How does NCL compare to RCCL?

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#1
Arlington, VA
527 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
So I've only been on two cruises (soon to be three) all with RCCL. I just discovered the new ship Norwegian is building called Breakaway and it looks great (maybe Sunshine class will incorporate some of these features). Anyway I was wondering what RCCL loyals think of Norwegian. I took a quick glance at reviews by ship on CC and Norwegian averaged in the low 70s for people who loved it whereas Royal averaged more in the mid 80s. So I'm guessing Royal is much better, and in the case of the Breakaway 7 nighters out of New York in 2013, pricing seems to be the same as the Allure/Oasis. So it's not as if they are competing on price. Anyway I'd love to hear some thoughts.
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#2
Atlanta/Palm Springs
23,162 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
On NCL I liked their choice of specialty dining restuarants and also their suite perks. Best of all the mainstream and even premium lines. Other than that they are just okay. I found the MDR lacking and their buffet was the worst ever experienced in all my years of cruising. With that said, others rave about their buffet area but we all know food is very subjective. I would cruise with NCL again but it would not be my first choice.
#3
The Berkshires Of MA
11,441 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
We enjoy both lines. NCL a bit more casual then RC. Food is subjective but we found the food on both very good and never used the buffet on either line. We have booked the Breakaway because it is a new ship and the port is close to us. Can't wait. There is not a line we do not like.
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#4
Long Island, NY
373 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Hi Terpfan,

We have had great experiences on both lines, and to me they are very different experiences. We love the formality of Royal (not over the top, just right for us) especially for the longer cruises when we like to play dress-up, and for Hawaii and other beach intensive cruises the casual atmosphere on NCL works really well.

Food and entertainment is very personal, so I won't try compare, but I will say that we found the food and entertainment of both lines to be perfectly fine.

We never, ever go to buffets, so my take is limited to MDR (our preference for lunch and breakfast) and specialties (we always have at least two dinners in a specialty restaurant, otherwise MDR).

We also try to see every show (why not, we're there), and we found the entertainment on the Norwegian Jewel was excellent!! The other ships had some highs and lows, on balance, fine.

Finally, nothing compares with the Allure, which tops every other ship we've been on, in every way; we just wish the itineraries were more exotic.

Have fun!!

Paul
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On the Med!!

09/82 Home Line’s Atlantic, Bermuda
08/03 Disney Wonder 3 Day, Nassau
08/04 Disney Magic
7 Day, Western Caribbean
12/06 Disney Magic 4 Day, Nassau
08/07 Disney Magic, Mediterranean
08/08 NCL PoA, Hawaii
08/09 RCCL Legend of the Seas, Eastern Mediterranean
01/10 NCL Norwegian Jewel, Central America
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09/12 Disney Magic, Canadian Maritimes
07/13 NCL Breakaway, Bermuda
10/14 Disney Magic, Southern Caribbean


#6
470 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
I recently sailed NCL for the first time. (9 previous cruises with RCL). It's definitely a different experience. I agree with Toocruisin', it worked well for the hardly ever at sea Hawaiian itinerary. I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much if there were multiple sea days. The service is not as over the top, bend over backwards as it is on RCL - but I will add to that comment that Pride of America is an all American crew, and (here I go insulting my own country, sorry USA) in general I don't think that American's are as hard working as those from lots of other countries. Though I do like Royal better, I would not be opposed to sailing with NCL again.
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<img src="image.php?type=sigpic&amp;userid=336764&amp;d ateline=1371318682" border="0" align="left">Previous Cruises: Legend of the Seas - Southern Caribbean - January 2015 * Radiance of the Seas - Alaska - May 2014 * Jewel of the Seas - East Caribbean - January 2014 * Brilliance of the Seas - West Caribbean - November 2013 * Vision of the Seas B2B - Baltics and Norwegian Fjords - May 2013 * Pride of America - Hawaii - March 2012 * Adventure of the Seas - South Caribbean - November 2011 * Jewel of the Seas - New England/Canada - October 2010 * Mariner of the Seas - Mexican Riviera - February 2010 * Liberty of the Seas - West Caribbean - November 2009 * Independence of the Seas - East Caribbean - February 2009 * Serenade of the Seas - South Caribbean -November 2008 * Empress of the Seas - Bermuda - October 2007 * Splendour of the Seas - France and Italy - October 2004 * Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas and Key West- March 2003
#8
North Royalton, OH
2,463 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
Originally posted by cruisingator2
On NCL I liked their choice of specialty dining restuarants and also their suite perks. Best of all the mainstream and even premium lines. Other than that they are just okay. I found the MDR lacking and their buffet was the worst ever experienced in all my years of cruising. With that said, others rave about their buffet area but we all know food is very subjective. I would cruise with NCL again but it would not be my first choice.
I agree with your sentiments. I feel that Royal is just more polished. The ships are quality--just nicer, cleaner, shinier. Crew is just better. Royal beats NCL hands-down, though I still enjoyed my cruise on the Dawn.
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Stacy

