Norwegian or Carnival?

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#21
Michigan
212 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
We have sailed both for New Years. In fact, We usually take New Year's cruises (due to my school schedule). I would recommend NCL over Carnival, especially the Pearl. We took the Pearl last year and had a blast. So much that we are cruising on it again this December.

Main reasons being that we found the crew were friendlier, service was better, and the food was definitely better on the Pearl even in the MDR.
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NCL Getaway 1/17
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#22
South Carolina
3,972 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Originally posted by lyndamr
1- I lived in south florida for 25 years, FLL is my choice over Miami pier to take a cruise

2- You save money taking Freedom that could be used towards shipboard items

3- Treat yourself to the Steakhouse once or twice you won't regret it

The money you save going on the Freedom you can do the steakhouse and still save more money and avoid Miami.

I agree about the Steakhouse on CCL. It was fabulous and blew the NCL steakhouse away. We will be cruising out of FLL in Feb. for the first time. It was being able to fly jetBlue directly there and a conflict with the last day of the cruise that made us switch to RCI for our 2014 cruise. I did love cruising out of Miami last year though but have never been to FLL so may love that just as much. I guess I am changing my mind and advocating for the user to choose the CCL cruise since we had such a good time on ours this year. What can I say! I love them all!
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"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans"
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Upcoming cruises:
Feb/2018 7 day Western Caribbean on the Oasis of the Seas - Balcony
Jan/2019 7 day Western Caribbean on the Norwegian Epic - Aft Balcony

Completed cruises:
Jan/2017 8 day Caribbean on the Carnival Sunshine Aft Balcony
Jan/2016 Carnival Dream - 7 Day to Key West and the Bahamas
Feb/2015 Norwegian Sun - 7 Day Western Caribbean - Forward PH
Feb/2014 Independence of the Seas - 8 day cruise - Aft corner
Feb/2013 Carnival Valor - Repositioning cruise to Puerto Rico - Aft Wrap

Jan/2012 NCL Star - Western Caribbean - Aft PH
Jan/2011 NCL Sun - Eastern Caribbean - Mini Suite

#23
Florida
8,193 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Hello fergusonvt- We are also debating for Allure of the Seas or the Carnival Dream for our next cruise. We loved the Dream and that Steakhouse probably was my favorite even over Chops (RC) Steakhouse. We can't decide lol, by the way, going into FLL is much better than that Miami airport. Usually when cruising out of Miami we will fly into FLL and take a shuttle down to Miami. I love them all too.
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#24
Powell River, BC
1,280 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Been on both Freedom(2007) and Pearl(2010) and both were great ships. Crews on both ships were very friendly(Happy Happy Washy Washy)

Food wise you won't go hungry on either one. CCL Warm Chocolate Melting Cake...YUMMM. Pearl has Blue Lagoon 24hr restaurant

Pearl has BOWLING...if that is something you enjoy it is fun to bowl while ship underway

Entertainment is about the same.

Hard to choose but not a bad choice for either of them.

So it would come down to itinerary and price

Doesn't Freedom offer an 8th day compared to Pearl?
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Future Cruises :










PAST CRUISES :

1) Carnival Freedom - Dec 1-8, 2007 - San Juan, St Thomas, St Maarten
2) RCL Radiance of the Seas - Jun 13-20,2008 - Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan
3) Carnival Glory - April 11-18, 2009 - Nassau, St Thomas, St Maarten
4) RCL Grandeur of the Seas - Nov 19 - Dec 3, 2009 - Bermuda, Tortola, St Maarten, Curacao, Aruba, Grand Cayman and Cozumel
5) NCL Pearl - Sept 19 - 24, 2010 - Vancouver, Astoria Oregon, San Francisco, LA
6) NCL Pearl - Sept 24 - Oct 8, 2010 - LA, Cabo, Acapulco, Huatulco, Puerto Quetzal Guatemala, Puntarenas Costa Rica, Panama Canal, Cartegena Columbia
7) Carnival Liberty - Oct 9 - 16, 2010 - Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Jamaica
8) NCL Epic - Jan 11 - 18, 2014 - St Maarten, St Thomas, Nassau
9) NCL Epic - Jan 18 - 25, 2014 - St Maarten, St Thomas, Nassau
10) NCL Pearl - Sept 21 - 28, 2014 - Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan
#25
Chicago 'burbs"
129 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Freedom is 8 day - St. Thomas, Antigua, Tortola, Nassau
Pearl is 7 days - Great Stirrup Cay, Ochos Rios, Grand Cayman, Cozumel.
We have taken many cruises but never on Carnival. We like to get off the ship and go to a beach for the day. We've been to all these ports at least once.
#26
Florida
8,193 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Freedom extra day nice!

