Are you heading out on a Carnival cruise? Check out these ABC's of Carnival Cruise Lines. A quick and easy, alphabetical guide to the ins and outs of cruising.
A- Aft- Aft refers to the rear of the ship. This is where people take their iconic fan tail photos! Forward refers to the front of the ship. Forward, front, get it? This is the pointy part of the ship.
B- Breakfast- B is for Breakfast as in Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast! Join The Cat in the Hat, Thing One and Thing Two and other Dr. Seuss characters for breakfast on Sea Days! The food is incredible and the atmosphere is super fun. I go and I’m in my thirties and don’t have any children. The cost is $5 per person. B is also for Brunch as in SeaDay Brunch, my favorite meal of the cruise!
C- Child Care- Did you know free Child Care is included on the ship? Camp Ocean is the place to be for kids 2 – 11 years old. The kids are broken up in to ages 2 -5, 6 – 8, and 9 – 11. Circle C is a special lounge for kids 12 -14 to hang out, meet new friends and simply chill. This is a great opportunity for your child to play with kids their own age while you enjoy some you time! See N for Night Owls for information on after-hours day care.
D- Demonstration- D is for Demonstration as in Cooking Demonstration. Join some of Carnival’s chef’s in the Steak House for an hour long presentation on how to prepare some of Carnival’s most famous dishes. This is one of my favorite aspects of the cruise! Note that this fills up fast so you’ll need to get there early to guarantee yourself a spot!
E- Embarkation- Embarkation is the process you will go through for getting on the ship. Make sure you have all of the proper documents (passport, passport card or birth certificate, and boarding pass). This process will go much quicker if you fill out your medical questionnaire and set up your spending account prior to the cruise. Make sure you have everything handy by checking out my post What's In my Embarkation Bag and don't miss out on my tips in the What Should I Do on Embarkation Day post, as well.
You can also purchase a Faster to the Fun option which expedite this process by allowing you to bypass the long line. This option is available for free to Platinum and Diamond VIFP members. See VIFP for more details.
F- Fun Times- The Fun Times is Carnival’s daily newsletter. It will arrive in your mailbox, located outside of your cabin door, or be placed on your bed each evening. Here you will find a schedule for the following day along with information about sunrise, sunset, port times, etc. There are special events for LGBTQ groups, military (both active duty and retired), and specific age groups as well.
G- Gangway- The Gangway is where you will enter and exit the ship. The location of the Gangway can change from port to port so be sure you check your Fun Times (see above) so you know where to meet. Make sure you have your Sail & Sign Card (or wristband or medallion, depending on which cruise line you’re sailing with).
H- Hasbro- Carnival has teamed up with Hasbro- as in the company that brought you such games as Connect 4, Yahtzee, Sorry!, Operation and SIMON. These games are brought to life in a giant game show style competition for the whole family!
I- Internet- Need to stay connected while you’re out to sea? Carnival’s got you covered! There are several internet packages available. You can purchase your package before the cruise in The Fun Shops section or once onboard using your wireless device. There are also several PC’s available for use on the ship if you do not plan on taking your laptop or tablet with you.
J- Jewelry- J is for jewelry- as in lots of it! There are several shops onboard the ship that offer jewelry- as in the real stuff and costume. The shops have sales throughout the ship, especially on Sea Days.
K- Karaoke- Karaoke is a huge event on cruises. I, myself, am guilty of getting on the stage and belting out a song or two. Remember, you’re never going to see these people again. Get out there and have fun!
L- Lido- The Lido Deck is typically Deck 9. This is where you will find the ships pools, buffet and several small “restaurants” such as a deli, a pizza place, and a Mongolian BBQ.
M- Muster- Muster is the maritime equivalent to a fire drill. It is mandatory for all passengers, regardless of how many cruises you’ve been on. Yes, it’s slightly inconvenient and a total buzz kill but it takes only a few minutes. Just be grateful you no longer have to wear your hot life vest!
N- Night Owls- Kids 11 and under can hang out with counselors after hours! They’ll enjoy games, music and fun up until 1 AM. Please note there is a fee attached to this service.
O- Open to Trying New Things- I cannot stress enough how this can make or break your cruise. In the dining room, you’ll be able to try all kinds of foods that you never dreamt of tasting. Be adventurous! Give it a shot! Did you know you are not limited to the number of appetizers, entrees, or desserts that you order on the cruise? Try ordering something you know you’ll like and something you’re curious about trying during each course or meal!
Don’t just stop there! Be open to trying new things while you’re in port too. Think you’ll like ziplining? Try it! Afraid of sea life? Conquer those fears! Want to bust a move on the dance floor or sing your favorite song at karaoke? Do it! You’ll never see most of these people again! Each cruise I do at least one thing that scares me- and you know what? I’m a better, more-well rounded and cultured person because of it!
P- Port- The left side of the ship. An easy way to remember this is port and left both have four letters. This is where you’ll find the even numbered cabins. Again, left, even and port all have four letters. Handy, isn’t it?
Q- Quiet- Are you looking for a quiet place to relax on the ship? Check out the Serenity Deck (see below), the card room or the ship’s library. There are several nooks and crannies on the ship where you can go if you’re looking for a quiet place to read a book.
R- Retreat- R is for retreat as in the Serenity Adult Only Retreat that you’ll find on the ship. Enjoy some peace and quiet in a kid-free zone featuring swaying hammocks, steamy hot tubs, and ice cold drinks.
S- Starboard- The right side of the ship. An easy way to remember this is right and starboard are both longer words than port and left. This is where you’ll find the odd numbered cabins.
T- Tender- Not to be confused with Tinder or chicken tenders, a tender is a smaller boat that carries you from your ship to the mainland. You may experience these in ports like Belize where the water is too shallow for the ship to pull up to a dock.
U- Understanding- One key aspect of travel is being understanding. Have patience and be willing to go with the flow! Getting pissy will only ruin your vacation!
V- VIFP- The VIFP (Very Important Fun Person) is Carnival’s rewards program. Your status is based on the number of days at sea. You identify a person’s status by the color of their Sail & Sign Card. Blue = first sailing, Red = 2nd sailing with less than 24 days spent at sea, Gold = 25 – 74 days spent at sea, Platinum = 75 – 199 days at sea and Diamond is 200+ days at sea. Each of these levels comes with different perks such as priority embarkation and disembarkation, special lines at the pursuer’s desk, gifts, parties, free laundry services, etc.
W- Work Out- Each ship is outfitted with a state of the art gym that features impressive views. You’ll find all kinds of equipment perfect for any level of expertise. Ships also have tracks, basketball courts and other sporty activities to keep you in place. There are additional services that you can purchase such as Groove for St. Jude (a walk benefitting St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital) and various fitness classes.
X- Xenophobia- Bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you? Xenophobia is a fear of strangers and foreigners. My personal challenge to you is to get out there and mix and mingle with at least one local! I think you’ll find them incredible welcoming and happy to have you visit their homeland! I have met some amazing people in my travels. Although every port has been welcoming, a special shout out goes out to the people of Belize, Aruba, and Bonaire!
Y-Youth Activities- There are ton of things for kids to do without checking into Camp Ocean of Circle C (see the letter C for more information). The ship features a game room (which is pay to play), a miniature golf course, giant chess, swimming pools, a basketball court, and special activities designed with your family in mind. Check out your Fun Times (see the letter F) for a list of these daily events!
Z- ZSpa- Ahhh ZSpa! Treat yourself to Carnival’s Spa services! You can have your hair done, get a mani or a pedi, enjoy a massage, acupuncture, and much, much more!