Been cruising before years ago but we are going on Carnival as adults now. Not to sound like a lush but we do have 4 kids and are spend thrifty. What would you think is enough spending money for a cruise (Start to finish)?
Also what is the easiest way to get a bottle of vodka onto the ship? Do I put it into a plastic container and into the luggage? Or is purchasing it when on the islands easier. When you get back on the ship, do they check everything you've purchased?
Clothing: The last cruise I was on was Cunard Lines, very expensive and this one seems more my style. How much shoulf I pack and I'm assuming its shorts, shirts, a few dresses etc and a suit for hubby?
I do not think you sound like a lush. We all need to budget especially when we take the kids. How old are the kids? Carnival has one of the best children program in my opinion, plus they take children into the program as young as 2 years old. Camp Carnival has so many activities for the kids and they are grouped by ages from 2-14 years. They also have Club O2 for the 15-17 year olds.
As far as spending money the gratuities will be added to your onboard account, so figure $10.00/day/person traveling. So if you have 4 kids your gratuities will be $60.00/day X the length of the cruise, example: 6 people X $10.00 per day X 5 day cruise would be $300.00 for the week for the tips. Of course based on the service you receive you can have this adjusted either lowerd or raised, or you may pay extra tips for those who have gone beyond normal service. The gratuities do not include room service or the kids program for the counselors. When we order room service we usually give from $1.00 - $5.00 depending on what we ordered. These waiters who bring room service do not share in the tip pool, only your cabin steward, waiter and asst waiter.
If your children drink a lot of soft drinks you would probably want to look into purchasing the soft drink card. That usually runs approximately $5.75 per day per child, but Carnival does allow you to bring on a reasonable amount of soft drinks in cans or bottles when you embark the ship.
Carnivals policy is no alcohol is allowed to be brought on the ship, of course if you continue reading through these threads you will see how others have managed to get it on safely. While boarding the ship if they do find liquer they will confiscate it, sometimes they might give it back, other times they can dispose of it, depends on who you get at the port. When boarding back on the ship from the ports of call all your packages will be run through an X-ray type scanner, if they find liquer, they will confiscate it and give it back to you on the last day of the cruise.
Carnival has one formal night on the 3-5 day cruises and 2 on the 7 day cruises. You will find on the shorter cruises that people do not dress as formal as the longer cruises. The other nights casual is fine, slacks, sun dresses, polo shirts, gouchos, etc. No shorts or jeans are allowed in the dining room at night, you can wear them during the open seating at breakfast and lunch.
Hope this helps answer your questions, if you have anymore fire away.
Carol is correct, if the ship opens your luggage and sees a bottle of alcohol, they will confiscate it. Don't bring more then you are prepared to lose.
What has worked in the past for me is to thoroughly wash (alternating water and vinegar then water and baking soda a couple of times) a 1 liter bottle of Crest Pro Health Mouthwash. Pour the vodka into the empty clean bottle and add 2 drops of blue food coloring. Close the bottle tight and place in a large ziplock bag and put that in with your sundries.
Carol, you are suppose to take it easy on your B-Day Most excellent post as always.
I have an easier solution. Wrap it in bubble wrap and put in checked luggage. If I can get a case of beer through no one should have a problem with a bottle of vodka. I am speaking to drive to ports. If you are flying call the airline and ask them how to pack it to be checked, and is all legal with them.
I also want to welcome you to Cruise-Chat
You have come to the right place. I would print out Carol's post to you, it is really good advice.
we just got back from a ccl cruise and I did some thrifty things like: pack booze in my liquids suitcase in a mouthwash bottle, and 2 plastic sneaky flasks...then when i got to the airport i transferred the sneaky flasks to 2 of our other 3 suitcases and left the mouthwash with our other bathroom stuff...the info included in the tickets said to make sure your luggage is tagged and locked when you check it in, so we locked all our bags...now while cheap locks wont keep them from snooping it does make it less likely..all our stuff got on with no problem...also when we were in port I bought a pint bottle of rum and put it in my baggy shorts pocket, we ran our gear through the x ray machine and as long as you dont set off the metal detector they dont look at you twice. this worked in 2 ports...even if they had found it you could just play dumb (oh i forgot about that).....next came the drink card, it still preturbs me they have to charge you for soda so i bought one card and shared it with my wife we would hit a bar the pass off the card around the corner to the other, take our drinks back to the cabin and doctor them up..a pain in the butt saving us $12 everytime we did it. (the only place it doesnt work is the dining room) the bartenders never look at the back of the cards to check who they were issued to and i just signed my first initial which is the same as my wife's....also it is $5.50 a day for the drink card but when i looked at the bill they had hit me for the 15% tip charge on top of it, also all bar drinks get a 15% tip added to them but if you complain like i did to the pursers office that nowhere is it posted that the soda cards are subject to tax they will remove the charge...also i complained that with the 15% tax i was paying 68 cents to have a bartender open a beer and hand it to me...they removed those charges too...i left the tip on for mixed drinks and drinks that were brought to me by waiters...i also had the automatic $10 per person per day tip removed from my bill...i believe that prepaid tips promote slack service which was evident on our cruise...since we didnt eat much in the dining rooms we didnt tip them as much as recomended...we did leave an envelope for the room stewards as they gave us excellent service daily...in the big picture carnival will deduct all these charges to make you happy...better to lose a few extra bucks, than have you never come back.
