Our family and my father's family decided to book our very first cruise. Now comes the worst part... the waiting!
Our family consists of myself, DH and our 8 year old DD. My father's family includes himself, his DW and their DS & DD (both 9)
Leaving out of Virginia and driving up to Baltimore, our departure date on the Carnival Pride is slated for Easter Sunday 2010. With two different school systems, it was the only time our kids both had a holiday (Spring Break) together.
Both of our families decided on the standard balcony staterooms in the 8B category on the 4th deck.
Our itinerary is: 2 days at sea, 1 day at Port Canaveral (which sounds boring - I just did Disney last summer and I'm still OD'ed on it), 1 day at Nassau Bahamas, 1 HALF day in Freeport Bahamas, and then 1 day back at sea heading back to Baltimore. All in all, it's a 7 day trip, but admittedly we're beside ourselves with excitement.
So then, why am I pestering you guys? Well, I've found that our Carnival "Vacation Planner" (excuse the expression) has jumped ship since we completed our bookings call - and I've got questions!
So an immediate thanks for anyone still reading this, and even more appreciation for anyone with suggestions or opinions!
1) I'm trying not to be the "overly worried mother", but am I the only one who had hesitations about leaving their child with the Camp Carnival folks? Obviously they're fantastic - I haven't heard otherwise, but how does it work if there is a problem on either side - ours or theirs? I heard something about walkie talkies??
2) On the heels of the camp Carnival question, does anyone know how strict they are with the age groups? I realize from all of the reviews that the kids are going to most likely have a blast, but I want our kids together. Remember, our DD is 8, and the other two will be 9. How stringent are the Carnival camp folks? Am I going to have to get special permission ahead of time to put the 9 year olds in the 8 year old's group or vice versa? To be honest, the 9 year olds would most likely have more fun doing the activities described in the 8 year old's group.
3) Internet. I realize I'm supposed to unplug and enjoy my vacation sans technology, but all of my pictures are taken via a digital camera. I tend to offload the memory cards onto a storage website for photos. For the Pride, what are my internet wired/wireless connection options? Does anyone know what the pricing is?
4) We're Verizon Wireless customers - anyone know what the signal for VW customers is? I feel like a complete idiot asking about all of this, but please just humor me.
I have wireless internet access and was wondering if I can save some money by connecting via my cell's wireless internet access.
5) The Final Bill. ((The dirge plays in the background)) On average, how much do the drinks with spirits cost? I've heard between $7 and $10 each - does that sound about right? How experienced are the bartenders? Am I going to have to order well known drinks like an Amaretto Sour or can I go on a limb and ask for a Blue Motorcycle or Undercurrent and the bartender know what I'm talking about? Or maybe the best question is - do they have a spirits drink menu? Also, we're planning on paying our gratituties ahead of time. Is there anything else we should know about ahead of time that we'll want to save for?
6) Ladies - What do you do with your room/Sail & Sign cards? It's too bad they don't do what one of the resorts near me does... wrist bracelets that act as the room key and debit card. Convenient.
7) This whole formal dress bit. I understand there are two formal nights, but on the other nights in the dining room (not buffet areas) are the kids expected to dress up from their shorts and t-shirts? Dresses for the girls, and khaki's for the boys? While I'm asking, is it the same for the guys?
8) Does anyone know where online I could find a menu from this year? The Vacation Planner said it was on their website, but I didn't have any luck finding it. There's a lot to sift through on their site.
How many of you are ready to throw me overboard? Sorry for the 101 questions. I'm certain I'm not the only one with questions, but I imagine I've overwhelmed a lot of you. Meanwhile I'll continue to scour the forum for more Q&As and FAQs.
Thanks to those who made it this far and respond!