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  #1 (permalink)  
Old January 28th, 2007, 10:56 AM
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Default Please Help!

We have booked aboard the Celebration out of Jacksonville on May 19th. This is for my daughters senior trip. Right now we have 5 adults going and about 12 or 13 kids. We are booked 2 to a room - double occupancy. Each person booked their own room. We are doing this directly through Carnival and I'm using an agent that I have used for our last two cruises. My problem is - everywhere I look including the Carnival website it talks about not being able to board if you are under 21 unless you are in the same stateroom as a parent or a guardian. Well the past 2 years it has been just my family and me & my husband stayed in one room and our 2 kids in the one beside us..of course it was booked as an adult and child in each room. The agent we are using with Carnival assures me this will be NO PROBLEM - since he has us booked all on the same hall in a row. But what if we drive to Jacksonville and someone is turned away? Anyway you look at it there will not be an adult in each room - there would be no way possible with double occupancy and this is what we are paying for. He said we may want to get a notarized letter from each parent stating they are allowed to board the ship with us...but that still doesn't answer my question and I can't get anything in writing from him saying they will be able to be in a room without an adult. I know that seniors go on cruises all the time and that they don't have adults in the rooms - but I don't know how they book - it may be through a travel agency. What are your opinions on this? It is important that we know for sure - because we don't want to get down to Jacksonville and have a mess. Thank you.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 11:31 AM
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I haven't attempted this, and I certainly don't know for sure....

But I'd be very leary of taking the word of a Carnival Personal Vacation Planner. I find with alot of cruise lines, their order takers know very little about the reality of the ships they're selling, and even less about the rules.

If they are so sure, why won't they give it to you in writing?

Carnival rules specifically state that someone under 21 must be booked with someone 25 or over.

I'd call Carnival and go much higher up the ladder than a PVP to get my answer.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 12:00 PM
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Hey gamom4,
I'd be concerned about your situation too. A few years back my husband & I sailed with 2 friends--1 was 20 & the other 23 and our Carnival agent COULD NOT book them 2 in a cabin together because 1 was under 21 without the other being 25. She had to split my husband & I up (at least on paper). I trust my Carnival agent is extremely knowledgable but this may not be so with all...I would call Carnival and ask to speak to a supervisor. You may end up having to have 3 to a cabin instead (an adult in each--at least on paper).
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Old January 28th, 2007, 12:11 PM
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The best you are going to be able to do is 5 rooms for the five adults with the under 21 crowd dispersed between those 5 rooms. Once you get on board you can then go to the pursers desk and "modify" the people in each room.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but you WILL have a problem if you proceed as you stated it is.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 12:56 PM
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How do people plan these senior trips for kids? Our schools senior trip is to Cancun and I think they are going through an agency. I am beginning to wish that I had never told anyone about this. I did this because my daughter couldn't go with the church on their trip because it was 7 days the trip to Cancun was 7 days (and much to expensive!) my daughter was accepted to be a camp counselor and has to be back before the other two trips would be back - since I had traveled from Jacksonville for the past 2 years - I called our vacation planner at Carnival and told him that we were thinking about taking a few kids with us....I didn't really realize that it would turn into 10 or 11 or however many....mine and my daughters trip is completely paid for - I paid the balance on Friday - and I know we can switch around cabins when we get on - but wouldn't the cost have been cheaper per person if he would have booked 4 to a cabin. (Now I never asked him to do that - because I wanted two in our cabin) but for all the others - wouldn't that have saved them money? I guess I"m concerned because he will talk to me on the phone but he will not respond to my e-mails (he'll call back) but not e-mail me back stating.."since you will be all in rooms on the same hall there will be no problem". Gosh I hate I got involved with this!
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Old January 28th, 2007, 05:02 PM
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The only solution that I can think of for this situation is the possibility of booking connecting staterooms with adults in the middle and the kids in connecting staterooms on each side, if the Celebration even has anything along those lines.
Like everyone else here I would definitely be proactive and whatever you are told, I would insist on the source from Carnival put it in writing and take it to the port with you when it is time to sail.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 05:59 PM
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Default Different policies for groups...

