Carnival Valor or Dream? Or NCL Getaway?

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#1
North Carolina
1,468 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Now that our son (19) decided he wants to join us next summer on our cruise (2016), we completely changed our mind about what cruises we might want to take.

We had our decision down to 2 ships-the Valor or Dream. Then I decided to price NCL one more time and we can do the Getaway with the same ports as the Valor for about the same price and it includes the Ultimate Beverage Package. That would be really nice! However, we've never sailed NCL so I don't know if we would like it and I hate Pepsi. I know I can bring my own Diet Cokes, but it's easier to just buy a soda package.

Valor - Port Canaveral (closest port to home by apx. 3 hours)
Costa Maya, Roatan, Belize and Cozumel
Balcony

Dream - New Orleans
Cozumel, Belize and Roatan
I wish this one also went to Costa Maya. We would love to see the ruins.

Should we go with nicer ship or the closer port with an extra port we would enjoy? We've never been to New Orleans so that would be nice too. Does the Valor has fountain cokes? Is it in bad shape?

To make things more complicated, there's also the NCL Getaway. I don't really know anything about NCL as we have never sailed with them. The only thing I do know is the serve Pepsi which I won't drink. However, with their current promotion we would get their ultimate beverage package included. It would be very nice to have alcohol included. I love a frozen cocktail by the pool and wine with dinner. Yum! This has the same itinerary as the Valor. I have no idea what this ship is like or if I would like NCL overall. I wouldn't mind their freestyle dining, but have heard they nickle and dime you to death. True?

Also, with the Carnival cruises we can get a Lido Balcony which would be very convenient. I didn't see this option with NCL. Decisions, decisions!
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Norwegian Getaway 7-3-2016
Carnival Sunshine 3-26-2016
Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas 8-1-2015
Caribbean Princess 4-4-2015
Carnival Freedom 7-5-2014
Carnival Freedom 2-22-2014
Carnival Paradise 6-29-13
Carnival Liberty 3-30-2013
Carnival Destiny 7-2011
#2
North Carolina
1,468 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
No advice? I can understand if you aren't familiar with NCL, neither am I. What about the Valor or Dream? Which should we choose between these two? Is the Dream still really nice? Is the Valor looking old? Do they have fountain soda?
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Norwegian Getaway 7-3-2016
Carnival Sunshine 3-26-2016
Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas 8-1-2015
Caribbean Princess 4-4-2015
Carnival Freedom 7-5-2014
Carnival Freedom 2-22-2014
Carnival Paradise 6-29-13
Carnival Liberty 3-30-2013
Carnival Destiny 7-2011
#3
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
2,975 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
I have sailed on the Liberty which is the same class as the Valor I think. It was nice.

I have sailed on the Breeze which is similar to the Dream but more upgraded and it was very good as well.

I have recently sailed the Getaway and out of the three this was the best ship overall.

All are good and each has its strengths and weaknesses. I just found more strengths on the Getaway. But I am booked on the Carnival Splendor for November adn am just as excited to it as its a new class of ship for me.
#4
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
2,975 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
I have sailed on the Liberty which is the same class as the Valor I think. It was nice.

I have sailed on the Breeze which is similar to the Dream but more upgraded and it was very good as well.

I have recently sailed the Getaway and out of the three this was the best ship overall.

All are good and each has its strengths and weaknesses. I just found more strengths on the Getaway. But I am booked on the Carnival Splendor for November adn am just as excited to it as its a new class of ship for me.

Carnivals strength from the two cruises I listed.----
Extremely friendly crew
Good MDR food choices (this was before the American menu) and quality.
Very funny comedians on average.
Free 24hr room service (though the actual service can be hit or miss, the food is decent)
More varied itineraries to choose from.
Better theater layout
Pool decks layout were ok


Carnivals weaknesses from the ones I listed----
Terrible pizza IMHO
Terrible Buffet - sorry the food choices are limited and it just looks unappetizing to me.
Punchliner brunch - service was painfully slow and sloppy
Food choices were very limited at certain times.
Breakfast buffet gigantic line to get eggs to order and their scrambled eggs are some type of mystery substance
Passenger flow issues in some areas (more on Breeze)
Entertainment - Shows - Pre 2.0 on Liberty they were fantastic, 2.0 on Breeze? They were a joke actually. I felt bad for the performers.
Giant lines to get into shows unless you want to sit in a seat for 45 minutes before the show



