Carnival Cruise Information, Tips and Tricks

   November 26, 2015 ,   Tips & Tricks

This is CruiseMapper's page for Carnival cruise secrets, tips, and tricks, information, advice. The content here is updated constantly whenever new information or changes are officially announced. This is our modest "tips and tricks" help and advice for all the coolest-hot fans of the world's cheapest "Fun Ship" cruise line. This survey is integrated with CruiseMapper's main cruise tips and tricks article.

For convenience, next links jump down directly to Your Time Dining review, what is free (included in cruise fares), how to get a free cruise, military discount requirements, discount codes and coupons, scams, videos (page-bottom).

Carnival cruise secrets, tips, and tricks

We take the Carnival Cruise Lines information subject seriously, and many of the most popular topics are reviewed separately. So if you're interested in a particular subject - just follow our internal links. Enjoy!

Carnival Cruise Information, Tips and Tricks - CruiseMapper

How to get the best cruise booking prices?

Best prices on Carnival cruises are a real deal when you choose:

  • Early Saver booking (20-30% off, depending on the itinerary length) is always combined with the Price Protection guarantee.
  • Special offers by the "Concierge Club" loyalty program and any discounts/promotions available at booking (check for promo codes), group booking (15 plus passengers).
  • low season travel deals (depend on the destination, but the ever best are for early spring and fall. This is just when the best deals on ship repositioning are searching for the following destinations - Transatlantic and Panama Canal crossings (California - Florida), East Coast USA (Canada - Florida) and West Coast USA (to and from Alaska, often with Hawaii).
  • Last Minute deals - if you got the balls for it! Up to 70% lower rates. But it's a big-balls big thing - waiting until the very last moment to book a deal is nothing short to speculation. You may end up drinking beer ashore, the wife and kids yapping constantly at you about your mischief, and only tracking your Fun Ship's position online.
  • Best-money-for-value deals - free cabin upgrade (with availability - up to 7 grades up for free), Suite booking (lots of extras), package deals, specialty dining at most affordable charges, duty-free shopping and "high energy" gambling on board, and all the rest that costs extra and adds more to the Fun Ship experiences. You know your pocket - so you know best.
  • The actual cruise rates can be found through travel agencies/agents, providing regularly updated deals with real-time pricing and latest amenities updates. Strongly recommend is to compare deals by both prices and inclusions. Otherwise, for a few bucks less you can lose good values - like porthole or window, bonus amenities, onboard credit, etc.
  • Closely compare rates for different cabin types and categories. Often you'll need to add around USD 100-200 for a 7-day private balcony, even Suite (with late deals) which comes with complimentary services and bonus perks.
  • Reconciliation for budget-minded travelers - the stateroom is mostly bed and shower, most of the fun is out there, to hell with the windows and balconies - let's get this party started!

Carnival cruise information

Along with the survey on the average prices on Carnival cruise ships, we also give you categorized info on the cost of almost all Carnival Lines services and products. And even a review of the CCL quotes (it's the Carnival Cruises shares Stock Exchange Index/code).

Like anything in life, the fun always has its not small price. And we all know how the price of happiness is increasing faster than it should. We'll continue to add more Carnival prices related information (and correct the old one in the process), so visit us regularly to see what's going on at the "Fun Ship Money Market".

Carnival cruise toll-free number is 800-327-9501.

