16th Mar 2024 | 7 nights | Carnival Cruise Line | Carnival Panorama
If you're looking for a cruise ship that's big and diverse enough to keep even the most active person happy, it's hard to do better than Carnival Panorama. The third vessel in Carnival's popular Vista Class of ships, 4,008-passenger Carnival Panorama has something for everyone.
Kids will love the gigantic water slides and water park that take up a significant chunk of top-deck real estate. Couples looking to escape the crowds will find a haven on the adults-only Serenity sun deck. Thrill-seekers will enjoy the SkyRide, the SkyCourse and -- new to Carnival -- the SkyZone trampoline park. Add in the constant stream of activities around the ship, most of them free, and you'll see how Carnival Panorama delivers on value.
Also new for a Carnival ship -- and already one of the most popular activities onboard -- is Carnival Kitchen, a dedicated space for cooking classes. There, you can learn to make the line's signature warm chocolate melting cake from scratch or how to cook tasty Indian dishes. The classes are fun, not at all pretentious, and you get to eat what you make. Foodies will also appreciate all the speciality restaurants, particularly some standout pan-Asian offerings. What's particularly great about Carnival Panorama is you don't have to shell out money to have a tasty meal. There are plenty of included restaurants, and while service in the main dining room leaves something to be desired, the food is generally yummy.
Carnival Panorama shows that the line's ships have much more to offer beyond late-night revelry (although there's plenty of that). It's a fantastic ship for families, as well as groups of friends or celebratory events, such as birthdays or reunions. On your cruise, you'll see groups wearing matching T-shirts or hats that are bound to make you smile (even though we predict you were smiling already). You have to work to not have fun onboard.
Daytime: Casual is just fine on Carnival Panorama, and during the day you'll see all kinds of T-shirts, shorts, sundresses and bathing suits with cover-ups. You'll want to pack according to the climate and bring appropriate clothes and gear for shore excursions and other activities. Note that even in the Lido buffet, shirts, bathing suit cover-ups and footwear must be worn.
Evening: There are two evening dress codes on Carnival Panorama: "cruise casual" and "cruise elegant." On casual nights, men will want to wear longer dress shorts or pants -- jeans are OK -- and a collared shirt. Women can wear sundresses, skirts and tops, dress shorts and capris. Cruise Elegant nights, of which there are usually two on a seven night cruise, calls for a slightly fancier outfit, such as dress slacks and dress shirts for men and dresses, fancy blouses and pants or skirts for women. You'll see some people going all out in long gowns or a suit, but that's the exception, not the norm.
Not permitted: Flip-flops, sleeveless shirts (for men), cut-off jeans, T-shirts and gym shorts are not permitted in the dining room
The Liquid Lounge is the ship's main theatre. On a weeklong cruise, there are an impressive four production shows, including several new shows that debuted on Carnival Panorama, to mixed effect. Broadway Beats takes remixed songs from mostly modern musicals -- we heard music from "Hamilton" and "Dear Evan Hansen" in there, as well as Gwen Stefani's version of "If I Was a Rich Girl," as opposed to the "Fiddler on the Roof" stalwart-- and puts them in front of a very cool LED backdrop that takes you through New York City.
We found the show moved quickly and kept the energy going. Conversely the other new show -- Rock Revolution, the Summer of 69 -- seemed to drag a bit, despite exciting choreography and a live rock band. There's no plot in the show, which features well-known music from the 1960s and 1970s. Here, the LED screen features a constantly changing backdrop of trippy images, but your eye is more likely to be drawn to the band, which play on a stage that extends out into the audience. The highlight comes during Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds when a fleet of drones supplement the action on the stage. A bit of editing and/or time management would make this show better; it ran 45 minutes, which is long for a Playlist Production show (most of which cap at 30 to 35 minutes).
The theatre also hosts the "Lip Sync Battle" final on the last night of the cruise, as well as Hasbro, The Game Show and the Love and Marriage Show on nights when the Playlist Production cast has off. We heard a few complaints about how loud the sound is in the theatre, and depending on where you are sitting, the bass can indeed rattle your eardrums. Sensitive ears should try the upper tier on Deck 5.
Days go by quickly on Carnival Panorama because it's hard to fit everything in. Carnival's newest attractions, Sky Zone, is smartly placed on Deck 7 forward next to the pre-teen and teen clubs. This indoor trampoline park is one of the few activities onboard with an additional fee, but an hour of jumping is only $12 during the day and $18 for the special Glow party at night (and that includes a T-shirt). Toddlers can participate with supervision for $10.
