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Carnival Jubilee ship review: A guide to Carnival’s third Excel Class cruise ship

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Editor’s note: TPG’s Ashley Kosciolek accepted a free trip from Carnival Cruise Line to sail on Carnival Jubilee for its christening voyage. The opinions expressed below are entirely hers and weren’t subject to review by the line.

When Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Jubilee debuted in December 2023, it became the third ship in the line’s Excel Class, closely mimicking sister ships Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration. Although there are more similarities than differences among the three, Carnival has still found a way to make Carnival Jubilee innovative and fun by tweaking a few of the offerings.

The ship shares Carnival’s “zone” concept with its two older sisters, meaning it has dedicated areas for dining, drinking, entertainment and outdoor fun, including Bolt, a top-deck roller coaster. The biggest differences on the newest iteration are in two reinvented zones, Currents and The Shores; respectively, they take the place of The French Quarter and La Piazza on Mardi Gras, and The Gateway and 820 Biscayne on Carnival Celebration.

Carnival Jubilee cruise ship arriving in Galveston
Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Jubilee arrives in its home port of Galveston, Texas. CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE

On my voyage, the ship carried 5,676 passengers, plus crew. This meant it wasn’t at capacity, but it still felt loud and crowded, and often was fraught with lines. However, the service was generally excellent, with an exceedingly friendly crew.

The vessel is also a ton of fun, featuring two new shows (one with a football tailgate theme and the other with an onboard wedding plot), plenty of daily activities and so many fantastic dining options — many of them free — that it’ll make your head spin.

Here’s the rundown on what you can expect on board so you can determine if Carnival Jubilee is right for your next sailing.

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Carnival Jubilee overview

A cruise ship peeking through the visual space between a palm tree and a rock
Carnival Jubilee docked in Costa Maya, Mexico. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Carnival Jubilee is a megaship, coming in at 183,521 tons and carrying up to 6,631 passengers at full capacity. It’s tied with Carnival Celebration for the title of the largest ship in Carnival’s fleet.

The vessel offers weeklong Caribbean voyages on a regular rotation from its home port in Galveston, Texas, meaning you’ll find a healthy dose of Texas-style fun on board (more on that later). In fact, Carnival is so dedicated to keeping the ship in the Lone Star State that it had a Texas star painted on the ship’s hull.

Carnival Jubilee’s demographics run the gamut from families with young kids or extended family groups to groups of friends, couples and even solo cruisers (even though it doesn’t have any cabins for singles). True to the rumors about Southern hospitality, the people on my cruise were some of the warmest and most polite I’ve ever encountered; fellow passengers were saying “excuse me,” allowing others to go first in line and generally being more courteous than I’ve found on sailings from other places.

The ship is divided into six zones, where passengers can find a mix of bars, restaurants, live performances, water-filled fun and exhilarating activities like a ropes course, minigolf and, of course, the Bolt roller coaster. Here’s a bit about each zone.

Carnival Jubilee zones

A "Welcome aboard" message appears on an LED screen in the atrium of a cruise ship
Carnival Jubilee’s Center Stage LED screens show a welcome message to passengers. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Grand Central: This bustling area rises up three decks — decks 6, 7 and 8 — and replaces the traditional atrium found on older Carnival vessels. The focal point is Center Stage, a starboard-side (on your right when facing the front of the ship) secondary theater that’s home to events like bingo during the day and song-and-dance performances at night.

Surrounding the stage are tons of seating options, as well as JavaBlue Cafe, which serves coffee and snacks; Cherry on Top candy shop; the Center Stage and Grand View Bars; and Bonsai Sushi and Teppanyaki. It also serves as an access point for the onboard shops, Piano Bar 88, The Punchliner Comedy Club and the Jubilee Casino.

A cruise-ship indoor promenade with colorful LED screens and seating
The ocean life-themed Currents zone on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Currents: Currents is one of the other main social hubs on Carnival Jubilee. It starts on Deck 6, just aft of Grand Central and features two new bars. The Golden Mermaid has gilded decor and a custom-designed mural depicting mermaids and lots of hidden Easter eggs (look for SpongeBob SquarePants references). Meanwhile, Dr. Inks, Ph.D., is a bar based on the fictional character Dr. Inks — an octopus with academic credentials. Both bars have excellent drink menus.

Also in the space is Emeril’s Bistro 717, a New Orleans-style, for-fee eatery developed by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse.

On the wall above Dr. Inks, window-shaped screens provide a show for anyone passing through the length of the Currents promenade area. Programming rotates between underwater adventures, nature scenes and even artwork produced by passengers and kids from St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. For a better view, head up one deck to the Alchemy Bar.

A wooden boat set up as a photo spot with jute-wrapped poles in front of it, a directional sign that shows passengers where different areas of the ship are and a sunset water backdrop behind it
A photo spot in The Shores zone on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

The Shores: If the Currents zone is the underwater-themed area of the ship, The Shores on Deck 8 is what you get when you pop your head above the metaphorical surface. Inspired by boardwalks and beaches, The Shores offers two walk-up food counters: Beach Buns (Carnival Deli on other ships) and Coastal Slice (the equivalent of Pizza Pirate or Pizzeria del Capitano). Offset by colorful, blinking carnival-style lighting, the venues all but scream, “Step right up!”

Other venues in the area include the Marina Bar for cocktails and coffee, complimentary Italian restaurant Cucina del Capitano and for-fee seafood eatery Rudi’s Seagrill, created by food pop artist chef Rudi Sodamin.

A gaming area with foosball
A gaming area with foosball at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Summer Landing: From The Shores, continue aft on Deck 8 to reach Summer Landing. It’s an indoor space that encompasses Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse, a Guy Fieri barbecue joint with its own microbrewery and live music; the Heroes Tribute Lounge, which honors members of the military; and soft-serve ice cream.

Outside, the area continues with The Patio, which features a pool and hot tubs, and neighboring The Watering Hole, a bar that serves the space.

View of a cruise ship pool deck from above
A view of the Lido zone pool area on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Lido: A mix of food and fun, the Lido zone fans out on decks 16 and 17 around the ship’s main Beach Pool, which serves as the center of the action. Around and above it, you’ll find outdoor movies, dedicated teen hangouts, a video arcade, a two-story version of the RedFrog Tiki Bar, cruiser favorite BlueIguana Cantina, extra-fee Seafood Shack and Street Eats street food.

