#1 Crew Members Can Make Their Own Coupon Rules
There were some crew members on the Carnival Elation that did not follow the written fine print instructions on the coupon. A few people managed to use their coupons early in the cruise. Other bartenders told people that the coupon could be used at any time on the last sea day. However, there were some crew members that did follow the rules exactly as presented on the coupon. When a cruise ship is away at sea, the corporate office's guidelines are not always exactly followed as intended. The bartenders were making up their own rules with the drink coupons, but it appeared that most were following the written price limit. If you are cruising, don't count on getting to use your coupon early, but you never know!
#2: Souvenir Drink Glasses Don't Count
I tried to get a souvenir drink glass, but was told it was not something that I could use my appreciation drink coupon on. This may have been a bartender's own rules, but my guess is that the corporate office does not want the coupons being used on souvenir drink glasses. I was hoping for a funnel shaped souvenir glass for free, but at least I tried. If you want a souvenir glass you will pay extra for it!
#3: Coupon Can Be Used At Any Bar or Coffee Bar Onboard
Unlike the old brunch coupon offered to Gold members, this coupon is supposed to be able to be used at any bar after 5pm on the last sea day. This means you have multiple options when it is time to redeem your coupon. Some bars are less crowded in the evening. For example, most ships have a bar in or near the lido buffet. This bar is typically not as crowded in the evening. However, other bars, such as the atrium bar, are usually crowded in the evening. Try to find a bar that is less crowded to use your coupon so you don't have to wait in a long line.
#4: Tipping Is Optional, But Consider Tipping
In the past, when I redeemed my brunch coupons I was never given a ticket to sign. However, on my Carnival Elation cruise I was given a ticket to sign with a place to give the bartender a tip. If the bartender is friendly and makes your free drink good consider giving him or her a dollar at a minimum.
While not getting to go to the old style party was a slight disappointment, the new coupon was still a nice gift from Carnival. I am sure as time continues the kinks in this coupon program will be worked out as some crew members probably did not know how the program was meant to work.