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New to RCCL, looking to compare against Carnival

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Short story is we began cruising just as we reached our late 40's. We have been on 4 Carnival cruises in the past 5 years. Looking to try something new now, we chose RCCL, and will be leaving out of Galveston on March 5th to Cozumel.

 

What are the main differences between the two? I am definitely not looking to bash anything. We just wonder what we will find, and what to should we be expecting with RCCL? In brief terms, how do the two lines compare? I understand RCCL is a bit quieter than Carnival, for example. Do RCCL cruisers dress a bit more better than whats typically seen on Carnival? Anything else to know? Thanks.

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First, we have never not enjoyed a cruise!

We thought the Carnival cruises were fun. Then we went with Holland America and felt that the crew stood out as very friendly. We had avoided RCCL for a while due to the pricing. That said, our last 4 cruises have been with RCCL. The food has been very good. (We love Izumi)

The entertainment excellant. And the crew very hospitable. Our next 2 cruises are on HAL and RCCL. We plan on enjoying each of them equally.

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Short story is we began cruising just as we reached our late 40's. We have been on 4 Carnival cruises in the past 5 years. Looking to try something new now, we chose RCCL, and will be leaving out of Galveston on March 5th to Cozumel.

 

What are the main differences between the two? I am definitely not looking to bash anything. We just wonder what we will find, and what to should we be expecting with RCCL? In brief terms, how do the two lines compare? I understand RCCL is a bit quieter than Carnival, for example. Do RCCL cruisers dress a bit more better than whats typically seen on Carnival? Anything else to know? Thanks.

Welcome to the Royal Caribbean forum, gfh.

 

If you go to the search box in the upper right, type in Carnival, you will find dozens and dozens and dozens of threads on this topic.

 

Happy reading!

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Does RCCL provide an itinerary slipped under the door listing the activities for the next day?

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Does RCCL provide an itinerary slipped under the door listing the activities for the next day?

No, but when room attendant does your nite turn down while you are at dinner they do put a one on your bed....

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Does RCCL provide an itinerary slipped under the door listing the activities for the next day?

Yes. On Royal, the daily newsletter is called the Cruise Compass. And they do better than "slipping it under your door." Your cabin steward will place it ON YOUR BED!!!! ;) :D

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Just my two cents. Although I have never had a bad cruise, I think the clientele on RCCL is a little more reserved than Carnival. With Carnival..I have been on the Pride, Splendor and Glory. So many times on Carnival, I found myself "shaking my head"....usually due to manners. Due to your age, I think you should graduate to RCCL. You will not be disappointed!!! Hey, maybe someday (when in your 60"s) you will be able to graduate to Celebrity Cruise Lines! Lol Take a chance...I think you will love it.

Edited by champagne123
........

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Short story is we began cruising just as we reached our late 40's. We have been on 4 Carnival cruises in the past 5 years. Looking to try something new now, we chose RCCL, and will be leaving out of Galveston on March 5th to Cozumel.

 

What are the main differences between the two? I am definitely not looking to bash anything. We just wonder what we will find, and what to should we be expecting with RCCL? In brief terms, how do the two lines compare? I understand RCCL is a bit quieter than Carnival, for example. Do RCCL cruisers dress a bit more better than whats typically seen on Carnival? Anything else to know? Thanks.

RC has no equivalent to FTTF.

 

RC has no equivalent to Early Saver.

 

RC does not limit the number of drinks per day if you have the beverage package.

 

RC allows you to use the beverage package the entire first day (boarding day) in Galveston.

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Just my two cents. Although I have never had a bad cruise, I think the clientele on RCCL is a little more reserved than Carnival. With Carnival..I have been on the Pride, Splendor and Glory. So many times on Carnival, I found myself "shaking my head"....usually due to manners. Due to your age, I think you should graduate to RCCL. You will not be disappointed!!! Hey, maybe someday (when in your 60"s) you will be able to graduate to Celebrity Cruise Lines! Lol Take a chance...I think you will love it.

 

 

I agree with Champagne123. I still cruise on Carnival, mostly because family likes the pricing of Carnival, but I prefer less of a party environment and I would go to RCI and NCL for that.

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Just something I did notice...

 

On Carnival, the stewards are always friendly, know your name(s), ask you how your day was/always say hello/have a nice day/enjoy your dinner, etc. and always easy to find in the hallway, etc.

