I compiled these "tips" from many different postings accross the Cruise Critic Boards. I edited some of the content, and
also changed the single person usage (as for instance instead of "I always..." to "Always") to make them more general.
If, by chance, you don't like anything they have on the menu, ask them to bring you a steak. No problem. If Lobster
Tail and Filet Mignon are both on the menu....order both, desserts too small, order two! definitely not a
secret but it's not listed anywhere on the menu. People always say "I didn't know you could
do that," so, order a second entree or second anything in the dining room, or order a refill in my souvenir glass at a
If you need post cards, go to the purser's desk... they have those with the picture of the ship for free!
Any pasta dish on the main entree section of the menu is also available as an appetizer. 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!
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 dining room, ask for espresso after dinner - not usually listed on the menu, have either espresso or cappuccino
every night at no extra charge ("never tried this myself," davesgirl).
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.
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 ("there is a risk of doing this, so be very careful, I feel more confident with 'pay after the
excursion' deals or joining a group," davesgirl).
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.
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. A different opinion: 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. More on Lanyards: 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 (" ?," davesgirl) at the cashier's cage [No charge].
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 will he try keeping you happy to get a big tip? ("I don't know about this...", davesgirl).
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.
The books in the cabins are free, if you ask your room steward.
The pizza place also makes a very good Caesar salad to order, 24/7, as well as the calzone...it takes about 15 minutes
to cook them...but they are worth the wait.
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.
Ice tea is free in the dinning room.
Men - if you forget your razor...please do not use the ladies disposal one that is in the bathroom. Take this as a "Public
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.
Don't be afraid to ask for anything.
Bring ziploc bags, If you are going on an excursion the next day that does not include lunch...order sandwiches the night
before from room service and put them in the fridge overnight or else, in the morning before you get off the ship for
excursions, or just a for fun day at port, go to the deli, order sandwiches, this way they are fresh and you do not have to
worry about them being refrigerated and then being in the heat and going bad, put them in ziplock bags and off you go.
But if you are a little afraid of getting something confiscated, then go for the foods that are completely sealed and unopened
like the cereal. There are other things that are sealed that you can get on the ship. Or you can bring a few of your own
snacks as long as they are in a brand new package and unopened. The cookies they have on the buffets and at dinner
are not in a package. Bring ziplock bags . In the morning for breakfast they have those tiny little individual boxes of cereal.
There are Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, and lots of other name brand cereals. Grab a few for snacks. The authorities
will not confiscate anything that is in a sealed container. Another idea for packing your lunch that morning is to go to the
breakfast buffet. They always have bread available for toast. They also usually have turkey and ham available for those
that want to make bagel sandwiches, etc....Voila - you have lunch! Room service is usually slow on the mornings in port
so this is quicker.
re: taking food off the ship. Some people have mentioned that they have seen a lot of food dumped in garbage cans as
they debark in port. It is forbidden to remove food off ship & it may be confiscated. Just a heads up.
Bring a travel clock since there are no clocks in the room, as well as a power strip.
Another thing, do not forget tea times. Usually these are 2 or 3 days per sailing, and chance to sit and listen to some music
and taste MORE free food and lovely teas.. a great pick me up in the afternoons you may not have time for naps.
Also about the Pizza.............If there is a special kind you like (different toppings than they show in the display case), if they
can get them, they will custom make you a pizza the way you want it, it takes about 8 minutes, but you do have to take the
As to the Grill .........usually there are two grill area open on deck (1 near each pool area) and one serves only Hot Dogs and
Hamburgers.........the other does the Hot Dogs and Hamburgers as well as Grilled Chicken Breast Sandwiches and Minute
And don't forget ......don't ever forget! about the 24 hour Soft Serve Ice Cream (Chocolate, Vanilla and Swirled) and the
Frozen Yogurt (also Chocolate, Vanilla and Swirled). And check your Capers for the Sea Days that they have the Sundae
Usually the first few days at the pool, if you order a drink and you don't specify a size, they will automatically give you a
drink in a large souvenir cup and charge you accordingly. Tell them you don't want it in any fancy souvenir cup
(unless you do!), just a regular drink in a regular paper cup.
Another tip......The Purser's Office will carry stamps of the different countries that you are going to. Better yet, buy your stamps ahead of
time so you don't have to find a post office in each port. Makes it much easier to send the postcards home from the
If you have a fridge, freeze damp washcloths the night before going ashore. Pack the frozen washcloths on ice in a zip lock
bag and use them to cool off with while walking around. Also if you have a balcony room, bring bungee cords to hold open
the balcony door at night. You will be able to hear the ocean and get a nice breeze. Have your camera on hand to take
pictures at the same time as the photographer.
