Carnival Panorama Cruise Ship Review
With a focus on family fun, Carnival Panorama offers something everyone will love. We indulged in the various casual dining options that featured some of the tasty fare at sea, and we couldn’t get enough of the outdoor adventures like the SkyRide and SportSquare.
Those looking to escape the kids can find tranquility on the adults only Serenity sun deck, while those who like to party can enjoy the Fun Squad events occurring throughout the day at the Beach Pool, in the Ocean Plaza, or in the Atrium. The best part is that almost all of these activities are included.
Porthole Cruise and Travel Ship Rating: 4.0 out of 5
Carnival Panorama offers many diverse dining options that are sure to please even the pickiest of eaters.
For those who like traditional cruise dining, the main dining room offers set dinner times, with an early and late seating. Cruisers who like more flexibility should choose the Your Time Dining option. Our nightly meals in the main dining room were always fresh and hot, with all of our customizations easily accommodated by the kitchen.
Perhaps our favorite part of the main dining room was the Sea Day brunch. This mix of rich breakfast foods, such as the skillet cake with marshmallow topping, and lunch time favorites like fried chicken was far better than the typical daytime fare found on other cruise ships.
Of course, there is also the Lido Marketplace which is a pretty typical cruise ship buffet open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Of all the options, we found this to be the least interesting and diverse except for the Carnival Deli which offered a great selection of freshly prepared sandwiches.
Luckily, cruisers have a variety of other complimentary dining options to enjoy on Carnival Panorama. Many of these venues are found fleet wide, such as Guy’s Burger Joint, serving up freshly made burgers and perfectly seasoned fries. You can also dive into the BlueIguana Cantina for custom burritos and tacos available for breakfast and lunch.
The 24-hour Pizzeria del Capitano offered 5 varieties of freshly made pizzas that were certainly worth the small queue. Not to mention, there is also a free Pasta Bar, the Mongolian Wok noodle bar, and a BBQ buffet that allows you to test out some of flavors from select specialty restaurants on the ship.
Speaking of specialty restaurants, there are also several dining options available for an up-charge. The line’s signature steakhouse, Fahrenheit 555, sears up signature cuts of meat nightly. Carnival’s Italian restaurant, Cucina del Capitano, offers the perfect spot for Sunday Supper, while JiJi Asian Kitchen features casual Chinese-style meals like Kung Pao Chicken and Fried Rice. Sushi lovers can grab a la carte selections from Bonsai sushi, or you can enjoy a multi-course feast at the Japanese hibachi-style, Bonsai Teppanyaki. Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse is also worth a visit to enjoy items like trash can nachos and meats straight off the smoker paired with an exclusive Parched Pig craft brew.
CARNIVAL PANORAMA BARS
New to Carnival Panorama is the Heroes Tribute Bar. This venue has a military theme and host events honoring the Armed Forces. With an exclusive menu of mixed drinks and several large screen televisions, this venue also doubles as the ship’s sports bar.
Our go to spot on Carnival Panorama was the Alchemy Bar on deck 5. The “potions” and “elixirs” here included a number of hand-crafted cocktails featuring whiskey, bourbon, and vodka. The alchemists here can certainly mix up a remedy for whatever ails you.
There are also several outdoor bar options as well, with each spot having its signature focus. On the Serenity deck, you can sip one of the signature sangrias available by the glass or pitcher. The Tides Bar located near the aft of the ship offers your favorite poolside frozen concoctions. Near the main pool, margaritas are on order at the BlueIguana Tequila Bar, whereas several Caribbean inspired mixed drinks can be shaken up at the RedFrog Rum Bar.
Guy’s Pig and Anchor Smokehouse | Brewhouse cooks up 4 signature beers that are available only on the Carnival fleet. If the beer and the BBQ aren’t enough, there is regular live music at this venue several nights of your cruise. So, there is always a good reason to visit.
For a mega-ship of its size, Carnival Panorama features many of the typical offerings you find on contemporary cruise ships. The outdoor decks offer many family fun activities that are all complimentary. Children will enjoy the Dr. Seuss themed WaterWorks with two waterslides and a splash zone area. There are also two pools open to families, with the Beach Pool located midship being the hub of day time events. For a more relaxing experience and awesome wake views, cruisers can head aft on the Lido deck to the Tides Pool. In the evenings, cruisers can even enjoy Blockbuster hits at the Dive-In movies.
