What It’s Really Like on the New Carnival Jubilee Cruise Ship

Discover if Carnival Cruise Line's newest ship is really right for your next cruise with our exclusive Carnival Jubilee cruise ship review.

What It's Really Like on the New Carnival Jubilee Cruise Ship

When we first stepped onboard Carnival Jubilee, we had a moment of deja vu. At first glance, Carnival Jubilee is almost identical to its sister ship, Carnival Celebration. This third ship in Carnival Cruise Line’s Excel Class offers many of the same amenities found on the first two ships in this class. But, after a few days on board, we learned there is more to Carnival Jubilee as she has a few firsts of her own. Find out if this newest Carnival mega-ship is right for your next cruise vacation with our exclusive Carnival Jubilee cruise ship review.


Our Honest Carnival Jubilee Cruise Ship Review

Casual Dining

Carnival Jubilee shines in its casual dining offerings, and most of them are included in the cruise fare. Of course, we visited all the dining venues during our seven days onboard the ship in the name of cruise research.

For cruisers who want to spend most of the week in shorts and a t-shirt, there are various dining options to choose from during the day and night. Guy’s Burger Joint on Deck 17 reigns supreme with some of the best burgers at sea.

First launched on Mardi Gras, Shaq’s Big Chicken is another big hit. Freshly made fried chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders, and crispy potato thins are hard to resist. There are also grilled chicken options for those more health-conscious cruisers and chicken biscuits for breakfast.

Near the Beach Pool on the Lido deck, Street Eats offers food cart-style snacks during the day. There are also custom burritos, tacos, and bowls at BlueIguana cantina available for breakfast and lunch.

Inside, Coastal Slice serves up five different freshly prepared personal pizzas. The venue is open most days until 4 AM for those with the late night munchies. Of course, we had to sample the new Tex-Mex pizza exclusive to Carnival Jubilee, and it did not disappoint.

The ship’s deli, Beach Buns, features an expanded selection with hot dogs and fresh sandwiches on the menu. This venue is open until 10 PM most nights.

Then, there is Guy’s Pig and Anchor Smokehouse | Brewhouse. Cruisers can get some barbecue from a buffet on the waterfront during sea days or enjoy table service in the evenings with similar specialties.

Not to mention, the Lido Market offers a wide selection of entrees for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Although, with so many other options, we actually did not dine here at all.

There’s also the coffee shop, Java Blue, which has an enhanced menu of breakfast sandwiches and all-day dining for even more choices. And Serenity, the adults only retreat, features a salad bar on sea days.

Thus, we never had issues finding something fresh and delicious to eat on Carnival Jubilee. If we had to pick, we’d go with Guy’s burgers and Shaq’s Big Chicken for the win.


Pool Deck

Our Carnival Jubilee cruise was sailing at about double occupancy, or just under 5700 passengers. For the most part, the five separate pools and eight whirlpools handled the crowds.

The Beach Pool on Deck 16 is the main pool on the lido. There are limited loungers near the pool in the sun. However, plenty of loungers on Deck 17 above offer deck space to catch some rays. This is also the liveliest of the pools with poolside games, music, and nighttime parties keeping the energy high.

The aft located Tides Pool, also on Deck 16, overlooks the ship’s wake. This pool area is home to two whirlpools as well. This desirable area of the ship did get busy rather quickly. Though, there is some additional comfy seating above the area on Deck 17. Just note that the starboard side of this aft Deck 17 sundeck is the smoking section.

Adults looking to escape the kids and families have the Serenity retreat found on Deck 18 forward. This quieter area has plenty of loungers and daybeds. This spot also has a bar, pool, two whirlpools, and a salad bar open on sea days. So, adults could relax here all day and never need to leave. In our experience, this is one of the biggest adults-only areas on a mainstream cruise line.

Down on Deck 8 is the Patio pool located in the Summer Landing zone. This fourth pool has a few loungers and is only steps away from nearby bars and restaurants. It is a family-friendly pool area for guests who want a more chill and relaxed sea day experience. On the starboard side, there are two whirlpools offering some great views of the ocean or that day’s port of call.

Finally, cruisers staying in Havana staterooms have a private Havana pool deck. Complete with a pool, outdoor bar, and additional loungers, this exclusive space is tucked away on Deck 8 forward.

So, with distinct pool areas scattered around the ship, one is bound to match your cruise vibe.

