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Old 02-22-2008, 04:04 PM
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Hi guys. I've got myself in a really bad situation and would appreciate any help you all can offer. I'm supposed to go on a seven day Carnival Cruise next week. This is something that was arranged quite awhile ago and my entire dad's side of the family, whom I've been more or less estranged from for quite some time is going. When I was originally asked to go I said I would as long as I could smoke and I could bring an acoustic guitar (I'm a professional musician). I was told by my dad who's been on Carnival Cruises before that of course I would be able to bring a guitar and so I gave him the green light to set everything up. Fast forward to the last few weeks and slowly but surely I've been learning more about this cruise from him and from my own research on the internet. Having never been on a cruise ship before I had no idea about formal nights, set dinner times, assigned seating etc. etc. Beyond that, it seems most of the various onboard activities are geared towards middle aged couples which makes sense as I realize that's probably the main demographic for the cruises. To be quite honest, I'm not really interested in a lot of that stuff but I was looking forward to the island excursions and just sittin' around strumming my guitar during downtime. Well, long story short, I found out just last night whilst looking over the Carnival website that they have a ban on all musical instruments except those brought aboard by the performers! I had never heard of such a thing, nor had anyone in my family. It certainly wasn't listed in any of the literature that we initially signed on for and had it been I would have never gave my dad consent to buy me a ticket (the only place it appears is buried in the FAQ section of their website). After doing some more web browsing last night I read stories from people who've brought guitars aboard Carnival cruise ships without any problems, so now I'm not sure what to think. When I spoke to the rather patronizing Carnival representative on the phone today she claimed that those people must have been "performers" for the ship (they were not). She also informed me I couldn't even bring aboard a small ukulele as that's against "policy". She said if the policy is no musical instruments then that means no musical instruments. I was also informed that since my cruise is only a week away that if I choose not to go they will retain 100% of the price of my ticket!! Now, I really don't know what to do. I really, really do not want to go on this cruise. I didn't really wanna go in the first place but I was going to go for my dad and for my family, keepin' in mind that I've been estranged from everybody for so long. Really it's just the icing on the cake but the bottom line is I don't want to go away to sea for seven days if I can't bring an instrument of some sort with me. Of course, if I don't go it'll 'cause a rift in my family and we'll be out a good chunk of coin. Either way, it seems I'm kinda screwed.

I'm sorry for the length of this post but has anybody here ever tried to bring an acoustic guitar aboard a Carnival Cruise ship recently? If so, how much resistance were you met with if any? Do you think they would at least let my little ukulele slide if I plead ignorance? I really can't see how that would possibly disturb anybody. My other question is if I do choose not go which I'm heavily leaning towards, is there anyway for me to get my money back, or at least some of it? What are my options here, if any? I just really feel like I'm in a rock and a hard place and I wish there was some way I could get out of this "vacation". Any input or advice would be much appreciated. Thank you.....
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Old 02-22-2008, 04:28 PM
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Buy an inexpensive guitar in the first port you visit as a souvenir. It will be cheaper than losing the whole price of the cruise if you don't go. If you are willing to try to take a ukulele it can't really be THAT important to you. You sound like you're just looking for an excuse not to go.
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Old 02-22-2008, 04:30 PM
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Quite a post. I've never heard of a ban on instruments either but can see the reason behind it as the noise factor could be an issue for those in adjoining cabins if someone was not courteous about the times they played. Since it's not a well known or visible policy the folks checking you onboard may be unaware of it either, that would explain the folks you read of who brought thier instruments and had no issues. It may be a selectively enforced policy that gives them the right to take it from you onboard (and return it at the end of your cruise) if you cause any problems for others. But, who knows, they may have someone at the pier familliar and you may have an issue. No way to know for sure.

I don't think I'd miss the cruise over it. There will be many passengers onboard a Carnival ship your age. There will be musicians onboard with the various entertainment venues. I wouldn't be surprised if some would invite you to briefly participate in the lounges with their instruments. Some of the entertainment can be pretty relaxed and they often enteract with the audience.

The biggest factor is the fact that you have been estranged and your Dad has reached out to you to join. If you don't go, you have no one to blame in the future for the estrangment but yourself after this offering of an olive branch on his part to include you. I'd go, with or without your instruments and have a great time. I'm even willing to bet you'll enjoy it far more than your expectations which appear to be pretty low.