One deck below Sky Zone (and linked with its own staircase) is the also strategically placed Warehouse Arcade on Deck 6. All games costs money, so if you have a kid, setting spending limits here might be key. Apart from the neon lure of those two spots, families can find trivia games throughout the ship, crafting activities through a partnership with Michael's, sports tournaments and there is always fun by the pool led by the cruise director or your Fun Squad activities team, including complimentary Zumba classes.
Adults can sign up for beer pong, play some bingo, participate in casino tournaments, check out the sales and promotions in the shops (sometimes with complimentary mimosas) or join in pamper parties hosted by the spa. Ocean Plaza is another hot spot for games and antics like Ship Race, a scavenger hunt. Once per cruise, a Build-A-Bear workshop takes place; for an additional fee, young cruisers can stuff a bear, shark or turtle to take home in a cool backpack.
The ship is alive all day long but it certainly heats up at night. If it's music you want, or gaming, or shows, or group singalongs or a comedy club or flights of beer or a long evening of wining and dining -- you can find it onboard Panorama. In addition to the shows in the theater, live music is all around the ship including in the atrium, piano bar, Havana bar, Guy's Pig & Anchor and Ocean Plaza; genres range from a modern strings trio to Latin to acoustic to rock and blues. Plus, the resident DJ takes over the Limelight Lounge after the comedy sets are through, late into the night.
The casino on Deck 4 jingles and jangles late into the night as well, conveniently located off the sports bar and comedy club. Karaoke is offered almost every night of the cruise; check your daily schedule to see which venue is hosting it on any given night.
Nearly every night of the cruise brings a different themed deck party (expect White Hot, '80s, Motown and more). The turnout for these was always sizeable, with young and older cruisers curious about the commotion and eager to join the dancing. Dive-In movies at the Seaside Theater are fun for the whole family, and take place each evening on the pool deck -- usually around 7:30 and 10. Occasionally afternoon matinees or midnight showings will take place. First-run movies are rotated throughout the cruise, and blankets and popcorn complete the experience. If you're cruising over a holiday, movies might be themed on various evenings.
Carnival Panorama has an active nightlife, with plenty of music and bars to fit a variety of tastes. The Cheers beverage program allows passengers to order up to 15 alcoholic drinks a day, as well as unlimited sodas, mocktails, bottled water and speciality coffees and teas for a set fee. Highlights include:
Panorama Bar (Deck 3): What makes this atrium bar more interesting and lively than other ship atrium bars is the massive three-deck LED funnel in the centre. It changes colours and patterns, and can almost "dance" to the music. There's a spot for musicians overlooking the Atrium Bar, which the cruise director also uses to lead music trivia, events like theme parties and more. *
Panorama Casino Bar (Deck 4): If you don't mind the smoke, the circular bar in the casino is similar to the atrium in the sense that an LED funnel sits in the middle and displays sports, news and other distracting tidbits while you take a break from the slots.
Limelight Lounge (Deck 4): This large club serves as the spot for [Punchliner Comedy shows](/articles.cfm?ID=2248) during the evening; come early to get a seat, as these are very popular. Around 10:30 p.m. or so, it turns into a nightclub with different types of dance music.
Heroes Tribute Bar (Deck 4): Brand new to Carnival, the Heroes Tribute Bar replaces the SkyBox sports bar -- don't worry, you can still get scores and watch the game(s). The brainchild of Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy, Heroes is a genuinely moving space, with photos of veterans returning home from duty, as well as emblems from the different branches of the armed forces. There's a special drinks menu, with military-themed names and a portion of the proceeds support Operation Homefront.
Alchemy Bar (Deck 5): Known for speciality cocktails like the Cucumber Sunrise, this bar has quirky drinks, outgoing bartenders and serves as a social hub near the speciality restaurants; it's almost always busy in the evening. If you feel daring, let the mixologist come up with a custom drink, just for you -- we overheard one patron do just that, and she said it was the best drink she ever had.
Guy's Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse (Deck 5): Like beer? This is your spot onboard. Four types of beer are brewed onboard here under the ParchedPig moniker, ranging from a farmhouse ale and toasted amber to an IPA and a smoked porter; try them all as a sampler. (You can get other types of beer here too). If beer isn't your thing, there's also a focus on bourbon, as well as drinks garnished with -- what else in a BBQ joint? -- bacon. On sea days, you can tour the brewery, for a fee. At night, there's live music inside on a small stage, mostly country and classic rock. On nice evenings, you can sit outside in a space on the deck. Guy's might not be your first thought for an evening tipple, but we found quite a few inventive drinks here to kick off -- or end -- the night (including a nonalcoholic menu).
