Carnival panorama cruise ship review
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Carnival Panorama Cruise Ship Review and Mexican Riviera


In this article, I am going on a Carnival cruise aboard the Panorama. I will show you the amenities aboard and things to do, talk about the food and if it was any good, and explore the 3 destinations of Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo, Mexico.

Long Beach, California – Mini Vacation Before Boarding the Carnival Panorama

Bowl of butter pecan ice cream in Long Beach, California.

Me and my buddy Dil started our adventure with a mini-vacation in Long Beach, California. We stayed a few days there and enjoyed the nightlife, the restaurants, the beach, and the shopping where we each bought some Hurley brand shorts for $5, among other things.

And we also went on a fun whale-watching trip where we got to see a few whales. Not a bad way to start a vacation.

Want to book a Carnival Cruise? Click here: (affiliate link)

Boarding the Carnival Panorama Cruise Ship at the Port of Long Beach, CA

Boarding the Carnival Panorama cruise ship.

Next, it was time to head to the cruise ship. I dressed up in my appropriate cruising attire and we left our Airbnb to head to the Terminal at the port of Long Beach.

And of course, we had lots of traffic. After parking at the garage, we grabbed our gear and made our way to the terminal.

Along the way we had a great view of the Queen Mary which is a famous ship from several years ago, fun fact it is now a hotel.

View of the Queen Mary cruise ship next to the domed Long Beach Cruise Terminal.

The terminal was located in a large dome building which has its own unique history which I won’t get into. We didn’t have to wait very long before they called our boarding number and we made our way to the cruise ship.

Aboard the Cruise Ship

Since we didn’t have our room keys yet we explored the ship. There is so much to see and do on the Carnival Panorama Cruise ship.

Water slides on the carnival cruise ship

From water slides to rope courses to a really cool sky bike ride, to swimming pools, hot tubs, sports court, big chess boards, comedy clubs, dance clubs, piano bar, and a fun theater with all kinds of shows.

Guy on the Carnival sky ride aboard the Panorama.

One of the shows was a funny love and marriage show. Onboard the Carnival Panorama they had a place for kids which included the arcade and a few other places like an indoor trampoline park.

There were lots of little shops aboard in case you wanted to buy overpriced items or maybe you just forgot a few items like toothpaste, Dramamine, etc.

Group of people dancing on a cruise ship.

There was constant entertainment that you could attend, karaoke was a favorite for our group, and a really cool silent dance night on the main pool deck. You got headphones and then you could tune in to three different channels and dance, but only you could hear the music. Very fun for the spectators and participants.

Man in a gym aboard the Carnival Panorama cruise ship.

There was also a gym on board with great views of the ocean, pretty common for most cruise ships to have a gym. I was able to keep up with my Physical Therapy on my back and shoulder.

If I was going to rate the amenities and sheer number of activities and things to do, I would give it a 9/10 rating. Lots of fun things to do and keep yourself and your friends and family occupied. If you want to just chill and relax and not be around other people, the ship is so big there are always places like that you can find.

Is the food aboard the Carnival Panorama any good?

One of my favorite things about cruises is the food! You can eat food pretty much 24/7 if you want to. On deck 10 was the Lido Marketplace where you could find all the main buffets which were open for breakfast lunch and dinner.

Bacon, eggs, and potatoes along with some pastries on a white plate.

Some of my favorite things to eat here were the bacon and eggs and the pastries. I also liked that they had fresh fruit all the time.

Around the ship, there were other restaurants that you could eat at some which were included, and others that you had to pay extra for.

Hamburger and fries on a cruise ship.

My favorite place to eat would probably be Guy’s Burger joint. The burgers are fantastic. Another thing I ate a fair amount was the pizza.

Pizza on the lap

It wasn’t gourmet, but it was always there, it seemed like that place never closed. If you wanted pizza at 2 am you could get it! Speaking of pizza, check out my amazing homemade pizza dough recipe!

