The 1,500-seat, three-deck Caribbean Lounge (Decks 3, 4 and 5) is the main show lounge with comfortable seating, many with individual tables. Done up in nautical feels such as the blue wave-like carpet pattern and seashell-esque columns on the surrounding walls, most seats have good views of the stage as long as you don't sit directly behind a pole.
During the day, you'll find hosted games, activities and presentations as well as the once-per-cruise Carnival Towel Animal Theater. Evenings bring a selection of stage shows (one seating, usually 10 p.m.) including the Welcome Aboard Show hosted by the ship's cruise director. Other shows could include Vroom, a musical journey through time with hits from The Beatles, Elvis, Pink Floyd, Queen and others; and Livin' in America, a flashy and energetic tribute to the diverse music of the United States. (For all its music shows, Carnival suggests parental guidance due to costuming.)
Daytime activities onboard are plentiful and include bingo, paper airplane and mini-golf competitions; game shows like the Love & Marriage Show; towel-folding lessons and the Towel Animal Theater (a children's puppet show); dance classes, trivia contests, art auctions, retail sales events and wellness seminars.
Be sure to check the Fun Times printed daily schedule for special events like the Seuss-A-Palooza Parade and Story Time, where a special character parade is followed by a Dr. Seuss book reading; the Groove for St. Jude, where a $10 donation to St. Jude gets you a T-shirt, wristband and participation in a fun and exclusive dance event; and the Build-A-Bear at Sea workshop (prices start at $26 for a bear and $6 to $12 for additional outfits) and parties featuring music, bear-themed snacks and photo ops.
There's something for everyone in the evening and entertainment includes stage shows, live lounge music, sing-alongs and karaoke; numerous comedy shows, including late-night 18 and over shows; special retail sales, liquor tastings, spa events and photo ops; casino tournaments and demonstrations and other social mixers. Pools and hot tubs are open until midnight so you can even catch a nighttime Dive-In movie on the big screen while lounging in the pool. In addition, the South China Sea Club Casino features poker, blackjack, roulette, craps and slot machines as well as scheduled tournaments both day and night. Also, the library, mini-golf and video arcade are all open 24 hours so you can get your game on into the wee hours.
Seven Seas Bar (Deck 3): This popular bar located in the heart of the atrium is a great spot for gathering with friends and watching the surrounding action. Ask about the drink of the day or order from the extensive menu of fruity cocktails, martinis, wine, beer, icy concoctions and smoothies. Grab a drink and a barstool or a nearby table and chair and let the socializing begin, oftentimes accompanied by live music including Caribbean sounds, acoustic jams and solo guitars.
Ionian Room (Deck 4): This large show lounge features nightly live music so you'll find a piano, a dance floor, lots of tables and plush leather chairs and a large, full bar with a painted Mediterranean mural as its backdrop. A Roman column motif is repeated in the barstools and mini tables as well as around the room. Grab your favorite drink from the bar and then just sit back and relax.
Club Arctic Nightclub (Deck 5): This large nightclub boasts a central dance floor, tons of seating including at the bar, tables and chairs and several extra-long banquettes with individual tables. The arctic theme is showcased through a repeating icicle pattern and cool blue and silver colors that are prevalent throughout the room. Dance to your favorite tunes -- from Latin music to DJ'd mixes to '70s and '80s hits -- which play late into the night. Keep an eye out for special events such as Ladies Night and Electric White Night.
Irish Sea Piano Bar (Deck 5): Grab a seat at this fun and lively piano bar for sing-alongs that go well into the night. A gem green palette pays tribute to the bar's namesake sea while its centrally located piano is surrounded by a round bar complete with piano key decor, just in case you forget where you are.
Black & Red Seas Lounge (Deck 5): This swanky lounge is totally done up in -- what else? -- red and black from floor to ceiling. From the carpet and furniture to the bar top and dance floor, this eye-catching intimate space is the spot for fun and lively nightly karaoke (18 and over for the later session) and other music.
Adriatic Lounge (Deck 5): This oversized show lounge with a capacity of more than 400 features an extra-long bar and plenty of comfy seating including round banquettes and tables and chairs. The light-and-bright cream and gold palette also features faux Roman columns and adorning busts of famous people in history that surround the room. A full bar is available to enjoy during scheduled daytime activities or evening karaoke.