I found this disclosure at the bottom of their policy regarding age requirements etc... Perhaps thisis how their doing it:

The Group policy is slightly different because of stricter group terms and conditions including mandatory chaperones, damage deposits and other considerations.

So its hard to say until you get some sort of explanation in writing from them.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 07:03 PM
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Default Just called them

I just called the Carnvial 1-800 #. She was able to verify my reservation and the rooms of the other 4 people with their parents (or chaperones) but then she said that there were some that were cross referenced with my name that there was a problem with - she said that some of them should have never been booked - there were two boys in a room together (18 year olds) that there was one boy booked by himself (in a single room) and two girls (18 year olds). She said that a memo was being sent to the vacation planner that I use and he was going to have to call each person and get this straight. She said luckily we are in the period where changes can still be made. She said we would have saved money by booking 4 in a room. But that you had to have a parent with you if you were under 21 and you were in a room without someone over 25 in the room. It was all confusing - and I'm sure some of the parents will be mad at me - but they would have been alot madder if they would have lost their money and their child was left at the pier. This was my 1st & last time ever trying to help plan anything.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 07:20 PM
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This could have been so much worse. If I were one of those parents, I'd be thanking you right now. So many people just don't do their homework. Thank goodness, you did. You can likely work it out by booking quads with an adult in each or by booking connecting cabins with an adult in one of them. The quads will definitely be cheaper and if they are concerned about getting in the shower etc, doing their hair or that sort of stuff, tell them the spa has great showers and lots of room to get ready. This will work out and I am sure the parents will appreciate your hard work.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 08:56 PM
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Hi gamom4,

What a mess ! I'd suggest that you find a Travel Agent who is a Cruise Specialist (ASAP), transfer your booking to them, and let him/her try to straighten this out.

It won't cost you anything, and they'll do all the work for you!

I'd never book a cruise with a PVP with such a large group of underage cruisers. Most PVP's have never even been on a cruise and are just reading off a "script", which may or may not be accurate!

I hope you can get this fixed and have a wonderful cruise with the "kids"!

I also agree with beenie weenie. If you can find the quads and the connecting cabins this WILL work.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 09:19 PM
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Please call back again and speak to a Supervisor. I took my daughter and her 3 best friends on a cruise for her "Sweet 16" and the 4 girls, all 16 years old were in the room right across the hall from me.

The PVP who booked it told us it was ok as long as they were right across the hall or next door. I did have each parent get a notarized letter signed saying that they knew their child was cruising with me, where they were going and, just in case, gave me permission to make decisions in case of emergency.

Not once was I questioned re: who the girls were, where were their parents, noone asked me for a notarized letter and noone said a word that their cabin and mine were not the same. So, I personally think it can be done. Please check again.

And YES, it was a Carnival ship and YES, I would do it all over again....the girls were great!!


Elaine
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Old January 29th, 2007, 12:42 AM
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Elaine.. and if that happened... and I'm sure it did. Carnival should be ASHAMED of themselves!!!!

They establish enough rules that they don't enforce.

If they don't enforce this one, and something happens to a child on the ship that shouldn't have been allowed on in the first place, because of lack of supervision, I'd presonally be willing to get the lawyer to sue their *** off.
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Old January 29th, 2007, 08:25 AM
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Kuki,

Personally I didn't see a problem with it at all... The girls were directly across the hall from me and honestly, the only time their door was even closed was when they were sleeping.... (that was their choice... they liked saying hi to everyone that passed the room).

At no time were they "unsupervised". I knew where they were at all times.. They had rules and followed them beautifully. They were with me at dinner and on the Islands. They also had a "buddy" system. There always had to be either all 4 of them or 2 and 2. Never alone...

But remember, this is just my opinion....


Elaine
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Old January 29th, 2007, 09:10 AM
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Elaine, I am so glad that everything went well for you and the girls. But unfortunately Kuki is right. Not every kid is as compliant and obedient as the kids you had with you. I know if my parents had taken me on a cruise at the ripe old age of 16 I would have thought I could have gotten away with bloody murder. If I had gone with the unsuspecting parents of my friends, I definitely would have been one very wild child, and I guarantee I would have gotten away with it.

