Carnival Celebration

Carnival Cruise Line

Ship information

Carnival Celebration

About Carnival Celebration

Following the nearly identical Mardi Gras, Carnival’s latest, slightly larger LNG-powered Excel Class ship has all of Mardi Gras’ frills, including the 800-foot BOLT rollercoaster, the Carnival Waterworks water park, four separate pool areas, a three-deck tall side atrium in the heart of the ship and multiple included and for-fee dining options that are spread out among six themed “Fun Zones”.  Especially for a ship this size, a whopping 183,521 gt and with a maximum guest capacity of 6,631, the deck plan is well executed with three main stair towers, 22 elevators and wide passages that provide a smooth flow along fourteen passenger decks.

If you thought some of the past Carnival ships were a bit over the top but find the more recent Carnival ships a little generic and same-y, these Excel Class ships might be just the right touch.  With this ship, it is nice to see Carnival give a nod to the themed decor that put the line on the map in the 1980s when architect Joe Farcus unleashed his wildly conceptual designs on the cruising world. While these ships don’t have the pizzazz-y neon, tivoli lighting and brassy color schemes of that era, they do boast spaces and zones like Celebration Central, 820 Biscayne and the Gateway that are rich in execution and concept.

Throughout the Carnival Celebration, there is also an infusion of tasteful yet vibrant colors (deep greens, soothing blues and bold reds) that are offset with slate, muted wood tones and ivory. Comfortable, high-end furnishings and artwork, some of which came from from past Carnival ships, give the Carnival Celebration a more upscale vibe than most would expect from a giant mass market mega ship. 

The most obvious example of this is Celebration Central, the three-deck side atrium with no less than 1,400 fiberoptic “celebratory confetti” fixtures that emanate from the proscenium and burst into the ceiling, changing colors throughout the day. A spectacular 30-foot wall of glass overlooking the sea can, with the push of a button or two, close off to form a digital backdrop for dazzling acrobatic shows or perhaps an afternoon session of bingo. 

On a ship with this many guests and crew, the occasional traffic jam is to be expected. At lunchtime and in the early evening, the elevator lobbies would intermittently fill up and lines did form outside popular eateries and show venues.  Typical of most cruise ships, every morning there was a queue for the specialty coffee venue, JavaBlue but all said, those clusters tended to move quickly and for the most part, the traffic flow on the more traveled upper decks and in the heart of the ship was impressively smooth.

And finally, despite the ship’s newness and size, throughout our week on board, staff and crew impressively provided a welcoming, efficient and friendly guest experience.

Carnival Celebration’s Deck Plan Has Zones Blends Zones Of Innovation And Commemoration

Like a well-conceived city at sea, Carnival Celebration has a little something for everyone, starting on top with the wet and dry thrills of the Ultimate Playground Zone (which includes the BOLT rollercoaster, a trio of serpentine WaterWorks slides and a dunker, mini-golf, a ropes course, a running track and a Games Court for Hoops) surrounding the funnel on Decks 18 and 19.

Up forward on Deck 18, for those seeking a quiet retreat, there is the included adults-only Serenity which is much larger than those on other Carnival ships and even has its own sheltered pool area and a convenient salad bar.  For the ultimate escape, there is also the for-fee Loft 19 enclaves on Deck 19, which is lined with cabanas that can be rented for an extra charge. 

On Decks 16 and 17, the busting Lido Zone includes two separate pool areas (Midships Beach Pool and aft Tides Pool) and numerous eateries that range from the included Lido Marketplace buffet with multiple action stations, Guy’s Burger Joint, Big Chicken, the Blue Iguana Cantina and Street Eats, to the for-fee Seafood Shack.  The double Deck RedFrog Tiki Bar overlooks and serves the lively midships Beach Pool while the Tides Bar serves the aft top deck areas.  

In the heart of the ship, on Decks 6, 7 and 8, Celebration Central is home to the brand-new Tropicale and Aquaria Bars, a large section of the sprawling Empress Casino, numerous shops, the for-fee Bonsai Sushi and Teppanyaki eateries, the Piano Bar 88 and the Punchliner Comedy Club. 

Other zones include the Miami-inspired 820 Biscayne on Deck 8 with its indoor/outdoor Cuban-themed Bar 820, included Deco Deli and Miami Slice eateries, the included Italian-themed full service Cucina del Capitano and the for-fee Rudi’s Seagrill.

