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roberooski

Carnival vs Norwegian (with a twist!)

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Hi All!

 

Always glad to have this amazing group to get your varying positions and opinions!!

 

I've been cruising since 1987 starting with the Festivale. Since then, I've been on about 15 cruises including the Glory, the Destiny, the Fascination (each one multiple times), as well as Disney, Royal and Norwegian. DH is now 51 and I am 47.

 

My friends (37-ish) have just started cruising and have been on the Norwegian Dawn 2 years in a row (together we did both). They've asked me questions about how they call compare.

 

I *think* I have good perspectives however:

* I haven't been on a newer ship since the Glory

* I know that since the last time I cruised a Carnival 7-day, it was on the Glory in 2012, and a LOT has changed since then.

* My experiences with things like any time dining are also a little out of date (last time, they had an area set aside in main dining rooms with a few tables set aside for ATD. My mom informed me yesterday that they now have their own dining room for it!).

 

We LOVE the Freestyle-ness of Norwegian and the multiple restaurant choices for dinner. We are all super-chill, enjoy some of the shows, enjoy the casino and don't, GENERALLY, do many of the activities on the ship.

 

I want to make sure that I give my friends the best information about both Carnival and Norwegian (as comparisons) so that they are the most informed they can be as we plan our next cruise, likely in Spring 2020.

 

Thanks in advance!!

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Drink package on Carnival is far more all-inclusive, if that matters to you. Bottled water, coffee drinks, etc.

As you already know, it's less freestyle so just be prepared for that difference when it comes to dinner

Carnival has FAR better free food options for breakfast and lunch.

NCL has better specialty dining

 

I prefer Carnivals product over NCL but I also view them as VERY similar overall and neither is comparable to what I enjoy about Royal (in MY opinion). But Carnival does do things right, I like their pricing and itineraries the best, that's for sure, and we do have a Carnival cruise coming up.

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I find repeatedly that if you compare cruise prices on the two lines it comes down to the UBP and Carnival "Cheers". Generally, Carnival has the lowest base price. If you like cocktails, buying Cheers puts the cost of a Carnival cruise on par or even more (our case) versus selecting the UBP and the service charge. If you don't drink then Carnival is cheaper. For our 15 day Panama Canal Cruise the UBP service charge was $425. Cheers on Carnivals 14 day Panama Canal was $1600!!! Look at that difference. We buy Cheers on Carnival but it's not worth $1200 more and why we went NCL. We think the MDR and Buffet food is far better on NCL but enjoy Guys Burgers and the Blue Iguana choices on Carnival. We enjoy freestyle dining better on NCL. We sail NCL in March 2019 and CCL in August 2019.

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Comparing UBP to Cheers pricing is a silly comparison.

 

Compare the bottom line price to both cruises with all taxes and fees included. Then decide what is important to you. The vast majority of people would save a lot of money buy going Carnival and drinking a la carte. Too many people are so obsessed with "charges" that they don't realize how much they are spending in the end.

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Thanks for the feedback on the UBP vs Cheers. I definitely don't want my question to get sidetracked with a debate about the packages. :-)

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Everyone has such different taste buds! I think that the MDR and buffet on NCL is horrible compared to Carnival!! I consider all the food stations on the Lido to be part of the "buffet" choides. I really don't like making reservations each night at restaurants in order to get decent food!

We don't buy drink pkgs so cannot compare that.

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Have to go with what you like best. I don't do any activities or many production shows either. It is Price, Casino, Comedians, Sports Bar.

Carnival usually wins. My only NCL cruise, the casino table minimums where twice what CCL is. I also prefer Jville, Tampa or Canaveral ports, all about 5-6 hour drive

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I actually like NCL and CCL for different reasons. I do pay more on NCL because when I sail with them I get UBP and SDP that I don't get when we sail on CCL.

 

CCL is my one of my goto lines when I am on a tighter budget and just need a cheap getaway. My favorite cruise on CCL so far has been Dream with Glory/Freedom right behind that. I found that the overall entertainment on CCL has been better on our last few cruises than it was before. I like the MDR for food selection, taste, and anytime dining. I do not like CCL's buffet for both the selection and taste (although the Deli, Pizza, and Italian sections are good). I don't find the steak house on CCL worth the premium price nor the drink package on CCL. I like the Serenity areas on CCL.

