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Cinderellie

Carnival Secrets they usually don't tell you about

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Hi! Are there any behind-the-scenes secrets they often don't tell you about... or you wish you knew beforehand?

 

We'll be sailing on the 8/29 Conquest, and I love to know the scoop before I go.

 

Whattya know???

 

Cinderellie

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I don't consider these secrets, but people always say "I didn't know you could do that" when I order a second entree or second anything in the dining room, or order a refill in my souveneir glass at a "discount" rate. And then there's the soda card.

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If, by chance, you don't like anything they have on the menu, ask them to bring you a steak. No problem. Definitely not a secret but it's not listed anywhere on the menu.:)

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I'll continue the "dining room tip" theme with this one: Any pasta dish on the main entree section of the menu is also available as an appetizer. In my opinion, it's a good way to try it without gorging on pasta. Then you still have room for some of the other delicious looking entrees that are available that evening!

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On some of the Carnival ships, you can get a deck of cards w/Carnival logo, just by asking at the purser's desk.

 

In the casino, they'll give you a lanyard, as well as punch a hole in your S&S card for you.

 

In the dining room, ask for espresso after dinner - not usually listed on the menu, but I have either espresso or cappuccino every night at no extra charge.

 

Hint: Read your Capers carefully, as some things are in small print. (Take a highlighter.) For instance, "tea time" is not announced in a big separate area, just in the listing of day's activities. I thoroughly enjoy that!

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One thing I've heard is that your room steward can be your best buddy -- a source for extra perks like extra pillows and such.:o

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You can also ask your Room Steward for the book that is in your cabin. I got one from the Pride. Just ask and they will give it to you.

 

Candi

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Impressed with the amount of people who think that there is a charge for room service. Room Service is free.

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In the casino, they'll give you a lanyard, as well as punch a hole in your S&S card for you.

 

Why would they punch a hole in your S&S card? :confused:

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So that you can attach it to the lanyard so that you dont have to dig it out of your purse every time. Just like casinos do with their players cards.

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Where can you get the type of laynard that has the clear plastic cover to put your S&S card in or do they not sell those on the ship?

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Where can you get the type of laynard that has the clear plastic cover to put your S&S card in or do they not sell those on the ship?

 

I've seen these types at Wal-Mart for like $2 or so. Found them in the area of the clocks, jewelry, etc.

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I wouldn't call this a secret but I didn't know you could order "buckets" of beer. I saw several people with them on the Lido Deck but never figured out how they knew to order them like that (till I started reading these boards).

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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

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A lanyard with a clear plastic envelope is not the best idea for your S&S card. You will need to remove it everytime you leave and board the ship as your card must be inserted in the machine so the computer can track all pax. Also if you want to track your slot play you insert your S&S card in the slot machine.

 

Best to get a lanyard from the casino cashier, and they will also punch the hole in it. [much shorter line than at the Purser's desk] You can also join Ocean Players Club at the cashiers cage. [no charge]

 

The pizza place also makes a very good Ceaser salad to order, 24/7.

 

On Spirit class ships visit the deli early on. It will get more and more crowded each day. Sandwiches are excellent and they will make anything you want if they have the ingredients.

 

Dan

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Thanks for all of the hints. The one about the deli will help us out since I'm sure my kids will be spending time there.

 

Elise

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If, by chance, you don't like anything they have on the menu, ask them to bring you a steak. No problem. Definitely not a secret but it's not listed anywhere on the menu.:)

 

Also grilled chicken breast..

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Wow, I am learning so much about cruising, I can't imagine anyone taking their first cruise without these boards, Thanks for all the helpfu hints, and please keep them coming!

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Just a bit of info, from what I have heard, you are charged for cappuccino now in the dinning room on alot of the ships. Maybe others will please let us know which ships are charging.

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My wife went on our first cruise in May....a very good friend of our is also an at home cruise agent. So between her and her husband we had lots of tips before we sailed. One of the most interesting tips that he gave was that you can order everything on the menu in the dinning room. Everything. Well, I kindof thought that he was stretching things alittle. But on the first formal night Lobster Tail and Filet Mignon was both on the menu....so, I ordered both. To my surprize our waiter didn't even flinch. So, after dinner I asked him how many entrees could I have ordered and he told me "all of them if you wished". Also, I thought that some of the deserts were alittle small....so, I ordered two....especially the apple pie, of course with ice cream.

 

And as a previous poster mentioned - the ceasar salad is excellent as well as the calzons(sp)...it takes about 15 minutes to cook them...but they are worth the wait.

 

It took two days to figure out that ice tea is free in the dinning room. I usually had a drink with dinner and never really thought about it until one of the other diners asked. And each night after that, didn't even have to ask. Also, after the first night a waitress from the bar came without me having to ask, and even knew what my drink was.