Summer Landing, an enclave at the far aft end of Deck 8, contains the guest services area, popular Guy’s Pig and Anchor Smokehouse and Brewery, the Heroes Bar (dedicated to veterans and their families) and the Patio Pool area, which adjoins a starboard lanai with outdoor bars and a port lanai with a quiet promenade within earshot of the gurgling sea. 

Dedicated to the past, present and future of travel, the Gateway Zone on aft Decks 6 and 7 houses two of my favorite bars, the sophisticated Golden Jubilee (which is adorned with decorative elements rescued from past Carnival ships) and Latitudes, which combines air, sea and train travel themes under a double-deck ceiling and towering fiberoptic windows that broadcast changing imagery throughout the cruise.

The  Gateway is also home to the popular Alchemy Bar, the Carnival Kitchen (for cooking classes), a conference room, the for-fee Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, the Limelight Lounge and two MDRs, the double-deck Festivale Restaurant and the Carnivale Restaurant, both named for early Carnival ships.

At the forward end of Decks 5 and 6, there is the two-deck Cloud 9 Spa, which has a thermal suite, numerous treatment rooms and a beauty salon.  On the port side of Deck 6, there is the Cloud 9 Fitness Center with its excellent LifeFitness cardio machines (most facing the sea), a weight room and stretching area.  Also up forward is the Grand Spectrum Theater, named for the towering atriums on Carnival’s pioneering Fantasy Class ships, on Decks 6 and 7.

Small clusters of seating that can be found in various corners of the the public areas where friends and families can gather for a drink or even just sit and people watch are an especially nice touch on a ship of this size.

Carnival Celebration’s Cabins Come In A Wide Range Of Categories

Carnival Celebration offers a selection of cabins that can accommodate almost any budget or need.  There are economical Interiors and Oceanviews, Balcony staterooms and roomy Suites that come with all sorts of extra perks.  There are also Cloud Nine Spa staterooms with spa amenities and access to the thermal suite, Havana staterooms and suites in a special private enclave at the front of the ship and Family Harbor staterooms that are designed for families and located near a dedicated lounge that offers snacks, movies and other family-oriented diversions.

The ship’s most popular staterooms are Balcony Staterooms, which also come in a wide variety of configurations and locations.  Front and back-facing staterooms are in high demand and tend to have larger balconies than the average side-facing staterooms, although there are side-facing Extended Balcony rooms, as well.  There are Balcony Staterooms in the Cloud Nine Spa, Family Harbor and Havana categories and, close to the sea, there are Cove Balconies that have solid metal, versus glass balconies.

Carnival Celebration Offers Up Choice And Varied Food For All

Dining on any Carnival ship is a highlight, thanks to quality ingredients, a wide variety of cuisine and the overall energetic, warm and friendly service.  On the Carnival Celebration, the choices are mind-boggling and it is almost impossible on a typical week long cruise to sample everything offered. 

Included favorite topside (Decks 16 and 17) eateries consist of the popular BlueIguana Cantina for Mexican specialties, Guy’s Burger Joint, Big Chicken, Street Smarts ( an Excel Class exclusive which has Fries and select Asian and Kebab-style snacks in the afternoon) and the Lido Marketplace, with its varied action stations.  There is also the for-fee Seafood Shack, right by the Beach Pool.

On Decks 6, 7 and 8, the included eateries range from the sprawling Guy’s Smokehouse for barbecue, beer and live music jams to Cucina del Capitano for Italian, Miami Slice for pizza, Deco Deli for sandwiches, JavaBlue Cafe for breakfast pastries, sandwiches and afternoon snacks, and Chibang, an intriguing and popular eatery that offers up both Chinese and Mexican specialties, in addition to the two MDRs, the Festivale and Carnivale Restaurants. 

For fee choices include the always popular Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, Bonsai Sushi and Bonsai Teppanyaki, Rudi’s Seagrill (the latest seafood venue from Rudi Sodamin, executive chef for Holland America and Princess), Emeril’s Bistro 1397, which offers a la carte courses from celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse with revolving selections that tie in with the daily destination theme of the nearby Lattitudes Bar.  There is also Carnival Kitchen, where guests can take cooking classes and the exclusive Chef’s Table experience set within the galley. 

