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Martini Mom

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About Martini Mom

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Orange County, CA
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Carnival
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Caribbean

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  1. I thought it was a well-maintained ship and the smoothest ride we've had for this itin.
  2. Exactly! We all have a list of things that matter to us.The trick is to find the ship that matches the most of those requirements.
  3. We have cruised with Carnival 10 times and decided to give NCL a try. My husband wasn’t happy with the downward trend in Carnival’s food and service over the years. This review is just our nitpicking opinion of how we view the two companies. Take it or leave it. Rooms/Cabins: NCL has much prettier rooms, but Carnival wins on size. We prefer NCL’s color palate, solid shower doors, and sliding balcony doors, but Carnival’s cabin size. We also miss Carnival’s loaner bathrobes. Slight win for NCL in this category. Food: Both companies fall short on vegan food for us, but we expect that, so we aren’t expecting much. NCL has better food as a whole and good vegan options in the buffet (especially daily curry options). They will also provide almond milk upon request. Our ship, the Star, offers 24/7 food from O’Sheehans. The options are definitely more than Carnival’s pizza and salad, but you have to wait to be seated and it’s like a casual dining experience. If you are hungry after drinking at 1 am, you miss grabbing a slice of Carnival’s pizza and heading out to an open deck. No fuss, no muss. It’s more laid back and we missed that. That said, my young adult boys loved getting a late night shepherd’s pie. I’d call the food category a tie. I could go on and on about the food, so if you have questions, just message me. Service: I’d say that NCL provides better service as a whole, but not dramatically. Both lines have international employees that do their very best to provide excellent service. The one are that Carnival definitely wins is on debarkation. They have clear instructions, printed info and plenty of staff guiding your way. I felt as lost as a newbie on NCL. We weren’t sure what to do. The process was SUPER fast, but we felt lost. One or two staff members guiding the way would’ve been perfect. Entertainment: This is a very mixed bag for us. The stage shows on NCL were FAR better than Carnival. The dancers, singers, and acrobats were way above the entertainers that Carnival provides. They were EXCELLENT! BUT…. We missed a few things with NCL and now see why Carnival is called the Fun Ships. We LOOOOVE comedy! NCL had the comedian aboard the whole cruise, but only had him perform the last night of the 7 day cruise. Not only that, but it was a family show only, so he was censored and limited (thus not that funny). Our favorite ship entertainment is the stand up comedy, so this was a HIGE let down. There is no piano bar. There is a very small karaoke bar (the 5o’clock bar) that we kind of turned into a sing-a-long bar out of necessity. My 18 and 21 yr old sons missed the late night Carnival entertainment and so did we. Also… the sail way party was pitiful. Basically non-existent. They really are missing the Fun. Misc: NCL is excellent at tendering! They get you on and off the ship with precision. No joke! Embarkation, debarkation, tendering, they have it down! The fastest we’ve ever seen! Full win for NCL. Also, their Unlimited Beverage Program is awesome! No daily limits, no slips to sign, and offered as a perk when you book. We are sold on that perk! Final: After all is said and done. My husband is 100% ready to go back to Carnival. He’ll still complain to me about things, but not about the things that really matter to us. J
  4. We have cruised with Carnival 10 times and decided to give NCL a try. My husband wasn’t happy with the downward trend in Carnival’s food and service over the years. This review is just our nitpicking opinion of how we view the two companies. Take it or leave it J. Rooms/Cabins: NCL has much prettier rooms, but Carnival wins on size. We prefer NCL’s color palate, solid shower doors, and sliding balcony doors, but Carnival’s cabin size. We also miss Carnival’s loaner bathrobes. Slight win for NCL in this category. Food: Both companies fall short on vegan food for us, but we expect that, so we aren’t expecting much. NCL has better food as a whole and good vegan options in the buffet (especially daily curry options). They will also provide almond milk upon request. Our ship, the Star, offers 24/7 food from O’Sheehans. The options are definitely more than Carnival’s pizza and