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First time on Carnival – Any must see/must do's?


FloriDan
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So we're sailing on Carnival for the first time next month, on the Paradise. Is there anything special or different the line does or has that we need to make sure and not miss? Any special events? Dance parties? Activities? Food or drinks? A friend of my wife mentioned something about raspberry bread in the MDR, but beyond that ... we got nothing.

 

Thanks!

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Of course, there's the food: Guy's Burgers, the pizza, the desserts at the coffee shop. The comedy club attracts many cruisers. If you're lucky, there'll be good music by the casino bar. I love the Fantasy class ships and I hope you find this cruise enjoyable.

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Load the Carnival HUB app on your phone. It will have an interactive ships map, a list of daily events on the ship, you can view your account to see how much you’ve spent, you can purchase drink packages, view and purchase photos, etc. It’s amazing! The Cheers (alcohol) and bottomless bubbles (soda) are unlimited drink packages that a lot of people like.

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There’s the dancing and singing waiters in the Main Dining Room on certain evenings. It’s much different from other lines because some of them will climb up onto the server stations for the performance. Also the flaming Baked Alaska dessert parade is fun.

 

Sea day brunch in the MDR is quite nice.

 

Carnival seems to be putting more resources into booking stand up comics for their comedy clubs at sea rather than their stage shows in the onboard theater. Some of the comedy performances can be quite vulgar so be prepared.

 

Carnival does not seem to have as many theme nights as other lines. I think many may be dependent on the cruise director onboard. There will probably be a white party, Red/Blue Party, and Elegant night. Depending on the length of the cruise you may have an 80’s night as well.

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Oh and a few other things that are particular to Carnival:

 

1) Each passenger can bring a 12 pack of CANNED beverages (soda or juice). This must be carried onboard through security and not placed in your checked luggage.

 

2) Each passenger can bring ONE bottle of wine to consume in your cabin. If you bring the bottle to a dining room you may be charged a corkage fee to have to served to you by your waiter. Your best bet is to uncork it in your cabin and pour out two glasses that you can take with you to Donner. Again the wine must be carried onboard though security.

 

3) Carnival sells something called Faster to the Fun if you want to board the ship early and have your cabin ready before everyone else.

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Oh and a few other things that are particular to Carnival:

 

3) Carnival sells something called Faster to the Fun if you want to board the ship early and have your cabin ready before everyone else.

 

OP, there are other benefits to FTTF besides early boarding and cabin access; it basically gives you many of the same privileges as a Diamond or Platinum long-time Carnival patron. You get to use the shorter VIP line at Guest Services, priority tender boarding if your cruise includes a tender port-stop, expedited luggage delivery on the first day (not guaranteed but it sometimes works), and enhanced priority for dinner reservations.

Price is per stateroom, not per person, and it varies based on ships and itinerary length. If available, it will be a shore excursion located under your departure city and date; it does tend to sell out though.

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Things WE particularly enjoy about Carnival.

 

50% off wine by the bottle the first night at the Steakhouse. Can buy multiple bottles, take them with you, or have them transferred to the MDR to be enjoyed at subsequent dinners there. The food/ambiance/service at the Steakhouse are pretty darned good too.

 

The Chef's Table, though expensive, is quite an adventure.

 

Details about both of the above are on Carnival's website.

 

Lots of public deck space, some areas filled with music and activities, and some nice and quiet.

 

Lots of eating options, other than MDR and buffet, included in the fare. Look for what's open when in the daily Funtimes.

 

I travel with middle aged daughters and young adult grandchildren. There's always something for everyone, every age.

 

Have fun!

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So we're sailing on Carnival for the first time next month, on the Paradise. Is there anything special or different the line does or has that we need to make sure and not miss? Any special events? Dance parties? Activities? Food or drinks? A friend of my wife mentioned something about raspberry bread in the MDR, but beyond that ... we got nothing.

 

Thanks!

 

Each evening, the Fun Times will be delivered to your cabin. It's a type of news letter that will have a list of the next day's activities. Some people like to bring a highlighter to mark the things they're most interested in. If it's an "at sea" day, look over the list, but don't try to do everything. You'll wear yourself out. Carefully pick and choose only the things that interest you the most. Allow yourself time to just relax and do nothing. On Embarkation Day, take time to explore the ship, so that you'll know where everything is.

