Within the world of cruises and cruising, the name "Carnival" is famous...and for good reason.
Some would argue that the company has transformed cruising from the realm of a luxury reserved for only the wealthy into a vacation experience available to just about anyone. Originally a relatively small independent cruise line founded in 1972, by Ted Arison, Carnival is now one of eleven cruise ship brands owned and operated by Carnival Corporation & PLC. At this time, their main fleet is made up of over 20 ships.
Carnival pioneered the then-radical idea that shorter cruises could be profitable.
At the same time, they have arranged many shorter cruises that allow not only a reduced price for the cruiser, but which also offer busy people the opportunity to take a short vacation on board a cruise ship. In the Carnival point of view, stressed corporate workers should be able to hop off to Mexico on a cruise ship the way they might once have hopped onto a plane to Las Vegas.
Along with this convenience factor has come many more entertainment options on board. Many ships in Carnival's ever-growing fleet now resemble Las Vegas hotels. In fact, some resemble Las Vegas itself, they've grown so large. That has brought dozens of new forms of enjoyment for cruisers.
It's not without reason that Carnival refers to their ships as the "fun ships".
Even before Carnival "upped the ante", so to speak, gambling and lavish musical entertainment has long been part of some cruises. But Carnival has raised it to the same heights seen in Las Vegas by offering shows that look as if they might have just stepped right off a Las Vegas casino stage and onto the deck.
Not willing to rest on its laurels, the company continues to expand its shipping fleet and the number and type of voyages offered.
Placed into service in 2005, the "Carnival Liberty", gross tonnage of 110,000 pounds and capable of carrying 2,974 passengers, was Carnival's first cruise ship to be based in Europe. From there it sails to the South of France or the Greek Isles and many places in between. Since then, even larger ships have debuted. The "Carnival Splendor", with a gross tonnage of 113,000 can house up to 3,000 passengers, a population larger than many small towns of America.
A new super ship, the "Carnival Breeze", gross tonnage of 130,000 tons and capable of carrying 3,690 passengers, is due to enter service in mid-2012.
Carnival currently offers a five day voyage from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. These trips aboard the Carnival Spirit are selling reservations like MP3 downloads – hot, hot, hot. Travelers can take a week's vacation in the sun, or just escape for a long weekend. At time of writing, the cost per passenger is about $424.
They also have 15-day voyages all the way from New York to the Panama Canal. You can see one of the most important construction projects in the world and have plenty of time to unwind, enjoy the sea air and sun. You can also take advantage of the amazing variety of things to do while on board the "Carnival Miracle". The ship has three elegant restaurants, three swimming pools, a gym, a large theater, and dozen other attractions.
Carnival is also associated with the Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, and Seabourn. They purchased the famed Cunard Line (owner of the Queen Mary) several years ago. As a result of this broad range of resources and cruise options, collectively known as "World's Leading Cruise Lines", you will find that no matter what kind of voyage you're interested in, they'll have something to interest you. Prices vary widely and trips can be tailored to just about any budget.
Take a look at what they have and be prepared to open your cabin door and see one of their trademark clever animal-shaped towels on your bed.
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