CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE: Planning for Your Adventure
Have Fun. Be Safe - Health & Safety Policies
Please be sure to review the Carnival Cruise Line Have Fun. Be Safe. webpage, where you can learn important information about your cruise, including health and safety measures (such as COVID-19 vaccine requirements, COVID-19 testing, pre-cruise and onboard protocols, etc.). This page is updated directly by Carnival so the information here will always be the most up-to-date!
What's Included with My Cruise Purchase?
What’s Included with My Cruise Purchase?
Onboard stateroom accommodations (your cabin), ocean transportation (your cruise), most entertainment and recreation onboard, meals in non-Specialty dining areas, Iced Tea/Lemonade/Water/Hot Tea/Non-Specialty Coffee, and the Carnival Cruises commitment to guest satisfaction.
What’s Not Included?
Travel insurance (unless requested), specialty dining, spa services, gambling, art auctions, merchandise purchases, shore excursions, photographs, arcade, internet access, medical services, transportation to and from the port, port parking, laundry services, ship to shore phone calls, gratuities, alcoholic beverages, and specialty beverages. Ask a staff member if you’re ever unsure.
Be sure to mark a calendar with your Final Payment Date – this date comes 75 to 90 days before sailing date depending on the length of your cruise, and that is the deadline date for paying off the remaining balance on your cruise. Contact me as soon as you’re ready to make that Final Payment – I’ll process your credit card and ensure that you’re confirmed as an official cruise passenger.
My Cruises Online Account
Please create a My Cruises account online as soon as possible. Starting now, you’ll want to begin exploring shore excursions for each port and entertainment options on the ship – these can be often be reserved by you as early as soon as your full cruise deposit is placed. Most importantly: once you’re 90 days prior to sailing and the Final Payment is made you’ll log-in to your account and complete the Online Check-in process to save lots of time at the cruise terminal.
To set up your online account and link your reservation, go to:
Once you’ve successfully created a My Cruises account, add your upcoming cruise reservation to your profile to begin accessing important information and requirements specific to your future sailing.
What is “Online Check-In” and What are “e-Docs?”
“Online check-in” is a pre-cruise procedure in which you’ll complete necessary cruise paperwork online: you’ll print a boarding pass (called “e-docs,”), luggage tags, and more to save lots of time when boarding the ship. It’s all done in your My Cruises account after your cruise reservation is paid in full. Be sure to complete this process by logging into your account at least 5 days before sailing.
Vacation Protection Insurance
Most insurance policies do not include coverage while traveling outside of the US, so purchasing travel insurance is always recommended. Many of today’s plans feature comprehensive coverage: Personal Property, Baggage, Medical, Emergency Evacuation, and additionally 24-hour Travel Assistance. The insurance which Carnival Cruises offers still includes the “Cancel for Any Reason” feature which is very popular. It’s a great way to protect your investment and provides peace of mind at a low cost. We can add the Carnival Cruises plan any time before Final Payment by request, and cost starts at $49/person and depends on the cruise cost. We also offer insurance through a preferred third-party vendor that might be more affordable or offer benefits that you might prefer, to request a quote comparison, please email your Wish Upon a Star with Us Travel Agent.
When Should I Plan to Arrive?
Arrive at the port the day before embarkation day (the day your ship leaves the home port). Explore the port area (it’s a destination too!) or relax without the stress of delayed or cancelled flights and sudden traffic incidents. Your Wish Upon a Star with Us Travel Agent can easily arrange airfare and a pre/post-cruise hotel through the cruise line at competitive rates! Boarding time on embarkation day depends on your cabin location. You will select a specific timeframe for arrival during Online Check-in.
PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP/PASSPORTS
For documentation requirements, it is crucial to visit the Travel Documents page. Please take note: passengers who are not natural-born US citizens or carry a birth certificate from Puerto Rico may have additional documentation requirements.
Passports are highly recommended for cruises but not required on every sailing. It is each cruise passenger’s responsibility to make sure they have the proper identification documents needed to board. Though Passports are not required in order to board some sailings, they are strongly recommended and would be required in the event you must return to the United States by air.
If your cruise does require a passport:
Ensure that the name on the photo page matches the name on your cruise reservation and is valid for 6 months after travel. Please note that Passport applications are taking significantly longer to process than normal. Expedited Passport services are offered by VisaCentral at a discount. Identify yourself as a Carnival guest and reference “Carnival Account 75020.”
If your cruise does not require a Passport:
You may choose to use a valid Passport to board the ship.