NCL getaway strengths --
Very friendly crew
Decent MDR food and good service. Never had to wait to get in
Buffet - is actually good and very well run and laid out. Varied dinner choices, scooped icecream for free and sundae bar. Crepe stations during dinner. Much better pizza. Breakfast buffet had 45 stations for eggs to order, fried tomato halves, plenty of rolls and toasts, no bacon police and a pretty wide area to handle the flow and seating.
O'Sheehans - always open and they had Prime Rib 3 nights
Entertainment- Shows very well done. Burn the Floor and Legally Blonde were incredibly well done. Burn the floor dancers will dance in the Tropicana free dining room with a band and you can dance with them ballrooms style.
Many places to get a lounger in the sun
Reservation system. You can still wait in long lines if you prefer the Carnival experience but its much easier to make reservations and you can do that at any elevator bank.
Imaginariaum - pay venue - incredible show, worth it.
Sports - ropes, mini-golf and rock wall. Blows away other lines IMHO. Ropes course if weasily 4x larget then on Breeze adn minigolf protected from the wind.


NCL Getaway weaknesses -
Theater - seats were uncomfortable and the theater had no wow factor and was pretty uninspiring too look at.
Pool - all I can say is LOL, not a wise set up IMHO
Hallways - are VERY thin on the upper passenger room decks. I felt bad for the fat folks. Heck even skinny folks had to let each other pass. Not a good setup there though lower decks were incredibly wide in many areas by oceanview rooms.
Teppnayaki pay venue- Great presentation, food was meh


No matter what though, I had a great time on ALL those cruises. From my experience, I recommend the Getaway. Especially if the price is close to Carnival.
#6
Long Island, NY
7,833 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
I have been on Valor and Dream, and have been on Breakaway- GA's newer sister. Of the 2 Carnival ships, I would go on Dream with a 19 year old - more to do, with the water slides, etc. However, once you throw Getaway into the picture, I would try NCL. Rottweiler Puppy gave a great breakdown of the plusses and minuses. We did the dining plan, and really enjoyed the different restaurants. We also loved Howl at the Moon dueling piano bar, and the food at O'Sheehans was great! The UBP you get is a great deal. We enjoy the differences between CCL and NCL, and have cruises upcoming on both!! You can always bring your Coke on board. I also don't like Pepsi, but wouldn't let that be a factor in my not taking NCL!
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#7
hagersville, on
1,572 Posts
Joined Mar 2013
One reason why we don't cruise NCL is cause they don't serve Coke. We were on the Valor in Nov. beautiful decor, nice serenity area at the back of the ship, awesome food in the MDR and you can get a steak from the steakhouse for 20, which my DW said was awesome and she comes from a butcher family, dive in movies was nice, I think the downside is hard to navigate because of the galley.
#10
Atlanta, Ga
3,699 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
I have been on the Valor, Dream class and the Getaway. The Getaway is my favorite ship overall to date and I have been on a few. I had a blast on that cruise. It is a very active ship and there is always something to do. I could go on, but Rottweiler Puppy covered most of it. Try something new. I enjoy NCL quite a bit for the variety they offer.
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#11
MD
2,541 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
I just booked the Valor for Aug 6, 2016 and my DS will be 19.5 when we cruise (and twin DDs will be 17.5). I went with the Aug 6 with GT, SJ, StT and DR stops. 3/4 of them are new places for me and all 4 are new for my DH and kids. We are excited. I wanted a ship with all the 2.0 stuff but prefer the extra stop and we can get to PC pretty easily (we live in MD but also have condo in NC and will drive from there). Also, got a great deal (I think anyway) on the aft extended balcony for me and my girls (the fellas will be in an inside ). I am reluctant to try NCL as I know a few folks who have cruised on them and weren't super pleased with their cruise.
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Aug 6, 2016 Carnival Magic for cruise #9
#12
St. Cloud, Fl
10,442 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by laumicmah
I just booked the Valor for Aug 6, 2016 and my DS will be 19.5 when we cruise (and twin DDs will be 17.5). I went with the Aug 6 with GT, SJ, StT and DR stops. 3/4 of them are new places for me and all 4 are new for my DH and kids. We are excited. I wanted a ship with all the 2.0 stuff but prefer the extra stop and we can get to PC pretty easily (we live in MD but also have condo in NC and will drive from there). Also, got a great deal (I think anyway) on the aft extended balcony for me and my girls (the fellas will be in an inside ). I am reluctant to try NCL as I know a few folks who have cruised on them and weren't super pleased with their cruise.
Oh, well. As you see, a lot of us have tried and super liked Getaway. Each to their own as to choose. As for 2.0, it's really nothing but a few new bars and a hamburger joint. As for ports, can't argue.
#14
North Carolina
1,468 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Originally posted by Rottweiler Puppy
I have sailed on the Liberty which is the same class as the Valor I think. It was nice.

