Carnival Secrets they usually don't tell you about

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Kansas City area
687 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Originally posted by beaming90
I finally made it through this whole thread. I think I have been trying since 2005 and never have gotten through it all! Thanks for all the tips. My only tip is you really don't need to pack all the outfits you think...I never wore half of what I took the first cruise and cut way back for the second and still had unworn clothes at the end. Have a great cruise!!!
Hi Lisa
I am from KC area too, I noticed your sig line says Elation maybe Jan 15, 2011. There is a group from KCK area contemplating the same ship and date. Last count there was about 16 of us.

Do you by any chance work in the Education field?
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KC Marie

Panama bound in 2017

Past Cruises -
November 15, 2008 - Fell in love with cruising
October 31, 2009 - Halloween Cruisin I
October 31, 2010 - Halloween Cruisin II
March 3, 2011 - Mother and Daughters Cruise (the surprise cruise)
October 29, 2011 - Halloween Cruisin III (Lido Deck Baby!)
September 30, 2012 - Western Caribbean (Best cruise ever!)
February 10, 2014 - Cheers to warmer climate!
November 28, 2014 - Eastern Caribbean

May/June 2016 - Alaska!
indiana
299 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
Originally posted by crkdad
Don't know if these are secrets as much as "little known facts":

1. Book early and deal with a reputable travel agent. Make sure you have an agreement with your TA that any price adjustments to the fare will be passed along to you. Carnival ( and alll cruise lines) frequently change the fair for market conditions. Watch these boards for fare decreases. Carnival lowered the fair on our cruise and offered a room upgrade AND and onboard credit. We declined the upgrade (see number 2) in favor of a larger credit. My family started out our 1 week cruise with and onboard credit of over $1,000.
2. Upgrades are not what they are cracked up to be, unless it is to a balcony or an outside room. All other cabins are exactly alike. You will pay about $80-100pp to move up each floor. I've done both the higher and lower floors and the lower floors get the same service, same amenities, same everything, just at a lower price. Consider how many Pina Coladas the extra $100 will buy you. Book a lower floor and save you money of if you are offered an upgrade, take the on board credits.
3. Cruising in not an "all-inclusive" vacation. Plan on spending about 20-25% of your cruise cost onboard. About 22% of Carnival's revenue comes form cruisers buying drinks, photos, gambling, playing bingo, shopping, etc.
4. Do not book shore excursions through the cruise line. Do a little homework before you go and book your excursions directly. you will save 25-30% by doing this. The excursion companies pay a hefty commission to the cruise line which is passed on to your through higher prices. Cruise critic boards are an exellent source of infomation and many excursion companies live or die based on cruise critic reviews. We booked a helicopter tour directly in hawaii and saved over $250 from the cruise excursion price. Ther is a risk of doing this, but in all of my years of cruising, we have NEVER had a bad experience.
5. If you gamble, avoid the ship's slots and electronic card games. The payouts on slots are significantly lower than ANY other place. Las Vegas is regulated and must payout 97%. A ship in international waters is regulated based on where it is registered which may not have any gaming laws. Payouts for ship slots are estimated to be around 85%. The odds for craps, blackjack, roulette, etc are the same as other locations.
6. When you board, go directly to the casino (it will be closed) and get the free lanyards that are in the slot machines. Sometime during the cruise go to the pursers office and have your sign and sail cards hole punched and attach them to the free lanyard.
7. Carnival puts the fear in everyone about lost beach towels. They say you are issued 1 and you must return it or be charged for it. Every cruise, Carnival looses about 100 beach towels and very few cruisers are charged. Why? the room stewards pick the beach towels in your room and replace them with clean ones. Get to know your room steward. tip him a few dollars during the week for the good job he is doing and a little something extra at the end. Do you think he will risk making you mad tracking beach towels and collecting $22 from you for Carnival or keeping you happy to get a big tip? Worked for us (we lost at least 2 beach towels on our last trip and never had to pay)
8. Drink cards: not such a good deal for adults, unless you are a big soda drinker. Drink cards for adults are $38 and $28 for kids. The card allows you to get a glass of coke, which is about 2/3 can . A can of coke costs $1.50 for the whole can. That is about 30 cokes over a 7 day cruise (not including the time you are off the ship) or 4-5 per day. Alternatively consider getting one card and using it to "buy" sodas for your significant other (you must be descreet about this). As you move through the ship, order one soda at one bar and another soda at the next bar. That way, you only have to drink 2 per day to break even.
9. the books in the cabins are free, if you ask your room steward.
10. there are free post card available at the pursers desk.