  • Booking online - start from ("Quick Search" or "Find A Cruise") or go directly to the ship's page. Choose "Cruise Details" and a select number of guests, then click the price link for stateroom's type. Fill in your information and provide the same for any additional passengers. The last step is to supply your payment details.
  • Price protection assurance with Early Saver says that if a traveller finds lower Carnival advertised fare but he/she has already booked the cruise, Carnival will issue the difference in the form of a non-refundable onboard credit. A price protection claim form has to be completed, available at the link.
  • Carnival requires proper travel documentation at embarkation and throughout the voyage. Any guest without proper documentation will not be allowed to board the ship, no refund will be issued. Carnival recommends all guests to sail with a passport. Though not required for the U.S. citizens on cruises beginning and ending in the same/different U.S. port, the passport may help expedite the CBP clearance upon your return to the U.S. In addition to citizenship proof, a government-issued non-expired photo I.D. is required of guests 16 years/older. The following are acceptable: Driver's Permit, Driver's License, Government-Issued identification card, school/student ID (for guests under 19).
  • Carnival prohibits certain items to be brought on board. Confiscated Items include alcohol (hard liquor), beer, wine or champagne beyond the allowable limits - one bottle (750 ml) per adult in their carry-on; steamers and clothing irons; household and electrical appliances; hookah; heating pads. Exceptions include personal grooming devices; electronics (laptops, cellular phones, cameras); electrical devices (all allowed when used with proper caution).
  • Check-in at least 1,5 hours before departure, otherwise you risk cancellation of the reservation. Security Checkpoint includes going through x-ray security machines with the carry-on luggage (you'll have it checked in if exceeding 24"/16"/30". CCL provides transportation services at most ports.
  • 6 months is the minimum age for cruising with Carnival, with the exceptions of Hawaii, South American and Transatlantic cruises (12 months). Babysitting services (Night Owls) for children ages 11/younger are provided during the 10 p.m.-1 a.m. interval and include movies, board and video games, drinks and snacks. It's $6.75 per hour/per child.
  • Parents with kids aged 3 and younger are provided with an onboard phone. Parents with kids 4 and 5 years are provided with phones depending on the ship’s availability. Parents of kids with special needs and allergies are also provided with phones - free of charge.
  • "Camp Carnival" (shipboard children program) groups kids-only facilities and supervised programming - completely free of charge, featuring kids-only sundeck with pool, the sensational "WaterWorks" park with the "Twister" slide (300ft / 92 m long 2-decks high).
  • Kids' activities are supervised by college-educated youth counselors with professional childcare experiences (education, psychology, recreation), fully trained in basic first aid and CPR. Ship's staffing, in general, depends on factors like capacity, itinerary and season. The youth staff is international.
  • At children's facilities, complimentary dining options include all-you-can-eat kids menu (D-Yummy) from the 24-our Pizzeria (huge slices and great pies), gourmet burgers and hotdogs, cookies, pastries, milk, and chocolate, ice-creams.
  • Leaving kids on the ship in seaports - parents are asked to show their tour ticket to the youth staff for contacting the tour operator on in cases of emergency. This service is available only on Carnival-sponsored (guaranteed) tours and excursions.
  • The Company's policy regarding passengers traveling with minors or alone states that cruisers under 21 have to travel with a guardian/relative of 25 yo / older. Passengers 18-20 yo don't have any restrictions to book cruises. Teenagers 13-17 yo have to be booked up to 3 cabins away from their guardian/relative. Children 12 yo / younger (when booking separate rooms) must either be next door or directly across the hall. Exceptions are for legally married couples and qualified military personnel.
  • Since October 9, 2014, all staterooms are entirely smoke-free, including on outside balconies. Cigarette/E-cigarette smoking is still allowed in designated open-deck areas, nightclubs and in certain areas within Carnival Casino lounges (for playing guests only) and Casino Bar. Pipe and cigar smoking is allowed in designated open-deck areas. Guests who smoke in staterooms/cabin balconies are assessed USD 250 cleaning/refreshing fee on their Sail&Sign accounts.
  • Carnival offers an advanced roaming network, allowing guests to make and receive calls at sea using their own mobile phone/telephone number. International roaming charges are billed by guests' home mobile carriers.
  • Guests may use personal checks on board to acquire a cash advance. 5.5% of the value or a flat fee of $5.50 (if the requested amount is $100 or less) is charged. Traveler's Checks (as well as Canadian Traveler's Checks) are cashed onboard at Guest Services Desk, no fee is applied. Money orders or bank-issued cashier's checks are not accepted onboard. Carnival guests can make balance inquiries and withdraw funds on their accounts while the ship is at sea or in port. A $6.00 fee per transaction is applied for the service which is controlled by the bank sponsoring the ATMs.
  • Should a passenger require medical attention while onboard, the Carnival Medical Center staff is ready to help 24 hours a day.
  • Guests who want to change dining after they're onboard, have to see the Maitre d’ and discuss if any changes are possible.
  • Each Carnival ship provides at least 2 self-service launderettes on the stateroom decks. Two or three dryers and washers are also available, and one iron/ironing board in each of the launderettes. $3.00 fare per washer/dryer load is applied.
  • International assistance is available by the multilingual Purser. Languages spoken include: Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Russian and Japanese.
  • In order to obtain luggage tags, see the last page of the cruise documents. Print as many as you need by accessing your booking - view cruise details and select the link from the To-Do List section.
  • Free postcards are available at the ship's purser's desk.
  • Your cabin steward is your best buddy on the boat in terms of extra perks - think of extra pillows, for example.

Next, are listed activities available at no extra cost for children by age group:

  • INFANTS (free of charge babysitting service) - min age 4 months, counselors change diapers when necessary, group babysitting from 10 pm until 3 am at additional cost of $6 per hour /1st kid ($4 for siblings), stroller rentals at $6 per day (3-5-night sailings), and $25 per sailing (5+ nights). Kids 2- yo are allowed to play in the playroom when accompanied by a parent.
  • TODDLERS (2-5 yo) - kids-only splash pools, coloring and drawing, cookie making and decorating, "Face Painting", "Sponge Painting", "Fun Ship Bingo", "Cartoon Time", "Pizza Pig Out", sing-alongs, various contests, and family games.
  • JUNIORS (6-8 yo) - "T-Shirt Painting", puppet shows, talent shows and outdoor games, Disney-themed activities.
  • TWEENERS (9-11 yo) - "Breakfast Fun", ping-pong and volleyball, board and video games and tournaments, dance classes, scavenger hunts, photography, jewelry making, lots of arts and crafts.
  • TEENS - "Circle C" (12-14 yo), and "Club O2" (15-17 yo); dedicated teens-only lounges (including a pool and a disco), Disco and Karaoke parties, teen dinners and makeovers, late-night movies, video games (PC, PS2, Xbox), teen-only shore excursions.

Are Carnival cruises all inclusive - what is free / included in the fares?

The list of all Carnival cruise tickets price inclusions has:

  • accommodation (all featuring the “Carnival Comfort Bed” - plush mattresses, deluxe duvets-linens-pillows)
  • all main meals in Dining Rooms, buffets and signature themed food bars ((most restaurants), actually are included), plus water-coffee-tea-milk-juices with 24-hr complimentary room service
  • all ship facilities and activities for families and children, including pools, kids and teens programs, live entertainment and movies under the stars, sports activities (fitness center, jogging track, volleyball-basketball courts, mini-golf, table tennis)
  • ship-shore-ship tendering transfers, special needs requests.

And Carnival doesn't charge for fuel anymore (for now).

What drinks are included in cruise fares?

  • free room-service drinks: orange-tomato-apple-grapefruit juice, regular and decaffeinated coffee, hot and unsweetened iced tea, hot chocolate, regular-skim-chocolate milk.
  • free Afternoon Tea (on sea days only, serving specialty teas, as well as smoked salmon, strawberries and cream, and delicious cakes)
  • free souvenir-glass by buying a DOD ("drink of the day")
  • in the 24-hour Lido Deck buffet are always free the following drinks: milk, coffee, hot and iced tea, hot chocolate and lemonade.
  • free drinks at the casino - as part of the line's new partnership with "Isle of Capri Casinos" (benefits, "Drink On Us" program).
  • Since Carnival upgraded most of its ships with new coffee (vending) machines, the free cappuccino and espresso offers are slowly disappearing fleetwide.

