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oskarNZ

Advice regarding Carnival Australia

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Hi Everyone,

 

My family of 3 (2 adults and a 12 year old) are booked on a New Caledonia cruise on Carnival Splendor at the end of the year and are after some advice on what to expect with Carnival Australia.  

 

Against my better judgement, I booked this trip with an agent in order to get onboard credit.  However, I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to planning travel and I hate that I feel quite out of touch with this booking (Let’s just say that the agent doesn’t seem overly clued up).  Plus, it doesn’t help that Carnival seem to operate a bit differently Downunder than in the States and a lot of online advice is not as relevant as I’d like.

 

Anyway, what I’m most keen to know about at present is the process for booking optional extras.

 

1. Is it correct that Shore Excursions can’t be booked until you are onboard the ship?

2. If so, is there an option of booking (or even paying for) an earlier boarding time?  

3. Are there any onboard experiences or packages that can be prebooked and prepaid, and if so, is it worth doing so?  

4.  Lastly, any other tips or advice you have for sailing with Carnival (or about New Caledonia) are greatly appreciated.  

 

Thanks!

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Everything needs to be booked and paid for on-board.
You can get Faster to the Fun added to your booking, which gets you an early boarding time, use of the priority line at guest services, priority tendering, and access to your room straight away (while everyone else waits until 1.30pm). As far as I know, nothing can be pre-booked and paid for.
A few months before your sail date, you can log in to the online check in and select your boarding time for free. Its done on a first in first served basis. As each time slot fills, it becomes unavailable for selection. There doesnt seem to be any rhyme or reason to when it opens though so just keep checking (Ive had some 6 months ahead, others 3 months, and one was 8 weeks).

The Splendor is a very pink ship, but you tend to stop noticing it after a while.
If you are on one of the lower decks (1 or 2) then it can be a bit awkward moving around the ship (especially going to the dining rooms) because of the positioning of the galley. 
Sea day brunch is great, as is kids club (I also have a 12 year old). The early shows and family friendly comedy can get pretty full, so get there a bit earlier to get a seat, if thats your thing. 

Not sure if you have cruised on other lines, but Carnival is not much different to Royal IMO

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9 minutes ago, By The Bay said:

1. That is correct.

2. FTTF. See https://www.carnival.com.au/fun-shops/faster-to-the-fun.aspx

3. We didn't so cannot comment.

4. The Coffee machines in the Buffet and one near the outside pool provide great freashly ground coffee. We BYO our own insulated cup.

Thank you so much.  Very helpful.

 

I’m hoping FTTF is still available on my cruise as I think it will be worth the added cost.  Do you know if you can book it if you haven’t fully paid off your cruise?  

 

Also, thanks for the great tip about coffee.  My husband needs his coffee every day so will be pleased the coffee tastes good.  Are there many other drinks that are included in the cruise fare and accessible throughout the day?

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3 minutes ago, kazbar said:

Everything needs to be booked and paid for on-board.
You can get Faster to the Fun added to your booking, which gets you an early boarding time, use of the priority line at guest services, priority tendering, and access to your room straight away (while everyone else waits until 1.30pm). As far as I know, nothing can be pre-booked and paid for.
A few months before your sail date, you can log in to the online check in and select your boarding time for free. Its done on a first in first served basis. As each time slot fills, it becomes unavailable for selection. There doesnt seem to be any rhyme or reason to when it opens though so just keep checking (Ive had some 6 months ahead, others 3 months, and one was 8 weeks).

The Splendor is a very pink ship, but you tend to stop noticing it after a while.
If you are on one of the lower decks (1 or 2) then it can be a bit awkward moving around the ship (especially going to the dining rooms) because of the positioning of the galley. 
Sea day brunch is great, as is kids club (I also have a 12 year old). The early shows and family friendly comedy can get pretty full, so get there a bit earlier to get a seat, if thats your thing. 

Not sure if you have cruised on other lines, but Carnival is not much different to Royal IMO

Thanks so much Kazbar.  Your reply is very helpful.  

 

Good advice regarding booking time.  I need to chase up my agent who hasn’t even given me a booking number yet so I can log on myself.  

 

We will probably end up on Decks 1 and 2 as we have a guarantee outside cabin, so good to know what to expect.  

 

We haven’t cruised Royal yet, but have cruised p&O, Costa, Disney, Celebrity and a Yangtze River Cruise.  Our last cruise, a two week Southern Caribbean on Celebrity, was lovely, but the entertainment was a bit lacklustre.  I’m keen this time to try a more lively ship and Carnival looks to have a lot of activities on offer.  

