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  #1  
Old March 2nd, 2014, 10:42 AM
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Default Carnival Splendor vs. Norwegian Gem

Anyone been on both, and can give a good comparison?

I have been looking at photos of the Splendor and videos and for some reason the layout and fun of that ship appeals to me more, but right now NCL is having a great deal.

Let me know your thoughts.
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  #2  
Old March 2nd, 2014, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by tonic67 View Post
Anyone been on both, and can give a good comparison?

I have been looking at photos of the Splendor and videos and for some reason the layout and fun of that ship appeals to me more, but right now NCL is having a great deal.

Let me know your thoughts.
Funny you should ask! I've been on the Gem many times and love her. W now go every January. However I got a free cruise from an Atlantic City Casino and I am booking the Splendor! Looking forward to reading how others answer your question.
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  #3  
Old March 3rd, 2014, 09:40 AM
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I haven't cruised on the Splendor yet (this Aug, yay) but I have cruised Carnival out of NY and most recently, the NCL Gem. I also have three disney cruises under my belt.
My entire cruising family (all eight of us) agreed that if we had cruised NCL first we would have liked it better. DCL and CCL raised our expectations on service, entertainment and food. NCL wasn't bad, but it wasn't what we were expecting. Freestyle just isn't for us, we really like set meal times, with set servers, and show times that coordinate with our mealtimes- but that was a pretty easy hurdle to get over. We weren't thrilled with the entertainment on NCL, we felt bored most nights; looking for entertainment outside the main stage shows was a challenge. The Lido pool was not enough to handle the crowds, I wish they had an aft pool too, like other ships. Also, we have never been so hungry on a cruise, we are grazers, small meals all day when we cruise and after dinner snacks were hard to find. Literally, they were served for a small period of time on the lido deck all the way aft, but most of the ways to get there were blocked off by that time for cleaning. There was the Blue Lagoon restaurant, which was great food, all day, but we look for grab and go at 11pm, and the Blue Lagoon is a seated and served meal. And the main dining room meals were just not on par with what we had become used to.
I just want to add one more thing, a co-worker of mine, who only cruises NCL, was on the Gem with us, it was his third time on the Gem and his eighth NCL cruise. He made the same complaints we did, he believed that either the quality is going down, or more likely, that we got an "off" cruise.
If price is a factor, definitely try the Gem, it's a nice ship, easy to navigate, and of course, any cruise is what you make it...we have tons of great memories and we had a fabulous time.


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  #4  
Old March 3rd, 2014, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by DisneyNutMary View Post
I haven't cruised on the Splendor yet (this Aug, yay) but I have cruised Carnival out of NY and most recently, the NCL Gem. I also have three disney cruises under my belt.
My entire cruising family (all eight of us) agreed that if we had cruised NCL first we would have liked it better. DCL and CCL raised our expectations on service, entertainment and food. NCL wasn't bad, but it wasn't what we were expecting. Freestyle just isn't for us, we really like set meal times, with set servers, and show times that coordinate with our mealtimes- but that was a pretty easy hurdle to get over. We weren't thrilled with the entertainment on NCL, we felt bored most nights; looking for entertainment outside the main stage shows was a challenge. The Lido pool was not enough to handle the crowds, I wish they had an aft pool too, like other ships. Also, we have never been so hungry on a cruise, we are grazers, small meals all day when we cruise and after dinner snacks were hard to find. Literally, they were served for a small period of time on the lido deck all the way aft, but most of the ways to get there were blocked off by that time for cleaning. There was the Blue Lagoon restaurant, which was great food, all day, but we look for grab and go at 11pm, and the Blue Lagoon is a seated and served meal. And the main dining room meals were just not on par with what we had become used to.
I just want to add one more thing, a co-worker of mine, who only cruises NCL, was on the Gem with us, it was his third time on the Gem and his eighth NCL cruise. He made the same complaints we did, he believed that either the quality is going down, or more likely, that we got an "off" cruise.
If price is a factor, definitely try the Gem, it's a nice ship, easy to navigate, and of course, any cruise is what you make it...we have tons of great memories and we had a fabulous time.


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Just an fyi-Blue Lagoon will wrap your food to go if you want to bring back to your room.
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  #5  
Old March 3rd, 2014, 10:25 AM
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the splendor has that annoying lido big screen tv whereas the gem dont
i think the gem has an easier layout to navigate then the splendor
the decor on the gem is better then the pink splendor
Having been on the Gem once and Splendor twice, i think the Gem has better entertainment.
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Old March 3rd, 2014, 10:40 AM
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I've been on both a couple of times and think the Gem is the better ship...for the same reasons Shof just said above.
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  #7  
Old March 3rd, 2014, 02:28 PM
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I've been on the Gem twice and just got off the Splendor. So far We've been on Norwegian three times and Carnival twice. I'm sure it's personal preferance but we love NCL over Carnival. There just seems to be so much more to do and so much more energy on NCL cruises. We have found that there are more opportunities to meet people on NCL cruises. There are martini tastings, margarata tastings, pub crawl's. If your not into drinking threre are always several lounges open for music.

