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Carnival’s Mardi Gras, scheduled to debut next year, will offer cruise passengers a wide range of enticing dining options. As the soon-to-be largest ship in the Carnival fleet, the new ship will offer something for everyone, ranging from casual eating to upscale dining. If you want to sample every restaurant aboard, you’ll have to loosen your belt – and maybe even book a longer cruise!

Truth is that when it comes to eating on a cruise, Carnival is a leader in the field. While some cruise lines focus on high-end dining, Carnival instead offers something for everyone. For instance, sometimes you just want a great burger – without having to pay a fortune – and Carnival can deliver.

The Mardi Gras will showcase the full range of Carnival’s dining options. Carnival Cruise President Christine Duffy stated, “Great food and beverage experiences are at the core of any vacation, especially at Carnival. We always strive to provide our guests with the most diverse options possible, but the sheer variety of food and beverage venues on board Mardi Gras is unlike anything we’ve ever offered before.”

To give you an idea of what’s offered, here are all the restaurants you can expect on the Carnival Mardi Gras. Note that this doesn’t include the main dining room and buffet – two free dining staples across the Carnival fleet.

Complimentary Dining Options on Carnival Mardi Gras

When it comes to food that’s included in your fare, Carnival is by far the leader among major cruise lines. Most lines like to charge for just about everything outside of the buffet and dining room. Carnival, however, is giving passengers a ton of included options aboard the Mardi Gras.

Big Chicken
Big Chicken is Carnival’s casual fast-food chicken restaurant that’s also a venture with Carnival’s “Chief Fun Officer,” Shaquille O’Neal. If you’re a fan of Popeye’s or KFC, then you’ll love that this free option is aboard the ship.

Enjoy fried chicken baskets, crispy chicken sandwiches, chicken strips, along with potato salad, jalapeno slaw, and fries at this chicken venue. It also serves breakfast from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m., with options including three-cheese omelets, chicken & biscuit, and biscuit & egg sandwiches.

BlueIguana Cantina
Want some fast-casual Mexican food… that’s also included with your fare? At BlueIguana, you can get breakfast or lunch. Similar to Chipotle, you simply let the staff know what ingredients you want and they will put them in a taco or burrito for you. There is also a salsa bar where you can dress up your food with even more flavor.

Guy’s Burger Joint
Perhaps the most popular restaurant across Carnival’s entire fleet is Guy’s Burger Joint, so it of course makes an appearance on the Mardi Gras. Enjoy a menu of burger favorites at this poolside lunch spot from Food Network personality Guy Fieri. Burgers are freshly made, along with tons of topping options and seasoned fries. Simply line up (it’s by the pool) and get your lunch or early dinner. The only downside is that the restaurant is open only during the day.

Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse/Brewhouse
Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse serves up BBQ, but if you want it for free then you need to go at lunch. During the dinner hours there is an ala carte charge. Similar to Guy’s Burger Join, this spot is also affiliate with Guy Fieri. During lunch the restaurant offers barbecue staples for no extra charge. (The restaurant costs extra for dinner). Along with your barbecue, you can quench your thirst with one of the brewed on-site craft beers, but you will have to pay extra for the alcohol.

Street Eats
A new concept on the Carnival Mardi Gras is Street Eats. It’s free and Carnival’s tribute to the great food available at carts, trucks, and shacks. Grab some lunch at one of three changing food stations serving up options like empanadas, kebab, satay, and falafel. It’s definitely a bit more adventurous than a simple hot-dog cart!

Pizzeria del Capitano
The Pizzeria del Capitano is Carnival’s 24-hour pizza joint that serves up fresh pies around the clock. There are only a few types of pie served (pepperoni, margherita, cheese, and a couple more), but they are absolutely delicious. Best of all, the pizza is free. In fact, you can even have it delivered to you on some ships, although that results in a small charge.

Fresh Creations
Cruise ships are known for their food – and the weight gain that comes from it. But sometimes you just want something fresh and light. Carnival has you covered. The new Fresh Creations is a salad bar that blows the traditional buffet salad bar out of the water. With a ton of variety (including nearly a dozen different lettuce options), you can eat great without the guilt.

Specialty Dining Choices on Carnival Mardi Gras

Many restaurants on the Mardi Gras are free, but there are a number of specialty options that charge extra for dining.

Bonsai Teppenyaki
Want a little show with your dinner? Bonsai Teppenyaki is a hibachi grill where your chef is as entertaining as your meal is good. Savor delicious appetizers while you watch your chef expertly prepare main courses of filet mignon, grilled tofu or fish, shrimp and lobster. It’s small – only sixteen people can sit at one time, so be sure to make your reservations early. Good news is that it’s open for both lunch and dinner. The fare is $32 per person to eat your fill.

Bonsai Sushi
Some people may be a little hesitant to eat sushi on a cruise ship, but it’s a popular place to have a casual meal. Enjoy lunch or dinner at this sit-down restaurant serving a delicious menu of sushi, sashimi, rolls and more. California rolls, spicy tuna, tempura rolls ($5-7 per roll), even bento boxes ($10) or noodle bowls ($7)… they are all here on the Mardi Gras

Cucina del Capitano
Looking a date night where you also get a great meal? This shipboard version of an Italian Trattoria lets you eat dinner family-style, ordering a full-course meal of antipasti, entrées, pasta and desserts. If it’s an Italian classic, you’ll find it on the menu. That includes everything from meatballs to spaghetti to chicken parm, along with some more unique dishes porcini rubbed beef short ribs. It will cost around $15 per adult for your meal.

Emeril’s Bistro 1396
A Carnival Mardi Gras first, this restaurant with ties to celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse serves Cajun/Creole favorites in a New Orelans-style atmosphere. Located in the ship’s “French Quarter” zone, the bistro offers jambalaya, BBQ shrimp, fried oysters, gumbo, and muffaletta sandwiches for lunch and dinner. Hungry in the morning? The breakfast menu includes bananas foster crepes, breakfast po’boys and shrimp and grits. There’s no word yet on pricing, but you can bet it will be well worth whatever you have to pay.