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Posted (edited)

Ive not cruised Celebrity myself, but my mum has and she said its like the premium economy version and Carnival is the casual, fun version. I have cruise P&O and find Carnival a step up from that. Im sure you will have a great time.

Edited by kazbar

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Thank you both for suggesting Faster to the Fun.  I just popped in to see my agent and was able to add it.  Plus I finally have some paperwork and a booking number so I’m feeling much more in control of my booking now.

 

I really want to get snorkelling passes for Jinek Bay in Lifou so I will appreciate having that earlier boarding.

Once I get onboard, should I go straight to guest services or the shore excursion desk?  And if I want to book the Dr Seuss breakfast, can I do this at the same time?

 

Is there anything else worth prebooking as soon as I Board?  When I cruised Disney, I needed to book things like the cocktail making class and ship tour as soon as I boarded as they booked out early.  If there is anything like this on Carnival, I would love to know.

 

Also, if my family prefer dining at our own table (ie not sharing with strangers), should I be asking the agent to add a note to our booking. And if I do, is there a reasonable chance Carnival will honour the request?

 

Sorry about all the questions, but thanks heaps for any help you can give. 

 

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Regarding the coffee machines in the buffet - on Legend there were espresso coffee machines in one section of the buffet but the other section only had brewed coffee machines. I'm not sure what they have on Splendor. We didn't find the espresso machines until half way through our cruise which was a bit annoying, so suss things out thoroughly. It was decent espresso though, and free.

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The agent should be able to sort your dining arrangements so it's just your family.

If you want to do the behind the scenes ship tour, book that as soon as you board, only limited spots available.

With the coffee machines, they are all calibrated differently so try them all and see which one best suits your taste.

Drinks included are water, lemonade (American), coffee, tea, hot chocolate also apple & orange juice available at breakfast.

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Jinek bay is great so I'd book that ticket straight up. If you snorkel on the beach near where you get off at lifou you can be lucky and see turtles. I recommed booking into kids club straight away too.

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6 hours ago, Suzbluz said:

Jinek bay is great so I'd book that ticket straight up. If you snorkel on the beach near where you get off at lifou you can be lucky and see turtles. I recommed booking into kids club straight away too.

Sounds great - thanks.  Jinek Bay looks great, but I’m aware that it has limited numbers, so I want to do what I can to book this early.  

 

Regarding the kids club, do you recommend booking it early just to get it out of the way, or are numbers limited?  

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8 hours ago, lagoon380 said:

The agent should be able to sort your dining arrangements so it's just your family.

If you want to do the behind the scenes ship tour, book that as soon as you board, only limited spots available.

With the coffee machines, they are all calibrated differently so try them all and see which one best suits your taste.

Drinks included are water, lemonade (American), coffee, tea, hot chocolate also apple & orange juice available at breakfast.

Great advice - thanks!

 

It’s great to hear that there is American Lemonade.   Between that and water, we won’t feel the need to spend much on drinks at mealtimes.   

 

I don’t suppose you know roughly what the behind the scenes tour costs and whether it’s any good?  My husband is an engineer and loves to do these tours.  I like them to, but only when they aren’t too expensive.  

 

We’ve done galley tours on ships before that were free, while at the opposite end of the scale, Celebrity was so expensive (around $150pp from memory - possibly more), that I could only justify booking my husband.  

It sounds like it was extremely comprehensive and he loved it so much that he spoke for ages afterwards about all he’d learnt about the engines, waste water filtration systems etc etc.  But I still could never have justified that cost for myself. 

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13 hours ago, OzKiwiJJ said:

Regarding the coffee machines in the buffet - on Legend there were espresso coffee machines in one section of the buffet but the other section only had brewed coffee machines. I'm not sure what they have on Splendor. We didn't find the espresso machines until half way through our cruise which was a bit annoying, so suss things out thoroughly. It was decent espresso though, and free.

Thanks!  Taking note of all this great coffee advice to pass on to my husband.  

I’m assuming/hoping that Carnival ships based in Australian waters, adjust their coffee strengths to suit the palates of us Australians and New Zealanders?  When travelling in the USA, coffee is the biggest thing he misses from home.  

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I forgot the free soft serve ice cream and soft serve Yogurt located in a area behind the big screen at the outdoor main pool.

 

I also enjoyed the adult only rear pool area, which also has an entertainer during the day.

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Posted (edited)

The behind the scenes tour was $95 when we did it.