On the upper deck is the popular Guy’s Burger Joint, which is oddly set a bit farther away from the action on Excel Class ships. Farther afield on Deck 16, passengers can check out Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Chicken restaurant or venture to Lido Marketplace, the ship’s complimentary buffet.

Part of a cruise ship miniature golf course with a portion of roller coaster track overhead
The miniature golf course on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

The Ultimate Playground: If you’re looking for alfresco thrills to keep you busy, The Ultimate Playground is the place to be. It comprises a miniature golf course, a basketball court, a ropes course and the line’s signature WaterWorks water park, all of which are free.

Of course, the highlight of this zone is the Bolt roller coaster. It’s an added-fee experience during which passengers (one to two people per ride) zoom twice around the track on a motorcycle-style vehicle that allows you to throttle up or down to a speed that suits you.

What I love about Carnival Jubilee

Grand Central

An aerial view of a stage with LED panels and lots of pink chairs
A view of Center Stage in Carnival Jubilee’s Grand Central zone. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Grand Central is one of my favorite spots on board. Although it’s often loud, busy and difficult to navigate, especially on sea days, it’s a prime place to sit and people-watch. I found myself gravitating there repeatedly to enjoy coffee or a snack from the nearby JavaBlue Cafe while watching the cast from that night’s show rehearse at Center Stage — something you can’t usually do on other ships.

Plus, the space is a bit of a throwback to the days when interior designer and architect Joe Farcus was responsible for Carnival’s ship decor. The decor is midcentury modern style meets ’80s quirk, featuring a pink and teal color scheme, fun light fixtures and a bar with colored mirror accents.

Fun drinks

A pink drink in a martinia glass with a Swedish Fish inside standing in front of a blue drink menu
The Crimson Catch, a drink with a Swedish Fish in it from Dr. Inks, Ph.D. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

I’m not generally someone who cares about alcohol. Give me one or two pina coladas on a weeklong cruise, and I’m good to go. However, the massively creative options on the menus at both the Golden Mermaid and Dr. Inks, Ph.D., bars are absolutely worth a shoutout.

For the wow factor, the best drink I had was A Pearly Bubble. Found on the menu at the Golden Mermaid, it’s a mix of gin, St-Germain liqueur, white cranberry juice, dragon fruit and lime juice. It was a bit too dry for me, so I didn’t care for the taste; however, you won’t want to miss the presentation, which involves a giant bubble atop the drink. It pops when you poke it, leaving behind a tiny poof of smoke.

For taste, which I know is subjective, my favorite is the Crimson Catch (Swedish Fish candy-infused vodka, lime juice, pomegranate liqueur, white cranberry juice and Swedish Fish candy). I prefer sweet drinks, and this hit the spot.

Marina Bar

A glass of iced coffee on a bar counter
A glass of iced coffee sitting on the counter at the Marina Bar on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

It’s not unusual for the line at JavaBlue to snake around the corner and down the hall at peak times. The staff members try their best to keep things moving, but if you don’t feel like waiting 10-15 minutes for a cuppa, head upstairs to Deck 8’s Marina Bar instead.

There, you can order any of the same coffee beverages you’ll find at JavaBlue but in far less time. If you’re feeling more like a cocktail, you can grab one of those, too. On my sailing, the bartenders were phenomenal and even remembered that I prefer non-dairy milk with my lattes.

Bolt roller coaster

Two passengers ride a roller coaster around the top deck of a cruise ship
The Bolt roller coaster on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Cruise fans know that Carnival brought Bolt, the first-ever roller coaster at sea, to Mardi Gras in 2021. Carnival Jubilee offers the same ride — the third of its kind on a cruise ship — in the deck 18, 19 and 20 Ultimate Playground area.

Pay a fee to ride, and you (or you and a friend) can navigate two laps of twists and turns around the ship’s funnel as you use the throttle and hyper-boost buttons to try to break the day’s speed record. (Yes, you’ll be timed, and don’t forget to smile for a photo.) The ocean views from above are totally worth the cost.

What I don’t love about Carnival Jubilee

The crowds

A crowd gathered in a cruise ship corridor
Crowds of passengers often form in front of the main dining room at dinnertime on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

There’s no easy way to say this: The ship almost always feels crowded. If you want to enjoy it when it’s not, you’ll have to stay on board during port calls just to find some space to yourself. Many restaurants and walk-up counters have near-constant lines, particularly at the complimentary venues during peak dinner times every evening.

It’s so common for JavaBlue to be backed up throughout the day that an easy-to-miss sign directs passengers to other locations where they can grab a cup of coffee. Meanwhile, lines at the onboard deli and pizzeria counters frequently snake so far down Deck 8 that they block the entrance to seafood restaurant Rudi’s Seagrill. One night, as I was dining at Rudi’s with some of my travel companions, we joked that the lines were dangerously close to melding with the line for the nearby guest services desk.

And it isn’t just a problem with dining. I arrived 15 minutes early for a magic show at the Punchliner Comedy Club, and I couldn’t find a single available seat in the entire place. On another night, I showed up on time for Family Feud Live in the ship’s theater, and it was a standing-room-only situation. The sizes of the performance venues are generally way too small for the number of passengers wishing to watch the shows.

The noise

A crowd gathered in a cruise ship corridor
Corridors and public areas are often noisy on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

My cabin had some of the best soundproofing I’ve experienced on a new ship in a long time — I had balcony accommodations near an elevator bank and heard nothing when I was in my room. However, a couple of passengers told me they could hear noise from Bolt in their balcony cabin on Deck 15.

Most other places on board seem to be excessively loud. Even on port days, when most passengers are ashore, the public areas are filled with loud music that makes it hard to find a quiet escape. Some of it is understandable. After all, Carnival vessels are known as the Fun Ships, but some of it seems unnecessary.