At night, the lounge is home to the Punchliner Comedy Club, so a special menu serves drinks and pitchers with humorous names like the Witty Margarita, the Jokester Martini and a Woo Woo shooter. You can even fill out a provided drink order form and hand it to one of the servers who will deliver your drinks so there's no need to miss a laugh.
SkyBox Sports Bar (Deck 5): Looking to catch the football game on a Sunday afternoon? This quintessential sports bars comes complete with heavy wood furnishings, sports memorabilia and numerous surrounding TV screens broadcasting multiple sporting events and games. There's an extensive menu of beers on tap, by the bottle and by the bucket including craft, imported and domestic beers, zero-proof beer and hard cider. Signature cocktails have names like the Grand Slam, The Kickoff and The MVP. Order a Double Play for a double shot of select shots straight up, on the rocks or in your favorite mixer. And don't forget the favorite bar snacks of hot soft pretzels and peanuts in the shell ($1.25 each)
Trident Bar (Deck 5): Located in the South China Sea Club Casino, this casino bar is the place to stop between games and tournaments and to listen to a variety of scheduled live music on the small adjacent stage along the promenade. (Smoking is permitted).
Alchemy Bar (Deck 5): This unique vintage-pharmacy-styled venue -- complete with a framed periodic table of elements on the wall and an apothecary cabinet behind the bar -- serves cocktail creations using select spirits, fresh juices, infused syrups and spices. Watch your mixologist shake and stir your drink right in front of you as they create your custom "elixir" (with or without alcohol). Try a French Kiss (Absolut vanilla vodka, Chambord, Domaine Chandon sparkling wine and a touch of fresh lime), a Quick Fix (Pernod absinthe, Bacardi Rum, Grey Goose vodka, Bombay Sapphire gin, Midori, citrus and a dash of Sprite) an Alchemist's Sidecar (Hennessy Black cognac, Patrón Citrónge, fresh lime juice and simple syrup) or one of the other almost two dozen creative selections.
BlueIguana Tequila Bar (Deck 9): This casual, colorful Mexican-themed poolside bar serves up a wide variety of more than a dozen featured tequilas as well as tequila-inspired cocktails, margaritas, frozen drinks with floaters and Mexican beers and beer buckets. (Try Blue's Corona Extra Michelada, a spicy beer cocktail made with fresh lime juice, Worcestershire, Tabasco and Corona Extra beer in a salt-rimmed glass, with or without tomato juice). Sharing with friends? Order a pitcher of margaritas or spiked lemonade. You can also purchase your drink in a souvenir glass, yard or twister, which are refillable for a reduced price.
RedFrog Rum Bar (Deck 9): This casual poolside bar features a great selection of Caribbean rum-based concoctions by the glass or pitcher; beers on tap and by the bottle and bucket; 10 featured rums and a long list of rum-based cocktails are also on offer, as are mojitos and frozen drinks. You can also order pitchers of margaritas or spiked lemonade or a 101-oz. tube of beer to share. Be sure to try Carnival's signature private-label draft beer, ThirstyFrog Red.
Sirens' Bar (Deck 9): Located aft by Sirens' adults-only pool, this quiet bar comes with sunshine and ocean views and features a standard drink menu, while a visit to the adjacent Pizza Pirate is perfect for a quick snack to accompany your poolside beverage.
Beer Station (Deck 9): Also located by the adults-only Sirens' Pool and Bar is a self-serve P.Y.O.B. (pour your own beer) station that's open 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Swipe your Sail & Sign card, pull the tap handle and pour up to 14 oz. of Thirsty Frog Red, Carnival's private label draft beer.
Serenity Bar (Deck 12): Perhaps the best-kept-secret bar is at the Serenity adult-only retreat where you'll find a selection of signature sangrias by the glass or pitcher, wine and Champagne by the glass or bottle, beer by the bottle or bucket and a list of signature cocktails by the glass or pitcher, including frozen and skinny versions. Enjoy your refreshing beverage in one of the two large hot tubs, in a relaxing chaise lounge chair or even in one of the oversized hammocks as you take in the surrounding ocean views.