Sports Deck

The Ultimate Playground on Deck 18 aft is Carnival Jubilee’s sports deck. Of course, we made sure to test out many of the experiences for our Carnival Jubilee cruise ship review.

The 9-hole mini-golf course offers rounds of fun for families and kids of all ages. Heidi and I putted around one morning, and we don’t need to mention who won.

The Carnival Waterworks has a splash pad with water features and a slide for young kids. It also offers three slides for bigger kids or kids at heart. The line’s signature body slide, Twister, is a 260-foot-long body slide that twists and turns through the waterpark. This slide is open to cruisers 42″ or taller.

The two other slides are open to 48” or taller cruisers. The Blue Lightning is a head-first mat slide, whereas the Orange Thunder is a drop slide that plummets cruisers down over 220 feet.

There is also a ropes course suspended 150 feet above sea level. The ropes course includes a zip line and plank extending off the ship’s edge. New to Carnival Jubilee is one challenge that leaves cruisers dangling off the ship’s edge as they glide along using hand ropes. To be honest, this ropes course is better than the up-charge Crown’s Edge on Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas.

The jogging track also takes seven laps to equal one mile, and there’s a sports court with games like soccer, basketball, and pickleball. Not to mention, there’s table tennis, corn hole, and more.

All of the above is complimentary for cruisers to use throughout the day. But, the signature attraction is BOLT, an electric rollercoaster at sea.

At $15, this approximately 50-second ride is exhilarating. With a throttle and 15 seconds of booster, cruisers can even control their speed on this one-of-a-kind attraction. We made sure to ride BOLT, and definitely think it is worth the money.

Onboard Activities

The Fun Times daily program and the Carnival HUB app list the daily activities occurring throughout the ship, and there were many of them. Many of these activities are pretty standard offerings on Carnival Cruise Line ships. Still, it is nearly impossible to be bored on this ship.

During the day, there were several trivia sessions on various topics. There were some generic themes, like geography or sports trivia. Then, other sessions focused on television and movies like Harry Potter and Friends.

For those looking for some group competitions, there were several daytime games as well. Competitions like Identity Crisis, Hog Wild, or Fact or Fiction also ran throughout the day, challenging groups to compete for a prized plastic medallion. In the theater, the What’s Age Got to Do With It was a fun spin on a couples match game.

Additionally, there were dance classes, like the Thriller Dance class or country line dancing, for those wanting to learn some new moves. For music enthusiasts, there were several sessions of games like Name that Tune or the Lyrical Challenge and karaoke sessions. New to Carnival Jubilee is also the Lonestar Tailgate which is essentially just organized sessions of poolside games.

As a family-focused cruise line, many of these onboard activities were open to cruisers of all ages. The cruise line also offers matinee shows, like PG-rated comedy or even a magic show on busy sea days.

For the younger kids, several Dr. Seuss-inspired events occurred throughout the week as well, including parades and a story time.

Not to mention, cruisers could watch ice carving on the pool deck, towel folding demonstrations, or participate in sports competitions. There are also the Dive-In Movies on Deck 17. The giant movie screen overlooking the pool deck showed popular family-friendly movies like The Little Mermaid, The Lorax, and Barbie during our sailing.


As pretty traditional cruisers, our standard evening on any cruise is usually dinner and a show coupled with a few cocktails along the way. With so much nightlife on Carnival Jubilee, seeing all the entertainment does take some planning though.

While we typically get to all the shows, we couldn’t catch all of them this week since we were cruising with a group and our dinners took well over 2 hours most nights.

Nonetheless, Carnival Jubilee features two signature entertainment spaces. The main theater on Decks 6 and 7 is home to three Playlist Productions, headliner acts, and the Carnival Cruise Line exclusive Family Feud.  

The Center Stage is on Deck 6 in the Grand Central zone, with viewing areas from Decks 6, 7, and 8.

On the first night of our cruise, the new Playlist Productions show Dear Future Husband was featured in the Jubilee Theater.

Cruisers join the wedding party as they make their way around the ship celebrating their bachelor/bachelorette parties and then the actual wedding ceremony. The show has popular songs and dances you find on any cruise. The cruise line had me with the premise, but lost me when it crammed both Gangnam Style and the Macarena into the musical.

On Night 4, the theater was home to Family Feud Live. This Carnival Cruise Line exclusive entertainment offering should not be missed. The cruise director, Kyndall Fire, did a great job hosting this crowd-pleasing event with three show times, including a late night adult version.

