Here are some cruise tips on what to expect on your cruise.
Passport highly recommended –Begin/end at same US port for entry or re-entry to US ( Passports required for all others ) - US Citizens will need to present a passport or an original birth certificate or a birth certificate official copy (not a PHOTO COPY) with a raised seal and a photo ID (driver's license) at check-in. Non-US Citizens must surrender their passports and/or green cards and these documents will be returned at Immigration upon arrival back into the US . View the latest passport requirement info on-line info at: www.travel.state.gov please allow time for processing. Please note passports are required for air travel if you need to fly back to the US from Mexico (or other country) or if you miss your sailing & need to fly to the next port of call while on your cruise . Also, you may be required to provide additional or different travel documents when entering foreign countries.Visit www.travel.state.gov and click on Country Specific Information or visit www.cbp.gov Sea Travel for details. Please click here for links to important info and a sample form letter http://deniselabrie.homestead.com/Minor-under-18-travel-policy-1-parent-no-parents.html
- If you are traveling with children (minors under the age of 18 ) from a divorce or with your grandchildren (minors), you will need a Letter of Consent Notarized and signed by the legal guardians (parent(s) that the children are being allowed to travel with you to other countries like the Bahamas; Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Mexico, etc. and/ or legal papers stating that you have custody of the children/grandchildren. Traveling with minor(s) under age 18: require parent(s) permission to travel:
Child traveling with one parent or someone who is not a parent or legal guardian or a group Click here for important requirement info Click here for important US Customs requirement info
- Check in as early as you can (check in usually starts about 12:30 p.m.unless the cruise line has implemented a staggered check in schedule for your sailing) and have lunch on the ship at the buffet. A conf. number will be provided to you so that prior to your cruise, you can register for on-line check-in at www.carnival.com or Guest Information at www.royalcaribbean.com to expedite your boarding process on day of departure at the cruise ship terminal.
- Airport and Ground Transportation, Cruise Terminal Directions & Parking Costs & Information…are on the internet at www.rccl.com and portoflosangeles.org or www.carnival.com and
www.portofgalveston.com, Cash, Travelers Checks and Credit Cards (Visa and MasterCard) are accepted at Port of Galveston Official Parking Lots. Also, please check your specific departure port on-line prior to departure for details . Houston William P. Hobby Airport (closest airport to Galveston) . Shuttle service is available to and from the airport to the Port of Galveston check www.houstonairportsystem.org for a link for shuttle rates and reservations.
- Purchases on board - You cannot pay for some items on the ship with cash. You will need a credit card or put up a cash deposit (approx. $200 pp) at check in for a Sail & Sign/SeaPass card to charge purchases like alcoholic (when not complimentary) and non-alcoholic (bottled water, sodas) beverages, land tours, gift shop items, etc. During your cruise, you can pay for your charges in cash at the pursers desk (guest services) to reduce the amount charged to your credit card at the end of the cruise. See Tip Night listed below for the gratuity amount now automatically charged to your account.
- Captain's Formal Cocktail Reception and Dinner - is from formal to semi formal to dressy. Men are ok in dark suits or tuxedo. Women are ok in dressy, semi or formal wear. There are 2 or more formal nights on the 7 day & longer cruises, 1 Formal Night on shorter cruises.
- Land Tours - from home be sure to bring a hat, sunscreen, bag to carry your items and items purchased while shopping, cool comfortable clothing and walking shoes. Also, small water bottles to fill and carry in your bag. Our climate may be cool in November (Fall/Winter) but Nassau, Bahamas (Nov. avg. high 81.8, avg. low 68) Mediterranean avg. Aug hi 91, lo 64: Oct hi 68, lo 54 Bring a light jacket in case for cool evenings, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Mexico can still be very warm at that time of the year.
- Land Tours - Shore Excursions may offer the following activities: rafting, tubing, snorkeling, glass bottom boat, scuba diving, tour of local sights/landmarks, highlight and shopping, jeep safari, beach party, party boat, etc. Rates can range from approx. $29 to $99.00 per person
- Cabin decorations please note that cruise lines have restrictions in regards to this. Visit their website for info.
