Going on a cruise can be a wonderful vacation. What’s not to love? It’s typically all inclusive so nothing to worry about except which chair to lounge on! But cruising is different so it’s best to be prepared with these Carnival cruise tips for first timers. Knowing the ins and outs of Carnival cruises can really help make your first cruise an even better experience.
15 Carnival Cruise Tips for First Timers
1. Always take the Porter at Debarkation.
Seriously! If you don’t listen to any other suggestion, this is the one to do. The line to get through customs is LONG and often wrapped around twice. You will be offered a porter and you always want to accept. Allowing the porter to take your luggage gets you a free pass to go! They load up the luggage and you skip the line and go straight to the front of customs. It will save you an hour or more depending on how long the line is. After customs, the porter will carry your luggage to the car. The service is free but you do want to tip the porter. It’s certainly worth it considering how much time you saved.
2. Get Breakfast in the Main Dining Room the day of Debarkation.
Everyone will flock to the buffet to grab breakfast before getting of the ship. It will be beyond crowded and hectic! Skip the lines and walk straight into the Main Dining Room for a delicious sit down breakfast. Most people don’t even know this is open for breakfast on debarkation day. Have a leisurely breakfast while you wait for your zone to be called to get off the ship.
3. Room Service is Free and really good!
It’s so nice to wake up to coffee, fresh fruit and flaky croissants. While there are a few items on the room service menu that do cost extra, the bulk of the menu is free. Order the night before and you will wake up to everything delivered! Prefer lunch or dinner? They have tasty sandwiches you can order. Just want dessert? The cheesecake from room service is yummy but the kids might want the cookies for a bedtime snack! Just keep in mind that while it is free, it’s courteous to give a small tip when they deliver it.
4. Bring your own Coffee Creamer
Are you a coffee snob? The cruise line does not have flavored creamer in the main dining room or the buffet, only half and half. Pack your own so that you won’t be disappointed. The little individual creamers are perfect to pack.
5. Pack a night light
The cabins are pretty dark at night. Some people find it helpful to pack a small night light to use to make late night trips to the bathroom easier.
6. Bring Canned Drinks
Water, tea and lemonade (and juice at breakfast) are the beverage choices. If you want soda, you have to purchase a drink package that is extra and pricey. Carnival allows you to bring 12 can drinks per person with you. They have to be in cans so no bottles. Carry them on and keep then in your room to get your soda fix on the cheap.
7. Take a Travel Mug or Insulated Tumbler
The cups at the buffet are small and don’t really keep drinks cool by the pool. Pack a yeti style tumbler and use it to fill up on lemonade or tea at the beverage stand. You won’t have to come back so often for refills and it will stay cool out in the hot sun by the pool!
8. Order what you want
Do you want 2 appetizers or maybe an extra side with your meal? Well order it because it’s all included! Can’t choose between cheesecake and warm chocolate melting cake? Order both!
9. Enjoy the Entertainment
There is so much to do on the cruise ship. Enjoy the shows. Go dancing. Head to a comedy club. It’s all part of the package!
10. Prepay Gratuities
Tips are extra and typically $12.95 per person per day. You can prepay these before you even leave on the trip. It’s nice to get it out of the way so I recommend doing so.
11. Let Carnival know if you are celebrating something special
When you make your reservations, there is a spot to put if you are celebrating something. Whether it is a birthday or anniversary, make sure to make note of it. While there are no guarantees, they have been known to go out of their way to make things extra special. We celebrated an anniversary and our room steward gave us spa and photo gift cards. One night at dinner, we were surprised with a small heart shaped anniversary cake- all free and totally unexpected. So, it’s worth a shot to make note of what you are celebrating. They may just surprise you with something special too.
12. Don’t pack beach towels
Save your precious luggage space for other things. Your room is equipped with pool towels and you can get more by the pool. Much easier and you don’t have to do the extra laundry.
13. Pack Nausea medicine just in case
If you’ve never been on a cruise, it’s hard to know how you will react. Pack Dramamine, sea bands or whatever you prefer because everything is more expensive on the ship. It’s better to have it just in case.
14. Use an Over the Door Shoe Rack for Storage
If you are bringing the entire family, it might be helpful to use one of the shoe racks you can hang on the door for storage. There is very little room around the bathroom sink to put things and even less storage around the bathroom. Use the shoe rack to help keep clutter at bay and to find things easier. Each compartment can be used for toiletries, curling iron and all sorts of things you won’t have room to leave out by the sink.
15. Put your Bathing Suit in your carry on luggage
You often can get on the ship earlier than you can get in your room. Spend the time lounging by the pool and starting off the vacation! No need to wait until your room is ready if you have your bathing suit with you!
You are all set with these Carnival Cruise Tips for First Timers!
Cruising is such a fun way to vacation. These tips will make your trip even better. Let us know if you have any tips to share.
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