Carnival Cruise Line COVID Rules

For the most up-to-date testing, masking, and vaccination requirements aboard the Carnival Celebration, please refer to

https://www.carnival.com/legal/covid-19-legal-notices/covid-19-guest-protocols

You can also

refer to Cruise Critic’s guide to masking requirements

on the world’s major cruise lines as we know them.

Cabins

Carnival Celebration has 52 cabin types available

Inside Cabins

15 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

15 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

15 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

15 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

15 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

15 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

15 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

15 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

15 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

15 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

15 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

15 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

15 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

15 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

15 Inside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

5 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

5 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

5 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

5 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

5 Outside types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

20 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

20 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

20 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

20 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

20 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

20 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

20 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

20 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

20 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

20 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

20 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

20 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

20 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

20 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

20 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

20 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

20 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

20 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

20 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

20 Balcony types to choose from

Suite Cabins

10 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

10 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

10 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

10 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

10 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

10 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

10 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

10 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

10 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

10 Suite types to choose from

Deck Plans

15 deck images available

Activities and Entertainment

Theater and Shows on Carnival Celebration

There are actually two main show spaces on Carnival Celebration, Celebration Central and the Grand Spectrum Theater. 

With its giant pane of glass that can quickly be turned into a massive backdrop of high-definition video screens, Celebration Central morphs from mesmerizing side observation lounge to a soaring venue for live music and bingo to the full-fledged Center Stage showroom with a three deck tall space primed for dazzling performances. 

The only problem here is the sight lines, which are not so great if you are not in the main seating area of the Deck 6 level or right by one of the glass balconies on the Decks 7 and 8 levels.  To get a good seat here for the big shows, it is recommended to arrive between 45 minutes and an hour early, which can be a challenge to plan around a leisurely dinner or drinks at a favorite bar.  That said, the shows here are very impressive for those who enjoy high definition video-enhanced productions with booming sound effects.

By trading places with another guest at the edge of the Deck 8 balcony, I was able to catch key highlights of “The Most Magnificent Circus”, which had performers doing Cirque style acrobatics to contemporary music by acts like Arianna Grande, Pink and Beyonce.  Other big shows here included “Showtime”, “Celestial Strings” and “We Are One”, the latter with an inclusive, international theme.

The Grand Spectrum Theater on forward Decks 6 and 7 is an excellent venue with state-of-the-art sound, lighting and sight lines.  The drawback here is that it is too small to accommodate peak demand, meaning that there are usually lines to get in and that even if you arrive on time, there may be no seats. 

Nonetheless, I saw my favorite show of the week here, a fantastic tribute to Latin music called “Amor Latino”, performed by the superb cast of dancers and singers.  While the show had creative visuals and colorful costumes, it was all about the basics:  great voices and moves.  And the live conga drums were an extra treat.  Later in the week, I caught the new “Color My World”, an amusing show with that same excellent cast performing songs like “True Colors” and “Paint It Black”, while digitally “painting” the stage and backdrops in a frenzied style that would even make Jackson Pollack smile.

Another key evening space was the Lido Beach Pool area, which hosts the Carnival Seaside Theater for movie screenings under the stars or the once per week Evolution Party, a wild, glow stick-wielding bash, hosted by the cruise director.

Daily Things to Do on Carnival Celebration

Daytime activities include trivia and other hosted games, movies on the big LED screen Carnival Seaside Theater, dance classes, bingo, bean bag contests, ice carving demonstrations, karaoke, scavenger hunts, singalongs and more.   All of these activities are listed on the Carnival Hub App, which worked very well during my week on board. 

While printed programs are not left in the cabin during turn down, they are available in various parts of the ship like the guest relations desk and at the JavaBlue Cafe.  

Nightlife on Carnival Celebration

There is plenty to do on this ship at all times of day but at night, the fun factor accelerates. From the buzz of the Gateway and 820 Biscayne zones to Celebration Central with its shops, bars and restaurants and the dramatically lit, balmy deck and pool areas, just being on board is truly like a night out on the town.

In addition to all the dining options and the mainstage shows, there is live music throughout the ship (Caribbean sounds, Country, Solo Guitar, Acoustic, Cocktail Piano Tunes, Classical, Latin, etc.), comedy performances in the Limelight and Punchliner Comedy Club lounges, dance classes, mini-golf contests, karaoke and late-night game shows.  Late at night, the Limelight usually turns into the disco, while the Piano Bar 88 caters to night owls who might fancy a singalong.