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#9
Ft Lauderdale, FL
14,489 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
My cousins recently went on NCL and had a great time. They had balcony rooms and tried every restaurant, ice bar, and shows, so they did it with upgrades all the way. I think that's what we would do if we tried it too. Many of the reviewers I've read didn't like the included services and didn't want to pay for upgraded services.
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SHARON
Admiral Cruises SS Emerald Seas 5/89,Sky Princess12/92,RCCL Majesty 8/95,Celebrity Century 5/97,RCCL Voyager 4/00,RCCL Enchantment 11/01,X Millenium 2/02,X Millenium 12/03,X Millenium 11/04,RCCL Explorer 11/05,X Constellation 11/06,Carnival Liberty 2/07,RCCL Enchantment 5/07,RCCL Enchantment 9/07,Caribbean Princess 12/07,RCCL Navigator 2/08,Caribbean Princess 5/08,RCCL Enchantment 9/08, HAL Westerdam 12/08, RCCL Navigator 2/09, RCCL Enchantment 9/09, Emerald Princess 11/09,X Solstice 1/10, RCCL Navigator 12/10,X Solstice 1/11,Ruby Princess 4/11, X Solstice 12/11, RCCL Liberty 1/12, Ruby Princess 3/12, RCCL Majesty 9/12, RCCL Allure 12/12, RCCL Liberty 2/13, X Silhouette 3/13, RCCL Liberty 11/13, X Silhouette 12/13, RCCL Liberty 2/14, RCCL Vision 4/14, X Reflection 06/14, RCCL Vision 8/14, X Silhouette 12/14, Regal Princess 3/15, X Equinox 6/15, X Silhouette 12/15, Carnival Victory 1/16, Royal Princess 2/16, RCCL Enchantment 9/16, X Silhouette 12/16, RCCL Independence 2/17 & 3/17, X Silhouette 12/17
#10
Virginia Beach, Virginia
5,083 Posts
Joined May 2004
Originally posted by terpfan101
So I've only been on two cruises (soon to be three) all with RCCL. I just discovered the new ship Norwegian is building called Breakaway and it looks great (maybe Sunshine class will incorporate some of these features). Anyway I was wondering what RCCL loyals think of Norwegian. I took a quick glance at reviews by ship on CC and Norwegian averaged in the low 70s for people who loved it whereas Royal averaged more in the mid 80s. So I'm guessing Royal is much better, and in the case of the Breakaway 7 nighters out of New York in 2013, pricing seems to be the same as the Allure/Oasis. So it's not as if they are competing on price. Anyway I'd love to hear some thoughts.
We cruise almost exclusively with Royal Caribbean but in October took NCL's Pride of America around the islands of Hawaii. The ship had mixed reviews with a lot of very, very negative ones. We had no complaints and there were actually a couple of things that NCL did that RCCL doesn't that we wish our favorite line would offer:
>There were plenty of NCL people outside the terminal to direct us and there was entertainment as a welcome in the cruise terminal as we waited to board.
>The main dining room was open for lunch on embarkation day.
>No reservations are accepted for My Time Dining (or at least not for small parties)
>You have to wait until you board to book speciality restaurants.
>There were two completely separate main dining rooms, one for casual dress and one dressy casual and THEY enforce it. (we REALLY liked this)

Of course the menu was different which was a nice change but the food quality wasn't any better.

We were so pleased with the entire cruise experience that we purchased a Next Cruise Certificate while on board because we plan to repeat the Hawaiian itinerary and probably make it a B2B.