On Night 5, we settled into Soulbound. I was more a fan of this show than Heidi as she preferred Dear Future Husband over this one. Soulbound is a supernatural journey that includes Motown and rock hits, along with lighting effects for an engaging and mystical performance.

Also new on Carnival Jubilee is Rio Celebration. This show tries to elicit the energy and flair of a Carnival celebration from Brazil. It featured a pre-show of predictable Latin hits, a parade, and a show with the same singers, musicians, and dancers. It was high energy, with fun costumes and aerial acts. Yet, it did not compare in quality to the Most Magnificent Circus that we saw on Carnival Celebration last year.

We missed the other Playlist Productions show Celestial Strings, but it’s one of our favorites. Additionally, there was a headliner magician and a second show in the Center Stage that we were unable to attend.

Main Dining Room

Carnival Jubilee offers two dining options. Traditional dining has two times, an early seating at 5:30 PM and a late seating at 7:45 PM. With traditional dining, cruisers have the same waitstaff and dine at the same table each evening.

The other option is Your Time Dining. With this option, cruisers can dine whenever they want by simply joining a virtual queue in the HUB app. However, you are not guaranteed the same waitstaff. And like a restaurant on land, you may have to wait for a table. Some nights, we waited up to an hour after joining the queue. Unlike other cruise lines with flexible dining, cruisers can not pre-make reservations.

Regardless of the dining option you choose, the two main dining rooms, Atlantic and Pacific, dish out a rotational menu that changes nightly. Carnival just rolled out new main dining room menus with some enhancements. These include new dishes and specialties from Chief Culinary Officer, Emeril Lagasse.

During our three visits to the main dining room, some of the standout dishes were the Girod Street salad, spaghetti carbonara, jambalaya, prime rib, banana cream pie, and of course, the melting chocolate cake.

Now, along with the main dining room, Your Time Dining cruisers have two additional restaurant options for dinner, Chibang and Cucina del Capitano. Assigned Dining cruisers can still eat at these venues but not until after 7:45 PM.

Chibang is a mix of Asian and Mexican cuisine. It features items like spring rolls, sweet and sour shrimp, to margaritas, tacos, and bowls. Cucina del Capitano serves up Italian-American cuisine. Can’t miss dishes here include fried calamari, chicken parmesan, and tiramisu.

Unlike the main dining room, these two restaurants’ menus are the same every night.

On Carnival Jubilee, is it complimentary for all visits to Chibang and Cucina del Capitano, but on sister ships, only the first visit is free. On Mardi Gras and Celebration, subsequent visits are $8 each. While we enjoyed our meals at each, we don’t see ourselves ever paying to dine here as the quality doesn’t compare to specialty restaurants on other cruise lines.

Specialty Dining

Along with all the complimentary venues, Carnival Jubilee offers a few specialty restaurants. While there are so many free and delicious choices available, you certainly do not have to pay extra. Yet, these upcharge venues provide an excellent alternative to the other options throughout the ship. During our cruise, we dined at the two most elegant restaurants.

We ate at the line’s signature steakhouse, Fahrenheit 555, on the first formal night. This open-kitchen venue serves classic starters, entrees, and desserts and is just $49 a person plus an 18% gratuity.  

Cruisers can’t go wrong with the several cuts of beef available, or you can opt for a surf and turf like I did. There is also jumbo shrimp cocktail, risotto, and the decadent chocolate sphere for dessert.

On the last night of the cruise, we dined at Rudi’s Seagrill, which also has a cover charge of $49 a person. This seafood-centric venue delivers fresh options with Chef Rudi’s unique flair and plate presentations. Starters like calamari and seafood bisque, along with entrees including a surf and turf and the signature crab stuffed lobster tail, will satisfy any palette.

Another popular upcharge venue is Bonsai Teppanyaki. This Japanese-style steakhouse is small, with only three tables. So, book this dinner and a show early—the 4-course meal is $42 a person for dinner. Lunch is slightly cheaper at $38 a person before the service charge.

Next door is Bonsai Sushi. This a la carte venues serve sushi rolls, sashimi, and other Asian delicacies for lunch on sea days and every evening for dinner. This venue is even open until midnight if you want a late night snack.