The Steakhouse
Enjoy a fine dining experience in an elegant setting at the Steakhouse on Mardi Gras. Starter menu options include shrimp cocktail, ahi tuna tartare, and lobster bisque. Main course choices range from filet mignon and New York strip loin steak, to grilled lamb chops and broiled lobster tail. For dessert, treat yourself to a chocolate sampler, cheesecake, or homemade sherbet and ice creams. The Steakhouse is a classic cruise dining spot – perfect for celebrating being on vacation. It will set you back a little; prices are $38 for adults.

Seafood Shack
Are you a fan of New England style seafood? Seafood Shack will be right up your alley. With menu items like like fried shrimp ($6), clam strips ($6), clam chowder ($4), lobster rolls ($12), fish and chips ($6), and even steamed lobster by the pound, you’ll feel like you were at a New England seaside shack serving up the freshest catch.

Jiji Asian Kitchen
Regional favorites from Mongolia, China, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines make up the menu at this a la carte restaurant. Appetizer options include slow-braised pork belly, tamarind and shrimp soup, Nanjing-style duck, and shrimp pot stickers. The menu also offers entrees like Kung Pao chicken and Singapore chili shrimp, plus side dishes such as Chinese broccoli and eggplant in oyster sauce. The cost is $15 per adult, and kids under 12 pay only $5.

Chef’s Table
The highest-end dining on Carnival ships is The Chef’s Table and it makes its appearance on Carnival Mardi Gras. Only 14 people can eat here, making it the most exclusive dining spot on the entire ship. During your meal you’ll get drinks and hor d’oeuvers, a kitchen tour and then a one-of-a-kind meal full dinner served by Carnival’s chefs. There’s no set menu, but be sure to bring your appetite. Prices vary from $75-95 per person.

Want to know more about Carnival Mardi Gras? See everything we know about the ship and more on its new stateroom design.

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From a sleepy coastal village just a few decades ago, Cancun is now a booming tourist destination. Consider that in 1990 it had a population of 168,000 people. By 2010 — just 20 years later — the city had 630,000 residents.

Meanwhile, tourism to the area has grown sharply as well. Today there are hundreds of hotels available for visitors. Many of these tower over the beach in the famous Hotel Zone that stretches out into the electric blue Caribbean.

So many hotels concentrated in one area makes things busy, but it’s also a great thing for your budget. The competition between hotels drives prices down, making a stay relatively affordable compared to most beach paradises.

And while Cancun and its popularity has grown, so have your options of booking your hotel. These days there are dozens websites you can use to reserve your room. In fact, there are so many options that it can get confusing. How do you know if you are getting the best deal? Maybe your Cancun hotel is cheaper on one site compared to another?

To help you save time, we’ve searched through the most popular websites for booking a Cancun hotel to find which one offers up the best deal.

The Hotel

Before we can determine the cheapest spot to buy your hotel stay in Cancun, we first have to know what to search for.

In this case, we took a look at the Marriott Cancun Resort. This hotel sits in the middle of the city’s Hotel Zone and offers a lot for visitors to enjoy. TripAdvisor’s rating in 4.5 out of 5, after more than 4,700 reviews. Offering everything from restaurants to tennis courts to pools to a spa — and of course sitting beachfront with spectacular views — it’s a perfect example of what a great resort in Cancun can offer.

It’s also relatively affordable  place to stay despite its high ratings and luxury. Our initial searches found rates around $100 a night, which would be affordable in any American city, much less a luxurious beachfront resort.

For our search, we looked at an example stay in September, arriving on a Friday and departing on a Monday.

Here’s what we found…

The Hotel Website

With so many website options for booking hotels, the hotel companies try their hardest to get you to book directly on their website. That’s because the hotels often pay advertising fees to be featured on third-party websites, or they pay a commission to the website for bookings through their portal. In other words, it’s cheaper for the hotel if you book directly through them.

That’s why you will often see perks offered for booking through the hotel website — or a guarantee that you are getting the cheapest rate.

For the Marriott Cancun website, our search found a nightly rate of $111 for a prepaid non-refundable purchase. The room in question is their least-expensive, with a “resort view,” king bed, and a balcony. Standard refundable rates were considerably higher, with the same room running at $139 per night.

One thing to note is that if you are a Marriott Bonvoy member, then you can get a “member rate” for $106 per night.

You should also know that the Cancun Marriott charges a $25 per day resort fee, and taxes and fees are also added on.

All told, we found a total rate of $489.72 for the three-night stay (including the resort fee and taxes), with a daily average rate for the room only of $111.

On thing to note is that Mexico charges a 25.34 pesos (about $1.30) per night as an environmental fee on hotel room. Sometimes this fee is included in the taxes shown and other times we’ve seen it not added in. Therefore, you might find differences of a few dollars between rates.

Cancun’s Hotel Zone from the air Third-Party Travel-Booking Websites

In addition to the hotel website, there is no shortage of outside websites focused on hotel booking. In particular, we searched for the same hotel room on the same dates across some of the most popular hotel booking sites. Here’s what we found…

Expedia
A search on Expedia for the Marriott Cancun brought up the same $111 per night rate found on Marriott’s own website. Noticeably absent was the $106 member’s rate found on the Marriott site.

Expedia also includes the resort fees and government taxes — explicitly including the 25 peso environmental fee. All told, for the three night trip Expedia shows a total price of $493.72.

Booking.com
Another popular travel site that’s gaining in popularity, Booking.com shows the $111 per night price found elsewhere. Including the taxes (shown as 19%), plus the $25 per night resort fee and environmental fee.

All told, however, it shows a $472.67 total price — about $20 less than booking directly on the Marriott website. With the nightly rate being the exact same, the difference comes from the taxes and fees charged on Booking.com. It’s not entirely clear why these fees are smaller on this website compared to others.

Kayak.com
Kayak is a search aggregator that searches across multiple sites at once to bring you all the prices from a number of sources. In a sense, you are able to search once and get all the prices. In addition, you can book through their partners on the Kayak.com website.