 

The RCI cabin stewards are pretty much "no nonsense" and just get on with their work. I think we saw our steward twice the entire week. When we did see him, he made no effort to talk to us or even greet us on day 1. However, our cabin was taken care of, so no complaints.

 

Also, I noticed there were not as many announcements over the speaker system from the cruise director on Royal. Sometimes that can be a relief.

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RC allows you to use the beverage package the entire first day (boarding day) in Galveston.

 

Really? I thought this was state law and nothing any of the cruise lines could control, like Texas charging a duty for all alcohol imported into the state or charging taxes while still in State waters like NY and MD.

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The RCI cabin stewards are pretty much "no nonsense" and just get on with their work. I think we saw our steward twice the entire week. When we did see him, he made no effort to talk to us or even greet us on day 1. However, our cabin was taken care of, so no complaints.

 

I would add that I get the feeling that RCI's staff has a lot more discretion on guest relations than Carnival. My experience with Carnival is that their staff seem to be consistent, but they never truly excel.

 

RCI, I've gotten great highs with some staff, while other staff, they were borderline rude. Its odd because my worst cruise out of my 18 to date, was my first Royal Caribbean cruise. However, my best cruise ever, is ALSO a Royal Caribbean cruise.

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Short story is we began cruising just as we reached our late 40's. We have been on 4 Carnival cruises in the past 5 years. Looking to try something new now, we chose RCCL, and will be leaving out of Galveston on March 5th to Cozumel.

 

What are the main differences between the two? I am definitely not looking to bash anything. We just wonder what we will find, and what to should we be expecting with RCCL? In brief terms, how do the two lines compare? I understand RCCL is a bit quieter than Carnival, for example. Do RCCL cruisers dress a bit more better than whats typically seen on Carnival? Anything else to know? Thanks.

 

Here's my thoughts, having done both lines out of Galveston.

 

1. Generally, the more you pay for the cruise, the nicer people tend to dress. There's a real People of Walmart feel to the ship when you take a cheap 4 day cruise to Cozumel. I found the passengers a but more upscale on the 7 day cruises I've taken out of Galveston, two on Carnival and one on RCCL. So I'm not ready to say it's the cruise line that's the difference but the cost of entry. I've seen boorish behavior on both lines.

 

 

2. Food... the last Carnival cruise I took was after they removed the tablecloths and turned the main dining room into something that reminded me of Chili's or Applebees. Fun fact: when the ship starts rocking and you don't have tablecloths on the tables, the drink glasses tend to slide. RCCL main dining rooms aren't quite up to "fine dining" but more on par with a nice banquet hall. The food is good, but there's a noticeable step up when you move from the dining room to one of the specialty restaurants. I prefer both the main dining room and specialty restaurants on RCCL.

 

What I miss about Carnival when I sail on RCCL are the complementary casual offerings on Carnival. Guy Fieri may be annoying on TV, but the burgers with his name on them on Carnival are really good and a step above any burger you'll find on a Royal ship, including the ones you pay for at Johnny Rockets. I also found myself missing Blue Iguana on sea days on Royal.

 

 

The buffets are equal in my eyes.

 

3. Activities - this is about a wash. Both lines feature the ripoff art auctions and the infomercials masquerading as seminars. There's more live music on RCCL, there's more comedy shows on Carnival. Both do Love & Marriage, belly flops, hairy chest contests, etc. Out of Galveston both lines will make an effort to play country music; you won't see this out of other ports.

 

 

4. Decor isn't as garish on RCCL than most Carnival ships.

 

5. If you spend a lot of time in the hot tub, you will find that RCCL actually heats theirs. I've yet to get into one on any Carnival ship that is even lukewarm.

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Really? I thought this was state law and nothing any of the cruise lines could control, like Texas charging a duty for all alcohol imported into the state or charging taxes while still in State waters like NY and MD.

Royal has a limited amount of "Texas stamped" liquor available for consumption from boarding until they get 12 miles offshore. However, every once in a while the ship's departure is delayed (usually due to fog), and if the delay is long enough, they can run out of some or all the Texas stamped liquor and have to stop serving some or all alcoholic drinks..

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Really? I thought this was state law and nothing any of the cruise lines could control, like Texas charging a duty for all alcohol imported into the state or charging taxes while still in State waters like NY and MD.

 

Generally, they pour well drinks only with Texas tax stamped bottles and the good stuff comes out after they hit international waters.

 

If I recall correctly, they're supposed to pay tax on every drink and that's a hassle to keep track of, which is why Carnival just waits until day 2.

