My husband and I are planning our first cruise. We are pretty sure that we would like to use Carnival because of their prices and departure ports. We are considering the Bahamas or Western Caribbean but we are not picky about where we go. We are also not picky about the dates; we just want the cheapest price. We are leaning toward the Holiday because it leaves from Mobile (W. Caribbean), which is closest to where we live. I know it’s an older, smaller ship but we are laid back and will have a great time no matter the ship or destinations. Has anyone cruised on the Holiday recently? I know it was chartered for hurricane relief efforts but I believe it is sailing now. We are considering a late Sept to early Oct. cruise. I know that is hurricane season. What are the chances that the whole cruise will be cancelled due to a hurricane? We are also considering early December or January. How is the weather then? I assume it will be cold for the first and last days of the cruise but what about the middle? Is there anything else we should be considering when choosing a date? Oh back to hurricane season, should be book our shore excursions through Carnival just in case our itinerary changes due to bad weather.
I have also noticed that Carnival seems to have special deals on a lot of Wednesdays (things like upgrades and onboard credits). Why is that? Should I expect for more deals to be offered in the next few weeks? What if we’re not interested in a cabin upgrade? Will Carnival let us exchange the upgrade for onboard credit? When can we get the best price on a cruise? Do prices get cheaper or more expensive as the departure date gets closer?
One last question, is there a benefit to booking directly with Carnival rather than using a site like Expedia?
If you call Carnival direct, they will assign you a Personal Vacation Planner (PVP). That's what I did, and they gave me the best possible rate, including any discounts that were available. Ask for discounts, such as 55+. military, etc. I would recommend my PVP. Call 1-800-819-3902 and ask for Dave Pearlman at ext. 85320. He can help you. Or, many people suggest a travel agent that specializes in cruises. It all depends on whether or not you want to do your own planning like I do. Just look online at Carnival.com or any other cruise line and see what they have to offer as far as dates and ports. You can decide what deck level you might want and see what the prices are for those dates. Good luck!
Haven't sailed on the Holiday in a long time, but had fun when we did. Our PVP is Mark Reimer, if you have an email address, they will send you flyers about specials. Our personal preference for a cruise line is Princess. Carnival owns them, but thankfully, left them to operate the way they have been for years. Not that we don't enjoy Carnival, we just prefer Princess. I always book direct and have found the prices to be fair. Last year we booked our October cruise on board and received $100/pp shipboard credit, plus a great price. We've always cruised October through December, once in April. We found the water a little nippy in December, but I'm a weenie--it was 80 something degrees. Last year we cruised the first 2 weeks in November, there were 2 hurricanes brewing, but we did not have to change our itinerary--just wore raincoats. It's hard to predict mother nature, but so far we've only had to change itineraries twice out of 16 cruises. It didn't matter to us, we weren't working. We've never hit temperatures below 75 and until last year never encountered much more than a brief shower of rain. Hope this helps.
Carnival Cruise Lines does not own Princess. Carnival Corporation owns Princess. Carnival Corporation also owns Seabourn, Cunard, Costa, HAL-Windstar, in addition to Carnival Cruise Line, and Princess. There is a difference between Carnival Cruise Lines, and Carnival Corp. So no fear of Carnival Cruise Lines affecting Princess.
elizablake- Your first cruise should not be based by price alone. You really should go talk to a good travel agent. They will qualify you based on your age, likes and dislikes etc. and match you to the right cruise line and ship. This is something that calling a cruise line direct or Expedia will not do.
WE WENT TWO YEARS AGO IN DECEMBER THE WEATHER WAS GREAT WE WENT TO THE BAHAMAS, WE BOOKED ALL OUR SHORE EXCURSIONS THROUGH CARNIVAL DID'T WANT THE BOAT TO LEAVE WITHOUT US EVERYTHING WENT GREAT WE ARE GOING THIS OCT ON THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN SHOULD BE GREAT ALSO.