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Carnival Dream - LIVE- Dec 2-9 NOLA to Western Carib., Fun Times, Menus, etc


Saint Greg
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I'm starting a week early this time. I have some pre-cruise stuff I'm going to share. This will also give anyone who missed my Dream Eastern Caribbean live review  time to catch up. It's very possible I'll reference something you won't understand if you haven't read that review. For those who did read it...wouldn't hurt to read it again. 

 

This is a 7-day, solo cruise on the Carnival Dream out of New Orleans. This is my ninth carnival cruise--seventh out of New Orleans. This will be my second time on the Dream. We will be cruising to Mahogany Bay, Belize, and Cozumel. I previously visited Mahogany Bay and Belize on Freedom and Breeze. This will be my eighth time in Cozumel.

 

 

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Booking

 

This was what I would consider a last minute cruise. I've been booking 6-18 months out and I booked this one less than three months out. My next cruise was supposed to be the Vista in February but I found out I needed to take some vacation time by the end of the year so...I immediately started looking at when I could fit a cruise in. A major part of the reason I cruise at the end of August and end of February is because of football season...I don’t like to miss it. So I go just before and just after football season. The first thing I needed to look at was the Saints schedule. Immediately I noticed they play on Thursday this week. Which means they don’t play on Sunday. That gives me a 10-day period until their next game. If I do a sunday-sunday I'll get back on the day of their next game. All I'll need to do is be able to get to a sports bar by noon...or If I cruise out of New Orleans...any bar by noon.

 

Bonus: The ships are decorated for Christmas the first week of December--something that has been on my cruising bucket list.

 

Preference was drivable ports so Galveston or New Orleans for me. That gave me Vista, Freedom, Or Valor out of Galveston and Dream or Triumph out of New Orleans. I immediately eliminated Valor because her 5-day Cruise was about as much as the 7-day Dream cruise...insane! Freedom is doing the same eastern route I just did on Dream in August. I do want to go back...but not so soon...and preferably on a Dream class ship. Vista is doing the same route I’m taking on Vista in February so I eliminated her. That left me with Dream or Triumph. Part of me wanted to do Triumph one last time before the dry dock. But I really love the Dream class and 7-day cruises...and this will be my last chance to do a 7-day on the Dream before she starts doing short cruises out of Galveston. Since then I've read some of the stories about issues on the Triumph with them starting the renovations early--I'm even more happy with my decision now.

 

I normally book on my own when carnival offers a reduced deposit and $50 OBC. I let the OBC go towards gratuities. Time is pretty critical now because I’ve decided where I want my room to be and there is only one room left in that area. Carnival isn’t offering any OBC so I decide to see what the travel agents have to offer. I read about a website on here once where travel agents...compete for your cruise. I got quotes from them for my last dream cruise but didn’t book through any of them. This time I was motivated to get some OBC. I let the quotes come in over a period of a couple days. The best quote was from a place that sounds like something a queen would wear on her head. They offered the same price as carnival + $75 OBC. I ended up booking through them. The guy who sent me the quote wasn’t answering the phone or replying to emails. The next morning I decided just to call the main line and try to get another person at the agency to book me. A guy named Eric booked me and it was quick and painless. Ever since I booked, I’ve been managing the cruise online just as I always do. Now I don’t know how it would be if I had to do payments and price drops. Maybe I would’ve had to deal with the agent more. Since I booked after final payment date and the cruise was nearing a sellout, I paid in full and didn’t have to worry about price drops.

I’ve been booking cruises 6-18 months out. One of the reasons why is because I like lido inside rooms and they sell pretty fast. This time they were sold out so I took a room on deck 9. 


Another issue with booking late was the dining time. I like your time dining. I'm not into the two hour dining experience. I like to get in right when they open and get out before any of the evening entertainment begins. All they had available was late dining. That was horrible! That’s during my comedy shows! I may have to eat in the buffet. You can't go back to the buffet after you get hooked on the dining room! "I can't. I won't." I spent a couple weeks on the waitlist but finally I got confirmed for YTD. 

I was concerned that I would get stuck with a late check-in time since I booked inside of 90 days. It wasn't too bad. I got a noon check-in time. Last time I had 11:30 and showed up at the port at 11:50 so noon is a good time for me.
 