 

 

Don't forget that you're supposed to stop by the TABC table and pay your tax upon return for the alcohol and cigarettes you purchase abroad, plus a $3 fee. Because we don't raise taxes in Texas. We just call them fees.

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I will second the comments from MrSnarkyPants.

 

We enjoyed the solarium on RCCL more than on Carnival due the large hot tubs that were actually hot. We also found the decor on RCCL more subdued. We especially liked the promenade.

 

We thought the entertainment was comparable but we were not on an Oasis-class ship which I would expect to be better than the offerings on Carnival.

 

We thought the MDR were equivalent on selection and quality. We do however prefer Carnival in terms of the casual food selection (Guy's and Blue Iguana) and the buffet. We were very frustrated at how difficult it was to find seating in the Wind Jammer. This never is a problem on Carnival for us.

 

We found the lines to be more similar than different. I agree that the difference in passenger behavior has more to do with the timing (spring break, summer) and length of cruise than with the cruise line itself (RCCL/NCL and CCL).

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As noted more similar to each other than different. Galveston doesn't have an MSC ship but would be cheaper than either Carnival or Royal.

Ran into a Carnival cruiser last week that wouldn't cruise Royal again because the Royal ship didn't have Molten Lava Cake available all the time. Also as noted if burgers are a make or break for you Guy's wins.

Easiest thing is to make a list of what is make or break for a vacation ask specific questions here about those things to see if Royal has equivalent.

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Think "pretentious Carnival" and that is RCCL. Higher average age, big with families especially the larger ships. Not near as many drunks. NOT a party ship.

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Just something I did notice...

 

On Carnival, the stewards are always friendly, know your name(s), ask you how your day was/always say hello/have a nice day/enjoy your dinner, etc. and always easy to find in the hallway, etc.

 

The RCI cabin stewards are pretty much "no nonsense" and just get on with their work. I think we saw our steward twice the entire week. When we did see him, he made no effort to talk to us or even greet us on day 1. However, our cabin was taken care of, so no complaints.

 

Also, I noticed there were not as many announcements over the speaker system from the cruise director on Royal. Sometimes that can be a relief.

on most of our cruises we have found the stewards to be both friendly and effective. I don't think it matters which cruise line you are on. Some people are friendly,seem to enjoy their work and will take time to take part in a conversation.

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I have never been on Carnival so it was good to read through this thread and get some idea of differences.

 

I have been on quite a few lines other that RC and the biggest mistake I made was comparing one against another. I find it best to take each on its own merit and appreciate that each line has its USP and negatives. These days I like to try out different lines just to sample something different. Carnival is on the list of lines I still need to check out.

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I too used CCL exclusively for years. I've been on 10 with them but was done terribly wrong by Carnival on our last cruise with them. We were going to try another line or find a different type of vacation. We booked the Oasis and will not look back! We have another cruise booked on the Oasis we enjoyed it so much. In my opinion buffet food is better on Carnival but we certainly didn't go hungry. RC doesn't have a nice salad layout as CCL. Entertainment on RC is much better in quantity and quality than CCL. Normally after about 5 days I'm ready to get off the ship but not with RC. After 7 days, I felt like I could spend another 7. I think the staff is about the same on both. CCL closes their hot tubs early but RC has some open 24 hours.

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The biggest differences I have observed are that RCCL has more public spaces that feel less crowded, and comparing RCCL and Carnival is like comparing Disney to Six Flags.

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My DH and I are actually considering trying out RCI in 2019. We have been sailing exclusively with Carnival for a number of years now and the itineraries and ships are getting a little repetitive. My husband mentioned that we should look for a Bermuda cruise to change things up and RCI was actually the best option.

 

I've done a little research and we would be sailing on the Grandeur of the Seas which is one of the older ships and doesn't have all the bells and whistles that the larger ships do. I tend to prefer the smaller ships as I have found over the years that the service seems to be better and they are not as crowded.

 

There have been some great comparisons shared so far. Is there anything else we should be aware of difference wise between the two so we aren't surprised (pleasantly or unfortunately)?

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We just got off the Grandeur last month. It is a smaller ship, but we loved the food and entertainment and crew. They had a brunch at the Italian restaurant the last sea day that also included an entertaining and informing galley tour. We like the Grandeur OTS!

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They had a brunch at the Italian restaurant the last sea day that also included an entertaining and informing galley tour. We like the Grandeur OTS!

 

Great tip! Thank you!

