While on board the Carnival Jubilee for a special pre-maiden voyage preview, a small group of us got the thrill of seeing the ship through the eyes of a man who helped bring the project to life, Glenn Aprile, the Senior Director of Brand Experience and Product Development at Carnival Cruise Line.
Through him, we got incredible insight into everything from the original Excel-class concepts to the latest innovations on board this ship.
Exploring Carnival Jubilee
Before the Carnival Jubilee preview tour started, Aprile explained that the outdoor spaces on board this ship are identical to those on the sister ship Carnival Celebration.
Because of that — and the not-exactly-ideal weather — we instead focused on the two areas of the ship — or Zones, in Carnival speak — featuring the biggest differences: Currents and The Shores.
We began the tour in the ship’s Grand Central zone, the atrium. That seemed like a logical place to start, given that this is the first space guests will encounter when boarding Jubilee.
Grand Central is genuinely stunning in an Insta-worthy way. Spanning three decks, it manages to be a giant space while also offering up cozy pockets. The area was, says Aprile, designed to “create experiences that stay with guests long after their voyage.”
For example, it would be hard to forget the beautiful underwater seascapes that filled the massive LED screens as we passed through.
Under (Or Beside) The Sea
Given that most cruisers have a deep and abiding love for the sea, it makes sense that Jubilee embraces celebrating the ocean. Shades of blue can be found everywhere, giving even the biggest spaces a sense of tranquility.
But the ocean-centric theme truly comes to life in the Currents and Shores zones. Interestingly, they manage to showcase two different aspects of the ocean.
While Currents almost envelopes you in the peacefulness of life beneath the waters, Shores — as its name implies — brings to life some of the vibes (and venues) you might find at a beachfront resort.
And that, says Aprille, is all done very intentionally. Moving through the spaces, the idea was to help guests feel connected to the sea from below the waves or while lying in the sunshine.
The Star of Texas
The ship’s bow, which proudly brandishes a Texas star, isn’t the only place you’ll find indications of her homeport. Discovering homages to the state is almost like finding “hidden Mickeys” at Walt Disney World.
Look close enough, and you’ll find subtle nods to the Lone Star state here and there… including on the menus. It’s not a coincidence that you’ll find Tex-Mex and BBQ pizza on the menu at Coastal Slice.
The original MS Jubilee, launched in 1986, was a proud Carnival Holiday class member. So, it was essential for Aprile and his team to find ways to incorporate elements from those much-loved ships. Elsewhere, the Elissa — a tall ship built in 1877 and currently docked in Galveston’s harbor — is featured in several pieces of artwork, a nice nod to the port and the long history of sailing vessels.
Something For Everyone
Aprile was particularly proud of the ship’s family-friendly design. “We’ve meticulously created spaces that cater to all ages, ensuring everyone aboard has something to enjoy,” he said.
There are also numerous ways in which technology has been used to create unusually immersive environments. For example, the digital portholes in the Currents zone periodically come to life with multi-media presentations designed to wow kids of all ages.
The area is also interactive, with a “Change the Currents” station allowing passengers to create a fish which, through the wonders of modern tech, becomes part of the environment displayed on the digital portholes. Many of the interactive features play right into the educational aspects of Carnival’s sustainability program.
The Last Word
In many ways, Jubilee is more a fraternal than identical twin to sisters Mardi Gras and Celebration. Yes, the resemblance is plain to see, but look closer, and you’ll also notice differences… some of them substantial.
But what makes the company’s flagship vessel unique is her focus on the waters she will sail through.
Carnival’s first ship Excel class ship, Mardi Gras, evoked the lively spirit of New Orleans, while Carnival Celebration paid tribute to the rich history of Carnival Cruise Line. Similarly, Carnival Jubilee is a heartfelt homage to Texas and the open sea.