Free alcohol offers

  • a free bottle of Champagne by participating in the on-board game shows
  • the Steakhouse free wine promotion (a free bottle of wine if you make a Steakhouse reservation for the first night of your sailing.
  • free liquor/wine tasting in the duty-free shops (usually the 1st night)
  • free Champagne at Art auctions (note: no art purchase necessary)
  • free drinks (including alcohol) and free Hors d'oeuvres at the Captains Party and Past Passenger parties (the last ones are on the 5+ days sailings only). You may also order whatever you want - it'll be still free.

What food is included in cruise fares?

  • Appetizers-soups-salads-entrees-desserts in main dining rooms - order as many as you want (all free), including steaks and lobster (served usually on Elegant Nights), plus everything on Lido Deck (excepting alcohol-sodas-coffees).
  • healthy-low fat-low cholesterol selections are available in main dining rooms
  • you're eligible for a free steak when you purchase a bottle from ship's wine store.
  • free soft ice-cream (24-hours, free hard ice-cream (plus all kinds of fixings for sundaes in the afternoon
  • 24-hour room service and pizzeria, offering caesar salad, calzones, and pizza!
  • the pre-dinner Sushi bar is free of charge (open only for a few hours in the late afternoon - from 5 pm to 8 pm).
  • Taste Bar (also open from 5 pm to 8 pm) offers complimentary smaller-sized dishes sampling all ship's dining venue menus.
  • Banana splits and mac-and-cheese in the main dining room's kids' menu.

Free items and shipboard services

  • (at the Guest Services Desk) a deck of Carnival-logoed cards, postcards with a picture of the ship
  • in-cabin infotainment (movies, webcam views, cruise itinerary-related information)
  • cruise book in the cabin
  • much free stuff (giveaways) are available at port talks
  • free medications are Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Neosporin, PeptoBismol, plus the cure for the seasickness.
  • The bathroom's amenities basket is free. It includes razors, toothpaste, and dental floss, Emergen-C, lotion, shampoo, Advil (an analgesic medicine).
  • Free of charge processing of Travelers' checks (there's a fee for personal checks).
  • complimentary Carnival Spa treatment (usually facial) is offered with the spa tour when you board the ship. If you participate in the Spa talks you can get a 10% discount on Spa prices. In the Spa-complex, free of charge for all guests are steam rooms, saunas, hot tubs. Booking one of the Cloud 9 Spa staterooms additionally will give you 2 free fitness (yoga or pilates) classes, plus unlimited access to the Thalassotherapy pool.
  • Free Internet - passengers are allowed to access a certain set of websites for free through Wi-Fi (either in the Internet Cafe or on personal devices). Still, for visiting other websites (including for checking e-mails) they have to purchase packages with minutes.
  • Check the "Fun Times" newsletter for all the special offers while on the Carnival cruise ship.
  • There are free Carnival Suite cabin amenities, services, and bonuses for booking the best of the best ship accommodations. The list includes best ship locations, priority boarding/tendering, express embarkation luggage delivery, exclusive cocktail invitations, dining room seating preferences, 24-hr concierge service, complimentary laundry/dry cleaning, welcome aboard luxury gift basket (with champagne and chocolates), en-suite dining (complimentary daily canapes), huge-size balcony.

What is not included in Carnival cruise ticket prices?

Now see the list of services and amenities that are not included on Carnival cruises:

  • travel insurance, passports, visas, airfares
  • shore excursions and tours
  • medical services
  • onboard laundry
  • Internet and ship-to-shore communications (Wi-Fi, cell phone roaming)
  • child-care services (babysitting is available for a fee between 10 pm-3 am)
  • Casino gambling and bar drinks expenses (bingo, casino gaming, arcades, duty-free ship shopping)
  • photo services
  • alternative club dining at specialty restaurants (Steakhouse, Supper Club)
  • Spa Carnival and Cloud 9 Spa facilities and services (Fitness is free, some classes are extra)
  • beverages (soda, liquor, specialty coffees, bottled water)
  • items from the onboard patisserie
  • gratuities
  • the Golf Academy program
  • and finally - the Government taxes and port fees.
  • Carnival Suites inclusions
  • Booking a suite guarantees a larger balconied accommodation with private bathroom and whirlpool tub, dressing area with vanity desk, 2 large closets, personal safe, refrigerator, welcome champagne and chocolates, daily canapes, express embarkation/disembarkation (luggage delivery, priority check-ins and tendering), 24-hour butler service.
  • Booking one of the Carnival Spa Suites (on selected ships) will grant you additional special spa amenities, priority reservations, private access areas.

Carnival "Your Time Dining" review

Fleetwide are available 4 dining options - Main Dining Room (MDR), Fine/Specialty, Bistro/Buffet, and complimentary 24-hour room service. "Your Time" dining option is also available on all ships since 2009. Follows our "Carnival Anytime Dining" review (ala "flexible dining") in MDRs (Main Dining Rooms) fleetwide.