One example is the Dr. Seuss-themed Seuss-a-palooza Parade that makes its way through the Currents zone once per sailing. I happened to be sitting at a table in the area when the festivities kicked off. I decided to stay to see what it was all about, and I’m sorry I did. As costumed Dr. Seuss characters arrived, Carnival staff asked the children to scream solely for the sake of screaming. Ear-piercing shrieks reverberated throughout the space, which was also blocked off to passengers trying to pass through.

The excessive upselling

Rumchata drinks surrounded by green mint garnishes
Rumchata drinks with green mint garnishes. ZIA_SHUSHA/GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

Combining noise with the annoyance of hawking alcohol, the roving waiters visited every table at Chibang! — the ship’s hybrid Mexican-Asian restaurant — one night while I was having dinner there. Their goal was to push Rumchata shots on everyone. Whenever somebody bought one, the waiter would demand that they yell “Shot, shot, shot!” before downing it. This was extremely disruptive and added to the already loud atmosphere.

One afternoon later in the sailing, two different crew members approached me a total of six times in less than half an hour while I was having lunch on the Lido deck. The first five times, I simply said, “No, thanks.” After the sixth time, I had enough and told them nicely but firmly to stop asking me. I found the high-pressure sales tactics excessive and irritating when all I wanted to do was eat my meal in peace.

The inconsistencies

Oddly, there were some discrepancies on board that I was surprised to see on a ship that’s been sailing for several months.

The first couple had to do with differences between the Carnival HUB app and the daily Fun Times printed schedule. On one occasion, the app said Seafood Shack opened half an hour earlier than it did, while the paper version of the daily schedule had the correct information. Another time, the printed daily had the wrong theater show listed for that night; the correct one was posted in the HUB. On another day, the printed schedule was missing part four of a four-part show, which did show up on the agenda in the app.

In terms of food and drinks, I had a strange experience at Chibang! when I ordered spring rolls. Usually, they don’t have meat in them, nor was meat listed as an ingredient on the menu. When the waiter took my order, he said, “Spring rolls with chicken.” When I asked him about it, he said he could request for them to be made without it, but that doesn’t explain why something with meat in it wouldn’t have meat in its list of ingredients. If I were a vegetarian or vegan, it would have concerned me.

As for drinks, I ordered a Snapping Pop at Dr. Inks., Ph.D. It was completely different — different color, different taste and different presentation — from what I received when I ordered the same drink on a sailing two months prior. I was told the drink had to be changed for several reasons. However, the old ingredients were listed on the menu, meaning passengers weren’t getting what they thought they ordered.

Carnival Jubilee cabins and suites

A cruise ship cabin with a queen bed a closet, a sofa, a vanity and a balcony
An Ocean Suite on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Carnival Jubilee offers cabins in the usual varieties: insides with no windows or balconies, ocean-view accommodations with windows, balcony cabins with outdoor veranda space and suites that include additional perks. These include priority check-in, boarding and disembarkation; preferred dinner times in the main dining room; pillow-top mattresses; two large bottles of water and bathrobes; and extra square footage.

A cruise ship cabin with a queen bed and a blue and red luggage runner
An ocean-view Family Harbor cabin on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Within those categories, Carnival Jubilee offers three types of special cabins. First is Family Harbor, which offers nautically themed cabins that sleep up to five people and rooms that can be connected via an interior door. Families booked in Family Harbor cabins have access to a dedicated Family Harbor Lounge, which offers daily breakfast, snacks and drinks, as well as board games and TVs with a selection of movies and video games. They also receive a free night of babysitting in the kids club so parents can enjoy some alone time.

The second special cabin type is the Havana Cabana. Done up in bright, tropical colors, these rooms offer extended outdoor lounge space and private access to the Havana Pool and Bar area.

The third type is Cloud 9 Spa cabins. With calming seafoam green and yellow decor alongside extras like Elemis toiletries, bathrobes and slippers, these are some of the most relaxing cabins on any ship. These guests also receive priority spa appointments and free access to fitness classes and the onboard thermal suite.

Suites in all three of these special accommodation types also give passengers the suite perks mentioned above.

Excel Suites, Carnival Jubilee’s highest-level accommodations, receive all standard suite perks plus additional ones. These include complimentary access to the private sun deck at Loft 19, priority cabana reservations at Loft 19, concierge services, guaranteed reservations at most extra-fee restaurants, free room service, upgraded toiletries, fruit and sparkling wine upon embarkation, a free soft drink package, free in-room movies, an in-cabin coffee machine and complimentary laundry service.

A wooden vanity with shelves, drawers, a mini-fridge, a chair bottles of water, electrical outlets and a rounded mirror with lighting
The vanity area in an Ocean Suite on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Standard amenities in all rooms include a queen bed that converts to two twins on request, bedside shelving with reading lamps and USB outlets, a desk and vanity area, a sofa or chair, a closet and drawers for storage, a safe for valuables, a house phone and a hair dryer.

Bathrooms feature a toilet, sink and shower with a door instead of a curtain. Complimentary toiletries are basic: bar soap for handwashing and dispensers of shampoo and shower gel mounted on the wall in the shower.

On my sailing, I stayed in a balcony cabin, which was elegantly decorated in neutrals with blue accents. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of storage space. I appreciated touches like ample vanity mirror lighting, adjustable shelving in the closets and a surplus of USB outlets throughout the room, including near the vanity and beside the bed.

Speaking of the bed, it was exceptionally comfortable, and I was excited to find that the TV across from it had a sizable selection of free movies (as well as newer releases for a fee). The TV also allows you to watch select live channels and shipboard programming and to check your onboard bill.

A cruise ship bathroom with a toilet, dual sink, mirror, shower and towels
The bathroom in an Ocean Suite on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Dislikes for me include a shower door that opens toward you instead of into the shower, making the already tiny bathroom even tighter. I also didn’t like the “SNOOZIN’” door hangers, which often got caught in my door when I closed it; I would’ve rathered a “do not disturb” button like many other new ships have.

I also would have liked a taller table on the balcony, but it only had room for two chairs (not lounger-style) and a small drinks table.

Angled shot of the view from a cruise ship balcony with teal waves, a railing and a small table with two chairs
A cabin balcony on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Carnival Jubilee offers 82 accessible cabins in a mix of types and categories: inside, ocean-view, balcony and suite, as well as rooms in the Family Harbor, Havana Cabana and Cloud 9 Spa categories.