salad, but you have to wait to be seated and it’s like a casual dining experience. If you are hungry after drinking at 1 am, you miss grabbing a slice of Carnival’s pizza and heading out to an open deck. No fuss, no muss. It’s more laid back and we missed that. That said, my young adult boys loved getting a late night shepherd’s pie. I’d call the food category a tie. I could go on and on about the food, so if you have questions, just message me. Service: I’d say that NCL provides better service as a whole, but not dramatically. Both lines have international employees that do their very best to provide excellent service. The one are that Carnival definitely wins is on debarkation. They have clear instructions, printed info and plenty of staff guiding your way. I felt as lost as a newbie on NCL. We weren’t sure what to do. The process was SUPER fast, but we felt lost. One or two staff members guiding the way would’ve been perfect. Entertainment: This is a very mixed bag for us. The stage shows on NCL were FAR better than Carnival. The dancers, singers, and acrobats were way above the entertainers that Carnival provides. They were EXCELLENT! BUT…. We missed a few things with NCL and now see why Carnival is called the Fun Ships. We LOOOOVE comedy! NCL had the comedian aboard the whole cruise, but only had him perform the last night of the 7 day cruise. Not only that, but it was a family show only, so he was censored and limited (thus not that funny). Our favorite ship entertainment is the stand up comedy, so this was a HIGE let down. There is no piano bar. There is a very small karaoke bar (the 5o’clock bar) that we kind of turned into a sing-a-long bar out of necessity. My 18 and 21 yr old sons missed the late night Carnival entertainment and so did we. Also… the sail way party was pitiful. Basically non-existent. They really are missing the Fun. Misc: NCL is excellent at tendering! They get you on and off the ship with precision. No joke! Embarkation, debarkation, tendering, they have it down! The fastest we’ve ever seen! Full win for NCL. Also, their Unlimited Beverage Program is awesome! No daily limits, no slips to sign, and offered as a perk when you book. We are sold on that perk! Final: After all is said and done. My husband is 100% ready to go back to Carnival. He’ll still complain to me about things, but not about the things that really matter to us. J
  5. New to NCL. You don't sign slips when you get your drinks?
  6. As a vegan cruiser I can say that it's definitely harder, but not impossible.
  7. After reading posts like this, my husband decided to pre-tip (the extra money given in cash) our room steward. Probably one of the most blah weeks of service ever. Of course, maybe that's just how this guy is, with or without the extra tip, but I can tell you something for sure...my husband will no longer give extra tips on hopes of better service. Tips are now given in response to good service.
  8. Our first NCL cruise and we bid for upgrades on 2 rooms. Our adult kids were upgraded from an Inside to an OV for our NYE cruise (we weren't expecting much given the date). The OV is better but the location of the inside was better. We thought they would offer the upgrade and we could have the final yes or no. We didn't read the details I suppose. Luckily we aren't that picky, so the kids will take the window and be happy. 🙂 Bon voyage!
  9. Yes, the have a site, but not sure I can post it. They are a good size company and operate in many ports. We've used them (Johann and Sandra ;)) before and loved it, especially for the price. My husband has MS and can't walk the distances that we take for granted. This tour eliminates that and provides a boat tour, which we love. It has all of the elments we're looking for and for a very reasonable price
  10. My teens have been on cruises where they spent the whole time with us and others where they loved the teen program and we barely saw them. I think it just depends on the ship, the kids cruising at that time, and what the kid feels like doing. We're fine with our kids doing either or.
  11. I always get off the ship, even when it's some less than awesome port we've been to several times. I like to explore, meet new people, eat at local restaurants, etc. I'm always glad I did. 🙂
  12. I never exchange my money. Although, most places want to give you your change back in their currency, so take that into account.
  13. We are sailing on the Star in December and there aren't as many pics and videos post refurb as I'd hoped. Although, from what I have seen, it looks like they did a great job.
  14. I agree. Our Carnival towels were a little pricey, but they've held up really well and make me smile when I use them.
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