Carnival Radiance

Carnival Cruise Line

Ship information

Carnival Radiance

About Carnival Radiance

Carnival Radiance debuted in December 2021 after a $200-million-dollar dry dock makeover that revamped the former Carnival Victory. The massive refit allowed Carnival to stock the 2,984-passenger ship with the line's fan favorites – think: WaterWorks slides, SkyCourse ropes course and a thermal suite, to name a few -- along with new top-line features, such as Shaq O'Neal's crowd-pleasing Big Chicken shack. Radiance has arrived primed to offer big-ship amenities with the coziness of a mid-size ship, making it a fun, easy-to-navigate, all hands-on deck cruise experience for newbies and veterans alike.

Carnival Radiance Deck Plans Are Welcomingly Familiar and Decor is Updated

In 2018, Carnival Victory received its first round of updates, laying the foundation for its ultimate conversion into Carnival Radiance just three years later. Updates in 2018 introduced Carnival Fun Ship 2.0 features, such as Guy's Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, Carnival Deli, Alchemy Bar, RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, Cherry on Top, Bonsai Sushi and a handful of new staterooms. 

For cruisers who had the opportunity to sail on Carnival Victory (or any other Carnival Triumph-class ship), the bones of the 2022 Destiny-class Carnival Radiance will feel faintly familiar. Completely reimagined spaces and noticeable modifications of Carnival Radiance's deck plans make it look and feel like a completely different ship.

Adding to the new experience is the replacement of Carnival Victory's love-it-or-hate-it spunky, bold and dark color scheme. Radiance sports an entirely new, updated palette that gives off big beach vibes. Classic, airy and fresh sea tones like peach salmon and seafoam green can be found throughout the ship, along with delicate and modern light fixtures

Carnival Radiance New Cloud 9 Spa Rooms Have Several Perks -- and One Big Flaw 

Passengers looking to balance out their Fun Ship cruise with a little R&R might want to consider upgrading their interior or balcony room to one of the ship's new Cloud 9 Spa rooms. These rooms have a more relaxing color palette in their decor and come with great perks, including unlimited free access to the onboard thermal suite – a new Radiance feature -- often well worth the price of the upgrade on its own. 

Other Cloud 9 room perks include priority spa appointments, treatment discounts on port days, a free scrub kit, two free fitness classes per stateroom guest, free body composition analysis and in-room extras such as spa bathrobes and slippers and Elemis shower products. 

Spa Cloud 9 rooms are located at the forward of the ship, on Deck 10 (Panorama Deck) and Deck 11 (Spa Deck), giving guests close access to the gym, spa and thermal suites. One downside to the otherwise clutch location of these rooms is that port side Cloud 9 Spa rooms on Deck 11 are located directly below the ship's Camp Ocean kids club. Expect to hear running and stomping nightly until the kids club closes late into the night. 

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Carnival Radiance Food Options are Plentiful, Though Small Eateries Have Long Lines

Between the buffet, main dining room, three specialty restaurants and six eateries, there's no shortage of places to eat on Carnival Radiance. And we love that, in typical Carnival fashion, the majority of the onboard eateries are included in the price of the cruise. That said, expect long lines during peak times for popular spots such as Guy's Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, Pizzeria del Capitano, and Big Chicken. 

Carnival Deli, Guy's Pig & Anchor, Seafood Shack and Bonsai Sushi are less likely to have exceedingly long lines during peak times, though the latter two options cost extra.

Guy's Pig & Anchor, Pizzeria del Capitano, Cucina del Capitano, Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse and Shaq's wildly-popular Big Chicken are all new additions on Radiance.

The Ship Is Brimming with Onboard Venues and Specialty Areas (But They're Tiny)

It's worth remembering that Radiance's bones date back to 2000, granting a finite amount of space onboard available to refit. For those curious how big Carnival Radiance is, consider this: while Victory may have been one of the largest ships of its time, Radiance -- which has 101,509 gross tonnage -- is now considered to be a mid-sized ship. The sheer number of new features Carnival was able to bring onboard Radiance is nothing short of impressive. 