  • It's an open seating concept. Guests are allowed to choose their own dining time and tablemates, reservations are not required (but recommended), there's no surcharge.
  • MDRs are two large and most elegantly appointed big-capacity restaurants with resort-casual dress code, excepting the 2 formal dinners per voyage.
  • Upon booking you choose whether you want traditional/assigned seating at dinner or "Your Time" (flexible). This is "during the whole voyage" choice, so choose wisely. The bistro/buffet option is always available - no matter what dinner dining you've chosen.
  • Traditional dining is available on all ships. It's perfect for guests who actually enjoy meeting new people, plus the dining menu is exactly the same.
  • To enjoy Anytime Dining you have to show up at your assigned MDR anytime between 5:45 pm - 9:30 pm (see dining times below) and you just wait for a table ("first come first served" basis). Your room card (S&S) shows your dinner option. Often guests with traditional dining are in the same MDR but on different floors.
  • "Your Time Dining" is only for dinner times - breakfasts and lunches in MDRs are always "open seating".
  • You can request a table for 2 or more guests (depending on group size). If you don't request table at breakfast, you'll most probably be seated with other guests at your table.
  • Group dining - you are a group (all booked independently) and want to be seated close to each in the MDR. If all of you are booked through CCL, you can get your bookings "linked" so the Maitre D' knows that you wish to dine as a group. If bookings are through a travel agent the agency can link them for you (CCL will deal with the agent as the owner of the booking). So one of you has to gather all booking numbers and call Carnival.
  • Remember - 12 is the max number of guests per table, but large tables are limited. If your group has many kids, you would be able to put them at a separate table.

Carnival Anytime Dining review, tips and tricks - CruiseMapper

Shipboard Anytime dining experience

There are passenger reports that this option has not so good to worse service. One of the reasons for that might be that there are sometimes long waits before guests are seated. So make your reservations for the "Your Time" dining to ensure a table for your group. But generally speaking, the MDR service shouldn't be any worse - it's basically traditional dining without the worries of getting there on time.

  • Different or same waiter each night. Usually, guests sit at a different table each night, but they can request at least the same area to ensure service by the same wait staff they had the previous night. Many passengers tip the staff extra to "more personal" service. Note: the same table is not always available, so a reservation really helps.
  • The Carnival prepaid gratuities option is the most preferable one, but for a very well done service by the wait staff guests can always tip extra. Your S&S (Sail and Sign) card they can see who served you the previous dinner, so you can have the same waiters if you want. It's really nice to enjoy a "free choice" dining, but don't forget that there's no way you can change your Carnival dining options after you make them.

American TABLE-FEAST Main Dining Room experience

In December 2013 Carnival introduced its new dining concepts - American TABLE (casual) and American FEAST (formal). Both are dinner-only dining options, with feature dishes influenced by some of the ports of call your ship is visiting. The new dining experience is currently available only on the Glory ship, next to follow in the schedule are Liberty (January) and Imagination and Inspiration (February).

With the "American" cruise dining, Carnival is going to test their customers and see how they will respond to a way more contemporary and region themed dinner style. The new American menus will be rotated daily in the main dining rooms. Feature appetizers are fried calamari and frog legs, while the list of feature entrees includes free-range chicken and lamb shank. The "port themed" entrees list includes mango salad, island chicken curry and mango chutney (in Saint Thomas, for example). Several grill dishes will be also available at dinner.

The American FEAST menu will be offered on formal nights. The yummy list includes crispy crab, prime rib, broiled lobster, flat iron steak, veal parmigiana, and vegetarian dishes will be also available for ordering. As part of this new experiment, there's also a new food presentation starting with a very long list of wines (by glass and bottle, cost extra) and some featured cocktails (extra cost) will be also available at dinner in the Carnival ships' Main Dining Rooms. Since these new dining options are in a testing period, guest feedback will be taken and reviewed. The new Main Dining Room menus are listed along with all the rest sample menus at the "menu samples" link above.

Dining times and attire (Main Dining Room dress code rules)

  • Breakfast times (open 7.45 am – 9.00 am). Some Carnival ships are without a breakfast menu. Instead, they have the new "Punchliner Comedy Brunch" menu. On these ships, there's breakfast only on port days and debarkation day.
  • Lunchtimes (open 12 noon – 1:30 pm, 4 luncheon menus) - open only on sea days/closed when the ship is docked/in port. The Carnival "Punchliner" ships (see the list below) no longer offer lunch menus - the substitute is the Punchliner's brunch (again - only available on sea days).
  • Dinner times (each night 5 dinner menus, 6 different appetizers-soups, 2 salads, 6 entrees). One of two seatings - early (6 pm) or late (8:15 pm). Note: seating times may vary by ship/itinerary. Carnival "Your Time Dining" time for open seating at dinner (5:45 - 9:30 pm). The menus include the CCL's Classics selections (offered nightly) including steak, lobster, cured salmon, grilled chicken, candied tomato, pasta, Indian vegetarian dishes and a classic dessert menu of 6 selections, among which is the best ever "Warm Chocolate Melting Cake".
  • Formal Dinners (with selected wines) - the "Captain's Welcome Dinner", and "Gala Dinner" parties.
  • Items from the Spa and Kids menus are also available on request. The Main Dining option on Carnival is included in the cruise ticket price -multiple courses, classic appetizers, fabulous desserts, fine wines (at additional cost) at lunch and dinner.
  • Carnival dining attire/dining room dress code - in the MDR not permitted are shorts /swimwear, and no jeans at night.
  • list of Carnival ships with the "Punchliner Comedy Brunch" - Breeze, Dream, Conquest, Glory, Liberty, Magic, Miracle, Splendor, Sunshine.

"Dr Seuss at Sea" Carnival breakfast dining

This is the latest upgrade of the Carnival cruise dining options - Dr Seuss at Sea. It's a themed characters breakfast dining experience, part of the countless super fun ideas of The Fun line.

Dr Seuss at Sea debuted in 2014, which means Grinch will be joining you and your friends at sea, together with the rest of the Seuss's feature characters, like The Cat in the Hat, Cindy Lou Who, The Lorax, Ned, and Jo Jo, Horton the Elephant, etc, etc.

