FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

VERY IMPORTANT:  IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE IN THE GROUP EVENTS, YOU MUST BOOK THROUGH THE GROUP.  I apologize if you have a favorite travel agent that you regularly use, but the cruise line will only allow us to reserve an event space for the total number we show BOOKED with our group.  Also, your favorite agent will not be allowed to add you to the Group.  Thanks for your understanding.


The cruise line has the authority to revise and change their procedures at any time.  We do our best to keep up and inform the group as we are given the updates from the cruise line.  MOST, IF NOT ALL of your general questions about cruising can be answered at the cruise line’s website (currently www.carnival.com in their FAQ section.)

 

HOW MUCH IS THE CRUISE?

The BEST WAY to get a specific quote is to contact Becky Gandy by email at beckygandy@ymail.com

  

Generally, you can calculate approximately $125 to $150 per person, per day.  This is subject to the cabin type – inside, balcony, suite. The exact cost depends upon the cabin “category” you choose. The price of each category is based upon its deck level. The higher decks cost more; lower decks cost less.  If rates should drop for your cabin type, Carnival Cruise Line will let us submit an upgrade request, but only if there are cabins available in the reserved allotment. It is subject to Carnival Cruise Line discretion.


Registration payments must be made by debit or credit card. If for any reason a refund is required, Carnival Cruise Line will refund to the original card on file. IF you have changed credit cards, you may have to wait 6-8 weeks for a refund check to be mailed to you. 

FOR GROUPS:  The rates and types are locked in for the group until our allotment is filled. After our group allotment is filled, more reservations can be made in the group but might be subject to the current cruise line rates. Sometimes, as demand increases, these rates can be subject to change. The cruise line can adjust the rates depending on how they need to fill the ship. For example if all of the inside cabins are getting close to being sold out, they may drop the rates of the window cabins to get people to book those instead. We have no control over that.  Carnival will always notify us if there is a change in prices.

For U.S. Citizens a copy of your birth certificate and/or a valid U.S. government issued photo identification card (including driver’s license) is acceptable for a “closed loop” cruise (departing and returning to the same port).  Normally only a driver’s license is required.


Passports are strongly recommended, but not required.  Please check the Carnival Cruise Line website before registering to make sure this policy has not changed. If you only have the birth certificate or govt photo I.D. some shore excursions may be limited.  Non U.S. Citizens must have a valid passport and applicable travel documentation as required.

Fill out the registration form found HERE:  https://form.jotform.com/regandy/general-request-for-quote .  I will send you a quote to review first.  Then you will give your credit card information to me to submit to Carnival.  You can call me with that information.  International guests will need to use a special form that can be sent to you by email.  I will send you a confirmation once those steps are completed.


All group reservations must be made through agent, Becky Gandy (International Tours of Houston).  You may call Carnival Cruise Line directly for general information about Carnival or the ship, but they will not give you any information about our group.  You will be referred back to Becky Gandy (ITH) as the travel agent for the Cruise Group (beckygandycruises@gmail.com


It is extremely important that your name and your birthdate exactly match your I.D.  Please be sure to review your confirmation receipt and inform us if any changes need to be submitted to CARNIVAL.


MUST have your name exactly as it appears on your passport / I.D.
MUST have your full birth date – month, day, AND year
MUST have a valid emergency contact phone number (best place to reach you)

FULL deposit:  Normally the deposit is $150 to $250 per person, depending on the length of the cruise.  The deposit is due upon reserving your cabin.  Certain cabin types (suites) may require 50% deposit. This money is due immediately when cabin is booked.  The cabin cannot be booked without the deposit payment.


Additional payments may be made at any time.  All you need to do is let Becky Gandy know how much you want to apply to your reservation.


If you register any time BEFORE the FINAL payment is due, you will still be included in the group rates for the allotted cabins (that are available at that time). 


IF you register with the group AFTER the final payment is due, you will be subject to whatever rates and cabins are available to the general public at that time. This is Carnival Cruise Line’s policy. This means that you must still register WITH the group, but the rates will be what is available to the public.

We HIGHLY recommend travel insurance.  In addition to unseen emergencies, insurance usually covers lost luggage too. 


Travel insurance is optional, but highly recommended.  If your trip should be interrupted for any reason the travel insurance can defray the cost.  The insurance costs approximately $40 to $95 per person, depending on the cabin type.  See all of the details here:  

https://help.carnival.com/ci/fattach/get/902/1435324130/redirect/1/filename/Carnival%20VPP_Jan%202015.pdf

In order to PARTICIPATE in the Group, you MUST sign up through the group.  Access to the group activities are limited to those who booked with the group and have an official “Name Badge”.  Carnival Cruise Line allows us to reserve the activity spaces according to the number of guests listed with our group.  This also applies to seating for dinner – in order to sit with the group you must have registered with the group.


