Carnival Cruises' Carnival Venezia - Ship Review.
The 2019 built, Carnival Venezia joined the Carnival Fleet in March 2023. Originally the Costa Venezia, the ship was tranferred between Carnival Corporation Companies - Costa Cruises and Carnival Cruises. The Carnival Venezia completed a refit in Cadiz (March -> May 2023), Spain. The refit combined the best Costa amenities with the amenties that Carnival ships are known for - creating a unique Italian Carnival Cruise experience.
The Carnival Venezia sails from New York year-round through November 2024 to Florida and the Bahamas; Bermuda; New England and Canada; and the Caribbean.
I had the pleasure of sailing on the Carnival Venezia'a maiden voyage from New York City to Bermuda. A 4-day cruises. It was only the second cruise for Carnival on the Venezia and overall the cruise went well and I think the experience will improve as the crew amd Carnival fine tune the onboard experience.
Carnival Venezia - The Ship
The Carnival Venezia is a great ship. Well maintained, clean, modern and fresh from her refit. The ship flows well and it is very easy to navigate around the ship and learn where everything is very fast.
The Carnival Venezia's interior are not like the other Carninval ships in the fleet. The interior is more sophisitcated, stylish and upscale. She is the Italian version of Carnival's Vista Class ship and intentionally tries to provide more initimate spaces - than wide open spaces.
Her interiors are decorated in typical Italian Venecian furnishing. Things to point out is the real gondola boat as the center-piece of the Canale Grande Restaurant; the gold plated Lion with wings on the top of the column in the main Atrium as well as all of the arwork that depicts Venetian masks. The Piazza area by the pool also has a very Venetian feel with it's arched balconies and town square feel. Being of Italian decent I found the decor to be over the top at times, but most passengers I spoke to really praised the decor.
The crew seemed very friendly and willing to help. Always greeted with a smile. Our room stewardess was wonderful and kept our stateroom spotless. Like most cruise lines the stewardess came 1 time per day to tidy the room - which was good enough for me. She also provided her direct phone extension should we need anything at off hours. Nice Touch!
The Carnival Venezia is a high density ship carrying some 4,000+ passenger when full. There were times when the ship felt crowded but probably no differrent than any other ship in the Carnival fleet. Being a person who seeks out the quietest place on the ship, I would definitey recommend reserving a balcony stateroom so you have your own private alone space to enjoy the sea.If your budget does not support a balcony cabin, there are some quiet spaces on the ship. The front of deck 7 there is a small deck area below the bridge which offers great forward looking views and lounge chairs. There is a similar areas on decks 6 and 5.
The Serentity Area is an adults only area - but I found it to be over-crowded, hard to get a seat since people reserved loungers with towels and many of the patrons were louder and more rowdy than expected.
Carnival Venezia - Dining
The Carnival Venezia offers many dining experiences. There is the any-time dining in the Canale Grande Restaurant as well as assigned dining times in the Marco Polo Restaurants. I was assigned anytime dining and I thought it was great. I used the Carnival App to request a table from my stateroom or on deck and within 10 minutes I received a notice that my table was ready and to proceed to the dining room. 5 Stars for the efficiency of the Anytime Dining and the app.The ship also has a number of additional free dining establishments. Guy Fieri's Burger Joint; Tomodoro - Mexican/Italian wraps; The Lido Marketplace Buffet; Pizzeria del Capitano and La Strada Grill (Italian Street food).
Dining establishments available at an additional fee include: Farhenheit 555 (Steakhouse); Teppanyaki (Japanese food); Il Viaggio (Italian Restaurant); JavaBlue (Coffee Shop and baked goods); Seafood Shack; and Bonsai Sushi;
Here is my take on each dining establishment I experienced.
Lido Market Place Buffet - There were some interesting selections and a moderate variety of food. The presentation of the food was good and looked appetizing. Unfortuantely the buffet lines were very long - sometime waiting 20 minutes to get to the food. This may be a product of this being the first full sailing for the ship and the crew was dealing with crowds they had not experenced before. There were a number of additional buffet stations that were closed and if opened could have eleviated some of the lines.
