Need your help planning the suprise! :)

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#1
834 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Well, we are now less than 60 days out for my DH's 50th Birthday Surprise Cruise. I have gotten a ridiculous amount of help and support here on CC over the past year . . . and am now in final countdown mode. We have 53 people going, all final payments made, most details attended to. Life is good!

Now I have a couple questions for my experienced cruiser friends . . .

1. If we wanted to be in the earliest group of non-VIP people to board the ship- what time would we have to get to Port Everglades? I only ask because I have arranged for all 53 surprise guests to arrive to the port via a private shuttle- and want to make sure we are on and out of eyeshot before the entire groups arrives. I am hoping they will then be able to get on as together as possible- and head to where the big surprise will be.

2. So, given that, what would be your choice of venue on the Freedom for the big surprise? I have not been on that particular ship- so having a little bit of a hard time picturing the best way to make it work. I should mention that we are considering using a dancing "flash mob" to reveal the surprise . . .

I asked the Carnival Groups Planner about whether it would be OK with them if we did that, and she said she is going to ask the Cruise Director- but she thought it would be fine. At any rate, I think it would be a blast, and my husband would die laughing and of shock upon realizing he recognizes the dancers

Thanks for any ideas/suggestions you can give me!!!!
#2
Southern New Jersey
3,954 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Originally posted by myfamilyluvs2cruise
Well, we are now less than 60 days out for my DH's 50th Birthday Surprise Cruise. I have gotten a ridiculous amount of help and support here on CC over the past year . . . and am now in final countdown mode. We have 53 people going, all final payments made, most details attended to. Life is good!

Now I have a couple questions for my experienced cruiser friends . . .

1. If we wanted to be in the earliest group of non-VIP people to board the ship- what time would we have to get to Port Everglades? I only ask because I have arranged for all 53 surprise guests to arrive to the port via a private shuttle- and want to make sure we are on and out of eyeshot before the entire groups arrives. I am hoping they will then be able to get on as together as possible- and head to where the big surprise will be. I would get there about 10:00am, maybe even 9:45

2. So, given that, what would be your choice of venue on the Freedom for the big surprise? I have not been on that particular ship- so having a little bit of a hard time picturing the best way to make it work. I should mention that we are considering using a dancing "flash mob" to reveal the surprise . . . I would choose the piano bar...but you would have to arrange with the planner to get the room reserved for you...

I asked the Carnival Groups Planner about whether it would be OK with them if we did that, and she said she is going to ask the Cruise Director- but she thought it would be fine. At any rate, I think it would be a blast, and my husband would die laughing and of shock upon realizing he recognizes the dancers

Thanks for any ideas/suggestions you can give me!!!!
Good luck and have fun! I would personally not go with the flash mob idea, too much to make it go smoothly...
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#3
3,704 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
I have no advise. I just wanted to say....HOLY MOLY. How the heck did you pull this off? He has no idea about this???? Wow, I bow down to you....lol.

Have a great time...a great cruise......and please take pics and come back here and tell us about it.
#4
North Florida
726 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
But it sure is a wild idea.. Even if difficult to pull off. What if your guests show up one by one or couple by couple... it would be just keep going on and on
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#5
Central Massachusetts
4,011 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
I second the piano bar idea...it shouldn't be busy noontime/1pm.. to pop your surprise..

You might want to do it ASAP to ensure that hubby doesn't spot one of the invited guests and asks..what the heck are you doin here?
#6
phila, pa
51,760 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
I would get to the pier about 10:30 to be in the first group that boards.

My concern is IF the ship is late with boarding-- and your friends arrive at the pier your honey may see them.

for your surprise-- I would ask everyone to "host" a 1 hour open bar party.
its a tad under 12 bucks a head-- and everyone can be there when you walk in and see how long it takes before he realizes he knows everyone.
your agent can set this up for you
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#7
834 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Originally posted by AdoptAtty
But it sure is a wild idea.. Even if difficult to pull off. What if your guests show up one by one or couple by couple... it would be just keep going on and on
That is a great idea! Where would you do that at?
#8
834 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Originally posted by serene56
I would get to the pier about 10:30 to be in the first group that boards.