Now, with that said, we are still totally loyal to Royal Caribbean and currently have 12 cruises booked with them.
#11
Rochester, New York
1,614 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Originally posted by lrn2cruise
I would love to see Blue Man Group.
Great show on the Epic..had to go twice!
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Best,
Joe



Past Cruises:
  • Norwegian Epic (Thanksgiving Cruise) November 19th through November 26th 2016 Western Caribbean
  • Norwegian Gem January 12th through January 22nd 2016 Caribbean
  • Norwegian Breakaway September 20th through September 27th 2015 Bermuda
  • Norwegian Breakaway May 17th through May 24th 2015 Bermuda
  • Norwegian Breakaway September 15th through September 22nd 2013 Bermuda
  • Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas September 22nd through September 29th 2012 Eastern Caribbean
  • Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas September 25th through October 2nd 2011 Western Caribbean
  • Norwegian Epic November 6th through November 13th 2010 Eastern Caribbean
  • Norwegian Epic October 30th through November 6th 2010 Western Caribbean
  • Norwegian Pride of America January 27th through February 3rd 2007 Hawaiian Islands
#12
NE
530 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
The
"Suite Perks" of NCL cannot be beat IMO.... But I do agree that NCL is a bit more casual than RCI.
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NEcruisers????
DCL 5/03 - Daughter's 1st Cruise
NCL - POA(11006) 11/07 - Anniversary Cruise
NCL - Pearl (11506) 6/10 - Family Cruise
RCCL - FOS 10/12 - Buddy Cruise
RCCL - GOS 10/13 - Buddy Cruise
RCCL VOS 10/14 - Buddy Cruise
DCL - Dream 12/14 - MAW
CCL - Pride 6/15 - Girls Week Away!
RCCL IOS 10/15 - Buddy Cruise
RCCL - Oasis 10/16 - Buddy Cruise

#13
The Berkshires Of MA
11,441 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
We sailed Oasis Of The Seas and right after, our first NCL on the Dawn. Had a great time on both ships and they certainly were different.
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#14
New Orleans
1,852 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
We have sailed on both NCL & RCCL for many years. People always seem to zero in on the food. I prefer assigned seating at dinner (RCCL) over freestyle or anytime dining. Usually, we eat in alternate restaurants on NCL ( LeBistro, Cagneys, etc.), on Royal we usually dine in the MDR. I am not thrilled with Royals' alternate dining choices
However, I like NCL over Royal for a few reasons other than food. First of all, it appears that there is more deck space on NCL ships over Royal. Roy is very much into the promenade style. I enjoy sitting on deck at one of the bars sometime until it closes at 1:00 or 2:00am. On my last two royal cruises (mariner & Voyager) they shut down the outside bars at 10:00.
Another thing (which has already bee mentioned) is the fact that NCL has much better suite perks and I think that NCL does a better job of taking care of their repeat customers.

So I will tell you now I prefer NCL over Royal.
Having said that, I have 2 Royal cruises booked in the next 45 days or so.
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CRUISE HISTORY
NCL Starward May 1977 , NCL Southward May 1978, NCL Skyward July 1979, NCL Sunward II June 1980, H.L. Nieuw Amsterdam March 1996
Norwegian Sun December 2005, Celebrity Zenith December 2006, Brilliance of the Seas December 2007, Brilliance of the Seas December 2008,
Norwegian Jewel July 2009, Grand Princess December 2009, NorwegianSpirit February 2010, NorwegianEpic June 2010 - Maiden TA Crossing,
Norwegian Pearl, Christmas 2010, New Year 2011, Mariner of the Seas, June 2011, Voyager of the Seas, December 2011, Norwegian Spirit, Christmas 2011, Monarch of the Seas June 2012, Freedom of the Seas June 2012, NCL Star, Christmas 2012, NCL Star, Mardi Gras 2013, ,NCL Breakaway, June 2013 Majesty of the Seas December 2013, NCL Sun Christmas 2013 NCL JEWEL March 2014 NCL GETAWAY June 2014 CELEBRITY ECLIPSE December 2014 NCL DAWN Mardi Gras 2015 NCL SPIRIT December 2015
NCL PEARL January 2016 "Shiprocked" Charter Cruise NCL SPIRIT December 2016

FUTURE CRUISES


NCL PEARL February 11, 2018 7 Day "Mardi Gras Cruise" Western Caribbean

NCL STAR December 21,2018 Christmas Cruise to Mexico



(I wish)
#15
Long Island, NY
373 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Originally posted by beachnative
>The main dining room was open for lunch on embarkation day.
Yeah, I had forgotten about this; it's a really nice way to start the cruise experience. I wonder if they still serve champaign as a welcome aboard? I'd better book another NCL cruise to remind myself!
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On the Med!!

