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Old 08-10-2010, 04:35 PM
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Dave Dave is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Alabama
Posts: 18,001
Welcome to cruise-chat

How long does it take to get on the ship the first time? My husband is disabled and not able to stand for long periods of time.
It depends on the time you show up at the pier, and also the port. Some are better at moving people than others. If your husband is not able to stand for a period I suggest your agent contact Carnival's Special Needs department. Generally speaking, if you show up at the pier anytime from noon onward, you will be aboard the ship fairly quickly. 30 to 45 minutes at most. Show up early and you may have to wait until they start boarding. Cabins are not available until after 1:30pm but you can board and have lunch at the buffet, visit the open bars, etc.

How do I gamble in the casino? Do I use my key card or do I need to take cash.
I am not a gambler but you can use your cruise card as well as cash. We have some big time gamblers on staff, some of them even win, such as "Diamond" Jim C. I'm sure they'll fill you in on Carnival's casinos.

Can I add all my tips on my bill at the end of the trip and will they be distributed to the right people, or do I have to hunt them down?
Carnival automatically charges $10 per person/per day for service staff tips to your onboard account. These tips are for your dining room staff, your cabin attendant, and for other service staff such as those in the buffet. It does not include any tips for room service personnel, or if you feel he/she deserves it your dining room maitre'd. They will provide information about the maitre'd tips during your cruise. Room service is tipped in cash when they make a delivery. $2 to $3 is usual. Bar staff makes their money from a 15% tip added to each drink you order. Actually, even if you use the sodas or bottled water in your cabin they will add 15% tip to it.

Thus, if you are fine with everything you don't need to tip any extra to those covered by the automatic options. No need to track people down.

I assume the pools are saltwater, but what about the showers, are they fresh water?
The showers at the pools are fresh water. And of course, all the water in the cabin is fresh water.

What drinks are included and what are fee based? I understand that alcohol is extra but what about sodas?
Coffee, tea, milk, tap water, fruit juices, are included and available at meal times in both the dining room and the buffet. They'll also have coffee, tea, tap water, available at the drink stations in the buffet all the time.

Soft drinks and bottled water are bar items and will cost you - even in the dining room. So will fruit juice if you ask for it at a bar. You can buy a soda package on embarkation day which gives you unlimited soda-by-the-glass for the cruise. It cannot be shared and it is not a full can of soda. It is a bar glass of soda, although it is poured from a can. Unless you drink a lot of soda, it isn't really worth it in my view.