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DukeASUGirl

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Everything posted by DukeASUGirl

  1. When I've had 4 pm sailaways, muster was always at 3:30, but it really doesn't work for a 6 or 6:30 sailaway. If you take the POV that muster should be about 30 minutes before sailaway, then for a 6:30 departure that would mean 6 pm...in other words right as the Early Seating is supposed to be in the MDR. So it makes sense to me that they would schedule it earlier...and then you have like an hour or so to kill before dinner so either you go get showered and changed or you go up to Lido for the sailaway party and buy more drinks. With a 4 pm sailaway, you're not in a rush to get to dinner right after the muster -- there's still time to enjoy the sailaway party and then get ready for dinner. Plenty of time. So it makes sense to me that they change the timing for the later sailing.
  2. I've done third-party excursions before booking directly when much of the rest of the group are booked through my same ship -- so I paid less but we literally got the identical tour. For example, the sting ray snorkel I did in Bahamas -- I did it independently, but our group consisted of both Carnival and NCL passengers who had booked through the cruise lines (we were on NCL).
  3. I would never expect there to be 100% juice in a dispenser. I've always basically expected those to be sugar water (same in hotel complimentary breakfast buffets). They do have new fresh-pressed juices during the Sea Day Brunch that you can order at $5/glass.
  4. Basically what we did. We didn't do the pricey dolphin swim, but just sort of enjoyed on our own. Low key, varied, and easy to DIY.
  5. I'm up anyway. I don't want to wait another 30 minutes to eat. I am up by 5 at home, so sleeping in until almost 6 on a cruise feels like a huge luxury. There's no way I'd be able to sleep later than that! LOL (And if I have an excursion, I'm not bothering with a shower because I'll just get sweaty, so "getting ready" is really just using the restroom and putting on clothes.) The buffet lines are longer the closer it gets to the time to get off the ship. I don't actually get there at 6 when continental breakfast starts, but more like 6:15 or 6:20 and then I have to twiddle my thumbs until 6:30 to get something more substantial. But getting there at 6:30 I feel like I'm cutting it close because I don't want to just eat and run -- need to get back to cabin afterwards to brush teeth and get everything organized before I go.
  6. When I've taken shore excursions through Carnival, if there is a bus that takes you far away, then they give you the option to return back to just outside the port area or to drop you off downtown. If you choose the latter, then there is a little waiver you can sign on the bus. The only people in the excursions I've been on who have ever chosen to get dropped off back at the port are those who had a second excursion they had to get to.
  7. Yes! Continental breakfast just doesn't cut it if you're an early riser and want to eat before getting off the ship for port. Sure, I can wait 30 minutes for breakfast in the buffet or an hour for the MDR, but I don't want to. Why can't we have full breakfast at 6 am? Am I really that much in the minority, especially on days when you can get off the ship at 7:30?
  8. We took a taxi from port to Chankanaab National Park and rented snorkels there. We explored the park, snorkeled, and took a break at a little palapa on the beach to eat ceviche and drink Coronas. Our lunch cost about $10 total (for the two of us). Granted, this was $15 years ago, but we easily saved $100 compared to taking a similar excursion through NCL.
  9. We thought about a Disney short cruise out of LA but then figured out we could do a Carnival short cruise followed by 3 days at Disneyland for about half the cost of the Disney cruise. So longer vacation PLUS time at Disneyland. My 7-yr-old and 9-yr-old DO love meeting the characters, but they also love the rides. So doing "Disney" without the rides (ie, Disney cruise) wouldn't be all that great. They agreed that Carnival was the way to go for us. So we did a 3-day Ensenada getaway on Carnival Inspiration followed by a beach day in OC, and then 3 days at DL/DCA over Fall Break, so we got to do the Mickey's Halloween Party. DEFINITELY much better in our opinions!
  10. Midnight Eastern (or 9 pm where I am the night before). It merely gives you your check-in appointment window at the port. I did it at exactly 9:01 pm, and got 12-12:30 check-in (earliest available -- it's a 6:30 sailaway). We arrived just past that window (into garage at 12:33 and got to terminal at 12:37) and were upstairs in the Lido by 12:50. Never stopped moving once our cruise docs and passports/birth certificates were checked, except to get the cheesy photo. LOVE the Long Beach homeport!
  11. Then probably a good thing I only ever have it on vacation. But it's yummy!
  12. When there was a price drop in my shore excursion (I booked 1 day before a flash sale so they honored it), they gave me the difference in gift cards, which I then applied to my account onboard. When they cancelled my previously booked and paid-for shore excursion (was paid for by discounted gift cards) on board due to the kayak vendor not renewing their insurance timely, they gave the refund back to my credit card on file. This was onboard the ship at the time.
