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With 6 years of Carnival cruises under our belt, I wanted to share some of our favorite cruise tips and hacks with you!
We, recently, cruised with Carnival and had the best time, as always!! We have never shared a cabin with kids but had an 11 & 12-year-old with us this trip. While I will always recommend separate cabins, we totally made it work with a simple hack or two which I’ll share in tip #7 below! I’m also sharing some of my other favorite tips!
Anytime we go, we always coordinate it with other couples or friends. Everyone thinks Jason (top left) and my husband are brothers. Technically they aren’t but we call them family! He and his wife are our good friends and we love them to death!
As soon as we get on the ship we head to the RedFrog Rum Bar. It’s by the pool and where a lot of the action happens. They guys tend to spend quite a bit of time here which leads me to tip number one!
Carnival Cruise Tip #1
IS THE DRINK PACKAGE WORTH THE PRICE?
This seems to be one of the most asked questions and all I can tell you, is that it depends on how much like to drink. Also, one very important detail about the CHEERS package is that if one of you buys it, everyone in the cabin that’s 21 and over, must buy it. This is probably one of the ONLY things I dislike if I’m being honest because not everyone is a “drinker”. With that said, after we did the math, the CHEERS drink package was definitely worth it for us, and I’m not a huge drinker y’all.
There is a maximum of 15 alcoholic drinks per day BUT, there are unlimited zero proof drinks a day. That includes specialty coffees, soda, virgin frozen cocktails, and bottled water! Need to calculate a little bit to figure out if the CHEERS drink package is worth it for you? Prices are as followed:
- Beer is $6-$8
- Cocktails (including frozen) $8-$12
- Wine is $8-$14
- Specialty coffee ranges from about $3-$6
- Bottled Water is $1.25 for the regular size or #3.75 for the larger ones.
- Soda runs at about $2.25
Now add up, on average, how many drinks you have WITH alcohol first, then add in an average of what you might drink of the zero-proof drinks. You’ll see that they add up daily pretty darn quick! With gratuity and all, the CHEERS package is $60 a day per person. Also, one of the things you can enjoy is a glass of wine (up to $50) at dinner!
Just talking alcohol, you’d have to drink a minimum of 8 drinks a day for it be worth it. Y’all, it’s really easy to sip on a Miami Vice or Strawberry Daiquiri when you’re sitting out enjoying the rays or entertainment! Let’s say I sip on 3 frozen cocktails throughout the day, you know, while sitting at the pool, that’s $30 already. Then we head to the theatre for the big show in the evening and I order a whiskey sour to sip during the show. That’s another $10. We are up to $40. Now we head to dinner and we want to have a glass of wine or two with dinner. That’s almost $20 bucks. And if you go to the casino after all is said and done, pssshhhh, you’ve done met your $60 quota for the day easily and that doesn’t even include any bottled water, soda, or coffee you might have had. One thing to consider, though, is how many days you’ll be at the port and not drinking that many for those days. Here’s my biggest Carnival cruise tip! It’s a vacation. If you think you can drink anywhere close to 8 drinks a day AND you want bottled water, soda, and that specialty coffee in the mornings or you can drink 15 alcoholic drinks a day, then YES, get the drink package!
Carnival Cruise Tip #2
Use the gym for more than workouts! I always hear people say, “why would I want to workout? I’m on vacation!”. The “floating feedlot”…(that’s why my husband calls cruise ships) can definitely pack on a few pounds. Working out is not really my thing, however, I find that if I do a little bit while cruising, I feel better through the week and my gut is thankful for it. If you don’t want to go to the gym, take advantage of the “track” above the lido deck and walk or don’t use the elevators and take the stairs!
With that said, my tip has nothing to do with working out and everything to do with the showers! This Carnival cruise tip is especially handy for people who have more than 2 in a cabin and early dining! On port days, the time before early dining usually runs short by the time you get back on the ship. If you’re like us, covered in ocean water, sand, and sweat and fighting over who’s gonna shower first, one or more of you run up and use the gym showers! Everyone gets their shower in quickly, giving you time to get ready for dinner.
Carnival Cruise Tip #3
I’m kinda obsessed with my favorite coffee creamer, Cold Stone Sweet Cream, but I don’t always remember to order the travel ones before my cruises and frankly, sometimes I just don’t care to have to pack them. I have found an alternative that suits me though! If you’re wanting creamer without the fuss, take advantage of the ice cream machines! Vanilla ice cream in coffee is quite delicious!
Carnival Cruise Tip #4
Port days are a lot of fun but they can get expensive, especially if you have kids with you. A tip I learned is to have room service bring you a meal like a sandwich. Pack that and some fruit and/or cereal boxes for snacks from the lido deck and you’re good to go! BUT note, not all countries allow you to take food into them so simply stop by the front desk and ask!
Carnival Cruise Tip #5
Want to give the Steakhouse a try? Well reserve it on the first night and be quick about it. It fills up fast but especially on the first night because they give you a free bottle of wine with dinner! We are huge fans of the steakhouse. The steaks melt in our mouth and the desserts are delicious! Don’t leave without getting a dessert either!
Carnival Cruise Tip #6
Plastic straws are being done away with and replaced with edible ones. Y’all, I had to use the edible ones on our last cruise and YUCK. They would get all soggy and gross and before you were even halfway done with your drink, you wouldn’t be able to suck anything through them. EW. So, if you want good straws, take your own!
Carnival Cruise Tip #7
Sharing a room with kids? Ugh. LOL, just kidding! Something we did that gave us some privacy was used magnetic hooks and an old king size flat sheet. I punched a hole at the end of each and placed it on the hook. It was just shy of completely enclosing the area by like 4 inches but it still gave us some privacy when we slept and we loved that. If you’re new to cruising, the walls are magnetic making the possibilities endless! ;)
Carnival Cruise Tip #8
Get to know your crew members because they’ll be able to tell you where the best places to go are once you’ve landed at a port! They usually have the scoop on where to go, what to try, etc. Also, if you have an extra awesome waiter for your dinners, DO share positive feedback with the head waiter or guest services because they can earn extra rewards for their exceptional hard work. The waiters keep a chart in the back, where the food is cooked, and they can see who is getting praised by guests and who needs to work on their skills. ;) They can earn all sorts of things that they’d normally have to pay for so take the time to share positive feedback!
Carnival Cruise Tip #9
Take gallon size storage baggies with you! They’re handy for several reasons but our favorite is to grab some extra cookies, fruit, etc and take them back to your room for snacks for later!
Carnival Cruise Tip #10
While you can ask your steward for an iron, who wants to iron while on vacation? I have found that dresses and shirts get wrinkled quite a bit in your suitcase so be sure and take some Downy Wrinkle Releaser! Spray and hang! I recommend the travel size!
Carnival Cruise BONUS Tip
Don’t overpack. Don’t worry about what you’re wearing or what anyone else is wearing. Relax and have fun and for goodness sake, don’t be one of the whiny, self-entitled cruisers that complain about everything!
Want more tips? Check these out!