Piano Bar 88 (Deck 5): Who doesn't love a singalong? On Carnival, piano bars have always been a mainstay and this one is no different. The idea is to make a request on a slip of paper and sit piano-side to get the musician's attention. On our cruise, there was an early-evening player who serenaded the steakhouse and other patrons with the keys, but didn't seem to know a number of popular songs and was not able to take most requests. A late-night player was much more knowledgeable and encouraged participation; considering the likelihood of songs getting a little wild, these shows are 18-plus.
Havana Bar (Deck 5): The signature bar of the Cuban-themed Havana section on Carnival Panorama, the Havana Bar is a gorgeous, sprawling space that channels the spirit and look of the island. Latin American cocktails such as mojitos, daiquiris and other rum favourites dominate the drink menu, although you can also order strong Cuban coffee. A Latin band plays in the evening, drawing a lively dance-focused crowd. There's an outdoor section to the Havana Bar, near the Havana pool. This area is closed off, however, to passengers who aren't staying in the special Havana cabins.
RedFrog Rum Bar (Deck 10): Carnival's dual pool bars, of which RedFrog is one, are characteristically colourful and fun. The fruity rum drinks here are the speciality and the bar can get packed during sunny days.
BlueIguana Tequila Bar (Deck 10): The second of the Carnival Panorama's pool bars, the BlueIguana bar channels all things tequila, with margaritas and other drinks. Mexican beers and tequila cocktails are also available. We predict that on Carnival Panorama's Mexican Riviera sailings, this bar will be even more popular than usual.
Serenity Bar (Deck 15): This outdoor bar serves the adults-only sun deck area, with an exclusive menu that includes speciality sangrias (by the glass or pitcher), along with a menu of frozen and skinny cocktails. Try the Serenity martini. ## Carnival Panorama Outside Recreation
here are two pools open to everyone onboard Carnival Panorama. The Beach pool is the main pool where all the poolside fun happens. You'll find it midship on the Lido Deck (Deck 10). There is a whirlpool on either side, each covered by a tiki-style roof. The Tides pool is at the back of the ship on Deck 10, overlooking the wake. Like the Beach pool, it has a whirlpool on either side, though these have no shade. Both pools are open to all ages. The Havana pool and whirlpools are on Deck 5, but only accessible to those staying in Havana staterooms. You can see the space from the Havana Bar, and it looked secluded and dreamy. For those looking for a bit of seclusion without paying the price, Deck 15 has two whirlpools in the adults-only Serenity area, but no pool. Watching sunsets from here and chatting with fellow passengers became an evening tradition for us.
Carnival WaterWorks is Panorama's water park, located at the top of the ship (you'll need to take the staircase from the middle of Deck 12 to get there) and it's hard to miss. Choose from two waterslides -- Red Fun (minimum height 4 feet) or Blue Fun (minimum height 3 feet and 6 inches) -- plus a splash park below that includes jets, sprays and buckets that drench. The blue slide is enclosed, but the red one requires a raft and won't operate in extreme wind or weather. Both are indeed fun, as advertised.
From Deck 14, you can conquer the or SkyCourse (48 inches minimum height). The ride allows you to pedal around the perimeter of the ship on a suspended recumbent bike, while the course is a ropes course that will challenge your balance and strength (there is an easy and difficult track, though they both seemed interchangeable at times). Both of these attractions offer stunning views, and may be difficult for anyone with a fear of heights. Both require closed-toe shoes and have weight requirements to be aware of. For safety reasons, you can only film these activities with a GoPro bodycam; nothing in your hands or pockets.
Just below on Deck 12 is SportsSquare, a colourful area with Twister, pool, bean bag toss and other games, encircled by a mini-golf course. Parents can look on from a shaded seating area. The SportsSquare Clubhouse brings some of these games indoors, as well. The Sports Court, mainly where we saw games of pickup basketball, is also on Deck 12. If that isn't enough to do outside, you'll find random foosball tables around the upper decks near the Beach Pool.
There are ample blue beach loungers near and above both pools on Decks 10, 11 and 12. The Serenity Deck, on Deck 15, is only open to adults 21 and older. Here, there are padded loungers as well as clamshell beds (first come, first served) and also tables and chairs. The Deck 5 "Lanai" provides shaded outdoor seating for the restaurants, but also a nice place to sit and relax in the daytime. The Havana Plaza on Deck 5 aft is accessible only to passengers staying in those staterooms.
