Carnival Cruise Line is quietly removing libraries from its ships, both with new builds not having a library venue and with older ships renovating the spaces into different uses during dry dock operations.
What does this trend indicate about changes in the onboard vibe, and what experiences guests can expect on Carnival cruise ships?
No More Libraries Aboard Carnival Ships
Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald recently addressed guests’ concerns about the lack of libraries on newly built Carnival cruise ships – a feature missing from the cruise line’s Excel-class vessels: Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration, and the upcoming Carnival Jubilee.
Furthermore, guests have also noticed that some older Carnival ships are having their libraries removed during dry dock upgrades, with the space replaced with other features, such as additional bars or annexes to adjacent spaces, such as the casino.
“We have stopped building new ships with libraries,” confirmed Heald. “The reason is so we can have other bars, restaurants etc. there and the reason is also that, well, the amount of people who want to borrow a book and sit, in library silence on their Fun cruise was we saw getting less and less.”
The ship’s library was often a small, quiet space with classic wood decor and cozy seating, with small tables for board games or cards to be played. In addition to a selection of books – some contributed by guests, others supplied by the cruise line – a variety of board games were often available.
Admittedly, the book selection could vary widely from ship to ship, and the books were often older or obscure titles rather than newly released bestsellers. Similarly, the board games were often well-played and might be missing pieces, but players could get creative with their game style to still enjoy the diversion.
Occasionally, library spaces would also be used for onboard weddings or small gatherings, such as group meetups or business meetings.
What Takes the Place of a Library?
Now, areas formerly used for ships’ libraries are being renovated for additional bars, coffee shops, smoke-free casino rooms, live music setups, or other venues that draw more attention than sedate, quiet space.
In other cases, the former library space may simply be an extension of adjacent seating areas or other venues to reduce crowding in those more popular spaces.
With space at a premium on ever-larger cruise ships that carry thousands of passengers on every sailing, it makes sense for the cruise line to eliminate less-used spaces and update them for more popular venues.
Furthermore, when the free libraries – there has never been a charge for borrowing a book or playing a board game – can be turned into revenue-generating spaces such as bars or extra-charge cafes, it makes “cents” to the cruise line’s bottom line.
Reactions have been mixed about the loss of libraries onboard, with some guests lamenting no longer having a quiet, peaceful, dedicated space for reading or games.
Other guests have often taken advantage of the library for onboard work time, a growing trend in today’s increasingly digital, ever-connected world, with some travelers putting in remote work hours even while on vacation.
Especially on rainy days when outdoor spaces may not be as desirable or usable, the library could become more popular for friendly gatherings.
Other cruisers, however, have been surprised to learn that libraries have continued to be part of ships until recently, as the space is generally under-utilized and may not be noticed with so many other features onboard to enjoy.
Where to Find a Quiet Space Onboard
Even without a dedicated library onboard, there are many quiet spaces to be found even on the largest, newest, most popular cruise ships.
Different seating nooks near the main atrium often have some quiet corners, or seating found alongside interior promenades can be a great place to read a book, play a board game, deal out a deck of cards, or simply people-watch.
When not being used for trivia contests, craft projects, or other scheduled activities, guests can often go into different small lounges and music venues, such as a piano bar, for quiet seating and fewer disturbances.
Adults-only areas such as Serenity can also be a great space to get away from more noise and activity, with great outdoor lounge seating and phenomenal views.
Of course, guests can also stay in their staterooms for a relaxing break, or find a space on the deck further from the main pools for more quiet to enjoy books, games, or cards they may bring from home to enjoy on their cruise vacation.
Have you used the libraries onboard Carnival cruise ships? Will you miss them? Share your thoughts on the Cruise Hive boards!