 

NCL is becoming one of my goto lines when I have more money in my pocket and want to splurge with a UPB and SDP. I love the angled balconies on the newer ships that can be gotten at regular balcony prices and will be trying out an AFT balcony on our next cruise (splurging for our 30th anniversary). IMHO NCL has always had better entertainment then CCL. I love Howl at the Moon and their production shows. I am not as big of a fan of NCL's MDR but love O'Sheehans, the buffet, Cagneys, and Modernos for both their taste and selection. I also love the freestyle concept with the casual dress code every day. I also like that I can get Cruise Next Certificates on NCL that I can no longer get on CCL (although I get great Casino rates on CCL).

 

I hope this helps. Like I said I like both and have a future cruise booked on NCL Getaway in October and CCL Magic in May. I am definitely not brand loyal.

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We too enjoy going on both Carnival and NCL. We have always encountered very nice employees on every ship we have ever been on. I prefer NCL’s buffet a bit more, but have never lost any weight on a Carnival cruise! I love Carnival’s Steakhouse and have never had anything there that I didn’t enjoy. Cagney’s Steakhouse on NCL was disappointing to us. We dearly missed the Punchliners comedy shows from Carnival on our last NCL cruise. We have taken 2 Carnival cruises and 1 NCL cruise to Alaska. The naturalist on the NCL cruise was amazing and the best we ever heard! We like the size and layout of Carnival’s rooms better but found shows and amenities on board pretty comparable for us. The NCL cabins have always had tons of very hot water in the showers. On Carnival we have had problems with not enough hot water at times. Lastly, my favorite drink on Carnival is the Miami Vice. I ordered one on NCL, and it was “Yucky disgusting!” as my granddaughter likes to say.

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Everyone has such different taste buds! I think that the MDR and buffet on NCL is horrible compared to Carnival!! I consider all the food stations on the Lido to be part of the "buffet" choides. I really don't like making reservations each night at restaurants in order to get decent food!

We don't buy drink pkgs so cannot compare that.

 

THIS!

 

We did not care for the food on NCL in the main dining room or the buffet either! And I also do not like making reservations and paying extra for the specialty dining but its the only good food there IMO. That being said I am still booked on NCL in October. LOL

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Everyone has such different taste buds! I think that the MDR and buffet on NCL is horrible compared to Carnival!! I consider all the food stations on the Lido to be part of the "buffet" choides. I really don't like making reservations each night at restaurants in order to get decent food!

We don't buy drink pkgs so cannot compare that.

 

 

 

I’ve sailed NCL twice and never needed to make reservations. We loved Freestyle Cruising! We are excited, though, to try all the new food options on Carnival plus experience FTTF, as we haven’t sailed with them since 2007. We have 2 Upcoming Carnival cruises booked.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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HI all!

 

 

I mostly cruise NCL as it is best for solo cruisers with the studio cabins on their newer ships. I like the food better on NCL & the shows too eg Million Dollar Quartet, Priscilla Queen of the Desert. I mostly eat in the MDR on any ship if offered, as I want to be served, lol.

 

 

That being said I love Carnival with its free food options like Cucina at lunch, Guy's Burgers. Cruising solo I also like assigned seating so at least you have somebody familiar to talk to at dinner. I also love the fun atmosphere on Carnival, all the trivia, & the comedy. There are a lot of different cabin choices too & some good itineraries. Paying double the price isn't always right!;)

 

 

 

Being platinum on NCL & only gold on CCL I tend to favour NCL for the perks.

Currently have 2 NCL & 1 CCL booked.

 

 

~ Jo ~ :)

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Everyone has such different taste buds! I think that the MDR and buffet on NCL is horrible compared to Carnival!! I consider all the food stations on the Lido to be part of the "buffet" choides. I really don't like making reservations each night at restaurants in order to get decent food!

We don't buy drink pkgs so cannot compare that.

 

THIS!

 

We did not care for the food on NCL in the main dining room or the buffet either! And I also do not like making reservations and paying extra for the specialty dining but its the only good food there IMO. That being said I am still booked on NCL in October. LOL

 

 

Agree with you both about the food, it was mediocre at best and the service was terrible. Not of fan of NCL's customer service either.

