If you are planning a cruise, be prepared with these Carnival cruise tips for first timers. 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 can be different so take a look at these 15 tips for going on a carnival cruise.

Check out these carnival cruise tips for first timers before you set sail on your first cruise. Here are 15 Carnival cruise tips you need to know!

15 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.

Let’s get started with these carnival cruise tips and tricks!

Check out these carnival cruise tips for first timers before you set sail on your first cruise. Here are 15 Carnival cruise tips you need to know!

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. This is a much better way to end vacation by having a nice meal in one of the dining rooms.

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.

Carnival recently changed their room service menu to only include the free menu from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. If you order after 10:00 pm, there is a small charge.

In addition, there are some items that require a small charge to order regardless of the time.

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 creamer 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. This tip alone will save you a ton of money because drink packages are not 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!

Check out these carnival cruise tips for first timers before you set sail on your first cruise. Here are 15 Carnival cruise tips you need to know!

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!

You can definitely splurge on the cruise without any guilt! Well, except for the calories. 🙂

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.  So fun!

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. This is true especially if it is your first cruise because you don’t know what to expect or how you might feel.

Better safe than sorry! I always feel better over packing than not having what I need once there.

Nausea medicine is high on my first time cruise packing list.

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 once you board the ships.

This is especially helpful if you are traveling with children. It is a great way to keep them entertained and the pools aren’t as crowded.

Most people wait until they have access to their rooms so this is a great time to enjoy the pools without a lot of other people.

Now you know our favorite carnival cruise tips!

You will have a blast! Once you go on a cruise, you will be hooked and ready to plan another!

It is such a fun way to travel and see the world. A cruise vacation is so care free and a great way to relax.

Don’t forget your birth certificate or passport depending on where you are going.

First time cruise questions:

Is tipping mandatory on Carnival cruises?

Tips are extra and typically $12.95 per person per day. You can prepay these before you even leave on the trip.

Otherwise, they will be added to your bill at sea on your credit card on your account. You can certainly ask to have them removed at guest services once on board but the crew works very hard and these tips are a very large percentage of their wage.

How much money should I bring on a Carnival Cruise?

This varies greatly based on you and your family. If you tend to like to just hang out at the pool and beach at ports of call, you really don’t need much money.

Food and entertainment is included so there isn’t much needed. However, if you are one that likes to gamble in the casino, participate in shore excursions or do a lot of shopping, you will need more money on port days.

Those are all things to take into account when budgeting your spending money you plan to bring.

What drinks are free on a Carnival Cruise?

Water, iced tea, lemonade, coffee and hot tea.

Best cruise for first timers?

If you are concerned how you might like a cruise or if there is worry over getting sea sick, a short cruise is best for first timers.

Whats included in Carnival Cruise?

Your room, food with the exception of specialty restaurants, shows, 24 hour soft serve ice cream and more. You can read all that the cruise includes here and what cruise fair does not include.

So much is included and it is a great way to get the most bang for your money. You don’t have to worry about the normal things and just sit back and relax.

For many, this alone makes it such a great vacation. As long as you stick the included restaurants, you can enjoy without worrying about what things cost.

That sounds like a vacation to me especially for those on tight budgets that are used to really watching prices. It is so nice to just sit back and enjoy.

Share this carnival cruise advice with others!

Cruising is such a fun way to travel and vacation.

You are going to have a blast now that you know these carnival cruise tips for first timers.

Start planning your trip today.

Do you have any tips for going on a carnival cruise?

Please leave a comment if you do!

Check out these carnival cruise tips for first timers before you set sail on your first cruise. Here are 15 Carnival cruise tips you need to know!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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  1. A lady from carnival said the individual creamers aren’t allowed because they are plastic. I think I may still try to bring them. Is there a limit to the amount I can bring

  2. Thanks for these tips. I’ve cruised many times with Carnival but I didn’t realize we could eat in the main dining room on embarkation. Since we have an assigned time to leave do we just show up before our scheduled time to eat with our luggage?