- Underwater Camera - purchase your underwater camera before your cruise. As with many items, it is more expensive to purchase them on the cruise ship.
- Common Areas (dining room, promenade deck, lounges, etc) on board the ship are sometimes cool. Bring a sweater or light jacket if you easily get cold.
- Historic Ruin Tours - please note that some tours charge a fee to video the ruins. If there is a beach nearby you may want to
wear your swimsuit under your clothes because you may have time after your tour to enjoy the water. The ship provides beach towels. Some tours may have an excellent photo opportunity like the Mayan Ruins from atop the hill over looking the white sand beach and clear water. Some tours may have transportation to take you from the entrance to the tour location for a small fee. Make sure you have small change with you. You can also walk from the entrance to the tour location. Be sure you have small bills to tip your tour guide at the end of the tour.
- Motion sickness medicine - bring motion sickness medication with you even if you think you won’t need it. Sometimes the ship encounters rough seas and can get rocky for a while. If you notice this happening take the medicine early so you can ride it out a little easier. If you are prone to motion sickness, you may want to take your motion sickness medication before you board one of the tenders (people ferry) that takes you to your land tour or a party boat. Sometimes the waters are choppy and the boat gets very rocky.
- Golfers - bring your golf clubs if your itinerary includes golf excursion(s)
- Walls have ears - you can sometimes hear normal conversations in the cabins next to you. You may hear loud conversations very well. Loud conversations may carry out into the hall way and passerby's can sometimes hear everything that is being said. So if you don't want anyone to hear what you are talking about keep your conversations on low volume.
- Tip Night - By popular requests from their guests, Carnival & other cruise lines now automatically charges the minimum suggested gratuity (Carnival approx. $13.99 per day per guest standard stateroom, Suite approx. $15.99 per person per day) to your credit card or deducts this amount from the cash that you put up for your Sail & Sign Card. This amount covers your dining and cabin personnel. You do have the option of going to the Purser’s desk (guest services) during the cruise to adjust or remove this amount depending on the level of service you received. You may tip your service provider(s) directly if you wish .
- Extra Bag - bring an extra bag with to put your nightclothes and items you need the morning of departure in it. The night before departure, you will set out your luggage for pick up.
- Return flight home - You may want to make your return flight after noon allowing yourself enough time for customs to clear the ship, debark, locate your luggage and arrive at the airport in time for your flight.
The ship is scheduled to arrive early in the morning but the debarkation process could take several hours or more.
- Customs - please note your bags go through customs and dogs may sniff them for illegal substances. Regarding Cuban cigars please visit www.cbp.gov for information on what products and how much can be brought back into the USA
- Phone Calls - Calls to and from the ship are expensive. You may want to tell relatives "no news is good news". Cell phones may work onboard the ship and when the ship is in or near port. You may want to check with your cellular provider before departure regarding coverage area and rates while sailing to Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Mexico. My AT&T Wireless cell phone works on Roam in each of the ports .Cell service may be available on some ships during the cruise.
- Meals - anytime you want to sleep late or attend an activity that conflicts with your assigned dining time just order room service or go to the buffet for a good meal or snack
- Great Shopping Bargains - duty free, tax-free where applicable
Jamaica : local crafts, Jablum Jamaican Coffee, Gucci, Movado, etc. watches, jewelry, linens, perfume, etc. Bahamas: local art, crafts, etc.
Cayman Islands : liquor & rum cakes (Tortuga), cigars, Rolex, Gucci, etc. watches, designer fragrances, leather, Waterford, Wedgewood, black coral
Cozumel/Calica/Playa del Carmenl : local crafts, jewelry, liquor, cigars, etc.Ensenada: Great bargains! Leather, crafts, etc. Catalina Island: Great shopping, souvenirs, etc.
Please note: deposits are non-refundable, additional charges apply for name changes if allowed, change/cancellation penalties apply. Refunds where applicable may take 30 days or longer to process.
CARNIVAL - LAST MINUTE CRUISE TIPS AND REMINDERS:
LIQUOR AND BEVERAGE POLICY (CRUISE DEPARTURES JULY 9, 2015 AND ONWARD)
A liquor and beverage consumption policy was created in order for Carnival to be able to control the liquor consumption of minors and the quantities consumed that lead to the disruptive behavior of others on board.
