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Review: Carnival’s Seafood Shack



It seems like the most natural fit in the word: a seafood shack aboard a ship cruising through the ocean. But does the reality live up to the idea? I had a chance to sample the food at Carnival’s Seafood Shack when it debuted on the Carnival Vista last year. With the eatery being introduced to an ever-expanding roster of ships in the Carnival fleet, this seems like a great time to talk about how the food is… and what it will cost you!

What makes Seafood Shack unique?

Inspired by a New England seaside eatery, the Seafood Shack has fresh fish on display along with an open-air kitchen that allows guests to watch their meal being prepared right in front of them. As an added bonus, it’s actually located outside, giving you fresh air and gorgeous views of the very ocean from which your meal was caught!

Reminiscent of more than a few of the New England seafood shacks I’ve visited over the years, there’s no table service here. Instead, you walk up to the bar, place your order and then are given a pager. There is plenty of outdoor seating surrounding the Seafood Shack, but you can also take your food into the nearby Lido Marketplace (which is convenient if you happen to want to pick up something to go with your order). There also happens to be a drink and soft-service ice cream station steps away from where you order, so you’ve got pretty much everything you could want or need available to you!

What’s on the menu?

This is pretty much a seafood lover’s paradise. Want a whole fish or maybe some crab legs? You can get either here, and then have it cooked to order. The menu also includes such traditional fare as clam strips, fried shrimp, lobster rolls and chowder. Feeling hungry? Try the fried seafood platter, featuring fish, shrimp and clam strips.

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Lobster Roll and fries.

Needless to say, I visited more than once during my cruise… all in the name of research, of course! Among the items I tried were a bucket of buffalo fried shrimp ($6), clam chowder in a bread bowl ($4) and my favorite item on the menu, the lobster roll ($12), featuring nice hunks of fresh Maine lobster served with a side of seasoned french fries. It should be noted that each order includes a gratuity charge.

You can see the full menu here.

Final thoughts

Lobster Roll and a Clam Chowder bread bowl.

Given the venue’s popularity, it’s not surprising to see it being installed on more ships. During my recent sailing on board the Carnival Liberty, I noticed that the area of the ship previously used as an outdoor grill area had been converted to a Seafood Shack. It seems likely that over time, the Fish & Chips stations which many ships previously offered will be replaced by the Seafood Shacks. And while some will grouse about a for-fee venue replacing a complimentary one, the quality of food and relatively low cost should prove popular with the majority of cruisers. Personally? Having downed about 12 lobster rolls during my Vista cruise, I’d have to say I’m totally on board — pun intended — with the change.

Currently, Seafood Shack can be found on Carnival Conquest, Freedom, Glory, Liberty, Triumph, Valor, and Victory.

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Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Raises Faster to the Fun Price



The good news: When sailing on most Carnival Cruise Line ships, you can still purchase the Faster To The Fun package. The bad news? On many of those ships, taking the happiness highway’s express lane is gonna cost you a little extra.

How Much Faster To The Fun Went Up

Carnival quietly boosted the price earlier this week, although news of the change spread quickly across social media. Some proclaimed that they didn’t mind paying the extra fee for the program — which offers numerous benefits, including priority embarkation — while others thought there were better ways in which they could spend the money.

So how much did the price go up? Previously, the cost — which is per cabin, not per person — ran between $49,95 to $79.95, depending on the ship and the length of the sailing. The price has now gone up to between $69.95 and $99.95.

The Breakdown


Screenshot via Carnival.


  • The program will cost $69.95 on 5-day sailings, except on the Sensation, where the price is $59.95.
  • For 4-day cruises on Carnival Conquest, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Triumph, Carnival Valor and Carnival Vista is $69.95.
  • For 6- and 7-day sailings, Faster To The Fun will cost $89.95.
  • On sailings lasting 8 days or longer, the package will now cost $99.95.

When Carnival first rolled Faster to the Fun out in 2012, it was $49.95 per stateroom across the fleet. In 2016, the line switched to the tiered pricing system which remains in effect to this day.

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What does Faster to the Fun include? 

