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Cruise line CHanges


Warm Breezes
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With all the talks of cutbacks on various threads, I decided to do a thread listing the changes in various cruise lines to prove that the changes not only are on all cruise lines, but the perception of whether that change is good, bad, or indifferent is highly subjective to the cruiser. I have started with the 2 cruise lines I have sailed most in the last 10 years. These are the changes that I have experienced and remember in the last 10 years on NCL and Carnival. I’m sure I have forgotten some and am missing some from before I started cruising so I am asking if you have anything to add to my list and/or have other cruise lines to add your own lists for. I am trying to make the list one of facts and then ask for posters to respond to the list with their own opinions of the changes. I left out things like price/gratuity increases as that will happen on all lines over time. I will start with a follow up post on this thread with my opinions. I am hoping this may give those of us choosing future cruises on different lines a look at what is currently out there and cruisers different opinions of them.

 

Carnival Changes:

1. Elimination of Midnight Buffet.

2. Addition of water parks.

3. Elimination of Topless Deck.

4. Addition of mini-golf.

5. Elimination of tip envelops in exchange for charging S&S card.

6. Addition of included food places: Deli, Mongolian Wok, Rotisserie, Fish & Chips, Blue Iguana, Guy’s Burgers, BBQ.

7. Addition of for fee restaurants: Steakhouse, Italian, Seafood, Asian.

8. Addition of for fee Steak house entrée’s in MDR.

9. Changes to the MDR menu (American Table/Feast/Have you Ever/Port Specials/Elimination of included Specialty Coffees)

10. Elimination of table clothes on casual nights.

11. Addition of for fee room service items.

12. Changes to the included room service menu items.

13. Elimination of rule allowing bottles to be brought on board (except wine).

14. Elimination of Sushi Bar.

15. Addition of Taste Bar.

16. Elimination of Vegas Style Revues.

17. Addition of Playlist Productions.

18. Addition of Hasbro.

19. Addition of Comedy Clubs.

20. Addition of Movies under the Stars.

21. Addition of Serenity Areas.

22. Elimination of Past Guest Party for Golds.

23. Elimination of Free Drinks on first Elegant Night.

24. Creation and Elimination of Farewell Party.

25. Addition of Anytime Dining.

26. Addition of a more relaxed dress code.

27. Addition of a reduced cost internet plan.

28. Elimination of Chocolates on pillow.

29. Addition of giving the option for AM, PM, or Both Services.

30. Addition of refrigerators to rooms.

31. Elimination of mini-bar from said refrigerators.

32. Addition of Seuss at Sea.

33. Addition of Brunch in the MDR.

34. Elimination of Lunch in the MDR with changing menus.

35. Addition of Rope Courses.

36. Addition of more Balcony Rooms.

37. Elimination of Lobster from 5 night or less cruises.

 

Norwegian Changes:

1. Addition of charges for Room Service (except breakfast).

2. Addition of and changes to Promos like Free at Sea.

3. Addition of/Changes to Dining Packages.

4. Addition of Gratuities charged on Dining and Drink Packages.

5. Addition of many for fee Dining Venues.

6. Addition of Howl at the Moon.

7. Addition of Cirque Shows.

8. Addition of Broadway Style Shows.

9. Addition of H20 areas.

38. Elimination of rule allowing bottles and cans to be brought on board (except wine).

10. Addition of Flavored Water on Lido.

11. Elimination of included Lobster in MDR.

12. Addition of Rock Climbing Walls/Rope Courses/Larger Slides.

13. Addition of Waterfronts.

14. Addition of Studio Rooms for solos.

15. Addition of Fees to Margaritaville Food.

16. Addition of Reservations to shows and specialty restaurants.

17. Changes to MDR menus.

18. Addition of a more relaxed dress code.

19. Elimination of Formal Nights.

20. Addition and Elimination of Nickelodean.

21. Addition and Elimination of Cake Boss.

22. Addition and Elimination of Fireworks.

23. Specialty Restaurants going a la carte vs one price.

24. Addition and Elimination of Uptown/Flamingo Grill.

25. Elimination of AARP Discount.

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My Opinions:

Carnival Changes:

1. Elimination of Midnight Buffet. I always slept through these so this has no impact on my cruising enjoyment.

2. Addition of water parks. My family never had any interest in doing these so no impact on my cruising enjoyment.

3. Elimination of Topless Deck. I prefer the Mini-golf that took over these spaces. Positive.

4. Addition of mini-golf. As I said in 3 my family enjoys mini-golfing on cruises. Positive.

5. Elimination of tip envelops in exchange for charging S&S card. I like not having to worry about stuffing or handing out envelops. Positive.

6. Addition of included food places: Deli, Mongolian Wok, Rotisserie, Fish & Chips, Blue Iguana, Guy’s Burgers, and BBQ. Additional choices like these are always a Positive to me.

7. Addition of for fee restaurants: Steakhouse, Italian, Seafood, Asian. Additional choices like these are always a Positive to me.

8. Addition of for fee Steak house entrée’s in MDR. This gives DH the chance to have a Steakhouse steak without having to pay for me to go to the Steakhouse. I do not get my money’s worth as I am not a steak or lobster eater. Positive.

9. Changes to the MDR menu (American Table/Feast/Have you Ever/Port Specials/Elimination of included Specialty Coffees). I like that they change the menus up. I wish they would do it more often. I am also not a coffee drinker. Positive.

10. Elimination of table clothes on casual nights. No impact on my cruising enjoyment.

11. Addition of for fee room service items. We have rarely ordered room service. No impact on my cruising enjoyment.

12. Changes to the included room service menu items. We have rarely ordered room service. No impact on my cruising enjoyment.

13. Elimination of rule allowing bottles to be brought on board (except wine). While we did occasionally bring on some bottled pop because we could, we are happy enough with the tea and lemonade on the lido and so this really has no impact on our cruising enjoyment.

14. Elimination of Sushi Bar. Not a Sushi eater. No impact.

15. Addition of Taste Bar. Enjoy trying the new food here. Positive.

16. Elimination of Vegas Style Revues. I have always found Carnival Entertainment lacking when compared to other cruise lines. I have found the shows on the most recent cruises we have been on to be better than the Vegas Style ones they had when we started cruising. Positive.

17. Addition of Playlist Productions. Can’t give opinion as I haven’t seen one yet.

18. Addition of Hasbro. Can’t give opinion as I haven’t seen one yet.

19. Addition of Comedy Clubs. My family loves this addition. Just wish it was in the main auditorium. Positive.

20. Addition of Movies under the Stars. My family loves this addition but wish they had better tasting popcorn. Positive.

21. Addition of Serenity Areas. We love the serenity areas. Positive.

22. Elimination of Past Guest Party for Golds. While I see this as a negative, I understand the reasoning. The last party we went to was packed. There are just too many Gold folks now.

23. Elimination of Free Drinks on first Elegant Night. This was replaced with discounted drinks. I do see this as a negative but it does not really impact our overall enjoyment of our cruise.

24. Creation and Elimination of Farewell Party. This was replaced with a farewell drink. Again I do see this as a negative but it does not really impact our overall enjoyment of our cruise.

25. Addition of Anytime Dining. Love this. Definitely a positive for us.

26. Addition of a more relaxed dress code. Love this. Definitely a positive for us.

27. Addition of a reduced cost internet plan. Love this. Definitely a positive for us especially when we leave the kids at home and have a cheap way to communicate with them.

28. Elimination of Chocolates on pillow. These ended up in our trash. A definite waste of money. Positive.

29. Addition of giving the option for AM, PM, or Both Services. We like the having the opportunity at the beginning of our cruise to let our Steward know what we want. Just it was available in our online check in like bed formation and dining preference. Positive.

30. Addition of refrigerators to rooms. Love being able to stick some drinks with ice in there for later at night. Positive.

31. Elimination of mini-bar from said refrigerators. Love being able to stick some drinks with ice in there for later at night. Positive.

