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Review: Tim McGraw Carnival LIVE Cruise



I’ve been addicted to live music since my first concert at age nine. There is something about the atmosphere, the vibe, and the power of live performances. So, when I saw that Tim McGraw was performing on a Carnival Cruise Line ship last year, I knew I had to go! The cruise was a three-night sailing out of Port Canaveral and the floating venue was Carnival Liberty. This is my review of Tim McGraw’s Carnival LIVE performance.

The concept of Carnival LIVE  is that one artist can do two shows in two days on two ships. The weekend of our concert, Tim did a show on Carnival Breeze and Carnival Liberty, respectively.

Carnival LIVE

Three years ago, Carnival Cruise Line launched a program called Carnival LIVE where they bring popular musicians and comedians onboard while the ship is docked in port to perform a 75 to 90-minute concert. Last summer it was revealed that Tim McGraw was going to take part. The cruise rate was $199 and the concert ticket was $80 (not included in the cruise price). They also had a VIP concert experience for $300 per person. If you wanted to get a photo with Tim McGraw, get a VIP lanyard, and sit in the first five rows – that was the ticket to have.

At an event with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill a couple years ago.

To give a bit more context behind the ticket price, Tim McGraw and his wife Faith Hill are about to embark on the Soul 2 Soul tour where tickets are going for $132 each. Most of these venues during the tour hold at least 15,000 people. So seeing him perform in a 1,000 seat venue was an added bonus.

Pre-Concert Party

The line for Tim McGraw backed up to the dining room.

The concert was on a Friday night in Nassau, Bahamas. But that didn’t stop the hardcore fans from lining up at the door at 10:00 am to be the first in the line. To most, lining up that early may be considered a wasted day, but not to these die-hard fans. They were having a blast, and the bar watiers were tending to them so they wouldn’t lose their spot in line. 

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Fast forward to 30-minutes before show time and the lines on the port and starboard side were all the way back to the main dining room. The doors opened promptly at 7:45p. At first, I didn’t know where I should sit. I went to the top, then the bottom, then up a couple rows, until I found myself fourth row. People were too worried about trying to rush up to the front, they forgot about the side areas of the theater. When I say there wasn’t a bad seat in the house – there wasn’t! Only seats that were a bit closer than others (or if you were sitting behind a pole!).

The Show

From the moment Tim took the stage, he was non-stop. Pouring his heart into every song and tossing it to the audience for an occasional sing-along.

The crowd was on their feet the whole time and people sang along to every song. For 85 minutes it was a constant sing-along, from “I Like It, I love It,” “Real Good Man,” “Just to See You Smile,” “Humble and Kind,” “Something Like That,” and the encore “Live Like You Were Dying.” Tim’s vocals were strong, the band was tight, and he brought the house down.

Final Thoughts

Having spent over a decade in radio and being blessed to see a lot of concerts in my lifetime, I can say that Tim McGraw knocked it out of the park. I felt that the ticket price was fair, the seats were amazing, and the show was phenomenal.

I did feel like there could’ve been a little more country music infused throughout the sailing with almost half the ship going to the concert.

If you’re a fan of an artist on a Carnival LIVE sailing and you have the opportunity to sail on one of these voyages, you won’t be disappointed. Make sure you buy your tickets early!

You can see future Carnival LIVE concerts on Carnival’s website here

You can read the trip reports from the cruise here

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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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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 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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