In our case we found the Marriott Cancun for the same $111 per night rate, and a total of $493.74. This $111 price was also found on multiple websites that Kayak searches.

TripAdvisor.com
TripAdvisor is known for its ratings and reviews, written by real travelers like you. However, you can also search and book hotels from their website. Like Kayak, TripAdvisor has deals from all the major booking websites, allowing you to see at a glance who offers the best rate and book quickly.

Our search for September 5th through September 9th returned multiple sites with $111 per night offers, and even one (Otel.com) with a $99 per night rate. However, when factoring in the taxes and resort fees, the prices all came to the $493 rate found elsewhere.

So Which Website Is Best for a Cancun Hotel?

If our search revealed anything, it’s that you don’t have to worry about which website offers the best deal. At the end of the day, the prices come out to be very similar. In our search Booking.com did save about $20, but we think that amount is negligible on a $500 hotel room.

So does that mean you should just go straight to the hotel website? In many cases this is a great idea. Many hotels guarantee the lowest rates you’ll find. Others have perks that they offer guests who book direct. If you know where you want to stay, start at the hotel’s website.

But that only works if you know exactly where you want to stay. For many people visiting Cancun, they aren’t quite sure which hotel they want.

In that case, we recommend starting with an aggregation site. For instance, TripAdvisor will let you book a hotel but also allows you to search for a spot to stay in Cancun, see ratings and reviews, and then gets you prices across all sites (including the hotel’s website). When you aren’t sure of exactly where to stay, starting with one of these sites is the best way to search for a Cancun hotel.

Need more ideas of where to stay in Cancun? Check out our articles on Cancun hotels with airport shuttles and inexpensive beachfront hotels in Cancun.

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If you travel to popular vacation spots around the United States, then there is a good chance you’ve run into resort fees.These fees have boomed in popularity in recent years among hotels, much to the dismay of travelers. Headed to Las Vegas, Orlando, or South Beach? Hotels in all these cities — and many more around the nation — have these dreaded fees.

So could they be coming to cruise ships next?

If you aren’t familiar, resort fees are extra charges that some hotels make customers pay to have access to the services at the hotel. For example, a hotel might charge a guest a daily resort fee and say that it’s to cover services like wi-fi, pool access, and free local telephone calls. Even if you don’t use these services, you still have to pay the fee.

What rankles many guests is that these fees aren’t included in the nightly room rate, yet they can cost a small fortune. Hotels in Las Vegas, for instance, charge up to $45 per night in resort fees. That means a three-night stay would cost almost $150 even before you were charged for the actual room.

In addition, these fees have been implemented under the guise of covering things like pool access, newspapers, bottled water, and wi-fi. These are all things that used to be free to guests at a hotel.

And despite people loathing these fees, they only seem to be getting worse as they bring in extra revenue for hotels.

Of course, this all begs the question — could resort fees soon come to cruise ships? After all, cruise ships are resorts floating on the water and are tourists hotspots, just like popular places like Las Vegas and South Beach.

Will Cruise Ships Be Next for Resort Fees?

Let’s be clear — as of right now there is no hint or rumor that any cruise line will start to charge resort fees similar to what some hotels offer.

But in some ways passengers are already charged in ways similar to resort fees. For instance, if you want to get on the Internet on a cruise, it’s an extra charge. Want to eat at a specialty restaurant not included in your fare? Extra charge. And gratuities — which can add up to $30 per day for a couple traveling — are definitely an extra charge.

While these aren’t resort fees (which presumably go right into a hotel’s pocket), they are extra fees that many passengers don’t know about until they book, especially first-time cruisers.

So what about real resort fees that charge passengers extra for things that are normally included? Remember some resort fees cover things like pool access or a morning newspaper or a bottle of water — items that in most hotels would be free of charge.

While there’s no sign of this sort of resort fee on a cruise right now, we are of the opinion that it could happen (or at least be tested) in the next few years.

Unfortunately, American consumers have been pushed by extra fees of all sorts, and the fees seem to be moving to the norm instead of a special case. Obviously there are things like resort fees, but think about baggage fees on airlines. A decade ago baggage fees were largely unheard of. Today airlines bring in roughly $5 billion from baggage fees alone.

In other words, while companies know that consumers hate these charges, they are simply too lucrative to pass up. And given that cruising is in the same industry as hotels and airlines (travel), it’s a place where more and more consumers have become accustomed to these extra fees.

, such as Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank del Rio, who said “we’re pushing price higher everywhere we can in 2019 and 2020,” also should make budget-conscious travelers leery that fees could be tested.

All that said, we have seen backlash from higher prices before. Recently Carnival planned on increasing the cost of its room service to passengers and it was quickly scuttled after public outcry.

Even so, cruise lines are in business to make money and extra fees are one of the easiest ways to get passengers to spend more. In our opinion it wouldn’t surprise us if one day in the near future we see a cruise line attempt to charge passengers a resort fee.

Whether it would stick — or if passengers will make their displeasure heard — is a different story.

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Update 7/13/19 @ 4:30 p.m.: Great news for cruisers aboard Carnival Glory and Carnival Valor! Carnival just announced via text alert that the Glory (arriving Sunday) and Valor (arriving Monday) will arrive at the Port of New Orleans as scheduled. Here is a text alert received from the company:

Carnival Glory will be arriving tomorrow, as scheduled. Please plan to arrive at the cruise terminal within your Arrival Appointment time. We look forward to welcoming you on board. This is our final update.

A similar alert was received for the Carnival Valor.

That these ships will sail as scheduled is surprising to us given that the area is currently seeing heavy rain due to Tropical Storm Barry. As well, the Port of New Orleans has been closed during the storm. However, it’s great news if you are scheduled to arrive back home on one of these ships or if your cruise is set to depart.

As a reminder, the Carnival Fantasy (originally scheduled for Saturday from Mobile) is tentatively scheduled to depart tomorrow instead. See below for more details.