32. Addition of Seuss at Sea. My kids would have liked this when they were younger but they are too old now. No impact on current cruising…possible positive in future.

33. Addition of Brunch in the MDR. We like this option so we can get breakfast or lunch when we get out and about. Positive.

34. Elimination of Lunch in the MDR with changing menus. We rarely did this when it was just breakfast or lunch so no real impact.

35. Addition of Rope Courses. No interest at all in this. No impact for us.

36. Addition of more Balcony Rooms. Love having more balcony rooms available to choose from. Positive.

37. Elimination of Lobster from 5 night or less cruises. Not a lobster eater. No impact.

 

Norwegian Changes:

1. Addition of charges for Room Service (except breakfast). We have rarely ordered room service. No impact on my cruising enjoyment.

2. Addition of and changes to Promos like Free at Sea. Options are good. I thought this was probably adding to the base cost of my cruise until I did a per day analysis of my next 2 cruises (CCL Sunshine and NCL Escape) and found my base cost to only be $2 per day on NCL. Which can be rationalized with a newer ship and better itinerary. Positive.

3. Addition of/Changes to Dining Packages. Again IMHO options are good. Positive. You need to make sure you know what you are buying though. Positive.

4. Addition of Gratuities charged on Dining and Drink Packages. I would pay these anyway. This allows them to be prepaid and worry free. Positive.

5. Addition of many for fee Dining Venues. Options are good. Positive.

6. Addition of Howl at the Moon/Dueling Pianos/Comedy. Love this. Positive.

7. Addition of Cirque Shows. Tried this on Epic. Not impress with dinner but can choose not to go so no impact on cruising enjoyment.

8. Addition of Broadway Style Shows. We have enjoyed all our shows on NCL. Positive.

9. Addition of H20 areas. We have not had the opportunity yet to use this area but love having the option. Positive.

10. Elimination of rule allowing bottles and cans to be brought on board (except wine). While we did occasionally bring on some bottled pop because we could, we are happy enough with the tea and lemonade on the lido and so this really has no impact on our cruising enjoyment. Plus with the UBP no need to bring soda.

11. Addition of Flavored Water on Lido. Not a flavored water drinker so no impact.

12. Elimination of included Lobster in MDR. Not a lobster eater so no impact.

13. Addition of Rock Climbing Walls/Rope Courses/Larger Slides. Not interested in these things so no impact.

14. Addition of Waterfronts. Looking forward to this on the Escape. Positive.

15. Addition of Studio Rooms for solos. Not a solo cruiser so no impact.

16. Addition of Fees to Margaritaville Food. So many other options no impact. Plus I never sailed without the fees so I’m not missing anything.

17. Addition of Reservations to shows and specialty restaurants. As a planner I find this as a Positive.

18. Changes to MDR menus. I like when they change the menus up. Variety is good IMHO. Positive.

19. Addition of a more relaxed dress code. A big Positive for us.

20. Elimination of Formal Nights. Another big Positive for us.

21. Addition and Elimination of Nickelodean. Kids were too old for it when we sailed a ship with it. No impact.

22. Addition and Elimination of Cake Boss. No interest. No impact.

23. Addition and Elimination of Fireworks. No interest. No impact.

24. Specialty Restaurants going a la carte vs one price. I see this a Positive. I see many meals being cheaper for me.

25. Addition and Elimination of Uptown/Flamingo Grill. Never sailed a ship with it so no impact.

26. Elimination of AARP Discount. Since I just hit 50 and am getting discounts with Carnival Cards this is definitely a negative for me.

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All right, I'll bite. I will only do Carnival:

 

Carnival Changes:

1. Elimination of Midnight Buffet. The Journeys cruise I was on had a midnight buffet. I was curious, so I took a peek. I could not get within 50 feet of it. The lines were huge! I can't imagine it was always this way. I don't normally eat much at midnight, so I'll say I don't miss it.