If you do not present a Passport, you will be required to provide proof of citizenship in the form of an original/certified copy of a government issued birth certificate (with raised seal and signature), and a laminated government-issued photo ID (driver’s license) for each passenger age 16+ that matches the name on the cruise reservation. If the name on your ID does not match the name on your Birth Certificate and/or Driver’s License, you may be asked to present a supporting document (i.e. a Marriage License, which shows your maiden and married name). It’s heartbreaking to see someone left behind in the terminal, denied boarding for not having the right ID.
Children traveling without both birth parents or children with a different last name than their parent may be required to show additional notarized consent.
Be advised: though Passports are not required in order to board many sailings, they are strongly recommended and would be required in the event you must return to the United States by air.
Some countries require that any American passenger departing the ship obtain a Travel Visa and/or be booked on a cruise line shore excursion (Russia, Australia, China, India, and Cuba for example) in order to exit the ship.
Visa requirements for U.S. and Canadian citizens should be verified on VisaCentral. You’ll want to check if an Visa is needed for your sailing. All other nationalities, including those with U.S. or Canadian resident status, should contact me ASAP for info in obtaining the appropriate documents.
STEP/Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
International cruise passengers are strongly encouraged to register each trip with the US Dept. of Consular Affairs Smart Travel Enrollment Program (STEP). By signing up you’ll be notified of new travel advisories and pertinent tourist information. Plus, registering for this free service by the US Dept. of State also enables them to better assist you during an emergency.
Daytime: All Carnival ships feature a complimentary buffet open during meal times. The Main Dining Rooms are open for a table-service breakfast, lunch, and multi-course dinner. Room service is available 24/7 (some charges apply).
Evening (must choose 1 at the time of booking):
· Set Dining Times: The “Early Seating” is near 6pm and the “Late Seating” is near 8:15pm, though they vary by ship/itinerary. Guests will keep the same wait staff and dining companions throughout the cruise when booked with a set dining time.
· Your Time Dining: For more flexibility, this option is great for guests who prefer to arrive at any time they’d like and receive the next available table and server each evening. Just be sure to check your activity guide for open times, though Anytime is typically between 5pm-9:30pm.
Signature Dining: Each ship offers a variety of optional dining experiences for an additional fee (Steakhouse, Chef’s Table, and Bonsai Teppanyaki, for example), and upscale dining options to keep you going back for seconds (and thirds). You’ll want to begin making reservations for these restaurants as soon as we’ve processed your Final Payment. Try a couple – they really do make your cruise experience extra special, especially the Chef’s Table Dining experience!
Need a specific date/time for your special dining experience? Be sure to reserve in your My Cruises account as soon as your cruise is booked.
WHAT DO I WEAR?
Daytime: Casual/resort wear is the norm during daytime hours.
Evening: The Main Dining Room and the Steakhouse are Cruise Casual in the evenings. On 2-day to 5-day cruises you’ll have (1) Cruise Elegant evening and on 6-days or longer cruises are (2) two Cruise Elegant evenings. The Lido Restaurant buffet is casual all day long.
- Visit “What to Pack & Bring” for more information and a list of prohibited items.
There are SO many options at each port and endless opportunities for relaxation and adventure!
—Visit My Cruises or view Shore Excursions, where you can browse by ship and sail date.
—Consider checking with your Wish Upon a Star with Us Travel Agent for a list of trusted third-party excursion vendors. These excursion companies are known for offering additional shore excursion possibilities, competitive rates, and a timely return to your ship.
Some favorites: cultural bus tours, snorkeling, hands-on experiences, and activities unique to a destination. Just about every port has their own version of ziplining, Segway tours, dolphin swims, and ATV excursions, so instead keep an eye out for unique geographical and historical sites (like Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica, The Baths in Tortola, Mayan ruins in Mexico, St. Kitts Scenic Railway, etc.)
Dreaming of an all-inclusive beach day? Spending the afternoon at a beach-front resort? This is your chance! Ask your Wish Upon A Star With Us travel agent for Resort Day Pass options in the ports you’ll visit on this cruise and start dreaming of the fruity cocktail you’ll try first!
You’ll want to reserve shore excursions as early as 6 months in advance of sailing. Please note that the complete list may not be available until 120 days before sailing.
Embarkation Day (Cruise Day 1)
Check-in time and ship departure (embarkation) time varies by home port and ship. You will receive your Boarding Time while completing Online Check-in. Select a time as early as you can (early on the ship means more time to explore and relax!) and arrive no later than 2 hours before the scheduled embarkation time printed on your e-docs. Don’t forget to complete the Online Check-In process at least 2 days before Embarkation Day!
