Horizon tips

Even in the warm Caribbean, bring a jacket

You might not think of it, but the nights in the Caribbean can get cool, even in the summer. This is especially true when the ship is underway, which makes the breeze much stronger. Do yourself a favor and bring a light jacket to wear in the evenings. Even if you plan to stay inside on the ship, the air conditioning can get cool in many places.

Be prepared to wait awhile (1-2 hours) to debark

For as efficient as it is to get on the ship, it the exact opposite getting off when you return. Not only do thousands of passengers all want to get off at once, but you also have to go through customs and immigration to return. This causes delays in leaving the ship, and it can sometimes take hours before it’s your turn to leave. Be prepared to hang out for a while and find a nice comfy spot to settle in.

Carnival ships cater to families with kids. Take advantage of included childcare

If your child is over two years old, then they can be dropped off at Camp Carnival on the ship. Not only does this give mom and dad a chance to vacation without having to watch the kids, it gives the kids some time away from parents with activities that they will enjoy. The kids clubs are broken up by age, and best of all, the service is included in your fare.

Want to party? Short cruises are for you

In general, Carnival has a more festive atmosphere than other cruise lines. If you really want to kick it up a notch, check out shorter cruises (five days or fewer). The shorter the cruise the more likely it is to be filled with a younger — and more festive — crowd as they are significantly cheaper. Have more tips or questions about sailing on Carnival? Let us know in the comments below.

The cheapest cruise prices are when school is in session

Are you flexible with when you can sail? Then you can save a lot of money. Prices are lowest when school is in session and families have a tougher time sailing. The difference between the lowest fares and the highest fares can be hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars for the same cruise simply taken at different times of year.

Air freshener is a must. Cabins don’t have powered bathroom vents

We’re not sure why, but most cruise cabins don’t have vents in the bathroom. Foul smells, small cabins, and no ventilation are a bad combo. Pack some air freshener with you on your next cruise. Your cabin mate will thank you for it.

A $15 dry bag is perfect for beach days

What do you do with your keys, wallet, or phone when you hit the beach? Leave it on shore, and you’ll have one eye on the beach all day. Take it in the water and you have to figure out how to keep it dry. A dry bag is the perfect solution. They are cheap and roll closed to keep your stuff dry and secure, even in the water. Best of all, when not in use, these bags fold into a small footprint so that you don’t have a lot to carry around.

Don’t like lines? Look for out-of-the-way restaurants on the ship

Guy’s Burger Joint gets packed at lunch, as does the buffet. If you want to grab a bite without waiting, look for restaurants that aren’t located in prime central locations. For example, on some Carnival ships the pizza parlor — Pizza del Capitano — is located at the back of the ship and many people don’t realize it’s there. There’s rarely a line despite offering up some great pies.

Wait for people to get out of the elevator before you try to enter

Elevators are the heartbeat of the ship. They are used thousands of times daily and are typically busy as people travel around the ship. Since there are usually plenty of people on the elevator, it’s common courtesy to wait and let anyone get off at your floor before you try to get on. Otherwise there’s an easily avoidable traffic jam.

Navigating the ship can be confusing. Only some floors go straight through

If you want to head from the back of the ship to the front of the ship, you might have to go up or down a few floors to make your way from aft to forward on many Carnival ships. Things like the dining room and theater cut through multiple floors and keep you from being able to get through. Stick with the main promenade deck if you want an easy way to go back and forth.