The wife and I are plaining our second Carnival cruise in April of 2011 and this time we are taking the kids. The first cruise was on the Victory in April of 2002 that I surprised my wife for on our 10th wedding anniversary and it took us to the eastern Caribbean. It was one of the best times we had ever had and it was easily the best money we ever spent on vacation. So, now the wife and I have been itching to go on another with the kids before they get to old (14 year old son and 18 year old daughter) and don't want to do anything with us anymore..lol.
So, we have decided to take the Dream. The Dream of course has something for us older kids, but it also offers things for both of our kids age groups to engage in. We are really excited and can hardly wait, but before we book this voyage this time we have a few questions and hope to get a few ideas from some of you experienced cruiser's. On the first cruise we got the balcony stateroom which will be a must for this second cruise. But the wife and I are a little unsure which way to go on this next one. Money is an object here and I'm trying to get the best bang for the money. So, here it is...the wife and I don't mind if the kids bunk in the same room, so we were looking at that angle. Also we were looking at getting the kids an interior room across the hall. So, my first question after looking at the ledger of how the rooms are set up, which of the rooms would be best if all four of us were in one room? I was thinking of a room with the "cross" on deck 7 the Empress. That has a twin/king with a double convertible sofa, but then I noticed on the ledger the room with a "block symbol" that has a twin/king with a single convertible sofa and upper. Which would give the better space and what does the upper mean? An extra fold out bed?
Lastly, if I'm remembering correctly I think we went through a travel agency on the last cruise. I'm not sure this is a good thing, not that I had any problems. I just not sure if I over paid and should have called Carnival direct. Plus don't they offer discounts for repeat customers, or is 8 years to long. I need a few pointers here any advise would be great. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.