Change is inevitable, but you can believe one thing: when it happens, you’ll hear about it. Carnival Cruise Lines has made a few changes over the past few months – not all bad – but some that got a lot of people up in arms.
Here are seven of the changes.
One of the changes Carnival made last fall was the introduction of staggered check-in times at Galveston, Miami, and New Orleans. While checking into your cruise online prior to embarkation, you are asked to select a 30-minute window to check-in, e.g., 10:30-11:00, 11:00-11:30, etc. If you try to check in earlier than your designated time, you will be turned away and asked to wait for your time window. While this certainly helps the flow of traffic at the port on embarkation day, it can be problematic if you are sailing in a group and cannot board together. Because you can choose the time slot yourself while checking in online, this can usually be avoided if planned ahead of time, but it still happens. It also creates a problem for people who may be flying in to the port the day-of or checking out of a nearby hotel early and have to wait around with luggage until their designated time. On the other hand, it also hurts Carnival’s Faster To The Fun! (FTTF) program, in which cruisers pay $50 per cabin to board early. If you can get the earliest check-in time available, you can board the ship just 10-15 minutes behind the early boarding groups, essentially negating the purpose of buying FTTF.