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Any Big Changes in the Last 2 Years?


Woodfaerie

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I've been out of the cruising loop for 2.5 years. (economy mostly) so I have gratitude I can once again count down the days, lay my suitcase out on the bedroom floor a month in advance and peruse the cruise boards at ungodly hours to see what's up.

 

Are there any big changes that I can be made aware of? are lemonade and ice tea still around as freebies? 24 hour ice cream still available? what about the Chocolate Buffet? Is anyone actually winning at Bingo? Is the Secret Door no longer a secret? Does anyone decorate their cabin doors anymore? Inquiring minds want to know!

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Welcome back to cruising. I'm sure you'll have a great time. Lemonade, tea, & ice cream (and pizza) still available and free. I'm not big into chocolate, so I've skipped the last several. I'm not sure how that's doing. Some people do decorate their door. I'll never win at Bingo, even if I did ever play. The "secret door" isn't really called that anymore, because the term has confused people into thinking that there's something special about a door. They call it the "secret deck" now, since the observation deck is what it's all about. But by clarifying the term, more people are finding out about it. It's still not heavily used. Victory does have several of them.

 

There have certainly been several changes around Carnival, some ships have seen more than others. There will be no more farewell party, and nothing was put in it's place. You will get a coupon for a free drink served in the dining room for breakfast, lunch, or brunch. The past guest party is not for all repeat guests. They need to have sailed 25 days by the end of that cruise to be invited. And the drinks at that party are in big glasses now. I've heard about the sushi thing going away. Some dining room menu items have disappeared. I don't think any Carnival ships have the live music by the pool anymore, replaced by a DJ playing club music. No more galley tours, even for platinums. Some other platinum perks have gone away or have been limited. For example, you still get the free laundry, but they do limit it. With your signature, it looks like you're platinum.

 

Some ships (not yet on Victory) have done away with the show band in the theater, so their shows have no live music. Some ships (not yet on Victory) have done away with the American style food station, so they have limited food available (pizza only) once the buffets close in the evening. Some ships have done away with the late night Mexican buffet during the deck party. Fortunately for you, I think the Victory has steered clear of these eliminations so far. For the ships that haven't, they get better burgers, & their burrito bar was given a name. Plus, their regular bars got renamed, the comedy club got renamed, and the candy store got renamed.

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Live bands are pretty much becoming non existent...now you mostly get a guitar player, a duo, a DJ player and prerecorded music for the production shows.

 

The production shows have changed or are changing. The new ones are 30 minutes long, music is prerecorded and there are 4 - 8 dancers total I believe. A lot of interaction with animation on a large screen.

 

They changed the pizza. No more De Chevre or Anchovies and Capers pizza. The crust is now a paper thin wafer. Some like it, I hate it. It all depends on personal taste.

 

The chocolate buffet was there on our last cruise. It was during lunch on the last sea day in the buffet.

 

No more lunch in the mdr on some ships. Now they have Brunch on Sea Days and do serve breakfast in the mdr on port days only.

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Platinum guests are no longer guaranteed their choice of dining times.

 

They have instituted something called Faster to the Fun (often referred to as FTTF), where guests can purchase the privilege of getting on the ship faster. In most cases they use the vip line etc previously used by platinum and diamond guests. On the plus side for plat/dia guests on the ships that offer FTTF plat/dia guests can take their carry-on luggage directly to their rooms when they board.

 

There is an option called the Cheers program whereby guests can pay one price for the chance to drink 15 drinks per day. There are several restrictions to this and it is not yet offered on all ships.

 

The room stewards no longer automatically keep ice in your room. You have to ask for it.

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Some ships now have brunch in the main dining room instead of breakfast and lunch. No more free cappuccino after dinner. Loyalty program has changed.

 

Seriously??! Oh man, I genuinely loved that about Carnival... that's disappointing for us. Have they implemented a specialty coffee card instead, similar to what Princess has?

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