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Old July 28th, 2007, 10:06 PM
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Default Is it worth the expense of buying the Soda Pass

{First Time Cruisers}
We are set to take the Western Caribbean Cruise on the Valor on Aug 19, 2007. We got Balcony on the Verandah Deck

I only drink maybe 2 cans of diet coke per day and Spouse about the same.

However, I was wondering if we go ahead and purchase the passes, and this includes bottled water, then maybe it is not a bad idea to obtain the soda passes.

While on the subject of beverages: We (hubbie and I ) being from Miami love our expresso coffee A/K/A Cuban Coffee by the locals, can we get expresso coffee at the formal dinning areas & the buffect areas, or do we need to get it from the coffee shop?

As I indicated before this is our first cruise, even though I have lived here in Miami all my life.
I guess I was hesitant about being sequestered on a ship. When I go to a different country I like to explore and mingle with the natives. We , for example get on public transportation (Buses and trains) and go way out to explore the country as much as time permits.

We only use our hotel room to sleep, rest and bathe, we never just hang out. On cruises, however, you only have a short time at each port, not leaving much time for sightseeing. I have thus far scheduled 2 excursions. I will leave one port Grand Cayman to tour on our own.

I also had reservations, about " What if we would get bored on a ship". After all one can not just get off at will?

Another item - I realize the ships are enormous but they also carry thousands of passengers and crew on board, I tend to get clastaphobic when surrounded by large crowds huddled together in confined spaces.

But after hearing how wonderful the cruises are, and some of our friends have gone on many cruise trips always saying “How much fun they had.? That finally we decided lets give it a try. Maybe we will love. it.

I do find that as the days get closer I am really getting very excited and looking forward to our trip.

Thanks for any and all input.
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Old July 28th, 2007, 10:57 PM
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If your not a big soda drinker then its probably not worth it to buy the soda card.

You don't need bottled water. The water on the ship is great on ice. If you go on excursions then buy some water there. It's probably cheaper.

Yes you can get espresso coffee in the dining room and at a coffee bar on the ship. At dinner its free. At the coffee bar its extra.

On the ship its the same thing.. your only in there to change clothes and to sleep unless you have a balcony.. then you'd spend time on it.

There's so much going on... on the ship even people who think they would get bored just don't. Check out a capers (ships activities) for your ship and see whats going on. here's a capers from this year.. http://www.webshots.com/search?query...l+Valor+Capers

Hope this helps.. You are going to have a great time..
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Old July 28th, 2007, 11:38 PM
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Soda passes will get you soda only, not water. From what I've heard, the purified water on the ship is better than the bottled water, plus its free! If you only drink a couple cans of soda a day, chances are buying them each individually would be the way to go, or bring a 12 pack in with your luggage. You'll have to do the math to see if buying the card is a cheaper way to go.

I guarantee you wont get bored on the cruise, nor will being around so many people bother you. Everyone on the ship will not be in the same place at the same time. The only time a place may be crowded is in line for embarkation and during the emergency drill before you sail.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 12:19 AM
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Carnival has this cruise thing down to a science. The Valor is a relatively new ship. All of that is to say that the way activities are scheduled, the design of the ship and port of calls, are all designed to ensure that there is never much of a cattle car feel to any one part of the ship. The only time you will ever realize how many people are on the ship is. . . . . . . you will never realize how many people are on the ship!!!!!

Even disembarkment and the muster drill (mustard dill) are designed so that at no time are there just masses and masses of people squeezed together. Mustard dills include everyone but you can't see the entire crowd because they are spread out along the entire deck so you never feel the 2,900+ people on board.

As far as getting bored. Since this is your first cruise, you may get antsy (I did) because you are in a confined space. However, this is a HUGE confined space with things going on throughout the ship. When you get bored of the Lido Deck, go to the main showroom for bingo. When that gets old, sit in on an auction and drink free champagne, then do a galley tour or find a quiet spot for a little reading, after that it is time for a workout or massage in the spa. By then you should be hungry and that means it is time to go back to the Lido Deck for munchies from the buffet. Now you are getting a little sleepy. NAP TIME!!!!! It is time for a midday nap. By the time you wake up, the photographers are all set up for the dinner crowd. Shower, get dressed for dinner and take some pictures (you don't have to purchase any). After dinner you will find that yes, that slot machine in the corner is whispering your name!!!