The trade-off for having the best that Carnival has to offer at your fingertips is that some indoor venues come off being tight on space. The squeeze is particularly felt in the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, the Liquid Lounge main theater, Lido Marketplace buffet line and in the casino. That said, the RedFrog Pub, Alchemy Bar, the spa and thermal suite, gym, outdoor eateries and bars and pool areas feel as spacious as usual. 

Who's On Board Carnival Radiance?

Our initial sailing aboard Carnival Radiance took place during the omicron surge, resulting in at abnormally low capacity. Still, we were happy to see a diverse mix of passengers onboard with us. Fellow passengers ranged in ages from wee kiddos to retirees, with many passengers appearing to be in their late 30s to mid-50s and from all over the U.S.

Couples, solo cruisers, families and friends could be found throughout the ship. Radiance is perfectly set up to appeal to partiers, sun bathers, day drinkers, night owls and quiet folks, all just looking for an easy and fun escape. 

Cabins

Carnival Radiance has 36 cabin types available

Inside Cabins

12 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

12 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

12 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

12 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

12 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

12 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

12 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

12 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

12 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

12 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

12 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

12 Inside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Suite Cabins

4 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

4 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

4 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

4 Suite types to choose from

Deck Plans

13 deck images available

Activities and Entertainment

In keeping with its newest ships, Carnival Radiance features the multi-purpose Liquid Lounge as its main show room. The space has upgraded sound and lighting and can cost high-tech Playlist Production shows. It's a fairly small main theater space, only able to accommodate about one-third of the total passenger count, so arrive early to claim a seat. 

Punchliner Comedy Club hosts several comedy shows a night, usually from two different comedians, a clean all-ages show and spicier adults-only shows later in the evening. There's not a bad view in the house, though some seats and tables are small, making them less than ideal for being stuck in for the duration of the show. 

Limelight Lounge is a bar-venue space located next to the Sunset main dining room at the forward of the ship. Closed for most of the day, this space opens up late afternoon, hosting trivia and karaoke with a side of drinks. It's a great spot to kill time while you wait for your dinner reservation. 

Carnival Radiance Activities and Outdoor Space

One of the standout (or should we say stand-up) activities onboard Carnival Radiance is its SkyCourse. Radiance is the eighth ship in the fleet to get this high-hanging ropes course, and it fits in perfectly at the SportsSquare complex on Deck 11. For more outdoor activity challenges that require less balance, there's also a nine-hole mini golf course, basketball court, foosball and pool table. 

Above the WaterWorks fun, Radiance's Serenity Adults-Only Retreat is dedicated to a kid-free sun deck environment. There are a multitude of sleek padded wicker loungers, sunbeds and cabanas that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Plus, Serenity guests can also soak in their own private multi-person whirlpool overlooking the side of the ship. 

Pools and Water Features on Carnival Radiance

Water-lovers will love the many ways to get wet onboard Carnival Radiance. In addition to two pools – a main family pool at the front of the ship and an adults-only saltwater pool at the back, Radiance also has two slippery WaterWorks waterslides, a 203-foot-long AquaTunnel slide and a 212-foot-long Twister slide, off the main pool area. 

This is also where you'll find the kid's splash area, which has a 75-gallon PowerDrench tipping bucket that pours down on suspecting (and sometimes unsuspecting) passengers once it reaches capacity. 

Radiance has a total of four hot tubs, two each at each of the pool areas. 

Dining

As mentioned, Carnival Radiance is teeming with food options (and you'll earn your feasting by waiting in long primetime lines). In addition to the onboard staples like the Lido Marketplace buffet and the Sunset and Sunrise main dining rooms, Radiance is packed with small eateries and specialty cafes and restaurants that will hit all your major cuisine cravings. 

What Food is Free on Carnival Radiance?