1 hour ago, oskarNZ said:

I don’t suppose you know roughly what the behind the scenes tour costs and whether it’s any good?  My husband is an engineer and loves to do these tours.  I like them to, but only when they aren’t too expensive.  

 

We’ve done galley tours on ships before that were free, while at the opposite end of the scale, Celebrity was so expensive (around $150pp from memory - possibly more), that I could only justify booking my husband.  

It sounds like it was extremely comprehensive and he loved it so much that he spoke for ages afterwards about all he’d learnt about the engines, waste water filtration systems etc etc.  But I still could never have justified that cost for myself. 

The behind the scenes tour was $95 when we did it. We thought it was great, worth the money.

Edited by lagoon380
add additional info

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1 hour ago, lagoon380 said:

The behind the scenes tour was $95 when we did it.

The behind the scenes tour was $95 when we did it. We thought it was great, worth the money.

Thank you.  Good to know.  

I will definitely book it for my husband and may do so for myself depending on how much money I’ve saved by December.

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1 hour ago, By The Bay said:

I forgot the free soft serve ice cream and soft serve Yogurt located in a area behind the big screen at the outdoor main pool.

 

I also enjoyed the adult only rear pool area, which also has an entertainer during the day.

Yum!  Soft serve yoghurt!  

 

Also, pleased to hear that there is an adult only pool.  For some reason I thought that the adult only area on Splendor didn’t have a pool.  

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3 hours ago, oskarNZ said:

Thanks!  Taking note of all this great coffee advice to pass on to my husband.  

I’m assuming/hoping that Carnival ships based in Australian waters, adjust their coffee strengths to suit the palates of us Australians and New Zealanders?  When travelling in the USA, coffee is the biggest thing he misses from home.  

I wouldn't bet on it. DH didn't even like the smell of it. Thank goodness we found the espresso machines.,

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56 minutes ago, oskarNZ said:

Yum!  Soft serve yoghurt!  

 

Also, pleased to hear that there is an adult only pool.  For some reason I thought that the adult only area on Splendor didn’t have a pool.  

I believe that adult only Serenity area on Splendor is being moved during dry dock to aft where the pool is, like on Spirit.

We are on the Singapore to Sydney cruise so will post here to let everyone know of the changes.

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27 minutes ago, cheznandy said:

I believe that adult only Serenity area on Splendor is being moved during dry dock to aft where the pool is, like on Spirit.

We are on the Singapore to Sydney cruise so will post here to let everyone know of the changes.

Yes please.  I’m really looking forward to hearing about the changes.  

Will be interesting to hear if they make any changes to all the pink.  

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In Noumea, if you haven’t already been, go to the Aquarium, it’s way better than you’d expect. Also in Noumea, go back to the ship for lunch if you can. Food and drink prices are absolutely ridiculous. Converted to AUD lunch for me and my son cost around $35 from a place that was like their version of McDonalds. 

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3 hours ago, M-H-B said:

In Noumea, if you haven’t already been, go to the Aquarium, it’s way better than you’d expect. Also in Noumea, go back to the ship for lunch if you can. Food and drink prices are absolutely ridiculous. Converted to AUD lunch for me and my son cost around $35 from a place that was like their version of McDonalds. 

Thanks for the advice.  Will definitely bare that in mind regarding the lunch.

 

I am currently considering the Amedee Lighthouse excursion for our day in Noumea, but it’s always good to have other options to compare it to.  Especially since the Lighthouse isn’t cheap.  

 

We’ve never been to New Caledonia, so all 4 ports (Lifou, Noumea, Mare and Isle of Pines) will be new to us.  

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2 hours ago, oskarNZ said:

Thanks for the advice.  Will definitely bare that in mind regarding the lunch.

 

I am currently considering the Amedee Lighthouse excursion for our day in Noumea, but it’s always good to have other options to compare it to.  Especially since the Lighthouse isn’t cheap.  

 

We’ve never been to New Caledonia, so all 4 ports (Lifou, Noumea, Mare and Isle of Pines) will be new to us.  

 

Amedee is nice, but I'm not sure what you get out of it in terms of beach and snorkeling that you can't also get in Lifou, Mare and Isle of Pines at little or no extra cost.

 

There is a lunch and a Tahitian style dance show but it's a long and expensive trip just for that.

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I think the numbers are capped for kids club. I always book asap as I like to cross things off my list so i can start relaxing and having just one child it would have been disappointing for him to miss out and be stuck with the oldies!

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