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Your Guide to the Best Carnival Cruise Destinations

Cruise ship deck - best Carnival Cruise destinations

For most people, cruising is the best way to travel the world. Not only can you experience multiple ports of call on a single trip, but you can also have a lot more fun on the ship than you could with a traditional hotel. 

Carnival is one of the largest cruise lines in the world, with more than 20 ships making over 1,500 trips across the globe annually. However, with so many different options, how can you know which cruise will deliver the best vacation experience? Here are our picks for the best Carnival Cruise destinations for your next adventure.

An Overview of Carnival Cruises

Carnival is billed as the “most popular cruise line” in the world. Considering that it operates nine unique brands and has over 85 ships in its fleet, we’re inclined to agree. The first Carnival Cruise set out from Miami in 1972, but now ships depart from various ports of call in the US and abroad. 

The largest Carnival Cruise ship is called the Panorama, and it can accommodate up to 4,008 guests on a single voyage. When booking your cruise, you can choose the best-sized ship for your preferences. That said, the bigger the ship, the more there is to do, and the less you feel the ocean waves. 

If you’re ready to discover how you can save on your next cruise and also earn commissions by easily booking cruises for others, check out our article about how to become a Carnival Cruise travel agent.

What are the Best Carnival Cruise Destinations?

Overall, Carnival travels to 20 distinct locales around the globe. Each location has multiple ports of call, so you’re sure to find a cruise that fits your travel preferences. While we could outline all 20 destinations here, we’ve compiled a list of our top five regions, which we’ll break down accordingly. 

Whether you’re looking for fun in the sun or want something with a more historical slant, these cruises can deliver a one-of-a-kind vacation experience for you and your guests. 

The Caribbean

When it comes to the best Carnival Cruise destinations, the Caribbean is almost a given. Many ships take off from ports in Florida (e.g., Port Canaveral or Fort Lauderdale) because of its proximity to islands like the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. 

Because the Bahamas is so close to the mainland, it’s easy to take a weekend trip and explore islands like Nassau, Bimini, Free Port, and more. Also, in 2025, Carnival will unveil its own private island. Celebration Key will only be available for Carnival Cruise guests, meaning you have to book a trip to experience the fun and excitement. 

Other Caribbean destinations include: 

  • St. Maarten – St. Maarten is unique because it’s technically part of two separate countries: France and the Netherlands. Because of this, the entire island is split down the middle, so you can explore the French or Dutch side at your leisure. Although the island is technically foreign, many of the places are built for tourists, so it’s easy to get around and find what you need. 
  • St. Kitts – St. Kitts is part of the British Commonwealth, so you’ll find plenty of English-style accommodations. Because the island is so rugged, much of it is covered in dense jungle and wildlife. So, if you want to explore nature and the surrounding waters, you’ll love spending the day on St. Kitts. 
  • Jamaica – Cruise ships dock in the port city of Falmouth, where you can venture onto the island and get a taste of Jamaican culture and cuisine. Jamaica is great if you want a laid-back day exploring rivers and waterfalls, or you can learn more about the island’s history by taking guided tours. 
  • Bermuda – Don’t worry about getting lost in Bermuda. This island chain is full of pristine beaches, gorgeous golf courses, and (of course) shipwrecks off the coast. If you’re into diving or snorkeling, you’ll want to come here. 
  • Belize – Although Mexico gets most of the attention for its Mayan and Aztec ruins, Belize has multiple historical sites and ruins. Additionally, Belizean culture is unique and full of fun and celebration. Divers and snorkelers will also appreciate exploring the barrier reefs offshore. 
  • Aruba – Aruba is another Dutch territory, but since it’s made for tourists, many of the signs are in English, and most of the locals speak at least a little English. This island is relatively small, but it’s perfect for relaxing and unwinding on the beach. 
Cruise ship - best Carnival Cruise destinations

Mexico

While you can visit Mexico by crossing the border with a vehicle, it’s so much better to experience the country via a Carnival Cruise. However, you’ll have to determine which side of the country you want to visit. The Yucatan Peninsula has some of the best Mayan ruins (including Cozumel and Chichen Itza). However, the California side has more historical towns where you can learn about Mexico’s past. 

Some of the best places to visit on the Baja side include:

  • Cabo San Lucas – The Baja Peninsula is the second largest in the world, and because it’s relatively narrow, you can explore the water on both sides, especially when you’re on the tip of Cabo San Lucas. The Sea of Cortez on the eastern side is calm and gorgeous, but you can’t beat the fishing and boating on the Pacific Ocean side. 
  • Mazatlan – If you drew a straight line from Cabo San Lucas to the mainland, you would hit Mazatlan. This city has a perfect blend of history and modern amenities, as well as access to some of the best nature Mexico has to offer. Here, you can choose between ziplining through the rainforest or exploring the colonial district and seeing original Spanish buildings. 
  • Puerto Vallarta – Puerto Vallarta is a bit further south from Mazatlan, and it’s another historical city with many unique landmarks and amenities. The best time to visit is during the winter, when humpback whales migrate past the port. So, you can take a boat tour and see these majestic animals up close. 

