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  1. The $500 OBC is likely refundable. You can check with Guest Services once you are onboard.
  2. We donate left over OBC to St. Jude. Can do this at Groove for St. Jude or through Cherry On Top.
  3. The welcome home deal has been exactly as stated in your post for at least the past two years. Not likely to change.
  4. Diamond recognition events vary widely by the ship and staff. Our worst one was on the Legend held mid-morning in the Firebird (front) lounge with about 50 guests and only 4 servers serving coffee, tea, and breakfast rolls. There were no bar servers and no officers present. Most often the event is held mid to late afternoon in a lounge with hors d'oeuvres and drinks with the captain and senior officers. Sometimes, when there are a large number of Diamonds, a lunch will be held in the Steakhouse. Your best chance for "extra" perks is when there are very few Diamonds, typically short cruises on older ships. On one cruise, DW was the only Diamond and she was invited to dine with the captain and a few officers. Twice, we have received the invitation after the event was over, so we have learned to check with Guest Services early in the cruise to find out when the event is scheduled.
  5. We used both of our upgrades on Spirit Class ships. Paid for the lowest category Oceanview and were upgraded to an Extended Balcony.
  6. We used our Diamond upgrades within the 12/24 month time frame, but were verbally told by one of the representatives who answers the Diamond phone line that Carnival will not hold you to this time frame. This was several years ago, so you should call the Diamond number with this question.
  7. We received our Diamond luggage tags and passport holder by mail after reaching Diamond. That was several years ago.
  8. Due to the way the steakhouse is operated, you will see empty tables. If you have a reservation for 6:00pm, you will likely see over half of the tables around you empty. The steakhouse dining experience typically lasts about 2 hours, or even longer for large parties, so many of those empty tables are being held for parties with reservations at 6:30pm, 7:00pm, 7:30pm or even 8:00pm. The only way to fully utilize all the tables would be to have two seating times, such as 6:00pm and 9:00pm, similar to assigned dining in the MDR. This would require both a larger wait staff and cooking staff since the food orders would not be spread out. This is not be the alternative dining experience that most guests want. The only time that we were not able to get reservations was on a B2B on a newer ship that had a lot of seasoned cruisers. We tried to make reservations for the first night of the second leg on the next to last day of the first leg. The first night is popular with seasoned cruisers because of the free house or half price on other wine, and these seasoned cruisers reserve ahead of time online. Only someone on a B2B could make reservations onboard for the first night at least 24 hours in advance, so they probably don’t plan for that. We were (rudely) told by the hostess that no reservations were available. I said that the Diamond welcome letter that we received in our cabin stated that we were guaranteed reservations if made at least 24 hours in advance (website has changed the wording to priority, but welcome letter still says guaranteed). She replied that we were not the first Diamond guests that she had turned away. Her name tag was covered by a sweater, so I asked her for her name and position. At that point, she realized that she was probably going to have a complaint filed against her, so she said maybe I can get you in at 9:30pm. We were so put off by her rudeness, and this was too late for us, so we declined. In fairness to Carnival, with over 50 cruises under our belt, this is only the second time that we have encountered a rude team member. Almost all of the crew and staff are quite friendly and accommodating.
  9. It is basically a worthless perk. We are Diamond and are supposed to have guaranteed reservations at the steakhouse so long as we book at least 24 hours in advance. Last time we tried booking 2 days in advance and were told that there were no openings at all.
  10. The earlier Milestone program was a credit towards the basic fare. You could use it on the 25th or on a cruise after the 25th. With the earlier program, they would send you a letter after your 25th cruise explaining how to redeem the award, but if you were already familiar with the program, you could call the Milestone desk and they would apply the fare reduction to your 25th cruise if that was the one for which you wished to apply the award. They have changed the program so that the award is now an OBC. As several others have mentioned, make sure to call the Milestone desk to get the correct info.
  11. DW and I used our 25th milestone awards on two different cruises and plan to do the same thing next year with our 50th. The main reason for doing this is that we would not incur enough onboard charges to fully use all of the OBC if both of us used ours on the same cruise. Also, we try to use our milestone awards on long (14 days or longer) cruises to get the largest benefit.
  12. Your post made me think of a couple of other points. Carnival uses theatrical smoke and fog in most of their production shows. If you have difficulty breathing, you should sit near the rear. Some of the shows have laser strobe lighting effects and/or minor pyrotechnics. If you suffer from PTSD, you should not attend these shows. We have a traveling companion who suffers from PTSD, and he always checks with the cruise or entertainment director at the start of the cruise to see which shows he should avoid.
  13. Horizon alternates between 6 and 8 day cruises. On our 8 day cruise earlier this year, Consuelo Ivy, a vocalist, was the fly-on entertainer. We did B2B, and there was no fly-on entertainer on the 6 day.
  14. The Carnival entertainment is quite different from RCCL, but we enjoy both. They don't do 2 to 3 hour Broadway type shows like RCCL, but rather will have 3 or 4 different 45-minute themed production shows with singing and dancing. No Aqua Theater or Ice Rink. RCCL has only one comedy show that repeats and possibly one additional late night show in the theater. On a typical 7-day cruise, Carnival will have 4 different comedians, each performing 2 or 3 different shows. Carnival entertainment teams get more involved with guests with events such as trivia, deck parties, and "name that tune type trivia" hosted by the cruise director in the atrium. The Carnival cruise director and his/her entertainment team spends more time with the guests versus RCCL. A 7-day cruise will typically have a fly-on entertainer performing such acts as juggling, magic, hypnosis, vocalist,... You don't need to reserve your shows on Carnival like you do on RCCL. On Carnival, the comedy shows are often SRO and you may not get in if you show up last minute.
  15. Was on Sunrise 3 weeks ago and am on Sensation right now. Staff on Sensation is more friendly and Sensation is much less crowded. Sunrise has newer venues.
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