Carnival Celebration: much more than a fun ship (Part2)

Welcome back on board Carnival Celebration, where were we? You can read the Part 1 here or continue reading! Enjoy!

The Ultimate Playground: fun for young and old alike

Beep, beep, beep. At 6:30 a.m. the cell phone alarm throws me out of bed. I want to greet the sun on deck and calmly examine Carnival Celebration’s outdoor areas. Perfect timing: as I arrive on Deck 16 at the stern of the ship, the rising sun tints the few clouds on the horizon red-orange, while the wave created by the stern makes a very soothing sound. These are the moments I love on a cruise. The outer deck is the third area of the ship we will discover, The Ultimate Playground. As I pass the miniature golf course, I see before me the huge and colorful water park with several slides. The bright red whale-tail funnel, Carnival‘s trademark, shines proudly in the morning sky. It is surrounded by white pillars with blue roller coaster tracks, and further toward the center of the ship is a large sports field, which in turn is surrounded by the ropes course. Action, thrill, and fun are inevitable on this special bridge.

Relaxation in the Summer Landing area

Early morning in this area only the jogging track is used. I will get into sports and action at a later time. First, we go to Lanai Deck 8 to head to the fourth area of the ship to discover, called “Summer Landing”. From the outdoor area with a large aft pool, I look fascinated at the curved rows of balconies on the passenger decks, which are rounded on the sides. The arrangement looks almost like an ancient theater to give spectators the best view. With this thought, memories of the Tuscan Coast surface, the similarity of which is clearly visible here. The aft pool is not a classic infinity pool with a glass wall where one can swim. But you can go to the center, ankle-deep in water to admire the impressive aft wave created by this giant of the sea. If you want to be as close to the ocean as possible, you’ll find an ideal spot here, lounging on the sunbeds or the many other seating options. Also on the starboard side are two hot tubs, also not in an infinity version, but very comfortably designed with sunbathing areas.

Now I feel a little rumbling in my stomach. Maybe because some passengers just passed me with a well-stocked breakfast tray? I make my way to Summer Landing. The area is used in various ways, depending on the time of day. In the morning there is a breakfast buffet on the port side that later in the day becomes Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse & Brewhouse. Yes, beer is brewed on board. In addition, there is a space that hosts a live band. On the other side, board games and a Heroes Tribute Lounge are offered: a meeting place for military and veterans. I had never seen that before on any cruise ship. A very American theme, it seems to me. Appropriately, soft ice cream is served around the corner from a stylized Army truck. One of the very popular free self-service Swirls dispensers on board.

820 Biscayne, great for photos and snacks.

I need only a small breakfast of pastries, muffins, and fresh fruit before continuing my ship tour. Passing the customer service and FUN (Carnival Merchandising) stores, I reach the next – and therefore fifth – ship area. It is named after Carnival’s original corporate address: 820 Biscayne. The shipping company’s hometown is Miami, Carnival Celebration’s home port is also Miami, so what could be more obvious than to dedicate a section of the ship to it? Art Deco design, neon signs, flamingos, a shimmering glass staircase-the perfect place for photos on Instagram. The 820 Bar serves tropical cocktails and Cuban coffee, and the food stations on the other side have appropriate names like Deco Deli (sandwiches) and Miami Slice (pizza). This will be a frequent stop of mine during the trip. Also nearby are the Cucina del Capitano restaurant and Rudy’s Seagrill specialty restaurant, subject to an additional charge.

There are other specialty restaurants on board for almost every culinary taste: Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse and Bonsai Sushi & Teppanyaki. The latter may also provide a small outdoor area. The famous Seafood Shack as a paid street food stand is located on the Lido deck.

My sightseeing then took me back to Deck 19. Here is the exclusive Loft 19 area for suite guests. If you want, you can also rent a private hut there from day to day. But the price is high at several hundred dollars a day. Fresh towels, a bottle of champagne, and fresh fruit await you in the shady islands of the lodge. Lunch delivery is also possible.

As for the infinity pool, I finally found what I was looking for: in Loft 19, you can see the Serenity area below through the glass panels of the pool. But if you like this pool, watch out for spectators from below who can clearly see the swimsuits below the waterline.

Now it’s the turn of the water park. The “Orange Thunder” slide promises a very special “thrill” factor. You enter standing at a glass box, cross your hands over your chest, and wait anxiously for the supervisor to press the start button. Then the hatch opens under your feet and you descend very quickly. Pure fun – of course, I couldn’t miss it.

Now it’s time to go back to the cabin and put on something dry. I see the announcement of the show “Fun on Land and Fun on Board” being held in the theater on the big screens. In a highly entertaining way, cruise director Lee explains in detail the Carnival app features (such as the food delivery service to the deck chair), the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital charity project, and the various port excursion program with popular tours. Participation in this program will be rewarded with a raffle ranging from Internet packages to restaurant vouchers and Carnival fan items.