that is all for now

Soda cards were over 50.00 on the Splendor in Oct. of 2009.
New York
122 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
[quote=DonnaD;1551157]What?!! No deli??? I keep hearing folks rave about the rueben sandwiches, and I thought on the Sensation. Man, I had the whole family worked up and ready for ruebens. I would swear I have read about them in some reviews. Was I just hallucinating cornbeef?[/quotei sailed the sensation this past summer and they did have a deli it was at the back of the ship where the buffet is . It is the back of the lido deck buffet
Phoenix, Arizona
6,284 Posts
Joined May 2008
Deli is also on the Dream at the very back of the Lido. The Tandoor is there, and a bar. I expect that most ships have the deli as it is usually very popular.

Did you ask someone?
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Unofficial Team Captain,
2017 CRUISE CHEERLEADING SQUAD
and member
of the.......

189 days at sea so far:
Mexican Riviera, Carnival Jubilee, 1992

Southern Caribbean, Carnival Fascination, 1997

Mexican Riviera, Carnival Elation, 1999

Alaska & Denali, Dawn Princess, 2002

Ensenada & Catalina, Carnival Paradise, 2005

Western Caribbean, Carnival Conquest, 2007
Grand Mediterranean Inaugural, Carnival Dream, 2009
Grand Mediterranean 2nd sail, Carnival Magic, 2011
Hawaii, Sapphire Princess, 2012
Grand Mediterranean Inaugural , Carnival Breeze, 2012
Alaska, Diamond Princess, 2012
Transatlantic, Carnival Sunshine, 2013
Panama Canal, Carnival Legend, 2014
Eastern Caribbean, Carnival Breeze, 2014
Ensenada, Baja California, Carnival Imagination, 2015

Alaska, Carnival Legend, 2015
Ensenada, Baja California, Carnival Imagination, 2016
Last Mediterranean, Carnival Vista, 2016
Transatlantic, Carnival Vista, 2016

Ensenada, Carnival Imagination, 2017
Alaska Back 2 Back, 2017

























northeast US
399 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by GlendaleCruiser
Deli is also on the Dream at the very back of the Lido. The Tandoor is there, and a bar. I expect that most ships have the deli as it is usually very popular.

Did you ask someone?
On the Pride, Reubens were available at one of the Lido deck buffet stations (there were 6 main stations/corners). Just find the guy making sandwiches to order.

I have to warn you though, we got 2 Ruebens from the same place and neither reuben had sauerkraut (which I think turns it into just a hot corned beef (or pastrami) and swiss sandwich...). I can't remember which kind of meat was on the reubens. I'm inclined to guess that it was corned beef. My hubby thought they were good even without the kraut.

At the same place, I had some sandwich with tomatoes and roasted peppers and mozz cheese with some kind of basil mayo that was heavenly.

I believe the reubens are available on the room service menu as well.

hb5
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Carnival Pride, January 2010

22 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
Originally posted by ooomwizard

  • I stick the lifejacket whistle up my butt, go ahead and blow it (lol)


thats hilarious
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Upcoming Plunder -
Carnival Victory 9-2-12

Past Plunders -
Adventure of the Seas '07
Splendor '10

Dallas, Texas
4,634 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
The amenities in the bathroom are free. On my January 18 Ecstasy, this was 2 small tubes of Crest-with-Scope toothpaste and a ladies razor. However, the drinks on the dresser are NOT free. The water is especially expensive -- something like $4 per liter.

You can bring your own water and soft drinks, and this can save you much moolah.
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SS Norway – Sep 1997
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1,152 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
Will they remove the drinks if you request it?
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Carnival Victory 2/19/12
Carnival Glory 4/18/10
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Phoenix, Arizona
6,284 Posts
Joined May 2008
Originally posted by k2
Will they remove the drinks if you request it?
Yes, the steward will remove them for you. Just tell him/her that you want to use the counters and fridge for other things and to please take them away.
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Unofficial Team Captain,
2017 CRUISE CHEERLEADING SQUAD
and member
of the.......