Carnival Celebration’s Empress Casino (the name is a tip of the hat to the Empress of Canada and Empress of Britain, which became Carnival’s first ships,  Mardi Gras and Carnivale), is massive.  Occupying the greater portion of Deck 7, it has 18 gaming tables (cards, roulette, craps and more) and 180 slots.  This venue is open any time the ship is not in port and stays open 24/7 while at sea.

Carnival Celebration Bars and Lounges

Many venues have their own themed menus, which makes bar hopping on this mega ship even more fun.  

For those who want to “libate" as much as possible, Carnival’s Cheers! drink package covers all spirits, sodas, beer, energy drinks, glasses of wine and specialty coffees priced under $20 on a $59.95 per per day basis for the entire cruise with some tax caveats specific to certain regions. 

Our Picks

For Ship lovers and Carnival Superfans: IMHO, nothing beats the Golden Jubilee for its authentic Carnival artifacts and the backstory of how these items from past Carnival ships were rescued from the scrapyard to be enjoyed again in this unique lounge.  Even without the Carnival connection, the etched glass panels, elements of mahogany and brass, replica vintage chairs and delightful tabletops adorned with Old Hollywood cariacatures comprise one of the most elegant settings at sea.  This might be the best place to try a Carnival Cosmo (with a special twist of Limoncello) and listen closely, just in case you can hear those history-festooned walls speak.

For A Travel-Themed Twist:  The Latitudes Bar is a fun and elegant setting with its double deck ceiling and windows that change color and broadcast images and video related to travel.  Pull up a bar stool with international passport stamps on the back, take a seat underneath that big clapboard sign and ponder your next destination.  How about raising a toast to Italy with a refreshing Aperol Spritz?

Seaside Libations:  Located on the promenade on starboard Deck 8 in the Summer Landing zone, the Watering Hole is an ideal spot to get a drink within earshot of the sea.  The starboard side has several seating areas and a pair of hot tubs, while a short walk away, the port side has a few nooks with deck chairs to settle in.

Guy’s Pig And Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse:  This lively spot in the Summer Landing Zone is a great setting for people watching throughout the day and live music each evening.  Ideal for literally hogging out, the Hog Sampler, features four different Carnival exclusive IPAs that are a perfect combination for the Guy Fieri barbecue fare.

Havana Bar:  This wildly colorful space, inspired by its namesake Cuban city, is located adjacent to the Havana enclave on forward Deck 8.  Unlike the deck area and al fresco bar outside, the interior portion of the bar is open to all and the setting for dance classes, quizzes and latin themed music.  A perfect spot for a Daiquiri Clasico or, for added brain power at quiz time, a Cuban Coffee.

Blue With A View:  Frankly any drink would be ideal at Aquaria, the gorgeous, blue mosaic-tiled-bar overlooking Celebration Central from the Deck 7 balcony.  Settle in and stare at the actual sea through the 30 foot tall pane of glass or pretend you are swimming in it while admiring the five fiber optically enhanced glass panels of undersea life by Venetian artist Luciano Vistosi that are mounted above the bar.  Another nod to Carnival’s 50th anniversary, these stunning artworks were removed from Carnival Victory during its conversion to the Carnival Radiance.

Adults Only:  Carnival Celebration has one of the fleet’s best adults-only Serenity enclaves on forward Deck 18, which includes a dedicated pool, its own salad bar and the Serenity Bar, which is open during daylight hours.  This is the spot to get away from the delightfully organized chaos of the Lido Zone, just aft, and chill out with a favorite beverage.

Dining

The quality and variety of food on Carnival Celebration and Carnival in general, is well beyond what one would normally expect on a mass-market cruise ship.  We were aboard early in the ship’s maiden cruise season, so there were some expected staffing glitches here and there but the service was, without exception cheerful and energetic.

Counting every included and for fee food venue on the top and in the heart of the ship, there are 21 food options to choose from, plus room service.

There are two main dining rooms, the Carnivale on midships Deck 6 and the Festivale on aft Decks 6 and 7.  On the lower level of Festivale and at Carnivale, there are fixed early and late sittings while the upper level of the Festivale is open seating.

For room service, breakfast basics like fruit, coffee, yogurt and cereal are complimentary but charges apply for sandwiches and other items.  There is also a 24 hour room service menu with a la carte priced items (plus 18% service charge) available on the Carnival HUB app. 