  13. Onboard, they mentioned something about a post-cruise survey. I haven't received it. When should I get it? I want to make sure that I can give these individuals the shoutouts they deserve for handling the situation so well.
  14. Our last two cruises have had 6 pm and 6:30 sailaways, and muster was at 4 and 4:30 respectively. (Although both times they actually didn't start until 15-30 minutes after indicated.)
  15. Lemonade and iced tea from lunchtime on. Apple, orange, and guava/passionfruit only available at breakfast. The latter one is my favorite -- so yummy, and I wish I could get it throughout the day!
  16. And see, I'm just the opposite. I hate bar soap for a shower!
  17. I've done both the 3-nighter and the 4-nighter. This most recent (on Imagination) was the 4-nighter. We loved Catalina! It was a nice little getaway. With kids and our jobs, it's harder to get away for 7 days, so 4 is perfect.
  18. I don't doubt you're right. Like I said, I was likely up in breakfast during much of it. I only noticed it for less than 5 minutes. I'm not even sure what I heard lasted that long, but again, I'd left my room maybe 5 minutes after I first heard it, and then was up on Lido for the next 30-45 minutes.
  19. We've been on both Inspiration and Imagination now, and we really liked them both! Only time it ever felt crowded (and this was over 4th of July, too!) was when we grabbed the only two loungers left in Serenity. And even that wasn't really crowded. We never had trouble finding places to sit throughout the ship and always got within the first 3 rows at the mainstage shows. Towards the back in the comedy club, but still a great view and had the booth to ourselves. The longest I ever had to wait for a Guy's burger was less than 5 minutes, and that was only because they gave the last one of the previous batch to my husband and I had to wait for a fresh batch. The only line we experienced was waiting about 10 minutes for the first tender to Catalina (the line on Deck 3 seemed insane but once they started boarding it moved quickly) and then waiting to board the tender back from Catalina. I think we waited about 10 minutes (they are 15 minutes apart). Embarkation was super efficient -- we entered the garage at 12:33 for a 12-12:30 appointment window. Got to security at 12:37 and they told us to go into the on-time line even though we were technically late. And "line" is using the term loosely, because we waited for exactly 20 seconds until the next agent was available. From there, we went through the screener, then walked continuously with our only stop being a photo until we were on the ship. We were upstairs finding a seat for lunch by 12:50. Same with disembarkation. We'd intended to sleep in and leave at last call like we did on Inspiration with our kids, but because we happened to wake early anyway we went and got our wine, then went to breakfast at 6:20, then were off the ship about 3 minutes after they first called self-debark at 7:12 (it was supposed to start at 7:30). Good thing we decided to go early, because it meant we were well outside of the zone where we would feel the earthquake by the time it happened.
  20. I was in U17, so about where you were asking (I think mine was the furthest back on that deck) and the noise really didn't bother me at all. It's entirely possible it's much louder on Deck 4 (I was on 6) and all the way forward. It was recommended to me that if I wanted to try out this type of cabin, I should choose the furthest back toward midship and the highest floor I could get.
  21. I didn't find it to be that long of a walk. We always would walk the entire length of the hallway so we could use the aft staircase (we never use the elevators). Didn't bother me, but it could be tricky for mobility challenged. I didn't notice any noise for longer than about 5 minutes or so -- definitely not an hour. Of course, the noise started when I was almost ready for breakfast, so it's possible the noise went on longer than I recall, but that we were no longer in the room by then. (We go to breakfast in the buffet on port mornings around 6:30 so we can be ready to get off around 7:30.)
  22. I believe the Fascination and the Imagination are quite similar. We were in U17 on Deck 6, so a couple of decks up from the first floors -- I would imagine that any noise would be louder on Deck 4 or 5. But no, it wasn't a problem for us as early risers. Being awake at the time, we actually didn't really notice it other than "What's that noise?" which didn't last long anyway. Had we been asleep at the time, it might have been a bit more disconcerting to awake to. But if you're an early riser (particularly on port days) I couldn't imagine it would bother you.
  23. We were on Imagination in a porthole cabin at the forward of the ship on Deck 6.
  24. We stayed in our first porthole last week. LOVED it! The room itself felt larger than the typical inside we usually book, and although I've always told myself that I love the darkness of the interiors (makes it so easy to sleep!), I actually loved sitting up on that ledge and curling up with a book or just looking out the windows for a few minutes while waiting for my hubby to shower. We're not in our rooms enough to warrant a higher cost for a window and certainly not for a balcony (we like being out and about on the ship, not holed up at the cabin), but this was nice, especially because it was the same price as an interior. We did hear some anchor noise when we docked, but we were already up getting ready for port anyway, so no big deal. (It was like 5 minutes before we left to go to breakfast, so it certainly didn't wake us.) And it really wasn't much, or long. From hearing some people on hear describe it, I really thought it was going to be seriously loud. Meh, this was no big deal.
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