Unfortunately I don't have a current Carnival Cruise brochure. However,
I looked in the back of an old copy from 2003-04 and found this information under Deposit and Payment at the back of the book. It does vary according to length of cruise. The range listed was from 3-days to 10-days or longer. The final payment for a 3-day cruise was "balance payable not later than 60 days prior to departure date." For the 6, 7 and 8-day cruise is was no later than 70 days prior to departure.
If it was 10 days or longer, the balance was due no later than 75 days before departure. Alaskan cruises were also due no later than 75 days
prior to departure. That being said, in bold letters underneath the paragraph, it said that payment term "may differ for groups" and it advised you to check with your travel agent or Carnival for the applicable terms.
I noticed Texas Cruiser stated his final payment was due earlier than those times stated above. I don't know perhaps he has been given a group rate with a different due date. We booked a cruise on July 25, 2004
for sail date of December 19, 2004 which is about five months in the future. Our final payment was due October 10, 2004 which falls in the 70-day realm.
I did book a cruise on June 11th for September 9th. I don't remember what the due date was for the final payment. I think it was around June 18. Since the due date was so close and because we were travelling in Washington D.C. at the time, it was just as convenient to pay for the cruise when we booked. I guess that would have made about 52 days before sail date for final payment. But this was a group cruise so final payment dates might differ.
Welcome back! Enjoyed your travelogue. I have a question for you that I will get to later.