Cruising on Carnival comes with some stipulations. You must try the warm chocolate melting cake for dessert, keep an eye out for the "drink of the day," embrace the quirky decor ... the list goes on. But what about the things you shouldn't do? From snagging a seat you'll regret at the comedy show, to eating the "same old, same old" breakfast every day, we can think of a few activities you should avoid to ensure you have the most fun vacation possible. Here are eight things not to do on your next Carnival cruise.
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Carnival's "Fun Times" daily newsletter is where you'll find all the day's activities, dining times, drink specials and spa discounts. Forget to look at it, and you could miss out on opportunities to save money, win prizes and add some more fun to your day. We recommend taking a peek the night before (newsletters are placed in the cabins during turn-down service) and choosing your top three activities -- whether that's trivia, a spa raffle or dance class. Don't miss the "Drink of the Day" deals.
...Unless you want to become a part of it. Carnival's adult comedy shows can be summed up in three words: funny, raunchy and offensive. On top of that, comedians love to engage with the audience, usually by picking on those closest to the stage. Avoid humiliation by sitting toward the back, but be wary if you get up to use the bathroom or grab a drink. Anyone who walks out the door instantly becomes a target.
Although we rarely see it enforced, chair hogging (the act of "claiming" deck chairs with towels or clothing, then leaving the pool deck with no intention of returning anytime soon) is forbidden on Carnival ships. If a crew member sees that a chair with someone's personal belongings has been empty for at least 40 minutes, they are entitled to confiscate them. Keep this in mind the next time you consider breaking the rules.
Anyone who thinks the water slide is only for kids clearly has never been on a Carnival ship. The Twister water slide is open to all ages, and we've definitely seen our fair share of adults take advantage. Don't worry; it's not a scary ride. In fact, we find it quite refreshing!
Despite spanning multiple decks, Carnival's main theater fills up fast for stage shows. Arrive at least 15 minutes early to avoid being stuck in the nosebleeds or with an obstructed view. Luckily, ships typically host two show times in one night so everyone has a chance to enjoy it.
In need of a quick detox, but don't feel like shelling out money for a massage? Carnival's single-sex saunas are free to use and do not require the purchase of a spa treatment. Head to the sauna after a quick workout or at the end of the week to soothe your leg muscles after trekking up and down countless flights of stairs. Note: Steam rooms as well as select ships' specialty facilities, such as hammam chambers and thalassotherapy pools, cost extra.
The buffet is easy. You stand in line, pile your plate as high as you can with anything that catches your eye, then sit down and indulge. It's also the earliest-open breakfast option, which is convenient for port days. But if you want to avoid the crowds one morning, consider the slower-paced main dining room, room service or even a specialty restaurant (depending on your ship) -- such as the BlueIguana Cantina, which makes killer breakfast burritos. Another option (particularly attractive to families) is the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast, a Dr. Seuss-themed brunch experience held once per cruise on every ship.
With so much to do, eat and drink, sometimes it's easy to forget to relax and recharge. That's why Carnival created the Serenity Deck. The space reserved for anyone 21 or older is replete with padded loungers, canopy beds, hammocks, whirlpools, a private bar and beverage service -- basically everything you could want out of a peaceful escape. Even better: Unlike many adults-only sun decks, Serenity is free. The location varies by ship and sometimes can be hard to find, so make a point to discover its whereabouts. On Carnival Inspiration, for example, Serenity is tucked behind the comedy club on the Promenade deck, while on Carnival Magic, it spans all of Deck 15. If you ever need guidance, you can pull up the ship's deck plans on your phone, via the Carnival Hub app.