Triton's (Deck 9) is the main pool area for sunning, eating, drinking and catching an evening movie at the Carnival Seaside Theater. There are also two hot tubs as well as a little splash pool (King of the Seas Pool) and a hot tub at the bottom of the spiraling Twister water slide. There is no lifeguard on duty, and supervision is required for children at the pool areas. A children's life jacket loaner station is available. There's also a towel stand and several poolside bars and eateries surrounding the main pool. Grab a lounger or a table by the window to be amid all the action, or go up a deck or two to find a quieter spot.
Children who are not toilet trained (and those in diapers or swim diapers) are not allowed in any of the water facilities onboard, including swimming pools, hot tubs and the water slide.
The aft Sirens' Pool is adults only (18 and over), and also features two hot tubs. There are plenty of loungers and tables and chairs should you decide to grab a drink at the accompanying bar or a bite at the adjacent eateries.
In the secluded adults-only Serenity area (21 and over), you'll find two large hot tubs, a bar, hammocks and other plush loungers as well as a super-cool shower area featuring a warm water bucket to dump, plus cold rain, warm hydro jets, warm Caribbean waterfall and hot rain shower heads. Serenity is quite sprawling and spans two decks across the back of the ship, so here's a hint: Avoid the top deck port side area during playtimes at the kids' outdoor play area, which is only one deck below and can be quite loud.
Although hours may vary, pools are generally open from 8 a.m. to midnight, the water slide is generally open 9 a.m. to sunset and hot tubs are generally open 8 a.m. to midnight.
On-deck recreation includes shuffleboard, an 11-hole mini-golf course on Deck 12 right next to the funnel, the Twister water slide (which carries a minimum height limit of 42 inches and a maximum weight limit of 300 pounds) and Ping-Pong.
You can find all types of seating on various decks including comfortable poolside lounge chairs, lots of tables and chairs near the Lido Deck eateries and extra-plush chairs, hammocks and bed-style loungers at Serenity. Looking for another more secluded spot? Head aft on Deck 10 where you'll find more lounge chairs with the bonus of amazing wake views. If you're thinking of hogging a chair, don't. Carnival is strict about reserving deck chairs, and if you're not in your chair after 40 minutes, towels and personal belongings will be removed.
Onboard services and public rooms include the very small but pretty Indian Library, which offers tables and chairs for reading and playing table games amid glass-cased bookshelves. Onboard shops include perfume, jewelry, watches and accessories; alcohol, cigarettes and sundries; and logoed souvenir items. Our bonus find (and perhaps a little random) was finding a small Victoria's Secret section selling a line of its products.
Centrally located on Deck 3 is the hub for the shore excursion desk and guest services (with a separate express line for Diamond and Platinum passengers). There are several ATMs available around the ship. A medical center is available on Deck 0 and includes doctor's hours and 24-hour emergency service.
You'll find an art gallery displaying pieces that are featured in scheduled art auctions; and the Pixels Gallery, the all-digital photo gallery where you can search for your photos at computer stations that let you print, download and share your favorites. A limited selection of electronics and photo accessories and gifts are available for purchase as well. You can even view your photos on the Carnival HUB app right from your phone.
If you need laundry services, you can either opt for valet, wash and fold, and pressing service (same day or next day), which ranges from $2 to $10.50 per article, or wash and fold by the provided laundry bag ($15 per bag) or pressing ($20 for 12 items). For self-service, you can find launderettes and ironing rooms available on most decks ($3.25 per washer load, $3.25 per dryer load, $1.50 per small box of detergent and water softener).
There's a small computer station adjacent to the Coral Sea Cafe as well as shipwide Wi-Fi. Packages include a Social Plan for social websites and apps (pre-cruise price: $6.80 per day, onboard price: $8 per day); the Value Plan for access to social websites, email and select popular apps at a faster speed (pre-cruise price: $10.20 per day, onboard price: $12 per day or $16 for 24 hours) and the Premium Wi-Fi plan for access to all sites at the fastest possible connection onboard as well as Skype calling where coverage allows (pre-cruise price: $14.45 per day, onboard price: $17 per day, $25 for 24 hours).