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If you decide you do, indeed, like Royal, their loyalty benefits put all other lines to shame. When you get to diamond, which does take a while, you have some free internet, and some other benefits, but the biggie is the diamond lounge: free drinks from an hour before early dining seating until 8:00 to 8:30. In addition, there are 3 free drinks loaded on your sea pass for each day and you can use those in the various bars around the ship. I don't think any other lines have anything like that as a bonus for loyalty. If I were starting over again with cruising, I'd build my status with Royal; I'd cruise more often in junior suites rather than balconies (when the price was right) and get double points, and I'd have made diamond earlier than I did. Another nice benefit is your status (up to diamond, but not beyond) transfers to Celebrity and Azamara, and they, too, have nice benefits for that level.

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The RCI cabin stewards are pretty much "no nonsense" and just get on with their work. I think we saw our steward twice the entire week. When we did see him, he made no effort to talk to us or even greet us on day 1. However, our cabin was taken care of, so no complaints.

/quote]

 

 

We have only experienced this once in all our RCCL cruises where we hardly saw our cabin steward. However, we feel they are very friendly and always know our names and honor our requests with a smile.

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I've done a little research and we would be sailing on the Grandeur of the Seas which is one of the older ships and doesn't have all the bells and whistles that the larger ships do. I tend to prefer the smaller ships as I have found over the years that the service seems to be better and they are not as crowded.

 

There have been some great comparisons shared so far. Is there anything else we should be aware of difference wise between the two so we aren't surprised (pleasantly or unfortunately)?

 

 

  • I haven't encountered singing waiters on Royal in the dining room. This is a good thing for me.
  • I haven't encountered the cruise director getting on the PA system hawking bingo games on a Royal cruise.
  • There seem to be more deck parties on board Carnival than Royal. That's not to say you can't find drinking and dancing opportunities, they're just in different venues.
  • I haven't run into a chocolate buffet, midnight buffet or afternoon tea on Royal.

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Short story is we began cruising just as we reached our late 40's. We have been on 4 Carnival cruises in the past 5 years. Looking to try something new now, we chose RCCL, and will be leaving out of Galveston on March 5th to Cozumel.

 

 

 

What are the main differences between the two? I am definitely not looking to bash anything. We just wonder what we will find, and what to should we be expecting with RCCL? In brief terms, how do the two lines compare? I understand RCCL is a bit quieter than Carnival, for example. Do RCCL cruisers dress a bit more better than whats typically seen on Carnival? Anything else to know? Thanks.

 

 

Which ships are we comparing? Big differences in the two RC ships in Galveston.

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  • I haven't encountered singing waiters on Royal in the dining room. This is a good thing for me.

 

They've always done a number on the last night of the cruise in the dining room, but that's it.

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Which ships are we comparing? Big differences in the two RC ships in Galveston.

 

True dat but if you can get to Galveston you can get to Nola too. Lets throw the Vision comparison in to the mix since we were talking about Grandeur

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My wife and I have cruised on Carnival and Royal Caribbean out of Galveston several times. Our most recent was on the Liberty of the Seas in December 2016.

 

We prefer RC for all the reasons previously given. Seeing pictures might help you understand the differences. My wife takes pictures on all of our cruises and makes them into slide shows for her website and YouTube channel.

 

I have links below in my signature of our various cruises, but I'll insert a link here that will take you directly to the Travel Section of her website where you can see the Royal Caribbean cruises. The pictures include scenes around the ships we were on as well as our room and shore excursions.

 

Nancy's Oasis Cruise Travel Slide Shows

 

Cruising is a fantastic way to travel!

Edited by JimAOk1945

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I've found the lines very similar, but we've mostly chosen ships for the itinerary, not the cruise line. The only thing I've missed from Carnival was the free cappuccino in the MDR. We would have one every night after dinner, often with the molten lava cake!

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Great info all -- keep 'em coming if there is more to share. We are in our mid 50's now, but we have a young mindset, so the party animals on Carnival do not bother us. Although we are pretty quite ourselves, "people watching" the Carnival party animals do their thing can be pretty amusing, LOL.

 

The real reason we booked this 4 day RC cruise is to do a "trial run" to get acquainted with RCCL before we choose an extended cruise in the next year or so. Our experience in March will help us choose which line is best for our big trip. We are pretty easy to please so I think either one would probably be fine, but this cruise will help us decide between the lines. Thank you all!

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Does RCCL provide an itinerary slipped under the door listing the activities for the next day?

 

I have been on both Carnival and RCCL and have never had any itinerary "slipped under the door"...

