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RoadTravelled last won the day on April 3

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  1. @Tootie I'm a bit confused about your concern. The loyalty bag drop-off is always available for Platinum, Diamond, Suite and Faster-to-Fun guests. But, that benefit is the ability once on board to drop-off the bags you have brought onboard with you into your cabin prior to them being officially made available to guests - usually around 1:30pm or so. Once you drop them off, you are asked to leave until the official opening of the cabins. We have used this benefit many times with no issue. There is no benefit I know of that has CCL crew take your bags at the port and delivers them directly to you in your cabin. If you are in the higher loyalty tiers (or groups mentioned above), your luggage tags are marked "Priority" and tend to arrive fairly quickly. We've had ours arrive to the cabin pretty much after we had lunch and did the muster drill and then headed back to the cabin after the official opening of cabins. Remember, the port crew doesn't work for CCL. They are employees of the port and they hand-off the luggage to the crew on the ship. So, there is really no other way to get your bags on board other than giving them to the "red caps" or just carrying them onboard. If there are certain specific things you need prior to your checked bags arriving (like medicines, etc.) then I recommend you carry them on in a small back-pack.
  2. @euroguy Makes no difference to me in the least. They are not a part of my actual cruise on that ship and have no effect on how much I enjoy her or my vacation. But, it seems he is a great choice based on his reaction and his past connections to CCL.
  3. @Kendall James-Vargas You get rewards as soon as you spend any money at all on purchases. It really is a deal you can't pass up. Let me know when you think you might use it and I'll be happy to pass along my referral code. Yea, you may not be able to do this if you are still paying for your phone and it's not completely paid off. Check with your carrier to see if it is considered "unlocked" to that particular carrier and can switch to a different SIM.
  4. @Kendall James-Vargas I just bought an eSim for Europe for our river cruise next week. It covers all 5 countries we will be visiting. I got a 30-day, 5GB data plan. And, after using my reward dollars with them, it cost me a grand total of $13.27, such a deal. If you decide to go this route, let me know and I can give you my referral code that will knock off $3 on your purchase. Just a side note, you don't actually physically install this SIM card. It's all just software. So, once you purchase it you just click a few buttons to download it to your phone and do a quick setup. Once you are ready to use it you activate it and you are good to go. As noted above, make sure you confirm your phone qualifies and it is unlocked from your normal carrier (in other words you own the phone outright).
  5. @euroguy outlines I think many of the ideas that have been floated and likely to be included. As he says, only time will tell, and so far John has been very tight-lipped. But, he's right that the program definitely needs another look. This may be a tangent to the OP's question, but I would love to have a program that allows you to have your loyalty status on Carnival ships somehow be accommodated and recognized on other CCL branded ships, like Princess, P&O, Aida, Costa, etc. I think this could be a win-win for the company as it would allow you to experience what other brands bring to the table, further add revenue to CCL corporate, and open up a whole new level of port options.
  6. @3Sisters As a bit more information, John Heald confirmed that in the case of passengers not making it back onshore before departure, the ship's crew has specific procedures. These include certain identified crew going to that person's cabin and removing any documents found in the safe or other places and leaving them with the onshore agent for Carnival. Every port has an agent responsible for being CCL's point of contact. You may have seen these names on materials passed out as you disembark the ship at the port. Having said that, I still get extremely nervous about getting back to the ship way ahead of the appointed time, regardless of the issue about passports. I just freak out that I'm going to be left behind. So, I feel your concern for sure. If you search countries on the State Department web travel advisory site, there are some that say it is required by law that people have their original passport on their person — photocopies are not good enough. Just something else to think about.
  7. @LCK Our trip was land-based that time. You will need to be close enough to the port to pick up the local cell service provider in order to use the e-Sim card. I don't know how far that goes out to sea. But, I'm thinking it wouldn't be that far since it relies obviously on land-based cell towers to work. And, 5G service especially is very distance sensitive.
  8. @Old Cruiser I would disagree based on the statement I quoted which says the passenger must have traveled on the ship to the foreign port from the US port. Flying to Bimini would not meet that requirement in my reading of the rules.
  9. @jeana I'm certainly not an expert on the PVSA, but have studied it somewhat when the question of why Alaska cruises out of Seattle have to stop in Victoria, BC for only a few hours which seems pointless. The answer of course is the PVSA. If I'm reading your situation correctly, I think you are correct, that letting you fly directly to Bimini would be in violation of PVSA. Click here for Carnival's position on this subject. A few key elements I would call to your attention are these segments: "Foreign-flag vessels like Carnival’s vessels may transport passengers between two different U.S. ports without violating the PVSA if the vessel stops at a distant foreign port and the passenger traveled with the vessel to that distant foreign port." "Guests who miss the ship in the homeport are not allowed to embark the ship in any port of call if it is in violation of the PVSA." So, in other words, Carnival is obligated under federal law to not let you board in this situation without being afoul of the law and incurring what I assume are hefty fines and federal oversight. Bottomline, it's not in CCL's control to decide if you can do this in this case. I totally empathize with your situation, and so sorry that this was your first cruise and it turned out this way. I wish there had been a better outcome. I assure you that once you do a cruise, you will be hooked just like the rest of us. It's a great way to vacation and explore the world. If I could be so bold, I would offer a few suggestions the next time based on my own cruising experience: Travel to your port the day before the cruise, not the day of the cruise. That's especially true if you are flying long-distance like you were in this case. Be cognizant that traveling in winter from Colorado or other weather affected places during that time (Chicago for example) can be risky. If you must travel on the day of the cruise, insure that you have checked that there are other available flights out that same day that you can catch and still make it on time. If not, fall back to the day before scenario. It's worth the cost of a hotel overnight stay to insure you catch the ship. Consider buying travel insurance. This often times will mitigate costs incurred as the result of these type situations. Even though you didn't have access to the HUB app to cancel your excursions, did you call CCL customer service or talk with a CCL rep at the port and report the situation so they could work with you on that? Hope that helps.