For dinner, we spent most nights at the Horizon Restaurant on level 3 with a big group of singles that we were part of. I wouldn’t say the food was the best, but it had a good variety of things to eat and some things that I really enjoyed.

Lobster on a plate with broccoli and risotto.

You always had a choice between appetizers, which came out first, the main entrees, and then the desserts. A good selection each night with crowd favorites like the Carnival chocolate molten cake.

Soft serve ice cream cone on the cruise ship.

Now when it comes to food on a cruise ship, I need to talk about the ice cream! It was one of my favorite things to eat, I probably ate 3 to 4 soft-serve cones a day. They had both ice cream and frozen yogurt. The strawberry frozen yogurt was awesome.

Carnival Kitchen Pasta Making Class

Matt wearing a Carnival Kitchen apron on the Panorama.

Another thing that was really cool is I booked a pasta-making class in the Carnival Kitchen, aboard the Panorama. Pasta making is pretty easy, but it was still fun to take the class.

Here is a quick tutorial on how to make pasta. First add the eggs and the oil, sometimes a bit of water, to the flour with a bit of salt. Knead to dough until it is soft and doesn’t crack.

Then cut it into smaller pieces and flatten it out. Next fun it through the top setting first, then adjust the setting, and keep doing this until you get your desired thickness. We made linguini pasta, so we had to cut it into that shape.

Carnival kitchen linguini carbonara pasta.

Also, we made a basic sauce which included pancetta, olive oil, onions, garlic, tomatoes, white wine, chicken stock, parsley, pesto, tomato sauce, and fresh basil.

We cooked the pasta for about 3 minutes or so in boiling water then added it to the sauce. And voila! Homemade pasta from scratch. This meal was one of my favorite things I ate on the whole cruise so good!

All in all the food aboard the Carnival Panorama was pretty much identical to the food on my previous Carnival cruise aboard the Mardis Gras. That cruise was actually my first-ever cruise. Read that Carnival Mardis Gras review here.

If I had to give the food a rating it would be probably a 7/10. There are things I liked and things I didn’t but it was nice that the food was always there.

Carnival Panorama Interior Stateroom: Are the rooms any good?

Interior stateroom on the carnival ship.

Before we get to the excursions I want to give you a tour of my stateroom. My room was on deck 1. It was in a crazy long hallway which is common for cruise ships.

It still felt a little eery each time in it, reminded me of the movie The Shining. The stateroom itself isn’t super large around 160 to 170 square feet.

I was able to unpack everything and put it away. The bathroom is small but sufficient. You can pay more and get a room with a window or balcony.

When it came down to it, the room was cozy and perfect for my needs. Again I was the only one in the room, I could see it being cramped possibly with two people, but I never really stay much time in my room anyway.

Mexican Riviera – Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta Carnival stop 1 in the Mexican Riviera

After three days cruising South in the Pacific Ocean we arrived at our first port in Mexico, which was Puerto Vallarta.

It was fun waking up a little early to get out on the deck and enjoy the views as we approached and then finally docked. Getting off the boat was painless. We were greeted by a Mariachi band, I even danced a bit with them.

Time for our excursion. My buddy Dil and I decided on one of the Carnival excursions. This excursion was great, we boarded a skiff and drove passed our cruise ship which gave us a great view of the massive vessel.

Matt getting ready to ride some horses in Puerto Vallarta.

Then we rode across the bay to the other side of a small town which is only accessible by boat. There we got on some horses and rode around the town a bit.

Next, we got back on the skiff and went to another little town to hike to a waterfall. The water was cool and refreshing.

Waterfall in Puerto Vallarta

Back to the boat where we rode for a few more minutes to go snorkeling. The water was clear and there was plenty of fish to see, I don’t have any footage of that unfortunately.

Finally, we wound up on a beach where we had a buffet of yummy traditional Mexican food, all we could drink drinks, and the opportunity to paddle board and kayak and swim if we wished. Then it was time to get back to the ship.