Carnival’s youth programs provide entertainment for all kids 2-17 years – this is a year BEFORE most other cruise lines begin care! If your children fall within these age ranges, don’t be surprised if they insist on spending LOTS of time in the “Camp Ocean” Clubs. Make sure to pre-register during the online check-in process. Your kiddos will have a BLAST at events like “Seuss at Sea,” Build a Bear Workshop, Late Night childcare, and Glow parties.
Most ships also have a Night Owls program from 10pm-1am at $6.75/child per hour and Owl Jam Parties on some nights for $15/child.
Health Concerns and Guests with Special Needs or Diets
Carnival Cruise ships provide quality service and accessible features to make your experience as relaxing and enjoyable as can be. Each ship is equipped with an Infirmary and Ship Doctor, available for an additional fee. ***Important: Please inform your Wish Upon a Star with Us Travel Agent of any new or existing pregnancy, routine dialysis, special needs, dietary restrictions, or medical concerns so we can inform the appropriate department.
Medical vaccination requirements and recommendations change periodically. Visit the CDC website for recommendations specific to each country on your itinerary. Travel health experts recommend giving yourself 4-6 weeks to meet with a travel health provider about how to plan for your travel and to get any needed travel vaccinations.
Stateroom Door Decorations
Decorating your stateroom door makes for a fun and memorable homecoming each night. Bring magnets, images printed on magnetic paper, or window cling to easily recognize your stateroom door. Other ideas include anniversary photos, wrapping paper, balloons, Veteran magnets, and more. Check Pinterest for ideas!
How Much Luggage Can I Bring?
Carnival Cruises permit one suitcase, max 50lbs, per passenger on 3-5 day cruises and 2 suitcases per person on cruises of 6 days or more. Keep in mind that airline luggage policies may differ from cruise line luggage policies. Some items are permitted only in carry-on luggage (a CPAP machine, for example). Pack that carry-on wisely!
–What items am I not allowed to bring?: Prohibited Items Policy
As with most cruise lines, Carnival Cruises automatically add the standard gratuities to each guest’s onboard account while sailing. These “tips” are divided among your Dining Room Server, Dining Room Assistant Server, and Dining Room Head Server as well as your Stateroom Host/Hostess. It is recommended to add prepaid gratuities during Final Payment because it’s one less thing to budget for on the ship – let your Wish Upon a Star with Us Travel Agent know if you’d like to pay in advance.
Am I Allowed to Bring Alcohol Onboard?
Carnival Cruise Line’s alcohol policy
Guests may bring 1 bottle (750 ml) of wine or champagne per adult, per voyage and 12 sealed cans/cartons of non-alcoholic beverages on embarkation day only. Bottled water is not permitted to be brought onboard. Any additional wine or champagne is welcome but will incur a $15/bottle corkage fee in order to be taken aboard. Beer, hard liquor, and fortified wines are not allowed to be brought onboard. Any beverages bought in duty-free shops on the ship or in port will be stored by the ship until the final day of the cruise.
Debarkation Day (Final Cruise Day)
Ships generally arrive back at their home port early in the morning, around 7am though this can vary by ship and sail date. The Captain will make an announcement soon after that for passengers to begin disembarkation. Disembarkation may take up to 4 hours after the scheduled arrival of the ship in order to clear Customs and Immigration, so please be sure to keep this in mind as you are considering flight departure times.
Onboard Booking (save $$!): NextCruise Incentives
You’ll have the chance to save $$$ on a future cruise OR earn onboard credit by making a reservation while still onboard. Carnival extends this promotion through the “Future Cruise Vacation Program” (FCV) program – you have up to 4 weeks to take advantage of the incentives after your cruise ends. The incentives are usually pretty great, and, if you have booked your cruise thru a Wish Upon a Star with Us Travel Agent, we hope that you will choose to list your Travel Agent on the reservation when talking with the sales staff!
A few miscellaneous notes…
- All staterooms have a mini-safe. An iron can be requested.
- Guests under age 25 must sail in a cabin with a relative or guardian age 25+ with few exceptions. Please ask me!
- All ships have a 24-hour Internet Café and Wi-Fi, for an additional charge. Wi-Fi packages are available.
- Be sure to download the Carnival HUB app before your cruise! You can use the app to view the daily schedule, make reservations onboard, and so much more.
- All purchases made onboard are charged to your Onboard Account by scanning your room key card.
- Dining packages and beverage package can be a great value. Book them in advance by logging-in to your profile.
Still have questions?
Your Wish Upon a Star with Us Travel Agent is just a phone call or email away.