Hate Ocho Rios (very unsafe also be careful) and hate Nassau


Its reall neck to neck as far as ports but my choice is Freedom extra day!
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Harmony of the Seas, May 2017
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#27
Michigan
6,710 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by Getts
Freedom is 8 day - St. Thomas, Antigua, Tortola, Nassau
Pearl is 7 days - Great Stirrup Cay, Ochos Rios, Grand Cayman, Cozumel.
We have taken many cruises but never on Carnival. We like to get off the ship and go to a beach for the day. We've been to all these ports at least once.
I have to say that I loved having that extra day when we did that Freedom 8 day....
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Warm Breezes





Cruise History Summary: 15 Cruises, 86 Nights, 12 ships, 4 Cruise Lines,19 Ports of Call, 6 Embarkation Ports
Carnival Sunshine 10/2016 - 5 Night Canada, Carnival Dream 5/2016 - 7 Night Western,Carnival Splendor 4/2015 - 7 Night Eastern, Ruby Princess 3/2014 - 5 Night Western, Norwegian Jewel 10/2013 - 7 Night Western, Carnival Freedom 8/2013 - 6 Night Western,Norwegian Epic 12/2011 - 7 Night Eastern, Carnival Glory 7/2011 - 5 Night Canada, Carnival Destiny 11/2010 -4 Night Western, Carnival Freedom 7/2009-8 Night Eastern, Norwegian Jewel 11/2007-5 Night Western, Carnival Elation 12/2006-5 Night Eastern, Carnival Inspiration 11/2005-5 Night Western, Disney Magic 6/2004-7 Night Eastern, Disney Wonder 11/2001-3 Night Bahamas
#28
895 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
Any ship in particular? That would make a difference.

One word of caution, stay away from Carnival's Sunshine, at least for now.
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#29
Florida
8,193 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Good advice Sunshine having problems after problems.
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Harmony of the Seas, May 2017
NCL Getaway, May 2016
Carnival Magic, April 2016
Carnival Fascination, December 2015
Oasis of the Seas, October 2015
Carnival Valor, May 2015
Regal Princess, September 2014
Allure of the Seas, 5-11/2014
Carnival Fascination, April 2014
Allure of the Seas, October 2013
NCL Breakaway, June 2013
Carnival Fascination, May 2013
Freedom of the Seas, October 2012
Carnival Dream, May 2012
Monarch of the Seas, Decembher 2012
Freedom of the Seas, July 2011
Liberty of the Seas, May 2011
#30
Canada
2,356 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
The Freedom ship is absolutely hideous. The lobby with all the bubble moon lights all over the walls reminds me of a kid in grade school with pimples at all stages. The steakhouse reminds me Liberace's bathroom. On top of all that you have different wall paper patterns on every wall from zebra to snake to cat prints.
#31
Southwest Florida
3,226 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
My family and I have sailed Carnival 4 times and are just off of the Epic. Myself 51, DH 51, DS 22, DS 18, DS 15.

In our opinion, CCL does the food better, the entertainment better and the cabins on CCL are bigger.

We were not able to use the pool deck on the Epic due to poor weather, but it really did not have anything that we haven't had on a CCL ship.

In our opinion CCL just does it better all the way around. My kids have never spent as much time in the cabin on a cruise watching TV as they did on this Epic cruise.
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9 Day Med - Jewel May 30, 2018 - Rome, Messina, Mykonos, Kusadasi, Santorini, Athens, Naples
10 Day Mediterranean - Vista May 2016 - Athens, Rhodes, Valleta, Messina, Naples, Rome, Florence, Marseille, Barcelona
7 Day Eastern - Glory - St.Thomas,SanJuan,GrTurk,HalfMoonCay
7 Day Western Mediterranean - NCL EPIC out of Barcelona - 5/2013
7 Day Eastern - Liberty '11 - St.Thomas,SanJuan, GrTurk
7 Day Western - Glory 2009 - Cozumel, Gr. Cayman, Belize, Roatan
4 Day Western - Imagination 2006 - Key West, Calica
7 Day Western - Triumph 2005 -Cozumel, Ocho Rios, Grand Caymen