Within those 82 options, there are fully accessible accommodations with access to both sides of the bed and rooms that are fully accessible with single-side access to one side of the bed, which work well for passengers who use wheelchairs and scooters. Ambulatory-accessible rooms provide accommodations for people who walk with the help of assistive devices like canes or walkers.

Fully accessible rooms are stair-free, flat-threshold cabins, which offer wider (32-inch) doorways, turning space and bathrooms equipped with grab bars and shower seats.

There are no solo cabins on Carnival Jubilee.

Cabin cleaning is limited to once per day. Unless you specifically request your cabin steward to come at night for turndown service instead of earlier in the day, your room will be made up in the morning. Hang the “SNOOZIN’” card on the outside of your door, and no one will bother you — but your room won’t be cleaned that day.

Carnival Jubilee restaurants and bars

Carnival Jubilee food

A white plate with salmon and greens
Salmon from the formal night menu at the Pacific Restaurant on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

One of the best ways Carnival provides value to its customers is through its food offerings. Complimentary dining abounds on Carnival Jubilee, and the variety of cuisines is impressive. You’ll find more free options on Carnival ships than on just about any other fleet’s vessels, and they’re actually tasty. It’s entirely possible to eat only food that’s included in the cruise fare and not feel like you’re missing out.

Excellent added-fee options include steak, seafood and teppanyaki, which might be worth trying if you’re celebrating a special occasion or feeling like a splurge.

A bowl filled with buttered crab claws and lemons
Stone crab claws from Emeril’s Bistro 717 on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Dinner reservations are recommended for many eateries, even the main dining rooms. You can make them by visiting your restaurant of choice or by using the HUB app. If you don’t make one, you might find yourself waiting 20 minutes or more for a table at peak times. If you make a reservation through the app, you’ll receive a notification to report to the host stand when your table is ready.

In my experience, waiters were diligent in asking about dietary requirements and restrictions. However, it was disappointing to see that many menus weren’t marked with specific options for vegetarians, vegans and people who can’t eat gluten.

Free food

An aerial view of a cruise ship main dining room with tables and chairs and Hogwarts-style lighting resembling candlesticks
The Pacific dining room on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

The ship has two main dining rooms: Atlantic Restaurant (Deck 6, mid) and Pacific Restaurant (decks 6 and 7, aft).

One of them is dedicated to passengers who select Your Time Dining, which lets you eat anytime between 5 and 9 p.m. (The dedicated YTD restaurant can vary by sailing, depending on how many people choose that option.)

Both serve the same menu for dinner, but only the larger Pacific Restaurant is open for Sea Day Brunch on sea days and breakfast (but not lunch) on port days.

An omelet and bacon on a white plate
An omelet and bacon from Sea Day Brunch in the Pacific Restaurant on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

I very much enjoyed an omelet with hashbrowns at Sea Day Brunch and salmon during the formal night dinner in the Pacific Restaurant. I also had a wonderful time at two special events — complimentary afternoon tea and an extra-fee Dr. Seuss-themed Thing 1 and Thing 2 Birthday Breakfast — held in the Atlantic Restaurant.

A white plate with a round piece of red velvet French toast with sprinkles
A piece of red velvet French toast from the Dr. Seuss-themed Thing 1 and Thing 2 Birthday Breakfast on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Tip: If you’re a vegetarian or a fan of Indian food, don’t miss the daily Indian dish on the main dining room menu.

A white plate with fish, veggies and mashed potatoes
A plate of food from the Lido Marketplace buffet on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

The buffet is the other free food option that’s a staple on just about any cruise.

On Carnival Jubilee, the Lido Marketplace on Deck 16 is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, but I found it largely uninspired and lacking in variety. The French toast I had for breakfast and the mahi mahi I had for dinner were tasty, but there are definitely better no-charge venues on board.

A white bowl with two spring rolls and a dish of dipping sauce
Spring rolls from Chibang! on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

A little-known fact is that, at least for the inaugural season, passengers can dine at Mexican-Asian restaurant Chibang! and the Italian Cucina del Capitano, both on Deck 8, for free. Cruisers with YTD can eat there for dinner anytime; those with set seating can dine there after 7:45 p.m.

A cruise ship dining room with wooden tables and chairs
Cucina del Capitano on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

At Cucina del Capitano, I was exceptionally pleased with the spaghetti carbonara I ordered. The nachos and spring rolls are don’t-miss items at Chibang!

Unfortunately, both the service and atmosphere at Chibang! are lacking. The space is simply packed with tables — so much so that there were only about two inches between my table and the one next to me, even though I was dining alone. It then took nearly 10 minutes for a waiter to bring me water and another 10 before someone came to take my order.

A boardwalk-style walk-up counter-service window serving pizza
Coastal Slice pizzeria on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Also on Deck 8 are Coastal Slice and neighboring Beach Buns, which respectively replace the pizza and deli counters found by the pool on most other Carnival ships.

The former bakes several different types of pies nearly around the clock, and they’re scrumptious. The latter whips up hotdogs, soups and a variety of sandwiches. (I was pleasantly surprised by the grilled ham and cheese.) Lines for both counters are often long, but I promise it’s worth the wait.

Two sets of three loaded cheeseburgers with fries on two plates on a wooden table
All six of the burger options at Guy’s Burger Joint on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Two great staples in the ship’s outdoor Lido zone are the BlueIguana Cantina (Deck 16), where you can find yummy tacos and burritos throughout the day, and Guy’s Burger Joint (Deck 17), which is the place to grab some of the best burgers at sea via Carnival’s partnership with chef and TV personality Guy Fieri.

The breakfast burritos at BlueIguana are fantastic. My pick from Guy’s is the Chilius Maximus — an 80/20 ground chuck patty with cheese, chili, onion rings and barbecue sauce.

A white plate with fried chicken on a biscuit and French fries
A chicken and biscuit breakfast with fries from Shaq’s Big Chicken on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Guy Fieri isn’t the only celebrity affiliated with Carnival’s free food.

