Sunday, November 11, 2007

Buying Gift Coupons for Use on Carnival

Many cruisers may not know that you can purchase coupons that can be used for the purchase of drinks on board ship right from Carnivals webpage. They have coupons for both bar drinks and soda drinks. The question is are they worth it? If you are not going on a cruise but a close friend or family member is this may be a nice way to let them know you are thinking of them by buying a drink for them. Great idea and Carnival sells plenty of these coupons. Currently the Bar coupons sell for $21.25 for 4 and the soda coupons are at $7.50 for a set of four. The coupons include the %15 gratuity that is tacked on when ordering a drink. There are frequent Carnival cruisers that purchase these coupons for themselves as a way to prepay their bar bill for the week and keep track of what they spend which works well for them. But do not think that because the word coupon is used here that there is any savings. A can of soda on Carnival sells for $1.50 as of this posting. Four cans would be $6.00 before the gratuity is added. Gratuity is 90 cents. This means that purchasing the coupon at $7.50 you are essentially paying an extra 60 cents extra. Beer and mixed drinks are a different beast because the price can vary based on what you are buying. As of our last cruise, a domestic beer was $4.75 and with tip was $5.46. So at $21.25 the cost of the drink with tip is $5.31 for a savings of 14 cents per beer. Not a great savings but it does fit the definition of the word coupon. So if you want to buy a friend a drink who decided to go on a cruise and leave you home (why do you want to buy them a drink again?) just remember that you can as long as you are willing to buy them 4. The only thing you need to have before ordering the coupons, or any of the gift ideas, is the booking number and cabin number of the person that is cruising. This is the only way they know how to get the items ordered delivered. There are plenty of other things on the website that you can purchase and have delivered to a land based address but the coupons do not fall in this category.

Now when it comes to use of the coupons, I have heard mixed reviews from people. Some people love them and have never hand problems, while others have said that staff have refused to use them for certain beverage choices and seem to ignore passengers that they know are using the coupons for their beverage purchases. We have not had the opportunity to use them before, but should have some of bar coupons waiting for us in the cabin on our upcoming cruise in a few weeks. I will post back how they go over with both us and the crew after the cruise.

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