Pro-Tips and Fun Ship Thoughts.

Since the last blog posting, I’ve been preparing to tell you about a few helpful tips when cruising.  After my 19th cruise, I am just as excited as the first time my eyes set sight on the “Fantasy” in 2000 my first cruise experience.  The magic of cruising for someone like me never gets old.  I look forward to the unveiling of new ships with anticipation of a new adventure. 

During my travels, I have learned a few things to make cruising easier, worry and stress free.  Pack with fun in mind. Know that there is a time your bags will be searched or away from you.  Once you arrive at the port and the night before your departure. So keep your valuables with you.

Let’s start with whats most important to me, tipping.  Do not think a dollar here a dollar there is too much.  Although it adds up set a tip budget.

Carnival provides exceptional service above and beyond just because of who they are.  Sowing a seed of thankfulness adds to your experience.

Whether traveling to the port or leaving the port without a doubt tip "anyone" who handles your luggage. Start with transportation either wheelchair, bus, taxi or Uber drivers. Most important to me is the baggage handlers at the port. You can get your bags on time, later or never. Be friendly to them it's vacation. Any delays, or changes is not their fault. They are there to help assist you.

The ship staff, housekeeping, who remembers your name all week, who cleans up behind you. Some of us have a lot of mess. Your bar staff, if you keep the same person he or she will remember your favorite drink. My happy place is with the dining room servers who remembers special meal request or that you like a few extra lemons with your water at dinner time without asking and the delightful entertainment they provide.

You should include gratuities in your travel package. but when extra care is given to detail, show your appreciation in tipping it makes you feel good. 

Now remember this is a cruise you do not need to bring the entire house. Besides who wants to pay the airlines extra money when you can spend that on vacation. Or bring tons of heavy things that you never wear. Unless you are going to Alaska which is another topic by itself.  One goal is to make sure you can identify your luggage by tags or colors. After all there will be at least 3,000 plus pieces. You want to move transparently through the crowds without a struggle.

Ladies, depending on the season shorts, tank tops, tshirts, socks, under garments, sundresses, swimsuits and cover ups are truly all that's needed. Interchangeable outfits make less clothing you have to carry. Bring a light jacket, rain poncho or sweater for those cool or rainy nights, maybe a pair of jeans if you normally get cold.

A pair of sandals, flip flops, ankle boots or rain boots (optional because I like rain boots) and a pair of tennis shoes. Honestly you don't need 40 pairs of shoes! Make sure you bring one nice dinner dress for The Captains formal night! This is your dress to impress night. Shoes are important just remember you are on a ship. 

Men, tshirts, tanks, socks, underwear and shorts. A nice suit for your formal dinner night. Now men you don't have to bring 40 pairs of gymshoes but if you are strong enough to carry all that then go for it. Refer back to why I started with why you should tip.

Here are a few extras that won't take up much room but I find are essential and what I call cruise don't forgets.  Keep in mind Carnival is the fun ship. Beach towels are available you don't have to bring one from home. Laundry services are available as well or you can do it yourself on board. Bring a roll of quarters or get them when on shore.

A small surge protector since there are only two outlets but nothing long or bulky it will be confescated by port authorities. Scarf or door designs which makes it easier to find your cabin especially for seniors, children or partaking in the spirits. Those cabin hallways are very long which can get confusing. Highlighter to highlight your itinerary for the day. A dry erase board for your door to leave messages along with walkie talkies for group travel on and off the ship. There are no phone signals on board plus it's a time to unplug.  Ziplock bags to keep wet seperate from dry on the beach. To store your jewelry together when using the cabin safe, keep bottles from leaking, candy from melting or to take a few cookies to the beach. Strangely I bring a few sheets of foil when traveling with food from deck to cabin. 

Let's not forget a hat to shield you from direct sunlight. A waterproof case to keep your money, credit cards and phone dry all in one place. A water bottle one of the main necessities while traveling. I also bring a small insulated coffee travel mug so I don't have to practice not spilling coffee while the ship is moving. I like to walk with my coffee.

Few clothes pins to hang swim suits to dry. A finger nail clipper or small scissors. I also bring a small battery operated flash light. NO CANDLES are allowed!

Hair dryers are provided along with shower jel and  shampoo so you don't need a huge bottle in your suitcase. A few thank you notes for anyone who has shown you hospitality. Ear plugs for those times you want to block out the world, or if your cabin mate snores.

Sunscreen, sunglasses, aspirin, dramine for motion sickness, chap stick and bug repellent comes in handy. Hand sanitizer is provided on every deck. I bring wet wipes, face cloth and a small bottle of sanitizer to stay refreshed and keep cool on shore.  Lastly earbuds for music and or a wireless speaker to share your music with your cabin mate.