Cheers, Neil
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Old 02-22-2008, 04:34 PM
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Was posting while Rick answered, I like his idea too. A win, win. You get a new guitar and they can't really do much about something you buy as a souvenier. I see folks all the time buying souvenier steel drums.

Cheers, Neil
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Old 02-22-2008, 07:32 PM
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As noted by others, the reason for the instrument ban is that not everyone aboard would appreciate hearing your guitar - or mine (or one of my ukuleles too). They can't hold auditions on the pier to see who knows how to play and who would be the equivalent of fingernails on the chalkboard. Thus the rule about instruments.

The idea of a souvenir guitar is clever, although I have to wonder if Carnival security would take issue with you if you were playing in a public area.

You can't put it down for a few days? Is that too much to ask?

Carnival does have some great musicians aboard, and often one finds a jazz group that will set up in a public area and jam, in addition to the lounge bands. I've heard some good blues guitar on Carnival ships too.
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Old 02-22-2008, 08:32 PM
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Quote:
Beyond that, it seems most of the various onboard activities are geared towards middle aged couples which makes sense as I realize that's probably the main demographic for the cruises.
Not always true, and particularly not true for Carnival. You had all the right reasons for agreeing to go in the first place. You're going to have a better time than you can picture.

Sandy
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:45 PM
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Hi midnightrambler, and Welcome to Cruise-Chat!

The reason for the ban is for the comfort of other guests as has been noted. Just like the rule about boom-boxes etc. having to be used in public areas with earphones.

There may be a way to bring it on board legally though. Say if you were going to try out for the Talent Show, or wanted to give a performance for your group. Since this is a multi cabin group..Have your Dad, or whoever has the booking numbers call Carnival's Group Department. Ask for Group Event Planning. They are the only ones that can give approval. The number is 1-800-327-5782. It is worth a shot.

Regardless, you should go on the cruise. The activities are for every age range. In fact there is so much to do, you won't be able to do everything you want to. You might even befriend some of the musicians. There is no shortage of fun on a Carnival cruise. And what a great way to become un-estranged from your Dad's family.

Dwayne
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Old 02-23-2008, 06:26 AM
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People bring instruments onboard all the time. (and no they are not performers)

It was more common on 7 day cruises when they had the Old Fashioned Talent Shows....because musicians would not allow guests to borrow their guitars for the show.

We have heard flutes, guitars, harmonicas etc.
played for the Guest Talent Show.

Now on the 7 day ships, they have The Legends Show (which eliminates the need for guests to bring their own instruments) HOWEVER on some 7 day cruises they also do a separate talent show at midnight...so just tell them you are bringing the guitar for that.

The cabin walls are very thin, so (since you smoke...this will work good as well)...do your playing in the piano bar during the day. No one uses it. It is a designated Smoking Area.

So both your smoke and your music will be harmless!!

In the Piano Bar during the day you can sing and play to your hearts content. You can also perform at karaoke. The guitar won't have a mic, but it will still be able to be heard well enough!!

Enjoy this time with your family.....
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Old 02-23-2008, 06:46 AM
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I sure haven't seen any passenger guitars, tubas, or oboes aboard lately.

The cruise-chat staff does not endorse violating cruise line rules, so we instead provide the official policy for the question at hand. Therefore, here is an excerpt from Carnival's rules about passenger restrictions:

"...For the comfort of all our guests, musical instruments can only be brought on board if the guest is performing and this performance has been pre-approved by the Group Department."
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Old 02-23-2008, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Beers:
I sure haven't seen any passenger guitars, tubas, or oboes aboard lately.

The cruise-chat staff does not endorse violating cruise line rules, so we instead provide the official policy for the question at hand. Therefore, here is an excerpt from Carnival's rules about passenger restrictions:

"...For the comfort of all our guests, musical instruments can only be brought on board if the guest is performing and this performance has been pre-approved by the Group Department."
Dave is absolutely correct. Always try to get approval first. There was a guitar on the Holiday in December (but they do have the old fashioned talent show) and there was an Indian Flute (which one of the ladies played as her talent).

I have also seen several students headed to Julliard bring their instruments (flute, violin etc) because they had to practice while on vacation. Some played in the Talent Shows...some did not.

Let us know how it goes!!
 
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