• Newsletter
  • Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Deals
  • Find a Cruise
  • Reviews
  • News
  • Cruise Tips

Carnival Radiance Review

4.5 / 5.0
72 reviews
See all photos
Editor Rating
Very Good
Katherine Alex Beaven

Carnival Radiance debuted in December 2021 after a $200-million-dollar dry dock makeover that revamped the former Carnival Victory. The massive refit allowed Carnival to stock the 2,984-passenger ship with the line's fan favorites – think: WaterWorks slides, SkyCourse ropes course and a thermal suite, to name a few -- along with new top-line features, such as Shaq O'Neal's crowd-pleasing Big Chicken shack. Radiance has arrived primed to offer big-ship amenities with the coziness of a mid-size ship, making it a fun, easy-to-navigate, all hands-on deck cruise experience for newbies and veterans alike.

Carnival Radiance Deck Plans Are Welcomingly Familiar and Decor is Updated

In 2018, Carnival Victory received its first round of updates, laying the foundation for its ultimate conversion into Carnival Radiance just three years later. Updates in 2018 introduced Carnival Fun Ship 2.0 features, such as Guy's Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, Carnival Deli, Alchemy Bar, RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, Cherry on Top, Bonsai Sushi and a handful of new staterooms.

For cruisers who had the opportunity to sail on Carnival Victory (or any other Carnival Triumph-class ship), the bones of the 2022 Destiny-class Carnival Radiance will feel faintly familiar. Completely reimagined spaces and noticeable modifications of Carnival Radiance's deck plans make it look and feel like a completely different ship.

Adding to the new experience is the replacement of Carnival Victory's love-it-or-hate-it spunky, bold and dark color scheme. Radiance sports an entirely new, updated palette that gives off big beach vibes. Classic, airy and fresh sea tones like peach salmon and seafoam green can be found throughout the ship, along with delicate and modern light fixtures

Carnival Radiance New Cloud 9 Spa Rooms Have Several Perks -- and One Big Flaw

Passengers looking to balance out their Fun Ship cruise with a little R&R might want to consider upgrading their interior or balcony room to one of the ship's new Cloud 9 Spa rooms. These rooms have a more relaxing color palette in their decor and come with great perks, including unlimited free access to the onboard thermal suite – a new Radiance feature -- often well worth the price of the upgrade on its own.

Other Cloud 9 room perks include priority spa appointments, treatment discounts on port days, a free scrub kit, two free fitness classes per stateroom guest, free body composition analysis and in-room extras such as spa bathrobes and slippers and Elemis shower products.

Spa Cloud 9 rooms are located at the forward of the ship, on Deck 10 (Panorama Deck) and Deck 11 (Spa Deck), giving guests close access to the gym, spa and thermal suites. One downside to the otherwise clutch location of these rooms is that port side Cloud 9 Spa rooms on Deck 11 are located directly below the ship's Camp Ocean kids club. Expect to hear running and stomping nightly until the kids club closes late into the night.

Carnival Radiance Food Options are Plentiful, Though Small Eateries Have Long Lines

Between the buffet, main dining room, three specialty restaurants and six eateries, there's no shortage of places to eat on Carnival Radiance. And we love that, in typical Carnival fashion, the majority of the onboard eateries are included in the price of the cruise. That said, expect long lines during peak times for popular spots such as Guy's Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, Pizzeria del Capitano, and Big Chicken.

Carnival Deli, Guy's Pig & Anchor, Seafood Shack and Bonsai Sushi are less likely to have exceedingly long lines during peak times, though the latter two options cost extra.

Guy's Pig & Anchor, Pizzeria del Capitano, Cucina del Capitano, Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse and Shaq's wildly-popular Big Chicken are all new additions on Radiance.

The Ship Is Brimming with Onboard Venues and Specialty Areas (But They're Tiny)

It's worth remembering that Radiance's bones date back to 2000, granting a finite amount of space onboard available to refit. For those curious how big Carnival Radiance is, consider this: while Victory may have been one of the largest ships of its time, Radiance -- which has 101,509 gross tonnage -- is now considered to be a mid-sized ship. The sheer number of new features Carnival was able to bring onboard Radiance is nothing short of impressive.

The trade-off for having the best that Carnival has to offer at your fingertips is that some indoor venues come off being tight on space. The squeeze is particularly felt in the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, the Liquid Lounge main theater, Lido Marketplace buffet line and in the casino. That said, the RedFrog Pub, Alchemy Bar, the spa and thermal suite, gym, outdoor eateries and bars and pool areas feel as spacious as usual.

Who's On Board Carnival Radiance?

Our initial sailing aboard Carnival Radiance took place during the omicron surge, resulting in at abnormally low capacity. Still, we were happy to see a diverse mix of passengers onboard with us. Fellow passengers ranged in ages from wee kiddos to retirees, with many passengers appearing to be in their late 30s to mid-50s and from all over the U.S.

Couples, solo cruisers, families and friends could be found throughout the ship. Radiance is perfectly set up to appeal to partiers, sun bathers, day drinkers, night owls and quiet folks, all just looking for an easy and fun escape.


Passengers: 2984
Crew: 0
Passenger to Crew: 0:1
Launched: 2021
Shore Excursions: 143

Sign Up for Price Drop Alerts

Get Carnival Radiance price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy and Cookies Statement and Terms of Use.

Find a Carnival Radiance Cruise from $219

Any Month

More about Carnival Radiance

Where does Carnival Radiance sail from?

Carnival Radiance departs from Los Angeles

Where does Carnival Radiance sail to?

How much does it cost to go on Carnival Radiance?

Cruises on Carnival Radiance start from $219 per person.
Carnival Radiance Cruiser Reviews

lovely cruise

carnival radiance cruise line for your next cruise thank you for reading this review.enjoy your next cruise.Read More

First Time Cruiser

Age 24s

Long Beach Catalina island Ensenada

Thank you for this wonderful experience Carnival Radiance.Read More
Family group traveling

2-5 Cruises

Age 54s

Carnival Radiance to Catalina and Ensenada

I've cruised on Carnival Radiance 3 times so far and each time it meets basic standards.Read More

2-5 Cruises

Age 35s

You will enjoy every moment!

My husband and I just returned from a cruise on the Carnival Radiance. It was a 5 day cruise to Catalina Island and Ensenada.Read More

6-10 Cruises

Age 54s

Carnival Cruise Line Fleet
Carnival Elation
Carnival Spirit
About UsCruise DestinationsFirst Time CruisersFind A Cruise

International Sites

© 1995—2024, The Independent Traveler, Inc.

  • Privacy and Cookies Statement

  • Terms of Use

  • Site Map