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  1. What made you decide on those three if I may ask? If you wish to invest a little more for the same time frame (225 more than Elation), you could do the brand new renovated Sunrise on 12/5-9 out of Fort Lauderdale, which stops in Nassau and more importantly HMC. You said you're just doing beach and HMC would be your best option. Could probably get it cheaper from online agents as well. Good luck.
  2. https://cruiseradio.net/10-reasons-visit-carnival-cruise-coffee-bar/
  3. No one is ever forcing you to stay in a Havana Cabana cabin. If you want a true balcony in the Havana area, there are many aft facing traditional balconies to choose from or you could stay in an inside cabin....since you like your privacy too much.
  4. More than likely you will not have the same problem on the Mardi Gras if you do decide to cruise on her. Because of the amount of people on board, Carnival will more than likely adopt the same reservation ahead of time process similar to what Royal and NCL have on their mega ships. The downside is having to figure out ahead of time what you wish to see and when long before you embark. The positive is that you can just show up up to 10 minutes ahead of time and you will have a guaranteed seat. If you don't want to reserve ahead of time, then stand in the stand by line.
  5. Obviously it all depends on your sailing as to the number of bartenders, whether or not someone walked around taking orders or not and thus the level of service.
  6. Had a great experience last August and will again this August staying in a sideways inside cabin in the Havana area on the Horizon.
  7. It will be interesting to see if Carnival institutes the policy of reservations for shows like RCI and NCL have on their mega ships. With the Mardi Gras coming in at 180K tons, the amount of people will more than likely result in reservations being needed. Some hate the idea of having to plan things out ahead of time, but it sure beats having to stand in line for a half hour plus in order to see a comedy show. On NCL, you make your reservation and just walk in. They also have a stand by line that lets in people 10 minutes prior to show time for those that did not show up for their reservations.
  8. Carnival is far from luxury cruising. The bean counters are seeing how profitable it has been with their competitor's and now Carnival is just following suit. They're using the Loft19 area as well as a la carte pricing at Emeril's place on the Mardi Gras to generate more money.
  9. I would recommend that you limit your possible Havana area bookings to the 3 Vista Class ships (Vista, Horizon, Panorama). On the Mardi Gras, Carnival had decided to add additional cabins that have access to the area, while at the same time eliminate the hot tubs and reduce the size of the pool. They were more concerned about the new Loft 19 area and the Havana area was an afterthought relegated to the side of the ship instead of the aft position on deck 5 that it claims on the 3 Vista Class ships.
  10. Anybody can use the Havana pool area after 700PM at night and that includes kids. They do enforce the policy prior to 700PM. By 700PM, I don't care who uses the area since I am either at dinner or at the Alchemy Bar having a cocktail. Robin, you obviously don't wish to pay extra to not be overrun by kids in the hot tubs, fight with chair hogs or not be able to swim around in a pool. That's fine, it's OK. That's why they have vanilla and chocolate.
  11. The OP had an aft view balcony, not an on the side of the ship lanai which you're referring to. The attraction of the area is that you basically have your own private pool and hot tub. The aft pools on all Carnival ships are like adult soup, with people standing around, while the hot tubs are overrun by kids. This is the polar opposite of what the Havana area is all about. And chair hogs are at a minimum in the Havana area. Then you're relegated to the smaller, older ships on Royal, NCL, Celebrity, MSC and Carnival. The class system is another way that the cruise lines can generate money. It's not going away.
  12. The only trail blazing that Carnival has ever done is come out with the first cruise ship to be 100,000 tons with the debut of the Destiny back in the day. So, as usual Carnival follows while others lead. Other lines have had the separate class thing for awhile now to different degrees. Royal, Celebrity, Norwegian and MSC, which are the four primary competitor's with Carnival all have this in place already on some of their ships. MSC takes it to the broadest level with their four tiers of service. First Class (Yacht Club) Second Class (Aurea) Third Class (Fantastica) Fourth Class (Bella). I also don't consider Sky Bikes, IMAX theaters and roller coasters as being trailblazing items. As usual, it all comes down to the almighty dollar and Carnival is just trying to come up with new ways to add coinage to the coffers and the Havana area and Loft 19 will do just that.
  13. If you enjoy going in the pool or hot tub, and if you don't wish to pay extra for the Havana area, then you're stuck with the usual results. Adult soup in the aft pool and hot tubs overrun by kids. But of course everybody has their own definition of enjoyable. I'm too old to put up with the adult soup and annoying rugrat nonsense and will gladly pay a little extra for the slice of heaven known as the Havana area on the 3 Vista Class ships.
  14. In general, it all depends where you are because there are both good and bad seats in both locations. We sat upstairs for the Love & Marriage show hosted by John Heald, which was funny and run differently than normal. The sight line was not that good though. On the other hand, we did enjoy the floor seats we had for Quest and Celestrial Strings.
  15. The reason is that the bartenders need to follow the recipes for the Carnival drinks so that they are universal across the fleet. That is why the Alchemy bar is the best. The mixologists there have the authority to go off menu and concoct anything they have ingredients for. They use fresh fruit or fresh squeezed juice instead of sugary mixes and premade junk.
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