Shaq’s Big Chicken, a restaurant backed by basketball great Shaquille O’Neal (who is also Carnival’s CFO, chief fun officer), is perfect if you have a hankering for some fried chicken. In addition to chicken strips, sandwiches and fries, the counter-service venue also serves breakfast. Do yourself a favor and try the chicken and biscuit combo with fries.

A wrap and a sandwich on a white plate
Snacks from JavaBlue Cafe on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

If you’re seeking a between-meal snack or light bite, try the JavaBlue Cafe on Deck 6 in Grand Central. The cafe offers a sizable menu of specialty coffee beverages and tea, as well as free and for-fee snacks.

Breakfast pastries, bowls and English muffin sandwiches, as well as all-day options like salads, sandwiches, wraps, empanadas and calzones, are complimentary; cookies, doughnuts, cupcakes and cheesecake cost extra.

A hand holding a cone of soft-serve ice cream in front of an ocean sunset
A cone of soft-serve on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

As a sucker for soft-serve ice cream, I was a frequent visitor to the three soft-serve ice cream and frozen yogurt machines on decks 8, 16 and 17. At some point, I lost count of how many cones I ate.

Since there are no toppings, I recommend you snag a bowl of dry Froot Loops from the buffet during breakfast, and stash them in your cabin to mix with your ice cream later. Or grab cookies from the buffet for a DIY ice cream sandwich.

A red walk-up counter-service food window with the words "Mad Sizzle" printed on it in white
Mad Sizzle is one of several venues in the Street Eats area on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Carnival Jubilee has so many places to eat that I ran out of time to try them all on my weeklong sailing.

I missed Fresh Creations, a salad station in the adults-only sun deck area on Deck 18, and Street Eats, a set of three street food-style walk-up windows on Deck 16 near the main pool. The walk-up windows include Steam Dream, which serves dumplings; Time Fries, offering creative takes on french fries; and Sizzle, a grill that specializes in kebabs and other dishes.

Extra-cost food

A counter-service restaurant along a cruise ship indoor promenade with seating in front
Emeril’s Bistro 717 on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

My favorite onboard dining experience of the whole sailing was at Emeril’s Bistro 717 in the Currents zone on Deck 6. A version of this chef Emeril Lagasse-affiliated spot is on each of Carnival’s Excel Class ships, bearing the hull number of the original vessel for which the new one is named. Simply walk up to order at the counter, have a seat and a waiter will take over from there.

During my visit, I ordered a pound of stone crab claws in garlic butter (market price) with red beans and rice ($3) and a brie bowl ($6). The food was fabulous, and the service was friendly. My only complaint is that, apart from a claw cracker, there were no other tools available to get to the crab meat. (I asked.) My waiter had no bibs or wet wipes to offer, which left me a bit messy afterward.

A basket of sugared beignets on black and white checkered paper
Beignets from Emeril’s Bistro 717 on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

The food item I most recommend you try when sailing on Carnival Jubilee is an order of beignets at Emeril’s. Pillows of soft fried dough coated in powdered sugar with chocolate and strawberry sauces for dipping are $5 for an order of six.

A California roll and edamame on plates on a table with chopsticks
A California roll and edamame from Bonsai Sushi on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

My second favorite experience was a calm, quiet and uncrowded lunch at Bonsai Sushi on Deck 8. I partook in edamame ($3) and a California roll ($8). It was fresh, tasty, filling and reasonably priced.

A restaurant with tables set around a curved wall that's adorned with blue glass fish
Rudi’s Seagrill on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Another excellent dinner during my voyage occurred at Rudi’s Seagrill (Deck 8), an upscale seafood restaurant named for chef and pop artist Rudi Sodamin. The lobster macaroni and cheese was the perfect indulgence to start my meal, and I followed it up with a delicious crab cake.

I wasn’t overly hungry when I sat down, but the $49 cover charge ($15 for kids) would also have included a soup or salad and a dessert if I had wanted them.

A white plate with broccoli, steak and fries
Filet mignon, broccoli and fries from the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

No Carnival sailing would be complete for a carnivore without a visit to Fahrenheit 555, the onboard steakhouse. On Carnival Jubilee, it’s adorned in neutral tans, dark browns and red tones.

The menu has several types of meat — including steak, of course, as well as lamb chops and chicken — and seafood items like fish and lobster tail. I went with a 9-ounce filet mignon, which was cooked to perfection. It came alongside several sauces and sides of broccoli and crinkle-cut fries for $49 ($15 for kids).

A crab cake topped with coleslaw on a bun with fries next to it on red and white checkered paper
A crab cake from Seafood Shack on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

My two most disappointing extra-fee food encounters on Carnival Jubilee were Seafood Shack (Deck 16, in the Lido zone, near the pool) and room service.

The first one opened late, and despite my order being the first one of the day, it still took more than 20 minutes to be served. I chose a single crab cake for $15. When I received it, the bun was soggy, and no garnishes or sauces were offered until I went back to the counter to ask for coleslaw and tartar sauce, neither of which helped the flavor.

It didn’t hold a candle to the crab cake from Rudi’s, and I ended up abandoning most of it.

Three plates with a quesadilla, chicken fingers and fries, and cookies
A room service order on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Room service, which comes with a la carte fees (except for free Continental breakfast), set me back almost $20 for a chicken quesadilla, chicken fingers with curly fries and a chocolate chip cookie, which I ordered sometime around 2 a.m.

Everything arrived quickly and at the right temperature. The fries and cookie were great, but the chicken fingers were rubbery and full of gristle. When I tried to order the quesadilla without chicken, I was told they were already made, which seems strange. Shouldn’t room service be made to order?

Wooden tables with red metal chairs near a small live-music stage
Seating and a stage for live music at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Again, I couldn’t fit every single restaurant into my time on Carnival Jubilee, so I missed out on Bonsai Teppanyaki, where chefs grill your food right in front of you, complete with corny jokes. I also missed Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse, another Guy Fieri creation that serves barbecue fare, wings and microbrewed beer made right on the ship (lunch is free). I couldn’t make it to Chef’s Table, an exclusive multicourse small-group dining experience that’s the most pricey meal on board, either.

Carnival Jubilee bars

Drinks are priced individually unless you have a Cheers beverage package that includes alcohol.