#32
ontario
77 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
We've had 3 NCL cruises we really enjoyed (Pearl, Dawn & Gem- which was just last month) but find that we are looking elsewhere for next March, our school break. Dates are fixed we need a departure March 7-10 and unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a lot of choice at a price we are looking for out of Florida. Is the Pearl in dry dock then? We also don't really want to sail out of NYC in the winter. Both Carnival and RCI offer some great ships with interesting ports and better prices. We're looking at the CCL Breeze, Dream maybe the Glory and the RCI Liberty of the Seas. Thoughts?
#33
Baltimore, Md., U.S.A.
3,631 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
I would consider cabin sizes as well. Carnival has some of the biggest standard cabins in the business, in all categories; NCL has some quite tiny cabins in lower inside categories.

We have 4Ks booked for three forthcoming Carnival cruises later this year. 4K is an obstructed outside cabin with openable french doors that is sold as an inside.

In 2014 we plan to take two long NCL cruises. We chose balcony cabins because we thought the basic cabins were too small.
#34
Florida
8,193 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Jam&TeaMom done all I take out the Glory for sure. The Dream we found to be our favorite Carnival ship (have not done the Breeze yet but she is sister ship has to be just as good as the Dream), we probably would not sail any other Carnival ship in the future but the Dream or Breeze. We love RC its on top of our list and we just got off the NCL Breakaway which we never will go back to. Too many tiny negatives and poor layout never again, RC our favorite. Liberty of the Seas last dry dock was in 2011 where the Dream was in dry dock in 2012 and the Breeze came out in 2012 more newer. Even though RC is my favorite I would personally have reservations as the ships dry dock was a year sooner its coming up to three years so I personally would choose the Dream or the Breeze.
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Harmony of the Seas, May 2017
NCL Getaway, May 2016
Carnival Magic, April 2016
Carnival Fascination, December 2015
Oasis of the Seas, October 2015
Carnival Valor, May 2015
Regal Princess, September 2014
Allure of the Seas, 5-11/2014
Carnival Fascination, April 2014
Allure of the Seas, October 2013
NCL Breakaway, June 2013
Carnival Fascination, May 2013
Freedom of the Seas, October 2012
Carnival Dream, May 2012
Monarch of the Seas, Decembher 2012
Freedom of the Seas, July 2011
Liberty of the Seas, May 2011
#35
Garnett, KS
2,962 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
I would choose NCL. After 6 Carnival cruises I am done with them. They have so many cutbacks anymore that any cruise line is better than Carnival. Yes, Carnival has larger cabins but if the cruise isn't as good what good is a larger cabin? The only way to tell Carnival that I am against all their cutbacks is to take my business elsewhere.
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"There is no such thing as a bad cruise! "quote by me

9 NCL******* 7 Carnival******* 7 Princess*******4 HAL*******5 Celebrity
and counting............
#36
Southwest Florida
3,226 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
It's all subjective, I feel that way about our NCL cruise. Thankfully it was port intensive because we were bored out of our minds and frankly, unless we paid extra the food was bad and it was repetitive.

To be honest, part of the reason I enjoy cruising is not having to worry about paying extra for every little thing so I am somewhat offended by all the pay extra restaurants on NCL. They don't even rotate desserts! I can get apple pie in my grocery store, I don't want it on my cruise! I want creme brulee or something I can't do at home!

So many things that are included on CCL are pay extra on NCL (i.e. sushi), and I don't want to have to make reservations for my entertainment like I do on NCL - on CCL we just know there will be comedy and stage shows at 8 and 10 pm EVERY NIGHT.

And rooms do make a difference - particularly if you are traveling as more than 2. On NCL we could not even open the closet door when the upper bunk was pulled down and if you wanted to go out on the balcony you had to turn sideways and shuffle the length of that upper bunk just to get to the door or crawl on the floor. Even the toilet and shower room are smaller. I have no idea how a large person could even shower in that shower room.

