I have a couple of questions I was hoping some of you experts might be able to help me with.
1. My husband and I dress up for work frequently and were hoping not to have to participate in the formal nights. Will we still be able to eat the same entres? I was really hoping for lobster and I understand that this is offered on the formal night. But hauling around formal clothing for a lobster just isn't worth it.
2. What about money while in Mexico. Is it best to hit the ATM's while in the ports, just use U.S money, or exchange beforehand, or travelers checks?
3. Any suggestions on port excursions - take Carnival excursions, find something while when we dock, or find a third party via the internet (Shorexcursions.com, etc.)? Plus any suggestions on what to do in Acuplco, Ixtapa, and Manzanillo would be helpful.
4. Should we get passports or just take birth certificates and drivers licenses?
Thanks for all of your advice in advance. I'm sure I will think of plenty more as the time approaches.
I can only speak of our recent experience on Carnival Glory in November and our only experience of dinner in the Lido Buffet was not a formal night. The choice for dinner in the dining rooms was extensive and delicious. Because the ship was late into St Thomas our excursion to St John came back too late for us to go to our normal early dining dinner table so we went to the buffet. We were amazed to see how little choice there was compared to the dinner menus we had been enjoying in the dining room. The only starters were salad or soup. There were only two entrees pork or fish. The desserts were the same as lunchtime. We commented at the time that anyone dining in the buffet throughout the cruise might go home thinking that cruise food didn't match up to the brochure and that would be true because based on that one experience it doesn't, it is second rate by comparison. If all Carnival ships are like this then I suggest you make the effort and pack the suit etc. because the main dining room menus are worth it and the lobster was the biggest I have ever had. By the way I wrote up a review for our cruise which may by now be up on CruiseReviews.com
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1. You need not wear formal on dining room nites just dressy casual, the only reason they have the formal nites is mainly for photo ops, as the photo shoots are extensive on the formal captains dinner nites, we wore both suits and formal and we did dressy casual it was a mixed bag as some of our people did not own suits or jackets, they were just fine in nice pants and shirt and summer dresses or capri sets not to worry, bring something that you feel is dressy casual and you will be fine they also rent jackets on board if you feel the need for formal photos. 2. I would personally take my pass port with me even tho you may not need it one never know, now when you go out of the country but we have several people in my group that used only drivers license and birth doc. starting some time next year pass ports will be mandentory on western cruises and all others. you did not state that you had them already or not so if you do I would take them if not not to worry as the current doc will do for now if your cruise is further into the future 5 mo. or more I would go ahead and order them so you will have them. 3. The cruise ships have atms on them, they are on satelite system, there were a few times I could not get anything out because of position of ship, but they are on board so if I needed extra money they are available, the pursers will cash travelers checks, and Mexico loves American Money, so you can spend it there you do not need to exchange...... happy crun'z Fran
For formal nights I pack a dark sport jacket with a couple of pairs of slacks and a few ties. My wife has a simple black dress that packs easily without wrinkling.
On some ships, you can get the full dining room menu—including lobster—delivered to your cabin from room service. I am not sure if Carnival offers this.
Since this is your first cruise, I would recommend you go with Carnival’s shore excursions. Sure you can save money by doing them on your own, but by using Carnival’s shore excursions you avoid the hassles and you do not have to worry about returning on time.
We also prefer to avoid the formal nights for the same reasons as yourselves spokesurf.
We have found the food quality is normally less than the dining room, but you do have lots of choices and it's a great way to try different things. You can also benefit from eating whenever you wish, instead of a pre-defined meal time.
And while some people do blindly ignore the dress rules, that does offend some other diners who went out of their way to wear more formal apparel.
RCI Sovereign of the Seas 2005
Caribbean Princess 2005
Carnival Paradise 2004