Carnival Panorama Services
The Atrium is the hub of the ship, and you will find many of Panorama's shops and help desks here. Guest services and the Carnival Adventures (shore excursion) desks are located in the lobby on Deck 3 near the front of the ship, along with the Fun Hub, which consists of a few workstations available for connecting to the internet.
Deck 4, also known as the Mezzanine, is home to a majority of the ship's Fun Shops. These include places to buy duty-free alcohol, branded merchandise, makeup and perfume, watches, fine jewellery, designer clothing, last-minute essentials and even limited-edition Carnival merchandise in partnership with various artists.
The Promenade on Deck 5 is one of the busiest places on the ship, with a majority of Panorama's bars and restaurants, but it's also home to some noteworthy shops and public rooms. Surrounding the atrium there are a few more shops including the hard-to-resist Cherry on Top sweets and gift store. Walking toward the back of the ship, you will pass Library Bar -- it's a closed-off and comfortable space for reading, card play and games; a number of board games are available for free loan. There's actually no bar, but there are enomatic (self-serve) wine dispensers if you want to enjoy a glass of merlot while you lounge.
Also on Deck 5 are the Pixels Gallery, where cruisers can come to shop for camera and video equipment or check out their professional photos from a number of touchscreens, along with Dreams Studio, a portrait studio.
The Future Cruise desk as well as the Shopping Expert desk (where you can find out more about shopping ports) are located on Deck 10 forward (check your daily Fun Times program for hours). Self-serve launderettes are sprinkled throughout passenger hallways (one on each deck that has cabins) and include two to three washers, dryers and an ironing board. Each load costs about $3.25 (prices can vary) and payment is taken through your Sail & Sign cruise card. Carnival Panorama offers a number of meetups for affinity groups including Friends of Bill W and Friends of Jimmy K (alcoholic and narcotics support groups); as well as gatherings for veterans and mixers for LGBT cruisers.
As on other Vista-class ships, the Spa incorporates the fitness centre and spa facilities and spans two decks. Massages, body treatments, the thermal suite and the fitness centre are on Deck 12, while the salon where facials, hair services, manicures and pedicures take place, is on Deck 14 (there is no Deck 13). An 18 percent gratuity is added to all spa services.
When you show up for a body treatment or massage, you'll be shown to a Relaxation with flavoured water and restful seating (note: you don't get time in the Relaxation Room before a facial; at least we didn't on our trip). A full array of massages -- hot stone, deep tissue, Swedish, bamboo, couples and Thai poultice -- are available, with prices that begin at $150 for 50 minutes. Other services advertised included a pain management "cold therapy" massage, a salt stone massage and a "Thousand Flower" detox wrap that uses green tea balm.
On the salon side, facials, hair services, manis and pedis are all offered. We found our esthetician to be well-versed and knowledgeable in skin care; she picked products that wouldn't irritate our sensitive skin. (Prices for facials start at $165). True to land trends, the Salon has a full brow and lash bar, with shaping, tinting and extensions available. Medi-spa treatments include Restaylane, Dysport (similar to Botox) and Thermage.
There's also a men's and women's locker room, where anyone can use the sauna. For more elaborate steam rooms and heat chambers, you'll want to buy a pass to the thermal suite. Buy a cruise-long pass ($159 per person or $249 for a couple) or stay in a Cloud 9 Spa cabin, which includes cruise-long access in the fare. Day passes on our weeklong sailing were $40 per person for the day; a two-for-one special was available on port days. The complex has heated ceramic loungers, a large whirlpool, a Hamman, an aroma steam room and a dry heat chamber.
The Cloud 9 fitness centre can be hard to find on its own; you need to walk past the spa desk to find it. Inside, you'll find great views from the front of the ship. The fitness centre is always busiest in the mornings, and in the afternoon before dinner; if you don't want to wait for equipment, work around these times. In the gym, you'll find a wide range of cardio equipment, including treadmills, ellipticals, bikes and rowing machines. Weight machines and dumbells are also available.
There's a studio in the middle of the gym for classes, most of which carry a fee, starting at $12\. Sign-ups begin on the first day of the cruise and tend to book up early, so if you want to get your spinning fix, stop by shortly after boarding. Personal training and nutritional consulting are available for a fee. For nice sunrise or sunset views, do your daily walking or running on the outdoor jogging track on Deck 12; seven laps equal a mile. We found it well-used but still manageable; what's nice is that the track is a dedicated space so you aren't tripping over sun loungers or other equipment. There's fitness equipment interspersed around the track, for people who like to stop and incorporate exercises such as pulldowns or planks during their run/walk.
