Monthly Archives: January 2017

F-Fog

Today I will be writing about fog and bad weather.  Nothing messes with a cruise more than weather. We have felt the affects of bad weather on cruises.  High winds and a tropical storm that we out ran.  The ship was a swaying and motion sickness did happen for a lot of passengers including myself.

Over the last six weeks I have been reading posting after posting on the Facebook cruise groups I am a member of all about the fog in Galveston.  When the fog rolls in there is absolutely nothing the ships can do to either pull into port or out of port.  One weekend Carnival had three cruise ships all stuck in the Gulf of Mexico. So what happens to the passengers both on the ships and the ones at port waiting to embark?

The simple answer is that they wait for the fog to dissipate so the ships can move.  The more difficult answer is how long does it take and what happens when it takes more then just a few hours.  If the fog lifts in a couple of hours it’s not really a big deal except for passengers that have to catch flights in Houston.  There of course will be the passengers whose whole lives have been interrupted due to the few hours of inconvenience and it is all Carnival’s fault. Let me get this out of the way right now, Carnival does not control the weather and also does not control their ability to get in and out of ports.

The fog in Galveston was so bad that the three ships that were all stuck in the Gulf of Mexico stayed in the Gulf over night.  The passengers that were on board the ships were kept entertained and fed.  The passengers that were sitting in Galveston waiting for their ship to come in not only had to find a place to stay for the night but also had their cruise cut short by a day.

There have been several occasions when a cruise ship could not make port at a country because of inclement weather.  When this occurs Carnival refunds each passenger their port fees for that particular port.  If a port is missed and a passenger has had excursions that they purchased thru Carnival then those excursions are refunded.  No other compensation is given.  I personally do not think any other compensation should be given.  It was at no fault of the cruise line that the port had to be missed.  I have read so many complaints about passengers whose whole trip has been ruined due to missing a port and they feel they should be compensated for this.  It drives me crazy!

As a side note, if the reason a port cannot be made is due to Carnival then compensation is given.  I highly recommend that passengers read their contracts and customer rights on the Carnival website.

No more doom and gloom! Next week we will get back on the fun topics and keep building on the excitement of cruising!

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E – Excursions

This past week has been extremely busy for Scott and myself.  The new floors look great and the next project is already in process.  By the time December gets here we will need a vacation for sure.

“E” is for excursions that are enjoyable and entertaining.  To enhance your cruising and vacation fun you have the opportunity to purchase excursions for any or all of the ports of calls we will be at.  There are several companies you can purchase the excursions from but I strongly recommend that all excursions be purchased from Carnival.

Carnival will refund you 110% of the price difference if you find the same excursion for a lower price from a different company. While this is a great reason to purchase from Carnival the best reason is they guarantee to wait for you if your excursion hits a delay.  This means that Carnival will not depart the port until you arrive back even if you are late.  Now this doesn’t mean that you can go on the excursion then when it is finished hit the town and take your sweet time getting back to the ship.

Here is a little story for you. When Scott and I were on our second cruise we were at the port of Cozumel.  There was a group of passengers that took an excursion on the ferry to the mainland. The ferry’s engine stopped working on the way back.  Because the passengers were on a Carnival purchased excursion a new ferry was sent for them and they arrived at the ship over 2 hours after the ship was scheduled to depart the port.  If the passengers were not on a Carnival purchased excursion the ship would have left on time and they all would have been left stuck in Cozumel.

If you go to the Carnival website you can browse all of the excursions to see if any of them peak your interest.  We prefer to do an excursion at every port.  Now any excursion you purchase must be paid in full at the time of purchase.  You can make payments for the cruise but not for excursions.  We prefer to finish paying off our cruise before we purchase any of the excursions.  We also purchase before the cruise.  Any excursion can be purchased online or on the ship.  The Shore Excursion desk is located on deck 3 Atrium.

  If you are working on budgeting for your cruise I suggest browsing the excursions to get an idea of the cost.  As always, if you have any questions just ask away.

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D-Dive In Movies

It’s Monday again.  Today we are waiting for 1600 lbs of flooring to arrive so we can begin the big install.  I feel like we are doing a major Spring clean and getting a whole new look and feel to the house at the same time.  Of course I wish it were Spring cause dang it’s been a bit chilly.

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter “D.” Dive in movies that is.  In the Fun Times you will find a section about the happenings of the day.  Listed in the evening hours most days will be movies that you can view on the massive screen on the Lido located on deck 10.

There are usually two movies that play one right after the other.  Some nights only have an early movie because an event is scheduled on the Lido for later that night. Movie times begin at 7:00 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. with the second movie starting at  9:30 p.m or 10:00 p.m.  One night there is a midnight showing of usually an rated R movie.

At the Blue Iguana you will find boxes of freshly popped popcorn that is free.  Please note that this popcorn is unsalted so you will need to apply the salt at one of the tables before you go to your seat.

If you know that you will be wanting to watch a movie you might want to go early and get your lounge chair.  Chairs fill up quickly. Because this is a nighttime movie and we are sailing in December I suggest you dress warmly.  Scott and I found that at the towel station they sell Dive in Movie blankets.  They are blue, plush, and warm.  For the price of $23 a piece we found it worth it.  Of course we were at most of the last movies every night so the blankets got some use.  We will be bringing the blankets with us for this cruise.