Sometimes throughout the year, you may see advertised specials that appear cheaper than our rates.  If there is an actual “sale”, Carnival Cruise Line will notify us of fare changes.  Carnival Cruise Line Group Sales has already discounted our tickets to the lowest available price.  There are special fares that pop up occasionally that do NOT apply to our group – these are non-refundable, not transferable, etc.


What is NOT included in those “cheaper prices” you see are some of the group amenities that Carnival Cruise Line  rewards us such as the free private party, the on-board cabin credits which can be around $25 per cabin, and the right to reserve a private activity spaces for our group. 

Carnival Cruise Line nor I will choose or “assign” your cabin mate.  We only book the reservations, so you will have to arrange your OWN cabin mate.  If you need a cabin mate, we suggest you ask a family member, a friend, or post at a forum site you frequent and trust.  WE will not accept the liability for putting you together with a possible mismatch, or worse – someone who snores!  NOT that we have ever had any problems with that, but it is just better that YOU find someone you are compatible with for the week long cruise. We can assist you by posting your request on the group Facebook page, but it is up to the individual to screen the responses. Again, we do not accept the responsibility for your choice.


Carnival Cruise Line prices the cabins “per person” but assumes there will be TWO in the cabin.  Example:  IF the rate is $400 per person, it will cost $800 to secure the cabin!!!


IF you are looking for a cabin mate, but have not found one by the time the first deposit is due, you can reserve the cabin with a single, full deposit (1/2 down depending upon the cabin type).  When you find a person to add as your cabin mate, they will pay their half of the deposit when they are added to the reservation.


YES, you MAY use a different credit card from your cabin mate.  Please be aware that the financial arrangements with your cabin mate are between the two (or three) of you.  We will only make changes as you request them.  We cannot be responsible for the individual bookkeeping.  Be sure to keep your statements & confirmations that show your payments.

YES, there are cabins called Triples, Quads, and even Quints!  These require FULL deposit at time of booking.  These cabins are limited and subject to availability. (Some cabins require 50% down).


IF there is to be 3 to 4 people in a cabin the price is NOT simply divided by that number.  Carnival Cruise Line will charge full fare for the first two people and a slightly discounted rate for the 3rd person.  Example:  1st person $600, 2nd person $600, and 3rd person $250 (plus taxes & fees).  IF you want to split the total fare between your cabin-mates that will be up to you to handle on the side, but for Carnival Cruise Line the rates must be charged by 1st person, 2nd person, & 3rd person. HOWEVER, we can submit specific amounts charged on credit cards, as long as the total amount paid is correct (in other words we CAN submit split payments for you, but on the confirmation it will reflect the total charge).  Also, we will not keep these records for you – please take care of your own bookkeeping.   We assume no responsibility for these transactions between cabin mates.

You may certainly travel as a single, but you will be charged double on the base fare, but not double taxes or fees.  There are no single rates offered.

Normally, time permitting, there will be a pre-cruise dinner for the group.  The dress will be casual because some people will be coming in directly from their flight.  Be comfortable!

Normally we have vans or buses to transport us to the cruise pier.  The cost will depend upon how many total people we have in our group.  Some of the pre-cruise hotels I use offer free transportation to the pier for the group.  If we hire transportation, it is approximately $30-$40 per person.  The bus will transport us and our luggage from the hotel to the pier.  When we return, the bus(es) will be waiting for us to take us back to the hotel.  If you were a guest of the hotel, you can use their shuttle service to take you on to the airport terminal.

You will be responsible for making your own air travel arrangements. 


ALWAYS allow at least 2 or 3 hours travel time to/from the port when booking flights!!  The ships stops processing incoming guests at 2:30pm.  For departures, we may arrive at port at 8am, but it can be as late as 10pm to get off the ship.


If you opt to fly in on the day of the cruise, Carnival runs a shuttle from the airports for a fee.  You will be given this option when you register your cruise with www.carnival.com before the final deadline.

You can receive a FULL 100% refund up to the final payment deadline. AFTER the last payment date, refunds are pro-rated, depending upon the time left before the sail date.


A full explanation of the Carnival Cruise Line refund policy is available at  https://help.carnival.com/


If you have a cabin mate and they have to cancel, you will be held responsible for the balance on the cabin (i.e. their part). The best thing would be to find another cabin mate!


