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Qchell

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About Me

  • Location
    Charlotte, NC
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Carnival
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Grand Turk

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  1. There are still a number of pages to this thread, so it may have been said already, but I totally agree, this is NOT the time to travel without additional travel insurance. If one is traveling they should look for policies that cover the virus AND allow you to cancel for any reason. Right now with the world so topsy turvy that little bit extra on the front end could save you a fortune on the back end.
  2. The insurance coverage is going to vary from policy to policy. It would probably be best to just call your preferred carrier and ask the these specific questions to ensure everything you want covered is (and a very smart idea to have insurance in today's environment). Your homeowner's insurance may have some travel coverage too, or offer their own travel insurance - so it would be a good idea to check with your agent. With regard to Covid policies. I have been watching very closely since cruising resumed in the States and they are changing CONSTANTLY. I've even seen policies put in place, and then get changed 12 hours later, only to be reinstated down the road. It's the wild west out there. Keep an eye on it, stay in touch with your travel professional, and if you are booking directly, call the cruise line 2 weeks out, 1 week out, 48 hours out, even 24 hours out to ensure you have everything you need and won't run into any surprises at the cruise terminal. (I'm sure they will attempt to notify everyone of any changes, but I have no doubt folks will miss something and end up with an unpleasant surprise.) The cruise lines are trying very hard to balance out safety and cruise experience, each one seems to be coming out it from a different approach, and there is a lot of trial and error going on. With nearly two months out from your cruise, here's hoping things have settled down by then and a more standard policy will be in place.
  3. We typically cruise once a year in late Spring. In 2020 we actually booked earlier than normal and was able to sail in February prior to the shutdown. So we were good waiting the year to book again and did not even attempt to book a cruise during the shutdown. We finally decided things were looking up, we were vaccinated, and knew we were taking a chance booking the Sunshine in September but rolled the dice and took the chance. When we got the notice of the cancellation we were disappointed, by not surprised. With the way the Covid numbers have been trending recently, we were actually starting to wonder if we were going to change our minds about sailing come September, whether the cruise was sailing or not. So it was a little bit of relief that the choice was taken off our hands. We already had two other cruises booked for 2022, one was nearly paid off, and when we took the OBC offer (which I felt the $300 was a pretty good apology for the cancellation), Carnival simply rolled our refund and OBC into our October 2022 Mardi Gras cruise. So now we have two cruises nearly paid off for next year; both with a decent amount of OBC to offset the price of Cheers. So disappointing, yes, but there were upsides for us and I think we will even safer cruising during these unprecedented times next year.
  4. As long as the purchase was made onboard, I cannot imagine there is anything off-limits, but you may want to contact Carnival directly to ensure that. In the meantime, instead of pre-purchasing any specialty restaurant meals, spa treatments, etc. figure out what you want to book prior to the cruise and then when you board make all your reservations that afternoon. Then all your OBC will go towards those reservations. The only thing I would recommend you pre-purchase are any excursions. Popular ones tend to sell out months prior to the cruise, so if you wait until you are onboard, the excursion(s) may be sold out. We are simply waiting to purchase Cheers until we board and place all the OBC towards that. We would have to make an actual effort to spend all the OBC we currently have.
  5. It is a good question. I know on your booking you have the option to invite people to be a part of your cruise group (easier way of 'linking' bookings maybe) so part of me wonders if that is also a way for them to determine dining room configurations, seating plans, etc. Of course the rules are changing so fast and vary incredibly from cruise line to cruise line that at this point, I'll just check to see what they are a week or so prior to the cruise.
  6. Well that is disappointing. We love going there for a late morning snack and getting pastries and coffees.
  7. Do not miss the pastries that are served during breakfast at the bar and the empanadas for lunch. So good! The Cuban coffee is outstanding there as well!
  8. We were already booked on the Mardi Gras for October 2022 prior to Heald posting his videos. However, the ship looks even nicer in his videos than it did in any of the simulated videos available before now. Our sailing has an itinerary that we have done a few times, but one of my husband's BFF's and his (soon-to-be) wife are going to be sailing with us for their first cruise. Both of the guys are Puerto Rican, so it was a requirement that we had to choose a sailing that went to PR. I'm actually happy that the other ports are ones we have been too, I'm not sure I am going to want to get off the ship!