One of my biggest pet peeves during a Dive in Movie are the people that are just walking around and stop to see what is happening in the movie and pay no attention to the fact that they have stopped right in front of people sitting in chairs watching it. Please do not be one of those people.  Find a chair or  walk behind all of the chairs so you don’t interfere in someones viewing.

For some reason I now want to stop working on the house and watch a movie…….

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C- Cozumel

Happy Monday to all.It’s a nice sunny day out here in Central Texas and we are loving being able to open the windows for all that wonderful fresh air.

Today we will talk Cozumel, our first port of call.  It is a very popular cruising port and in my opinion the best shopping port.  Cozumel has an average temperature of 83 degrees in the month of December.  We have only been there once when it didn’t rain but it only lasts 15 to 20 minutes.  Cozumel is renowned for it’s scuba diving and snorkeling.  If you are interested in this activity I suggest Cozumel as the port to do it.

Unlike Belize, we will not need to take a tender boat to the pier.  When the ship gets the all clear and passengers are allowed to disembark all chaos ensues.  Just kidding…sorta.  There is a major rush of people that head to deck 0 to get to port.  The elevators cannot be used to get to deck 0, everyone has to take the stairs.  If you have a health condition that makes walking down several flights of stairs a no go then just go to guest services the night before getting to port and Carnival will accommodate you.

There really is no need to freak out about getting off the ship.  You will get off.  Please be ready for the people that push and shove.  Not everybody has manners but don’t let it put you in a bad mood before you even get to start your adventure in Cozumel.

When you get to the end of the pier you will find a large shopping area.  This is where Scott and I purchase our vanilla and t-shirts.  We choose to do our shopping after we have done our excursion and checked out Cozumel.  This way we don’t have to carry a bunch of stuff around until it’s time to go to the ship.  I’m not sure if it’s being smart so you decide which is best for you.  In December when we were in Cozumel they had 8 t-shirts for $20.  Yep, that’s my kind of shopping.

If you have purchased an excursion thru Carnival your tickets will tell you what time you will need to be at the end of the pier.  Once you get to the end of the pier you will see several people holding paddles in the air with names of excursions.  Find the correct paddle carrying tour guide and check in with them.  The tour guide will give you further instructions.

Cozumel offers several picture taking opportunities not only with the scenery but the locals dress in various costumes.  There are also oversized objects you can stand, sit, and wear that all make for fun photos.

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B – Belize

Happy New Year and welcome to 2017.  I always get so excited for the new year and all of the amazing adventures that await.  We are less than a year away from our family cruise and boy oh boy is the anticipation almost too much for me.

Today we will discuss Belize.  It is our first port of call after two days at sea enjoying all of the wonders that the Carnival Breeze has to offer.  Belize is “unbelizable” according to the local people.  It is a beautiful country with rolling hills and mountains, miles of beach, and the Belize Barrier Reef, the largest in the Western Hemisphere and second only in the world after the Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Due to the Belize Barrier Reef you must take a tender boat from the ship to shore.

So let’s talk tender boats.  Because I have appointed myself the family cruise planner we will all be doing excursions thru Carnival.  The night before we arrive in Belize you will find a letter in your mailbox found outside the cabin door.  With the letter there will be tickets to the excursions we have purchased prior to the start of the cruise.  On each ticket it will have the name of the excursion, the port of the excursion, and a place to meet.  As a side note, Scott and I use our magnet clips and place all of our excursion tickets on the wall as soon as we receive them so they do not get lost. In our experience with Carnival excursions the meet up point is usually in the theater at a designated time.  You simply head down to the theater at that designated time and await for the Fun Squad to direct you to deck zero and onto the tender boats.  The tenders only take a few minutes to get you to shore and once onshore you follow the nice tour guide holding the sign with your tour name to the appropriate transportation.

The key is to pay attention and follow directions.  First, have your sail and sign card with you at all times including while being at port. Second, have your passport or second form of id with you.  Not every port requires the id but Carnival still insists everyone carry one off the ship. Third, have your excursion tickets in hand.  Do not bury them at the bottom of a bag and then stop the line of people behind you as you empty your bag on the ground to find them.  Fourth, do not bring food and opened drinks off the ship.  I repeat, do not bring food and opened drinks off the ship.  We like to carry a large bottled water with us to our excursions but we do not open them until after we have gotten off the ship.

When we arrive at Belize City you will find stores and restaurants all right there for your shopping and eating pleasure.  The official language in Belize is English but most people are bilingual (English & Spanish speaking).  You should have no problem being able to communicate with any of the people.

Some interesting facts about Belize:

  • Belize’s Black Howler Monkeys, locally known as “Baboons” are one of the top 10 loudest animals in the world.
  • If you are eating Gibnut you’re eating a rainforest rodent which is a popular game meat in Belize also known as the Royal Rat.
  • The average temperature is 81 degrees.
  • Belize is home to the Jaguar Preserve

If you go on the Carnival website you can find the list and descriptions of the excursions for Belize.  Please feel free at any time to book the excursion you wish to go on.  If you book it you must pay for it at the same time.  Excursions are not part of the make a payment plan.  Scott and I will not be purchasing any excursions until after we have paid our cruise in full.  Also, if you would like to do an excursion with all of the people in our cruise group let me know.  I have contacted Carnival about group excursions but we have to have all 16 of us agree on the excursions and go together.  Since this is your vacation you do what you want. It would be nice if you do let us know which excursion you choose in case some people really want to go with you.

 

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