Vista and Horizon Restaurants (Deck 3 and Deck 4)
Meals: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D) Carnival Panorama's two main dining rooms are used for breakfast, Sea Day Brunch, tea time and dinner. Horizons Restaurant on Deck 3 forward is reserved at dinner time for cruises with set time diner, while those who have selected the flexible Your Time Dining will eat in the Vista Restaurant at the back of Deck 3.
Lido Marketplace (Deck 10)
Meals: B, L, D,
The buffet onboard Carnival Panorama consists of several food stations (some repeating), so walk front to back (Beach Pool to Tides Pool) first if you want to make sure you've scoured everything. You don't want to miss the homemade gelato machine or cake counter, plus there are additional seating areas if you can't find a spot in the main area. A light Continental breakfast is served from about 6:30 to 7:30 a.m., followed by full breakfast service until noon. Breakfast gets busy, so remember there are two omelette stations and there are two or more of almost every station (hot dishes include scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, French toast, pancakes and more). You'll also find yoghurts, cereals, fruit and breakfast sweets. Lunch is served noon to 2:30 p.m. Hot menu items vary by day, usually according to a theme, and there is always a salad bar. Dinner themes on our sailing included Mediterranean (paella, lamb, chicken lemon soup and more) and Comfort Kitchen (shrimp and grits, pot roast, hush puppies, etc.). Dinner runs from about 6 to 9:30 p.m. Late-night snacks are served from about 11:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Ocean Plaza Buffet (Deck 5)
Meals: B, L
This small snack bar near Ocean Plaza has several hot and cold items at breakfast and lunch on sea days. It's a nice place for a light bite if you're taking part in trivia or other games held at Ocean Plaza during the day.
Guy's Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse (Deck 5)
The spread at Guy's is free in the afternoon. Walk to the back of the restaurant, and exit along the outdoor Deck 5 promenade, to find servers at a lunch buffet who will help you fill your plate with pork butt, chicken and beef, coleslaw, potato salad, beans, mac 'n' cheese, collard greens and more. All of Guy's signature sauces are on hand to drizzle at will. An ice water dispenser is located near the outdoor seating, but bar service is also available, for a fee. Pair your meal with a ParchedPig brew, made onsite, or enjoy a lemonade.
Carnival Deli (Deck 10)
Meals: L, D
Open from about 11 to 11, the deli counter is within the Lido Marketplace, but is open when the hot buffet is closed. You'll find sandwiches like pastrami, along with favourites like grilled cheese. You can even grab some salted chocolate chip cookies.
Swirls Soft Serve and Fro Yo (Deck 10)
These soft-serve machines are dispersed throughout the Lido Marketplace, and are open all day long (closed occasionally for maintenance). Soft-serve ice cream comes in vanilla, chocolate or swirl, while we usually saw chocolate and strawberry frozen yogurt. Choose from a cup or cone.
Pizzeria del Capitano (Deck 10)
Located just near the Tides Pool at the back of the ship, Pizzeria del Capitano offers tasty slices and pies, whenever you want, and even made to order. It's a nice option for those days when you return from an excursion and need a quick snack before dinner. Lines do form between standard mealtimes, so anticipate a wait.
Guy's Burger Joint (Deck 10)
Meals: L, D
A Carnival standard on Lido Decks across the fleet, Guy's Burger Joint always comes through with tasty patties and fries from about noon to 6 p.m. Customize with cheese, onion ring and chili options, plus an entire toppings bar -- as always, free of charge.
BlueIguana Cantina (Deck 10)
Meals: B, L
The breakfast burritos at this Mexican counter are one of our favourite things about dining on Carnival; huevos rancheros and arepas are also available in the morning. Lunch at BlueIguana Cantina is served daily, from about noon to 2:30 p.m., offering up tacos and burritos with gusto. Hot sauces, pico, corn salsa and watermelon slices round out your plate at the complimentary toppings bar.
Mongolian Wok (Deck 11)
The venue for Ji Ji Asian Kitchen plays host to Mongolian Wok from noon to 2:30 p.m. near-daily for a free lunch service. The line forms early, but buzzers are handed out so you can leave if you have a significant wait time (and sometimes orders can be taken to go). Choose from an Asian salad or fried wontons; then customize your noodle bowl with your choice of protein, vegetables, noodles and sauce. It's a nice and straightforward way to enjoy a hot lunch away from the masses.
The Pasta Bar (Deck 11)
Similarly Cucina del Capitano morphs into the Pasta Bar for complimentary lunch most afternoons from noon to 2:30 p.m. Wait times occur, similar to Ji Ji's next door, so inquire early.
