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5 Carnival Cruise Tips to Know Before Going

The pictures on the advertisements make a Carnival Cruise hard to resist: smooth open seas, sunny skies, and a couple enjoying a romantic dinner on the ship’s beautiful balcony, overlooking the seemingly endless horizon.

Carnival’s tag line, “All for Fun, Fun for All”, inspires images of whole families snorkeling in the coral reef, of newlyweds riding dolphins, and of young children enjoying the gigantic water slide aboard the ship.

Carnival advertises itself as being all inclusive, making it seem like an easy, ideal vacation.

And that’s exactly what it can be, when the vacationer takes the time to read all of the fine print.

Here are five tips to know before taking a Carnival cruise to make the trip enjoyable, stress free, and one to repeat, over and over again.

1) Read the Itinerary.

Most Carnival cruise ships are more than 10 stories high and packed with every kind of activity. There are centers for children, programs for teenagers, and spas for adults.

Most cruise ships have a casino, a dance floor, a game room, a track, several pools, and a workout room.

Each section of the ship is packed with activities, games, and programs all times of the day.

To ensure that none of the passengers miss out, daily itineraries are delivered to each stateroom at night.

Reading the itinerary will prevent missing any important events, and will help cruisers plan their day effectively.

2) Go ahead. Have two entrees.

Not only do Carnival Cruise lines offer exquisite, five star foods to each passenger; they also offer it in unlimited amounts.

Even during dinner, which is more formal and served in courses, passengers can eat as much as they would like, without any additional cost.

Can’t decide between the Marinated Mango Shrimp and the Roasted Lemon Chicken? There’s no need to choose—have both!

3) Alcohol is not included.

While the food, coffee, and tea is unlimited, alcohol is not. Each drink on a Carnival Cruise costs between $5 and$10, and will be added to your running tab to pay at the end of your cruise.

For passengers who would like to enjoy a few drinks, but do not want to face an enormous bill at the end of their trip, Carnival allows every individual over the age of 21 to carry one bottle of wine on board with them.

4) Don’t forget the gratuity.

Carnival adds a gratuity fee of $11.50 per person, per day. This fee will be added to the final tab at the end of the trip.

5) Plan for the holding fee at the end of the cruise.

Carnival will take the credit card number and information of every traveler at the start of the cruise.

At the end of the trip, Carnival puts a pending $75 withdrawal on each bank account, as a damage insurance policy.

If there is no damage done to the passenger’s room, the hold is released within 24 hours.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
January 28, 2013

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