  10. Let's step back from the edge a moment and be clear. CCL is not proposing to deny you boarding solely based on the fact you have a mobility scooter. They aren't taking away your ability to take a cruise vacation if you must use a mobility device. Scooter users are just as welcome as anyone BUT they must follow the rules CCL establishes for recognized safety concerns, just like everyone else must do. You are on a ship, that has finite space, and an overarching first priority to keep everyone safe onboard — crew and passengers. That's why there are specific rules about smoking and the banning of such items as candles, firearms, fireworks, flammable substances, etc. It's a bigger picture perspective that has to be considered. CCL has had this policy in place for years. They are just now ramping up enforcement because it's become a real problem with people ignoring the rules. Yes, there are multiple versions of accessible cabins available to book that will accommodate various disability needs. And, yes, you may need to plan ahead to insure you get the type of cabin you want — which by the way is true with everyone who books a cruise (we've already booked back in 2023 our 2025 cruises for example to insure we get a particular balcony room we want) — and not unreasonable to ask. First-come, first-serve. What CCL is however saying is that scooters cannot be stored in corridors or public areas for safety reasons. They must fit through the door of your cabin. And, guests must be able to collapse or fold them for storage in a way that allows for safe exit from the stateroom. Guests with scooters are being given several options: to use a collapsible scooter that will fit comfortably in the stateroom (they will even work with you to rent one at the port), to travel without a scooter if they are able, to change their ship or sailing date in order to reserve a stateroom that will accommodate the scooter, or to cancel their cruise for a full refund. I consider that all very reasonable and accommodating to everyone on the ship, including mobility users, to make the cruise both safe and enjoyable for all. So, plan ahead, and follow the rules for everyone's sake.
  11. @euroguy Thanks so much for the ship-on-a-stick! I've always wanted one of those but never won one. Yes, I believe only the Excel classes at this point have this interlocking cabin design. But, don't hold me to that. Whoops, sorry I got the Venezia and Firenze confused for your next trip. But, they both should have similar feels I'm thinking and you will really enjoy them. And yes, the Celebration center stage is setup the same way with all of the same pros and cons that go with it. 😉 Our next cruise is on the CCL Legend from Tampa to San Francisco via the Panama Canal. This has been on our bucket list for awhile and so really excited to do it finally. It also includes a stop in Cartagena, Colombia which will be my first time ever in South America!
  12. @euroguy Thanks for the in-depth review. We loved our cruise on Mardi Gras' sister ship Celebration as well for many of the reasons you cited. I'm also glad (and relieved) that you enjoyed Rudi's Seafood restaurant. We thought it outstanding in all respects. So, now that I've won the bet, when should I expect my prize to arrive in the mail? LOL Not to get to into the weeds too much here, but going to your comments about the design of the cabins, I would offer the following. Most of the state rooms on these Excel ships are designed as interlocking pairs. I've attached a diagram of how that works from an excellent video I found some time ago. As you can see, one of the pairs has the setup you had — bed next to the bathroom. And the other is the opposite with the bed next to the balcony. That's what we had and we really enjoyed it for exactly why you didn't like your version. It's too cramped if you have the bed by the bathroom. This design allows them to squeeze more cabins on the ship by doing this. I think other cruise lines from what I've been told have similar designs. So, the key is if you want a room with the bed by the balcony, you need to choose the cabin that has the bathroom on the right-hand side as you enter the cabin (as seen in the diagram). It's a bit hard to tell, but if you look carefully at the deck plan, you can kind of see that the door entries to these pairs are off-center (one to the one side and the other to the other side). We also agree with you that the bathrooms are smaller as a result of this design as well, giving a definite cramped feeling. But, we really did like the "real" shower door instead of the curtain. But, again, bottom-line, these ships are really wonderful with thoughtful design elements. You will love the Venezia. It's a real step up in design feel (being a former Costa ship) and since it is basically a Vista class ship, very familiar in setup with very manageable size.. Have a great trip!
  13. We've been on several CCL ships with these smart elevators along with using them in a couple of office towers I've visited. Yes, it is a different process. And, yes, it does put you a bit off-guard the first few times you use them because it breaks down all of the years of learned behavior on what you do to ride an elevator. The biggest shock to the system is the "need" to push your floor button when you enter — which of course, those buttons don't exist. But, once you get the idea, it really is a great advancement and SO simple. When your elevator arrives, you get in and it takes you to your desired floor. Easy. Change is hard, I get that. But, if some people had their way, we'd still be driving horse-drawn carriages instead of cars. Imagine the shock of learning how to drive a car during the early years of automobiles. So, embrace the change, and open yourself up to learning something new. Who knows, you might just like it.
  14. @euroguy The statue originally was the focal point in the steak house on the Pride — called David's Steak House. When they rethemed it to conform to CCL's Fahrenheit 555 Steak House it was removed as it no longer fit the theme. I'm really hoping it does re-appear on the Firenze as that would be perfect considering the original of this statute is in Florence aka Firenze, Italy.
  15. @Kendall James-Vargas Cell towers are land-based equipment installed and maintained by the cell carriers. They are not on cruise ships. Carnival has no involvement in those as I mentioned above, especially in foreign countries. They have no reason to have this as Cruise ships use satellite technology that they pay for and maintain and charge passengers for the wi-fi service to recoup their expense. Don't confuse cell service with wi-fi — two different things. Again, the cell carriers are the ones who manage all costs to users and CCL is totally out of the loop on this.
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