Europe

Because Europe is so vast and contains so many different countries, you have to plan accordingly when choosing the right cruise destinations. Rather than list a bunch of cities or villages outright, let’s break down the different European regions you can explore while on a Carnival Cruise. 

  • British Isles – If you want to visit the Old World, you can go around Great Britain and visit places in Ireland, Scotland, and jolly old England. Plus, since you’ll be going around the entire island, you can visit some spots on the mainland, such as France, Germany, or Spain. This area is perfect if you want to explore castles and drink at pubs. 
  • Mediterranean – The Mediterranean climate is about as accommodating as it gets. The weather is never too hot or cold, and it’s virtually sunny and balmy all year round. After passing through the Strait of Gibraltar, you can explore so many more countries like Türkiye, Croatia, Italy, Greece, Malta, and Tunisia. Plus, Spanish and French cities on the Mediterranean side are much more elegant and laid-back, so you can relax during your entire vacation. 
  • Northern Europe – Although you don’t want to take a cruise on the northern part of Europe during the winter, you can explore countries like Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway during the spring and summer. Here is also where you can visit The Netherlands and Belgium on your way to Germany if you prefer. 

Panama Canal

While the Caribbean is a fantastic place to enjoy the island life, Panama is one of those countries you have to cross off your bucket list. Specifically, going through the Panama Canal is one of those experiences that will leave a lasting impression. Plus, you get to pass by all the various Caribbean nations along the way. 

Before going to the other side, you’ll want to visit Panama City and the historical town of Colon. Here, you can also learn more about the canal’s history and what it took to create it in the 1800s. The engineering behind it is fascinating, so it’s well worth taking a guided tour. 

On the other side of the canal, you can explore South American ports of call like: 

  • Cartagena, Colombia – If you’ve ever seen the film “Romancing the Stone,” the name Cartagena should sound familiar. The city has transformed a lot since the film came out, and it’s much more modern and accommodating for tourists. The city also has a vibrant past as a Spanish colony, so you’ll want to stroll through the streets of the old downtown district. 
  • Limon, Costa Rica – Costa Rica is one of the best Central American countries because it offers so many natural experiences. If you love coffee, rainforests, or tropical animals, you’ll want to make a stop in Limon. There are many ecotourist options so you can learn more about the local ecosystem and what you can do to help preserve it. 
  • Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala – If Mexican ruins aren’t your thing, you can explore many other Mayan and Aztec ruins in Guatemala instead. Puerto Quetzal is also home to an active volcano, and you can experience it up close during your visit. 

Australia and Oceania

If you’re traveling from the United States, Australia and Oceania is about as far away as you can get without circling the entire globe. This region is spectacular because it’s so unique and different from what you can experience in the US. Not only is the climate opposite (i.e., June and July are winter months over there), but there are so many unique natural wonders. 

Australia and New Zealand are easy to explore when you’re on a cruise because they’re so close to each other. However, you must also visit Tasmania along the way so you can cross it off your bucket list. 

Some of the best ports of call in this region include: 

  • Melbourne – While Carnival doesn’t go to Sydney, Melbourne is the next best thing. This city has everything you could want, and you’ll get a fantastic taste of Australian culture during your stay. 
  • Auckland – As the capital of New Zealand, Auckland feels similar to most other big cities, but it also has some impressive natural wonders surrounding it. You may need more than one day to explore this paradise. 
  • Napier – If you’re a fan of Art Deco architecture and design, you have to visit Napier. This city was entirely rebuilt during the 1930s, and it’s designated as the Art Deco capital of the world. 
  • Papua New Guinea – Like the Caribbean, there are many tropical islands surrounding Australia, including Papua New Guinea. This destination is incredible, thanks to its rich natural beauty and remarkable cultural history. When visiting, you’ll almost feel like you’re traveling to a brand new world. 

How to Book Discounted Carnival Cruises as a Boardwalk Travel Agent

Are you ready to explore the best Carnival Cruise destinations around the world? What if you could make money while doing it? As a Boardwalk Travel agent, you can! Signing up with the Boardwalk Travel Agency allows you to access discounts and perks that aren’t available on other booking and travel websites. 

Best of all, you can earn commissions with each trip. This not only means you can get money back when you take a cruise, but you can also help your friends and family explore the globe and earn money from their trips. Once you’ve booked a few cruises, you can start promoting yourself as a travel agent and use your earnings to book more vacations for less! Plus, Boardwalk pays higher commission rates (up to 70 percent) than other agencies, so more money goes into your pocket. 

Get started with Boardwalk Travel Agency today, and see how easy it is to take Carnival Cruises from wherever you are. 

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