To each their own, we tried it and didn't like it. Not one out of 5 would cruise NCL over CCL again. But that is just our opinion. Other feel the direct opposite.
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9 Day Med - Jewel May 30, 2018 - Rome, Messina, Mykonos, Kusadasi, Santorini, Athens, Naples
10 Day Mediterranean - Vista May 2016 - Athens, Rhodes, Valleta, Messina, Naples, Rome, Florence, Marseille, Barcelona
7 Day Eastern - Glory - St.Thomas,SanJuan,GrTurk,HalfMoonCay
7 Day Western Mediterranean - NCL EPIC out of Barcelona - 5/2013
7 Day Eastern - Liberty '11 - St.Thomas,SanJuan, GrTurk
7 Day Western - Glory 2009 - Cozumel, Gr. Cayman, Belize, Roatan
4 Day Western - Imagination 2006 - Key West, Calica
7 Day Western - Triumph 2005 -Cozumel, Ocho Rios, Grand Caymen





#37
Kentucky
13,207 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
That's what makes the world go round. If we all liked the same thing, imagine how dull things would be. For me, I find CCL to be a pitiful line. Would take NCL in a heartbeat over Carnival. Our last experience on Carnival, I thought I would starve to death. Food was atrocious, service, what service. Yes, the rooms are bigger but how much time are you going to spend in your room? After our week on the Epic, we felt like we needed another vacation because we did so much on the ship. Could have easily stayed another week to take in the things we didn't get to do.
#38
WNY
221 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Originally posted by Getts
We usually sail Princess but the Emerald is very expensive for New Years. Sailed Norwegian several times but have never sailed Carnival. For those of you who have sailed both, which would you choose for New Years?
Norwegian Pearl or Carnival Freedom?
Thanks.
I've been on both. While Carnival was once my favorite line, Norwegian has taken over that top spot. The Pearl is now my new favorite ship. It beats Carnival hands down right across the board. Beware - The Pearl is the ship that gets chartered most, so there is always a chance that your cruise gets cancelled.
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Jodi

FUTURE CRUISES:

CCL Triumph 2017 - 5 Day Western (2 b2b)
CCL Freedom 2018 - 7 Day Western/Bahamas (8 b2b2b2b2b2b2b2b)
CCL Glory 2019 - 7 Day Eastern/Western (9 b2b2b2b2b2b2b)
CCL Horizon 2019 - 8 Day Eastern (part of above b2b)
CCL Magic 2019 - 7 Day Western (part of above b2b)


PAST CRUISES:

Carnival Cruise Line - 50+ - Diamond
Norwegian Cruise Line - 20 - Platinum Plus
Royal Caribbean - 4
Princess - 2
Holland America - 1
#39
Southwest Florida
3,226 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
And we felt the exact opposite. On Carnival there are so many INCLUDED choices - Buffet, 24 hour Pizza, Guys Burgers, Burrito Bar, Mongolian Wok, Chinese, New York Deli, Fish and Chips Station. On NCL it was MDR, Taste, Buffet, O'Sheehans or show me the money honey.

And on CCL the majority of the menu items are not served every single night. They only repeat one or two. We found it to be the exact opposite on NCL - almost EVERYTHING was a repeat and only 1 or 2 different entrees each night.

As far as entertainment went, maybe because we were in the Med, but there was no Comedy show (which is the thing we enjoy the most) and they used the same venue for several different things each night so we felt like sheep being herded in and out. From 8-9:30 we will do this in Bliss, 9:30 - 10:00 something else, 10:00 - 12 something else. Did not like that.
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9 Day Med - Jewel May 30, 2018 - Rome, Messina, Mykonos, Kusadasi, Santorini, Athens, Naples
10 Day Mediterranean - Vista May 2016 - Athens, Rhodes, Valleta, Messina, Naples, Rome, Florence, Marseille, Barcelona
7 Day Eastern - Glory - St.Thomas,SanJuan,GrTurk,HalfMoonCay
7 Day Western Mediterranean - NCL EPIC out of Barcelona - 5/2013
7 Day Eastern - Liberty '11 - St.Thomas,SanJuan, GrTurk
7 Day Western - Glory 2009 - Cozumel, Gr. Cayman, Belize, Roatan
4 Day Western - Imagination 2006 - Key West, Calica
7 Day Western - Triumph 2005 -Cozumel, Ocho Rios, Grand Caymen





#40
286 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
I have done New Year Eve cruises on both lines and without a doubt Norwegian is better. Carnival ships generally feel more crowded and the NYE crowd really pushed it over the edge.