A short walk from the ship you can find a Sam’s Club and Walmart as well as a good-sized shopping mall.

If I were to give this excursion a rating I would give it an 8/10. It was lots and lots of fun. A good value for the price which was around $130 or something like that.

Mexican Riviera – Mazatlán

Mazatlan Mexico

The next day we arrived in Mazatlán. Again I woke up a little early to watch the cruise come into port and enjoy the port scenery.

Then the massive ship did a 180 turn and pretty much paralleled parked at the dock. The precision of the docking process was incredible.

Driving on a bus in Mazatlan

Our excursion had us traveling all around Mazatlan. We drove near the beaches and stopped at a jewelry store, I wandered around a bit and found a sea shell museum.

Our next stop took us to a brickyard where handmade bricks were made. A very interesting process. Another stop took us to a bakery where I bought an awesome pastry. The bread is baked in a domed outdoor oven. I want one of those at my house.

Next, we stopped at an old church which was amazing to look at. Then we drove to another small town called Copalla. There we had lunch and explored another very old church. Back to the ship.

As far as this excursion goes if I was to rate it I would give it a 5/10. I think the price for this one was around $80. There were others offered that I wish I did instead, like a Mini Speedboat one.

Mexican Riviera – Cabo San Lucas, the last port day for the Carnival Panorama

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico the last port visit for the Panorama.

The following day was our last port visit. Again I woke up a little early to enjoy the cruise ship as it approached Cabo.

Here there is no dock for cruise ships. We had to get on tender boats which ferried us to the actual dock. Cabo is such a beautiful location, resting at the very southern tip of Baja California.

On one side is the Pacific Ocean and on the other is the Sea of Cortez.

At the dock, we made our way to find a water taxi. We took a short water taxi and toured a little bit of the tip of Baja. Some incredible scenery.

View of the Carnival Panorama from Lover's beach in Cabo San Lucas

We disembarked on Lover’s Beach. A unique beach that has the Sea of Cortez on one side and the Pacific side on the other is called Divorce Beach. A couple in the group renewed their wedding vows and after we played in the water.  The water was really warm and clear. Then it was time to get back to the Ship.

Matt on Divorce beach in Cabo San Lucas

This was a really fun excursion. It was one we did on our own and wasn’t through Carnival Panorama. Sometimes the ones you just do on your own wind up being some of the best cruise ship excursions.

Back of the Panorama cruise ship.

Now we had one more full day at sea before arriving at the Port of Long Beach. A bittersweet moment knowing the vacation was coming to an end.

However, it was a good thing because Hurricane Hillary was hot on our heels. After disembarking the ship it was time to get back to the car and head back to Arizona.

It was such a fun cruising experience, I love cruising! If I was going to give this cruising experience a rating, haha, overall I would probably give it an 8/10, good times. I can’t wait to go on another cruise!

Would I travel aboard the Carnival Panorama again? Absolutely! It is a great ship with lots of things to do.

Want to book a Carnival Cruise? Click here: (affiliate link)

Carnival Panorama Cruise Ship Tour and Review Video!

These pictures don’t do this cruising adventure justice if you are interested in seeing hundreds of clips of the cruise check out this video I did.

Carnival Panorama Ship Tour Cruise Review | Food Any Good? | Puerto Vallarta Mazatlan Cabo


  1. Thx for the review! Wondering if you have all the fun times and dinner menus from the main dining room that you can post or email me?

    • You are welcome Steve! Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of the menus. I think if you did a carnival panorama dining room menus search on Google Images you will probably find some images of the menus that people have taken.

  2. Thanks a lot for the review and tips, I love to bring my family on cruises so this article is super helpful!

  3. This is worth reading! It is very informative and includes the things I’m looking for before trying a cruise ship.

  4. I love cruises, they are so fun!! I haven’t done this one, but now I totally need to!! Looks like it was a great time & yummy food!

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