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Honolulu Blue

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  1. This was discussed in the context of other changes Carnival announced/made a few months ago to reduce the amount of plastic they had to (eventually) dispose of. It's interesting to note that they're implementing this, so thank you for sharing.
  2. They tried newer ships on this route a few years ago. I sailed out of SJ on the Liberty and the Valor. P.S. For those willing to consider Freedom OTS out of San Juan, you should also take a look at the Celebrity Summit, which is seasonal (October-April) and covers the same area from the same port.
  3. It's a typo. I meant "dive in". I apologize. Thank you for the replies so far.
  4. I have a cruise on Carnival that starts on October 27 and ends on November 10. My question is will we get the October movies for the whole cruise, the November movies for the whole cruise, or the October movies in October and the November movies in November? Thank you for your thoughtful, informative responses.
  5. That's not quite true. Carnival got rid of MDR lobster on all cruises of 5 days or fewer a few years ago (one source: https://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=6534 ). You should still be able to get lobster from the steakhouse, and you might be able to get that same steakhouse lobster in the MDR (for $20 extra). I think the main courses from the steakhouse available in the MDR rotate from day to day.
  6. Thank you for your explanation. I don't have anything to say about it, other than I'm sorry it happened to you and you husband. I've taken a fair amount of excursions using tour buses. My experience has been that almost everyone wants to keep their same seats (including me) whether there's an announcement by the tour guide or not. I often have stuff in the seat, under the seat, and/or in the seat pocket in front of my seat, so I'd really like to sit there again. The only time I'll move seats is: 1) There are others who have gotten off at intermediate stops and WILL NOT be returning to the bus, 2) There's a strategic advantage to moving (e.g., better photo ops or easier listening), and 3) It's obvious that there are either enough seats for everyone else who wants to move, or no one else cares to move.
  7. UPDATE: I have a cruise going to Martinique in January. Today I received a letter about Martinique's passport requirements that was exactly the same as the one shof515 posted earlier in this thread, except for the date and the ship info. So I guess I'll find out first hand what they're going to do.
  8. I'm bumping this because Carnival was back in court yesterday to explain what they've done and what they're going to do. The Miami Herald has an article on it here: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/tourism-cruises/article235686347.html , along with the AP: https://www.apnews.com/989d32ac762c4b5288c94532575c5dbe and Skift: https://skift.com/2019/10/02/federal-judge-warns-carnival-on-ocean-pollution-promise-less-more-action/ .
  9. Slightly off topic, but have you all considered the Celebrity Summit? Its home port is San Juan from October-April/May and it had a substantial renovation this year. That's the one Celebrity ship I sailed on (before its refurb). I have to say I was impressed by it.
  10. A fine choice. I'm sure you'll be very happy with it. And I am glad that I was able to help you in your decision making.
  11. I'm going to run at your post and its questions from a couple of different directions. First I will note that I am a veteran of 14 cruises - 12 on Carnival, 1 on Celebrity, 1 on Holland America, and zero on Royal. So I won't say much about Royal, except to note my impressions of what others have said about them on Cruise Critic and elsewhere. Anyway, I can't give a good answer to your first question (are they comparable?), so I won't try. I'll loop back to your other question (what makes Carnival special) later. But I'd like to speak on your bullet points: Partying - Carnival is notorious for this, but I haven't seen too much of it on my cruises. That's probably because I tend to choose longer cruises and stay in the cabin most nights. Comedians - One of Carnival's strengths, IMHO. Most nights on most cruises they'll have at least one, and often they'll have two on the same night; and often the comedians will each perform multiple shows on the same night (often one early, PG-rated show; and one or more R-rated shows). What I've heard from Royal cruisers say they don't have as many comedians or shows and prefer to concentrate on other forms of entertainment. Feel free to set me straight on this. Shows - Carnival has shows of a particular kind. They don't have ice skating rinks or anything that would even come close to Broadway. But their Playlist shows can be entertaining - basically they're a group of singers and dancers performing to music with a certain theme (classic rock, British invasion, etc.). If you like the theme, the performers are good enough to make you like the show, IMHO. They also have the odd magician/hypnotist or two, but those aren't really my thing. Trivia - My experience is Carnival has a good mix of trivia sessions and types. I've actually won a few Ships on a Stick and a Boat on a Rope at trivia without cheating (e.g., searching on Google) and without joining a team (though I actually did some trivia with a team once; we didn't quite win anything though). I have no idea how it compares to what Royal has to offer. Game Shows - Hasbro