Where Carnival seems to always have DJ's except for in the casino and atriam NCL has live music. They have thier entertainment staff out interacting with the crowd or just dancing themselfs which always seems to motivate others to get up and dance.

On this last cruise we wandered around on two different nights looking for people, music or just something to do. The only thing we found was the casino and the buffet where they were playing a movie on the Lido Deck.

NCL has their white hot party at the end of the cruise which is always well attended starting as a family affair and then as it gets later is only open to adults. Carnival had their white hot electric party where they played Pop, R&B and Electric that I had never heard. The younger group 20's and 30's seemed to enjoy it but not many older people there. One complaint we had was that in the bar they allow smoking and the smoke was just over powering.

Our kids, 13 & 15, have had fun on both crusie lines. They tell me they prefer NCL but like the carnival kids clubs. Both have made great friends who they still keep in touch with.

A couple years ago after cruising on the Gem we took the Pride to the Bahamas. While there the Gem was docked right beside the Pride. As we were coming back onto the Pride we walked along the pier and the Gem had music playing, people outside handing out cold water, flavored ice and cool towels. They were greeting thier guest and welcoming them back onto the ship. Carnival had a gangway out and security. Once on the Pride we went to the Lido deck where the pools were open but nothing else really going on. From there we were looking across at the Gem where they had live music, people were dancing and laughing just having a great time and I remember us saying how much we wish we were back on the Gem.

Both offer fun vacations but for us we're going back to NCL when it's an option.
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  #8  
Old March 3rd, 2014, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DisneyNutMary View Post
I haven't cruised on the Splendor yet (this Aug, yay) but I have cruised Carnival out of NY and most recently, the NCL Gem. I also have three disney cruises under my belt.
My entire cruising family (all eight of us) agreed that if we had cruised NCL first we would have liked it better. DCL and CCL raised our expectations on service, entertainment and food. NCL wasn't bad, but it wasn't what we were expecting. Freestyle just isn't for us, we really like set meal times, with set servers, and show times that coordinate with our mealtimes- but that was a pretty easy hurdle to get over. We weren't thrilled with the entertainment on NCL, we felt bored most nights; looking for entertainment outside the main stage shows was a challenge. The Lido pool was not enough to handle the crowds, I wish they had an aft pool too, like other ships. Also, we have never been so hungry on a cruise, we are grazers, small meals all day when we cruise and after dinner snacks were hard to find. Literally, they were served for a small period of time on the lido deck all the way aft, but most of the ways to get there were blocked off by that time for cleaning. There was the Blue Lagoon restaurant, which was great food, all day, but we look for grab and go at 11pm, and the Blue Lagoon is a seated and served meal. And the main dining room meals were just not on par with what we had become used to.
I just want to add one more thing, a co-worker of mine, who only cruises NCL, was on the Gem with us, it was his third time on the Gem and his eighth NCL cruise. He made the same complaints we did, he believed that either the quality is going down, or more likely, that we got an "off" cruise.
If price is a factor, definitely try the Gem, it's a nice ship, easy to navigate, and of course, any cruise is what you make it...we have tons of great memories and we had a fabulous time.


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You are one of the few in recent times to say NCL entertainment was better than Carnival.

Even the Cruise Critic 2014 awards had no CCL ships in the ratings for entertainment.

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  #9  
Old March 3rd, 2014, 02:43 PM
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We just booked our third cruise on the Splendor - my sixth with Carnival, hubby's fifth.

We choose our ships for very specific reasons -- Spa Cabins being the number one priority for us. We have a Spa Balcony on the sailing in January 2015 sailing. I've sailed in both interior Spa and Balcony Spa....unfortunately, I must admit that it IS difficult to back to an interior after a balcony - I just felt claustrophobic.

We also really enjoyed the adult pool on the Splendor. We like the Punchliner Comedy Club -- we don't really partake much in the entertainment - maybe some karaoke but that's about it. Love the steakhouse and usually dine there at least twice.

I really wanted to book the Breeze but the Splendor itinerary with Belize, Roatan AND Grand Cayman won us over.