All of these things are optional never required. Remember this blog is about helpful hints to travel smoothly. Keep in mind if your bags are heavy when you arrive imagine how much heavier they will be when you add your souvenirs to them. The airlines will charge you when returning home and there's no fun in that. I hope this helps you.

Happy fun ship sailings!

The Love of Cruising Carnival

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Hello my fellow cruisers, I hope that everyone's holidays were prosperous and exciting. I also hope that each celebration of valentines was exactly as you wanted it to be! Speaking of valentines did you know the best way to truly show someone how much you love them is a cruise. Wheither it be a holiday or just because, a cruise is the best way to celebrate your anniversary, birthday, graduation, retirement or any other special events in your life.

As we approach a ramp up in the travel season let me help you prepare. First make sure you have a passport let's start there. This is what unlocks all the treasures. Next, decide when and where you would like to go. Check with family, friends, co-workers and make it a grand experience. Check out what each ship has to offer. Carnival has a fleet of ships that will quench all that you thirst for. If you love adventure, freedom and a party atmosphere Carnival is the place for you. Carnival Cruises have something to offer everyone.

In December, I traveled with family and friends for the most astonishing and amazing time. Fun, tranquility and food! Imagine 24hrs of food, laughter and excitement. I don't think I stopped eating or smiling the entire time! Either way the experience is what memories are made of! In the upcoming blog I will attempt to help you travel with ease, the in's and out's of cruising and how to get the most for your money and time. The do's and dont's and a few shortcuts to capture what dreams are truly made of. So stay tuned in and let's get ready to make some memories!

The Carnival Conquest Arriving at Port Everglades

Deep in the night when you are still asleep and trying not to think about having to leave the ship, you cruise comes to an end as the slow process of docking takes place in the dark.  Here the Carnival Conquest glides to dock at Port Everglades as seen from the Hilton at the Fort Lauderdale marina.  The hotel offers some of the best views in the area of cruise ships.  Sailed on the Carnival Conquest?  Share a review and tell us about it!

Setting Sail

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As I begin this journey of writing this cruise blog, let me start by saying a cruise is totally what you make it. You can have an amazing time with action and adventure. Or you can have one of the most disruptive infringements upon your most precious time. Possibly ruin the trip you so deserve to take.

There are many activities, excursions and sites to chose from. There is something for everyone of all ages to do. It's all up to you! Now imagine a blank canvas, where you are the artist. After you examine what colors you have to work with you begin the creation of your masterpiece. You get to tell an artistic view of what you see, hear, taste or smell. This is the way I would suggest that you pursue a cruise! The entire trip is your canvas and the hues you use, would be your adventures.

Take for instance you decide to visit a few broadway shows let's paint a few strokes of yellow, then add a comedy show add some purple stokes. Next imagine all the free food available from all over the world 24 hours each day, that color could be green representing eat as many times as you like. Then you may decide to add karaoke or watch karaoke let's paint that red from the excitement. Of course if you want to just relax, absorb the sunshine and drift off into the beautiful sky's tranquility that color could be stokes of light blue. What if you just glazed at the depths of the sea full of dolphins or whales this could be dark blue. Or maybe you had a conversation or took a picture with the Captain add a few strokes of white. See how easy it would be to create a picture of beauty.

That's just getting started. We have not mentioned swimming, hot tubs, zip lining, beaches, exotic beverages, water slides, the casino, dancing, movie nite, a few formal dinners, scuba diving, parasailing and more.

Finally you take a few pictures to commemorate your trip, and your canvas is now complete. That's what cruising is all about creating beautiful memories full of vibrancy, laughter and adventures. It's all what you make it.

So I suggest that you do it all, see it all, taste it all and turn your experiences into a beautiful canvas to express it all and then start planning your next cruise right away! See you at the next port! ~Karen

Introducing Carnival Aficionados, Hosted by Karen Ward!

Carnival Aficionados

A year ago I had the pleasure of meeting Karen Ward, a savvy and veteran cruiser aboard the ships of Carnival Cruise Line.  It did not take long to realize she does not simply enjoying taking a cruise but makes each one a total experience.  For years now, she has hosted her entire family of 35 on an annual cruise, handling every detail of the planning all the way down to scavenger hunts aboard ship.  Now I'm excited to introduce Karen Ward as our blogger for Carnival Aficionados!  The latest feature on our cruise community, you can follow her adventures at sea and more at www.CarnivalAficionados.com!  Join me in welcoming Karen and support the Carnival Aficionados blog by joining us today!