Yesterday we posted a lot of basic information for first time cruisers. Most of it was applicable to any cruise line while some was more Carnival specific. Today our Q&A will speak more to Carnival since that is what we have cruised the most.
Again, please feel free to post questions in the comments below.
Is the amount I see advertised the full cruise cost (less the items mentioned in the first article)?
What about cruise insurance? Should I get it? What does it cover?
The other type of coverage is medical. If you fall ill on the ship, you will have to pay the cost for the medical care provided. There is a medical staff but they are also limited in what they can treat. For serious things you may be taken to a local port facility or even airlifted somewhere (and not necessarily the US). There are plans to help defray these costs. As full-time RVers, we have carried the Good Sam Travel Assist insurance. There are higher level plans from Skymed and MASA.
Because Stu belongs to Diver Alert Network, he carried some coverage for diver related issues through them. With all our cruises this year, we upgraded to their higher plan that covers everything for both of us.
For us, cruising on Carnival, we pack several pairs of shorts, one pair casual pants, one pair of dressy pants, two dressy tops, two long sleeve shirts and at least five short sleeve shirts in addition to nightwear, underwear and 1-2 bathing suits. For shoes we have a good pair of walking shoes, sandals or flip-flops for the pool and daily on-board use and one pair to go with our dressier outfit. We both carry a light jacket, sweater or sweatshirt (sometimes two, depending on time of year). Some areas of the ship can be quite cool.
I recently purchased a great dress that packs well and looks good on all body shapes and I also have a couple of very lightweight kimono type jackets as well as a black lightweight dress jacket to mix and match over my dressy tops.
Others love to dress up and will bring much more formal wear. Suits for the men (and yes, we have seen a tuxedo from time to time) and both short and long formal dresses for the ladies.
Carnival's photo pricing page. Every day the photos get added to the Pixels gallery photo boards. It is always fun to browse them, hoping to find your photo as well as see others.
If you have ANY type of disability (I can't stand for long periods), talk to guest services to find if there is a designated meeting place that is better suited for you. There are often folks in wheelchairs, on scooter, using walkers and canes that might need assistance if lifeboats were needed. They MUST be sure guest services know they will need special assistance.
Did you know? Just ask!
- You can order double entrees
- You can order more than one appetizer
- You can order off the kids menu (hamburger, PB&J, banana split are some of the items available on Carnival)
- You can request smaller (or double) portions
Most ships will also offer one or more specialty restaurants. A steakhouse is fairly common, also Italian and other cuisines on some ships. Same for a hamburger shack, pizza spot, deli sandwich corner and more, especially in pool areas. Check the ship your are considering to see what is offered.
Then there is room service. Carnival offers several items at no charge, a few specialty items for an additional charge (like Buffalo Wings) and a continental breakfast. They do suggest you tip your server.
Note, there is NO SMOKING on the stateroom balconies! If you know someone on either side of you is smoking, please report them to guest services. A lit cigarette butt can start a fire when carelessly flicked away.
On Carnival, you will have two blue beach towels in your room for use on excursions or the pool areas. Do not lose these or you will be charged! In the pool areas you can pick up towels, as well, but they are signed out to your room. Again, return them to the area where you got them and get them signed back in.
Some ports will have free beach areas, some will have pay areas. Bigger ports will have many excursions that can be booked. Side note - we ALWAYS book our excursions through Carnival. Why? Two main reasons. If an excursion is late returning (for any reason), the ship will be held for you. If you are on an excursion you booked yourself and miss the boat - oops! It's up to you to get to the next port to pick up the ship. Here are some good tips!
The other is if you are hurt or injured in any while on an excursion booked through the cruise line, you pay nothing for any necessary medical care.
The fastest ways to get off Carnival are:
- Be a high level loyalty member (Diamond or Platinum)
- Stayed in a suite level cabin
- Purchased a 'Faster to the Fun' package
- Have an early flight (never a good thing to have, you could easily miss it due to weather, customs, etc)
- Carry ALL your luggage off with you
Once off the ship, you will pick up your luggage (waiting, just like you do at an airport), then go through customs to turn in your customs form (left in your room for you the night before). Then you head out and grab your shuttle or other transportation.
A couple of key things - RELAX and don't be afraid to ask ANY staff member a question. Smile and chat with them, they love talking to you and telling you about where they live, their families, how long they've been working the cruises, etc.
Try to not get annoyed at slamming cabin doors (some of the balcony doors have to be slammed to close securely), voices in the hallways, etc. This is their vacation, too. But if you have a major issue with something or someone, talk to guest services. Typically they will do what they can to help make this your best cruise ever!
Ciao for now!