is the closest thing I've seen to the classic game shows of the 60s through 80s and today's TPIR. I actually liked it the two times I attended, and probably should go watch some more. It's not for everyone, but you might like it. If you're talking about things like Quest and Love & Marriage, I haven't seen those and have no opinion on them. Food - I think Carnival does a very good job with their food in most areas I've tried. Their buffet is good (for a buffet). The MDR food is very good. The steakhouse food is great (but that's to be expected for the price). Guy's is good (for burgers & fries). BlueIguana is good (for Mexican food). On the room service menu... um... their philly cheesesteak is good (for an extra cost). I've found Carnival's desserts to be disappointing, except for the fruits. I can't give you an opinion on other popular spots like the deli, ice cream, or their pizza. My impression of the online chatter is that Royal loyalists like their food better than Carnival, and Carnival fans think their food is better. So, what do I think makes Carnival special? FUN! The workers generally look like they're having fun, they do some fun things, there are lots of fun things to do at all times of the day, and they don't care too much what you do and when. Sometimes they try a little too hard to get everyone to have fun, but I think that's better than the alternative. That's my Carnival argument and I'm sticking to it. They do a lot of things well and are generally a good value. All that said, I always prefer the Eastern Caribbean cruises over those going west. So at the same price Freedom OTS would be my choice.
  12. I read it. So, the ship provides info on who's on the ship - including their passport #s - to the port immigration authorities, and they decide to clear the ship to stay in dock and its passengers to leave the ship in port. I kind of blew it off because I assumed that EVERY port does this for incoming ships/passengers, to some degree. It's part of the "paperwork" that the CD sometimes mentions they're working on between the time we arrive and the time we can leave the ship. Some places obviously care more about these things than others. What Martinique wants to do now sounds like they want to scrutinize everyone closer than they have in the past, which is why Carnival wrote the note to its passengers.
  13. I went to Cartagena about 2 1/2 years ago on a Carnival cruise. No one from Colombia checked my passport when I got off the ship (good, because I didn't bring it). No one from Colombia shamed me for not bringing a passport when I returned to the ship. No one from Carnival warned me that I needed a passport to get off the ship there. This was not a closed-loop cruise, so I assume all the passengers had passports. I had mine, in my cabin's safe. But no one asked me for my passport when I was there. I'll be heading there in a few weeks, so let's see if anything changed in the intervening years. Looping back to Martinique, what seems to be different now is that the passport requirement there "will be strictly enforced by local authorities". To me that means they're going to do one of three things: 1) The ship will collect the passports and give them to immigration, as you mentioned 2) Immigration will be present at the port and check for passports of each person who gets off, as you mentioned, or 3) Random ID checks done all over the island They did none of those things when I was last in Martinique, and it will be interesting (at least to me) what they do this time around.
  14. I hadn't taken my first cruise 8 years ago, so my perspective will be limited by that. Carnival has deployed several new ships in the past few years, but that's not too relevant to you since the Valor is one of the older ones. Some features from the newer ships, however, have made it to the older ones. As for your immediate questions, I thought the smoked salmon was a MDR exclusive. I know you can't get it from room service, and I don't think it's available in the deli or the buffet. I could be wrong, and I'm sure someone will let me know if I am. Anyway, I don't care for smoked salmon, so its availability is not a high priority for me. Similarly, I don't drink hot chocolate, so I can't help you there. Other changes I'll note: * Guy's Burger Joint has good burgers, if you like burgers * BlueIguana Cantina has decent Mexican food, if you like Mexican food * The channel selection on the TV has gotten worse, IMHO * Mixed news for room service - there are charges for certain items all the time, and all items at certain times, but they have added some good new items (to the for-pay section, of course) * The MDR menu has changed; it's generally more Americanized these days * You can get Internet access for your voyage if you want it. It's really expensive and I would expect the speed to be erratic at best. Some other ships have better Internet, but you're not on one of those. * Carnival has an app available. I like it; it does some nice things If you have any more specific questions on what's changed, I'll try to answer them if someone else doesn't get to it first. I think you'll like the Valor more than your other Carnival ships. Have fun on your cruise!
  15. Thanks for sharing that, and thanks OP for bring it to our attention. I had a stop in Martinique on a Carnival cruise about four years ago. No passport was required to get off then. This does seem to be new. I'm sure they have their reasons; I wonder what they could be.
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