Adventure seekers will want to challenge each other to a race on the SkyRide. This dual track, aerial bike offers some amazing views overlooking the sea. The SkyCourse ropes course offers several different challenges as you traverse the area testing your balance and stamina. Other outdoor fun includes a 9-hole mini golf course, corn hole, and pool tables. Inside the Clubhouse, there is ping pong, foosball, and SkyBillards, a soccer-style billiards game.
Circling Deck 5 is an outdoor promenade with oversized chairs, loungers, and sofas. This is the ideal escape from the crowds on the upper decks. It is also home to al fresco dining for several specialty restaurants. There is no better way to celebrate a special event than with dinner under the stars at one of these up-charge venues.
Speaking of unique dining experiences, Carnival Panorama is also home to the brand-new Carnival Kitchen. This up-charge experience features various cooking classes from onboard chefs, with some including dinner in the price. Cruisers can get hands-on in the kitchen to learn new skills like sushi making and pasta making or cake and pie workshops.
Also new to Carnival Panorama is the Sky Zone. This indoor trampoline and challenge park is a small upcharge (starting at $12 for adults for an hour session), but it is worth the cost. Cruisers can play dodgeball or dunk a basketball while on the trampolines. Or, play an interactive game on the rock-climbing wall or test your strength and balance at other obstacles like jousting and a rope ladder.
Another stunning feature on Carnival Panorama is the 3-story atrium that is home to the digital LED work of art, the Dreamscape. Offering various backdrops throughout the cruise, it is always worth a quick glance and photo op. In the Atrium, you will also find regularly hosted parties and other Fun Squad events with the master of ceremonies being your cruise director, Emma.
We stayed in a balcony cabin on deck 8, aft. At 220 square feet, this stateroom was an average size, and we felt more than comfortable for our 7-night voyage. Closet space was on par with similarly sized cruise ship staterooms, though the desk area did feel a bit smaller than usual. The king bed was comfortable and provided a restful night’s sleep. The balcony offered two chairs and a table; however, there was no sliding glass door, rather a pullout door which was something we did not expect. The only drawback of the staterooms on Carnival Panorama were the lack of outlets near the bed, making charging all our devices difficult.
Of course, Carnival Panorama offers all the other typical stateroom categories from interior cabins to suites and everything in between. The ship also features some unique cabin categories which come with additional perks. These include the Havana staterooms that come with access to an exclusive pool deck and the Family Harbor staterooms that offer special perks for families.
There are several night time entertainment options to enjoy during the cruise. The real challenge is trying to fit everything into one 7-day voyage.
The Limelight Lounge on deck 4 doubles as the Punchliners Comedy Club. On our trip, there were four different comedians throughout the cruise offering family friendly and adult only shows. We made sure to catch at least one set from each performer, and our favorite was Azeem.
Also on deck 4 is the Liquid Lounge, the ship’s main theater. There were four Playlist Productions each offering an early and late showtime. The two new productions that are featured exclusively on Carnival Panorama are Broadway Beats and Rock Revolution. For us, the hands down favorite was Celestial Strings. This show offered a harmonic mix of music, choreography, and set design. However, the shows are certainly not the Broadway caliber productions that you find on some of the other cruise lines.
Carnival Panorama also hosts some signature entertainment that is exclusive to the fleet like the Lip Sync Battle and Hasbro the Game Show. The Lip Sync Battle provides plenty of laughs as two fellow cruisers go head to head in the ultimate competition, complete with costumes and back up dancers. Hasbro the Game Show is a family friendly activity where cruisers battle it out in some classic board games with a twist.
Other cruiser favorites on Carnival Panorama are the parties. These included the Mega Deck Party and the 80’s Rock and Glow Party that occurred on the Lido Deck and the White Hot Night Party that occurred in the Atrium. Emma and her staff kept these parties going all night, and the fellow cruisers made sure to return the energy. We enjoyed the 80’s Rock and Glow Party the most. Who doesn’t love to sing along to a little Journey?
Not to mention, there were also several live musical acts that rotated through various venues on the ship. There were two different piano players in Piano Bar 88, a solo guitarist and a duo that performed in the Atrium, Ocean Plaza, or Guy’s Pig and Anchor Brewhouse, and the DJ who spun tunes into the early hours of the morning in the Limelight Lounge.
While we have been on 30+ cruises together, this Mexican Riviera cruise was our first time sailing on Carnival Cruise Line. After the amazing experience we had on Carnival Panorama, we are already looking to “Choose Fun” on another ship in the fleet.