189 days at sea so far:
Mexican Riviera, Carnival Jubilee, 1992

Southern Caribbean, Carnival Fascination, 1997

Mexican Riviera, Carnival Elation, 1999

Alaska & Denali, Dawn Princess, 2002

Ensenada & Catalina, Carnival Paradise, 2005

Western Caribbean, Carnival Conquest, 2007
Grand Mediterranean Inaugural, Carnival Dream, 2009
Grand Mediterranean 2nd sail, Carnival Magic, 2011
Hawaii, Sapphire Princess, 2012
Grand Mediterranean Inaugural , Carnival Breeze, 2012
Alaska, Diamond Princess, 2012
Transatlantic, Carnival Sunshine, 2013
Panama Canal, Carnival Legend, 2014
Eastern Caribbean, Carnival Breeze, 2014
Ensenada, Baja California, Carnival Imagination, 2015

Alaska, Carnival Legend, 2015
Ensenada, Baja California, Carnival Imagination, 2016
Last Mediterranean, Carnival Vista, 2016
Transatlantic, Carnival Vista, 2016

Ensenada, Carnival Imagination, 2017
Alaska Back 2 Back, 2017

























IOPSC
7,108 Posts
Joined Feb 2001
Originally posted by GlendaleCruiser
Yes, the steward will remove them for you. Just tell him/her that you want to use the counters and fridge for other things and to please take them away.
If doing this I would suggest taking a picture of what is on the counter and then take a pic while he does it... seems like a lot BUT there are threads about being billed for stuff that you never used. Common sense.
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Big Red Boat/Carnival/Royal Carib/Celebrity/NCL
northeast US
399 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by k2
Will they remove the drinks if you request it?
On the Pride last week, my room steward unlocked the fridge and when I asked him to empty it and remove the contents from the room so I could use it, he claimed that he had nowhere to store it and that he could not empty it for me. He suggested that I empty it and store the contents and just put them back at the end.

I stored the mini-bottles in the little space between the safe and the wall of its little cabinet and stored the cans in the back of the top shelf of the closet. The morning we left (or the night before) I put it all back in the fridge. Someone probably had nice warm soda to drink on the day they got on the ship.

I still need to look at my final S&S charges to see if there is anything on there from the mini-bar that I did not use ...

Maybe different ships have different capacities to empty the fridge and store the contents. Or, maybe some ships have more problems with things disappearing from the mini-bars and customers claiming that they were not responsible so room stewards are forbidden from doing anything other than replacing used items.

hb5
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Carnival Pride, January 2010

Suburb of Chicago, IL
81 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
Has anyone done an up-to-date summary of all the tips? I'm stressing out about trying to go through 140+ pages and not missing anything, but also worried about what might be out dated.
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Past Cruises
Carnival Conquest - March 29, 2015 - Western Caribbean
Carnival Breeze - November 16, 2014 - Western Caribbean
Carnival Dream - October 19, 2014 - Western Caribbean
Carnival Breeze - March 29, 2014 Western Caribbean
Navigator of the Seas - June 23, 2013 Eastern Mediterrean
Carnival Valor - July 4, 2010 Western Caribbean
Carnival Valor - May, 13 2007 Western Caribbean
Disney Magic - October, 22 2005 Diverted from Western to Eastern because of Hurricane Wilma
Disney Magic - January,24 2000 (4 Day Bahamas) Skipped Castaway Cay due to weather
RCCL Monarch of the Seas - February, 6 1994 Southern Caribbean
Carnival Tropical - June, 27 1992 Southern Caribbean
USA
31 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
Originally posted by TMJJS
Has anyone done an up-to-date summary of all the tips? I'm stressing out about trying to go through 140+ pages and not missing anything, but also worried about what might be out dated.
Unfortunately, many people get off topic and waste pages which have nothing to do with the thread. Your best bet is to stick to the first few pages when people are more likely to post to the topic and the last few pages where new posters like me show up.

I suggest to people unfamiliar with cruising to NEVER buy shore excursions online. You can often make your own excursions cheaper.

Along this line, check out the spa before your first dinner. They usually offer some kind of intro special where you can save money. They will offer specials each day which you can find in your daily ship's newsletter. Also, since the spa is a separate company leasing the space on the ship, they suffer when the ship is in port because most guests are not onboard. Therefore, you can usually get spa treatments ˝ price on port days. Just ask at the counter and NEVER book online before your cruise as you pay twice as much.

