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About a1m1y9

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    St Louis
  • Interests
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    RCCL & Disney
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Any port with Sun & Sea!
  1. Not sure when you are going on your cruise. Might already have gone, my apologies if it is too late. Having done 4 dolphin swims at 4 different locations - for the most part they are all the same with the same end game experience. The last swim was just done at Dolphin Discovery in Cozumel in February. I suggest you look at the what you might want to see or experience at the two ports. See what else might interest you and let that be your guide. Grand Turk is a port built/owned by Carnival and honestly it is a favorite spot for us to walk off the ship and lay on the beach. No fuss no transportation hassle and not a ton happening so probably why you will not see the availability of a dolphin swim. We have been to both La Romana and Curacao a few years back but unfortunately do not recall our "highlights". Like I suggest, I would see if there is something that excites you more at one stop or another and then pick the other port for the dolphin swim. Hope that helps. Happy Sailing.
  2. We are booked for a cruise over Thanksgiving (best way to minimize vacation time) of 2020. So cannot wait to hear more about your trip. I do know there are several other boards on CruiseCritic that discusses Cuba. Often it is back and forth about the controversial "are you exiting the ship for the right reasons as in to help the Cuban people" and debate about booking excursion through the cruise ship or private operator. Looking forward to reading more. Happy Sailing!
  3. Seems to be a beef between Carnival and Antingua. "When you are giving these countries five or six dollars per head this cannot cover the capital costs for the infrastructure" was a comment by the Prime Minister. It doesn't not seem to be crime or US Travel warning related. Hope that helps.
  4. Good piece of advice! Same thing happened once to me. Ran faster than ever...which still was not very fast...ouching it all the way to my chair. The lessons we learn!
  5. We sailed Horizon last year April, sure not much has changed in a year so here goes. Skyride is a must for you and your kids. Free activity and great views from the Skyride. Not sure height or age restrictions. Because of the cost - I seriously would skip paying to do the IMax. You can always go to the movies at home. Watch a movie on the big screen on the Lido deck instead one night. Grab the free popcorn from the bar a few beach towels and settle the boys into a couple lounge chairs and enjoy. Usually at least 2 age appropriate moves for your boys each cruise. We had no little ones with us but I would not miss the Dr. Suess waterworks area and some of the other Dr. Suess themed events. Depending on how mature your kids are this could be the last year they might these brightly color Suess area are cool. You might consider paying for the Dr. Suess breakfast - I have never done it and I have heard mixed reviews. Just search under Carnival on here and you are bound to learn more about the green eggs and ham breakfast. Shoots some hoops with the boys on the Sportdeck and a family game of minigolf is fun. The kids may not like the Playlist Productions but we did as adults. This would be a great time to put them into the Camp Carnival and let them play with some other kids for a bit. Not sure your feelings on that. But my now 26 year old talks about the 2 cruises he went on while younger when he "met all the kids". I liked traveling and experiencing new things with my kid when he was young, so I did not use it as a babysitter all day. Just for a few times when I knew he would not enjoy what I was doing. If you like BBQ, eat at Guy's Pig and Anchor during the day when it is free. But go there at night to listen to some good music. As a rule we usually do not go to any restaurants on ship where you have to pay, except the Steakhouse. We do not go to the Steakhouse each sailing but have on special occasions that coincided with the our cruise. Hint: Do the Steakhouse on the 1st night and I thought Cruise Elegant nights to receive the free bottle of wine. If I recall Horizon has the Italian restaurant that you can pay at night but during the day it is free. We usually hit the lunch Del Capitano at least once. No standing in line at a buffet, food delivered to my table. Just remember to grab your drink before going in to the restaurant. It reminds me of when Olive Garden does your "build your own pasta" special. I am not sure if this is your first cruise or the first of your boys but a tradition I started with my son was to buy the nicer model ship from the gift shop and ask if the Captain can sign it. They look at you funny, maybe even object at first but I have never had it refused. I believe last time I had to take it to the Guest Services area. It was a great ship souvenir for him and used to display them in his room. At 26, who knows what he and his wife do, probably in a box somewhere, and assume he no longer buys the ships. But when the box is opened, he will remember his cruises with Mom. Ok, bit too nostalgic. Most of this you probably already know but saw you were unanswered on your questions and thought I would help you out. Happy Sailing!
