10 Secrets to Cruising on Carnival

I love that my daughter has the travel bug from all our adventures. So it was a no-brainer that we would bypass the Sweet Sixteen soiree and go cruising instead! This was a wonderful alternative to the hustle and bustle of planning a large party and Carnival did all the heavy lifting for a great celebration.  However, I noted some tips and tricks to share to make cruising even sweeter.

1. The drink packages are worth it but make a plan for the first day

On my first cruise, I did not purchase the drink package. Big mistake! Talk about sticker shock when the bill arrived. So this time, I was prepared with the Cheers package for me and the hubby and Bottomless Bubbles for the kiddos. Unlike Royal Caribbean’s drink packages, the only limitation was the number of drinks per day.

However, neither of the beverage packages are active until 6am the second day. If you are like me, you want a drink in hand at sail away but don’t want to spend all your spending money the first day!

Each adult is allowed to bring a bottle of wine or a 12 pack of soda. Use this option for the first day at least, to save cost.

2. Internet Package is not worth it but the HUB app is great

My favorite part of a cruise is truly disconnecting. By habit, I find myself checking work emails or scrolling through social media when on vacation. However, I am a firm believer that sometimes we all need to unplug.

My well-intentioned husband did not realize I was looking forward to the lack of those little bars and surprised me with the internet package. Thankfully, the speed of it discouraged all temptation. We were unable to really utilize it and agreed it was not worth the cost.

However, the app ”Carnival Hub” is great! No need to carry around the daily planner since it is all available in the app. A small fee of $5 (per person) allows you to chat with those in your party. It is definitely worth the download.

3. Visit the spa on the first day for steep discounts

A quick trip by the spa on the first day could result in rewards such as deep discounts and free services from the drawing. However, you must be present to win!

If you find yourself like me, bunking with two teenage girls but a dinner time to make, don’t forget the spa has showers available! The spa also has hair appointments available for that updo to make your look extra special.

4. Take the pictures

The backdrops change every night, ranging from beach scenes to chandeliers. There is no obligation to buy them and hamming it up can be fun. Plus, you have no idea what memories you will capture.

Don’t procrastinate until the return day to make your purchases. Unfortunately, only the pictures on display will be available at that point.

5. Let the kiddos have their own fun

The youth clubs for ages up to 17 are fantastic opportunities for your kiddos to make new friends and enjoy events tailored to them. The sign-up can be done prior to boarding to save time.

6. Make your room your own style of festive

Many people do not realize the rooms are magnetic. While an available package is to have your room decorated, you can personalize your decorations with a $5 purchase of magnets.

7. Use all your breakfast options

When everyone rushes to the buffet for breakfast, check out the dining room option. The menu is varied and the waitstaff are just as attentive as they are at dinner. Using this option definitely makes for a more relaxing start to your day.

8. Check Out the Cooking Demonstrations

With hubby having a fair complexion, we explored all of the indoor options along with the pool. We decided to check out the cooking demonstration and it turned out to be one of our favorite events. In addition to the demonstration and delicious samples, you also are provided the recipes for each. We can not wait to try the Mushroom Cappuccino recipe!

9. Enjoy one of the restaurants, especially if celebrating

Initially, I was hesitant to go to a restaurant and pay for dinner when there was great food already included. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the steakhouse was not as expensive as I expected.

At $38 a person, we had a great dining experience that felt more personalized. For dessert, the chef came out to the table and created this amazingly delicious treat in front of us. It was the perfect topping for the birthday girl.

10. Express debark

Many people panic about checking their bags the night before debarking. But if you are not opposed to carrying your own luggage off the ship, enjoy your last night and use the express debark option. But please note that if you may not be able to navigate stairs with your luggage, this may not be the best option.

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