Dr Suess breakfast is a family dining program that rolled out fleetwide in 2014. The list of the "Seuss at Sea" events includes:

  • Green Eggs and Ham breakfasts, with Seuss-themed meals (think of moose and goose juices, colorful pancakes, green eggs, and ham. And the serving staff will be dressed in a la Seuss uniforms, while the Seuss characters will interact with the hungry kids in the room.
  • The Seuss breakfasts will be on the first sea day of each Carnival cruise, with a surcharge of US$5 PP. They will be held in Main Dining Rooms, open to all (not only to families).
  • If the Seuss breakfast fans number exceeds the MDR's capacity, they will offer you a second themed breakfast later in the voyage.
  • The "Seussapalooza" is another part of the Seuss at Sea experience - a costume parade on the promenade and outdoor deck spaces, with Seuss characters marching ahead and interacting with the passengers.
  • On Carnival Freedom and the new Carnival Vista there will be a dedicated area within the Camp Carnival kids lounge called "Dr Seuss Bookville" (for reading books, storytelling, character painting, arts, crafts, games, many Seuss toys, etc).

Other Seuss-themed experiences on Carnival ships will be watching Seuss movies and special room decoration package. See below the Carnival lines' official video release:

Shipboard dining options in specialty restaurants (Steakhouse, Supper Club)

The Carnival's Fun Ships have their "fine dining" fancy restaurants located on their Spa and Lido decks. The specialty dining option is dinner-only (5:45 - 9:30 pm). Reservations are recommended, there's plenty of food, the service is absolutely superior, with live entertainment. There's also a surcharge of $25-30 pp and formal dress code. The Carnival ships' gourmet restaurants successfully rival famous upscale chains. The only con is their small sizes in comparison to the ships passenger capacity, so is highly advisable to make your reservations online or early at embarkation.

  • The Carnival Steakhouse is located on the Spa deck. The Carnival's Supper Club is located on the Lido deck. They both offer seafood, steaks, an extensive fine wines list, premium spirits, great desserts, superb service. Think of intimate dining, your choice cooked beef, an amazing seafood selection, gourmet entrees, and appetizers. The only disadvantage is their smaller size compared to the ships' passenger capacity.
  • All ships upgraded by the new Carnival Fun Ship 2.0 program and the newest Carnival ships of the Dream-class (plus the new Carnival Sunshine-class) also feature the "Cucina del Capitano" Italian family-style restaurant (free at lunch, with dinner surcharge $12/ $6 for kids 11+yo). Follow the above link to see which ship got what from all the new 2.0 upgrades, including from the list of the new ship dining venues.
  • All Carnival ships feature The Chef's Table dining tour. Its cost is $75 pp, capacity 12 guests, requires onboard booking. It's a multi-course dinner with a master chef, also includes a private cocktail reception and a tour of the galley.

Self-service buffet dining options

The Buffet is located on the Lido deck, it serves breakfast and lunch. The Buffet serves as Bistro at dinner: times (5:45 - 9:30 pm), made-to-order dishes, Carnival's signature sauces. The "Seaview Bistro" options include New York-style Deli, cafes (pastries, sundaes), specialty food stations (including Asian, Indian, Mexican, Grill, Salads, Pasta, Chicken), pool grilles (hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and steak sandwiches), a 24-hour complimentary pizzeria (7 kinds of pies, Caesar salad, garlic bread). Menus also include fish, meatballs, traditional bread. A salad bar, a 24-hour ice-cream parlor, low-cal and sugar-free desserts, pool-side bar and grill, a complimentary pre-dinner Sushi bar.

  • "Guy's Burger Joint" - a significant contributor to the Fun Ship 2.0 "fun food" upgrades. The Guy's burgers are the world's largest (3,591 pounds/1,630 kg) and best-ever hamburgers at seaplane and simple! Think of big hot juicy burgers and yummy hand-cut fries - which is exactly what you got from the Carnival's new partnership with the Guy Fieri celebrity from the Food Network TV channel.
  • "BlueIguana Cantina" (Mexican cuisine) - your choice freshly made tacos and burritos, homemade tortillas, chips, salsa.
  • "Bonsai Sushi" - the "seafood-and-soy-sauce spot".
  • "Ji Ji" (Asian/Mongolian cuisine) - complimentary stir-fries for lunch, a nominal-fee menu at dinner.
  • "Mongolian Wok" - your choice meat and sauce, mussels, Szechuan, beef, Thai, chicken.
  • "The Punchliner Comedy Brunch" (by George Lopez) - the Carnival's new "eat and laugh" concept (with live comedy shows per day) - breakfast burritos, french toasts with mac n' cheese, etc.
  • "Fat Jimmy's BBQ" - Italian sausage, barbecue chicken breast, pulled pork sandwich, salads.
  • "The Taste Bar" (international dishes).
  • "Pizzeria del Capitano" (open 24/7) - hand-tossed specialties.
  • "JavaBlue Cafe" - signature coffees and teas, cold drinks, baked treats.
  • "Shake Spot" - classic and special handcrafted shakes and floats.
  • "Coffee Bar" - specialty coffees and freshly brewed tea, homemade pastries, shakes, ice-cream sundaes, cakes, and cookies.
  • "SeaDogs" (only on Breeze, Magic, Sunshine) - located at SportSquare, free of charge all-beef hot dogs and toppings.
  • "RedFrog Pub" (Breeze, Magic, Sunshine, Vista) - live music, ThirstyFrog Red (the CCL's signature brew), snacks.

Complimentary 24-hour ROOM-SERVICE dining

  • Continental breakfast is available until 10 am.
  • This option also offers deck-served full breakfast and lunch.
  • The Room-service menu is listed at the "menu samples" link above.

