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tctwhite 05-15-2010 11:09 AM

Hi everyone! A newbie to here and cruising. We actually have our annual vacation already booked but are going to cancel it and book a cruise. We always go to Panama City Beach, Florida for our vacation but we are scared because of the oil spill. Since they haven't contained it yet, we want to have vacation plans that aren't going to be affected by the oil spill. My inlaws are coming over tonight to grill out and we are going to be making our reservations while they are here. We are planning on a Carribean cruise (Caymans and Cozumel) with Carnival in late August. Here is a question for seasoned cruisers, do the people on the phone at Carnival have the option of giving any discounts or upgrades? Ive always heard of people getting better deals when they call versus booking online. Since we are newbies, any and all advice is welcome! Ive done so much research online about cruises but I figure this place is better than any other website because all of yall have been there done that.....many times.

Another question, how much cash do yall take with you? We are planning on doing the sail and sign on board but Im talking about when we are off the boat. Thanks in advance and Im sure Ill only have about a million and a half other questions between now and when we sail.

Dave 05-15-2010 11:54 AM

Welcome to cruise-chat.

Actually, my normal advice to a newbie is to use an agent and don't try this at home. The price is supposed to be the same no matter if it is from an agent, on-line, or on the phone with a PVP (Carnival's phone people). Same goes for upgrades. Speaking of upgrades - don't get caught up in it too much. 99% of the time all it is is the exact same size and type of cabin, but on a higher deck. It isn't going to be a move from a standard cabin to a suite, especially during the peak summer cruise period - which is where August falls.

We usually bring $100 per cruise day, thus $700 for a 7-night cruise. We'll take $150 to $200 ashore but never use it all. Note this doesn't include cash outside the cruise itself. I'll have another $300 just-in-case money for airports, cabs, etc. We also take a credit card ashore - each of us with a different one.

It's good you are planning on doing the Sail & isn't an option! The only places cash can be used on the ship is in the casino or for any extra tips you give. Carnival defaults to a set tipping fee being automatically charged to your Sail & Sign account. It is currently $10 per person/per day. We usually give extra in the form of cash to our cabin attendant, dining room staff, room service, and favorite bar tenders and bar waiters.

lifeisgd 05-15-2010 01:11 PM

Hello tctwhite! I agree with Dave especially being your first time booking if you have a travel agent, use them. They have years of experience and consider things you won't know about or have thought about. Such things as being too close to an elevator, what's above your room or beneath it, all just a few things to be aware of to get the most out of your cruise. You normally don't pay extra for a TA, they get compensated directly from the cruise line. If you book a flight through them you probably will have to pay a fee. If you have been flying and booking your own flights and it works for you this far stick with it. That doesn't mean you can't call carnival yourself and talk to them and get pricing on some rooms.
It doesn't mean you have to book because you call. You can use this information to give to your TA. If you have a carnival book or go online, be looking at the deck plan and if you are given cabin numbers look them up so you know exactly what is around you. WE once got upgraded to the spa deck (top) and what we thought was going to be great wasn't, turned out when it rained our balcony got wet instead of being undercover and the mini golf was above us and we got to listen to golf balls when it was open. Still was a great cruise with minor issues but something we should have really looked closer at
Have a great cruise!

shaakoya 05-15-2010 09:08 PM

You can call the toll free # to cARNIVAL SPEAK WITH a planner who will guide you through the entire process. You can see your rooms on line with virtual tours and all. I called for all of my cruises and things were fine. Make the call it sounds like a family thing the more the merry. Enjoy.

tctwhite 05-16-2010 07:22 AM

Ive been doing nothing but reading on here and passing the info back to my husband. Hes most interested in the food. Mainly the sandwiches and pizza. Yesterday we talked to my inlaws more. My father in law is hesitant about a cruise. Never been on one and isn't sure about it. We've told him that its what he makes of it so I hope he will have fun. But at the point, the cruise is our only option for vacation because all other places are booked. Plus Ive been wanting to do a cruise for awhile now. The countdown is going to feel like forever because Im so excited!

Marty Clowers 05-16-2010 09:05 AM

If your father-in-law is internet savvy, have him poke around here online and ask questions...

I spent 3 1/2 years at sea for the NAVY, and I NEVER would have guessed that I'd EVER want to go to sea again. But I'm a cruise addict, best way to vacation as far as I'm concerned.

We'll be at a restaraunt here in town, and after a few minutes one of us will say something along the lines of; "If we were on a cruise, we'd have our orders taken/drinks/salad (whatever) by now"...

We'll be on cruise #10 (PLATINUM!!!) here in a few days, the clock ticking away the seconds is killing me.

Long Time Waiting 05-16-2010 10:39 AM


Cruise Fanatic 05-16-2010 10:44 AM

Technically the hurricane season is June 1-November 30th. I wouldn't dwell on August being during hurricane season. A ship can change itineraries and get out of the way of a hurricane. You are actually safer on the ship than in a hotel on land. Be sure to take out travel insurance which covers travel delay and travel interruptions.

Berick1234 05-16-2010 10:50 AM

CRUISE, CRUISE, CRUISE...nuff said:-)...

Have a smashing good time...

Bob E

shaakoya 05-16-2010 11:06 AM

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