Updated November 28, 2017
Every kid loves to get a stuffed animal on vacation, but it's so much more fun -- and meaningful -- when you get to pick the animal you want, stuff it yourself and then dress it in an outfit you picked out. Kids who sail with Carnival can do just that.
What It Is
Carnival Cruise Line's partnership with Build-A-Bear Workshop started in 2016 and quickly became one of the line's most popular pop-up experiences across its fleet.
Just like at land-based Build-A-Bear locations, junior cruisers on Carnival ships get the chance to create their new stuffed best friend. First they select their choice of animal. Each ship offers about six choices, ranging from white and pink bears to monkeys, dogs, sea turtles, bunnies and even the Cat in the Hat (thanks to the line's partnership with Dr. Seuss). On select cruises there's also a St. Jude Bear with all the profits from that choice going directly to St. Jude Children's Hospital.
Once kids have selected the animal they want, they'll need to get in line to hand their animal over to a crew member operating a mini stuffing machine. While the crew member will hold the animal while it's being stuffed, kids are asked to push the foot pedal to operate the machine, so they can feel they're part of the stuffing process. Halfway though, the kids are asked to place the stuffed animal's heart inside to help bring it to life.
After the stuffing is completed, kids take their new friend over to another group of crew members who will sew up the hole. Once that's done, it's time to pick out an outfit. Options range from a basic Carnival-branded T-shirt to sailor uniforms, ballerina tutus, swim shorts, sunglasses, flip-flops and more.
The pop-up Build-A-Bear Workshop at Sea on Carnival is held once per sailing (sometimes twice on longer Carnival Journeys cruises) in one of the ship's lounges. Times will be listed in the daily Fun Times schedule.
Each bear (or dog, monkey, Cat in the Hat, etc.) costs $26, which also includes a Carnival-branded Build-A-Bear drawstring bag for transporting the stuffed animal. A Carnival T-shirt for the animal is $5. All other outfits and accessories cost extra.
The Build-A-Bear Workshop at Sea on Carnival can be found on all Carnival cruise ships.
See photos of Carnival's Build-A-Bear Workshop at Sea on Carnival Paradise.