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I have sailed both lines quite a bit, to the point that I am Platinum on both. These are what I consider the high points and low points on each line.

 

Carnival

Larger staterooms

Better food in the MDR and they have improved the ATD concept

Better options for lunch (Guys, Blue Iguana, Deli, Pizza, Cucina, and buffet)

FREE room service except between 10 PM and 6 AM

Bottled water only $4.50 for a 12-pak

Cheers pkg is much more inclusive than UBP (you can only get 15 alcoholic drinks per day, but as many non-alcoholic as you like)

Serenity area (adults only)

Some of the best comedy shows but they get crowded quickly and require you to line up about 30 min. in advance

 

Carnival - low points

Entertainment, production shows

Lack of specialty dining choices (if that's important to you)

 

NCL - high points

Dining room service on embarkation day

Sit down dining service offered 24 hours a day (O'Sheehans)

Entertainment, production shows

Multiple options for dinner venues (either casual or more dressy)

 

NCL - low points

UBP is very restricted on selection

Bottled water (not included in UBP) is CRAZY expensive

Buffet and dining room food is only so-so

Room service charge all the time (except for a limited continental breakfast for 4 hours a day)

Not a fan of Second City Comedy (improv), but others might enjoy it

 

If you are a person who likes to consume alcohol, I would recommend finding a ship/sail date on each line that you would like to do then price out Carnival adding in the Cheers pkg and price out NCL adding in the required gratuities for the UBP and see which comes out less expensive for comparable cabins.

 

If drinking is not your thing, than you will need to compare Carnival's rate against NCL's Sail Away rate to get a proper price comparison.

 

They REALLY are more alike than different and I obviously don't have a problem sailing on either one :) For me it boils down to convenience of port and price. Right now I have 3 Carnival, 1 Celebrity and 1 NCL cruise booked over the next year, so you can see I really do sail them all .

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If drinking is not your thing, than you will need to compare Carnival's rate against NCL's Sail Away rate to get a proper price comparison.

 

Sail-Away on NCL is a guarantee cabin, so it's still a poor comparison if you, like most cruisers, want to select a cabin.

 

But yes, Sail Away is going to be closer than the regular fare, which is almost certainly much higher than Carnival (not counting Cheers).

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Drink package on Carnival is far more all-inclusive, if that matters to you. Bottled water, coffee drinks, etc.

As you already know, it's less freestyle so just be prepared for that difference when it comes to dinner

Carnival has FAR better free food options for breakfast and lunch.

NCL has better specialty dining

 

I prefer Carnivals product over NCL but I also view them as VERY similar overall and neither is comparable to what I enjoy about Royal (in MY opinion). But Carnival does do things right, I like their pricing and itineraries the best, that's for sure, and we do have a Carnival cruise coming up.

 

AWESOME! Thank you!

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I actually like NCL and CCL for different reasons. I do pay more on NCL because when I sail with them I get UBP and SDP that I don't get when we sail on CCL.

 

CCL is my one of my goto lines when I am on a tighter budget and just need a cheap getaway. My favorite cruise on CCL so far has been Dream with Glory/Freedom right behind that. I found that the overall entertainment on CCL has been better on our last few cruises than it was before. I like the MDR for food selection, taste, and anytime dining. I do not like CCL's buffet for both the selection and taste (although the Deli, Pizza, and Italian sections are good). I don't find the steak house on CCL worth the premium price nor the drink package on CCL. I like the Serenity areas on CCL.

 

NCL is becoming one of my goto lines when I have more money in my pocket and want to splurge with a UPB and SDP. I love the angled balconies on the newer ships that can be gotten at regular balcony prices and will be trying out an AFT balcony on our next cruise (splurging for our 30th anniversary). IMHO NCL has always had better entertainment then CCL. I love Howl at the Moon and their production shows. I am not as big of a fan of NCL's MDR but love O'Sheehans, the buffet, Cagneys, and Modernos for both their taste and selection. I also love the freestyle concept with the casual dress code every day. I also like that I can get Cruise Next Certificates on NCL that I can no longer get on CCL (although I get great Casino rates on CCL).

