuinely wanted to know about us as well. Honestly, if you sail with any of these lovely ladies, please order an iced caramel macchiato, extra caramel with whip and tell them Mark sent you. “We haven’t seen you yet today,” or “Where’s Jason been hiding?” were just some of the ways they made us smile. Thank you for the caffeine, but more importantly, thank you for the kindness. We met Gema during our first week and she literally made it a point to find us and talk with us every time we were out and about. While she might be going on vacation, we look forward to sailing with her again and following her adventures on social!

Playlist, Center Stage, Live Entertainment

If you are looking for live entertainment, Carnival Celebration is the ship for you! Regie sang for us in a variety of venues across the ship – Latitudes Bar, Golden Jubilee, and even the Platinum/Diamond Party. We’ve sailed with her before and I’ll tell you this: her sets never disappoint!

When it comes to stage/production shows, the Playlist cast is one of the best ones yet (I feel like I say that every time!) This time, leads Katelyn and David proved their power by continuing to finish out their song despite mics being cut and all background audio lost. Talk about a powerhouse duo.

If you like Piano Bar 88, you’re in great hands with Eden (though, he’s going on vacation soon). Can you believe he’s been on TWENTY Carnival ships? He’s got some serious chops and piano bar fans will not be disappointed. While we got photos with Matias and Lee, the entire Playlist and Celebration Central cast is not to be missed. From performing acrobatics soaring across a 3-story atrium, to live painting on stage, these performers and shows are truly fantastic. We’ll share more from The Magnificent Circus and Color My World in a future post!

Fun Squad (sometimes referred to as ‘red shirts’ for some reason…;)

Did we save the best for last? Maybe. The Fun Squad and entertainers on this ship have a tremendous future in front of them. We already see several future Carnival Cruise Line Cruise Directors in this group and we can’t wait to sail with them!! Sunshine, Jayden, Mike, Gabby, Luis, Eddie Spaghetti, Chacho, and Jay Jay – you are all stars in your own right. Thank you for ALWAYS making us feel like we were VIP. You knew our names right from the very start and you went out of our way to make sure we had so much fun. Trivia, showtime, welcoming us back from port, around the ship – wherever you found us, you made us feel special. And that, at the end of the day, is what makes a cruise director. We can’t wait to watch your careers grow with Carnival Cruise Line!

Lee Your Cruise Director

If you’ve sailed with Lee, you know what a true gem he is. But you know what we love most about Lee? He would graciously say, “thank you for the kind words,” but then immediately tell you it’s the power of the team that helps him and the entire fleet shine. That is true leadership. It’s what sets a good cruise director apart from an amazing cruise director. When you have a team that will run through walls for their CD, you have a team that will also run through walls for guests to make sure they have a truly memorable and fun vacation. This shines through brightly on Carnival Celebration. And while this week’s February 5th sailing is his last sailing before vacation, you’ll be able to find him on board another Fun Ship soon!

Final Thoughts

On a rating of 1 to 5 ships, we rate the Epic Carnival Celebration that’s filled with Fun and lots of Family a full 5-ships without question.

Have you booked yet? If not, what are you waiting for?

And if you haven’t already, take Lee’s advice and be sure to like and subscribe to all of our social channels – and we’ll see you on the sea!

2 thoughts on “Carnival Celebration, January 22-February 5, 2023”

  1. Do they change the shows? We just sailed August 2023 and may go again in March.
    Would definitely go again if the entertainment shows are not repeated

    1. Hey Darlene. Great question! In most cases, the shows that debut on one of Carnival’s cruise ships stay with that ship until there’s a full revamp of the theater space. In the case of Carnival Celebration, there were some shows that hadn’t made a full debut within her earlier months of sailing, so it’s possible that when you sail in March there could be one or two new shows introduced since your last cruise. We love the Carnival shows and will watch most of them multiple times across the different ships in the fleet!

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