Carnival Cruises according to Fodor's:
The world's largest cruise line originated the Fun Ship concept in 1972 with the relaunch of an aging ocean liner, which got stuck on a sandbar during its maiden voyage. In true entrepreneurial spirit, founder Ted Arison shrugged off an inauspicious beginning to introduce superliners only a decade later. Sporting red-white-and-blue flared funnels, which are easily recognized from afar, new ships are continuously added to the fleet and rarely deviate from a successful pattern. If you find something you like on one vessel, you're likely to find something similar on another.
Even the decor is fun; each vessel features themed public rooms, ranging from ancient Egypt to futuristic motifs. More high-energy than cerebral, the entertainment consists of lavish Las Vegas-style revues presented in main show lounges by a company of singers and dancers. Other performers might include comedians, magicians, jugglers, acrobats, and even passengers taking part in the talent show or stepping up to the karaoke microphone. Live bands play a wide range of musical styles for dancing and listening in smaller lounges, and each ship has a disco.
Arrive early to get a seat for bingo and art auctions. Adult activities, particularly the competitive ones, tend to be silly and hilarious and play to full houses. Relaxing poolside can be difficult when Caribbean bands crank up the volume or the cruise director selects volunteers for pool games; fortunately, it's always in fun and mostly entertaining. There's generally a quieter, second pool to retreat to -- even an adults-only topless sunning deck.
Carnival is so sure passengers will be satisfied with their cruise experience that they are the only cruise line to offer a "Vacation Guarantee." Just notify them before arriving at the first port of call if you're unhappy for any reason. Should you choose to disembark at the ship's first non-U.S. port, Carnival will refund the unused portion of your cruise fare and pay for your flight back to your embarkation port. It's a generous offer for which they get very few takers.
As a past guest, and a 20-something, married adult with no children, I find that Carnival works well with my lifestyle. While it definately fits with the party all night, sleep late in the morning crowd. [**cough**cough**mom? dad? sound familiar] I'm more into the experience. I love the opportunities available to learn and grow with Carnival. I'm not naive, just on a budget. I understand that Princess and Royal Carribean offers these experiences, but they also offer that upscale price tag. For me, its about my rum punches, curly slide, cute towel animal experience, not the glamour, the casino, or the rave parties.
Fodor's goes on to say this, "If you've never sailed on a Carnival ship, or haven't sailed on one in recent years, you may not understand how Carnival cruises have evolved. The shipboard atmosphere is still bright, noisy, and fun, but the beer-drinking contests and bawdy, anything-goes image are history. Unfortunately, much like Casual Friday has evolved from no tie in the office to jeans and a polo shirt, it isn't unusual to see Carnival passengers dressed very casually after dinner, even on formal nights. You may be surprised at how quickly some passengers can swap their black ties and gowns for T-shirts and shorts between the dining room and show lounge."
The funny thing about that statement is that the beer-drinking contests and bawdy anything goes atmosphere bring back fond memories. [**cough**cough**right mom, didn't you when one of those contests in Dominica]
(my parents showing off the drink specials with Corona in hand)