 

I hope this helps. Like I said I like both and have a future cruise booked on NCL Getaway in October and CCL Magic in May. I am definitely not brand loyal.

 

This is great!! Thank you!

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We too enjoy going on both Carnival and NCL. We have always encountered very nice employees on every ship we have ever been on. I prefer NCL’s buffet a bit more, but have never lost any weight on a Carnival cruise! I love Carnival’s Steakhouse and have never had anything there that I didn’t enjoy. Cagney’s Steakhouse on NCL was disappointing to us. We dearly missed the Punchliners comedy shows from Carnival on our last NCL cruise. We have taken 2 Carnival cruises and 1 NCL cruise to Alaska. The naturalist on the NCL cruise was amazing and the best we ever heard! We like the size and layout of Carnival’s rooms better but found shows and amenities on board pretty comparable for us. The NCL cabins have always had tons of very hot water in the showers. On Carnival we have had problems with not enough hot water at times. Lastly, my favorite drink on Carnival is the Miami Vice. I ordered one on NCL, and it was “Yucky disgusting!” as my granddaughter likes to say.

 

Your granddaughter sounds adorable!! Thanks for your feedback! :)

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HI all!

 

 

I mostly cruise NCL as it is best for solo cruisers with the studio cabins on their newer ships. I like the food better on NCL & the shows too eg Million Dollar Quartet, Priscilla Queen of the Desert. I mostly eat in the MDR on any ship if offered, as I want to be served, lol.

 

 

That being said I love Carnival with its free food options like Cucina at lunch, Guy's Burgers. Cruising solo I also like assigned seating so at least you have somebody familiar to talk to at dinner. I also love the fun atmosphere on Carnival, all the trivia, & the comedy. There are a lot of different cabin choices too & some good itineraries. Paying double the price isn't always right!;)

 

 

 

Being platinum on NCL & only gold on CCL I tend to favour NCL for the perks.

Currently have 2 NCL & 1 CCL booked.

 

 

~ Jo ~ :)

 

Great feedback! Thanks!! :)

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I have sailed both lines quite a bit, to the point that I am Platinum on both. These are what I consider the high points and low points on each line.

 

Carnival

Larger staterooms

Better food in the MDR and they have improved the ATD concept

Better options for lunch (Guys, Blue Iguana, Deli, Pizza, Cucina, and buffet)

FREE room service except between 10 PM and 6 AM

Bottled water only $4.50 for a 12-pak

Cheers pkg is much more inclusive than UBP (you can only get 15 alcoholic drinks per day, but as many non-alcoholic as you like)

Serenity area (adults only)

Some of the best comedy shows but they get crowded quickly and require you to line up about 30 min. in advance

 

Carnival - low points

Entertainment, production shows

Lack of specialty dining choices (if that's important to you)

 

NCL - high points

Dining room service on embarkation day

Sit down dining service offered 24 hours a day (O'Sheehans)

Entertainment, production shows

Multiple options for dinner venues (either casual or more dressy)

 

NCL - low points

UBP is very restricted on selection

Bottled water (not included in UBP) is CRAZY expensive

Buffet and dining room food is only so-so

Room service charge all the time (except for a limited continental breakfast for 4 hours a day)

Not a fan of Second City Comedy (improv), but others might enjoy it

 

If you are a person who likes to consume alcohol, I would recommend finding a ship/sail date on each line that you would like to do then price out Carnival adding in the Cheers pkg and price out NCL adding in the required gratuities for the UBP and see which comes out less expensive for comparable cabins.

 

If drinking is not your thing, than you will need to compare Carnival's rate against NCL's Sail Away rate to get a proper price comparison.

 

They REALLY are more alike than different and I obviously don't have a problem sailing on either one :) For me it boils down to convenience of port and price. Right now I have 3 Carnival, 1 Celebrity and 1 NCL cruise booked over the next year, so you can see I really do sail them all .

 

This is PERFECT! I love how you formatted your input - it's super helpful! Thank you!

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Carnival = Coke products plus you can bring on a limited amount (12?) of soda in cans

NCL = Pepsi products and you cannot bring your own soda,

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