Update 7/13/19 @ 2 p.m.: Carnival announced that Carnival Fantasy is now scheduled as a 4-day cruise, that will hopefully depart tomorrow (Sunday) from the Port of Mobile. As well, passengers will receive a refund for a pro-rated portion of the cruise. If you decide not to sail, you can receive a future cruise credit for your canceled trip.

Here is the full update from Carnival on the Fantasy:

SHIP: Carnival Fantasy
VOYAGE DATE: 7/13/2019 (now scheduled to operate as a 4-day cruise departing tomorrow, 07/14/19).
HOMEPORT: Mobile, AL

STATUS: Operations at the Port of Mobile are still suspended for all commercial inbound and outbound traffic due to adverse maritime conditions caused by the storm. Given today’s delay, our plan is to operate this cruise as a 4-day sailing to Cozumel, departing Sunday, 7/14/19, assuming normal port operations are resumed at Port of Mobile.

Please do not proceed to the cruise terminal until we have confirmed our embarkation plans for tomorrow. Opt in for text alerts by texting CCL3 to 278473.

We realize this is an unexpected change and sincerely apologize for this disruption to your vacation. Given the shortened duration, you will receive the following:

• One day pro-rated refund of your cruise fare
• Automatic refund of any pre-purchased shore excursions, as well as taxes, fees, and port expenses for Costa Maya (processed to your onboard Sail & Sign® account)
• One day pro-rated refund of any pre-purchased beverage packages (refunded within the next 3 weeks to the original form of payment)
• One day adjustment to the onboard service gratuities.

We hope you will continue with your plans to sail with us. Should you elect not to travel, we will provide you with a future cruise credit toward your next Carnival vacation. Additionally, a refund of any pre-purchased items will be processed to your original form of payment within the next 3 weeks.

Please call our Guest Services Department at 1-800-CARNIVAL or your travel advisor if you decide not to sail.

Meanwhile, the Carnival Glory and Carnival Valor are still waiting on the Port of New Orleans to reopen before figuring out when the next cruise will depart.

Update 7/13/19 @ 8 a.m.: Due to Tropical Storm Barry, both the Port of New Orleans and Mobile are still closed.

With the Carnival Fantasy originally set to port this morning in Mobile, that trip will obviously be delayed. Carnival is urging passengers not to head to the port until new embarkation plans are announced. The ship is just offshore of Mobile and should be able to dock soon after the port is reopened.

Carnival Glory is/was supposed to dock in New Orleans on Sunday, but with the port closed and the storm still yet to reach landfall, it’s likely in our opinion that the next departure will be delayed. (Update: As mentioned above, the Carnival Glory will arrive on time for Sunday’s cruise.) The Glory is currently sailing toward New Orleans and is in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, south of the storm.

Update 7/12/19 @ 7 p.m.: An announcement from Carnival confirms that the trips for the Glory, Valor, and Fantasy have been impacted. It has urged passengers not to proceed to the Port of Mobile for the Carnival Fantasy for Saturday’s sailing until they can confirm the ship has arrived in port. At this time the Fantasy is sitting south of the Alabama/Florida border, seemingly waiting for the port to reopen.

Meanwhile, the Port of New Orleans remains closed at this time, at least through Sunday. The cruise line will assess what it will do once the port reopens. That means the Glory (scheduled Sunday) and Valor (scheduled Monday) could be delayed.

Here’s the statement released by Carnival:

Our Fleet Operations Center in Miami continues to actively monitor Tropical Storm Barry. The safety of our guests and crew is our number one priority and our ships will remain a safe distance from the storm at all times. In the event any changes are necessary to these upcoming departures, we will update our guests accordingly.

SHIP: Carnival Fantasy
VOYAGE DATE: 7/13/2019
HOMEPORT: Mobile, AL
STATUS: Port of Mobile remains closed. Do not proceed to the cruise terminal until we have confirmed the ship’s arrival. Opt in for text alerts by texting CCL3 to 278473.

SHIP: Carnival Glory
VOYAGE DATE: 7/14/2019
HOMEPORT: New Orleans, LA
STATUS: Port of New Orleans remains closed. We will confirm our plans once the post-storm assessment process has been completed and the port reopens. Opt in for text alerts by texting CCL2 to 278473.

SHIP: Carnival Valor
VOYAGE DATE: 7/15/2019
HOMEPORT: New Orleans, LA
STATUS: Port of New Orleans remains closed. We will confirm our plans once the post-storm assessment process has been completed and the port reopens. Opt in for text alerts by texting CCL4 to 278473.

We will post another update by 9:00 AM (ET) tomorrow.

Original Article:

If you plan on taking a cruise out of the Ports of New Orleans or Mobile over the next several days, there’s a good chance that your ship will be delayed or otherwise impacted due to Tropical Storm Barry.

As we’ve reported, the Carnival Valor had to divert from New Orleans to Mobile on Thursday due to the storm. Then we told readers that the Carnival Glory (scheduled for Sunday in New Orleans) was likely to be impacted due to the storm.

Now we have reason to think that the Carnival Glory could be affected by Tropical Storm Barry. As well, it appears the Carnival Fantasy (scheduled in Mobile for Saturday) and Carnival Valor (scheduled for New Orleans on Monday) could also be impacted.

Ports Closed to Traffic

While the details of what will happen with the ships and thousands of passengers is still unclear, both the Port of New Orleans and Port of Mobile are closed to traffic at this time.

Carnival recently issued the following travel alert:

Our Fleet Operations Center in Miami is actively monitoring Tropical Storm Barry, located off the Gulf Coast. Port of New Orleans and Port of Mobile are now closed to maritime traffic.

As the safety of our guests and crew is our number one priority, we will continue to keep an eye on the storm and provide you with timely updates as more information becomes available.

In the meantime, please opt-in for text alerts by texting the codes below to CRUISE (278473):

Port of New Orleans
Carnival Glory – 07/14/19 – CCL2
Carnival Valor – 07/15/19 – CCL4

Port of Mobile
Carnival Fantasy – 07/13/19 – CCL3

We will post another update today by 8:00 PM (ET).

Cruzely has also been in contact with the Port of New Orleans, who told us that “The Port of New Orleans is closed til Monday, and only essential personnel are working.”