 

Men - if you forget your razor...please do not use the ladies disposal one that is in the bathroom. Take this as a "Public Service Announcement".

 

On the formal nights - have your picture taken at each of the settings...you don't have to buy them...and it is fun to sit at the photo gallery going through all of the pictures.

 

Remember that you are on vacation....let them pamper you. They will if you give them the opportunity.

 

I guess that the biggest tip that I could give is don't be afraid to ask for anything.

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Okay, I have a tip, but don't flame me for this. I admit it's a little sneaky. And you can blame my husband, it was his idea. He goes to the galley of pictures and finds ours. Then he gets up real close to our picture and takes his own picture of it. That way he doesn't have to pay for our picture. I know. We're bad. Real bad.

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Where exactly is the deli located on the Sensation, and will they be open the day we board at lunchtime?

Sailing away on Monday. . .

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Maybe someone here can answer this question. I've heard that Carnival now charges for the cakes/singing for special occasions now. Is that true? If so, that really stinks. What about the other cruise lines? Any one know?

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The Sensation does not have a deli only the bigger and newer ships do.

 

The book mentioned- In your cabin will be a hardcover book about your ship.

 

Carnival now charges for the cakes it brings to your table for your birthday or anniversary. I have not heard that they charge for singing however!

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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?

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The Sensation does not have a deli only the bigger and newer ships do.

 

The book mentioned- In your cabin will be a hardcover book about your ship.

 

Carnival now charges for the cakes it brings to your table for your birthday or anniversary. I have not heard that they charge for singing however!

The Carnival Rep didn't tell us about a charge, but asked if we were celebrating and said they'd present us with a cake. That's very misleading if they are hitting our S&S card with a charge. The cake isn't even that good!

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On the cake issue - our headwaitress knew wewere celebrating our anniversary and discreetly asked us if we would like to have the cake, and told us the cost of the two different sizes. We declined, but the next night they brought us the hot chocolate souffle and sang "Hoppy Onniverserie" to us anyway, even though we told them they didn't need to do that. I'm glad they did, though - I hadn't been planning on ordering the souffle for my dessert (it was cheescake night!) but that ended up being one of our favorite desserts! (The other was the Grand Marnier souffle :D )

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I do not know about the other ships, but the deli on the elation was in tiffany's at the back of the center island. It was open from about 11-2:30 every day and they made great sandwiches. Some people did not know it was there if they never went to the back of tiffanys during lunch. At dinnertime, the area was where the desserts werre kept.

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What is the cabin book?

 

In your cabin you will notice a hardback book about Carnival on the talbe or nightstand. It looks like a tourist book you might see in hotels that say "do not remove". This one is free for the asking. Our got buried under our stuff and we forgot about it. It makes a nice sovenier.

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I like the plastic envolopes for the laynards, I put my sign and sail and my ID in it (and a few bucks just in case I need something). It's much easier than sticking all that in my pocket, carrying a bag or searching for Hubby since it's in his wallet. Makes getting on and off the ship easier too.

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DonnaD...Not to worry. There is most definitely a deli on the Sensation, unless they removed it in the past 3 weeks! It is in the back of the Seaview Grill (cafeteria kind of restaurant) on the Lido deck. It is right next to the Pizza counter. I actually had the Reuben one day & it was DELISH! Much better than some of the not-so-great food offered in the buffet line. Have Fun!

 

Oh, one other tip (if you want to call it that). You can go to your dining room any time of day & "scan" the menu for that night. It's posted at the entrance to the dining room & I just loved going there & checking on the offerings for that night. I would be sitting at the pool thinking about what I was going to order that night! Yumm!

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Just a bit of info, from what I have heard, you are charged for cappuccino now in the dinning room on alot of the ships. Maybe others will please let us know which ships are charging.

It seems that Carnival has different polices on all their ships. I was on the Spirit this past March, and non-carbonated soft drinks, Espresso & Cappuccino were FREE in the main dining room.

 

Additionally, the non-carbonated soft drinks, coffee, tea, hot chocolate AND soft serve ice cream and frozen yogurt were FREE & AVAILABLE 24/7!

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Rscima, PHEW! You have greatly relieved my mind. I will sleep much better tonight now. Had thought I was craving a nonexistent rueben there for awhile. Thank you.

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I don't know about the Sensation, but on the Triumph there is a (unmarked) door on the fifth or sixth deck (towards the front of the ship) that takes you to an outside deck area. Hardly anyone knows about this, and it's a great place to sneak off to for some privacy

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I heard they also have this secret door on the Destiny, but forgot to check it out. I guess we had too much other fun stuff to do!

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Well, we found out that all the dancers hang out on the topless deck on the last sea day... I'm sure that some of you will love that tidbit of info! ;)

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If you are going on an excurtion the next day that does not include lunch...order sandwichs the night before from room service and put them in the frig overnight.

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