My cruise is coming up next week on 01/28/2013 for the Carnival Triumph, departing from Galveston, so I have several questions !
What is NOT included on the cruise ?
- I think I read some where in the forums that desserts and sodas were not included.
- How about spa activities, like yoga classes, or do you have to pay extra to use the gym, etc.
- Excursions ? I know you have to pay for activities, like exploring the Mayans and Swimming with Dolphins and such, but I also read how others paid extra just to go to their beaches ? Or can you go and explore the places without paying extra fees ?
See below for answers
- Is alcohol free when you are in the casino, like in Vegas ? (crosses fingers) lol (:
Sorry not unless you reach the required 1500 players points during the cruise gambling or have make VIP pre- arrangement based on previous gambling at one of their at sea casinos.
- I know that you can pay ahead of time for tipping, but if you don't choose that option do you tip right after your meal/activity or is everything charged at the very end of your cruise ?
See below for answers
Trying to Plan Ahead ?
- Is there anywhere that I can look where I can see show timing, pricing for things, menus, and things like that ?
Try here at John H's blog for scans of past FunTimes activities newsletters just keep clicking dates till you find your ship and itinerary. Here for the menus, be warned not all cruises start with day 1 menus and some will mix the order up.
- Best non-drowsy sea sick medication ?
Never had have no clue.
I know it's a lot of questions but it's my first time going on a cruise independently (without the parents to take care of everything) and we booked it last minute , so I'm sort of nervous and want to try to plan everything ahead as much as I can, and just to be sure on how much money I should bring for the trip.
Though this might not completely up to date or cover everything that can be purchased it should give you a general idea of what things cost could on board should you choose to purchase them..
Included with each passenger's fare price:
All food in and snacks from the Lido deck buffet, room service (cash needed for tips though), and main dining room (MDR). The snacks sold in the FunShops and coffee bar are not inclusive.
Self service drinks - coffee, hot tea, iced tea, hot chocolate, a juice blend, water,and sometimes lemonade are free at the Lido deck buffet 24/7, with boxed milk available at meal times and straight juices are available during breakfast gratis. There are also water fountains near most of the public areas for tap water. Iced tea, milk, water, coffee and hot tea (juices at breakfast only) are also served without a charge in the MDR during sit down meals, but other drinks will be at the "bar" prices. Any drinks ordered from any bar or lounge, even soft drinks (including the ones you could get at the self service area of the Lido) will be charged to your S&S account with a 15% auto gratuity added to the menu price.
Camp Carnival for the kids, during normal operation hours, though it is customary to tip (in cash) the counselors. A few kids activities will have a charge (billed to the S&S card) like the build-a-bear workshop and after-hours babysitting but they will give you the costs upfront in the camp welcome packet.
All the lounge shows and entertainers, including the comedy shows (but not the CD/DVDs the comedian may try to sell). Though there are a few activities that do have a participation fee which will be charged to the S&S account (like bingo, the martini tasting, these will be noted w/ * in the FunTimes schedule delivered to you cabin daily) most activities are free to join in.
All the pools, hot tubs, loungers, gym equipment, and sports equipment are free to use. Some things may require a "deposit" on your S&S card to ensure equipment return (like the towels from the pool towel hut, mini golf equipment). Some things are popular so there may be a wait to get the equipment or time on the sports area.
Items that have a charge and must go on your S&S account once on board, no cash accepted at time of purchase, you must pre-fund the account w/ cash, travelers cheques, or a credit/debit card for last day of cruise billing. A few costs maybe pre-paid prior to boarding so you final S&S bill does not seem so large.
Auto- gratuities are $11.50 per person per day. These can be pre-paid or left to be added to your S&S account. This may come out as early as your 2nd day on board or as late as the 2nd to last day on board if not prepaid. On some ships, if you prepay these, you may see an immediate OBC on your S&S account in the amount equal to the pre-payment with the actual charge for the gratuities coming out on a later date.
Excursions (perhaps the biggest non-included expense) = With Carnival anywhere from $30 to $300 per person.
Some independent tours may take credit/debit cards others will require cash (paid at the time of the tour), but his should be spelled out on their website. These independent tours can be as inexpensive as $1.75 (ex bus passes to a free beach) to costing in the thousands (ex. private air tours). A third option is to arrive in port and go with the flow and just see what's available to do within your $ and time budget for the day. If you decide to go it on your own DO research the port before hand using a travel guide or the port's government's tourism website.