Don't push yourself on debarkation day unless you have an early flight. The officers must clear the ship by a certain time, but as soon as customs agents allow guests to leave, there is a mad rush to get off the ship (8:30am - 9:30am) I say, go to the Lido deck and enjoy a nice breakfast as your travel home could make for a long day and a good breakfast helps. You can also grab some great snacks for the trip home - boxes of honey nut cheerios work great! Then around 9:30ish, go back to your cabin, grab your luggage and walk off the ship with no lines.

Enjoy your cruise.
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Mr. T.








Carnival Victory - July, 2003 & August, 2003
Carnival Miracle - May, 2004
Carnival Fascination - Sept, 2006
Carnival Inspiration - Sept, 2007
Carnival Imagination - Sept, 2008
San Diego
142 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
We ask the steward to empty the mini bar into a black plastic bag (he can get one) and then store it under the bed. We have never had a problem with doing it this way. Near the end of the trip he comes and replaces it in the refrigerator.
Tampa, Fla
1,634 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
[quote=nurse who loves to cruise;22864935]
Originally posted by DonnaD
What?!! No deli??? I keep hearing folks rave about the rueben sandwiches, and I thought on the Sensation. Man, I had the whole family worked up and ready for ruebens. I would swear I have read about them in some reviews. Was I just hallucinating cornbeef?[/quotei sailed the sensation this past summer and they did have a deli it was at the back of the ship where the buffet is . It is the back of the lido deck buffet
Not to worry, Yes the Sensation has a deli.
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Unofficial Chief DoD Taste Tester

Dolphin IV 2/89 - Bahamas
Seabreeze 7/95 (now sunk) Eastern Carib
Imagination 6/98 - Western Carib
Paradise 7/99 - Eastern Carib
Fascination 9/00 - Southern Carib
Triumph 7/01 - Western Carib
Destiny 6/02 - Southern Carib
Miracle 6/05 - Western Carib
Glory 3/07 - Eastern Carib
Disney Wonder 9/07 - Bahamas
Fascination 1/08 - Bahamas
Sensation 2/08 - Bahamas
Victory 6/08 - Canada - PLATINUM
Sensation 8/08 - Bahamas
Inspiration 1/09 - Cozumel
Sensation 4/09 - Bahamas
Inspiration 5/09 - Grand Cayman
Legend 7/09 - Western Carib
Disney Wonder 9/09 - Bahamas
Sensation 10/09 - Bahamas
Victory 10/09 - Southern Carib
Ryndam 3/10 - CTN
Freedom 3/10 - Western Carib
Sensation 4/10 - Bahamas
Destiny 7//10 - Bahamas
Sensation 8/10 - Bahamas
Sensation 10/10 - Bahamas
Sensation 1/11 - Bahamas
Magic 5/11 - Mediterranean
Imagination 5/11-Bahamas
Monarch of the Seaas 7/11-Bahamas
Imagination 9/11-Bahamas
Sensation 9/11 - Bahamas
Paradise 11/11 - Relocation - OUR #25 Milestone
Dream 4/12 - Western Carib
Sensation 5/12 - Bahamas
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Liberty 9/12 - Carib Eastern & Western b2b
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Breeze 11/12 - Bahamas
Paradise 12/12 - Western Carib
Breeze 7/13 - Southern Carib
Legend 9/13 - British Isles (Diamond-dot)
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River Cruise 8/14-Rhine River Uniworld
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River Cruise 7/15- Rhine Danube Uniworld
Sunshine 8/15-Bahamas
Dream 9/15-10/15 B2B2B
northeast US
399 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by MrTenorio
Unfortunately, many people get off topic and waste pages which have nothing to do with the thread. Your best bet is to stick to the first few pages when people are more likely to post to the topic and the last few pages where new posters like me show up.

I suggest to people unfamiliar with cruising to NEVER buy shore excursions online. You can often make your own excursions cheaper.

Along this line, check out the spa before your first dinner. They usually offer some kind of intro special where you can save money. They will offer specials each day which you can find in your daily ship's newsletter. Also, since the spa is a separate company leasing the space on the ship, they suffer when the ship is in port because most guests are not onboard. Therefore, you can usually get spa treatments ˝ price on port days. Just ask at the counter and NEVER book online before your cruise as you pay twice as much.

Don't push yourself on debarkation day unless you have an early flight. The officers must clear the ship by a certain time, but as soon as customs agents allow guests to leave, there is a mad rush to get off the ship (8:30am - 9:30am) I say, go to the Lido deck and enjoy a nice breakfast as your travel home could make for a long day and a good breakfast helps. You can also grab some great snacks for the trip home - boxes of honey nut cheerios work great! Then around 9:30ish, go back to your cabin, grab your luggage and walk off the ship with no lines.