My concern is IF the ship is late with boarding-- and your friends arrive at the pier your honey may see them.

for your surprise-- I would ask everyone to "host" a 1 hour open bar party.
its a tad under 12 bucks a head-- and everyone can be there when you walk in and see how long it takes before he realizes he knows everyone.
your agent can set this up for you
Thanks so much!

A cocktail party was my ultimate fantasy for the surprise- but sadly, they had every venue booked for weddings until after the muster drill . . . and as we are all in rooms in the same area, I am sure we would run into each other before then.

We did book a private party for the second sea day. WHAT A GREAT BARGAIN! I was shocked about the prices and the appetizers being so yummy and high end for the price.
#9
834 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Originally posted by Crazy4Koko
I second the piano bar idea...it shouldn't be busy noontime/1pm.. to pop your surprise..

You might want to do it ASAP to ensure that hubby doesn't spot one of the invited guests and asks..what the heck are you doin here?
That is a good thought! Is the bar open, or do they book that for weddings?
#10
834 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Originally posted by susie8862
I have no advise. I just wanted to say....HOLY MOLY. How the heck did you pull this off? He has no idea about this???? Wow, I bow down to you....lol.

Have a great time...a great cruise......and please take pics and come back here and tell us about it.
You are too funny!

I almost blew it a few times back during a frustrating time chronicled in a very lengthy thread on CC regarding price drops for my group . . . But the thought of having him realize how many people love him and the look on his face kept me from spilling. He does know that we are going on this cruise- he just doesn't know about the other 45 people . . .

I am subsidizing some of the cost of our guests from a small inheritance I got from my beloved Grandmother, who really LOVED my husband, travel, and having a good party. So when the final payments for these guests showed up last night on our VISA statement, my DH sat down me and the statement and was asking me if it was all correct. I was sweating a little last night . . .but good thing he trusts me and that he is not a detail person!
#11
Central Massachusetts
4,011 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Originally posted by myfamilyluvs2cruise
That is a good thought! Is the bar open, or do they book that for weddings?
I happened to spot two weddings onboard on the Miracle in 2010...one was held in the main theater area, and another was being held in one of the discos. Best thing to do would be to contact a Carnival group planner and see if it is open.....


You could have everyone meet in the piano bar ( or heck, even the library if you have to) and as you wander the ship, take a 'peek' into the designated room and see what's up.. I doubt he will register that he knows everyone in the room..

The international aft lounge is also a nice place to surprise him in., also the swingtime bar... all are very close to each other, and if i remember correctly, lots of folks could really 'hide' in the swingtime bar.. the set up makes it easy to stay out of view of the door...
#12
phila, pa
51,760 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Originally posted by myfamilyluvs2cruise
That is a good thought! Is the bar open, or do they book that for weddings?
the piano bar is not opened during embarkation time.

If you have a lot of weddings on your ship you will find it real hard to find an open place.

Carnival allows ONLY 3 weddings each week.
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#13
834 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Originally posted by Crazy4Koko
I happened to spot two weddings onboard on the Miracle in 2010...one was held in the main theater area, and another was being held in one of the discos. Best thing to do would be to contact a Carnival group planner and see if it is open.....


You could have everyone meet in the piano bar ( or heck, even the library if you have to) and as you wander the ship, take a 'peek' into the designated room and see what's up.. I doubt he will register that he knows everyone in the room..

The international aft lounge is also a nice place to surprise him in., also the swingtime bar... all are very close to each other, and if i remember correctly, lots of folks could really 'hide' in the swingtime bar.. the set up makes it easy to stay out of view of the door...
The Aft lounge is a great idea . . . I will ask Carnival if it is open . . .

Thanks!
#14
834 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Originally posted by serene56
the piano bar is not opened during embarkation time.

If you have a lot of weddings on your ship you will find it real hard to find an open place.