So with that being said, its important that Carnival enforce this rule not just for the safety of these kids, but also gamom needs to have them find a sleeping arrangement where the chaperones actually know that the kids are where they are supposed to be at lights out, for her own peace of mind. Since chances are that if something goes awry, the parents of these kids are going to come to her looking for answers and explanations.
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Old January 29th, 2007, 09:41 AM
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Trust me, the rule requiring someone over 25 in each cabin is alive and well. I've just finished booking my daughter's senior trip (oops I'm sorry, it's a Friends and Family cruise...not a senior trip!) on the Conquest. This is what I've learned.

Only certain Carnival ships book senior trips and you must use the two agencies provided by Carnival to book the trip. IF your cruise is on the list, you can book 10 kids to one chaperone. You will pay more for the trip, plus each kid has to put up a refundable damage deposit. Check anonymously before changing anything!

Because, if Carnival finds out it is a "Minor" cruise, they will revoke the berths, and/or require the deposit. If Carnival suspects you have a senior trip, they will advise the ship not to allow cabin changes once you are onboard, so make sure at least one person in each cabin will have a correct key to the room. The keys cannot be switched between people because this is your sail & sign card and you need it.

Conquest does not allow senior trips. Our group is a Friends & Family group. We have 24 adults and 28 students 18 or under. It took me and the TA at least four hours to complete the fake rooming list to make sure at least one person had a real key to the room.

Carnival has constantly questioned my TA about the student status of our group. We held our breath until we had all rooms berthed. Our group does have a lot of adults over 25 going, but Carnival is still nitpicking over the entire trip. Our TA has given EVERY parent and child page after page of student behavior requirements, curfews, alcohol policies, etc. Our TA has told us we must check in by cabin, meaning my husband will be checking in with the son of a friend and I'll be checking in with my daughter. We have 24 cabins and we were told not to check in at the same time. The TA said we should not wear any t-shirts that identify the group as graduates or even high school students.

Like you, I've come to realize the headache was not worth the fun of having the kids together for one last trip before college. I'm sure other group trips would be fun and we hope this one becomes fun once we actually leave! We have tried to be more than fair with the kids. The "free" occupancy given for each 8 cabins booked will be divided and given as onboard credit. Then we have the parents saying I don't want my kid listed on paper with so and so, when she/he is staying with this person. They don't want their child inconvenienced at all, but they don't want to go on the trip to make it easier for everyone. Plus, we have some kids who don't want their parents to go on the cruise and mom and dad listen to the kids! Duh, if I'm paying and I want to go...I'M GOING!

And then we had to book a quad and 2 triple rooms. Everyone is paying double occupancy rate because we couldn't figure who should get the discount for the triple and quad rooms, the kids in the rooms, or the adults who were being inconvenienced. The difference will go to onboard credit or to pay the charter bus to Galveston.

Then we had to limit the shore trips (for the kids traveling without parents) in each port to make sure the kids traveling without parents had an adult with them to make sure they got back onboard at the right time, etc. Some of the parents didn't like this...they wanted their child to be able to do this or that. We are just about at our wits end with this. I need a drink everytime I start to work on another part of the trip!

Good Luck!

God Bless!

You will need all the help you can get!

Melody
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Old January 29th, 2007, 10:31 AM
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Melody,
Thank you so much for your post - we are going on the Celebration...it looks like the number will probably dwindle to the number that have parents with them...kind of sad...but oh well...I can remember my senior trip - 7 of us girls went to Savannah for the week - wow what a week - we had no parents - wouldn't have wanted any - they would have killed us anyway...drinking age was lower then also .... but I don't even think we were drinking age - we never went to any bars or anything -- we carried it all with us....so I am VERY PROUD that my daughter asked me to go with her....maybe some things in life are getting a little better!
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Old January 29th, 2007, 10:48 AM
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Melody and Gamom.

Bless you both.... All you wanted to do was make some high school kids happy and what messes you have wound up with. I guess my four 16 yr olds were an exception and a pleasure.

I hope you both have a great time, relax and have a drink (or a couple).
You will be well rewarded for this...

It has also given me something to think about next time I plan to "bring the girls along" again. I guess I "won't get away with it" a 2nd time... But, after reading your posts, if the girls want to cruise again, then their parents need to come along!!!

Thanx also for the heads up.... Like you mentioned, I certainly don't want to miss the boat at the Port due to lack of proper adult supervision in each room.....