Free Restaurants on Carnival Celebration

Carnivale Restaurant.  Located on Deck 6, it is directly aft of the Golden Jubilee, which features the doors, an etched glass panel and a brass telegraph from its namesake, the Carnivale, Carnival’s second ship.  This restaurant is a single deck venue decorated in pleasing deep blue and autumn-hued tones.  On the final sea day, it is the setting for the Dr. Seuss Green Eggs and Ham breakfast.  Otherwise, this is one of two main dining rooms with revolving lunch and dinner menus, where guests can order time-held Carnival favorites like a Caesar salad, melting chocolate cake and an absolutely delicious, authentic and out of this world Indian vegetarian dinner.

Tip:  Each night there is a selection from one of the specialty restaurants like a delicious Chicken Parmesan from Cucina del Capitano and for a surcharge, guests can even order a steakhouse selection.

Festivale Restaurant.  Located on aft Decks 6 and 7, this is a spectacular double-deck space with a dome supported by lily pad columns straight out of the legendary Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Johnson Wax office building in Racine, Wisconsin.  Named for Carnival’s third ship, the Festivale offers up the same fare as Carnivale and is also home to the popular sea day brunch.  The lower level is for fixed early or late seating and the upper level is for Your Time (open seating) dining. 

Tip: In both of the main dining rooms, you can expect singing and dancing waiters and a festive dining experience for all.  Be prepared to wave your napkin and maybe even dance!

Guy’s Burger Joint.  In an enclave between the upper level of the RedFrog Tiki Bar and Club 02 on Deck 17, Guy’s Burger Joint is one of two Guy Fieri-partnered dining venues on the Carnival Celebration.  As the name implies, this is the place to get freshly made ground chuck burgers with hand cut fries and a selection of toppings to slather on them.

The Lido Marketplace.  Located on Deck 16 between the midships Beach Pool and the aft Tides Pool, the Lido Marketplace is the ship’s traditional buffet dining venue.  Full length windows infuse the space with sunlight and a nice touch is the elevated booth seating, so the views are great from just about every seat.  I personally loved the fresh ingredients in the salad bar, which is better than most with extra selections like Greek salad, kale salad and other daily specials.  In addition to the expected meat, pasta and potato dishes, there are some nice international choices like curry, couscous and Asian specialties in the mix.  Basically, there’s a little something for everyone here. 

Tip:  Don’t miss the often mislabeled but delightfully crispy caramel cookies at the dessert station.

BlueIguana Cantina.  A staple on every Carnival ship, this go-to for authentic Mexican food is located forward of the Beach Pool on Deck 16.  From the scratch-made corn tortillas to assorted picos and a tongue-searing selection of salsas, it is a convenient place to grab a bite to go.  Like Chipotle or Baja Fresh, you basically point to the ingredients you like and the staff does the burrito and taco making. 

Tip:  A nice plus is that on Carnival Celebration, the BlueIguana has its own sink area to wash up in before using the salsa bar.

StreetEats.  Located across from BlueIguana at the forward end of the Beach Pool on Deck 16, StreetEats is a newly exclusive to the Excel Class ships.  My main beef with it was on port days when it didn’t open up until 3:00 PM, while I was still sated from lunch, so I missed sampling it until most of the cruise was over. 

This new eatery is comprised of three venues that emulate big city fast ethnic food trucks: Time Fries for varied fries with different flavors and toppings; SteamDream, which features morsels like Asian steamed bar buns and pot stickers and Mad Sizzle for kebabs and satays.  In a week of excellent and varied dining, Mad Sizzle may have provided my favorite bite on the ship with its spicy curried chicken atop a lentil and rice pancake.  So fresh, aromatic and tasty! 

Tip:  Definitely try to squeeze a visit in between meals, if necessary. 

Big Chicken. Big Chicken is one of my favorite eateries on the ship for its sizzling hot, crispy, juicy fried chicken offerings and some of the best fries afloat.  And the lines move fast, making this the perfect option for a quick and satisfying meal.

Tip:  My mouth is watering just writing about the MDE (Most Dominant Ever) chicken sandwich with pickles and Shaq sauce or even just a bowl of those chicken strips and fries! 