Fresh Creations (Deck 15)
A welcome respite from the fried food elsewhere onboard, Fresh Creations is essentially a salad bar at the adults-only Serenity Deck. It's also a nice option if you've snagged a clamshell sun bed and don't want to leave for lunch.
Room Service Meals:
There is a small, complimentary room service menu, which consists of breakfast (cereals, pastries, eggs, yoghurt, coffee or tea), as well as a handful of salads and sandwiches, along with chocolate cake, cheesecake and cookies.
The Chef's Table (Deck 3); $95 per person
The Chef's Table onboard Carnival Panorama is special with an intimate location tucked-away in a custom-built space behind the dining room with a view to the galley. The price might seem steep, but guests 12 and older are guided through a multicourse menu of vivid flavours and imaginative plating that is explained in detail by a master chef. The meal also includes a Champagne reception and a tour of the galley. All courses are paired with premium wines (for guests 21 and over). This experience is not recommended for those with food intolerances, allergies or sensitivities.
Carnival Kitchen (Deck 4); $30 per person for one-hour class; $60 for two-hour evening class
New to the fleet, Carnival Kitchen is more of a cooking class than a restaurant, although all classes include a meal, dessert or snack. The space has nine workstations for 18 chefs-in-training (must be 12 years or older), all tricked out with built-in induction burners, refrigerators, utility drawers and cool marble countertops (perfect for rolling dough). A tablet at each station not only holds the recipe, it broadcasts images from the lead table at the front so you can follow along. Classes range from "Sushi 101" or "It's an Ice Cream Kind of Day" to "Mission Masala Tiger" and "Tailgate Party." There's a long table in the space where people can eat what they cook. What's cool about Carnival Kitchen is if you're making something that takes longer to bake than the class -- like a pie, for example -- you can sign up to eat it later at a restaurant or to have it delivered to your stateroom. Reservations for Carnival Kitchen go fast so book online before your trip.
Guy's Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse (Deck 5); a la carte, free for kids 12 and under
At night, Flavortown comes alive with musical entertainment on stage and a full BBQ menu to tickle the palate. Even though lunch is free, dinner is a la carte -- but prices are reasonable. Appetizers are $4 and include chicken wings or trash can nachos; brisket, cedar plank salmon, chicken or pulled pork -- all run $8; and a sampler platter is $16. Prime rib and baby back ribs are also available. Choose from apple cobbler or banana cream pie ($3) for dessert.
Fahrenheit 555 (Deck 5); $38 for adults, $12 for kids
Carnival Panorama's steakhouse feels upscale, with a menu that includes bone marrow, Maine lobster bisque and heritage Berkshire pork belly among the appetizer choices, and Australian Wagyu beef, USDA Cowboy Steak and Dover sole as entrees. If you are looking to indulge your sweet tooth and love a good photo opp, order the "Art at Your Table" dessert. Whisky lovers may want to check out the steakhouse bar, which specializes in the stuff and where cruisers in the know liked to spend time with a fine scotch. Service was iffy and slow at times and most of the meats we ordered were decidedly underseasoned, but the beef was always cooked to order. Despite the occasional glitches, it's nice for a date night outing, and it's definitely a good value, price-wise.
Bonsai Teppanyaki (Deck 5); $32 per person
Meals: L, D
This small Hibachi-style dining room is closed off, but still visible to Deck 5 passersby, so they get to enjoy the show too. Each meal (lunch or dinner) includes a starter (shrimp, tuna or pork belly), your choice of entree to be cooked/performed live, and a dessert (green tea ice cream or chocolate bento box.
Bonsai Sushi (Deck 5); a la carte
Meals: L, D
Attached to the teppanyaki restaurant is [Bonsai Sushi](/articles.cfm?ID=2876), with seating along the Deck 5 promenade. Choose from a menu of various sushi, sashimi, noodle bowls and Japanese small plates. Prices range from $1.50 for a piece of sushi/sashimi to $5 for a sushi roll, $7 for a noodle bowl or $10 for a bento box. For $15 (or $22 for a couple), the sushi chef will personalize creations for you -- if you aren't super picky or allergic.
Java Blue Cafe/Shake Spot (Deck 5); a la carte,
The speciality coffee bar onboard is the place to go for lattes and other speciality brews; the quality is definitely better than what you find elsewhere on the ship. While you're here, get your sugar fix with a rotating selection of doughnuts, cakes, cupcakes and cookies, which have a la carte pricing. At the same counter, the Shake Spot has milkshakes and floats; add alcohol for an adult afternoon treat. Lines form in the morning for coffee but otherwise, things move fairly quickly here.