09/82 Home Line’s Atlantic, Bermuda
08/03 Disney Wonder 3 Day, Nassau
08/04 Disney Magic
7 Day, Western Caribbean
12/06 Disney Magic 4 Day, Nassau
08/07 Disney Magic, Mediterranean
08/08 NCL PoA, Hawaii
08/09 RCCL Legend of the Seas, Eastern Mediterranean
01/10 NCL Norwegian Jewel, Central America
05/10 RCCL Jewel of the Seas, Baltic Capitals
09/11 RCCL Allure of the Seas, Eastern Caribbean
07/12 RCCL Allure of the Seas, Western Caribbean
09/12 Disney Magic, Canadian Maritimes
07/13 NCL Breakaway, Bermuda
10/14 Disney Magic, Southern Caribbean


#16
New Orleans
1,852 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by toocruisin'
Yeah, I had forgotten about this; it's a really nice way to start the cruise experience. I wonder if they still serve champaign as a welcome aboard? I'd better book another NCL cruise to remind myself!
When I was on the Spirit in December, they still served champaign.
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CRUISE HISTORY
NCL Starward May 1977 , NCL Southward May 1978, NCL Skyward July 1979, NCL Sunward II June 1980, H.L. Nieuw Amsterdam March 1996
Norwegian Sun December 2005, Celebrity Zenith December 2006, Brilliance of the Seas December 2007, Brilliance of the Seas December 2008,
Norwegian Jewel July 2009, Grand Princess December 2009, NorwegianSpirit February 2010, NorwegianEpic June 2010 - Maiden TA Crossing,
Norwegian Pearl, Christmas 2010, New Year 2011, Mariner of the Seas, June 2011, Voyager of the Seas, December 2011, Norwegian Spirit, Christmas 2011, Monarch of the Seas June 2012, Freedom of the Seas June 2012, NCL Star, Christmas 2012, NCL Star, Mardi Gras 2013, ,NCL Breakaway, June 2013 Majesty of the Seas December 2013, NCL Sun Christmas 2013 NCL JEWEL March 2014 NCL GETAWAY June 2014 CELEBRITY ECLIPSE December 2014 NCL DAWN Mardi Gras 2015 NCL SPIRIT December 2015
NCL PEARL January 2016 "Shiprocked" Charter Cruise NCL SPIRIT December 2016

FUTURE CRUISES


NCL PEARL February 11, 2018 7 Day "Mardi Gras Cruise" Western Caribbean

NCL STAR December 21,2018 Christmas Cruise to Mexico



(I wish)
#17
Long Island, NY
373 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Originally posted by endymion6942
When I was on the Spirit in December, they still served champaign.
Thanks Scott!! I see you're coming to NY in June 2013; I live in the NY Metro area, so if you have any questions, fire away!! Paul
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On the Med!!

09/82 Home Line’s Atlantic, Bermuda
08/03 Disney Wonder 3 Day, Nassau
08/04 Disney Magic
7 Day, Western Caribbean
12/06 Disney Magic 4 Day, Nassau
08/07 Disney Magic, Mediterranean
08/08 NCL PoA, Hawaii
08/09 RCCL Legend of the Seas, Eastern Mediterranean
01/10 NCL Norwegian Jewel, Central America
05/10 RCCL Jewel of the Seas, Baltic Capitals
09/11 RCCL Allure of the Seas, Eastern Caribbean
07/12 RCCL Allure of the Seas, Western Caribbean
09/12 Disney Magic, Canadian Maritimes
07/13 NCL Breakaway, Bermuda
10/14 Disney Magic, Southern Caribbean


#18
Jacksonville, FL
669 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
Makes me want to try. They have family suites. I have checked them out, but need to look when new itineraries become available and are not all booked up
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11-18-2012 Allure of the Seas
03-16-2012 Navigator of the Seas
03-25-2013 Freedom of the Seas
06-24-2013 Enchantment of the Seas
03-23-2014 Independence of the Seas
Bunches more. Stopped listing them.