Drinking Alcohol On Board
The minimum age for the purchase and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages in the bars, lounges and gift shops is 21 years of age. In the event that Bar/Restaurant/Gift Shop Staff are in question that the guest is less than 21 years old, they shall request picture identification, prior to serving the drink or selling the bottle of liquor.
Carnival reserves the right to refuse the sale of alcoholic beverages to anyone.
For cruises starting on or after July 9, 2015, a change to our Liquor & Beverage Policy will take effect where guests will no longer be allowed to bring on board water, sodas and other non-alcoholic beverages packaged in bottles. Additionally, any confiscated items will also be discarded.
Bringing Liquor and Beverages Onboard - Embarkation
Guests are prohibited from bringing water, sodas and other non-alcoholic beverages onboard that are packaged in bottles.
A small quantity of non-alcoholic beverages (i.e., sparkling water, sodas, juice, and milk) packaged in cans or cartons may be brought onboard on embarkation day only in guests’ carry-on luggage. A small quantity is considered a maximum of 12 sealed, unopened cans/cartons of 12 ounces each or less per person.
Guests are prohibited from bringing alcoholic beverages on board with the following exception:
At the beginning of the cruise during embarkation day only, guests (21 years of age and older) may bring one 750 ml bottle of sealed/unopened wine or champagne per person in their carry-on luggage.
A $15 USD corkage fee (a charge exacted at a restaurant for every bottle of wine served that was not bought on the premises), per 750 ml bottle, will be charged should guests wish to consume their wine or champagne in the main dining room, steakhouse or bar.
All liquor, beer, other forms of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages outside of the exceptions referenced above are strictly prohibited in both carry-on and checked luggage and such items will be confiscated and discarded and no compensation will be provided.
Guests may bring on board distilled water for use with a CPAP machine or nursery water for families with babies and packed in carry-on luggage.Distilled water may also be purchased onboard at $3.00 USD per gallon by contacting Room Service. The CPAP machine must be packed in carry-on luggage.
Guests are prohibited from bringing large coolers onboard since screening and movement of large coolers through embarkation is an impediment to the boarding and security process. However small, personal-sized coolers, no larger than 12”H x 12”L x 12”W for the purpose of housing small quantities of non-alcoholic beverages and/or medications are permitted as carry-on luggage.
We know some of our guests are accustomed to bringing on their own supply of bottled water so as part of this new policy we have significantly reduced the pricing for bottled water (purified water) which will be conveniently delivered directly to your stateroom. Pricing is as follows:
$2.99 USD (plus tax) for a 12-pack of 500 ML of bottled water for pre-cruise purchase. Please visit The Fun Shops or www.carnival.com/funshops to place your order before your cruise to ensure we have an ample supply onboard.
$4.99 USD (plus gratuities) for a 12-pack of 500 ML of bottled water for purchase onboard.
Purchasing Liquor During the Cruise
Ports of Call: All alcohol purchased in ports of call will be returned on the morning of debarkation.
The Fun Shops (onboard): All alcohol purchased in The Fun Shops onboard will be returned on the morning of debarkation.
The Fun Shops (pre-cruise orders)
All alcohol purchased through The Fun Shops (via telephone order or online) for on board consumption is designed for in-stateroom entertainment only. Guests cannot take liquor bottles with them to public areas. Only wine or champagne that was ordered through The Fun Shops can be served in the dining room or Steakhouse.
Pre-order alcohol/non alcoholic (bottled water, sodas, etc) beverages to be delivered to your cabin during the cruise/pre purchase beverage packages visit the cruise lines website.
Here are some cruise reminders and tips. The cruise lines no longer sends out travel documents in the US mail. Everything is done on line now. Approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your cruise you will need to pre-register on line at www.carnival.com
After you pre-register you will be able to print your travel documents (boarding pass) and luggage tags on line. Print as many luggage tags as you need.