After the small portion of salad at Serenity Retreat, I get a little hungry, which I quell with a burger at Guy’s Burger Joint. I listen to atmospheric music on the lido deck and feel completely at ease on vacation. The early evening program begins with movie films on the huge LED screen. Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick holds me for a while until it gets dark. Tonight we chose the Italian restaurant Cucina del Capitano and joined the virtual queue again using the app. Our way leads through the ship’s sixth themed area: Celebration Central.

Celebration Central

Anyone familiar with this class of ship such as AIDA or Costa is familiar with the central atrium in the center of the ship, which spans three decks. They’re called the Theatrium or Colosseum. On Carnival Celebration a significantly different concept has been implemented. The atrium is oriented in a semicircle on the starboard side. In the evening, huge moving LED screens move in front of the glass window and provide a multifunctional backdrop center stage. 1,400 color-changing lights shine from the ceiling to showcase the ever-changing live entertainment. In addition to the Grand Spectrum Theatre at the bow of the ship, the BIG FUN program takes place here. Today there is a presentation by the captain and senior staff from the ship’s various departments.

During the production show, “The Most Magnificent Circus”, specially designed for Carnival Celebration and this stage, performers twirl on the ceiling above the heads of the audience, singers float, and the stage provides space for magical shows and dances, and exciting interludes. Not all guests can be accommodated at Celebration Central, which is why this show is broadcast several times a week. With “We are one”, “Color My World”, “Celestial Strings”, and “Amor Cubano”, programs of the highest quality and diverse performances are offered on both stages within a week.

“One week’s cruise is not enough time to experience all the shows, restaurants, and offerings aboard such a large ship”.

The Aquaria Bar with historic artwork is located in front of Center Stage. A large glass mural from the previous Carnival Victory serves as a glittering decoration. One deck below, next to the Tropicale Bar, is our typical place to go after dinner: the Java Blue Café offers the most delicious specialty coffees and even sweet temptations, as well as light snacks throughout the day. Despite all the digital advances, a bonus card is still offered here. The seventh coffee – or espresso in my case – is on the house. No worries: in case the bonus card is lost, the digital acquisition will help and the free drink will still be served. The two baristas Kimberly from Jamaica and Ana Maria from Romania knew me from the second night and automatically prepared my espresso macchiato: that’s what I call excellent service with individual support.

My best friend, with whom I am on a cruise, enjoys American comedy after dinner at the Punchliner Club while I indulge in just a few songs at Piano Bar 88. This bar features an interactive program, where guests shout songs at the pianist and singer, throw a tip into a big glass, and, most importantly, sing to themselves. The singer talks about his life and throws in hot jokes -that’s why it says “adults only” on the door. Since we are leaving tomorrow morning for our excursion to Cozumel, it’s “good night” time.

Snorkeling in Cozumel

Buenos dias Mexico! Today in Cozumel we choose the “El Cielo sandbar & starfish snorkeling with lunch” excursion for $89 per person.

With a small speedboat and only ten guests, we headed south past the other cruise ships for about 40 minutes. The experience alone would have been worth it, but now we are anchored in a suitable place for snorkeling. I had brought my mask with me because I have had rather bad experiences with classic snorkeling goggles (included in the excursion). So I take my GoPro and dive into the pleasantly warm water. Wow, there was a lot to see underwater. There was even a baby shark hiding in a small rock formation. After about 30 minutes of snorkeling, we went to the second spot to view starfish in shallower water.

As a last stop, I expected a deserted beach for lunch. But far from it, it was much better. We anchored in front of the beach and were served delicious picnic lunches. Then the surprise: our guide jumped into the water and continuously tapped the surface of the water with his palms. There, this attracted a large group of stingrays. We also entered the water to get as close as possible to these exciting creatures. It looked dangerous. I did not expect to pet stingrays in the wild-what an experience! Back at the port, admiring the ships or sipping a margarita? But…why choose when you can have both.

Chinese-Mexican combination in ChiBang!

Tonight we try the second included specialty restaurant: the ChiBang! It offers both Chinese and Mexican dishes with show cooking. The atmosphere fits the regional concept. On a square area, many tables are placed with rather small spacing. At 8:30 p.m., the restaurant is full and consequently noisy. The music comes not from the speakers, but from the confusion of languages: it seems almost as authentic as a busy restaurant in downtown Beijing. We order a mix of both menus, which makes for a unique taste experience. Once again I get several appetizers at once, but well, that can still be justified with a certain style of tapas with our order.

En route to the Central Stage for the aforementioned production show, Circus, we pass through probably the busiest part of the ship of our entire cruise. That’s right, the casino. It plays a very important role for American companies. To my eyes, this area divided into two parts (one part dedicated to smokers) looks huge. The background noise is very loud. Applause at the craps tables, clinking, frantic tapping on the oversized slot machine displays.

My story ends here for today, I look forward to seeing you next week for the end of this experience on board Carnival Celebration! (Part 3)

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Josef Eisenberger