We will continue to update readers as we learn more about any potential changes to the cruise schedule for the Glory, Valor, and Fantasy. However, as of now it seems that all three could be delayed. With the Port of New Orleans closed until Monday, that seems to mean the Carnival Glory could either be delayed or head to another port to disembark passengers. (Update: As mentioned above, Carnival has said the Glory will still sail as scheduled on Sunday.)

If you are on one of these cruises, you should subscribe to the text alerts from Carnival, which will provide you with up-to-date details about changes to the schedule.

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Update: 7/13/19 @ 4:30 p.m.: Great news for passengers sailing the Carnival Glory. Carnival has announced via text message that the Glory is now set to sail at its scheduled time, despite the area being impacted by Tropical Storm Barry. This is also despite the Port of New Orleans website still showing that the port is largely closed to traffic.

Here is the text Carnival sent:

Carnival Glory will be arriving tomorrow, as scheduled. Please plan to arrive at the cruise terminal within your Arrival Appointment time. We look forward to welcoming you on board. This is our final update.

Update: 7/12/19 @ 2:30 p.m.: The Port of New Orleans is closed to traffic until Monday. As well, the Port of Mobile has also closed. While Carnival has yet to release details of what will happen with the Carnival Glory and its passengers, it seems likely the cruise will be delayed. (See our update above. Carnival has said the Glory will sail as scheduled on Sunday.) For the latest updates, you can follow our article here.

Original Article:

One cruise ship (Carnival Valor) has already had its scheduled altered due to Tropical Storm Barry. Could another be on the horizon? In our opinion, it seems likely at this point. However, at this time there is no official change in the Carnival Glory schedule. The ship is set to arrive at the Port of New Orleans on Sunday morning.

For days a tropical disturbance has lumbered across the Gulf of Mexico, just south of New Orleans. Now the storm has upgraded to Tropical Storm Barry and looks set to make landfall on Saturday, west of New Orleans.

New Orleans is now under a tropical storm warning. More importantly, there are forecasts of 6-10 inches of rain in the city. New Orleans has already received considerable rains that caused flooding, all while the Mississippi River is at an elevated stage. Officials are worried about a serious flooding risk.

If you are planning to board the Carnival Glory — currently scheduled to dock in New Orleans on Sunday morning — then we think your cruise schedule will be adjusted. (Update: Glory will arrive as scheduled. See above.)

Carnival told us via email there are “no changes at the moment, but we’re monitoring the storm and will make any changes as needed.”

To us, however, there are a few reasons that a schedule change seems likely:

  1. New Orleans could be under flood warnings on Sunday morning, when the Glory is set to arrive. Already seeing heavy rains with more on the way, unless the storm is drier than expected, areas around the city seem likely to be flooded. That could inhibit travel for passengers.

2. Tropical Storm Barry is slow moving. Despite projections to make landfall around midday on Saturday, the forecast shows the center of the storm still over the middle of Louisiana on Sunday morning. That could mean the heavy rains of the storm might still be around on Sunday when the Glory is set to dock.

3. The Port of New Orleans is largely closed until Monday. According to their website, “the Port Administration Building is closed for all nonessential personnel” until Monday. Port cargo operations are also closed until at least Monday. While the cruise operations aren’t specifically mentioned as closed, we have contacted the port to see if these closures also apply to cruise ships. We will update when we hear back.

What Could Happen With the Carnival Glory

So if the Carnival Glory does have to adjust its schedule, what’s most likely to happen?

There are likely one of two possibilities.

First, the ship could dock at the Alabama Cruise Terminal in Mobile. This is what we saw on Thursday when the Carnival Valor docked in Mobile instead of the scheduled New Orleans. Passengers headed to the ship were bused from New Orleans. Checking the schedule, Mobile has no cruise ships in port that day so it seems like it could handle the Glory porting there instead of Louisiana.

The other alternative is to delay the arrival of the ship until at least Monday, assuming the the Port of New Orleans is able to be up and running by then. The delayed docking would give more time for any flooding to recede, if needed. This would mean passengers currently on the Glory would be at sea an extra day before their cruise gets back home.

For now, the most important thing is to wait for word from Carnival if you are booked to sail aboard the Carnival Glory on Sunday. They should be in contact with passengers directly. You can also call them at 1-800-764-7419 for updates.

We will also update readers as we hear more from Carnival, the Port of New Orleans, and the Alabama Cruise Terminal.

Update: Since posted, a representative from the Alabama Cruise Terminal referred us to Carnival regarding any schedule changes for the Carnival Glory.

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Sailing from Port Canaveral on a cruise? You are definitely not alone. Millions of passengers board ships in the port that head from the Bahamas to the Caribbean to Mexico. In fact, it’s right behind the Port of Miami as the titleholder of the world’s busiest cruise port.

If you’ve never sailed from the area before, then you might be wondering what to expect when you cruise out of Port Canaveral. As a bustling — and fast-growing — port complex, there is a lot for you to know before you head to your ship.

From what to do, to where to park, to navigating the port, we have all the ins and outs of important details to know regarding the central Florida port.

The Port is Among the Busiest in the World for Cruise Traffic

There’s no doubt that Miami gets the headlines — and the most traffic — with about 5 million cruise passengers each year. But many people don’t realize that Port Canaveral is just behind that in passenger volume, with roughly 4.5 million passengers going through the port each year. In other words, cruise days can get busy (including some days with five or more ships in port).

The good news is that the port area is large and the terminals are spaced out so that it doesn’t feel like chaos on cruise day. Still, you want to allow plenty of time to reach your ship and be familiar with the area (or have a driver take you to the ship) so that you don’t lose your way.

Parking Is $17 Per Day at the Port

Given the location of the port, many people choose to drive into Port Canaveral for their cruise. If you are one of the many that do this, then you can park your car at the port as you sail. But be warned — the cost is $17 per day to park at the port. It’s convenient and only a few steps from the cruise ship. That said, a one-week cruise will see you spend about $150 in parking fees alone. Fortunately, there are some cheaper options for parking your car while you cruise which we will explain below.