A nautically themed bar with mermaid fish scale tiles on a cruise ship
The Marina Bar on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

My favorite bar on Carnival Jubilee is the Marina Bar in The Shores zone on Deck 8. It offers a menu of adult beverages, but it also serves the same specialty coffees you’ll find at JavaBlue, which often has a long line.

This nautically themed outpost is next to a popular access point to the outer decks, so the only downside is that you might be blasted with hot air while your drink is being made.

A gold and black bar with an art deco light fixture hanging down from the ceiling above it
The Golden Mermaid Bar on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Unique to Carnival Jubilee are two new bars in the Deck 6 Currents zone.

The Golden Mermaid is a nod to treasures one might expect to find under the sea, and a mural on the opposite wall depicts underwater scenes, including mermaids. (For some “Where’s Waldo”-style fun, try to spot a miniature likeness of the ship, a pair of custom sneakers and references to SpongeBob SquarePants.)

A bartender with a bubble gun putting a smoke bubble on top of a purple cocktail sitting on a bar
A bartender puts the finishing touch on the A Pearly Bubble drink at the Golden Mermaid Bar on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

The menu of drinks is noteworthy, too, featuring names like From Far Seas and Atlantis Potion. My favorite, though, is A Pearly Bubble — a blend of gin, St. Germain liqueur, white cranberry juice, lime juice and dragon fruit that’s as much for show as it is for taste.

A bar with stools and a sign that reads "Dr. Inks Ph. D."
Dr. Inks Ph. D., a new bar in the Currents zone on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

The second new bar is Dr. Inks, Ph.D. In addition to a fun selection of cocktails — some of which involve candy — the bar’s theme is tied to an animated octopus named Dr. Inks. She has a Ph.D., pet butterflies and extensive collections of both books and fashionable eyewear. Every so often, she’ll appear on the screens above the area to chat.

A bacon Manhattan standing on a red bar top
A bacon Manhattan from the bar at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Cruiser-favorite Alchemy Bar — where white-coated apothecaries prescribe drinks to heal what ails you (try the Cucumber Sunrise) — and the bar at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse returned to Carnival Jubilee after finding success on other Carnival ships.

Besides beer that’s brewed right on board — which you can order by the glass, flight or growler, or in cocktails — you can snag one of several whiskies or interesting cocktails like a smoky watermelon margarita and a black bourbon fizz. I tried a bacon Manhattan, but the taste wasn’t my favorite. I also wasn’t impressed with how long it took a bartender to ask for my order, especially since it wasn’t particularly crowded.

A dark bar with light pink Midcentry Modern chairs, oval-shaped liquor shelves and oveal multi-colored glass elements overhead
The Center Stage Bar on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

I’m not a huge drinker, so I didn’t personally try cocktails from the Center Stage Bar (Deck 6) or Grand View Bar (Deck 7) in Grand Central. The former features a bit of a retro vibe, and the latter is backed by a giant light-up wall that looks like wave.

A round, two-deck tiki bar on the pool deck of a cruise ship
The RedFrog Tiki Bar on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

I also missed out on the RedFrog Tiki Bar, a two-deck (decks 16 and 17), hut-style setup that replaces the RedFrog Rum Bar found on many other Carnival ships’ pool decks. It’s where you’ll find the most quintessentially tropical menu of mixed drinks on board.

Other outdoor bar options include The Watering Hole near Summer Landing on Deck 8, the Serenity Pool Bar on Deck 18 in the adults-only area and the Loft 19 Bar on the exclusive Loft 19 sun deck. (Access is free for passengers booked in suites or anyone who reserves a cabana for anywhere from $250 to $500 per day.)

A piano bar awash in purple lighting
The Piano Bar on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Back inside, Deck 6’s Piano Bar is where passengers can order a tipple while an onboard pianist tickles the ivories. Make your way up a deck, and you’ll find the Limelight Lounge, which serves as a secondary performance space and trivia outpost.

Go one deck farther, and you can choose between the Havana Bar, which serves Latin-themed cocktails, and the Heroes Tribute Lounge, which has a special menu of drinks dedicated to military members.

Carnival Jubilee entertainment

Carnival Jubilee activities

Cruise passengers playing bingo with the numbers displayed on a giant LED screen
Passengers play BINGO at Center Stage in the Grand Central zone on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Carnival Jubilee offers a full roundup of daily activities on each voyage.

Passengers might choose to head to the casino, play bingo, enjoy an alcohol tasting, participate in a sports tournament, go on a digital scavenger hunt, mingle at a deck party, play minigolf, take a dance class, learn towel folding, or attend a spa, jewelry or shopping seminar.

A row of window-shaped LED screens with colored lights
The “Soundwave Jukebox” show plays in the Currents zone on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Particularly notable are the rotating animations that pop up throughout the Currents zone during each voyage.

If you show up during “Soundwaves Jukebox,” you’ll see synthesizer-like graphics pulsating to the music on the giant screens above the space.

“Change the Currents” will allow you to view underwater scenes from different areas of the world, including the Arctic and swampy Everglades; other experiences take you on an underwater adventure in a submarine and display ocean-themed artwork drawn by kids at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

A pair of hands preparing a pasta dish over a cooktop
A passenger prepares pasta during a Carnival Kitchen cooking class on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Some of my personal favorite pastimes on board included trivia, pool deck movies, for-fee culinary classes and a particularly relaxing massage. (Watch out for discounts early in your sailing or on port days.)

A spa thermal suite with rows of tile loungers and a central whirlpool
The thermal suite in the Cloud 9 Spa on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

In addition to treatments, the Cloud 9 Spa offers salon services and a thermal suite — access to which is free with the purchase of a pass or a spa treatment — with a thalassotherapy pool, heated tile loungers, a sauna and two steam rooms. The adjacent fitness center is on the small side but features for-fee personal training and organized fitness classes, as well as equipment that’s free for passengers to use.

Looking to find a group of like-minded travelers on your sailing? Check out meetups for solo travelers, singles, veterans and members of the LGBTQ+ community listed in the daily program.