You will need to bring your boarding pass, photo id (age 16 and over), and original birth certificate or official copy (not a PHOTO COPY) with an official seal or a passport
If traveling with a minor and the parents/other parent is not traveling bring original custody papers (if you have custody) and original notarized travel permission form if applicable to check in at the cruise terminal on the day of sailing.
If there are any dining issues, please let the maitre'd in the dining room know on the first night of the cruise so that he can try to address them.
If there are any other issues please let the customer service desk know so they have an opportunity to address them for you during the cruise.
Please remind your dining personnel if anyone is celebrating a birthday, anniversary, etc. on formal night,usually the second night of the cruise, so that they can recognize the special occasion.
Here is some more helpful info for your cruise:
Plan to arrive early at the cruise terminal for your sailing by approx 11:30 am. You can check in early and have lunch on the lido deck and relax before you sail away. Allow for I-45 South traffic/construction delays.
If you are parking at the terminal:
Last time I sailed it took a while to park and return to check in. You can check your bags at the curb and then go park. If you have other people sailing with you, drop them at the curb with the luggage and let them go ahead and check in. You can meet them later on board the ship. Otherwise they may have a long wait for you to return after parking.
The shuttle for no luggage is faster to return to the terminal. There was a long line to enter the terminal parking because they were taking payment to park before you can park in a space.
If you drink a lot of cokes/sodas you can purchase a beverage card at the bar for a set amount to get unlimited cokes/sodas during your cruise.
If you want spa services like to get a massage for a fee, make your appointment early. Sometimes appointments fill up and if you want to wait to schedule later sometimes they run spa specials during the cruise.
Also toward the end of the cruise, the gift shop usually runs specials and almost everything is on sale.
Shopping in Cozumel: you can bargain with the vendors in the shopping plaza at the terminal and if you take a taxi on walk to the shopping strip nearby, there are a lot of shops and restaurants, Palmera's is a good place to eat. They usually take US dollars and cr. cards.
You can book the excursions on board or on line: you should get a tour sign up sheet with rates in your cabin or you can go to the cruise tour desk to sign up. You can also book online at www.carnival.com but there is a cutoff date prior to the cruise to do so. When you complete your Fun Pass you will get a link to view and book the excursions.
If you are interested in Faster To The Fun (early boarding and more perks) if it is available it will be located in this same section as excursions. 1 person per cabin pays for Faster to The Fun and everyone in the cabin benefits. Click here for more info http://www.carnival.com/Activities/Excursion/101031
There is a muster drill that everyone must attend prior to the ship departing. There will be announcements and instructions provided to you on board the ship prior to sailing.
If you are bringing one wine bottle per adult in your carry on luggage (750 ml) to enjoy on the cruise, don't forget to bring a wine opener. There are usually wine glasses in the cabins.
If you drink a lot of water and don't want to pay for bottled water, bring an empty sports water bottle that you can refill at the buffet water fountain or order fountain water by the glass from room service.
Bring a night light if you need low light in the cabin for children/night trips to the bathroom.
Texas State Tax: If you purchase alcohol/cigarettes duty free during your cruise, you will need to pay Texas state tax on the liquor as you exit the cruise terminal at the end of your cruise.
Click here for information on the amount of the tax and details about this tax
Carnival's VIFP past guest Party has changed. It no longer applies for the 4 day cruises:
VIFP Party: Exclusive party on cruises 5-days and longe r, for Platinum and Diamond guests, featuring complimentary drinks and appetizers.
The Captain's Celebration has also changed:
Captain’s Celebration: The Captain’s Celebration takes place on the 1st cruise elegant evening on the cruise prior to the start of the dinner hours (hours vary per ship). This format offers an inclusive cocktail party like atmosphere, along the entire Promenade and lounges with live music, dancing and cocktails ($1 off). The Captain and his Senior Officers will be introduced.
More changes that may apply to your cruise:
Here are some recent Carnival changes for your review that may apply to your cruise.
1.) Is there now an additional charge in the Main dining area for Lobster & Steak on the designated night? And is so what is the fee and how does that work.
Following a successful pilot program that introduced select dishes from our steakhouse restaurants in the main dining rooms, our dinner menu now includes Steakhouse Selections onboard all ships – this includes those ships that have steakhouse restaurants.