Hotels Offer Park and Cruise Packages

Want to park your car but don’t want to pay the $17 per day that it costs at the port? You’re in luck. There are several ways to save some of your hard-earned cash on parking fees. If you plan to stay in the Cape Canaveral area the night before your cruise (always a smart idea) then there are many hotels that cater to cruise passengers with park & cruise specials. With these deals, you simply stay a night before your cruise and they let you park your car for little or no extra money. In total you can save a hundred bucks in parking with these deals. Click here for a full list of Port Canaveral hotels with cruise parking.

Disabled Passengers Can Get Free Parking

Are you a disabled passenger? If so, you might be able to get your parking at Port Canaveral for absolutely free. As part of Florida laws, if you are a disabled passenger and you have modifications to your automobile — such as ramps or hand controls — then you are likely eligible for free parking at the port. As well, those with a Florida Toll Exemption Permit or Florida Disabled Veteran license plates can also receive free parking. Simply give the port a call (321-783-7831) to get all the details before you arrive.

Independent Lots Offer Cheaper Parking Options

Finally, if you don’t plan to stay at a hotel and you don’t qualify for free parking, you can still save big on parking at Port Canaveral. Independent lots have sprung up around the port, offering parking for as little as $40 per week. These rates can save you a ton of money on your parking fees, which you can either save or put towards more fun on your cruise. To see more about where to park for a Port Canaveral cruise, click here.

Many Hotels Offer Cruise Port & Airport Shuttles

Flying into the area for your cruise? The Orlando airport is about 45 minutes away from Port Canaveral, meaning that you either have to pay a decent amount for transportation to the cruise ship or you have to rent a car and deal with parking.

The good news? There are hotels in the area that know many cruise passengers fly in and they offer both a shuttle between the hotel and the airport and a shuttle from the hotel to the cruise port. In other words, you don’t need to worry about finding outside transportation to get to Port Canaveral and your ship. For a full list of these hotels with shuttles, see our article here.

The view of a cruise ship from Grills restaurant. There’s Lots of Good Food Near the Port

The port complex has boomed in recent years and there are a number of waterfront spots to sit down, have a drink, a bite to eat, and watch the ships pass by. Most of the food is typical beach bar fare — including seafood, burgers, etc. That said, the views and atmosphere are unbeatable. Grills, Fishlips, and Gator’s Dockside are all popular hangouts to enjoy the scenery.

Check the Exploration Tower for Great Views

A relatively new feature of the port is the Exploration Tower. It’s an interactive experience with exhibits on each floor, topped with a viewing platform so that you can look out onto the port. The admission cost is $6.50 for adults, but the view is priceless. As the tallest point in the area (other than atop a cruise ship), it’s hard to beat. There are discounts available for children and seniors.

The Beach is Just Two Minutes Away

Florida is famous for its beaches and one of the most popular in the state is just minutes away from the cruise port. Cocoa Beach stretches for miles from the cruise port to points south, and is a great spot to swim, sun, and have fun in the sand. If driving you can find beach access at regular intervals down the coast. Jetty Park right near Port Canaveral is actually close enough to walk. If you want to spend some time on a beach right before or after your cruise, it’s easy to do that sailing from Port Canaveral.

Port Canaveral Is About 45 Minutes From Orlando

Headed into Orlando for your cruise? Or maybe your cruise has a stop in Port Canaveral and you’re thinking of headed into the city for Disney, Universal, or any number of other things to do. Either way, you should know that it takes about 45 minutes to get to Orlando and about an hour to get to the Universal/Disney area. Luckily a number of transportation options are available to get you back and forth. Still, you should keep the distance in mind when planning your schedule to reach the ship.

Driving Port Canaveral Can Get Confusing

While there is a ton of signage directing you where to go at the port, we couldn’t help but be a bit confused on where exactly to go. The roads of the port turn and twist to steer traffic in and out of the port, to loading and drop-off zones and parking garages. Add in thousands of people trying to get to their ship and the activity makes things all the more confusing. Our advice? Take a look at the map of the port and it’s helpful if one person helps you navigate to the correct spot while the other pays attention to the road. And allow yourself a few extra minutes to get to the port on time.

Naming of the Area Can Get Confusing (Port Canaveral, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach)

Don’t feel silly if you have trouble figuring out exactly what an area is called. There’s Port Canaveral, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach — and they all seem to be used interchangeably. Truth is, many of the spots in the area can be called by any name. For the record, Port Canaveral is the actual port area, which sits on Cape Canaveral. Cocoa is the name of a town just inland, while the beach area near the port is known as Cocoa Beach. Cocoa Beach is also part of Cape Canaveral.

Have more questions about sailing from Port Canaveral? Let us know in the comments below.

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Update 7/12/19 @ 7 p.m.: An announcement from Carnival confirms that the trips for the Glory, Valor, and Fantasy have been impacted. It has urged passengers not to proceed to the Port of Mobile for the Carnival Fantasy for Saturday’s sailing until they can confirm the ship has arrived in port. At this time the Fantasy is sitting south of the Alabama/Florida border, seemingly waiting for the port to reopen.

Meanwhile, the Port of New Orleans remains closed at this time, at least through Sunday. The cruise line will assess what it will do once the port reopens. That means the Glory (scheduled Sunday) and Valor (scheduled Monday) could be delayed.

Here’s the statement released by Carnival:

Our Fleet Operations Center in Miami continues to actively monitor Tropical Storm Barry. The safety of our guests and crew is our number one priority and our ships will remain a safe distance from the storm at all times. In the event any changes are necessary to these upcoming departures, we will update our guests accordingly.

SHIP: Carnival Fantasy
VOYAGE DATE: 7/13/2019
HOMEPORT: Mobile, AL
STATUS: Port of Mobile remains closed. Do not proceed to the cruise terminal until we have confirmed the ship’s arrival. Opt in for text alerts by texting CCL3 to 278473.