Steps leading to a set of twin hot tubs on a cruise ship
Dual hot tubs in the Loft 19 area on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

If you’re interested in spending time outdoors working on your tan by the pool, you can do so at one of five onboard pools.

There’s the Havana Pool (private access for cruisers staying in Havana Cabanas) and the Patio Pool, both on Deck 8 (the latter with hot tubs); the Beach Pool and Tides Pool on Deck 16 (also with hot tubs); and the Deck 18 adults-only Serenity Pool (with hot tubs). There’s also a hot tub at Loft 19 on Deck 19, which charges a fee for access.

Cabanas are available for rent on a first-come, first-served basis. Prices vary by sailing, but on my voyage, they were $500 per day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Pool lifts accommodating up to 300 pounds are available for passengers with limited mobility.

On Deck 18, you’ll find Waterworks, which offers waterslides and a splash area for kids.

Kids and adults who aren’t afraid of heights will enjoy the top-deck ropes course, which offers two options for different levels of skill and bravery. The Bolt roller coaster, a minigolf course and a basketball court are also found in the SportSquare area within the Ultimate Playground zone.

A reception desk with an LED screen behind it that reads "Camp Ocean"
The entrance to Camp Ocean, the kids club on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Additional activities for youngsters take place in Camp Ocean, Carnival’s kids club, which splits children into four groups: Turtles (up to 2 years old), Penguins (2-5), Stingrays (6-8) and Sharks (9-11).

Fun pursuits on the daily schedule might include arts and crafts, themed parties, science experiments, games and story time, depending on the age group.

Camp Ocean also has an interactive space wall, where astronauts lead kids on virtual expeditions, complete with a ceiling that lights up like the night sky to show the constellations.

The Cat in the Hat and Things 1 and 2 standing on a stage in front of a Dr. Seuss backdrop
The Cat in the Hat and Things 1 and 2 stand on stage to welcome children to storytime on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Kids can also attend Build-A-Bear workshops, march along in a Dr. Seuss-themed parade led by the Fox in Socks and Thing 1 and Thing 2, and listen to the Cat in the Hat read stories.

A tangle of colorful waterslides on the top deck of a cruise ship
Carnival Waterworks water play area on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Tweens and teens have their own dedicated hangout spaces. Activities here are less structured, and participants can come and go as they please. Plus, an onboard arcade offers video games for a fee.

Carnival Jubilee shows

Entertainment on Carnival Jubilee is a combination of passenger favorites from other ships and new shows that you’ll only find on this vessel.

Backlit performers in dark costumes dancing in fog on a cruise ship stage
Carnival Jubilee’s Playlist Productions cast performs in “Soulbound.” ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Of the performances, I most enjoyed two main-theater shows that are also found on some other ships in the fleet. “Celestial Strings” is a mix of classical and modern pop instrumentals partnered with ethereal costumes and sets; “Soulbound” is a song-and-dance performance with a Victorian steampunk vibe, set in what feels like New Orleans, during which a soul-stealer tries to mess with a twisted love story.

Performers in bright costumes perform on a cruise ship
Performers in bright costumes perform during “Rio Carnival” on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Another excellent show is “Rio Carnival,” which occurs at Center Stage in the Grand Central zone instead of the main theater. Although the first half felt a bit shaky and slightly boring to me, the second half redeemed it all, featuring a parade of dancers and aerialists dressed in flamboyant costumes synonymous with Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival.

Dancers in pink costumes perform on stage on a cruise ship
The Carnival Jubilee production cast performs in the new show “Dear Future Husband.” ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

The ship’s two new shows are just OK. The first, “Dear Future Husband,” is a song-and-dance theater show with a plot that involves a couple taking their closest friends on a cruise for a combination bachelor/bachelorette party and wedding. Musical numbers befit the wedding theme and include Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” and, of course, Meghan Trainor’s “Dear Future Husband.”

After the performance, a “reception” (read: dance party with a DJ and visits from the cast) is held in one of the ship’s public areas. When I saw this show several months ago, the reception was in the Limelight Lounge. On this more recent voyage, Dr. Inks, Ph.D., served as the reception location.

Passengers play football-themed pool deck games
Passengers play football-themed pool deck games as part of the Lone Star Tailgate on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

The second new show is the “Lone Star Tailgate.” Drawing on Texas’ love for all things football, Carnival has created four indoor/outdoor “quarters” of fun to mimic the four quarters of a football game. When I sailed, the first quarter, which is all about pool deck games for kids, was held on one sea day, and the other three were held on another sea day.

Dancers perform on a cruise ship pool deck
The Playlist Productions cast performs during the halftime show of the Lone Star Tailgate on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

The second quarter involves pool deck games where passengers have to dress up in football gear to complete team races.

During “halftime,” the ship’s theater singers and dancers put on a show on the pool deck, dressed in team colors to support the fictional Carnival University — the team cruisers are supposedly cheering on during the festivities.

The third and fourth quarters occur in the Summer Landing zone; passengers can rope hay bales, participate in a hot wing-eating contest at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse and follow it up with music from a live band.

Two teams playing Family Feud on a cruise ship stage in front of a giant LED screen
Two teams playing “Family Feud Live” on stage on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Don’t miss the audience participation-style game shows like “Family Feud Live,” “Deal or No Deal” and the “Love & Marriage Show.” The first pits two family teams against one another to guess popular answers to survey questions; the latter tests couples to see how well they know one another, often resulting in hilarious answers.

A cruise passenger helps a magician perform a trick
A magician performs a magic trick with the help of a volunteer on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Other entertainment during my sailing included several day and nighttime comedy acts, an absolutely phenomenal magic show (be sure to arrive at the Punchliner Comedy Club at least 30 minutes early or you won’t find a seat) and “We Are One,” a farewell show that focuses on togetherness.

Carnival Jubilee itineraries and pricing

A cruise ship docked in Costa Maya with teal waves crashing in front of it
Carnival Jubilee docked in Costa Maya, Mexico. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Through at least April 2026, Carnival Jubilee offers two seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries out of its Galveston home port on a regular rotation. Both types of sailings begin and end in Galveston and visit Mahogany Bay in Roatan and Costa Maya and Cozumel in Mexico with three sea days mixed in. The only difference between the two itineraries is the order in which the port calls and sea days occur.