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Parking/Hotel

 

The rates for one week of parking after taxes and fees are typically Fulton rooftop $83, Fulton covered $106, Machu Picchu $110, Port $140. I've been using Fulton rooftop for $83. I haven't cruised out of New Orleans during the winter since Feb '16 but apparently now Fulton is jacking up prices in the winter...to the point where my rooftop parking would cost an additional $40! This note comes up when I try to book "Please note: season rate of $15.00 per day in affect (should be effect) from 11/04/2018 to 05/05/2019" This brings the total cost for my week to $122 rooftop or $134 covered. If you're going to pay $134, you might as well just park at the port for $140...assuming they haven't raised their rates. I checked with Machu Picchu and they are still $110 if you pay cash. $115 if you pay credit. 
 
Since I hadn't booked my pre-cruise hotel yet, I just decided to book the Country Inn & Suites in Metairie which has the park n cruise package that includes breakfast, 8 days of parking, and a shuttle to the port. The cost of the park n cruise package is $150. It came to $170 after taxes. What it doesn't include is a shuttle back from the port. That's a $15-20 Uber/Lyft. I've heard there's a shuttle the hotel recommends for $10/person. That works great for me since I'm just one person. Someone who used that shuttle a couple weeks ago told me the shuttle driver was in touch with them on debarkation day via text message and was outside waiting when they got off of the ship. Sounds great and I'll probably give it a try.

 

Update: I just went back and price checked Fulton garage. They are now lower for my week than they were before they jacked the prices up. They're now $75 rooftop, $83 covered. They were 83/106 then they temporarily raised it to 122/132. I have until friday to cancel my country inn and suites with no fee. I'm going to look at all of my options again and figure out what I'm going to do. 

 

Stay tuned for that and my post on excursions.

 

 

Edited by Saint Greg
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Following closely.  Really enjoyed the last review of the Dream, and now I'm only 35 days from being on her myself with the exact same itinerary.  I'm dealing with some of the same parking issues as I had planned on using Fulton until I saw the price increase.

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18 minutes ago, j1d1 said:

Following closely.  Really enjoyed the last review of the Dream, and now I'm only 35 days from being on her myself with the exact same itinerary.  I'm dealing with some of the same parking issues as I had planned on using Fulton until I saw the price increase.

 

Have you checked Fulton recently? They went down for my dates. May just be lowering it closer to the cruises to try and fill spaces. 

Edited by Saint Greg
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20 minutes ago, hockeyluver said:

Looking forward to your review,  I enjoyed your last one also !!  We will be cruising on the Dream out of NOLA in February.....  Superbowl cruise !!  First time on the Dream, first time out of NOLA and first time in a cove. 

 

Imagine if the Saints are in that one. 

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12 minutes ago, Saint Greg said:

 

Have you checked Fulton recently? They went down for my dates. May just be lowering it closer to the cruises to try and fill spaces. 

Yes.  Just checked it and prices are back down.  After I saw that Fulton went up, I reserved Machu Picchu for the week.  I guess I'll cancel that now.  As saving $30-40 for the week seems worth it.

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2 hours ago, Saint Greg said:

 

Have you checked Fulton recently? They went down for my dates. May just be lowering it closer to the cruises to try and fill spaces. 

 

I just tried to reserve parking with Fulton online and get the following: Payment detailed failed: Error occur while processing payment

 

I have tried it with two different credit cards.  Makes me wonder if the drop in price is some type of error.  I'll try again tomorrow and let you know how it goes.

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7 minutes ago, j1d1 said:

 

I just tried to reserve parking with Fulton online and get the following: Payment detailed failed: Error occur while processing payment

 

I have tried it with two different credit cards.  Makes me wonder if the drop in price is some type of error.  I'll try again tomorrow and let you know how it goes.

I tried too 😞

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So looking forward to follow you on your cruise. I hope you have a great time. I have a question, since the cruise critic site has changed, I am not able to see your's or other's past cruise reviews.  Can someone tell me how to find them? 

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5 hours ago, sid_9169 said:

Well, Saint Greg, it looks like our cruises have aligned for next week, but I'll be checking in from the Norwegian Bliss and their extremely overpriced Unlimited Premium WiFi Package... Have an awesome cruise!...

 

Thanks! I'll do the same.

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The price for Fulton garage parking has gone back to the seasonally adjusted rate.  I was never able to reserve at the lower rate as the payment would be declined.  I'm guessing the lower rate was some type of website error that wasn't actually available.  Now I guess I'll stick with Machu Picchu as it appears to be the cheapest option other than hotel cruise parking.

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5 hours ago, Kendra51 said:

So looking forward to follow you on your cruise. I hope you have a great time. I have a question, since the cruise critic site has changed, I am not able to see your's or other's past cruise reviews.  Can someone tell me how to find them? 

 

Can you see this?

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2578851-carnival-dream-live-aug-26-sep-2-nola-to-eastern-carib-fun-times-menus-etc/

 

 

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