Before your cruise, download the free Carnival HUB mobile app on Google Play or iTunes and you'll get schedules, menus, ship maps, port information, onboard chatting ($5 per cruise), account information, Pixels digital photo viewing and much more right at your fingertips once you're onboard. The app works with the ship's free Wi-Fi.
Onboard drink packages are also available.
The 14,500-square-foot Spa Carnival located forward on Deck 11 is operated by Steiner and offers a range of treatments from facials and massages to body therapies, medispa cosmetic services, men's shave treatments and teeth whitening. There are nine treatment rooms (including two for couples) as well as locker rooms with a large sauna and steam room, but there's no relaxation area and you have to wait in the salon for your therapist to come get you. There's also acupuncture available by certified acupuncturists to treat a variety of conditions from allergies to joint pain.
If you love the products used during your treatment, the spa offers U.S. shipping for $8 for unlimited items. An 18 percent gratuity will be added to your bill at checkout, which you may adjust at your discretion. You can also take advantage of discounts if you book three signature treatments at 10 percent off the first, 20 percent off the second and 30 percent off the third.
Spa hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Passengers must be at least 18 years of age to receive treatments or use spa facilities, including the sauna and steam rooms. Teens (13–17 years of age) must be accompanied by an adult when they book ZSpa teen treatments and parents or a guardian must complete and sign the spa's consultation form acknowledging their consent before services are rendered. Salon services (hair, nail and facial services) are available to passengers of all ages.
The expansive, forward-facing fitness center brings plenty of ocean views to your workout. Equipment includes LifeFitness and LifeCycle treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes and spinning bikes and weight machines. There's also an area for free weights and yoga balls as well as a glass-enclosed studio for fitness classes and seminars. Grab a schedule and check out complimentary classes such as early morning stretch and Fab Abs as well as specialized classes such as Pathway to Yoga and Tour de Cycle for an added cost ($12 per class; inquire about personal training).
The fitness center is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Passengers must be at least 18 years of age to use the fitness facilities on their own. Passengers 12 to 17 years old may use the facilities if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.
In addition, there's an outdoor jogging track on Deck 11, where 11 laps is approximately 1 mile.
As on all Carnival ships, there's a wealth of family-friendly activities and amenities around every turn. From connecting staterooms that are perfect for families traveling together to Camp Ocean, Circle "C" and Club O2 kids' programming and special events to lots of casual dining options, kids and families are catered to. Children must be at least 6 months of age at the time of embarkation in order to sail and at least 12 months of age at the time of embarkation to sail on long or remote itineraries, where there are more than two consecutive sea days.
Carnival does not carry baby food, formula, diapers or baby supplies onboard. For powdered baby formula, you can bring nursery water or distilled water packed in your carry-on luggage, or you can purchase distilled water either pre-cruise or once onboard. High chairs and booster seats are available in the dining rooms and restaurants, and cribs (including sheets) are available for stateroom use. You can bring a small portable crib as well as a car seat. Single strollers are available for rent ($10 per day or $40 per cruise, subject to availability) and may be used on the ship and in port.
Organized children's programs are available for ages 2 through 17, and each age group's program is designed to entertain kids morning, noon and night. You can preregister online before your cruise, then attend an orientation once onboard. Programs operate on sea days and port days, and you can leave children in the program while you go ashore. Program hours typically run from 10 a.m.–1 p.m., 2–5 p.m. and 7–10 p.m. No one 18 years old and older is permitted to participate in or use any Youth Program facilities.
For later in the night (10 p.m. to 1 a.m.), Night Owls babysitting is available for children 6 months to 11 years old at a cost of $6.75 per hour, per child plus a 15 percent gratuity. There is no discount for additional children. Babysitting takes place in the Camp Ocean facility with a slumber party-type atmosphere, including movies, toys, video games and snacks. In-stateroom babysitting is not offered. If there are no children participating by 11 p.m., Night Owls service will be canceled for the evening. Children are not permitted to sign themselves in/out after 10 p.m.; they must be signed in and out by an authorized guardian over the age of 18. In addition to the regular Night Owls program, on select nights, there are special Owl Jam parties such as Mardi Gras or Beach Bash for $15 per child, per party, plus 15 percent gratuity.