SHIP: Carnival Glory
VOYAGE DATE: 7/14/2019
HOMEPORT: New Orleans, LA
STATUS: Port of New Orleans remains closed. We will confirm our plans once the post-storm assessment process has been completed and the port reopens. Opt in for text alerts by texting CCL2 to 278473.

SHIP: Carnival Valor
VOYAGE DATE: 7/15/2019
HOMEPORT: New Orleans, LA
STATUS: Port of New Orleans remains closed. We will confirm our plans once the post-storm assessment process has been completed and the port reopens. Opt in for text alerts by texting CCL4 to 278473.

We will post another update by 9:00 AM (ET) tomorrow.

Original Article:

If you plan on taking a cruise out of the Ports of New Orleans or Mobile over the next several days, there’s a good chance that your ship will be delayed or otherwise impacted due to Tropical Storm Barry.

As we’ve reported, the Carnival Valor had to divert from New Orleans to Mobile on Thursday due to the storm. Then we told readers that the Carnival Glory (scheduled for Sunday in New Orleans) was likely to be impacted due to the storm.

Now we have confirmation that the Carnival Glory will be affected by Tropical Storm Barry. As well, it appears the Carnival Fantasy (scheduled in Mobile for Saturday) and Carnival Valor (scheduled for New Orleans on Monday) will also be impacted.

Ports Closed to Traffic

While the details of what will happen with the ships and thousands of passengers is still unclear, both the Port of New Orleans and Port of Mobile are closed to traffic at this time.

Carnival recently issued the following travel alert:

Our Fleet Operations Center in Miami is actively monitoring Tropical Storm Barry, located off the Gulf Coast. Port of New Orleans and Port of Mobile are now closed to maritime traffic.

As the safety of our guests and crew is our number one priority, we will continue to keep an eye on the storm and provide you with timely updates as more information becomes available.

In the meantime, please opt-in for text alerts by texting the codes below to CRUISE (278473):

Port of New Orleans
Carnival Glory – 07/14/19 – CCL2
Carnival Valor – 07/15/19 – CCL4

Port of Mobile
Carnival Fantasy – 07/13/19 – CCL3

We will post another update today by 8:00 PM (ET).

Cruzely has also been in contact with the Port of New Orleans, who told us that “The Port of New Orleans is closed til Monday, and only essential personnel are working.”

We will continue to update readers as we learn more about the changes to the cruise schedule for the Glory, Valor, and Fantasy. However, as of now it seems that all three could be delayed. With the Port of New Orleans closed until Monday, that means the Carnival Glory will certainly either be delayed or head to another port to disembark passengers.

If you are on one of these cruises, you should subscribe to the text alerts from Carnival, which will provide you with up-to-date details about changes to the schedule.

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One cruise ship has already had its scheduled altered due to Tropical Storm Barry. Could another be on the horizon? In our opinion, it seems likely at this point. However, at this time there is no official change in the Carnival Glory schedule.

For days a tropical disturbance has lumbered across the Gulf of Mexico, just south of New Orleans. Now the storm has upgraded to Tropical Storm Barry and looks set to make landfall on Saturday, west of New Orleans.

New Orleans is now under a tropical storm warning. More importantly, there are forecasts of 6-10 inches of rain in the city. New Orleans has already received considerable rains that caused flooding, all while the Mississippi River is at an elevated stage. Officials are worried about a serious flooding risk.

If you are planning to board the Carnival Glory — currently scheduled to dock in New Orleans on Sunday morning — then we think your cruise schedule will be adjusted.

Carnival told us via email there are “no changes at the moment, but we’re monitoring the storm and will make any changes as needed.”

To us, however, there are a few reasons that a schedule change seems likely:

  1. New Orleans could be under flood warnings on Sunday morning, when the Glory is set to arrive. Already seeing heavy rains with more on the way, unless the storm is drier than expected, areas around the city seem likely to be flooded. That could inhibit travel for passengers.

2. Tropical Storm Barry is slow moving. Despite projections to make landfall around midday on Saturday, the forecast shows the center of the storm still over the middle of Louisiana on Sunday morning. That could mean the heavy rains of the storm might still be around on Sunday when the Glory is set to dock.

3. The Port of New Orleans is largely closed until Monday. According to their website, “the Port Administration Building is closed for all nonessential personnel” until Monday. Port cargo operations are also closed until at least Monday. While the cruise operations aren’t specifically mentioned as closed, we have contacted the port to see if these closures also apply to cruise ships. We will update when we hear back.

What Could Happen With the Carnival Glory

So if the Carnival Glory does have to adjust its schedule, what’s most likely to happen?

There are likely one of two possibilities.

First, the ship could dock at the Alabama Cruise Terminal in Mobile. This is what we saw on Thursday when the Carnival Valor docked in Mobile instead of the scheduled New Orleans. Passengers headed to the ship were bused from New Orleans. Checking the schedule, Mobile has no cruise ships in port that day so it seems like it could handle the Glory porting there instead of Louisiana.

The other alternative is to delay the arrival of the ship until at least Monday, assuming the the Port of New Orleans is able to be up and running by then. The delayed docking would give more time for any flooding to recede, if needed. This would mean passengers currently on the Glory would be at sea an extra day before their cruise gets back home.

For now, the most important thing is to wait for word from Carnival if you are booked to sail aboard the Carnival Glory on Sunday. They should be in contact with passengers directly. You can also call them at 1-800-764-7419 for updates.

We will also update readers as we hear more from Carnival, the Port of New Orleans, and the Alabama Cruise Terminal.

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Note: Cruzely is an affiliate of Expedia, linked below. We receive a small commission for purchases made on their site, at no extra cost to you.

Want to cap your 2019 summer off with a short cruise – without breaking your budget? Royal Caribbean is offering a 4-night cruise to Cozumel departing December 5, 2019 from Miami, Florida. By sailing in December, you can book yourself aboard this voyage for as low as $194 per person — less than $50/night!

This trip is the absolute cheapest Royal Caribbean cruise we found departing the United States. Here’s more about the deal and how you can book it for yourself…

Itinerary

The ship departs from Miami – the most popular spot for cruises in the entire world.