you can also save by booking your tours online instead of through the ship or going the do it yourself route but make sure you do your research...if you put a little work into it you can usually save 25%- 50% off the ships prices for the same tour or destination.
and finally the best way to save money on a cruise is dont bother with the casino, go see a free show instead or pony up for a couple of drinks in a bar...our cruise cost me $610 a head with taxes and all for a balcony on a 7 day western carib trip, which would have been a great deal, except i blew $1500 in the casino before the trip was over...so much for bargains.
hope this is helpful because in my opinion it's much more of a "fun ship" when you arent paying $6-8 for every mixed drink you have
Wow, I don't have a response to all of that except for maybe to try a few paragraphs next time
I don't happen to agree with much of your post. But I do agree with your getting the tip removed from the drink card purchases. When yo buy the thing is says "tip included". Having a tip added is the bar stewards doing....
Just curious, when you removed the $10 a day tip from your bill, did you replace it with anything? I understand not thinking the resturant wait staff required a tip if yo udid not use the dinning room, but that $10 also included your room stewards, whom I sure made your bed.
Your advise on Cozumel's condition was helpful, but I'm afraid Idon't agree with som eof your practices in this post.
LMAO...ROTF! All the tricks we will do to smuggle alchohol onto ships. hate to say iy guys but they know all the tricks. Some just do not care though. Had no trouble except on Norwegein. The alchohol Nazi's actually opened our water bottle and mouthwash and smelled them...BUSTED both times!! On Carnival people bought rum in Jamaica and poured it into water bottles and had "No Problem Mon! I swear this was not me! You either get caught or you don't but no matter what you put it into they know!
After reading through the post again I see that you left envelopes for the Stewards as you said.
I also tip my Steward and Waiter and Assistant with cash. But I leave on the others, and have never adjusted bar related gratuities.
As someone that use to tend bar, I am trying to reason this. I suppose if you walked up to a bar on a cruise ship and asked for a bucket of beer, and was not sitting at the bar, and they threw it in a bucket and handed it to you..I guess that is getting pretty close to a retail transaction vs. a service one.
I personally have never adjusted the bar gratuities. I get to know them, and they slip me a free one, or give me some ice to take. But I see your reasoning to a degree. as long as you are not sitting at the bar..but.
When someone takes off all the Tips they hurt the People that served them in the Casual/Lido area and the Assistants like the Bus/Server at Dinner.
On the Casino end, I take a certain amount I am prepared to lose, and keep my "tips" seperate from it.
This is an example of how to write a long winded post with paragraphs
Glad you are here, and don't take any offense, we are all here to learn from each other
I have been cruising since before the cruise lines figured a new way to increase revenue....mandatory tipping. The first cruise I took after they began doing so I went to the purser's desk and advised them I would opt out and do my own tipping. Many cruises later I continue to do so. On my most recent cruise (Aug 12th 2006) I ate dinner each night in the steak house (optional $$) and tipped the server each night. I always end up tipping more $$$ than the guidlines but prefer to tip the actual persons providing me service.
I took a case of bottled water and 12 packs of Coke and checked them at the curb with the porters. They made it to my cabin just fine and I didn't have to pay for a coke card. I think $5/day for fountain coke is absurd. Prefer canned coke anyway.
Regal Princess 1996
Sun Princess 1998
Grand Princess 2000
Ocean Princess 2001
Golden Princess 2004
Caribbeean Princess 2004
Caribbean Princess 2006
We have a family of five and we spend close to $1000.00 on our sign and sail card but that is for drink cards, tips, some shore excursions and anything else we buy from the stores on the ship.
We have also brought liquor on board and have never put it in anything special. (The bottles they came in.) We put it in the checked in bags. I guess maybe weve been lucky!