Can't speak to NCL...but I can speak for the Splendor and we love her.
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  #10  
Old March 3rd, 2014, 02:48 PM
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We just got off the Breakaway, although it's a new ship in the NCL line and our first NCL cruise. I loved NCL, I loved the dining options and entertainment. I thought both were top notch (this is following 2 Carnival cruises). I didn't care for the NCL Breakaway itinerary (Florida/Bahamas) and I'm one to sail because of the itinerary, not because of the ship I would sail her again to Bermuda or if she ever does on longer cruise to more Caribbean islands.

On that note, Carnival gave us a free cabin on the Spendor, so we are trying her in June, luckily, no Florida, but am looking foward to Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay. I am especially looking forward to cruising from home in the summer, another thing I didn't like was cruising in the winter and FREEZING during sailaway and pulling in to homeport.

I would definitely sail Gem when she's doing the 9 day's out of New York.
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11/2013 - Norwegian Breakaway - New York City - Port Canaveral, Florida - Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas - Nassau, Bahamas - (aft-extended balcony)
11/2012 - Carnival Victory - San Juan, Puerto Rico - St. John/St. Thomas USVI - Barbados - St. Lucia - St. Kitts - St. Maarten - (aft-wrap balcony)
11/2011 - Carnival Liberty 2.0 - Miami, Florida - Cozumel, Mexico - Xunantunich Ruins, Belize - Roatan, Honduras - Grand Cayman - (balcony)
12/2005 - Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas - Miami, Florida - Nassau, Bahamas - CocoCay, Bahamas - Key West, Florida - (oceanview)

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  #11  
Old March 3rd, 2014, 02:52 PM
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I have been on both. The latest was Feb 13 on the Splendor. I think the food is better on NCL and the entertainment too nod goes to NCL. The Blue Lagoon has 24 hour service. While Carnival has excellent 24 hour service no hot food. I like the kids portion of the buffet for the grandkids. Its hard to get chicken nuggets for them outside of the dining room(you can get them if you ask in the buffet).
I like the large tv and the movies on Carnival.
I took the same Carnival cruise last year and the ventriloquist was the same this year too...
The Gem has Nickelodeon characters for the kids...

The cabins were definitely bigger on Carnival...and Carnival was less expensive.

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  #12  
Old March 3rd, 2014, 04:51 PM
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Wow, thanks guys. It's about coordinating the dates and times with hubby's schedule. The Splendor March 25th was abt 1600 when I looked last month, but hubby couldn't get off a few of the days... so that has passed. He can't get April 2 either. So I saw kids sail free on NCL and looked at the Gem. For May it's about 1550 for three of us on Gem on the 10th. I was so gung ho for Splendor and all, but to sail in May is 2400.00. I am already having a hard time convincing him to go on a cruise at all so price is a factor.

Sigh, and Splendor is leaving NY in the Fall. Maybe coming back next spring. Oh well.
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Old March 3rd, 2014, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by tonic67 View Post
Wow, thanks guys. It's about coordinating the dates and times with hubby's schedule. The Splendor March 25th was abt 1600 when I looked last month, but hubby couldn't get off a few of the days... so that has passed. He can't get April 2 either. So I saw kids sail free on NCL and looked at the Gem. For May it's about 1550 for three of us on Gem on the 10th. I was so gung ho for Splendor and all, but to sail in May is 2400.00. I am already having a hard time convincing him to go on a cruise at all so price is a factor.

Sigh, and Splendor is leaving NY in the Fall. Maybe coming back next spring. Oh well.
You will love the Gem!
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Old March 4th, 2014, 01:00 PM
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have been on both and honestly...BOTH are fantastic ships!! good food, clean, great staff! entertainment is always subjective...although I LOVED how the NCL staff danced on the pier in St Thomas (as everyone was coming back). seeing Sinan in a crazy wig dancing...great memories!!
I loved the spa on both ships.
I love that NCL has the Blue Lagoon for 24 hour food.
decor?? who cares?? IMO both ships were tasteful and inviting!
Pools/hot tubs-both ships were clean and busy. NCL is warmer though!!
layout-we had no issues with splendor! maybe because we read CC beforehand and we were prepared!

dont stress...both are great and nomatter which you pick you will have a great time!!
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Old March 4th, 2014, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by nursemommy7578 View Post
have been on both and honestly...BOTH are fantastic ships!! good food, clean, great staff! entertainment is always subjective...although I LOVED how the NCL staff danced on the pier in St Thomas (as everyone was coming back). seeing Sinan in a crazy wig dancing...great memories!!
I loved the spa on both ships.
I love that NCL has the Blue Lagoon for 24 hour food.
decor?? who cares?? IMO both ships were tasteful and inviting!
Pools/hot tubs-both ships were clean and busy. NCL is warmer though!!
layout-we had no issues with splendor! maybe because we read CC beforehand and we were prepared!

dont stress...both are great and nomatter which you pick you will have a great time!!
Does the SPlendor have hairdryers?
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Old March 4th, 2014, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by tonic67 View Post
Wow, thanks guys. It's about coordinating the dates and times with hubby's schedule. The Splendor March 25th was abt 1600 when I looked last month, but hubby couldn't get off a few of the days... so that has passed. He can't get April 2 either. So I saw kids sail free on NCL and looked at the Gem. For May it's about 1550 for three of us on Gem on the 10th. I was so gung ho for Splendor and all, but to sail in May is 2400.00. I am already having a hard time convincing him to go on a cruise at all so price is a factor.