  9. Once upon a time there was no way to preorder online. Being able to have a bottle delivered to your room was one of those "insider secrets" and the list of options was not listed on the Carnival website (though it may have been listed on the travel agent website). In order to get a bottle delivered you had to call in to Carnival and order a bottle to be delivered. If your fav has gone missing from the online menu, try calling Carnival directly and see if you can order it through them prior to the cruise. If I recall correctly the listing that used to float around seemed to have a lot more selections than what I recall seeing last time I looked at the online options. If you do order through room service, do note that you have to be present to sign for it when it is delivered. They will not just leave it in your room.
  10. Do run the numbers if you are booking the Cheers to You package. Right now I have a January cruise booked on the Magic with $200 OBC that we are just going to put towards the Cheers package when we board (so paying around $450.00 for Cheers). If we were to switch to the Cheers to You package, while we would be upgraded from an interior room to an Oceanview room, we would have to put the full deposit down today and pay an additional $1,000.00+ then what we are currently paying for the package to be 'included' with the fare. While the combos look great, you may actually be paying far more than if you purchased the Cheers package a la carte.
  11. Same here. Pre-Cheers we would carry on two 12-packs of soda and two bottles of wine and had to haul it all through the terminal, wait while it was inspected (and as others have noted sometimes they waive you through and others give an extensive inspection), haul it all onto the ship and then babysit it while waiting for our room. Then during the cruise we would spend time running back and forth to the room for refills from the bottle we pre-ordered. Now all we carry onboard is a small carry-on and my purse and when we are ready for a new drink (alcohol or non-alcohol) we walk to the nearest bar (are you ever more than 5 ft from one?! 😄 ) or someone brings it to me. We find it worth the price to not have to deal with all of that now. Granted some folks simply cannot afford it, but I have to admit to not missing the hassle of carrying drinks on and running back and forth to the stateroom. For those that do pre-order a bottle, they are fairly large and the price is a fraction of what it would cost to order the same number of drinks individually. We used to do that and they lasted pretty much the entire cruise with no issues . You can also order a bottle from room service during the cruise, but ensure you stay in your room until it arrives as you do have to sign for it. They won't just leave it.
  12. I used to see big changes to prices (and often within the same day) when I first started cruising. The last few years though, it has been rare to see any price drops. I check constantly, and we tend to book pretty far out, and it seems to becoming more and more rare to see a price drop. If you do want a deal, check daily between the final payment date and sail date. A number of years ago I was able to upgrade from an interior room to a balcony for $25. The day before the balconies were not that low and the next day they were right back up again.
  13. Given the number of people I have seen posting that the cruises they have booked over the next few months are not showing, I can't help but think that there are restrictions on capacity being put in place. I have followed these boards for years and have never seen so many people post "where is my cruise?". I watched a video of a guy who just got off a cruise on another cruise line just a few days ago and he said they felt like the ship was sailing at about 30% capacity. So we will have to wait and see what Carnival does when she sets sail again. Personally, I kind of like the idea of a reduced capacity ship, especially on my next cruise as the Sunshine has lots of great features, but itty bitty space! 🙂
  14. My September 23 cruise on the Sunshine has not been showing for a few weeks now, but still listed on my booking page. My guess is that many of these cruises are at their 'max' capacity for post-pandemic cruising.
  15. We've never chosen Early/Late - always YTD. We just never know from day to day when we are going to be ready for dinner nor what we are going to feel like eating. Our last cruise I think we ate in the MDR maybe two (2) nights. With YTD there is no necessity to let our table/dining room know that we are choosing to eat somewhere else that evening so that are table mates are not waiting on us, we just don't go. We've gone with groups from 2-12 and the biggest I have had to wait was maybe 10 minutes. Now, on the Sunshine in particular, I have seen pretty long lines for YTD, and we just opted for another venue or to grab a drink at the Alchemy Bar and wait for the line to go down before we got in line. With regard to meeting new people at dinner, we have had a few times where we were asked if we were open to sitting with other people and we have always had a pleasant time and enjoyed meeting new people. But its nice to have the option of just sitting with my husband too and not have to sit with others every evening.
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