Especially if you’re a first-time cruiser, make sure you take advantage of the sail-away festivities, as crew and guests celebrate the start of a new voyage. If you’re a social butterfly, this is a great time to get to meet and chat with fellow passengers. If you’re more introverted, just hanging poolside and watching the festivities will get you in the spirit without having to put yourself out there.

The second day of the voyage is a sea day, giving you plenty of opportunity to enjoy the ship’s many opportunities for fun, relaxation, and dining (see next section below).

The ship visits Cozumel the following day, with a late departure giving passengers more time to enjoy themselves. You’ll be glad you have so much time because Cozumel offers an abundance things to do. You can visit Mayan ruins or bask in the sun and aquamarine waters on a white sand beach. Cozumel is famous for its ecosystem, so you might want to budget some time to visit Chankanaab to see tropical fish, crustaceans and corals. If you’re feeling adventurous, the park also offers ziplining.

Finally, you’ll wrap up your cruise headed back to Miami with another sea day. This will give you one last opportunity to have a ball on the ship, hang out poolside, and finish up that golden tan.

The Ship

This cruise sails aboard the Empress of the Seas. The ship has a capacity of 1,840 passengers. Launching in 1989, it’s among the oldest ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, but its most recent refurbishment took place in 2016. Options for shipboard fun include a rock-climbing wall, spa, wine tasting, dance classes, piano sing-alongs, a casino, live music and stage productions. Given the size of the ship – it’s one of the smallest in the fleet – there aren’t as many food options on Empress of the Seas. Still, you can enjoy the Windjammer buffet, main dining room, the Chef’s Table gourmet menu and Chops Grille.

The Deal

Frankly, there are several reasons that this cruise is so cheap – especially for a cruise line known for premium pricing. The trip meets many of the biggest factors that lead to discounted cruise prices. It sails during an inexpensive time of year, it offers an inside cabin, and it’s a cruise on an older ship.

Sail at the cheapest time of year
The rule of thumb is that if you can sail when school is in session, you’ll pay cheaper rates. This trip fits the bill. Leaving in early December, it’s before school lets out for the Christmas holidays and rates shoot higher. It’s one reason why you’re able to sail here for less than $50 per day.

Book an inside cabin
Some people “have” to sail in a balcony cabin, but you’ll find the cheapest rates when you select an interior room. If you’re concerned about being in an inside cabin, consider how much time you’ll likely spend outside your room.

When the ship docks at its scheduled ports, you’ll want to spend as much time as possible experiencing what these destinations offer. When you’re onboard, the ship itself provides a variety of options for food and fun. Since the cabin is just where you’ll sleep and shower, you’ll likely barely notice the small size.

Choose on an older ship
Fares for sailing aboard one of Royal Caribbean’s newest ships tend to be much higher than a cruise on one of the line’s older vessels. It’s no coincidence that this cruise is aboard one of the oldest vessels in the fleet.

While older and smaller ships don’t offer near as much to do, they are great for budget cruisers. And since cruise lines regularly update and refurbish their ships, the older ships still offer many of the exciting features you associate with Royal Caribbean.

Ready to learn more or book? You can learn more about this cruise – and other inexpensive trips – at Expedia.com.

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With June came the start of hurricane season. That means cruise passengers everywhere need to start watching the weather if they plan to sail any time during the summer and into the fall. And while it normally takes some time for the season to start producing storms (peaking in early September), tropical disturbances can occur at any point in the season.

Currently there is a low pressure system that could cause issues with cruises departing New Orleans and/or Galveston during this weekend.

Invest 92L is a spot of low pressure that has drifted south from Georgia over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. As of 1 p.m. central on Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center has given the system a 70% chance of developing into a tropical depression within the next 48 hours and an 80% chance within the next five days.

With the warm waters of the Gulf (where temperatures are close to 90 degrees Fahrenheit), the system could rapidly develop. In fact, the convection over just the past day has been impressive.

The good news is that no model has the potential storm becoming too intense. Most expect the system to turn into a tropical storm, with two showing it could hit the edge of hurricane status over the next few days.

The bad news is that the models are in near agreement that the system will move west, and likely make landfall somewhere between Galveston and New Orleans. Obviously that means it could impact cruises, especially with the storm anticipated to make landfall this weekend.

Courtesy of TropicalTidbits.com

So far the forecasts call for the potential of heavy rain. The 7-day rainfall forecast even shows the potential for up to 10+ inches of rain in some spots.

In particular the Port of Galveston is prone to flooding. Past storms have caused street flooding, including some intense rainfall flooding some cars in cruise parking lots. Depending on the track and intensity of the storm, that’s a possibility this weekend.

Rainfall estimates for the next 7 days. Impact on Cruises

As of now there is no official word on any delays with cruises from Galveston or New Orleans. Royal Caribbean’s meteorologist James Van Fleet has kept updates via his Twitter page, most recently stating that it’s “too early at this time for any adjustments.” It’s doubtful any announcements for any cruise line would be made for at least 48-72 hours.

Update: #Invest92L for @RoyalCaribbean Guests. I still think we’ll be analyzing for another 24-48 hours before our confidence is high enough in exact track and strength. Possible impact on the return for #Liberty, #Enchantment, but it’s too early at this time for any adjustments. pic.twitter.com/bThJrQr8TQ

— James Van Fleet (@JamesVanFleet) July 9, 2019

For now, the best move is to continue to check with your cruise line and continue monitoring for any developments. In the past any changes to the schedule have been at the relatively last-minute. It’s frustrating for passengers, but the cruise lines don’t want to cancel a cruise — and cause a major disruption — if they don’t have to.

The following cruises are slated to sail from Galveston and New Orleans this weekend:

Galveston
Friday: Enchantment of the Seas
Saturday: Carnival Dream
Sunday: Carnival Freedom;Liberty of the Seas

New Orleans
Thursday: Carnival Valor
Sunday: Carnival Glory

One thing that should be sure: If you are sailing from New Orleans or Galveston this weekend, be ready to get wet.

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