I have a secret to share with you. We will be going on a Carnival Cruise in a few months and my son has no idea! I’ve been on a cruise before, but not Carnival, so this will be a first experience for me and a new experience for my son as he hasn’t been on a cruise before at all.
As I was researching the cruise and any tips that may be good to know, I figured who better to ask than previous cruisers. Luckily I’m apart of the Facebook Group Carnival Cruisers: Past, Present and Future and my friend is apart of the Facebook Group Black Cruise Group. With the knowledgeable Carnival Cruise fans that belong to the groups, I now have over 50 tips before I go on my Carnival Cruise. Also, now you do too!
Tips To Know Before You Cruise on Carnival Cruise Line
Packing For a Carnival Cruise
- Pack light. This was the most popular tip. Pack light but also pack smart. Bringing flip-flops, sneakers, items that can be worn more than once and a sweater for the cool nights.
- Pack patches of Dramamine for motion sickness. Purchasing some on the boat could cost you $10+
- Bring extra brush, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap, sunscreen and medicine. Purchasing these items on the ship will be expensive as well.
- Also bring feminine products, just in case
- If you’re bringing an infant or toddler, ensure that you’re bringing plenty of diapers and formula (if your child is a formula fed baby).
- Bring plastic baggies if you want to take some fruit from breakfast/dinner to snack on later in your room
- Bring wrinkle release
- Bring shoes that aren’t tight, your feet may swell
- Bring chewing gum. Apparently they don’t sell it on cruise ships
Prior To Your Carnival Cruise
- Fast To The Fun (FTTF). This allows you to get priority check-in. It also allows you to access the dining after VIP in addition to priority luggage. You can sign up for FFTF ahead of time under Manage My Cruises on Carnival.com. It does come at a cost.
- Research the ship before you go. This will allow you to get acquainted with it prior to boarding.
- Stay at a hotel near the port the night before to eliminate any travel issues
- Don’t travel during election (a lot of things will be closed at some of the ports)
- Bring extra money for souvenirs, taxi fare, and if you want to participate in an excursion that isn’t a Carnival Cruise excursion. Also keep in mind that most items/souvenirs on the ship will go on sale the last day.
- Use a reloadable Visa/Mastercard so you don’t get yourself in trouble using a credit card
- You have to pay gratuity, whether it is before you sail or before you can exit the boat. You have a specific amount you have to pay but can always tip more.
- Prepay for internet. It will cost less that way
- Register your kids for the Camp Ocean prior to the cruise. This will save you a few minutes when you drop them off
Once You’re On A Carnival Cruise
- Arrive early, wear your swimsuit under your clothes so you can enjoy the pool while you wait for your room to get ready
- Don’t try to see the ship all in one day, it will only tire you out. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the ship.
- Play Carnival Quest. This is an adult game . Carnival Quest will vary per ship/cruise director. So, you may not see it on the Visia, but you may on Fantasy. Several people who mentioned the game also mentioned they were mad at themselves for not playing. They said it looked like a lot of fun. But it was also mentioned that it wasn’t a family-friendly game.
- Only buy the pictures if they’re offering a deal
- Get up early to watch the sunrise
- Read the newsletter every night. Bring a highlighter to highlight the things you want to do. Or,
- Download HUB. Which is Carnival Cruise app that will let you know about all the fun
- You don’t have to bring a beach towel, but if you borrow Carnival’s beach towels and don’t return them, it will cost you.
- Usually they’ll offer deals for the spa once you’re on the ship, so don’t purchase ahead of time
Dining & Drinks
- If you’re going to drink a lot, buy the drink package.
- If you only plan on a couple of drinks per day, then it may be better to just pay for the drinks as you go.
- Dining room is included in the price of the cruise. A lot of people mentioned not realizing this at first
- You can eat breakfast in the dining room
- Want more food? You can ask for more!
- You can order from the kid’s menu
- They offer room service 24/7, but it is only free 6 AM-10 PM for some item. Some of the free items during that time are; salads, sandwiches and sweets. Hot food items may cost a small fee.
- Choose alternate dining so you’re not setting yourself up to miss your dining time ( this is something you can setup in the Manage My Cruise section on Carnival.com prior to your cruise).
- You’re allowed to bring a 12-pack of pop/person
- You’re also allowed to bring a bottle of wine/person (21+)
- Bring a corkscrew if you’re bringing a bottle of wine. It may cost you $15+ to get one off the ship
- You can purchase liquor from the ports but you will have to check it in. You will likely get it back the last night after dinner or the last day prior to getting off the ship
- The Captain’s Ball is always the second day
- You don’t have to attend the Captain’s Ball
- You can drink water, tea and lemonade for free (but bottled drinks, soft drinks and alcoholic drinks are at a cost)
- Purchasing a case of water prior to sailing is cheaper and they’ll deliver the case of water on embarkation day. (it looks like they add 15% if you get it through room service).
Tips For Your Carnival Cruise Room
- Don’t forget a power strip. This is a very popular tip!
- There is a clothesline in the shower
- Bring hand soap for your bathroom
- Air Freshener. Another popular tip
- Bring a small fan
- Bring a battery operated light or battery operated candle to place in the bathroom at night
- There were several comments about curling iron/flat iron not working in the bathrooms. Someone mentioned theirs worked by the vanity.
Excursions & Port Days
- Bring an insulated cup to carry with you while you’re at the ports
- Bring a backpack to carry while at the ports
- If you want to save money, book excursions off the ship, however, if something were to go wrong and you got stuck at the excursion, the ship will leave you.
- If you book your excursions through the cruise ship, they’ll make sure you’re taken care of if there is a problem during your excursion. Also, the ship will not leave a group that is with a Carnival Cruise Line excursion.
- Make sure you allow enough time to return to the ship on port days. They will leave you if you don’t make it back in time
- If you want to save money, collect sand and seashells for souvenirs (another reason to bring Ziplock bags).
- Bring your own snorkeling gear
Following this list can create a more relaxing cruise for yourself. The two most popular tips from the thread were to be prepared but to not overpack and bringing the power strip for your room.
Remember, pace yourself and don’t over do it. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the ship and all its festivities. You know my motto; relax, enjoy, have fun!
Note: I’ll keep updating as I learn more tips!
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