Carnival Anytime dining tips and tricks

(pros, cons and tips from Funvillers, and links to integrated articles)

  • Go eat whenever you want during the time listed, sometimes you wait for a table, you might not always have the same staff.
  • If you change your mind about the "Anytime Dining"you can always call and see what's available. This is good to be done prior to sailing, but even on the ship you can go and talk with the Maitre D' and see if he/she can change it for you.
  • Booking late dining gives you time to clean up and relax after being in port/shore excursions. If you're very very hungry - you can always go to the buffet for a snack.
  • Kids don't have to order from kids menu only, and adults can order from it. The ice cream sundae and the banana split as dessert choices at dinner are perfect! Just ask your waiter for it." The kids' menu also offers sandwiches, burgers, pizza, and other absolutely not "kids only" stuff.
  • You can see the current kids menu on cabin TVs or in front of MDR. For more choices - check out the specialty restaurant or Lido buffet. If you NEED privacy while you eat - get room service.
  • special dining requests - kid's menu, vegetarian, low calorie-fat-sodium-cholesterol, Spa and Fitness menus. All onboard dining venues are smoke-free.
  • If you don't like anything in the MDR menu, ask the staff to bring you steak, or grilled chicken breast - even though they are not listed.
  • Any of the pasta dishes in the menu's main entree section are available also as appetizers.
  • The list of free drinks includes tea, coffee, water, juice, milk (with breakfast).

Carnival military discount requirements, information, FAQs

This is a review of Carnival's "Military Discount" requirements (rules, travel documents) who can qualify for the military promotions and who is eligible for Carnival's military rates.

The company's "military cruise rate" promos only continue its recognition and support for the military. In January 2016 was launched the "Honor. Family. Fun.". This program is via a partnership with Carrie Underwood (US singer, songwriter, actress) and "Operation Homefront" (US nonprofit supporting military families).

What travel documents are needed for Carnival's military discount?

These deals are some of the cheapest (though available only on select voyages per year) and some of the most attractive as low-priced cruises of all Carnival's specials and promotions. The short answer to "how much is the military discount for Carnival cruises" is 20-25%.

  • Carnival no longer requires a copy of the military photo ID.
  • Documents may be submitted to the Carnival Lines' Interline Desk by: Mail to "Carnival Cruise Lines, Interline Desk, Guest Services MSGP-456s" (the address is "3655 NW 87 Avenue, Miami FL 33178-2428"), Fax (305 406-6478) or E-Mail at Interline@Carnival.Com.
  • To request all Military Service Record Forms (all the Carnival US military personnel documents) - follow this link to
  • All documents must be submitted with payment within 24 hours (when booking a trip inside 1 week prior to sailing) and 72 hours (for bookings outside 1 week prior to sailing).
  • Like all travel discounts, Carnival military cruise deals are based on availability. Individual deposit and cancellation policies do apply.
  • The "Military Tips" per day is the same as for the rest of your fellow passengers - USD 11,50 pp (no "lower rates" here, read more about the Carnival Lines gratuities).
  • Military Upgrades are an additional special offering from 2 up to 7 categories free cabin upgrades (or at again discounted prices) - these specials depend solely on availability. You should ask your travel agency about any available special offers considering your sailing date. Some offers may include additional bonuses - like pre-post-cruise hotel packages deals, also at discounted rates (per room per night, with breakfast, transfers and free parking during your sailing).
  • Carnival Military discount promotion codes (military rate code) are provided upon cruise booking.

What are Carnival military discount requirements and rules?

Before continuing with the actual Carnival military requirements, know that for military discount cruises are applicable all deals excluding only cruises for Christmas and New Year's. These specials are not combinable with other promotions or discounts, but may be combined with 3-4-5 guest promotions. And always the qualified military guest (or the spouse) must occupy the booked cabin in order for the cabin to retain the military rate.

  • Who can qualify for the Carnival Cruise Lines military discounts? These special deals are related to guests who are or were enlisted (retired personnel and veterans) in any of the USAF (the US Armed Forces), consisting of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard. Also uniformed members of the USPHS (US Public Health Services) or the Canadian National Defense and Canadian Forces (DND/CF). To qualify for these promotions a person must be either on an active duty or to have served at least two years (for the Canadians this requirement is ten years) or during a wartime period - both with an honorable discharge.
  • A military guest is permitted to book only 1 cabin (he/she must travel in the cabin). Also permitted are spouses of an active military personnel (on active duty or stationed overseas) with the same requirement - to occupy the cabin (note: "spouses" also include "Same-Gender Union Partner").
  • The spouse is required to provide proof of eligibility - a copy of the official military orders, duties documentation, proof of marriage. Also eligible is spouse of deceased personnel (US or Canadian) - no matter active, retired or veterans. The widow/widower of a military person (active, retired, veteran) may book 1 cabin (she/he must occupy the cabin). The list of documents in this case includes a copy of the death certificate and the DD214/DD256 forms (for Canadians it's NDI75).
  • Military personnel (minors 18, 19 and 20 years of age) are an exception to the Carnival Lines' Age Policy. Needed documents, in this case, are a copy of the military "Leave and Earning Statement" (the SSN is blackened out), and for cadets - a letter from their Commander.
  • Not eligible for the promotion are employees of the US DOD (Department of Defense, civilian personnel), military affiliates and military contractors.