I have sailed on the Breeze which is similar to the Dream but more upgraded and it was very good as well.

I have recently sailed the Getaway and out of the three this was the best ship overall.

All are good and each has its strengths and weaknesses. I just found more strengths on the Getaway. But I am booked on the Carnival Splendor for November adn am just as excited to it as its a new class of ship for me.

Carnivals strength from the two cruises I listed.----
Extremely friendly crew
Good MDR food choices (this was before the American menu) and quality.
Very funny comedians on average.
Free 24hr room service (though the actual service can be hit or miss, the food is decent)
More varied itineraries to choose from.
Better theater layout
Pool decks layout were ok


Carnivals weaknesses from the ones I listed----
Terrible pizza IMHO
Terrible Buffet - sorry the food choices are limited and it just looks unappetizing to me.
Punchliner brunch - service was painfully slow and sloppy
Food choices were very limited at certain times.
Breakfast buffet gigantic line to get eggs to order and their scrambled eggs are some type of mystery substance
Passenger flow issues in some areas (more on Breeze)
Entertainment - Shows - Pre 2.0 on Liberty they were fantastic, 2.0 on Breeze? They were a joke actually. I felt bad for the performers.
Giant lines to get into shows unless you want to sit in a seat for 45 minutes before the show



NCL getaway strengths --
Very friendly crew
Decent MDR food and good service. Never had to wait to get in
Buffet - is actually good and very well run and laid out. Varied dinner choices, scooped icecream for free and sundae bar. Crepe stations during dinner. Much better pizza. Breakfast buffet had 45 stations for eggs to order, fried tomato halves, plenty of rolls and toasts, no bacon police and a pretty wide area to handle the flow and seating.
O'Sheehans - always open and they had Prime Rib 3 nights
Entertainment- Shows very well done. Burn the Floor and Legally Blonde were incredibly well done. Burn the floor dancers will dance in the Tropicana free dining room with a band and you can dance with them ballrooms style.
Many places to get a lounger in the sun
Reservation system. You can still wait in long lines if you prefer the Carnival experience but its much easier to make reservations and you can do that at any elevator bank.
Imaginariaum - pay venue - incredible show, worth it.
Sports - ropes, mini-golf and rock wall. Blows away other lines IMHO. Ropes course if weasily 4x larget then on Breeze adn minigolf protected from the wind.


NCL Getaway weaknesses -
Theater - seats were uncomfortable and the theater had no wow factor and was pretty uninspiring too look at.
Pool - all I can say is LOL, not a wise set up IMHO
Hallways - are VERY thin on the upper passenger room decks. I felt bad for the fat folks. Heck even skinny folks had to let each other pass. Not a good setup there though lower decks were incredibly wide in many areas by oceanview rooms.
Teppnayaki pay venue- Great presentation, food was meh