Seafood Shack (Deck 10); a la carte
Meals: L, D
It makes sense to crave a little seafood when at sea, and a visit to Seafood Shack can remedy that. New England clam chowder in a bread bowl runs $4, while a lobster roll is just $10; there are plenty of fried shrimp and clams by the bucket or platter, as well as fish and chips ($6). Steamed lobster, snow crab and shrimp are available by the pound for market price, along with raw oysters. Seating is located outdoors along the Tides Pool area, but shielded from the wind.
Ji Ji Asian Kitchen (Deck 11); $15 for adults, $5 for kids 12 and under
This pan-Asian restaurant has flavours that span the continent, with dishes from China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. The staff urges you to order family style, although if you want a dish particularly hot or mild, you'll want to make that known (orders are taken using a small blackboard). Appetizer standouts include dumplings and tamarind shrimp soup, while the Kung Pao chicken, Singapore chili shrimp and Hakka noodles were crowd-pleasing entrees. Definitely save room for the rose creme brulee; it's one of the best desserts on the ship. The included hot tea is a delicate green tea that enhanced the meal for us. Service and atmosphere in Ji Ji's was among the best at any restaurant we encountered onboard, including the steakhouse (which costs more than twice the price).
Cucina del Capitano (Deck 11); $15 for adults, $5 for kids 12 and under
It's hard to beat the crowd-pleasing menu of an Italian restaurant, but Cucina del Capitano makes it personal. All of the Panorama's officers are Italian, including the captain, so you will find menu items marked with his recommendations -- including dishes supposedly culled from the recipe collection of his own mother, such as a seafood pasta entree called _Trofie Verde - Mare Maria._ For such a small cover, the meal is well worth it; even the coffee seemed a step up, and desserts were intriguing, like a polenta cake with citrus cream and lemon sorbet -- not just your standard tiramisu and tartufo. With so much that was good, we were disappointed that the atmosphere was so cliche -- we were okay with the red checkered tablecloths, but the soundtrack is a cringe-worthy playlist of the most stereotypical Italian tunes, including "That's Amore." Interspersed throughout the meal, the servers stopped to do a forced musical number that they blatantly looked uncomfortable doing. Infusing a little fun in the dining room is the Carnival way, sure, but we recommend leaving that to the main restaurants, and allowing the food here to speak for itself.
Room Service; a la carte
Select room service menu items cost between $3 and $6 each. These include breakfast sandwiches, pizza and a banana split. The Daytime Dining menu runs from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and the Late Night Dining menu runs from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. -- there is some overlap with menu items, but nothing on the nighttime menu is free.
Pizza Delivery; $5
Using the Carnival HUB app you can order a fresh pizza to wherever you are on the ship for just a fiver.
Interior Staterooms: There are 769 inside cabins onboard Panorama, ranging from 185 to 220 square feet.
Ocean View Staterooms: There are 265 ocean-view (also called outside) cabins onboard; these rooms run about 220 square feet and include a window with a full or partial view.
Balcony: There are more balconies than any other category onboard, with 864 balcony cabins. Most of these rooms are 185 square feet, and feature 35-square-foot balconies. Balcony furniture typically includes two comfortable blue mesh chairs and a small table that requires some finessing to make alfresco room service breakfast work. Premium balcony cabins have much larger balconies (up to 75 square feet) and are ideal for group travel as you can connect everyone's balcony spaces to create one giant veranda.
Spa Cabins: Carnival Panorama features a range of cabins designated as Cloud 9 Spa cabins, which come in a variety of cabin categories. All feature plush bathrobes and towels; slippers; a take-home DIY scrub kit for use in the thermal suites, unlimited access to the thermal suite, personal fitness bands and yoga mats. Cruisers in these cabins also get pre-cruise priority access to spa appointments through a dedicated concierge, along with treatment discounts. Toiletries include upgraded Elemis shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion and soaps. Rooms are 185 to 275 square feet, depending on the category, and might include a balcony that is either 35, 45 or 65 square feet.
Junior Suites: There are just two Junior Suites, each roughly 275 square feet, onboard Panorama, offering a 35-square-foot obstructed balcony. These are the lowest cabin category to include a bathtub.
Ocean Suites: Also 275 square feet inside, the 38 Ocean suites have slightly larger 45-square-foot balconies. (Accessible Ocean Suites are larger at 450 square feet.)