One thing that people complain about but I now realized the wisdom of was the strange way the two dining rooms are situated. Because the galley sits between the two dining rooms, you cannot get to the back dining room from the front of the ship without going up or down at lease one deck and then down (or up) again. They do this because the only time during the day that 50% of the passengers are all doing the same thing is around the dining times. By forcing half of the dining crowd (1/4 of the passengers) to use a separate elevator/stairs area, keeps the congestion to a minimum. Some of the oldest ships are not designed like this but all of the newer (less old) ships have the kitchen (galley) dissecting the main deck in order to divide the crowd.

You may get antsy and overwhelmed but you will not likely get bored.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 09:44 AM
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I wish to thank EVERYONE on this board who provided their input , and savy.

I will be passing up on purchasing the Soda Pass.

I heard from "Ibcruzin" , that there are two dining area's, (besides Rosie's , Oriental cafe, & buffet area's etc.) .

I have 8PM Dinner sitting. My question is:
Do they route you to a particular dining room or do you get to select?

It really does not matter, any which one will be fine, I was just courious.
Can hardly wait to bite into that famous Chocolate Melted Cake everyone
keeps talking about.

This message board has given me a wealth of information.

Thanks again to all,

Marty
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Old July 29th, 2007, 10:08 AM
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Marty -

With the two dining rooms, there are four dining times. If I remember correctly from my last cruise, they are 5:45, 6:15, 8:00 and 8:30 - the 5:45 and 8:00 are for one dining room and the other two times are for the other dining room.

Enjoy your cruise. You probably can carry a couple of six packs of soda on board if you want and, as far as water goes, take an empty bottle or two on board and fill before leaving the ship. Since I do not drink soda, I have drunk the water on all the ships I have sailed and have no problem with it whatsoever.

jk
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Old July 29th, 2007, 02:17 PM
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Default Re: Is it worth the expense of buying the Soda Pass

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spacecadet
I guess I was hesitant about being sequestered on a ship. When I go to a different country I like to explore and mingle with the natives. We , for example get on public transportation (Buses and trains) and go way out to explore the country as much as time permits.
Be very careful about this! There are good parts of certain countries and then there are bad parts. There have been recent incidents of tourists being attacked and I'm guessing that it happened in areas that were typical for tourists not to be.

Also, make sure that you leave PLENTY of time to get back to the ship. If you are not booked on a excursion made through the cruise line, the ship will not wait for you to get back on board. I'd hate for you to get lost or a train or bus break down and you miss the ship. An advantage of a cruise line excursion is the guarantee you have of not missing the ship.

Whatever you choose to do be careful and have fun!
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Old July 29th, 2007, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spacecadet
I have 8PM Dinner sitting. My question is:
Do they route you to a particular dining room or do you get to select?
Im not sure this was answered. They will assign a dining room to you. It seemed to us that all the people with cabins in the front of the ship had the back dining room, but that may just have been those of us comparing and they put us all together.

You dont get to choose which dining room you want.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 11:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flowers
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spacecadet
I have 8PM Dinner sitting. My question is:
Do they route you to a particular dining room or do you get to select?
Im not sure this was answered. They will assign a dining room to you. It seemed to us that all the people with cabins in the front of the ship had the back dining room, but that may just have been those of us comparing and they put us all together.

You dont get to choose which dining room you want.
They will assign you a dining time, dining room and specific table based on the preferences you picked when you booked your cruise. When you first sign in, your dining time, dining room and table number will be printed on your sail and sign. Sometimes, they will assign you a dining time other than what you requested. Don't fret. If you want to make any changes to your seating selection, when you board the ship or as soon there after, just go to the dining room and speak to the matre d'. He can look on his computer and probably move you without any problem.

Early seating is usually more families with children while the late seating are more childless groups.

Another note about dining. Carnival groups people not by cabin but by demographics. Families with small children are seated with families with children around the same age. Solo cruisers are seated together. Mother/daughter pairs are seated with the same. Mature couples are seated with mature couples, honeymooners are seated with young couples. So on and so forth. It is not a perfect system but that is how they assign tables. They try to put people together who are comparable. They will almost never put a solo cruiser at a table with a family with small children.

Most two people tables are couples not traveling with a group.

If at any time you find you are not happy with your table or tablemates, the Maitre D will move you to another table without any questions.

By the time you get bored, you will be off the ship and on your way home.

Happy cruzin'
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