A side effect of the long lines was that people piled their plates high because if they wanted seconds - they did not want to wait on line again. Breakfast lines were much shorter than lunch.
The Canale Grande Restaurant - Better quality food than the buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Found the selection and food to be more tasty and much calmer experience than the buffet. I also had Brunch at the restaurant as well and thought the selection was good and the food good.
Please note that the Marco Polo and Canale Grande Restaurants both have the same menu. The Canale Grande Restaurant is the Anytime Dining Room and the Marco Polo is the assigned dining room (early and late seating).
Ranking of the Dining Experiences.
Here are my ranking of the dining experiences onboard the Carnival Venezia.
The Seciality Restaurants are superior to all the other dining experiences but they come at a hefty surcharge with some costing an addition $42 per person. If you can afford only one - I would recommend the Farhenheit 555 Steakhouse (if you like beef and seafood). Next Il Viaggio and then Tempanyakki. (Unfortunately I did not eat the Sushi restaurant so cannot comment on that dining establishment).
If a speciality restaurant is not in the budget - I would next recommend either the Marco Polo or Canale Grande Restaurants - both have the same menu. Better quality than the buffet; food made to order and no line. These two dining establishments are open most days for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Next Tomodorro's Mexican and Italian Station - Fish Tacos were exceptional. Fresh selection of enchiladas, burritos, and other dishes made to order and limited wait.
Finally lumped together: the Lido Marketplace Buffet, Pizza del Captano, La Strada Grill, Deli and Guy's Burger Joint. All acceptable dining experiences but the longer lines (expect for the La Strada Grill) takes away from the experience. The Lido Marketplace has a decent selection but needs to open more serving stations and provide additional items.
One surprising item missing from the buffet is a pasta station. One would think an Italian themed ship would have a made to order pasta station - featuring various pastas, sauces, vegetables and meats to make a custom pasta dish. Maybe this is coming in the future?
I feel bad pointing out the lines at the buffet and various dining establishment but I think potential passengers need to know but I am hopeful that Carnival is just going through some growing pains with the new ship and will address these issues on future sailings.
Entertainment onboard the Carnival Venezia was enjoyable. Almost every evening there was a major production in the ship's main theather. Singers and high action dancers. The shows were quite uplifting and featured music familiar to most passengers which allowed the audience to take part in the production.
Note that some the balcony seats in the Teatro Rosso Theater have obstructed views so you may need to arrive a little early to get a choice seat.
Other evenings there was a comedian performing a live show which passengers enjoyed.
One evening, the show was Family Feud where 2 passenger families competed for a $500 future cruise gift certificate. The cruise director did a great job of being the master of ceremonies and engaging the families and audience.
There were many options for live music including: an excellent steel drum player who had all the passengers engaged. A latin singing group - which made passengers want to dance. A Singer who sang ballards in Atrium before dinner. A violinist team who also performed in the atrium and were quite good. A rock band and a piano player / singer in the piano bar.
The DJ was everywhere on the ship, playing tunes at the aft pool, mid-ship pool or at night at the Limelight Lounge. The 70s and 80s night had passengers on their feet and dancing.
If you feel lucky there is the Casino (open while at sea), Bingo and other games of chance.
Thirsty? - There are 8 bars and lounges that feature your favorite drink as well as new drinks with an Italian twist featuring Italian Liqueuors.
For the kids - there is an area strickly dedicated to those 17 and under. Camp Carnival has age based appropriate activities and provides fun and structured activities for all ages. For the younger kids there is the Dr Zeuss themed event including a Cat in the Hat breakfast. Carnival's kid's progam is highly recoginized for being one of the better programs at sea.
There is an arcade with many video and virtual reality games. All games are available at an additional cost.
The Carnival Venezia has some of the best outdoor spaces found on a ship. Some items that I need to call out include:
Two outdoor pools - The Aft pool provide great views of the wake of ship. There is a raised area around the pool where people can sit in addition to lounge chairs. The area features 2 hot tubs. In addition, the adjacent bar, pizzaria and Seafood Shack make this area extemely popular and sometimes crowded.