Drinks (I have included the auto gratuity as part of the total):
Sodas, basic bottled water, and glasses of juices (from a lounge or bar) = $2.24. Available for pre-purchase from the Bon Voyage Dept. are soda tickets at 4 for $7.75 and the Bottomless Bubbles sticker at a charge of $6.90 (adult) or $5.18 (17 & younger) per day + possibly the departure port's local tax for the length of the cruise. The BB sticker may also be purchased on board the day of embarkation and the first full day of the cruise only.
Powerade & Vitamin water= $3.39
Imported & sparkling bottled water = $3.73 -$5.46
Espresso = $2.01 - $2.30 + flavor shots @ $0.58 each
Iced Coffees, Lattes, Cappuccino, and Chai (from the coffee shop) = $2.88 - $3.74 + flavor shots @ $0.58 each
Liquored Coffee = $5.17
Milkshakes = $4.54
Smoothies and virgin drinks = $5.46
Beer = $4.54 - $7.76 per can/bottle you can save $2 off buy purchasing a bucket of 4 at a time (mix and matching allowed)
Cordials & Shots = $5.68 - 11.44
Mixed drinks normal glass = $8.34 - $11.44
Souvenir glass drinks both the virgin and DODs types = $8.62 - $16.04. Refills can be less if you re-use the souvenir glass, most of the time close the normal glass drink price.
Wine per glass= $6.33 - $12.08
Wine per bottle = there are many choices but they tend to start at around $32 per bottle and go up from there .Depending on the cruise there are 3 & 5 bottle wine programs that can be purchased the first day aboard, this generally saves 25% off the per bootle price, but you are limited to picking wines from a pre-set list at each price point.
There is available for pre-purchase from the BV dept. a set of bar tickets at 4 for $23.00 and these act as $5.75 gift certicates towards the purchase of drinks at any bar, lounge, or in the MDR lowering the amount charged to your S&S card.
The Chef's Table = $75 per person a great time if your a gourmand.
The steakhouse (if available on your ship) = $35 per person (and well worth IMHO for a special occassion or romantic evening)
Snacks and sweets from the coffee shop, the Funshops, and Formalities = $1 (a big cookie) to $65 (canapes & wine delivered to your cabin)
Anything taken from the mini-bar/fridge that the room steward can not reconcile between Carnival stocked vs. passenger carried-on items.
5x7 = $9.99
6x9 = $11.99
8x10 = $19.99
Portraits 8x10 = 21.99
Reprints = $9.99 after buying the original picture
Touch-ups and special effects are available at an extra charge as well as special photos like a 16x20 canvased portrait. Also you can have you own film printed from your camera (sorry don't have the prices for these other services).
Frames and other photo equipment is available for purchase at various prices, the novelty frames & disposible cameras cost as much as any resort area shop and the scrapbooking supplies are not too badly priced but sometimes they have decent deals on the electronic equipment. Scrapbooking classes are also offered through the gallery for a fee.
Spa and Salon:
Any where from $45 - $345, and they will pester you when having certain treatments (and afterwards) to buy the (overpriced IMO) products they just used. I've seldom used the services since the on board price is double or triple what I pay near home but they will run some sales or specials for appointments while in port.
Exercise classes, instructor lead = $5 - $20, but use of the gym equipment on your own is freeto use. The sauna & steam rooms are also free to enter. Spa 9 aromatherapy pool and relaxation rooms are at a charge.
Bingo = a 3 board card $20, and I have heard there are 1 board cards available for $10 but have yet to attend any game when this was offered.
The "Fun Shops" = These are the on board stores and many times the gift/souvenir prices are better than in the USA and Canada, but not always as inexpensive as in port (especial the Caribbean islands). A few things are outrageously price like toiletries ($15 for aloe) and sundry goods ($2- $5 packaged snacks you could buy at a convenience store for a $1-$3) w/ souvenir prices about what you would expect them to be ($20 graphic tees, $3 keyrings), but you can find decent buys on jewelry, liquor, and tobacco. They do run sales and specials while at sea so look for them in the FunTimes and any cabin flyers you receive.