  6. The steward services are different now. When your room steward greets you in your room, they will ask if you want morning or afternoon turn down service.
  7. Agree RWolver! It is not about to vac or not vac, really. It is not that Carnival should have on board the test to verify you have flu vs bronchitis. It is about others not being considerate, lack of hand washing, and etc. Even with those things, the air is the air and that is why many illness are "airborne" illness. We avoid the Lido buffet at all costs. Even if you sanitize and/or wash your hands before getting your food, are others? If we grab something from Guy's burger and go to the toppings bar, we use the red cloth napkins to touch the tongs and handles. We do not use our hands to hold on to railings on the steps as we walk down. I you need a hand rail to walk down/up steps, maybe us the elevator, push the button with back of hand or knuckle. Lets no mention the ice cream machine! Hubby is a huge fan and now he grabs a blue cloth napkin to touch the lever every time. It only took hubby a norovirus in 2016 for us to learn as cautious as we had been doing we were over looking those few things I just mentioned above. Don't tell hubby I added his pic, IV and all in Carnival's infirmary.
  8. We are just off the Dream (2/3/19), things to keep in mind whether Dream or other ships YTD does not guarantee you the same waitstaff. So if interaction with waitstaff and them anticipating your needs does not happen as much with YTD. With that being said, we had late seating last weeks cruise and found our waitstaff did not remember until day 7 that 3 of us drank tea every single night. Waitstaff from our previous experiences will note tea, water, coffee choices by day 2 and anticipated our needs and we didn't need to task. Enough of that! Hubby and I frequently cruise alone and prefer to eat alone. We had good experiences, bad, and average. The bad and average made us feel uncomfortable come dinner time and it is the primary reason that most of the time we do YTD. But the good experiences, have been wonderful. Great conversations and learned from other cruisers likes, dislikes, pros, cons and all bits of information that we might not have known about excursions, other cruise lines, and future places of travel. Hubby is social and will talk to a fly - I am am social but just want to eat and not make small talk. The other things we like about YTD, is not feeling so scheduled. Cruises do that enough and say we were at Port all day, get back on ship about 4 last thing we want to do is rush to early dinner or feel like we have to grab a snack to hold us off another 4 hours for late dinner. With YTD, we often go to the room clean up, rest a bit, and then head to dinner. WE really enjoyed YTD with our European cruise with Carnival! I know it isn't a firm answer but whatever you decide will work out! Happy Sailing!
  9. I don't recall a WiFi discount email, we sailed last year on Horizon from Europe. We did receive emails and discounts for spa. I think if a discount happens for the WiFi, it might come closer to close cruise time. Sort of price and demand and/or no demand and price. Possible when no one is pre-purchasing WiFi that Carnival will prompt sales a bit a few weeks before the cruise with a discount. I check frequently for these things, I suspect if you had one before it will happen again just closer to cruise time. You have nearly 7 months to go. Good Luck and let us know what they do.
  10. We are just off the Dream (2/3/19) It is hectic at 11:30 and expect the process to be about 45 minutes. At 1130 they will have the the FTTF and Priority to board first, then the 1130 cruisers. Since you asked about Platinum gift, then I am assuming you are Priority and will board first. But plan for a bit of chaos at first but still rather smooth process. My hubby wants me to answer for the Platinum gift...."if I say it will ruin the surprise". I say, if it is a bit chilly you might receive something to help warm you up. We had escargot despite a week or so early saying they would not have escargot. No full brewery or at least not one as obvious as Vista class. Husband is confident if there was a brewery after 7 days he would have found it. Again if you are priority, you can leave after the self-assist folks. We chose priority vs self assist since our friends had over packed this trip. With priority bag tag 1 we were off the ship and in our car at 8:15. We came off the ship (sadly) walked down the ramps and all bag tag 1 suitcases were lined up. We found all of ours in the party quickly and through customs with NO line. Hope this helps.