The Steakhouse Selections, which are offered nightly, include a 1-1/2 pound Maine lobster, 9 ounce filet mignon, 14 ounce New York strip steak and surf and turf (broiled Maine lobster tail and filet mignon). Steak offerings feature prime aged beef. The entrees are $20 USD each. The Steakhouse Selections augment the existing wide array of complimentary choices from our appetizer, entrée and dessert menus that are part of the main dining room offerings.
2.) Tips/Gratuity- If you prepay the gratuity are you still charged it on drinks and purchase while on the ship?
Yes, as the tips go to other staff members onboard, like housekeeping, dining room staff, etc. For beverage purchases, an automatic15% gratuity will be added to the bill and the charges will be applied directly to the guest's Sail & Sign account.. An automatic 15% gratuity will be added to the cover charge of the Chef’s Table and the charges will be applied directly to the guest’s Sail & Sign account. Room Service staff may be tipped as service is rendered.
If so, what’s the purpose and value in pre-purchasing as opposed to not doing so? One less thing you need to worry about when you receive your final onboard expensive information. If not pre-paid, it will still be charged to your sail and sign account at the end of the cruise.
3.) Room Service- Does carnival now charge for items (food) delivery to the room; when using room service?
We have expanded our 24 hour stateroom service menu to include a variety of new in-cabin dining options for a fee. The fee-based choices include chicken wings, fried shrimp, quesadillas, personal pizzas and more.
A wide range of items are available at no charge, including seven different hot and cold sandwiches, three salad choices, three desserts and beverages, as well as a Continental breakfast menu.
The expanded room service menu is designed to significantly broaden and upgrade our culinary choices available for in-room delivery. These new fee-based options are simply intended to create even greater choice and variety for our guests. Bar items ordered through room service are charged at regular menu prices.
The new features of the menu include:
More choices and more variety including our core complimentary offer
A new section of 9 specialty items including pizza, wings, fried shrimp and more for a nominal charge
In the evening hours, ships that feature Bonsai Sushi also offer select items from this specialty restaurant such as California Rolls, Spicy Tuna and Tempura Rolls. Ships with Bonsai Sushi include the Carnival Breeze, Carnival Legend, Carnival Pride, Carnival Sunshine and Carnival Vista.
4) Staggered Check in: Staggered Check-In has been rolled out to all vessels sailing from Baltimore, Barcelona, Charleston, Fort Lauderdale, Galveston, Honolulu, Long Beach, Miami, Mobile, New Orleans, New York and Norfolk.
Effective with all cruises departing on or after December 1, 2018, the recommended onboard gratuities will be updated as follows:
-Standard staterooms: $13.99, per person, per day -Suites: $15.99, per person, per day
Reminders & Tips
1) You may want to check your cell phone company in advance to see if you will have service while on the cruise. They can advise you what charges apply while in the different port(s) and at sea. Check the rates to send texts, it is usually a lot cheaper.
The ship has cell service while at sea. Note: Calls made from the ship's phones in the cabins to land are very expensive as high as $9.00 per minute.
2) Also notify your cr. card company in advance that you will use your card while in a different country during the cruise.This may help with them allowing your charges to go through.
3) Motion sickness medicine - bring motion sickness medication (like Dramamine non-drowsy formula) with you even if you think you won’t need it.Sometimes the ship may encounter rough seas and can get rocky for a while. If you notice this happening take the medicine early so you can ride it out a little easier.
If you are prone to motion sickness, you may want to take your motion sickness medication before you board the ship or one of the tenders, ferry or party boats in port. Sometimes the waters are choppy on the tenders/local boats in port and can get rocky.
4) If the 2 lower beds in your cabin are not put together to make 1 bed when you arrive and you want them together, tell your cabin steward and he/she will put them together for you. If you let the cabin steward know that there are elderly or handicapped passengers (especially if they have sailed before) in the cabin, they may not have to go to the boat drill as long as someone from the same cabin is going to attend the drill.
NOTE: the elevators do not work during the boat drill. Go to your boat drill muster station (see back of your cabin door for your muster station location or as instructed by the cruise line) early (about 10-15 min. prior) if you want to use the elevators to get there.