No matter what though, I had a great time on ALL those cruises. From my experience, I recommend the Getaway. Especially if the price is close to Carnival.
I'm so glad to hear you like the Getaway better than the Breeze. We had originally looked at that ship, but it was almost as much for an inside cabin as we paid for a balcony on the Getaway and it includes the Ultimate Beverage Package! Yes, I did book the Getaway. Thanks for your input, it was quite helpful!
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Norwegian Getaway 7-3-2016
Carnival Sunshine 3-26-2016
Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas 8-1-2015
Caribbean Princess 4-4-2015
Carnival Freedom 7-5-2014
Carnival Freedom 2-22-2014
Carnival Paradise 6-29-13
Carnival Liberty 3-30-2013
Carnival Destiny 7-2011
#15
North Carolina
1,468 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Originally posted by RuthlessBoss
If you don't try Getaway, you'll never know what you are missing But to not want to cruise based on not serving Coke is beyond my comprehension.
No worries, I booked it.
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Norwegian Getaway 7-3-2016
Carnival Sunshine 3-26-2016
Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas 8-1-2015
Caribbean Princess 4-4-2015
Carnival Freedom 7-5-2014
Carnival Freedom 2-22-2014
Carnival Paradise 6-29-13
Carnival Liberty 3-30-2013
Carnival Destiny 7-2011
#16
North Carolina
1,468 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Originally posted by pe4all
I have been on Valor and Dream, and have been on Breakaway- GA's newer sister. Of the 2 Carnival ships, I would go on Dream with a 19 year old - more to do, with the water slides, etc. However, once you throw Getaway into the picture, I would try NCL. Rottweiler Puppy gave a great breakdown of the plusses and minuses. We did the dining plan, and really enjoyed the different restaurants. We also loved Howl at the Moon dueling piano bar, and the food at O'Sheehans was great! The UBP you get is a great deal. We enjoy the differences between CCL and NCL, and have cruises upcoming on both!! You can always bring your Coke on board. I also don't like Pepsi, but wouldn't let that be a factor in my not taking NCL!
I agree that Rottweiler Puppy did a good job! He is part of the reason I decided to book it. It says a lot when even people on the Carnival board are recommending the Getaway over the Carnival cruises. We will just have to bring the Diet Cokes with us, but no big deal now that I realize we can check them in! Thanks for your input!
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Norwegian Getaway 7-3-2016
Carnival Sunshine 3-26-2016
Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas 8-1-2015
Caribbean Princess 4-4-2015
Carnival Freedom 7-5-2014
Carnival Freedom 2-22-2014
Carnival Paradise 6-29-13
Carnival Liberty 3-30-2013
Carnival Destiny 7-2011
#17
North Carolina
1,468 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Originally posted by tiggerman101
I have been on the Valor, Dream class and the Getaway. The Getaway is my favorite ship overall to date and I have been on a few. I had a blast on that cruise. It is a very active ship and there is always something to do. I could go on, but Rottweiler Puppy covered most of it. Try something new. I enjoy NCL quite a bit for the variety they offer.
Nice to hear such a glowing report from someone with such a long cruise history! Thank you! By the way, I noticed you have cruised the Oasis. We will be on her this summer. How does the Getaway compare to that?
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Norwegian Getaway 7-3-2016
Carnival Sunshine 3-26-2016
Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas 8-1-2015
Caribbean Princess 4-4-2015
Carnival Freedom 7-5-2014
Carnival Freedom 2-22-2014
Carnival Paradise 6-29-13
Carnival Liberty 3-30-2013
Carnival Destiny 7-2011
#19
North Carolina
1,468 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Originally posted by laumicmah
I just booked the Valor for Aug 6, 2016 and my DS will be 19.5 when we cruise (and twin DDs will be 17.5). I went with the Aug 6 with GT, SJ, StT and DR stops. 3/4 of them are new places for me and all 4 are new for my DH and kids. We are excited. I wanted a ship with all the 2.0 stuff but prefer the extra stop and we can get to PC pretty easily (we live in MD but also have condo in NC and will drive from there). Also, got a great deal (I think anyway) on the aft extended balcony for me and my girls (the fellas will be in an inside ). I am reluctant to try NCL as I know a few folks who have cruised on them and weren't super pleased with their cruise.
A friend of mine sailed on NCL and said she wouldn't do it again. However, she doesn't like Carnival either, which we do and she's a big Royal Caribbean fan so we figured we would form our own opinion. She felt NCL charged for too much once onboard.
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Norwegian Getaway 7-3-2016
Carnival Sunshine 3-26-2016
Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas 8-1-2015
Caribbean Princess 4-4-2015
Carnival Freedom 7-5-2014
Carnival Freedom 2-22-2014
Carnival Paradise 6-29-13
Carnival Liberty 3-30-2013
Carnival Destiny 7-2011
#20
MD
2,541 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
Originally posted by TJV123
A friend of mine sailed on NCL and said she wouldn't do it again. However, she doesn't like Carnival either, which we do and she's a big Royal Caribbean fan so we figured we would form our own opinion. She felt NCL charged for too much once onboard.
That's what I've heard as well. But I have had a NCL cruise booked before but we had to cancel due to schedule conflicts (so we'll likely try it for ourselves one day).
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Aug 6, 2016 Carnival Magic for cruise #9