Children do not have to be potty-trained to take part in Camp Ocean or Night Owls. Parents must provide the Youth Staff with diapers and toiletries to be used for their child. However, if children are too big to be changed on the diapering table, they cannot be changed by the Youth Staff. The parents will be contacted to come and change their child. After the child is changed, they may come back into the program.
Carnival Victory also features special kids programming including Dr. Seuss at Sea, which brings the special Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast, Seuss-a-palooza parade and story time, as well as Build-a-Bear Workshop at sea, which lets kids create those cuddly bears onboard as well as participate in parties and events.
Other onboard fun for all ages includes the abundant Virtual Sea Video Arcade with lots of arcade games, claw games, ride-on games, air hockey and more; an 11-hole mini-golf course and the Twister water slide; and towel animal folding classes, family-friendly trivia contests, dance-offs and more.
Carnival's Camp Ocean program is broken down by age group: Penguins (ages 2 to 5), Sting Rays (ages 6 to 8) and Sharks (ages 9 to 11). For safety purposes, all children under 12 are required to wear a wristband at all times indicating their assigned muster station. Located on Deck 11, the one-room Camp Ocean space is rather small compared to kids clubs on today's newer, larger ships, but the space is light and bright and done up in the cool blues of the ocean. There are plenty of toys and games for entertaining, plus, there's a covered play set outside on deck, which keeps kids busy while being in the sea air. Scheduled activities at Camp Ocean include everything from arts and crafts, active games, kids' choice activities, board games, science and discovery, and a different theme night each evening.
Camp Ocean provides supervised "kids-only" dinners every evening (typically around 6 p.m.) except for the first evening. These dinners take place in the Lido buffet and include kid-favorite menu items. Parents are encouraged to pickup their children for all other meals on sea days as lunch is not provided. On port days, Camp Ocean children signed in will be provided lunch in the Lido buffet if their parents are ashore.
Camp Ocean hours may vary, but scheduled activities typically run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. on sea days. On port days, supervised free play begins from port arrival until approximately 2 p.m.; scheduled activities resume at 2 p.m. until 10 p.m. Complimentary cellphones are available to parents/guardians on a case-by-case basis and are for ship use only.
All children up to age 8 have a strict sign-in/sign-out policy and children can only be signed in/out by authorized guardians over 18. For the 9-to-11 age group, parents have the option whether or not they will allow their child to sign themselves in/out. However, after 10 p.m., all ages must be picked up by their parents/legal guardians from Night Owls.
Children under 2 are not allowed to participate in the regular Camp Ocean programs. However, there are specific times during the cruise that this age group is welcome into the facility. On Sea Days, there are limited times when parents have the option of leaving their child in the care of the Youth Staff (fees apply: $6.75 per hour, per child plus a 15 percent gratuity) or they can stay and use the Camp Ocean facility at no charge. This time is designated for the use of "Under 2s" and their parents only. On port days, parents have the option of leaving their child in the care of the Youth Staff (fees apply: $6.75 per hour, per child plus a 15 percent gratuity), however, meal times are not provided for children under 2.
One deck above Camp Ocean on Deck 12 is Circle "C" (ages 12 to14) and Club O2 (ages 15 to 17), the dedicated spots for tweens and teens to gather for socializing, dancing and video games. There are separate lounges for each age group, but both are modern, high-tech spaces that come complete with fun features like flat-screen TVs, video game consoles, foosball, dance floors, a DJ booth and an innovate jukebox, plus lots of comfy oversized lounge seating that is perfect for hanging out. Teens do not need to sign in or out and may come and go as they want. Hours for teen programs vary, but are typically 12 to 6 p.m., 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on sea days and 3 to 6 p.m., 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on port days.
Scheduled teen activities include everything from dance and karaoke competitions, sports and game tournaments, scavenger hunts and a variety of theme parties at night. Other teen-only activities throughout the cruise might include a Teen Pamper Party in the spa, where the menu of ZSpa services is just for teens ages 13 to 17. Treatments include manicures and pedicures, hair styling, facials and massages.