Chibang.  I love both Asian and Mexican food, so for me, Chibang, which was introduced on the Mardi Gras in 2022 and will probably go fleet wide, was a no brainer.  This open kitchen, full-service restaurant borders the Havana enclave on forward Deck 8 and not only has one of the best logos (a split Chinese and Aztec calendar) but also a compelling menu of Chinese and Mexican staples like noodle bowls or burrito bowls for lunch and a dinner menu with everything from egg drop soup and beef sopas to Kung Pao Chicken and Chicken Mole. 

This is an unusual but winning combination of cuisines in a festive setting filled with color and folk art details.  For a surcharge, there is a golden roasted duck entree that is carved table side but don’t let the “for two” description fool you — it is big enough to feed four or more.  My one quibble here is that there are no Asian beers like Tsing Tao or Kirin Ichiban on the menu, which would be ideal with dishes like Chicken Spring Rolls and Hakka Noodles.  Also note that there is no surcharge to dine here yet but that may change in the future.  

Tip:  This venue books up fast, so make a reservation early.

Cucina del Capitano.  This is a Carnival staple, many thanks to the company’s lineage of Italian officers who would not tolerate anything but truly authentic Italian cuisine.  The free-for-now (there have been hints that a surcharge is coming soon to the Excel Class just as it is levied for the Cucinas on the other ships of the fleet) this space has a lighter, more contemporary vibe than its counterpart on the Mardi Gras.  But it has the same menu with its own selection of historic photos of past officers and captains in the fleet.  The minestrone soup and the salads are delicious and you can never go wrong with the Chicken Parmesan. 

Tip: If you fancy apple anything, save room for the Baked Apple Tart Topped With Hazelnut Streusel dessert.

Guy’s Pig and Anchor Smokehouse and Brewery.  In addition to the sprawling interior dining area and bar, which features live music performances and is one of the ship’s most popular hangouts throughout the afternoon and evening, tthis venue has a wonderful patio area on the port side for lunch.  So many people were comparing the Blue Ribbon Chicken with Big Chicken, I had to see for myself which one was better.  Would it be Guy’s succulent and marinated or Shaq’s piping hot and breaded?  Still can’t decide but I do highly recommend stopping here, not just for the food but for the setting, which is within earshot of the sea. 

Tip:  The sides, like Scratch Made Slaw, MacDaddy Mac and Cheese and Old Stool Potato Salad can be a meal unto themselves.

Miami Slice.  For Neapolitan style pizza lovers, Carnival’s pizza is among the best at sea with it’s thin, chewy and authentic dough, excellent cheese and quality toppings.  Located in the 820 Biscayne Zone, Miami Slice is the Carnival Celebration’s dedicated pizza venue.  Especially on embarkation day when the crowds on Deck 16 were in full force, this was a quick, convenient and less crowded pit stop for a tasty slice or even a whole pie.  On the down side, there are five types of pizza here and that’s it, so if you want some salad to go with it, then you may have to head up to Deck 16, after all. 

Deco Deli:  Adjacent to Miami Slice in 820 Biscayne, this is the go-to for excellent sandwiches that are prepared on delicious, freshly baked breads.  Deco Deli has some Cuban-inspired offerings like Pan Con Lechon (pulled pork) and Croqueta (ham and cheese on Cuban bread) and also some regular favorites like turkey, tuna and a Reuben, as well as hot dogs with sauerkraut.

Tip:  For even more of a Cuban experience, you can get a Cuban coffee or tropical drink at the nearby Bar 820.

What Restaurants Cost Extra on Carnival Celebration

Fahrenheit 555, $$$:  This beautifully decorated space with its sophisticated silver and crimson soft fittings and crystal chandeliers is one of the best steakhouses at sea.  The nice thing is, unlike steakhouses on other lines which only offer steaks and fish, Fahrenheit 555 has a fantastic alternative with its rosemary-infused chicken entree. Popular selections include New England Crab Cake starters, a sun ripened beefsteak tomato with gorgonzola salad and a spice-rubbed prime ribeye or perhaps a broiled lobster entree. 

Tip:  If you are a baked potato fan, this is your chance to get one with all the trimmings.