Carnival allows ONLY 3 weddings each week.
That is what I was worried about, because she did not have any venues available for a private party. What would you think of doing it in the atrium bar?
#15
Central Massachusetts
4,011 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Originally posted by serene56
the piano bar is not opened during embarkation time.

If you have a lot of weddings on your ship you will find it real hard to find an open place.

Carnival allows ONLY 3 weddings each week.
not open as in.. locked? I never took note if it was or not.. I THOUGHT we wandered thru the Piano bar before we sailed.. I could be wrong!


All you're really looking for is just a meeting point in which to spring the surprise, right?
#16
phila, pa
51,760 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Originally posted by Crazy4Koko
not open as in.. locked? I never took note if it was or not.. I THOUGHT we wandered thru the Piano bar before we sailed.. I could be wrong!


All you're really looking for is just a meeting point in which to spring the surprise, right?
if your ship is "full" of weddings the lounges will be used for the ceremonies, parrties.

I'd hate for you to tell your family to meet you in the piano bar only to find it closed for a private party.

the atrium sounds nice-- but many people will be coming through that area as that is where people board.

what time are you looking at for the get together-- remember when people board they can not go to the cabin until 1:30 (where do you plan to be so as NOT to run into anyone.)

and those people will be going to the lido buffet to get their first lunch...
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#17
834 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Originally posted by serene56
if your ship is "full" of weddings the lounges will be used for the ceremonies, parrties.

I'd hate for you to tell your family to meet you in the piano bar only to find it closed for a private party.

the atrium sounds nice-- but many people will be coming through that area as that is where people board.

what time are you looking at for the get together-- remember when people board they can not go to the cabin until 1:30 (where do you plan to be so as NOT to run into anyone.)

and those people will be going to the lido buffet to get their first lunch...
I think that is why I am so stumped. . . . I am hoping we are all on before lunch and we surprise him before the rooms are ready. I picture going to a bar for a drink or to to celebrate being on the ship and having our whole group there before we get there, or arrive after we sit down for the surprise. We were thinking doing a "flash mob" would be funny- and use one of my husband's favorite songs. So maybe the atrium or the pool deck? But most of our guests are first time cruisers, and we have never been on the Freedom- so having a really great up front plan will be critical. I like the idea of people walking up one at a time that was given above. But again, where?
#18
Central Massachusetts
4,011 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Originally posted by myfamilyluvs2cruise
I think that is why I am so stumped. . . . I am hoping we are all on before lunch and we surprise him before the rooms are ready. I picture going to a bar for a drink or to to celebrate being on the ship and having our whole group there before we get there, or arrive after we sit down for the surprise. We were thinking doing a "flash mob" would be funny- and use one of my husband's favorite songs. So maybe the atrium or the pool deck? But most of our guests are first time cruisers, and we have never been on the Freedom- so having a really great up front plan will be critical. I like the idea of people walking up one at a time that was given above. But again, where?
I remember that the swing bar was open.. on Promenade.. aft of the ship...Your best bet might be to call the group planners department and see if that space is currently 'open' ( i.e. not going to be used for a wedding or reception).. As long as it is open, then you could just use that space as a 12pm meet up place. The other option would be the library, but it might be a tad small.

The other option might be the casino bar... I KNOW that's usually an empty place during the embarkation process. The group could be 'mingling' among the slot machines or something and then come together for your flash mob. someone would just need to have an ipod with a portable speaker so you could hear the music...


This is a challenge for you.. but I'm sure that someone at group planners can help you find the best place for a meet up.
#19
Rhode Island
315 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
Does it have to be a bar? Just a thought here but when I think of a place that is usually not very crowded especially the first day, find the library! I know it sounds funny, but it's just an idea, there prob wouldn't be too many people in there...
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#20
Maryland
2,363 Posts
Joined May 2007
Why don't you have everyone hide in the casino (people can be in it eventhough it is not open) then as you & your husband wander the ship head to the seats that are right outside the casino, then have small groups of your friends start popping out.
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