View Full Version : FIRST TIME CRUISER - trying to decide between 2 lines..
June 23rd, 2009, 01:10 PM
We are planning a cruise for late March 2010. We have never been on a cruise before, and we are debating between Carnival and MSC.
We have 3 kids, ages 17, 15, and 11. They want to have fun on the ship, but my husband and I are intrigued by the price of MSC.
What would you "experts" recommend? What things do cruises charge you for, and what things are free? We do not drink, so that is not an issue. Any info you have would be very helpful - especially if you have been on both cruise lines. I would love to hear comparisons!!
June 23rd, 2009, 02:51 PM
Hi Fordgirl74, welcome to the boards and to the world of cruising.
You've picked 2 diametrically oppossed lines there as your choice. I've never sailed on Carnival and never will even if it were free. Now that is not to say that it is a bad cruiseline - just the wrong one for me. I hate party, party vibe and someone telling me to have fun and trying to entertain me with activities and daft games. I hate loud music and loud ness (colour and volume) so just being moored alongside one of their ships is annoying for me. However for those people that like that sort of thing, they love carnival. carnival is an American line catering for American passengers. Not sure if they have fixed or anytime dining. I'd be surprised if they did not have alternatives to formal/gals evenings. I'd also suspect that being a US line food would be avilable 24/7
MSC on the other hand is the type of place to relax and chill out. the ships are realtively quiet. Announcements are few but those that are are in 5 languages. The ships are very elegant and classical looking with no garish bright colours. They have activities but not as much as you'd expect on Carnival. This is a European line, that makes some adjustments for the American market when in the Caribbean but absolutely none when in Europe and other parts of the world. Even if you are considering a caribbean sailing, there will be a reasonable percentage of the passengers who are a variety of european nationalities and will not speak English. On European sailings, English speakers can be in the minority. MSC will have 2 formal nights on a 7 day cruise, 3 on 11 night etc. They have fixed dining - where you have dinner in the main dining rooms at the same table ever evening at either first or second sitting. Food is not available 24/7 but at fixed meal times and available the rest of the time from a fairly limited room service.
You don't mention where about you are considering cruising. The included items with MSC differ depending on this. For example in the caribbean room service use of steam room/saunas are free. Iced water is easy to get. In Europe you pay for room service and use of the steam room. It is hard to get free tap water. Also there is no buffet alternative for dinner in Europe.
Knowing nothing about you and your families preferences or even your nationality, i could not begin to recommend one over the other. They are very very different and the knack is to pick the one best suited to you. You'll see from many of the posts here that some hate MSC whilst other love them. i suspect the same is probably true of carnival. Coming on these boards is a great way to research before you book and make sure you get the type of cruise that is right for you. Good luck in making your choice
June 23rd, 2009, 03:08 PM
We are just about to book a 7 day cruise from Venice in March 2010. The attraction for us is the departure point, and the factthat kids under 18 sail free:D. We have chosen Magnifca which will be a brand new ship, with lots of amenities. We are hoping we will not be disappointed. We are sailing on Independence of the Seas in August, so although we know the two lines are not comparable, we are hopingwe will enjoy both in different ways.
June 23rd, 2009, 03:58 PM
As stated, MSC has beautiful ships, but the kids would not enjoy it at all.
If this trip is about the kids go Carnival....they will have fun.
If it's for the adults, go MSC. I am 62 and loved the MSC Orchestra. But I like the peace and quiet....;)
June 23rd, 2009, 04:02 PM
The ship we are looking at has a full kids programme, inc mini golf, games arcade,scalextrix at sea etc. That said our son is not one for kids clubs really, and we like to spend time with him, he is quite easy to entertain,so as long as there is stuff for him to do, he will be happy.
June 23rd, 2009, 11:10 PM
Thanks for your response. We are planning a Western or Eastern Caribbean cruise. I had never heard of MSC cruises before. Some friends told us about it. We will have to weigh all of our options before deciding, but I think I am leaning toward Carnival, and my husband towards MSC. Any other info will be helpful - thanks aagain!!
June 24th, 2009, 06:59 PM
We were on a March 2009 Cruise on the MSC Orchestra. The Schools in Canada were on Holiday. MSC offered free Cruises for kids traveling with parents. The ship was filled with all ages. It look to me that all were having a great time. MSC had a lot of schecduled activities for all age groups. Our Children are grown but we enjoyed seeing the kids have fun.