Rudi’s SeaGrill, $$$:  Chef Rudi Sodamin is not only Master Chef for Holland America Line and the Head of Culinary Art at Princess Cruises but also the namesake chef for this popular new exclusive-to-the-Excel Class Carnival eatery.  The airy, modern space on Deck 8 boasts deep blue sea tones with sandy white accents and curved MidCenturyModern ceilings that would make Andy Warhol swoon.  I actually prefer this eatery with its lighter atmosphere and fare to the rich courses in Rudi’s Sel De Mer on the Holland America ships but both venues feature his amusing vegetable “face plate” chargers.

Bonsai Sushi, $ to $$:  This popular dining space on Deck 7 is a lovely space with its green-tea-colored soft fittings offset in tan and ash wood tones.  In addition to a wide selection of a la carte priced sushi and sashimi courses, it has miso soup and intriguing desserts like green tea cupcakes and yuzu custard.

Tip: If weather conditions permit, try and get a seat on the exterior patio for nice sea views.

Bonsai Teppanyaki, $$$:  Is it performance art or a dining experience?  Well, actually, a bit of both.  This is definitely not the place for a low-key romantic dinner, so be prepared to be dazzled by your chef as he chop, chop, chops steaming piles of rice, fish, chicken, tofu and steak into various shapes while singing, spinning and flipping his machete into the air.  This is a venue to be enjoyed as an event unto itself and not where you grab a quick bite before the show. 

Tip:  Bring a big appetite but don’t come here famished as the “intro” portion of the meal takes a while and the first courses aren’t served for a good 30 minutes or so.

SeaFood Shack, $ to $$: Located by the Beach Pool, it offers up a la carte priced sea food from fish and chips and New England Clam Chowder to steamed lobster by the pound.

Emeril’s Bistro 1397, $ to $$$:  Mardi Gras introduced the first celebrity chef Emeril Legasse-partnered Emeril’s to the Carnival fleet and on Carnival Celebration, the execution has been refined a bit.  Located adjacent to the Latitudes Bar in the Gateway Zone, Emeril’s Bistro 1397 (the numbers are  Carnival Celebration’s shipyard hull number) has the same a la carte-priced Creole courses as Mardi Gras' Emeril’s Bistro 1396 with some extra added specials inspired by the international travel themes that are projected in the fiberoptic ceiling and giant windows that surround the double deck space. On Celebration, the open kitchen has also been flipped to an inboard position, allowing more seating overlooking the sea.

Tip:  For a decadent breakfast, try the beignets and/or the Bananas Foster.

JavaBlue Cafe, $:  This was my first stop every morning for a frothy cappuccino.  A nice plus is that complimentary pastries and sandwiches are available here without all the hustle and bustle of trekking up to the Lido.  I found the sandwiches, like the delicious turkey and egg on whole wheat, a convenient and tasty way to fuel up before heading out on excursion.  There are also some a la carte priced items like milkshakes, donuts, cup cakes and energy drinks. 

Tip:  Make sure you get a JavaBlue card — after six, the next specialty coffee is free.  The downside is that the card is only valid at JavaBlue and not Bar 820 or Emeril’s, the two alternate go-to’s for espresso coffees when JavaBlue has a long line.

Carnival Kitchen, $$$:  Located on Deck 6, this is the place to learn how to make Carnival menu favorites like the Melting Chocolate Cake. 

Chef’s Table, $$$$:  An epic dining event with champagne and wine pairings that is set deep within the galley.  Available on a limited basis. 

Cruise Critic Restaurant Picks on Carnival Celebration

Big Chicken and on sea days, Street Eats, were my favorites for quick and delicious casual lunch bites.  Chibang and Cucina Del Capitano were wonderful evening options, especially since they don’t levy a cover charge — yet.  For a romantic dinner, the elegant setting and doting service of Fahrenheit 555 were unbeatable but this is an extremely popular venue, so make those reservations early.

Dietary Restrictions on Carnival Celebration

With all the varied dining venues on Carnival Celebration, there is no one overall method as to how the cuisine is prepared, so guests are encouraged to discuss any concerns with the headwaiter, dining room host or server.  That said, Carnival can provide meals suited for vegetarian, low-cholesterol, low-fat, low-carbohydrate, low-sugar, and gluten-free preferences.

Prepackaged kosher meals can also be provided with two weeks’ advance notice and Carnival equips all ships with Menu Mate™ to accommodate guests with food allergies. The staff will ask guests about food allergies and enter any restrictions into the app, where the software sorts through all available options and displays which items are allergen-free, which options can be modified to exclude the specified allergen and which selections should be avoided.