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Tips for cruising with Carnival

Cruises with Carnival

The trip on the Carnival Liberty that I took last week was my second cruise. Even though this was a been there, done that experience the excitement was still there as I awoke early and arrived at the port before my check in time. I was like a giddy school girl as I found myself on the boat in just a few minutes. In comparison with the Carnival Breeze which was the ship I took for my first cruise the Liberty is a bit smaller. When I booked I was honestly a little bit wary about the size difference. I wondered if I would find this smaller boat to be boring and too confining. But from the outside I honestly could not tell much difference. At 110,000 tons and almost a thousand feet in length even this size smaller was still a massive ship. Anyone who has travelled carnival before has seen the major similarities in all of the floor plans. This boat was laid out very similarly to the Breeze. But as I entered into the main lobby on deck three I saw my first major difference. This ship was particularly beautiful. I am not saying that the Breeze has flaws. But the details on the liberty stood out more to me. Brighter, Shinier, more intricate. The Liberty is beautiful. I drug my carry on up to the Lido deck and parked my butt on a deck chair by the pool. After getting myself a rum laced pina colada of course. For anyone who has cruised before I am sure you have your own tips and tricks and for those of you who have not I am going to share my tips with you.

1. Book Early
While this is not a necessity and some people choose to book later or even last minute. I like to take advantage of the payment plan. Often times Carnival offers a $50.00 deposit so for two people all you need is a hundred dollars to start paying towards your next vacation.

2. Watch for price changes
After booking your cruise keep an eye on the price. Check it on holiday’s or anytime you get an email from Carnival about a sale going on. If you haven’t finished paying for your cruise they will change the price in your online account. If you have they generally give an onboard credit. Either way it is a win win situation for the cruiser. This is another reason to book early. More time for price changes to occur.

3. Pack Wisely
Staterooms on a cruise are not as generous in size as hotel rooms. It is smart to pack only the necessities. Avoid too many bags as you will want to put your bags in the closet to save room for getting around in the room. I will be making a post of what I pack to help new cruiser’s decide what to bring.

4. Try the food
The buffet is obviously the easiest place to quickly zip in and grab a bite. But cruising has so many options for food. Guys burger joint is my choice. But I also enjoy going to the dining room for a few of my dinners. Grabbing Pizza at the 24 hour Pizza joint and ice cream at swirls. Don’t limit yourself try everything. Remember that each cruise line has a few restaurants that have a fee to eat. I avoid those places and go for the free food but to each their own.

5. Enjoy the free activities
Dive In Movies, Mini Golf, Comedy Shows, Live Music, Dancing, Broadway, Hot tubs, Swimming pools and water slides to name a few. Each cruise ship has it’s own unique activities. Check the schedule that get’s dropped off at your room and hit up what you want to do. There is a constant flurry of activities going on.

6. Drink Packages
This one varies for each cruiser. How much do you drink? Is it a smart money move for you? Carnivals cheers packages allow you to consume up to 15 drinks per day. It costs $51.95 USD per person per day with an extra 18% gratuity on top. Each adult member of a cabin must purchase the package it cannot be purchased by only one. For cruises leaving Texas or New York the package doesn’t start until the second day as state law prohibits alcohol sales. On a 5 day cruise that ends up costing $519.50 plus gratuities of $93.51 for a couple. The average price for drinks on board without a package varies slightly but beer is around $7.50 and fancier drinks around $10.50. In those 5 days if each person drank 15 fancy drinks without the package a couple would run a tab of $1575.00 plus $283.5 in Gratuities. I suggest running the numbers for yourself and deciding if the program is a smart move for you. Remember that port days you may not drink as much as you won’t be on the ship the whole day. Carnival also offers the bottomless bubbles package which is for non alcoholic beverages and is offered at a much cheaper rate of $35.11 per adult for a 5 day cruise.

7. Bring on your wine allowance

With Carnival each adult is allowed to bring one 750ml bottle of wine onboard. My husband doesn’t like wine so on cruises when I feel like we don’t need a drink package I consume both of our bottles. There is a fee to open it in the dining room so I usually sip mine sitting on the balcony. Don’t forget to bring a cork screw. I have a small one I leave in my suitcase.

8. Take the stairs

With sugary drinks and carb ridden foods finding their way to your waistline, skip the elevator often and take the stairs. Most people find that they gain a rather large amount of weight on a cruise. I manage to keep that gain down to 1 or 2 pounds and I attribute that to the fact that I take the stairs often.

9. Excursions

Decide which excursion type is best for you. Some people take the cruise lines excursions as they have a certain amount of security. The cruise lines guarantee that they will not leave without you if you are on one of their excursions. But you do pay the extra price for that and many people feel that these excursions don’t show the true culture of the place you are visiting. Other’s go of on their own and find a local to take them on a tour when they get to the port. With this you are on your own with no guarantees from the cruise line. But many people prefer this method. Each person needs to figure out which one is best for them.

No matter what cruise line you choose, or excursion you decide on. Where you eat or what activities you participate in. Pick what is best for you. Enjoy your vacation and most of all have fun.

Posted by Wanderlustcanuk 13:23 Archived in Canada Tagged cruises cruise carnival tips liberty

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