Carnival "Military Cruise" tips, tricks and secrets for first-timers

  • Carnival cruise Veterans Discount - don't forget to tell your agent that you (or a family member) are part of the Armed Forces (no matter active, retired or discharged). Carnival is the only line to offer such discounts to anyone that ever served. You'll NEED your DD214 (or any equivalent) submitted within 48 hours to lock in the military rate. You only have to send Carnival the DD214 document once (e-mailed, faxed or mailed), from then you always will be eligible for this discount without even having to ask.
  • Know, that this discount type isn't offered for all sailings (and not for all cabins), rates and promotions are constantly changing based on availability. When you book through - advanced search, check "military" to see if it's available for your departure date.
  • Know, that the military rate is not always the least expensive, while the "Early Saver" discount is (the ES is when you book a 3-5 day trip 3 months in advance, and 6+ day trips 5 months in advance, it also offers the lowest price guarantee). However, the military rate could become the cheaper deal if the ES is past. So get a rundown of all the rates before you book.
  • You'll not get special deals in a case of cancellation (recalled to duty, etc), but that's simply another reason to buy a travel Insurance.
  • Usually, onboard there are one to several vets meetings (depending on itinerary, check the "Funville Times" for details).
  • And not only that you're allowed to wear military uniforms on formal nights on Carnival cruises, but wear them with pride and joy, holding your head up - many folks will great you with "Thank you for your service"! Lovely - no tux and jackets, huh?

How to get a free Carnival cruise?

  • After completed 100 voyages with CCL they'll give you a complimentary (up to 8 days) cruise to Alaska, Mexican Riviera or Caribbean. This (absolutely legitimate) offer is one of the Carnival VIFP Club Past Guest benefits according to the implemented in June 2012 "Very Important Fun Person" loyalty program.
  • Play Bingo on Carnival cruise and you may win a free cruise (usually with a short itinerary, 3-4 days in length). Additional to the Bingo chances, you can get a complimentary cruise as one of the possible Carnival Casino Players Club comps - not free deals per se, but almost! This is a limited time exclusive promotion (based on availability) - on eligible sailings, your stateroom is for absolutely FREE! In this happy case, you book a cabin and you pay only the taxes. People have received such emails, it's not a scam, you just gotta be a gambler - and a very lucky one. Carnival sends you via email a list of ships available for booking, their departure ports and cruise length to choose from. This offer is also by the VIFP loyalty program - you have to be a VIFP Club member to be eligible. I guess they are right by saying that you gotta spend money to make money, huh!
  • Some timeshare offers are real deals. You'll have to sit and listen about the timeshare for several hours, then you get a 3-day free cruise voucher. Your cabin will be most likely an Interior (with the cheapest location) and the departure date will be in off-season. A different cabin category and sailing date will cost you extra, just like the Gov taxes and port fees.
  • A future free cruise is offered as passenger compensation for an incident/accident.
  • Sometimes, Carnival announces online games and contests either on their website or Facebook page. Like the "Grab Your Destiny" contest and its complimentary European cruise offer for the new Sunshine ship. These are all special offers as promotions, and you can definitely win a best-fun Carnival sailing - for absolutely free, Carnival guaranteed.
  • Travel agencies big-news promotions. Some passengers report very good experiences by enjoying a complimentary Carnival cruise with even included hotel stays and a rental car in the deal.
  • And, finally, you can apply and get a job with Carnival - then you can cruise for free for nine months! a year.

Carnival cruise scams

Most free cruise scams usually require a phone call for details. If you call within the next 2 days they may offer you a free airfare. My advise is - Google it, see what are the other people's experiences with similar offers, then if you feel so - make your call and seal the deal.

However, according to the majority of online reviews on the subject, most of the postcard offers turned out to be scams. And "most" definitely means "not all"! Some do receive their "complimentary", but most of them report that even getting that worked out is a huge hassle. And that they didn't get the best of staterooms onboard. And that the whole thing was not fun at all.

So in a wrap, the postcard offer - it's not worth the effort. Your time is so much more valuable, along with your dignity, common sense, and your money. So toss it in the trash. Some folks are even amusing themselves by shredding this type of mail content - some even before opening the letter, outside, in front of the house, on the stairs, with a shredder, and an extension cord. And here's why.

Unless it's not a free cruise promotion (officially announced by Carnival) think of any "free offer" as a "free dinner from a stranger". And we all know there's no such thing as free dinner, and especially without the kiss before the real f... fun. You'll have to learn an expensive lesson how to respect your money. You have chosen the world's cheapest cruise company - so pay your vacation like a hard-working guy, be in control of your time, enjoy your preferences and all the Fun Ship fun.

"Free cruise" phone call scam

From a May 2013 post at Funville:

  • You will receive a phone call from a number (like 800-227-6482, for example) and a recorded voice will say, "This is Carnival calling to verify your credit card number for you S&S card for your upcoming cruise on the X ship".
  • Well, this is not from Carnival, the caller is not affiliated with CCL in any way whatsoever - this is totally a scam. CCL would never call and ask you for that kind of information (credit card number) for your S&S account.
  • If you get such a "happy call" - just hang up. And this is just to remind you NEVER to give your credit card number over the phone. Of course, unless YOU initiated the phone call.
  • And I also would suggest a report to the police department too. Elderly people especially are susceptible to these scams.

"Complimentary 8 Day Cruise" postcard scam

Carnival's "Complimentary 8 Day Cruise" postcard has its 2 different labels - this is our review of the one that's a "shamelessly free". It is a free cruise offer for two passengers in an oceanview stateroom and optional bonus - free airline tickets and convenient departure from any major US port. Well, the card says "complimentary" instead of "free". Your complimentary cruise postcard has some weird elements well worth of noticing.

