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chenj78

Carnival vs NCL and RCI

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Hi all,

 

Considering a Carnival cruise after cruising mostly with RCI and a couple times with NCL over the years.  We have been very happy with both RCI and NCL.  Can anyone provide any feedback as to how Carnival compares to them as far as condition of ship, overall cleanliness, overall service, food quality, kids activities, onboard prices, onboard activities, etc.?  My initial research seems to point in the direction of them being comparable, but I am interested in hearing from those who are more familiar with Carnival.

 

Thanks in advance!

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1 hour ago, chenj78 said:

Hi all,

 

Considering a Carnival cruise after cruising mostly with RCI and a couple times with NCL over the years.  We have been very happy with both RCI and NCL.  Can anyone provide any feedback as to how Carnival compares to them as far as condition of ship, overall cleanliness, overall service, food quality, kids activities, onboard prices, onboard activities, etc.?  My initial research seems to point in the direction of them being comparable, but I am interested in hearing from those who are more familiar with Carnival.

 

Thanks in advance!

I am very familiar with Carnival. Actually this is my first cruise with Norwegian. So what are your questions, I’ve sailed on the Imagination, the Conquest, the Victory and the Celebration. I am also familiar with the Vista. What is your ship?

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The only NCL cruise I've done recently is the Escape.  I'll be doing the Getaway next week.   I've done several of the Liberty class Carnival ship cuises, the last one out of Puerto Rico.  // I think Carnival keeps their ships in good condition and clean for sure with regular dry docks, etc.   I think the main dining room food is superior to the main dining room food on NCL.  Also service was faster and I preferred a standard time for dining and getting to know wait staff.  Also, standard balcony size is better than NCL and rooms are a little larger.  If I cruise NCL because of the small balconies, we usually pay more to get a large one.  Drink service by the pool, etc. is better on Carnival as servers are expected to make certain quotas (but if your aren't ordering don't push drinks or bother you.  If you are drinking they will make sure to pop by in case you want another). Didn't see that on NCL as there aren't all those people with the freebie unlimited beverage package.  I only have one recent NCL experience and our room steward was OK, but I found all my Carnival room stewards better and more friendly..

 

The Liberty class ship décor is a gaudier than NCL, but you can see that in pictures.  I like NCL better in this category, but I wasn't bothered by this on the Carnival ships.  In their newest ships they have moved away from that, but I haven't sailed on those.  I thought activities were similar.  NCL has a ropes course if you care about that and on the Carnival ships we were on, there wasn't one.  The comedians on Carnival are excellent.  The main shows as skippable.  I think main show entertainment is much better on NCL  On NCL the main shows are worth it to see them if you like that kind of thing.  I don't have any experience with kids clubs.

 

My brother and parent have done RCI and Carnival (parents NCL too),.  All in all they would say that cruises are more similar than different.  Both on the newer bigger ships give a thumbs up to RCI for the best ship design in not having much congestion, but that has not kept them on RCI big ships exclusively vs. doing cruises on other lines too.  My parents really like MSC for the classical music that is their taste (makes it their favorite line).  My brother doesn't care for MSC, but would not hesitate to sail on RCI or Carnival in a heart beat.    Out of San Juan where my brother did an older RCI ship and a Liberty class Carnival, he liked the Carnival one better. My parents will be joining us on the Getaway next week and my brother and his girlfriend will be joining us too (will be his first time on NCL).

Edited by kathy884

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There are plenty of line comparison threads on the site here. IWe have sailed Carnival a few times and have two more booked at the moment. We've sailed the NCL Escape and we sail the new Bliss in March and Encore in 2021. We've sailed Royal a couple times as well. We prefer newer ships and enjoyed the Vista itself as a ship very much with our young daughters. Carnival is fun and some of the better pricing can be found there. With that being said, we'd only sail Carnival's newer ships like the Vista, Horizon, Magic, Dream, and soon Panorama. The food options on the newer carnival ships are good however we felt the food quality and selection on the Vista in both the buffet and MDR was poor up to fair. It really left a bad impression last time. Also, since Carnival is the go to line for first time cruisers and the least expensive  it attracts a less than desirable crowd for our liking. Our last experience on the Vista had a lot of loud mouths on it. A guy was passed out against the side of the hot  tub. While watching  Dive in Movies on deck a woman near me slugged her boyfriend in the face so hard his glasses flew 30 feet across the deck. Our young daughters saw all the above. Will it deter me from Carnival? Not totally but we haven't seen antics like this on Royal , NCL,  or any of the other lines we have sailed. Your experience may vary .......

