Known as the fun ships, Carnival Cruise Line’s cruise ships are packed with activities and entertainment. Whether you prefer high tea and art auctions or karaoke and hairy chest contests, Carnival truly offers something for everyone. With so much going on, though, it can be a challenge to figure out where all the different activities take place. All ships are slightly different, but understanding the basic deck arrangements can help you become oriented.

Public Spaces

The center of each Carnival ship is a sweeping atrium, which may range from six to eleven decks in height. This is where you initially board the ship on embarkation day. Look for the purser’s desk and shore excursion desk here. The shops, photo gallery, Internet cafe, library, casino and disco are generally located near the atrium on two or three decks. Common names for the main atrium level include the lobby deck or atrium deck, while the shopping level is often known as the promenade deck. The main show lounge is generally two stories high, and located on the atrium and shopping decks.

Stateroom Decks

Most Carnival ships offer two or three decks below the atrium level that contain mostly passenger cabins. The Riviera deck is generally the lowest and least-expensive passenger deck, followed by the main deck. There are generally no cabins on the lobby and shopping levels. Mid-priced staterooms are located on the next two or three decks, followed by pricier cabins and suites on the highest decks.


Each Carnival ship has one or two main dining rooms, often located on the third or fourth deck opposite the main show lounge. An open lounge, sushi bar or cigar bar may be located between the dining rooms and the show lounge. The buffet restaurant is located on the lido deck, while the supper club may be tucked into available space on virtually any deck.

Outdoor Activities

While there is usually limited deck space along the shopping and atrium decks, the majority of open deck space is located near the top of the ship on the lido, spa and sky decks. The swimming pools, water parks and hot tubs are located on these decks. Depending on the ship, you may also find a mini-golf course, jogging track and sports courts for basketball or volleyball, along with extensive spa facilities. Some Carnival ships offer spa cabins, which are the only non-smoking cabins on the ship and provide access to certain spa facilities at no cost.

Crew Decks

With a few exceptions, the crew lives and plays below the passenger decks. The crew decks are generally off-limits to passengers, except under certain circumstances. Depending on the water level, you might exit and re-board the ship on a crew deck. Large guidance signs point the way to the gangway; you are expected not to wander into off-limits areas. The medical facility is usually located on the highest crew deck, just around the corner from the elevators. If you want to see more of the crew areas, visit the shore excursion desk to sign up for a “Behind the Fun” guided tour. The tours visit the crew cabins, dining hall and activity centers.