You can change cabin mates up to 2 weeks prior to sailing, without penalty.  (*some exceptions may apply)

Check out the group info page on this website to find the link to the t-shirts.  We use www.customcruisewear.com who always design beautiful shirts with a LOT of options for fit, style, and comfort.

(Direct links to specific group shirts may be found under the group tab

You will need a Boarding Pass to get on the ship.  These are similar to the boarding passes for flying.  AFTER your reservation has been paid in full, Boarding Passes are printed from the Carnival website.  You will be directed to “Manage” your cruise at www.carnival.com so that you can print these out.  This is also where you can set up your account, see what excursions are available, and pre-purchase any onboard amenities.


The “Sign & Sail” card is a plastic card that will be given to you when you get to your cabin.  It serves as your I.D. and your “credit card” while on the cruise.  After your reservation has been paid in full, you will go online with Carnival Cruise Line and “Manage” your specific choices, including what debit/credit card you want to be associated with your “Sign & Sail” card, etc.  (Once on board the ship (not before), you may go to the purser/information desk and put cash down on your account, instead of using a debit or credit card if you prefer).


Additional information can be found here:  https://help.carnival.com/

For U.S. Citizens a copy of your birth certificate and/or a valid U.S. government issued photo identification card (including driver’s license) is acceptable for a “closed loop” cruise (departing and returning to the same port).  Normally only a driver’s license is required.


Passports are strongly recommended, but not required.  Please check the Carnival Cruise Line website before registering to make sure this policy has not changed. If you only have the birth certificate or govt photo I.D. some shore excursions may be limited.  Non U.S. Citizens must have a valid passport.

Guests may begin boarding any time after their designated time.  The very last allowable time for boarding is 1-1/2 hours before departure (2:30pm).


Each piece of luggage will need to have the special Carnival Cruise Line luggage tags on them.  You will be able to print these out after your ticket is paid in full.  (I usually “laminate” mine with packing tape and staple them around the luggage handles.)  They will have the information on them needed to get them to your cabin!


You will need to have your PASSPORT/I.D. and your “Boarding Pass” in your hand as you enter the terminal and go through the stations. (You will not need any other printed information).

Once you get on the ship you can either go get a bite to eat at the grill, explore the ship, chat with friends, or check out your cabin (after 1:30pm).  Your Luggage will NOT be in your cabin until later (often between 3-5pm), hopefully before dinner.


Muster is a safety drill in which all passengers must participate.  You will be instructed which location by posted Carnival Cruise Line employees.  This will occur around 4pm, before we pull out of the dock.

This information is posted in the FAQ section at www.carnival.com Also consider downloading the Carnival HUB app to your phone.


Access / Login – You will be given an instruction sheet when you get onboard the ship with the details of how to purchase internet time and how to log in.

Costs – varies depending on the number of minutes you purchase.

Wireless connections or Internet café – printing available.

Be SURE you know the policy of your individual carrier before using your phone on the ship.  We recommend that you DO NOT use your cell phone on the ship.  It is a good idea to turn them off or put them on airplane mode.  Roaming charges are VERY costly on the ships – firsthand experience!

Carnival offers several very affordable internet packages.  You can access social media, banking, and email through the package.  

GREAT TIP:  The best way to communicate on the ship is by using the Carnival HUB app available for downloading to your phone or device.  It has the schedule, a ship map, and lots of useful information.

WE are on vacation.  Please feel free to dress accordingly!  On ship – You will see ALL MANNER of dress.  You are on vacation – be comfortable.


At dinner – NOW this is the only place with a dress code.  Carnival Cruise Line asks that no one wear shorts, t-shirts, or bathing suits into the dining rooms.  These are totally acceptable on the Lido Deck and in the grill – but NOT in the dining room.


On excursions/shore – The important thing here is safety.  Please wear sun protection, appropriate shoes, & carry your I.D. close to your body.


On formal nights – These can be as simple as business casual or as formal as a ball gown.  We have seen an array of fashion on these nights.  (Personally, it is the ONE time of year that many of us get to dress up so we take full advantage!) 


Even tuxedos can be rented online before we sail and are very reasonably priced.  This is very convenient for anyone who is flying in and not able to pack a suit jacket.  It is also a time to get some GREAT portraits taken.


For information on styles, availability and pricing of formal wear:

Check the website at: www.cruiselineformal.com

Call Monday-Friday, 8am-12pm and 1pm-5pm EST

Toll free calls from the U.S and Canada: 1-800-551-5091

From International guests: 1-305-252-8572

Email: custservice@cruiselineformal.com

Formalwear rentals are only available for pre-cruise orders and are not available on board; therefore, rentals cannot be exchanged for alternate colors or sizing.  Pre-cruise orders will be available for pick-up at Special Occasions or Cherry on Top.