The second pool is the mid-ship lido pool. This pool has ample seating, a nearby dance floor and stage, the Java Blue Coffee Shop; Guy's Burger Joint, Tomodorro Mexican Grill and a bar.
The lido pool has a retractable roof which allows guests to swim and sunbathe in any type of weather. This is an ideal feature for a ship sailing from New York year-round. Guests can use the pool even if it is 30 degrees outside.
The Carnival Venezia features a number of different categories of Staterooms.
Balcony Staterooms - I had a balcony stateroom for my sailing on Carnival Venezia. I found the beds to be extremely comfortable. The staterom had adequate storage - drawers and areas to hang-up garments. The beds are also raised which allows you to store your suitcases under the bed. There was a sofa, coffee table, safe, mini-fridge and desk area as well as a flat screen TV. The space was more than adequate.
The bathroom was adequate with a nice size sink. Illuminated mirror. Glass enclosed shower, and vaccumn toilet.
The balcony was a nice size and allowed enough space for two people to comfortably sit and take in the seascape.
There are 2 regular US plugs in the vanity as well as 2 USB connnections for charging devices.
Overall I was impressed with the size and layout of the balcony stateroom. The bathroom was functional and a decent size.
Oceanview Stateroom - The oceanview stateroom are slightly smaller - almost the same layout as the Balcony Stateroom minus the square footage that is the physical balcony. These stateroom usually have a large picture window and are located on a lower deck within the ship. As stated above, the Oceanview Stateroom layout is the same as the interior of the balcony stateroom minus the balcony.
Inside Staterooms - usually appear to be narrower than an ocean view stateroom. The interior staterooms are usually the width of two twin beds with a narrow walkway on the outside of each bed and a night stand in between. There is a small sitting area and desk within the stateroom. The bathroom are of the same configuration and size as most balcony and oceanview staterooms and are sufficient.
Carnival Cruises is known for its Fun Ship concept. If you are a loyal Carnival Cruise passenger you know what to expect. If not, unfortunately there are times when some passengers become rowdy. There was a significant presence of security on the Venezia and I witnessed them in action a few times maintaining order. In addition, there was a drug sniffing dog on board actively patrolling the ship.
During the cruise we ran into rough seas (about 6 feet swells and 43 mph winds)- the Carnival Venezia handled the seas like a pro - barely rocking as we proceeded toward Bermuda. Perhaps once of the most stable ships I have sailed on.
The Carnival Venezia is a beautiful ship. The ship is layed out well and easy to navigate and is an upscale vessel in the Carnival fleet. The food on board in the free restaurants was acceptable but the speciality restaurant food (available at an additional fee) exceeded any food items available in any other dining establishment.
I am hopeful that Carnival will make changes to address the long wait at the buffet and other select dining establishments. I believe the lines were related to the fact that this was the first time the ship sailed with a close to full compliment of passengers. I am hopeful that the long wait will be better managed over the next few sailings - Fingers crossed.
The Carnival Venezia is a high density ship carrying 4,000+ passengers. You will encounter times when you are in crowd of people. For this very reason, I recommend booking a balcony cabin so you have your own sancutary to return to.
As stated above there are a number of quiet areas on the ship (Forward on Decks 5, 6 and 7) where you can enjoy solititude - if desired.
Entertainment on board was very good and there was something for everyone. The stage shows were enjoyable and action packed - keeping the audience engaged. Poolside and in the lounges, there was always music available for your enjoyment.
The staterooms are a nice size and very functional with adequate lighting and storage, plus a well laid out bathroom.
Carnival has prided itself on making cruise vacations affordable for all. The Carnival Venezia is upscale. The crew is polite and willing to assist. The fundemental product is strong and the ship is ornate. The ship is branded as a Fun Ship and it was very apparent that passenger were having a good time and found the cruise experience very enjoyable. In my opinion, the demographic for this ship is younger cruisers and young families. The outstanding kids program will assure the young ones are always busy and happy campers.
Tags: Carnival Venezia, Costa Venezia, Carnival Cruises, Costa Cruises, New York Cruises, Ship Review, Staterooms, Public Spaces, pools.