A limited number of Faster To The Fun passes are sold, which is one of the reasons many believe it to be worth the price, as it allows for faster boarding thanks to separate security screening lanes and an express boarding lane upon embarkation. Those who purchase FTTF also have immediate access to their staterooms, which generally are not available immediately upon boarding. The perk also includes priority luggage handling, access to priority tendering in ports where applicable, a choice of disembarkation times and priority dinner-time assignments.

Do you generally purchase Faster To The Fun? Will the change in price impact your decision to do so in the future? 

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Carnival Cruise Line

Queen Latifah Named Carnival Horizon’s Godmother



The newest ship to join the Carnival Cruise Line fleet also just became the coolest with the news that Queen Latifah has been named the Carnival Horizon’s godmother.

When The Queen Will Reign

Carnival Ho

Photo: Carnival

Beloved by millions, the actress/singer/author/businesswoman said it was “an honor” to be selected, especially given the line’s longtime association with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, “a cause that is very near and dear to my heart.”

Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line, said that “with her fun-loving spirit and positive, can-do attitude, Queen Latifah embodies our brand and knows how to Choose Fun in everything she does. Knowing that she is a long-time supporter of St. Jude and has performed on and won Lip Sync Battle made her the ideal candidate to serve as godmother on our newest ship.”

READ MORE: Sneak Peek At The Carnival Horizon [Photos]

Latifah will officially assume her duties at the naming ceremony, which is set to take place during an invitation-only overnight gala being held on the Carnival Horizon in New York City on Wednesday, May 23. During the ceremony, St. Jude will be presented with a check representing funds raised at various Carnival events, both on ships and on shore. The atrium-grounding Dreamescape funnel will also feature artwork created by dozens of St. Jude patients.

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The gala will also see Latifah taking part in a special event titled Lip Sync Battle: Horizon which will showcase the ship’s authentic reproduction of the hit TV series.

Over the past few years, Latifah has… well, pretty much done it all. She’s won awards from groups as diverse as the Teen Choice Awards and the Screen Actors Guild, not to mention a Grammy, an Oscar nomination and two NAACP Image Awards. She was also the first hip-hop artist to be honored with a star on the world famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, and now runs a production company — Flavor Unit Entertainment — which produces a wide variety of programming.

After The Gala

Following the naming ceremony and Gala on May 23, the Carnival Horizon will spend the summer sailing out of New York City before relocating in September to Miami, where she’ll sail year-round cruises to the Caribbean.

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Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival to Offer New Cuba Cruises in 2019



Carnival Cruise Line will be offering 17 new sailings to Cuba aboard Carnival Sensation in 2019. The five-day voyages will be the line’s first to operate round-trip from Miami and feature a day-long call in Havana as well as stops in other popular ports.

The voyages complement a series of sailings to Cuba departing from Tampa aboard Carnival Paradise taking place in 2018 and 2019. Sensation‘s Cuba schedule includes:

  • four 5-day sailings to Havana and Grand Turk departing May 20, Sept. 9, Nov. 18 and Dec. 16, 2019
  • five 5-day voyages featuring Havana, Nassau and Half Moon Cay departing June 17, July 15, Aug. 12, Sept. 23, and Nov. 4, 2019
  • a 5-day cruise to Havana, Nassau and Princess Cays departing April 22, 2019
  • seven 5-day cruises to Havana and Grand Cayman departing May 6, June 3, July 1 and 29, Aug. 26, Oct. 7 and Dec. 2, 2019

A Cuban taxi driver, piloting a vintage car, pulls up to the El Morro Castle while the Carnival Paradise cruise ship is docked in Havana, Cuba. (Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line)

The 2,052-guest Carnival Sensation underwent a massive dry dock last year and a variety of venues were added, including Guy’s Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, RedFrog Rum Bar, Alchemy Bar, and Cherry on Top. Already onboard was a Serenity adults-only area, 24-hour pizza, the WaterWorks aqua park, and the Seuss at Sea program.

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Guests sailing on Carnival’s cruises to Cuba can choose from almost 20 shore excursions that showcase the island’s culture, beauty, and architectural landmarks. There will also be Cuba-themed parties, games, and activities onboard. To learn more, visit

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