Good luck with all your planning....
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Old January 29th, 2007, 12:17 PM
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Oh, I thought of something that might help with your group. Carnival wasn't crazy about it, but we managed to get by with it. Say you have 1 adult and three kids under 21 with one child being your child. You can book a room with the parent and a child of the same sex in a room and then put your child and the other child (must be of same sex) in an adjacent room from you. We managed to do this for two rooms. We also have dads listed on paper as rooming with their daughters. If you are the parent, then it's fine. I know it's crazy!

In our quad room, we have three male students and my 27 year old nephew in the room. This is fine as long as someone over 25 is in the room.

I won't even mention the ruckus thrown by the parents when we insisted each child have trip insurance. We tried to explain that if the adult listed on paper with your child has an emergency and can't go, then your child can't go. They went ballistic. That's when they wanted the kids listed in their actual rooms, which can't happen because someone over 25 has to be in each room.

Then we are about ready to kill our TA because she goes behind our backs and trys to give someone the quad rate. Turns out that person isn't even booked in the quad room. She is more or less insinuating that we are stealing money. I've told her time and again that we can't just arbitrarily give the quad rates to kids when adults are the ones who are having to accept responsibility for the kids and they are also the ones moving out of the room and won't have a key to their actual room. It's like being in a war zone.

When we initially explained everything to everyone, they were okay with everything. All the kids said, "Hey we're going on a cruise!" Then it has slowly turned into a riptide of events.

Now the TA says we have to do a seating chart for dinner. We are saying it isn't necessary. Gratuities have been included in the price for everyone. The waiters will be tipped no matter what. There is no need for parents to be sitting at dinner separated by miles of empty seats when kids choose not to go to dinner. Just give us our table numbers and we can sit anywhere. However, I think I'm doing the seating chart tonight!

Sorry for venting! I'm a crazy woman today!

Melody

EDIT, reading my post and noticing how the word 5ex turns into asterisks....strange....this isn't the "Honey, I'm Home" post under "Chit Chat"!
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Old January 29th, 2007, 01:51 PM
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I was wondering what "bad" word you put in there. Anyway, gotta go read the "Homey I'm Home" thread....I didn't know there were naughty bits in there...tee haa
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Old January 29th, 2007, 03:13 PM
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They are so bad on that thread! Don't believe a word of it!

Melody
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Old January 29th, 2007, 08:55 PM
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I'm going to need a drink if I make it through all of these plans - and to just think a week ago we thought everything was just fine. One of the girls called our carnival planner today - and he told her not to worry there were loopholes around some of these things. .. instead of fewer kids wanting to go for some reason two more want to go - Panama City is looking better and better for the kids and the cruise is looking better for me! Ha, ha....but all jokes aside this is a mess and it is amazing how other parents think that someone else's parent ought to solve the problem. I think sometimes people should assume responsibility for their own things...but I guess in the real world it doesn't work that way. It's a little strange that I didn't hear from the carnival planner today either by e-mail or by phone -- I sort of thought after Carnival sent him that memo yesterday that I might be hearing something...but oh well...like I said mine & my daughters are paid for....now I'm wondering if I shoud have gotten the insurance - I did the 1st year and I didn't last year.
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Old January 31st, 2007, 02:25 PM
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How is it going?

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Old January 31st, 2007, 06:26 PM
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The Carnival Vacation Planner still hasn't called me back yet...I found out today he hasn't called any of the parents - and the other carnival representative I talked to on Sunday told me that a memo was being sent to him - he is employed by Carnival and that he would be contacting the parents...so far nothing has changed - we have one more adult that may go - but he's won't be one of the parents - actually three of the adults aren't parents...but they are over 25. One is a girls uncle - but the other 2 are unrelated. That's how it stands now....
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Old January 31st, 2007, 08:00 PM
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Oh, I forgot to mention one thing....with our group we suddenly became related to each other! That's not a hard thing to do in Livingston Parish! (I just live here, I wasn't born here!) Unless it's a parent, you still have to have boy with boy and girl with girl. If you choose to suddenly become related, choose cousins or aunts & uncles. The birth certificate won't have this info on it.

Keep me posted!