  11. Sorry to hear your family caught the flu and thanks for passing along the info. We were also on the Dream and so far everyone in our party of 4 has no problems. Since almost a week has passed, we should be good. Medical insurance is a must and will help cover any costs associated with illness. Kudos to your purchasing it! For all cruisers, it is always good to check the CDC website about cruise ship outbreaks whenever you return home. We learned this from our Carnival Sunshine cruise in 2016 when my husband caught the Norovirus with some 100+ passengers. Was a nurse working for Carnival said since cruise lines are mandated to report when a certain number of illness occur, you should always check the CDC website when you return. That way, if you come down with an illness days after disembarkation you can let your home physician know about the reports on the cruise ship. Don't know how quickly these reports are updated on the CDC but there are some from January 18 - 28th on Viking. Also this is reports of Gastro illness only, I think. Search CDC - Vessel Sanitation Program - Outbreak updates. So far, I do not see anything listed for the Dream out of NOLA, so probably an extremely small amount of people had the flu. Then again it is flu season and it is everywhere. Hope your family is doing better.
  12. Ray thanks for pointing out gratuity, I did not count the gratuity in my costs since I did not count it for Cheers. Cheers is $858 with 18% gratuity my drinks then per your calculation were $708 with gratuity. To each person it is personal choice, for us we spent $150 more than what was necessary with Cheers. But good point by Eliot, we used the AARP gift cards to pay for all of cruise and tips. I should have purchased AARP gift cards for Cheers too. That would have brought us closer to break even! Thanks for the reminder Eliot!
  13. Sunday the 3rd we were off and in our car at 815 am. We have priority disembarkation due to platinum status. I agree with the poster that has concerns about ship arriving late. Might be a small chance but still can happen. I suggest researching information regarding a backup plan should arrival or the Ships Customs Clearance is a problem. We build in extra time and we normally do not book flights earlier than noon regardless of the cruise port proximity to airport.
  14. Although we have cruised for a 15+ years now, we only just recently started purchasing insurance. The questions regarding trip insurance is very open ended. Trip cancellation is one thing, medical another. Hubby and I now purchase medical insurance for our trip, fortunately we have not had to use. After talking with another cruise passenger 2 years ago, I have not sailed without medical insurance. She was asked for secured payment prior to being seen at the ER. Keep in mind, your regular medical insurance normally does not provide out of US medical expenses. There are many coverage out there but we choose United Health Care - Global (Safetrip). I researched several companies had pro/cons and several had horrors stories. None necessarily worse than the others. Honestly, I lack 100% comfort in most of them based on reviews/boards, etc., including UHC my chosen provider. Nonetheless, I chose them primary since we have UHC for our medical normally. My silly thought was if I can't get something fixed when I need it to be fixed then wait until I hit the states, it might cost UHC more in the long run. Silly I know! I felt I was flipping a coin with all of the carriers. Our recent 7 day trip that included Honduras, Belize, Cozumel for medical only (us in our early 50's) cost $76.00 total with 1 million in coverage but NO sports rider. As for trip cancellation, I risk it. My Chase credit card does say "travel confidently knowing you’re covered with Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Lost Luggage Reimbursement, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, and more" Again, we have never had to use any of the Travel Benefits. I do recommended researching benefits with your credit card companies as an option (if you paid your trip with it) before purchasing coverage. I am not saying to not get supplemental trip coverage just recommending to do your research. Medical for us is always purchased!
  15. We did the Cheers for the first time last week. My Hubby is a bigger drinker than I. He probably came closer to "break even" but not enough to make it worth it for us. It cost us approximately $725 for the Cheers. With the Carnival App displaying each drink we had and the cost, we quickly learned none of our drinks were ever over $9.95. We drank Chocolatini, Kiss on the Lips, Mocha Chocolate Getaway, Blue Margarita, Bourbon & Coke, few glasses of wine, and a few sodas. If we would have just paid as we went we would have paid less than $600. For us, it just didn't work out. It seems like the port days were what did us in. We found when we returned to the ship about 4ish, we only could manage about 3 - 4 drinks the rest of the night. It is not a bad deal if you will drink at least 35 alcohol drinks p/p, we just couldn't do it.
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