After Carnival Camp hours babysitting. I don't have the current prices but I do remember it being less than what my local babysitter charged per hour.
Internet minute packages. The most current prices can be found in the Carnival's FAQs
Cabin to land phone calls which I believe are now $1.99/ minute. For some this price is better than the combined price of their carrier's contract per roaming minute rate plus the extra fees charged by the CellularAtSea for the use of the satellite transmission.
Places you could spend cash (sometimes you have the option of using your S&S card or a credit/debit card):
Casino (open only while at sea & available to those 18 & up)
Slots and Poker Machines = Start at a penny per play and go up to $5 machines. Remember on the machines to insert your S&S card because even though you can pay in cash to play, the payout is cashless and tallied as a Player's Bank. You will need the S&S card to withdraw any funds from the Player's Bank with the casino cage cashier. Funds may also be withdrawn from your S&S account w/ no fee, instead of carrying cash in to the casino, but I have heard there is a daily limit as to how much.
Casino Tables = Some start at a $5 minimum, but like w/ roulette you can spread the bet around as single $s (inside #s only). You purchase the chips at the table and cash them out at the casino cage. If you pull money from the S&S account for the tables will will be charged a 3% premium.
Like many land based arcades they use tokens and most games are 2 to 5 tokens per play. A machine will exchange cash for the tokens for 4 for $1, but there are bonus token deals for higher amounts bought in a single transaction. Not refunds given for unused tokens.
Room service and scattered tips onboard = it's unclear if the room service people receive any of the funds from the auto-gratuities pool so we always tip a $1-$2 per plate of food delivered and $1 per free drinks. At fee drinks will be billed at the normal bar price & have the normal 15% added.
On occasion we receive (or want to receive) extra service so we will tip drink waiters and some other assorted crew members an extra $1 or $2 as we travel (especially at the free drink events/parties).
Independent tours &/or transportation around the port. A few will be set up to take credit cards once you arrive but he majority will require cash. Some companies can have their tours pre-purchased on the web via PayPal or cc/debit card, but inspect their refund/cancellation policy carefully, they may require 24 hours or more notice if you will be late or not making port.
Shopping and food on land. Almost all of the storefront style retailers and restaurants will have the capability to accept cc/debit cards (double check w/ your bank for any associated processing fees for foreign currencies), with the smaller and artisan vendors expecting cash. But if you prefer haggling cash will be the easiest to deal with, though prepare to receive change the local currency.
Also be aware many free beaches refer to just the fact that there is no beach badge or entry fee. If you want a beach chair, lounger, hammock, or an umbrella there will be a charge. Many of these beaches also allow roaming vendors to walk around selling their wares, (legal or not).
If you opt for a private or at fee beach some of the optional activities (like water bikes) will be an additional fee but most include seats and towel service w/ your entry fee & a few adding in food or drink vouchers or coupons.
After cruise unexpected billing may include a large mobile phone charges for texting &/or data or belated charges from Carnival for towels &/or robes not accounted for.
For the cell phones try to keep them in airplane mode w/ the data service shut off and preferable in the cabin's safe while on vacation . In airplane mode w/ data off you can still use the phone's camera. MP3, &/or apps that are fully installed & don't require an uplink. Do take them in port along w/ the port agent's phone number in case anything unexpected happens. DO check with your carrier for specific port international calling rates under your plan. DO NOT rely on the phone to stay on ship's time.
Additionally try to return/exchange the beach towels or robes to the same location they were taken from, so the towel hut/cabin steward doesn't mistakenly charge the room (the booking party) for a missing items that were actually returned to a second location. Learned this one the hard way when we found out our DS's BFF was leaving "his" pool towels on "our" side of a connected balcony to dry. The room steward inventoried as us using and returning towel to the cabin, while showing their cabin as being short the towels and providing replacements. We were able to catch the discrepancy before the final charges were recorded because by our 3rd day into the trip we had 8 beach towels for a cabin of 2.
Vacation Countdown Clock Generator
April 2013 Carnival Splendor
May 2012 Carnival Miracle July 2011 Carnival Glory
October 2010 Carnival Pride September 2010 Carnival Glory
Sept 2012 RCCI Explorer of the Seas Aug 2003 RCCI Sovereign of the Seas
July 1992 Premier Oceanic June 1992 Premier Oceanic May 1990 Premier Atlantic