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Carnival Cruise Review: Floating RSL or Family Fun Ship?

Ever feel like you just need to get away from the usual hum-drum of life, and have a break from the constant pressures of work, and family life, and just switch off and relax?

Like many of us, Mum Media Group director Emma Marks, found that even on holiday she’d find it hard to unwind and turn her mind away from work completely – just checking an email here, or replying to a social media enquiry there. She needed a holiday destination that would require her to unplug completely, with no choice but to relax, have fun, and recharge those batteries ready for the busy work year ahead.

After speaking with friends who couldn’t recommend family cruise holidays enough, Emma decided to book a trip for herself and her two youngest children aboard the Carnival Cruise Ship.  Here’s what Emma has to say about her travel experience:

*Please note this is NOT a sponsored post*

Floating RSL or Family Fun Ship?

Carnival Cruise Review

I was exhausted! School was over and work had been super hard and I needed a holiday! The problem was my husband couldn’t take the time off and our older children all had commitments. So it was down to me and the 2 youngest 8 and 6.

I needed a holiday where I was going to get a break as well and not spend all the time trying to keep the kids entertained.   Also not having to cook or clean would be a major bonus. If we went overseas or interstate I would have to plan outings and it would be hard work! What could I do? Hmmm…

That’s when a friend suggested I have a look at a cruise – they had just come back from one and their kids loved it!

My last memory of a cruise was back in my ‘younger years’ and I had really enjoyed it -but this was PK (pre kids) and I had no idea if it would be suitable for my children. I jumped online to have a look at the Carnival cruises and was blown away! The list of kids activities and entertainment on the ship was phenomenal!

12 deck high and 3 footy fields long this ship had everything! 45 activities everyday including sports, games, classes, seminars, shows there is something for everyone.

day activities carnival cruise review
An example of all of the activities available on just one day aboard the Carnival Cruise ship


The kids only had to see the Green Thunder on the website (the steepest and fastest water slide at sea), and the Carnival waterworks including Splashzone, they were sold!

My husband on the other hand wasn’t so easily impressed, and said it sounded like a floating RSL! I told him that if he was wrong and it was as much fun as the kids and I suspected, then he would be joining us next year!

We spend lots of time online looking through all the activities for the kids and by the time we were ready to go they had their entire trip planned. We had decided on a 10 day Pacific Cruise and would be visiting Noumea and Vanuatu plus 2 other islands.

With a kids club basically open all day and night and divided into age groups the Carnival was definitely onto a winner for me.

Once we arrived at the ship and settled in our adventure began!

Carnival cruise review

A Typical Day ‘At Sea’ on Board the Carnival Cruise Ship

9am breakfast on the top deck (choosing from 5 different service sections)

Breakfast finished and the kids were absolutely ‘dying’ to go to the kids club where today they will have a Pirate theme and be making costumes and playing games.

That leaves me to lie by one of the 4 pools (1 especially for the adults only) and read a book!

carnival crise review

Just before lunch the kids club closes and the kids and I grab lunch together (again the choices are endless – today Tom and I hit the burger bar!) and the kids tell me all about the kids club and what they have done all morning.

Carnival Cruise review

The kids club reopens after lunch but the kids and I have decided to hit the water zone where the kids play and I again relax.

At 5:30 we are booked in for the early dinner (there are 2 seatings at 6 and 8) and we sit down to a formal dinner and a lovely chat again.

Once dinner has finished the kids are already complaining that the kids club is open and ‘all their friends are waiting for them’ so I drop them off and decide what to do.

There are shows on in the theatre, 4 different bands playing in the various bars, the massive casino, library, the shopping mall has sales happening and there are other restaurants open (if dinner didn’t fill me up!).

The kids club closes at 9:45pm when I go and grab the kids and try and sneak past the 10pm show that the kids would love (did I mention the earliest night was 11pm for the kids!!!)

Carnival Cruise Review

Up to the top deck for a 25 hour pizza and a hot chocolate and time for bed.

Sounds hard right????

The days at port are very much the same except once docked at the Islands you have 8 hours to head off the ship and look around. The ship has a tour desk so you can book tours on all islands at anytime (be quick though as the popular ones book out).

carnival cruise review

Some of the other highlights on board the Carnival Cruise Ship were:

The Hasbro Game Show – A new concept for the Australian market – the show allows guests to fully immerse themselves into life-size versions of their favourite childhood games including Operation and Connect 4 to win prizes.

Seuss at Sea – Bringing life to the Dr Seuss classic books the Seuss at Sea celebrates in many different ways; A green eggs and ham breakfast with Cat in the Hat, Meet and interact with all the characters including a parade through the ship and interactive story time in the theatre with the stars!

Did I also mention…

The staff! Kids are by far a loved entity on the Carnival. The last night on the ship the kids and I were in tears saying good bye to our dinner staff and all we had met on board. No request is too much and you feel truly spoilt the whole time. Each night in the restaurant the staff put on a song or a show and it is a true highlight.

I spoke to some other families that we met on the ship and asked them for their thoughts on the cruise:

Jody, her husband and two kids (aged 2 and 4) had previously done a Christmas cruise with the Carnival Spirit and had such a good time they had decided to check out the Carnival Legend. I asked her what the highlight was from this trip

‘The kids have really taken to the kids club this time which has meant that my husband and I have been able to spend some quality time together’

Deb who was travelling with her husband, mum and 3 kids loved the amount and variety of activities  on board as well as the adventures available on shore.

carnival Cruise review


The Verdict

I don’t know how much the fact I didn’t have to cook or clean for 10 days has had to do with it, but I officially want to live on a cruise ship!

I haven’t stopped raving and already we are looking forward to doing it all again next year AND guess what…

It turns out the ship was less like a floating RSL and more like a family fun ship and now hubby is well and truly ON BOARD!!!






Jolene enjoys writing, sharing and connecting with other like-minded women online – it also gives her the perfect excuse to ignore Mount-Washmore until it threatens to bury her family in an avalanche of Skylander T-shirts and Frozen Pyjama pants. (No one ever knows where the matching top is!) Likes: Reading, cooking, sketching, dancing (preferably with a Sav Blanc in one hand), social media, and sitting down on a toilet seat that one of her children hasn’t dripped, splashed or sprayed on. Dislikes: Writing pretentious crap about herself in online bio’s and refereeing arguments amongst her offspring.

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