At the time of publication, prices started from $709 per person ($101 per person per night) for an inside cabin or $919 per person ($131 per person per night) for balcony accommodations.

What to know before you sail on Carnival Jubilee

Required documents

A traveler holds a passport in one hand an the handle of his suitcase in the other

If you’re a U.S. citizen on a cruise that starts and ends in a U.S. port, you’ll need a current passport or an official copy of your birth certificate and a driver’s license or other government-issued photo identification to sail. A few other forms of identification, such as a passport card, also are acceptable.

Passports must be valid for at least six more months. For cruises from international ports, you’ll need a passport. Note that it is important that the name on your reservation be exactly as it is stated on your passport or other official proof of nationality. All this said, we recommend checking Carnival’s website before sailing for up-to-date requirements.

Related: Which documents do you need for a cruise?


Carnival Jubilee passengers will automatically have $16 per person per day added to their onboard bills. Cruisers staying in suites will pay $18 per person per day. (Children younger than 2 are exempt from gratuities.) An 18% gratuity is also added to bar and cafe bills, spa treatments and the cover charge of the Chef’s Table.

Related: Everything you need to know about tipping on cruise ships


A cruiser using a mobile phone. D3SIGN/GETTY IMAGES

Carnival Wi-Fi is generally fast and reliable, and Jubilee features StarLink connectivity. However, don’t be surprised if you find yourself repeatedly and automatically disconnected, which is annoying.

Packages have increased significantly in price in recent years, and each plan is only for one device. (You can log out of one and into another with the same account, but you can’t connect more than one simultaneously unless you buy additional plans.)

Three package tiers are available: Social (access to most social media and airline websites and apps for $18 per day or $126 for a weeklong cruise), Value (same as Social, plus access to financial and news websites and apps for $23 per day or $161 for a week) and Premium (everything from the Social and Value packages plus Skype access and video calling for $25 per day or $175 for a week). Passengers can also choose 24 hours of Premium access for $35.

Carnival claims that its packages don’t allow FaceTime, iMessage or streaming from popular apps like Netflix and Hulu. However, TPG writers have had success using all of those services with the Premium package.

Carnival Jubilee is also the first ship in the fleet to offer 5G cellphone connectivity, which means faster speeds when you connect using your cellphone’s plan. But be warned: If you don’t have a special plan that allows you to connect at sea without roaming, you could be looking at hefty fees when you return. Generally, it’s best to keep your phone in airplane mode when you sail.

Related: 5 things to know about cruise ship Wi-Fi

Carry-on drinks policy

Passengers can carry on one bottle of wine or Champagne per person (21 years and older); this will incur a $15 corkage fee for consumption in public areas. Each person can also bring up to 12 standard cans or cartons of nonalcoholic beverages like juice or soda. Alcohol-free drinks in plastic and glass bottles aren’t allowed.

Related: Can I bring my own alcohol on a cruise ship?

Smoking policy

Closeup of a smoking cigarette resting on an ashtray
A half-smoked cigarette on an ashtray. DEBASISH NANDY/GETTY IMAGES

Smoking (including electronic cigarettes) is allowed but only in designated outdoor areas on Deck 8 mid-ship on the starboard side. Smoking is also allowed on the starboard side of the casino, but it’s for cigarettes only. All types of smoking are forbidden in cabins and on cabin balconies.

Related: Cruise line smoking policies


Carnival Jubilee has self-service pressing rooms on decks 4, 5, 9, 14 and 15 with ironing boards and irons that are free to use. There are no self-service laundry facilities, though. Instead, passengers can send out their clothing for washing, pressing and dry-cleaning for a per-item fee.

Related: Everything you need to know about cruise ship laundry

Electrical outlets

Carnival Jubilee has standard North American 110-volt outlets in its cabins, as well as plenty of USB ports. In my balcony room, I had three standard outlets and four USB lightning ports by the vanity. There was also a USB port (non-lightning) on either side of the bed, just below the reading lamp.


photo of stacks of money

The currency on Carnival Jubilee is the U.S. dollar. The ship also operates without cash. Passengers link credit cards to their onboard accounts or put up a set amount of cash to charge against, using their keycards as a means of making purchases. The only time you might want to have some bills handy is for tipping your room steward, bartenders, room service delivery people, luggage porters or shore excursion guides.

Drinking age

You must be at least 21 years old to drink alcohol on Carnival Jubilee.

Dress code

Cruise passengers holding drinks and dressed in formalwear
A group of friends in formal wear on a cruise. ER PRODUCTIONS LIMITED/GETTY IMAGES

Carnival Jubilee does not have a specific daytime dress code, and people dress casually. If it’s a sea day in a warm-weather destination, and you’re bound for the top deck, T-shirts, shorts and bathing suits (with a cover-up to go inside) are just fine.

During the evenings, the official dress code is pretty laid-back. Most nights are designated “cruise casual,” which means just that — khakis or jeans, polo shirts, sundresses and the like. Super casual items such as cutoff jeans, men’s sleeveless shirts, T-shirts and gym shorts are supposedly not permitted, but I saw plenty of them in the dining rooms during dinnertime on Carnival Jubilee.

Each weeklong cruise will schedule two formal nights — known as “elegant nights.” If you’re bound for the dining rooms, men are expected to turn up in dress slacks and a dress shirt, preferably with a sports coat or even a suit. The suggested attire for women on such nights is cocktail dresses, pantsuits, elegant skirts and blouses. Passengers who wish to avoid dressing up can enjoy dinner in any of the casual eateries aboard.

Related: What to wear on a cruise – all about cruise line dress codes

Bottom line

A cruise ship with a blue hull sailing on blue water in front of a blue sky with white clouds
Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Jubilee. CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE

Sure, Carnival Jubilee carries a lot of people, and it can feel crowded and cumbersome to learn your way around at first.

However, it offers new ocean- and beach-themed zones, delicious food, creative cocktails, friendly crew members, comfy cabins, outdoor thrills, Texas charm and a marquee packed with fun daily diversions and nighttime shows. You’ll find it’s an affordable Caribbean vacation that speaks to just about any traveler who enjoys a large-cruise-ship experience.

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