Edited by tallnthensome

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I've never sailed Carnival but my daughter just did a New Years Eve cruise with them, she said NEVER again. Her cabin wasn't tidied on a daily basis, said the ship was dirty, long wait to get a drink etc etc first time ever she asked for her prepaid gratuities back.

Called it the ghetto line of cruise lines, but there are people who love Carnival.

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More alike than different.  RCL ships are more directed at being ships.  Carnival had best main dinning room staff and I thought pretty good food.  NCL, the people, the staff (all inclusive)...  Just great.  I prefer NCL.  NCL spa package,  where its at.

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This is my 2 cents!

 

NCL - better in price IF you want the drink package and specialty dining

NCL - better in that it is free style dining.  My husband only had to wear long pants one night in the Ocean Blue

NCL - on the AWAY class ships, the Waterfront was so awesome!  Loved it, nothing like that on Carnival ships.

NCL - entertainment in the main theater was very good.

NCL - drink package was unlimited (down side they don't include bottled water)

NCL - O'Sheehan's, an Irish Pub that is open 24/7 with food available all hours (not just pizza like Carnival).  And good food like wings, nachos, burgers, Reuben, fish & chips, Shepard pie etc.

NCL - We love the Hibachi restaurant, although I think Carnival is adding them to the newer ships

NCL - Really liked that you didn't have to sign a receipt for each drink you got, they just swiped your card

 

 

Carnival - main dining room food was better

Carnival - deserts were much, much better

Carnival - comedy shows were much superior than NCL

Carnival - balconies were larger

Carnival - drink package included spiked milk shakes, bottled water, Gatorade, specialty coffee etc.

Carnival - inside cabins are much larger than NCL

Carnival - Love, love the Havana Cabana cabins on the Vista and Horizon (never tried Haven on NCL but Haven is much more expensive

 

 

 

 

 

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The Carnival Vista and Horizon have areas that are like the Waterfront on NCL.

They also have IMAX theater that yes is extra pay but very nice.

But I also liked on Vista the middle level at the pool with lots of covered seats.  The 3rd level is sun deck.  Also on this ship many many folks do sit and watch movies under the stars.  More so that other ships.  And at lunch time, do go to the back of the buffet on sea days to get the 4-5 layer fancy cakes.  wow,  And they have very good deli area too.

 

NCL has great studio rooms on all their newer ships and keeps price down for us solo's

NCL Escape had a better Thermal Spa than the Bliss as it was in the front of the ship.

 

RCI has the wonderful Oasis class and Quantum class ships that have great flow and many options.

 

so in conclusion, all three cruise lines are good.  So narrow down by itinerary and try the Vista class on Carnival with the skyride.  

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On 1/15/2019 at 11:24 AM, kmcdonald said:

Carnival - deserts were much, much better

 

Which deserts did you visit on your Carnival cruise?  Why were they better than any other deserts?

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4 hours ago, Oceansaway17 said:

The Carnival Vista and Horizon have areas that are like the Waterfront on NCL.

They also have IMAX theater that yes is extra pay but very nice.

But I also liked on Vista the middle level at the pool with lots of covered seats.  The 3rd level is sun deck.  Also on this ship many many folks do sit and watch movies under the stars.  More so that other ships.  And at lunch time, do go to the back of the buffet on sea days to get the 4-5 layer fancy cakes.  wow,  And they have very good deli area too.

 

NCL has great studio rooms on all their newer ships and keeps price down for us solo's

NCL Escape had a better Thermal Spa than the Bliss as it was in the front of the ship.

 

RCI has the wonderful Oasis class and Quantum class ships that have great flow and many options.

 

so in conclusion, all three cruise lines are good.  So narrow down by itinerary and try the Vista class on Carnival with the skyride.  

Agree with all you have said, I found the Carnival Horizon theater to be the worst for acoustics and obstructed view seats.  The entertainment on Horizon was the worst, people singing to prerecorded music.  I prefer live bands as opposed to glorified karaoke.  Horizon did have excellent burgers and Mexican food for lunch, better than any dinner.

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