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About knagl

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    Minneapolis, MN
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  1. Thanks Brent. Fancy seeing you here. 😀
  2. We just got back from a week on the Carnival Magic. Overall had a great time, but Carnival really needs to step up its game when it comes to its LGBT gatherings. Each night the gathering was scheduled at the Alchemy Bar, and each night there was a loud five-piece band performing on the stage right next to the bar. The band was very good, but the problem was twofold: the bar was full of people there to watch the band, and it was very difficult to hold down a conversation because of the music. As there was nobody there to facilitate the group, it was a matter of looking at the folks at and near the bar and trying to figure out, "Are they gay?" "Are they here for the meetup?" I stepped outside my comfort zone and walked up to a couple who I was pretty sure was family and said hi, but we made small-talk for a minute or two and that was it. In contrast, we had a previous cruise on Princess where the meetup was held in a quiet, out-of-the-way bar that had sofas and chairs that were conducive to a group sitting together and chatting. Additionally, the assistant Cruise Director was family and was there on the first night to welcome us and encourage us to mingle and get to know our fellow cruisers. He also was able to get a couple of bottles of chesp champagne for us and provided a complimentary glass for anyone interested. What a huge difference it made being in a quieter venue and with a minimal effort by the staff to help get us acquainted. This was our second Carnival cruise, and while we had a good time (and eventually met some like-minded folks), it was the second one where the GLBT meetup was always scheduled at the Alchemy Bar during times that the bar was already full of other people. Do better Carnival, please.
  3. Hi everyone, Just got back from a week on the Carnival Magic. I didn't play a ton, but managed to rack up just over 2400 points, the vast majority of it on video poker (at $5/point, just over $12k coin-in). On the last night I got an offer in the mailbox on the ship for "35% off casino rate", inside cabins only, with regular rate upgrades available to a balcony or whatever. It offered a small window to book (book within the next week or two), and when I looked online the furthest out I could book was approximately six months from now. We're not planning to go on another cruise for about a year. Does anyone know, if I don't book this offer, will I continue to get similar offers in the future to try and get me to come back, or are these offers typically one and done? If it's the latter, that really provides me a disincentive to play on the ship since we typically only cruise once a year. Thanks in advance for any experiences and first-hand knowledge you may have.
  4. As others have mentioned, you will automatically be billed for a daily gratuity charge (unless you paid it before your sailing by pre-paying), and that money will get divided amongst the service staff (servers, room steward, etc.). Bar/beverage gratuities are separate, and an auto gratuity amount will be added to any beverage purchase, with the option on the receipt for you to add an additional amount if desired. You are not obligated by policy or custom to tip above and beyond any of the auto gratuity amounts -- you'll be fine and perfectly average if you don't. That said, we've found many of the ship's workers provide outstanding service, and choose to provide additional gratuities above and beyond the standard amount that we also pay. In particular, since you're asking, we'll typically tip our room steward an additional $10 (cash) up front with any special requests (extra pillows, ice, etc.), and then leave another $10 or $20 in the room at the end of the cruise based on service. If we find a server team we like in the dining room (we do the anytime dining), we'll typically ask for them on all future main dining room visits, and will give them $20 or more on the last night, again depending on service. So long as you don't request to have gratuities removed and then stiff the staff, you'll be fine no matter what you do. Hopefully this helps you. Have fun on your cruise!
  5. Generally speaking, an unexpired driver's license/government-issued ID card and birth certificate will be enough for a Carnival cruise that begins and ends in the United States. As others have mentioned, having a passport is a much better plan if possible in case of the unexpected. I would strongly recommend reviewing the information on Carnival's website (linked below) and contacting them if you have any questions, rather than solely relying on information posted by users to an internet forum. Best of luck with your trip. https://www.carnival.com/help/3409
  6. Yes, you can, as mentioned on Carnival's website: "Guests may purchase a round of drinks for themselves and friends. One drink will count towards the CHEERS! program and the remaining drinks will be charged to a guest’s Sail and Sign® account."
  7. Despite the fine print saying that it's valid for new bookings only, as discussed in other threads here, many people have had success by adding the offer to their Amex and then using the card to apply a charge of at least $500 towards their existing booking within the stated date window. Your mileage may vary, of course, but if you have an Amex card that is eligible for the offer, it might be worth trying. If the offer doesn't show up on your Amex card, while logged into their site try navigating to: americanexpress.com/wlcl ("World's Leading Cruise Lines") and it may appear, as it did for me. Information sourced from this thread:
  8. If you have a Citibank credit card that has access to Citi Easy Deals, they sometimes have them. The last time I got them from there, though, they didn't have e-gift cards available -- only physical cards that were sent via snail mail. Obviously that wouldn't work if you need one by this Saturday.
  9. If your ship is departing from New York or Texas, you can purchase the CHEERS! program on day 2 due to state laws beyond Carnival's control, and you are only charged starting on that second day. In pretty much every other case you must purchase it for the duration of the cruise, including day 1. Note it is slightly less expense to order it ahead of time on their Fun Shops website instead of waiting until you board the ship (currently $51.95/person/day +18% gratuity versus $56.95/person/day +18% gratuity). From Carnival's website: "Due to state laws, we cannot sell CHEERS! until the second day of the cruise (starting at 6:00am) for voyages departing from our Texas and New York home ports. Drinks purchased on the first day of the cruise will be charged to the guest's Sail & Sign® card in the usual manner. When purchased on the second day of the cruise, guests are charged for the remaining days only (cruise duration less one day)"
  10. Thank you for the interesting post and all the number crunching. I like to get the best value out of my gaming dollar, so I'll for sure bring this info with me on my upcoming cruise.
  11. Because it would be a long walk from Port Everglades to the Port of Miami. 🤦
  12. For our itinerary it was significantly cheaper to fly into and out of Fort Myers (RSW) and renting a car for the two hour drive across the state. I understand that you have some pretty specific time limitations with your itinerary, but it might be worth a look. Good luck.
  13. Cruise ships have to have their passenger manifest turned in to the port at least one hour before sailing. You will not be permitted to board at or after 18:00 for a cruise set to depart at 19:00. It is very risky to arrive any later than the boarding time stated by your cruise line.
  14. Contrary to what you might believe, reservations don't guarantee car availability. They only guarantee the price of the car. I still welcome replies from anyone who has had personal experience at this location, either positive or negative. Thank you in advance.
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