You'll find Alaska's summer temperatures surprisingly pleasant. Daytime highs range from 60°F - 80°F. Nighttime lows are refreshingly cool, dipping into the 40's - 50's. May and September are 5°- 10° cooler. However, temperatures vary wildly depending on which region of Alaska you plan to visit.
Plan to dress in layers click on what to wear at this web page link above for more info.
There are longer hours of daylight, click on weather and climate to view the hours of daylight at this site listed above.
Also, see Alaska average temperatures by region click here Alaska Weather:
Cell Phones on Alaska Cruise:
You may want to check your cell phone company in advance to see if you will have service while on the cruise. They can advise you what charges apply while in the different port(s) and at sea on the ship during the cruise. Check the rates to send texts, it is usually a lot cheaper.
Some carriers like AT&T may offer cell phone & text message packages especially for Celebrity Cruises (or your cruise line) for service while at sea on the ship during the cruise. Check with your carrier for one of these packages.
Calls and texts while in port in Alaska may be the same as calling anywhere else in the USA. Calls while in port in Canada are probably international roaming rates. Verify this with your cell provider prior to the cruise.
You may want to look into using these apps on your cell phone for making free phone calls and sending free text messages; Viber or WhatsApp. The other person(s) that you are calling/texting using these apps will also need to have them on their phone. You will need a wifi connection to use these apps. The ship has internet service but for a fee. Sometimes business establishments on land may offer wifi service.
Royal Caribbean from www.rccl.com (also see www.celebritycruises.com)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Ban
October 21, 2016
Dear Travel Partner,
We are writing to provide important information regarding Samsung Galaxy Note 7 cell phones. Please provide this information to your clients as soon as possible.
Royal Caribbean International will no longer allow Samsung Galaxy Note 7 cell phones onboard our ships. This decision was made in light of recent incidents and safety concerns raised by Samsung about this particular device, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recent ban of the phone from all airplanes. We ask that guests who own a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 not bring the device on their cruise.
Thank you for your assistance in notifying and updating your clients about our Samsung Galaxy Note 7 policy. As always, thank you for your ongoing support of Royal Caribbean International.
Royal Caribbean International
Guests are not allowed to bring alcoholic (no beer or hard liquor) or non-alcoholic beverages (bottled water, sodas, juice, etc.) onboard for consumption or any other use. Alcoholic beverages that are purchased in ports-of-call or from Shops On Board will be stored by the ship and delivered to your stateroom on the last day of the sailing. Alcoholic beverages seized on embarkation day will not be returned. Security may inspect containers (water bottles, soda bottles, mouthwash, luggage etc.) and will dispose of containers holding alcohol. Guests who violate any alcohol policies, (over consume, provide alcohol to people under age 21, demonstrate irresponsible behavior, or attempt to conceal alcoholic items at security and or luggage check points or any other time), may be disembarked or not allowed to board, at their own expense. Guests who are under the permitted drinking age will not have alcohol returned to them.
New Wine Policy: Guests wishing to bring personal wine and champagne onboard may do so only on boarding day, limited to two (2) 750 ml bottles per stateroom. When consumed in any public area, each bottle shall be subject to a corkage fee of $25.00. Additional bottles of wine beyond two (2) bottles that are brought onboard or any alcoholic beverages purchased in ports-of-call or from Shops On Board will be stored by the ship and delivered to your stateroom on the last day of the sailing. Alcoholic beverages seized on embarkation day will not be returned.
See www.rccl.com or www.celebritycruises.com for FAQ’s for current info about this policy and a list of prohibited items.
Pre-order alcohol/non alcoholic (bottled water, sodas, etc) beverages to be delivered to your cabin during the cruise/pre purchase beverage packages visit the cruise lines website.
NOTE: Most of the above listed information also applies to Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises.
The Creole Poet is an IATAN accredited travel agency. Denise Labrie US Mail Address 13165 W. Lake Houston Pkwy #422 Houston, TX 77044 Ofc 281.436.0405 Cell 713.560.3284 Fax 281-436-0406. Email firstname.lastname@example.org Website www.deniselabrie.com