Grand Suites: There are eight top-tier Grand suites on Carnival Panorama. They are 345 square feet with 85 square-foot balconies. Perks include priority embarkation and disembarkation (and tendering in port), as well as special cocktail hours and events, and a complimentary bag of laundry.
Havana Cabana Staterooms: Located at the back of the ship on Deck 5, the Havana Complex features a cabins, as well as a private pool, hot tubs and outdoor bar. Amenities include exclusive use of the Havana pool, hot tubs and outdoor bar, plus special Havana-themed Elemis bath products. Most of the Havana cabins (23) are categorized as Ocean View with Patio Cabana; these rooms are 185 square feet and have an outdoor patio that extends another 100 feet. The patio exits onto a private portion of the outdoor promenade that is only accessible to people staying in a Cabana room. There are also a handful of Aft Balcony Havana rooms (not located within the Havana complex); these rooms are the same square footage but include a 60- to 70-square-foot balcony instead of the lanai. There are four Havana Cabana Suites. They come with the same 100-square-foot patio cabana, but the room measures 260 square feet. These rooms book quickly, and it's important to note passengers staying in Havana cabins must be at least 12 years old.
Family Harbor Cabins: Sixteen rooms, all concentrated on Deck 2, comprise the Family Harbor, which also include access to the Family Harbor Lounge. Rooms in Family Harbor fall into all the main cabin categories (inside, oceanview, balcony) but you'll also find deluxe family cabins, ranging from 230 to 275 square feet. Family Harbor cabins with a balcony feature a cove balcony that's 45 or 65 square feet. The Family Harbor Suite has both a full and junior bathroom. Inside the Family Harbor Lounge you'll find plenty of seating, cozy living room-style nooks with TVs, games, a light buffet and computer stations for internet use or gaming. It's a nice, nautical-themed place for families to relax, let loose and grab a bite -- beware of the 24/7 fro-yo and soft-serve. Additionally, for families staying in the Family Harbor, kids under 12 eat free in most speciality restaurants, and one free evening of Night Owls babysitting service is included
Budget-conscious, gregarious families, couples and solos looking for an unpretentious vibe that's all about having fun
Anyone who doesn't appreciate off-color humor, lively hairy chest contests, burgers and BBQ, and thumping music
Carnival Cruise Line sells itself as the "fun" cruise line, and it attracts cruisers who are looking to have a good time with little to no pretensions. Carnival cruisers, who range from young to old, tend to be quite friendly, looking to strike up conversations with other people in the buffet, by the pool and, really, anywhere. Carnival is also one of the most family-oriented lines in the industry, and you're bound to see lots of kids onboard, even during the school year. When school is out, you can expect the number of kids to be well into the hundreds. The line is also popular for family reunions, and bachelor and bachelorette parties. People on Carnival cruise ships hail primarily from the United States, mainly the south and Midwest, but you'll also meet folks from Canada, England and usually a handful of other European countries.
Carnival cruises are casual, with shorts, tee shirts, capris, swimsuits or swim cover-ups de rigueur during the day (no bathing suites in the dining venues, however). Most nights the dress code remains much the same, minus the swimwear, though technically the cruise line asks that people not wear shorts into the main dining room. The policy is inconsistently upheld. On "elegant" nights, you'll see a range of clothing from ball gowns, dresses that leave little to the imagination, tuxes and suits to the same shorts and tees people sport all day long. Most men, however, opt for long trousers and collared shirts, while women don sundresses, or a skirt or trousers with a blouse. Men are not required to wear a suit jacket or tie in any venue.
No. While Carnival is one of the more inclusive cruise lines when it comes to dining, you will still have to pay extra for some specialty dining, all drinks (alcoholic and non, except water, select juice at breakfast, and coffee and tea), shore excursions, visits to the spa and any retail purchases, including photos.
Aside from the main pool, which is the hub of much of the line's fun activities, almost every Carnival cruise ship also has at least one waterslide, with several having multi-slide water parks. Additionally, several have a top-deck SportSquare that features a colourful collection of outdoor amusements, including Ping-Pong, billiards, foosball, mini-golf, Twister and a SkyCourse ropes course. On the line's newest ships (Vista and Horizon), there's also the SkyRide, a recumbent bike attraction suspended 150 feet up in the air, requiring riders to pedal their way around an 800-foot track that wraps around the outer decks. Inside, you'll find activities that range from trivia and Bingo during the day to comedy shows and high-tech song-and-dance revues at night. Carnival ships also have lively bar nightlife, especially on ships with a RedFrog Pub; there's also an always-busy casino.
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