Enjoy your cruise.
Great advice about the spa. Each day, the spa looks at the next day's bookings and puts services on sale to fill the holes. This gets put in the capers so keep an eye on the capers - if you want "something" but don't care if it is manicure, pedicure or facial, you can get a good deal. Also, we were told that if we booked a service and that service went on sale that day, we'd get the sale price. So, if you schedule a manicure for a port day and manciures go on sale for the port day, you should get the sale price, even though you booked early. I DO NOT know if this applies to reservations made on-line ahead of the cruise. In my opinion, it should.

Debarking - true. Self-debark was a crazy mad rush of people. We checked our luggage and debarked with the checked luggage folks and it was much less crazed. I did not see anyone self-debarking with the checked luggage folks; not sure how that works out. But, if you self-debark and wait until the later part of self-debark - there are plenty of people who did not wait until their deck was called so the later decks seemed to take less time (which I assumed to mean they were less crowded).

Not sure if I agree with the shore excursion recommendation. We did one Carnival excursion and two self excursions.

With a ship excursion, no chance of getting lost getting to it. I could have booked the same exact excursion at Atlantis in Nassau on my own but am not sure that I would have been able to pull it off with the same level of comfort doing it myself. With carnival, the volume of people and the wait for the bus and confusion about the time we were leaving were bad but we had a bus ride and a bunch of walking to do. With the cruise, everything was arranged for and guided. On our own, we'd have been dealing with taxi's and asking directions and trying to find the venue on our own once we got to Atlantis. And, then taxi's back etc.

But, now that I have done it once, I'd have no problem booking my own the next time.

The two self excursions were fine because I had very detailed information (including pictures of the port and info about where to meet the transportation etc.) from a CC review of the same itinerary and ship and I just did what they did.

hb5
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Carnival Pride, January 2010

Beaumont, TX, USA
769 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
We were very late getting back to the ship when we went to Chichen Itza. We were delayed by a highway accident and construction. The ship was packed up and ready to leave. Since it was a tour booked thru the ship they waited for us. If we had gone on our own we would have been left. We are now very careful about which excursions we do on our own!
Richardson, TX
71,172 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by gwinel
We were very late getting back to the ship when we went to Chichen Itza. We were delayed by a highway accident and construction. The ship was packed up and ready to leave. Since it was a tour booked thru the ship they waited for us. If we had gone on our own we would have been left. We are now very careful about which excursions we do on our own!
I would never do any of the ruins on my own. Too much chance of missing the ship. I would do any other excrusions, but not those that far away from the ship.
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Celebrity Summit, 11/30/13, Celebrity Summit, 12/7/13, Celebrity Constellation, 2/7/14, NCL Epic 3/2/14, RCL Allure 5/4/14, Allure 11/2/14, Quantum 12/12/14
Beaumont, TX, USA
769 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
We'd better hurry if we are to see all the ruins by 2012!!!

I'm willing to spend my shore time doing that. Anyone want to join in?
Wyandotte, MI USA
192 Posts
Joined Nov 2000
Originally posted by ooomwizard
My favorite anytime boating is Captain Morgan and cola. "Let the Captain do the driving!" I always say.

It's your preference when mixing with the juices. 24/7 drinks I remember seeing are: (one or more)
OJ
fruit punch
grapefruit
lemonade
cranberry punch
tea (I love rum & tea)
coffee (w/whiskey or Kalhua or Baileys)

Vodka and Rum pretty much mix with anything. I perfer rum as all the cruises I go on are Carribean. (Christopher Columbus took sugar cane to the Caribbean, rest is history.)

Beginning of cruise, tip your cabin steward and tell him/her you like ice refilled in your room constantly. You'll have plenty. I also put one of my "beer buckets" in the cabin and have that one filled too.

There is about 15 drinks in a liter of alcohol. It's about $5 a mixed drink (or beer.) I bring a 1.75 liter just for myself (usually Capt,. Morgan.) That's 26 drinks or at least $130 worth of drinks for a $35 dollar bottle. Don't forget the mandatory 15% gratuity added to each drink order.

Kewl cruise related website. LOTS of info:
http://cruiseclues.com/

Just booked another cruise for APR 2010 with friends coming! Woot!
You can also get tomato juice delivered by room service for Bloody Marys!