Bring 2 six packs of bottled water, the cost of a bottle of water on board is so overpriced. You can always refill empties with
the tap water from the ship if the taste it isn't too bad and refrigerate them or keep them in a cooler.
If you want orange juice any time remember the exact place you got it during breakfast time. All they do is take off the label
"Orange Juice" making you think there is no OJ.
How about a FREE FACIAL? After getting settled in your cabin, go up to the salon - spa area and let someone at the desk
know you are willing to be a volunteer for whatever during the spa tour later that day... it's kinda fun to be the model and
listen to all the questions people ask!
Also, check out the INTERNET CAFE for a drawing for free internet minutes (day one only)... check the CAPERS waiting in
If you need aspirin, seasick pills, or a variety of general medications, check the "0" deck where the waiting room is for the
doctor. There were free samples for the taking in individual packets... also a weigh scale in case you need to weigh a
suitcase (or yourself!).
Do you know how you don't get much room in the bathrooms to put all your toiletries? Get one of those plastic shoe holders
you hang in back of the doors and all you do is fill them with all your little things that clutter up the bathroom! Walmart or
KMart for $5.00 or less. Dollar store sometimes.
Check out your dining room seating as soon as you get there and find your table so when you come to eat in the evening
you will know your way around and not walking in circles looking........
Order your coffee and danish the night before so when you wake up, you won't have to wait for that first cup of coffee.
Make sure you check your daily charges so if there's a dispute, you can deal with it right away. Sometimes we forget from
If you have professional pictures that you'd like to buy from Carnival, only buy the 8x10 for $19.99 (you can't buy a 5x7 for
$5 or $6 without buying the 8x10 first). Carnival will provide you, or will send to you, if you ask, a release, so you can have
the photo copied after you get home. No problem!
Bring a thermos style hot/cold mug with a lid and fill with coffee, ice tea, lemonade or self made ice coffee from the lido deck
dispensers and ice machines. Works great for coffee in the morning or a cold beverage while lounging at the pool.
Room service is free and you can order as many sandwiches, cookies, etc as you like!
If you're a big hot tub fan, and choose to go early the first day, be warned that they 'shock the tubs' from the previous weeks
and jack up the chemical levels (this is why the tubs are on but closed the last night of your cruise).
You'll have bleached bathing suits after enjoying a hot tub right after the the process of getting on the ship...
All Spas have hottubs. Most people don't know this, at least early in the cruise and its a great place to go relax.
Sure, you are not outside and there is no service in the SPA, but they are usually pretty empty and you have great
views out the front of the ship...okay, here is another one concerning the SPA. There are steam rooms and saunas in the
SPA that people may not realize are free to use, they are separated so men and women can't go together,
but nothing like a good steam after a hard day of shopping....
Also, on some ships there are showers in the Spa, big deal you're thinking...these aren't the normal cabin showers,
they are like the 'rain' showers that you find in some higher end hotels, I believe the Destiny class actually have multiple
shower heads...regardless, it is a very refreshing shower...its a great place for a guy to go shower while the wife is
using the cabin bathroom for a formal night or something...check it out early in the cruise and be one of the 'people in the know'
Bring an extension cord or a 3 plug adaptor...there is never an elecrical outlet where you need it.
Bring a 12 ft extension cord. Then, it is always long enough to go from the plug into the bathroom. Most bathrooms
don't have outlets. Bring a night light plug in for the bathroom at night. Those rooms tend to be dark. Just that lil light keeps
you from bruising a shin. And, if it is the "smelly" kind, it makes the room smell nice. Also, the large lidded insulated cups
are great to keep things cold.
Love shrimp cocktail? Tell your waiter this and you might get it every night.
Remember most cell phones have alarm clocks built in you need not pack one if you are bringing your cell with you
To save on showering time,some of you go and shower in the spa. Really saves a lot of time and there always seems to
be showers available in the spa.
Hint; bring some small tools with you. Small screwdriver and needle nose pliers. Carnival has this swimming frog competition.
You can purchase the mechanical frogs in Cozumel. You can soup them up anyway you can and prepare them for battle the
next day in one of the pools.
Preventing Norwalk Virus: Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you and use it both Before and After you fill your plate at
the buffet, as well as when you touch the railing, basically every time you feel you need it. This way your hands are clean
right before you eat.
In Cozumel, not far from the ports, is a park called Chakanaab State Park (my husband loves this place). This is a wonderful place to spend the day . Snorkle equipment is $6.00 for the whole day and it only costs $10 to get in. Relax on lounge chairs while being served beer and snacks. No need to get up. They also have a nature trail where you can lots of Iguanas and a lagoon to see Tropical fish. There are replicas of Mayan ruins to see also.
Carlos & Charlie: NO, don't take kids there. You probably would not want them exposed to what goes on at Carlos and Charlies.