About the old Carnival drink coupons and the new Carnival "Cruise Cash" account. It's a Carnival Bar credit review - bar drinks (alcohol and soda coupons) and photo credits pre-purchased through the Bon Voyage/Fun Shop department.
Carnival drink coupons - the new "Cruise Cash" account
By the Carnival Cruise Lines old system of drink coupons (aka "Carnival Bar Credit Coupons") they were available for purchasing in groups of four, saving guests the expense of the 15% gratuity (applied if paying for drinks with the "Sail & Sign" card). The actual drink price reduction was when the drink coupon is entered into the onboard computer system (see below for the old program's details).
The new Carnival "Cruise Cash" account replaces the old coupon-based program. It allows guests to purchase onboard bar credits in increments from $25 up to $100 (photo credits are in $10 increments). All credits are applied to the guest's S&S (Sail&Sign) account. By the new program are offered 3 types of credits:
- general (can be used to offset any type of charge on a S&S account)
- Cruise Cash Bar (a credit toward bar department purchases only)
- Cruise Cash Photo (a credit specifically toward photo purchases on board).
Carnival "Cruise Cash" program specs (official data)
The new "Cruise Cash" program was developed as a more convenient/user-friendly system. Cons of the old coupons:
- the pre-set value of $5,75 per coupon. Guests lost money when they buy items less than that amount or they owed money for items exceeding the coupon's value).
- the old drink coupons were distributed the 1st night in Main Dining Rooms. If you don't go to the MDR that evening you wouldn't receive your coupons until the next day.
- if you lose your coupons, there's no way to replace them.
Once purchased, the new Cruise Cash credit is applied directly to your S&S account:
- no coupons anymore, no loss in value on cheaper drinks.
- the credit is immediately available for use so you don't wait for the coupons to be delivered.
- no risk of losing your credit.
- the new bar account program is being introduced fleet-wide - it excludes only Carnival Spirit from the list.
- this credit is inclusive of taxes and gratuities.
- the new bar credit is not refundable when purchased through Carnival Bon Voyage/Fun Shops department (pre-ordering by phone), i.e. the account is valid for a single sailing and any unused credits will be forfeited.
- As a comparison to the ES/FCC OBC - the Early Saver onboard credit is refundable, the Future Cruise Credit is not.
- CCL will continue to honor previously purchased drink coupons through February 1, 2014.
- Carnival don't send email confirmations when people buy cash & gifts from Bon Voyage, these purchases also won't show up on your account when you log in or on any of your cruise documents, simply because a lot of people buy BV gifts for other people as a surprise. You can call BV and request an e-mail confirmation for the purchase or just screen print the confirmation and bring it with you. When you get to your cabin, there'll be a card left from BV confirming your purchase, and it'll be on your S&S card as "ship money" ready to be spent.
Carnival Bar Credit - "Carnival Cash Account" tips
- a "cruise cash" alternative is to purchase "Carnival Gift Cards" - use what you need and what's left you can use on a future sailing.
- the new Carnival cash account idea is to provide a way of gift-giving and also the option to pre-fund your trip. It's not refundable (an use-it-or-lose-it deal), but also can be used for any onboard purchase. To get the most of it, just remember that on your ship there's a duty-free shop (the cheap liquor option to stock up your bar at home), a huge Casino (with big and small gambling options), and also a world-renown Spa complex where you can relax and enjoy an exotic treatment for the rest of your "cruise cash" non-refundable money!
Carnival drink coupons/bar credit coupons - review of the old system
(almost obsolete) What's the amount of savings by purchasing Carnival cruise drink coupons? Drinks that are valued over the Carnival drink coupons face value (which is $5,75 for liquor and $1,95 for non-alcoholic beverages) will have the difference in value charged to the guest's S&S account. On an alcohol for $5,75 the actual saving is $0,87, and on a soda-can for $1,95 it's $0,30. Some of the best savings are for Guinness drinkers - this beer is priced on board at $5,95 ($0,20 over the drink coupon value) and guests are not charged this difference in most cases. You're paying $5,75 for it instead of $6,85 ($5,95 + 15% tips), thus generating savings of $1,10 per beer by the drink coupon.
Some additional information about the old Carnival drink coupons and why they are better than the new ship-board credit system:
- delivered to you by the Maitre 'D in the MDR on the 1st night you dine there
- they don't expire, which means you can use them on future sailings with Carnival
- they don't stop the service staff (waiters/bartenders) from getting a tip
- they can't be used for the onboard 24-hour room-service or drinks in the mini-bar in the stateroom.
- Bar Coupons vs Bar Credits (a basic math exercise): [old program] you order a drink that's $7,75 and you pay tips on $2, all total you pay ($5,75 coupon) + ($2 drink cost) + ($,030 gratuity) = (total $8,05) versus [new program] you order the $7,75 drink, you pay 15% on the whole $7,75 ($1,16 gratuity) = (total $8,91) charged to your S&S Bar credit account = a $0,86 overall loss per drink.
The Carnival cruise drink coupons are designed for gift giving. Despite the fact that most people buy them to prepay as much as possible with the idea to reduce the final bill of their sailing, Carnival drink coupons don't really save you so much money, except for the cents in gratuities. We all know that the proper way to do a Carnival cruise ship vacation is by having fun, most fun and best fun, so if you do it - do it properly! Be fun, and don't let the money catch you!
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