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I have been on both Carnival and RCCL and have never had any itinerary "slipped under the door"...

 

Oddly (at least to me) there were a number of complaints to Carnival about the twice a day room service (morning and turn down). Carnival then went to a system where you can choose morning, evening or both service. If one were to choose just morning service, my assumption would be that the schedule would be simply slipped under the door in the evenings. We always choose to have service both times so our schedule is always on our bed when we get in from dinner.

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I've been wanting to try Carnival, but every sailing I've checked out of Port Canaveral (very convenient for me) was more expensive than Royal. I looked into the Breeze vs Oasis later this year, and OV cabin on the Breeze was more expensive, as well as the drink package. I think combined it would have been about $500 more for Carnival, and the itinerary were similar. So I stuck with Royal.

 

When the price is right, I will do Carnival.

 

One thing I've learned on this message board is that a lot of Royal cruisers have negative things to say about Carnival. Most of those people have either a) never even sailed Carnival b) sailed once on a 20 year old ship 3-day booze cruise or c) just had a bad experience and therefore equate that with the brand as a whole.

 

The reality is that you'll never truly be able to know what the differences are between the two until you do them yourself. Otherwise, there will always be bias in just about everything you read on this message board.

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Here’s my thoughts:

 

 

Royal:

 

Nicer ships ( Carnival doesn’t have anything like the promenade)

Flowrider (reason we cruise Royal)

Better loyalty program

 

Carnival:

 

Way better spa

Better food, Royal completely fails at off dining time food.

 

The clientele is exactly the same between the two cruise lines. You’ll find a ton of people on CC who try to act like there’s a huge difference between the types of people who cruise each line but there’s not. You cruise short cruises during busy times like spring break, you’ll find a bunch of rowdy partiers. You go longer cruises off peak, it’ll be more subdued.

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We enjoyed the solarium on RCCL more than on Carnival due the large hot tubs that were actually hot. We also found the decor on RCCL more subdued. We especially liked the promenade..

 

Really, when I compare my experiences on the two lines, they're more alike than different. But the one place I spend the most time in is the adults only pool area, and the Solarium beats the Serenity deck. Carnival tends to put its Serenity deck up top on the front of the ship and it's a tough place to be when it's windy. While not every Solarium is enclosed, there are enough windows on the ships I've been on to make it more pleasant on a windy day. Factor in the better hot tub experience, and we'll end up hitting Platinum on RCCL after our next cruise. I might return to the Carnival Magic for the right ports and price, but right now, other than the Royal cruises we've booked, the only others I'm interested in trying are NCL, Princess, and maybe X.

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My DH and I are actually considering trying out RCI in 2019. We have been sailing exclusively with Carnival for a number of years now and the itineraries and ships are getting a little repetitive. My husband mentioned that we should look for a Bermuda cruise to change things up and RCI was actually the best option.

 

I've done a little research and we would be sailing on the Grandeur of the Seas which is one of the older ships and doesn't have all the bells and whistles that the larger ships do. I tend to prefer the smaller ships as I have found over the years that the service seems to be better and they are not as crowded.

 

There have been some great comparisons shared so far. Is there anything else we should be aware of difference wise between the two so we aren't surprised (pleasantly or unfortunately)?

 

Carnival has better beds and bedding. I can't say that I've had a good night's sleep on a bed on a Royal Caribbean ship without taking some kind of sleeping aid.

 

Carnival has a greater variety of daytime and late night food -

 

  • they have more "made for you" options instead of food sitting in warmer trays or a fridge (on Carnival they have made for you pizza, deli, burgers, tacos/burritos, pasta and wok - all or some depending on your ship).
  • Carnival's brunch food in the MDR is also better than Royal's MDR Breakfast/lunch.
  • Carnival offers Tea Time on Sea days.
  • Pizza and Ice cream are 24 hours on Carnival - which is great if you're out late and want more than a cold, premade sandwich.
     
    Oddly (at least to me) there were a number of complaints to Carnival about the twice a day room service (morning and turn down). Carnival then went to a system where you can choose morning, evening or both service. If one were to choose just morning service, my assumption would be that the schedule would be simply slipped under the door in the evenings. We always choose to have service both times so our schedule is always on our bed when we get in from dinner.

Nope, at worst if you have only once a day service on Carnival, your Fun Times is left in your mailbox. Most of the time though, even if you only get service in the morning, the room steward will still put the fun times on your bed in the evening.

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