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OP, there are other benefits to FTTF besides early boarding and cabin access; it basically gives you many of the same privileges as a Diamond or Platinum long-time Carnival patron. You get to use the shorter VIP line at Guest Services, priority tender boarding if your cruise includes a tender port-stop, expedited luggage delivery on the first day (not guaranteed but it sometimes works), and enhanced priority for dinner reservations.

Price is per stateroom, not per person, and it varies based on ships and itinerary length. If available, it will be a shore excursion located under your departure city and date; it does tend to sell out though.

 

I have been on 2 cruises, both on the dream. First cruise I had FTTF and second time it was sold out and I was so bummed, but throughout my cruise I learned I will never buy it again. It took a total of 15 mins to get on board without FTTF compared to 10 with FTTF. If you get up and in line early enough you can still make the first tender boat without FTTF. I went to guest services a total of 4 times and never had more than 2 ahead of me and one of those times all 3 of us was waited on while the same people were still in the FTTF priority line. Luggage came in a timely manner and made steakhouse dinner reservations both times with no problems.

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Sea Day Brunch is a do not miss

 

Meh. Only if you've got nothing better to do for about an hour and a half. We've done the Sea Day Brunch twice, once each on two different ships. The food was okay. The service left a lot to be desired.

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Well, these folks are on the Paradise, so no steak house. But if you want a good steak you can order from the "pay more" section of the menu.

 

It seems to me that you have cruised before, just not with Carnival, and want some verification that you chose wisely. You booked an older ship, a smaller ship, and I always choose them over the must do everything ship. A cruise is what you make it, but are you looking for something that you have had elsewhere and want to know how it compares? What are you really asking?

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Meh. Only if you've got nothing better to do for about an hour and a half. We've done the Sea Day Brunch twice, once each on two different ships. The food was okay. The service left a lot to be desired.

 

For a first timer, it is a do not miss. I think OP is looking for things that maybe they haven't experienced on other cruises or vacations.

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Wow, thanks everybody for the feedback. Lots of great tips! We've gone back and forth on FTTF and decided to go ahead and go for it. If it ends up being a total waste, I figure at least we'll know that for next time.

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It seems to me that you have cruised before, just not with Carnival, and want some verification that you chose wisely. You booked an older ship, a smaller ship, and I always choose them over the must do everything ship. A cruise is what you make it, but are you looking for something that you have had elsewhere and want to know how it compares? What are you really asking?

 

Just really asking if there's anything special or unusual on Carnival that we shouldn't miss. Anything that might set Carnival apart from the pack. We talked about taking a cruise for years but never made it happen until we moved to Florida. We've loved our previous cruises and decided we would try different lines to see which one might be the right fit for us, or if there would even be a "right fit." What we've found out for sure is that even a mediocre day onboard is better than just about any day on land!

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Where and when can I get this on the Vista?

And can I get an Omelette with it?

 

Thank you.

 

Sea Day brunch is served on Sea Days in the main dining room for breakfast. There is a special menu just for this.

 

You can order as many items as you want. It’s a cruise! :p

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I have been on 2 cruises, both on the dream. First cruise I had FTTF and second time it was sold out and I was so bummed, but throughout my cruise I learned I will never buy it again. It took a total of 15 mins to get on board without FTTF compared to 10 with FTTF. If you get up and in line early enough you can still make the first tender boat without FTTF. I went to guest services a total of 4 times and never had more than 2 ahead of me and one of those times all 3 of us was waited on while the same people were still in the FTTF priority line. Luggage came in a timely manner and made steakhouse dinner reservations both times with no problems.

 

I've been singing this song for three years now, against a groundswell of people arguing for FTTF. I'm almost convinced that the Port of New Orleans and the Dream herself are anomalies in Carnival's operation, that they have efficiencies not seen at any other port or on any other ship. Until I experience otherwise, FTTF was not worth the $49.95 I paid for it back then, and is not even close to being worth the $90 charged today.

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