#19
NE PA...Poconos
4,249 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
Originally posted by joyride21
I recently sailed NCL for the first time. (9 previous cruises with RCL). It's definitely a different experience. I agree with Toocruisin', it worked well for the hardly ever at sea Hawaiian itinerary. I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much if there were multiple sea days. The service is not as over the top, bend over backwards as it is on RCL - but I will add to that comment that Pride of America is an all American crew, and (here I go insulting my own country, sorry USA) in general I don't think that American's are as hard working as those from lots of other countries. Though I do like Royal better, I would not be opposed to sailing with NCL again.
I definitely agree with you about the service (most being American). Our waiter in the MDR was downright RUDE. He was a rich kid from California who was just doing this for fun (he told us that). We didn't care for the food, although the Specialty restaurant was excellent. The shows were boring. There was really no ship time being the Hawaiian itinerary was very intense!If we went to them with a problem, and there were many, they were very accommodating...free bottles of wine, free specialty restaurant, free mystery dinner show. (My sister had a big roach in her room, the one day when she went to get back on the ship, she was completely wiped out of the system, like there was no evidence of her being on it!!! Just some problems like that!!!!) But Hawaii was great. I think I will stick to Royal!
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Oasis of the Seas 6/26/10 Western
Explorer of the Seas 7/09/09 Eastern
Liberty of the Seas 6/28/08 Western
Explorer of the Seas 6/22/07 Eastern
Navigator of the Seas 6/17/06 Eastern
Voyager of the Seas 6/18/04 Western
Explorer of the Seas 6/22/02 Western
Pride of America 6/25/11 Hawaii
Adventure of the Seas 3/18/12 Southern
Explorer of the Seas 3/15/13 Eastern
Allure of the Seas 6/30/13 Western
Adventure of the Seas 3/23/14 Southern
Freedom of the Seas 3/8/15 Eastern
Oasis of the Seas 7/4/15 Western


#20
New Orleans
1,852 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by RCcruisinfamily
Makes me want to try. They have family suites. I have checked them out, but need to look when new itineraries become available and are not all booked up
I don't care what the polls that CC publishes, the suites on NCL absolutely rock. There are way too many perks, but I will start. With NCL you get both a butler & a concierge. The butler takes care of any and all details fir your suite. If you want to have dinner served to you in your cabin, no problem. I guess depending on the suite, your butler give you a mobile phone so you can get him from anywhere on the ship. The concierge handles many things for you. Priority seating at shows, escorting you off the ship to beat the lines getting off at ports of call. Oh, when you are a suite customer, you are allowed to have sit down breakfast and lunch in Cagneys. I could go on and on about NCL suites.
We have booked a forward facing penthouse for the Breakaway next
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CRUISE HISTORY
NCL Starward May 1977 , NCL Southward May 1978, NCL Skyward July 1979, NCL Sunward II June 1980, H.L. Nieuw Amsterdam March 1996
Norwegian Sun December 2005, Celebrity Zenith December 2006, Brilliance of the Seas December 2007, Brilliance of the Seas December 2008,
Norwegian Jewel July 2009, Grand Princess December 2009, NorwegianSpirit February 2010, NorwegianEpic June 2010 - Maiden TA Crossing,
Norwegian Pearl, Christmas 2010, New Year 2011, Mariner of the Seas, June 2011, Voyager of the Seas, December 2011, Norwegian Spirit, Christmas 2011, Monarch of the Seas June 2012, Freedom of the Seas June 2012, NCL Star, Christmas 2012, NCL Star, Mardi Gras 2013, ,NCL Breakaway, June 2013 Majesty of the Seas December 2013, NCL Sun Christmas 2013 NCL JEWEL March 2014 NCL GETAWAY June 2014 CELEBRITY ECLIPSE December 2014 NCL DAWN Mardi Gras 2015 NCL SPIRIT December 2015
NCL PEARL January 2016 "Shiprocked" Charter Cruise NCL SPIRIT December 2016

FUTURE CRUISES


NCL PEARL February 11, 2018 7 Day "Mardi Gras Cruise" Western Caribbean

NCL STAR December 21,2018 Christmas Cruise to Mexico



(I wish)