Sigh, and Splendor is leaving NY in the Fall. Maybe coming back next spring. Oh well.
Just FYI rumor has it that CCL will not have any ships in NY until MAYBE 2016.

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Does the SPlendor have hairdryers?
Yes, in the drawer with the Bible!
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Old March 4th, 2014, 01:20 PM
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We have been on both ships & if your deciding factor is price, the bottom line is I would not pay more to cruise on one ship over the other.
I love how the Splendor has the Punchliner Comedy shows every night in addition to the regular entertainment in the main theater. I also liked the food in the main dining room better than the Gem's. Every dessert I ate in the Gem's dining room was simply not good. We stayed in an ocean view stateroom on both ships & the Carnival Splendor room was much bigger & had the additional seating with the couch in the room. Both rooms were kept immaculate by our room stewards.

One thing the Gem has over the Splendor IMO, is a much better buffet. Also, the layout of the buffet is better. On the Splendor you have to wait in the same line to get to the hot entrees & have to wait for everyone ahead of you to go by the salad bar items, even if you don't want salad. Whereas on the Gem, the salad is on one side of the buffet & the hot items are on the other. This creates shorter lines on the Gem. To me there seemed to be a wider variety of food on the Gem's buffet. & I disagree with a few of the previous posters who said they couldn't find late night grab & go snacks on the Gem. There were always late night snacks put out in the smaller Aft buffet section. The Splendor's chocolate buffet was better to me though, but that is only held on one day for either ship. We also enjoyed the entertainment staff on the Gem much better, but they change so often on ships & not a make or break for us...just an observation.

So like I said, if I were deciding on these 2 ships, I would simply choose the one that was cheaper. If prices were the same I would choose the Gem.

Dina
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Old March 4th, 2014, 01:45 PM
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If you have kids for the Gem's club let me warn you. The younger kids just listen to stories and watch movies. You do NOT get a pager and even though you tell them where you are they still call your room if your child has been crying. Now that was 3 yrs ago. I called NCL to book on their Breakaway boat and I told this to the NCL rep. They told me that the kids club on the Gem is the worst on the fleet and he promised me that I will not have that problem on the Breakaway. Also on the Gem my husband ordered a fish one night and it was pretty boney. The MDR does not allow jeans for any meal. The excursions seem to have issues (the bus was 1 hour late for us to get to Atlantis). We LOVED the room service and the Blue Lagoon, my sons FAVORITE meal the triple decker grilled cheese sandwich! The Gem seems to have nicer suite rooms and more rooms for 3+ people. That being said that was our first cruise and I was disappointed that I didn't know when Lobster night was...that small tail was lobster night I was told. and we missed the great family show of a juggler acrobat (our fault for not knowing that every show is family friendly). The little kid pool area was nice but for under 3. One last thing the really good food is saved for the paid restaurants. We are not cruise snobs and we liked the boat and the service was nice. We went for the Splendor cause we REALLY wanted an Aft Balcony this time and we got one for 3 people for $2100. It was $2400 for a regular Balcony on the Breakaway. I wouldn't do the Gem again with a child under 5. I really hope that helps!!
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Old March 4th, 2014, 02:50 PM
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been on the gem with the above 2. and the Splendor with them as well. The Gem gave a pager(actually a phone) for the younger one. they just didn't read books and watch movies and the younger one who is 5 absolutely hated the Splendor kids program. He said I am with all the babies(the grouping was 2-5) and refused to go.
and btw there is always one of the main dining rooms on the gem where you can wear jeans but not the other one. the pizza`was much better on the Splendor but you had to go get it-its open 24 hours there. on the gem you can order it for a charge but it wasn't very good.
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  #20  
Old March 4th, 2014, 03:08 PM
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I went on the gem last year in March and the splendor last September! My husband loves the decor of the splendor and the lay outs of the ship much much better than the gem we both agree carnival ships are much prettier! The gem had much better entertainment though! I didn't like not dining at a set time though found that hard to meet people


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