When you take the plunge to see how a Travel Agent might help find you that perfect cruise, you may be a little confused by the information you could receive. Here are some great tips and things to keep in mind when reviewing the information on the quote. Remember, an agent gets paid by the cruise line so it does not cost you extra to use a travel agent!
1. What are my options? You can usually go through the "cafeteria line" and pick and choose the parts you like and change the ones you don't care for. Pre-paid gratuities? Yes or No. Travel Insurance? Yes or No. Type of Cabin? Refundable or Non-Refundable? Nothing is set in stone at this point. It is very important that you communicate with the agent and let them know what you like and what you want to change. This is part of GOOD service!
2. What type of cabin do I need? What is the best deck? Check out this deck plan for the Carnival Breeze!
The higher up you go on the ship, the more the cost increases. An interior cabin on deck 1 may be $20 cheaper than an interior cabin on deck 2, and so on. These are usually indicated by a letter such as "a" (lowest deck), "b" (next deck up), etc.
The type of cabin you choose will depend on your budget and preference. And interior cabin is cozy, comfy, and quiet. An ocean view gives you a view and a sense of time! You can tell if it is sunrise! A balcony cabin will let you experience the moment in private, whether it is an exterior balcony (facing the ocean) or an interior balcony (mostly RCCL). And then there are the Suites - Ocean Suite, Captains Suite, Grand Suite, Spa Suite - with a lot of perks! Of course, interior cabins are the most budget friendly, with Suites being the top of the line.
There are also cabins called Triples, Quads, and a few Quints. Usually when you get up to Quint size (5 guests) you will want to move to a suite for bigger bathrooms!
3. Miscellaneous charges? What are those? In short, they are port fees & taxes. Here is the official explanation. Got that? Yep.. fees and taxes. The pre-paid gratuities will be listed as a separate line item on the quote. If you do not see them listed, then they were not automatically included. Normally I include gratuities in my quotes unless specifically requested to leave them off.
4. And the number one question I get is what is "included" in the price. I always say everything except alcohol, souvenirs, and optional shore excursions, but it is a little more detailed than that. Of course there are options you can pre-purchase that will make a few items "included" so to speak, such as the Cheers! package or Bottomless Bubbles. Here is the best info directly from the Carnival website.
WHAT DOES THE PRICE OF MY CRUISE INCLUDE?
The price of your cruise includes:
A well deserved vacation!
Your stateroom, featuring the Carnival Comfort Bed Collection and nightly turndown service... additional stateroom features include a television, in-stateroom safe, individual climate control, full bathroom and ample storage space.
Spectacular production shows and entertainment, including hysterical comedians
Numerous lounges featuring live music and entertainment
Pools, whirlpools and waterslides
Year round youth programs for kids 2-17 years of age
A variety of dining options for breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and late night in the Main Dining Room and/or Lido Restaurant.
A variety of dining options for breakfast, lunch and snacking at specialty food spots (featured on select ships), such as but not limited to: Guy's Burger Joint, Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse, BlueIguana Cantina, Mongolian Wok, Ol' Fashioned BBQ and Fat Jimmy's Seaside BBQ
24-hour soft serve ice cream and frozen yogurt
Room Service from 6:00am-10:00pm (excluding for fee items)
The following beverages served in the Main Dining Room and 24/7 in the Lido Restaurant: non-bottled water, lemonade, iced tea, hot chocolate and non-specialty coffee and tea
The following services are not included in the cruise price:
Dining in specialty restaurants and snacking at cafes and lounges (featured on select ships), such as but not limited to: The Steakhouse, Bonsai Sushi, Bonsai Teppanyaki, Ji Ji Asian Kitchen, Seafood Shack, Cucina del Capitano, Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse, The Chef's Table, Shake Spot, Javablue Cafe, Promenade Cafe, Lido Coffee Bar, Ocean Plaza Cafe, Havana Bar on the Carnival Sunshine, RedFrog Pub and other lounges that may serve light bites.
'Steakhouse Selections' served in the Main Dining Room
Room Service from 10:00pm to 6:00am and for fee items on daytime menu
Alcoholic and non-alcoholic bar beverages (excluding beverages served in the Main Dining Room and Lido Restaurant such as non-bottled water, lemonade, iced tea, select juices, hot chocolate and non-specialty coffee and tea)
Dr. Seuss Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast
Gift Shop purchases
Purchases at Cherry on Top and Special Occasions (featured on select ships)
Thrill Theater and IMAX Theatre (featured on select ships)
Spa treatments, Salon services and select fitness classes
Gambling in the casino and Bingo
Video Arcade games
Art Auction Program (featured on select ships)
Internet access and 'chat' option on the HUB app
Use of your smartphone
Ship-to-Shore telephone calls
Laundry services (valet or self-service)
Service gratuities and tips
Yes. This is WHY I cruise. You get a LOT for what you pay for. Try booking a hotel, meals, transportation, excursions, and all these amenities separately and compare the prices!! This is why cruising has gotten so popular.