  1. What's all that supposed to mean? New time - new ideas and opportunities. Fewer and fewer people are buying the "free deal" idea - so the catch-word must be a more sophisticated one, like the "complimentary" approach. Fewer and fewer people are willing to sit for hours and hours and days through some sales pitch event to listen to all kinds of stuff they really don't want to, so the deal gotta be free of that content too - and it's a "timeshare-free" deal. "Not sponsored by Carnival" means the offer isn't related to the Carnival Line. Well, what do you think about it? The free Carnival cruise postcard requires you to call for details on a tall-free number (if you want the bonus - within the next 48 hours). When you do the call and a guy over there starts talking about the need for a credit card number - well, what do you really think this is? On its back it says "This is not a timeshare or land sale offer".
  2. It also says "This promotion is not sponsored by or affiliated with Carnival Cruise Lines", along with "Recipient is responsible for any applicable deposits, port charges, taxes and/or fees". The last one often goes around $250 (to be prepaid), but it still seems like a good 8-day Carnival cruise deal.
  3. And finally, there's nothing anywhere on the "Carnival" free postcard suggesting the name of the promo company - this leads to the impression that this deal is directly from Carnival. And what about the very reason for this promotion - the "grand opening"? An opening of what? It well may be a burger stand, right?

What is more confusing is that Carnival Cruise Line's logo is so prominently displayed on the front of your really good looking complimentary 8 day cruise postcard. It surely lends a bit of credibility to the deal, and it makes you wonder why the line lets them get away with it. Because it's a fact that many many many people do actually report bad experiences after responding these post-cards. And they blame Carnival for it.

"Timeshare" free cruise postcard

The "real-deal postcard" for a free Carnival cruise is inclusive of airfare - if you attend a sales pitch for, lets say, a discounted travel club membership. It'll offer you the benefit of receiving the best discounted rates on all your vacations in the future - and you still have to call the number to find out more.

Then eventually you go to a presentation in some hotel or whatever, it will all look so professional, so legit, the spoke person will be probably older, very personable and so nice, you pay the company upfront a good amount of money (often in thousands of dollars), then you got the big nothing for your money in the months that follow.

And this is how you learn your lesson - the hard American way. They'll pocket your money without providing the promised travel arrangements and all the advertised bonuses, they'll use the CCL's logo without authorization, along with the logos of airlines, hotels and whatever is necessary to scam you out of money.

Unfortunately, there are many fake companies out there taking a lot from a lot of people by luring them into paying big money for a free cruise vacation - that won't happen. Also, be most suspicious of free offers where the fine print says it's not a timeshare - this is 99% one most free cruise scam. It'll be a rip-off - no matter the company, no matter the promotion.

Carnival Discount Codes and Coupons

Carnival Cruise Lines discount codes and coupons are a great chance to enjoy some of industry's cheapest deals ("last minute" excluded). Discount codes are often provided and are applicable when a payment is being processed also on other travel booking websites. Some of the best travel agencies usually have some of these "secret codes" regularly updated - for those who know what and where to look for.

What are Carnival cruise discount codes?

"FREE Carnival cruise promotion" surely sounds great! And "Carnival kids sail free offer" is another great (and quite catchy!) song for humming and tapping. But such deals are so rare, so special, and often - money-consuming. Carnival's free cruise after 100 sailings, for example, is a real deal. Free cabin upgrades happen more often, and all you need to do is an "Early Saver" booking - and check the price drops. With this one, if not a free cabin upgrade, at least the bonus onboard credit is a sure thing. And these are not promotions - it's just the way company's"Fun Ships" business works.

Carnival's "kids sail free" deals are usually ship promotions, regional and seasonal specials or prize from onboard family activities (contests, talent and quiz shows, etc). Buy-one-get-one-free deals are often available due to ships big capacity and regularly operated roundtrip from Florida Caribbean itineraries. Free of charge shore excursions are offered for kids up to 3- years old, while children 4 to 12 yo enjoy half-priced tours in ports.

Generally speaking, most special deals are monetary discounts - a percentage off from the ticket prices. Discounts also depend on destination (passenger's residence), itinerary (region, length, call ports, tours / excursions), ship class, season.

Carnival's discount code eligibility requirements may include purchasing a particular item (or a minimum value) or may simply apply to your order specifically (for the luckiest ones). Discount codes will expire within a certain time period, and are available for usage only once. The mandatory rule is to sign up to

Promo codes - where, and how it works?

Many folks are regularly looking for discount codes for Carnival cruises or general information about what are the promotion codes, do they save money (or add value), how much cost and where can you obtain such codes.

Generally, Carnival discount codes are few and far between, but promotions do happen for real, once in a while. Shore excursion promotion / discount codes often are posted while onboard the ship. You can cancel your previously booked tour and rebook with the promotion code with up to 50% off the price. Remember that these are promotional deals - if people purchase tours anyway, there is really no reason to lower prices often.

Most customers get e-mails with the discount codes (officially) emailed from Carnival). As sometimes these codes can also be found on travel agency websites too, to google "Carnival cruise promotion codes" is essential. Sometimes codes work, sometimes don't (expired or for other reasons), but it never hurts to try. Special / discount prices on Carnival cruise deals are attainable with:

  • Military Discount Codes for military personnel (both retired or serving) or their spouses
  • Group Discounts (15+ passengers, the "organizer" gets free cruise ticket)
  • FREE cruise promotion by the Carnival VIFP Club loyalty program, also by participating in shipboard games and contests, playing bingo and casino games.
  • Discounts for Florida residents, California, Utah, etc
  • Free Cabin Upgrade - best cabin category deals at their lowest prices - GUARANTEED, with up to SIX categories upgrades!
  • Carnival ships repositioning ( - seasonal (Spring and Fall) change-homeport and transoceanic voyages, mostly to/from Europe and Alaska
  • Family cruise offers for Alaska and Europe (seasonal discounts)
  • Cheapest is Carnival's "Last Minute" deals and specials.
  • The list of other most popular Carnival promotion discounts includes: up to $260 onboard credit, free shore excursions, discounted destination rates (South America or Panama Canal, for example), for paying with VISA card, up to $200 cash-backs, Early Saver discounts (with early booking, "Best Price Guarantee"), "Absolute Lowest Price Sale".
  • The list of best travel booking websites for Carnival discounts (after are the wholesalers Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Priceline, Hotwire.