There’s also Emeril’s Bistro 717. Emeril’s Bistro is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner serving New Orleans themed cuisine at a la carte prices. For breakfast, guests can enjoy shrimp and grits, a breakfast po-boy, sweet potato waffles, and the popular beignets. For lunch and dinner, options include oysters, steamed lobster, crawfish, Natchitoches meat pies, and more.

Carnival Jubilee cruise ship review

Other more unique specialty dining experiences include Carnival Kitchen and Thing 1 & Thing 2 Birthday Breakfast.

Carnival Kitchen cooking classes are led by a chef who provides step-by-step directions for guests to prepare the dishes at their own cooking stations. And then, you get to enjoy the finished product afterwards. These classes are available to book for prices $45 to $65 per person.


Similar to the daytime activities, when the sun goes down, Carnival Jubilee offers a variety of activities.

One of the biggest draws in the evenings is comedy. Carnival Jubilee has not one but two comedy venues. The Punchliner Comedy Club, forward on Deck 6, is the adult comedy venue. In Limelight Lounge, midship on Deck 7, a different comedian offers family-friendly comedy shows. There were also additional late-night comedy sets with different material in the main theater.

Carnival Jubilee Bars - Carnival Jubilee cruise ship review

During our cruise, there were a total of five different comedians. On most nights, there were at least three sets in each venue, with comedians rotating between the PG and adult venues throughout the week. Among the several comedians we saw, our favorite was DJ Cooch.

Additionally, there were various live musical acts around the ship along with the main theater and Center Stage entertainment.  

Olga offered classical piano music in the early evenings and after dinner, mainly in the Golden Mermaid. A trio of violinists, Sky Breeze, offered modern and classic songs in the evening in several venues. Country music fans could enjoy the cowboy, Jeffrey Michaels, whereas fans of acoustic pub music could settle into sets by Owen Stephen.

The Havana Bar was home to a Latin Fiesta dance party that featured Mambo Magic most nights. Plus, the Backyard Band rocked out the Summer Landing for several nights, featuring rock, country, and even some pop songs with its duo of singers.

Carnival cruiser favorite Ben tickled the ivories at the Piano Bar 88 most nights of the cruise, with the first hour of his set reserved for families. Not to mention, on several nights, cruisers could belt-out their own tunes with karaoke sessions.

Grand Central was also home to popular shows like Deal or No Deal. Like other cruise lines, guests in the audience can play along, too, for the chance to win cash prizes and even a free cruise. There were not one but two sessions of the Love and Marriage game show. There was also the Guess that Groove game show. This supersized version of Finish That Lyric had everyone in the Grand Central singing along!

Carnival Jubilee had several parties as well, which were high-energy and packed with cruisers ready to party. There was the White Hot Night Party and the 80’s Rock and Glow Party led by Kyndall on the lido deck. Of course, our preference was the 80’s party complete with glow sticks and plenty of 80’s hits.

Carnival Jubilee Cruise Review - Carnival Jubilee cruise ship review

Bars and Lounges

There are over 15 bars and lounges on Carnival Jubilee. Several of these venues offer signature cocktail menus, with a few that are new to the fleet.

I particularly liked the drinks at Dr. Inks in the Currents zone on Deck 6. With interactive elements on the digital screens and a squid with a doctorate, what’s not to like? My go-to was the smoky Seahorse Glide, while Heidi enjoyed the fruity Crimson Catch.

At the Golden Mermaid, Heidi’s favorite bar which is also on Deck 6, light piano music accompanied signature cocktails like the Radiant Rose and the Atlantis potion.

Most of the other bars and lounges on the ship are familiar to Carnival cruisers. Out on the pool deck, cruisers can enjoy boat drinks and vacation libations at the RedFrog Tiki Bar. There is also the Serenity Bar on Deck 18 forward. This bar mixes up a range of custom sangrias and wine-infused cocktails, perfect for sipping in the sun while enjoying this adults-only space on Carnival Jubilee.

The Havana Bar offers drinks like a Daiquiri Clasico or the Hotel Nacional, which perfectly complements the live music or Fun Squad events in this Deck 8 Latin-inspired venue.

Aft of Deck 8, the Marina Bar serves up upgraded versions of classic cocktails, like the Marina Cape Cod and the Sailor’s Iced Tea. During the day, the Watering Hole is an outdoor bar on the Deck 8 promenade with refreshing drinks like the Watermelon Crush.