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Old February 2nd, 2007, 07:55 PM
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I was just going to let you know that I'm basically letting one of the other mothers take over doing most of the talking to Carnival. Anyway they have put one of the other girls in the room with me and my daughter (of course my daughter won't even actually be in there and neither will this girl...but today I get a new e-mail/fax from Carnival and our room that was showing as paid in full now has a balance owing on it - I guess it is the other girls. But it really makes me mad that it is showing she only owes $149.00 more and she has only paid $200.00 deposit. I realize her rate probably dropped when she was added to my room - but she's not going to be staying in my room...and my daughter is going to be staying in a quad inside room when I'm paying for her to be in a double ocean view. This is just too much for me. One of the parents is "worried" that some of the adults that are going may be going to party...well adults are adults. I just don't know...anyway I booked my son and husband a room today - ocean view down the hall...and it is a cheaper price than what I'm paying. Same level and all....I have sent an e-mail to my carnival vacation planner regarding this...I actually talked to him today to book my husband & son...he wasn't over friendly...he is ticked I guess since his supervisor was contacted...actually he kept making little comments regarding that - but I sort of ignored him... and we went on with the business...I sent him an e-mail after that telling him that I was sorry to keep bothering him but that he sounded frustrated - he said he wasn't and didn't mean to sound that way. And it was his job to work problems out....well...I didn't misunderstand frustration...but then again we all get that way.
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Old February 5th, 2007, 11:53 AM
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I don't know if this will happen on your trip or not, but a group of parents planned a cruise for a group of senior students. They did the same thing we are doing and thought they could change rooms at the purser's desk once onboard. Carnival had alerted the ship and they were not allowed to make room changes. I'm not sure how they worked out all of the logistics because you get one key and that is your room key & sail and sign card. You need to keep this card with you because it is linked by photo on the computer and they use this to identify you when you return to the ship after shore excursions.

Just a hint, I made sure at least one person in each room actually had a key for the room they were staying in. Good luck, have fun....and don't worry about paying extra for your daughter's berth. Kids don't care where they stay as long as they can stay with their friends. If you have an adult staying in the room with you, they might reimburse you the difference, but we decided not to go this route. All of our rooms (with the exception of two triples and one quad) are inside double occupancy rooms. One triple room is for a family and they are paying the triple rate. The other triple and quad rooms are paying the double occupancy rate. Any extra money goes to the charter bus fees. We just couldn't figure out who to give the discount to and this worked best for us.

I can understand your frustration and I'm sure the new mom will understand how difficult it can be when she is faced with these problems. Good luck!

We did our seating charts for dinner. The TA is happy. We haven't heard back from Carnival regarding the $100.00 student deposit. So far they haven't asked for this and I don't think they will. I'll let you know.

We are now making sure each person on the cruise has the actual certified copy of their birth certificates and picture ID's. I thought we had this covered in a memo to the parents, but one student brought a photocopy of his birth certificate and asked if he could use this. Now we feel like we need to check everyone.

I would hate for a student to show up at the dock without the right documents. I'm sure his parents would be fuming even though we've told everyone about this requirement several times. At our next meeting, all passengers will be required to bring these documents so we can actually see them for ourselves.

I think your situation with the extra person in the room can be explained by looking at the third person rate. Your room has been changed from a double occupancy room to a triple room. The third person always pay less. I'd think you might want to check into this.

Good luck.......keep me posted.

Melody
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Old February 5th, 2007, 07:29 PM
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I know that the last two years we have received a sign and sail card and a room key (all 4 of us - they even asked us if we wanted to allow my son charging privileges on his sign & sail - he was 11 & 12 those years - we said yes because he was with us at all times...well at least with his daddy at all times and never charged anything. Is it still where the sign & sail card is a different card from the room key? I figured at some point in the future that they would probably change it so it would be the same key.
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Old February 5th, 2007, 07:32 PM
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I meant that each of the 4 of us got a room key a piece and then we each got our own sign & sail card.
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Old February 5th, 2007, 10:14 PM
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I'll ask some others to see. What ship are you going on?
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Old February 5th, 2007, 11:00 PM
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Okay, I've been told the older ships have two cards per person...sail & sign and a room key. This works out great for you. Did you check that rate for the third person in your room?

Melody
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