NO formal night for you? – NEVER a problem!  The grill & café will also be serving food.  It is your vacation and your choice!

Carnival Cruise Line events (Daily listed in the Carnival Cruise Line newsletter delivered to your room each evening):

Bingo – money & free cruises are given away
Ice sculpting – beautiful to watch
Movies – shown throughout the evening on the big screen, outdoors
Trivia – various trivia games throughout the ship. 

Spa – ooh la la!  Get a massage, facial, manicure, pedicure, or a fancy up-do for the formal night.


The Cruise Group will have some other planned activities and meeting spots, to be announced as we get closer to sailing.


Carnival Cruise Line’s schedule takes priority (formal nights) – In the event that Carnival Cruise Line  changes their schedule, especially for the formal nights, the Carnival Cruise Line  Schedule takes priority over our schedule.  (One year we were told by the cruise line AND by someone who had taken that exact same cruise that the formal nights were on a specific night.  When we got on board and received the morning’s Cruise newspaper, we saw that the formal night was not listed and had been changed to a different night.  We tried to spread the word, but missed a few people.  They look extra fabulous at dinner that night!!)

An excursion is a “reserved” event or destination that you plan in advance – something to do while on shore.  This includes snorkeling, sight-seeing, hiking, and more.  These range in price from $45 and up.

You will be able to go online with Carnival, register your information, and pick your excursions from a long list that will be available.  You can sort these by type of activity, cost, or strenuousness.


IF you don’t know which excursions you want do, you can always wait and book these on the ship.  Sometimes it is good to find out what other people in our group might be doing and go with them!


IF you prefer NOT to book an excursion, that is totally fine.  There is PLENTY to do right off the ship.  It is up to you.  Some people have rented a taxi, scooter, or car and done their own thing.  Others have spent the day shopping in the port.

Normally I include the prepaid gratuities when I send you a quote unless you request otherwise.  These will be charged on your bill the last night of the cruise.  This tip is split between the room steward, the waiter, & the wait staff.  It does NOT include room service or the porters.


More information on tipping can be found here:  https://help.carnival.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1123/kw/gratuities


Tipping can be quite daunting.  It is recommended to carry one and five dollar bills on you. 


Embarkation – it is customary to tip the luggage handler a few of dollars

Debarkation – it is customary to tip the luggage handler a few dollars

Room service – it is customary to tip a couple of dollars for this free, 24/7 service

Room steward – not mandatory or expected, but a nice gesture for someone who has kept your room clean & tidy.  Go to breakfast – Come back – room clean.  Go to shore – Come back – room clean.  Take a nap, go to dinner – Come back – room clean.  It is wonderful!

Waiter / wait staff – This is not mandatory, but a nice gesture.  IF you have received exceptional service, you might consider tipping your waiter an extra little amount on the side.  They work pretty hard to meet our special carnivorous appetites.


You have the option for prepaid gratuities and/or travel insurance (insurance for USA only).  You MUST let me know if you want travel insurance or to omit the pre-paid gratuities.

If you have food allergies be sure to let me know and I can put your name on a list that will be given to Carnival Cruise Line.  Carnival has a gluten-free menu and will make every reasonable attempt to accommodate their guests.  Even with that list though, be sure to let your individual waiters know about your allergies. If your allergies are severe enough to require bringing your own food, please get a note from your doctor. This will help get your food items through the port customs.

Debarkation is explained in detail via the television in your room.  There will also be printed flyers & custom forms delivered to your room the day before we return to port.


Debarkation usually begins by 8:00am, and it can sometimes take a couple of hours to get through customs.  If you are flying out, PLEASE be careful to allow enough time to get through customs AND make the long drive back to the airport.  It could take less time, BUT to be on the safe side, you might want to consider allowing about 4-5 hours for the entire process.


Luggage for Debarkation:


Self Assist – IF you opt to carry your own luggage off the ship, you will be directed to the times each deck is released.  Usually “Self Check” guests are allowed off the ship first.  This is essential if you have an early flight.  There will be long lines to get off the ship, so consider this if you plan on carrying your own luggage.


Luggage check – IF you have your luggage checked the night before (by 11pm), it will be waiting for you in the terminal when you get off the ship in a special, marked section.  You will receive special luggage tags in order to locate your bags.  The next morning, you will be instructed to wait until your deck is released.  This allows time for a leisurely breakfast, last hugs, and to sit and rest.  You may, however, have to carry your luggage through customs after you pick it up in the terminal.  Often there are porters available to help get you and your luggage through the lines – for a tip!

©2018 BY THETRAVELMAVEN