Looking for free grub? Carnival has always got you covered, and Radiance is no exception. Pile your plate high and order to your stomach's content in the main dining rooms, buffet, and popular cafe eateries. 

Build a burger at Guy's Burger Joint. Top your burritos and tacos how you want ‘em at the BlueIguana Cantina toppings buffet bar. Test out Shaq's new Big Chicken – a newly-debuted eatery that has quickly become a line favorite. Select a sandwich at the Carnival Deli. Go ham on some barbecue at the new Guy's Pig & Anchor Smokehouse. Grab a slice at Pizzeria del Capitano, the ship's 24-hour pizza place. Treat yourself to all-you-can-eat frozen yogurt at Swirls FroYo, also open 24/7. 

What restaurants cost extra on Carnival Radiance? 

Carnival Radiance does have a few onboard options that will cost you extra to enjoy. Newly added options include the Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, which accepts dinner reservations and serves up a delicious three-course steakhouse menu for a flat fee of $38 (drinks cost extra) and the Cucina del Capitano, a build-your-own pasta spot open for lunch and dinner right above the buffet. (At $15 a person, Cucina del Capitano may be the best specialty restaurant deal at sea.)

The Chef's Table is an exclusive experience that can book up quickly. This multi-course meal serves up chef creations that you won't find anywhere else on the ship. Other extra-fee specialty eats include casual spots Bonsai Sushi and the relocated Seafood Shack. Both of these restaurants are priced a la carte. 

Carnival Radiance also has a Cherry on Top shop sweets shop where guests can get their fill of candy by the scoopful, as well as fanciful gifts and branded apparel. 

Cruise Critic's Favorite Restaurants on Carnival Radiance

Need some help deciding which restaurants on Carnival Radiance are worth the wait or extra cost? Our top pick for casual eateries is without a doubt the chicken sandwich from Big Chicken, though BlueIguana Cantina is a close second. If you can't swing the Chef's Table, booking into the steakhouse is also a must (beware: portions are very generous). We're also happy to report that the main dining room delivered every time, though the ratio of vegetables was lacking (and – gasp! – there was no lobster on Elegant Night). 

Drinks on Carnival Radiance

Bar hopping on Carnival Radiance is a great way to get a taste of the different libations and bar vibes the ship has to offer. We recommend starting out your morning at the JavaBlue Cafe, where you can grab a cuppa (and, sure, a scone or other pastry, why not?) to get the day started. 

After you've been in the sun a bit, grab drinks on the pool deck at RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar, if you please. While they have a similarly stocked bar, the menus are tweaked to fit their specific theme, with fun things like micheladas and frozen drinks up for grabs. 

As evening approaches, catch a pre-dinner show with a drink at either Limelight Lounge or RedFrog Pub, which host karaoke, live music and more. Radiance also features Carnival's new Heroes Tribute Bar and Lounge where passengers can lift a toast to the men and women in the military. 

Post-dinner, head to the Alchemy Bar and ask them to whip you up a bespoke craft cocktail as a nightcap or join the crowd across the way at the Piano Bar 88 where you can sing-along with your drink of choice into the wee hours of the night. There's also a bar in the casino, if you find yourself in a betting mood. 

Now, the big question: Should you buy any of the Carnival Radiance drink packages? As always, this depends on how much of what you're planning on drinking. The only included beverages during the cruise are tap water at mealtime (or if you ask for it at a bar) and self-serve juices, tea and coffee. Bottled water, soda, specialty juices, espresso drinks and alcoholic beverages cost more, between $1.25 for bottled water, roughly $7 for beer and $20.00 for standard mixed drinks. 

Note that there's a 15-drink maximum per 24-hour period and a five-minute waiting period between each alcoholic beverage purchase. Plus, while the Bottomless Bubbles drink package can be bought individually, the Cheers! drink package must be purchased by everyone of age in the cabin, regardless of whether they drink alcohol or not.