2. Addition of water parks. I don't do water parks.

3. Elimination of Topless Deck. I don't do nature shows. :)

4. Addition of mini-golf. I don't golf.

5. Elimination of tip envelops in exchange for charging S&S card. I think this is a positive.

6. Addition of included food places: Deli, Mongolian Wok, Rotisserie, Fish & Chips, Blue Iguana, Guy’s Burgers, BBQ. More options are good, especially if they're free.

7. Addition of for fee restaurants: Steakhouse, Italian, Seafood, Asian. See #6 above, though I've only seen the steakhouses.

8. Addition of for fee Steak house entrée’s in MDR. See #6 above.

9. Changes to the MDR menu (American Table/Feast/Have you Ever/Port Specials/Elimination of included Specialty Coffees) Six of one, half a dozen of the other. I thought the old menu was pretty good, but I also think the American Table was good.

10. Elimination of table clothes on casual nights. I have more important things to notice in the dining room than tablecloths, or the lack thereof.

11. Addition of for fee room service items. See #6 above.

12. Changes to the included room service menu items. I remain unimpressed by Carnival's room service items.

13. Elimination of rule allowing bottles to be brought on board (except wine). I've never thought about bringing a bottle on board.

14. Elimination of Sushi Bar. I don't do sushi.

15. Addition of Taste Bar. I haven't tried the Taste Bar yet. Maybe I will someday, maybe I won't. It's nice to know it's there.

16. Elimination of Vegas Style Revues. I'll stick with Las Vegas for my fill of Vegas-style revues.

17. Addition of Playlist Productions. I liked Epic Rock; that's something.

18. Addition of Hasbro. I thought Hasbro was a hoot, but I'm badly outnumbered in this crowd.

19. Addition of Comedy Clubs. Positive, though my tastes in comedy are pretty finicky.

20. Addition of Movies under the Stars. Positive.

21. Addition of Serenity Areas. I can stay at home if I want serenity.

22. Elimination of Past Guest Party for Golds. The one party I tried to attend was mobbed. I'm probably not missing much.

23. Elimination of Free Drinks on first Elegant Night. I'm not a drinker.

24. Creation and Elimination of Farewell Party. Someone will have to tell me what this involved, since this was gone by my first cruise.

25. Addition of Anytime Dining. It's very likely I would not have ever cruised if I did not have the option of Your Time Dining.

26. Addition of a more relaxed dress code. I think this is a positive.

27. Addition of a reduced cost internet plan. The old plan was actually cheaper if you used very few minutes over several days. But overall this is a positive.

28. Elimination of Chocolates on pillow. I liked the chocolates. :(

29. Addition of giving the option for AM, PM, or Both Services. I haven't seen this option yet. I'm looking forward to it.

30. Addition of refrigerators to rooms. I haven't used them.

31. Elimination of mini-bar from said refrigerators. See #30 above.

32. Addition of Seuss at Sea. If the ankle biters are happy, they'll stay out of my way. :)

33. Addition of Brunch in the MDR. I've never done brunch.

34. Elimination of Lunch in the MDR with changing menus. So far lunch has been available sometimes on Carnival's longer cruises. I haven't had it, and I don't often do lunch on cruises anyway.

35. Addition of Rope Courses. I'm a social climber, not a rope climber.

36. Addition of more Balcony Rooms. I don't do balconies.

37. Elimination of Lobster from 5 night or less cruises. I don't eat lobster.

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Noticeable omissions from the NCL list:

1. huge percentage increases in drinks package prices and drinks prices.I never purchased drink packages before and could count on one hand the number of drinks we purchased. Having said that we have the UBP as a promo on our next cruise but there were nothing on the list of drinks that increased beyond the $15 limit that I would drink anyways. So no impact for me.

2. Major reduction in the wines by the glass list.Not a wine drinker so no impact.

 

Thanks for adding. Please share your opinions of the changes. My opinions on the ones you added are above.

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I posted here because I would like to see others add with lists from other cruise lines as well as expanding on my lists. NCL and CCL I know from the past 10 years sailing on them but we would have no problem sailing other lines. I'd kind of like to use this format to see their changes and other cruisers opinions of them.

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