Like several other Carnival Cruise Line ships, there is a brewery onboard Carnival Jubilee. Even if you don’t opt for one of the upcharge brewery tours, you will not want to miss out on the Parched Pig brews at Guys’ Pig & Anchor Smokehouse | Brewhouse. This menu also features cocktails like the popular Bacon Manhattan. Nearby, there’s the Heroes Tribute Lounge as well with its own specialty menu.

Piano Bar 88 serves a specialty drink menu along with some rowdy sing-along songs. The Alchemy Bar on Deck 7 mixes up some tasty concoctions, like the off-label Strawberry Sidecar, 40 is the New 20, and the Cucumber Sunrise. And Punchliner Comedy Club has a small specialty menu as well.

Other bars and lounges serve the standard menu, like the Limelight Lounge, the Grand View Bar, the Casino Bar, Tides Pool Bar, and Center Stage Bar.

While Dr. Inks, Golden Mermaid, and Alchemy Bar were our personal favorites, there are plenty of bars and lounges on Carnival Jubilee to make good use of your Cheers drink package!


For this Carnival Jubilee cruise ship review, we stayed in cabin 12235. This balcony cabin was located on the starboard side of the ship, forward of the forward bank of elevators.

This category 8D balcony cabin offered plenty of storage for our clothes and gear. Compared to similar mega-ships, this stateroom boasted the most closet space by far.

Immediately entering our room, the bathroom was on the right. Like our balcony cabin on Carnival Celebration, the bathroom featured a rectangular shower with a glass door. The vanity space was on par for a cruise ship cabin, and there were two additional small shelves for storing toiletries.

Carnival Jubilee cruise ship review

Beyond the bathroom was the desk and the sofa. Past this living area was the bed. The bed was on the midship wall facing forward. Finally, beyond the bed was the balcony.

The desk had three drawers, a mini fridge, and two shelves off to one side above the desk. The extra-long desk offered a workspace for me and a makeup counter for Heidi. While there were no USB-C outlets, the desk did have three power outlets and four USBs. So, we could charge all our gear with no issues.

The sofa was a good size with plenty of room for two adults to spread out. Although, there were no toss pillows.

On each side of the bed, there were very small shelves in place of nightstands. The top shelf was just big enough for a cell phone. Above these shelves was a USB outlet for charging that phone below.

Lastly, the balcony offered adequate space with two chairs and a table. It was the ideal spot to watch sail away from ports of call or to do some work in the afternoon. Unlike some cruise lines, the chairs did not have ottomans to go along with them.

While the cabin was functional, we think the staterooms on Carnival cruise ships are rather plain. With light beechwood tones, there are minimal accents or thoughtfulness in the decor. The staterooms certainly do not exude elegance or premium finishes. Still, it was a comfortable setup for our week-long Caribbean sailing.

Overall Carnival Jubilee Cruise Ship Review

With various restaurants, onboard activities, nightlife, and entertainment, there is plenty to do at all times of day on Carnival’s newest ship.

We were particularly fond of the casual dining options throughout the ship. Not to mention, we enjoyed all of the complimentary outdoor activities, various game shows, comedy shows, and pool deck parties. While we are not the biggest fans of the Playlist Productions when compared to other cruise lines, the shows are high energy and feature a cast of talented singers and dancers.

Complete list of all the types of cruises you  can take - Carnival Jubilee cruise ship review

Carnival dubs its vessels “fun ships”, and we can attest that everyone onboard was having a great time. From the parties, to the competitions, to the various other activities, these events were well attended and for good reason. Kyndall and her Fun Squad staff kept everyone engaged. On the flipside, if you are looking to escape the crowds and relax, Carnival Jubilee might not be the ship for you.

Carnival Jubilee sails from Galveston, TX, offering 7-night Western Caribbean itineraries. Mixing the onboard experiences with classic ports of call like Cozumel and Costa Maya, Carnival Jubilee offers a cruise vacation that your family won’t soon forget.


Do you agree with our Carnival Jubilee cruise ship review? Have you sailed on a Carnival Cruise Line mega-ship? Drop us an anchor below with your latest trip reports.

Don Bucolo, or “DB”, loves everything about cruising- the ocean, the food, and the atmosphere. While he may be obsessed with doing extensive amounts of research on ships and all elements of a cruise, Don enjoys sharing his new found knowledge with fellow cruisers. When he is not sailing the high seas, he does whatever his wife tells him to do-it only took 10 years to realize this.
Don Bucolo
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