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Norwegian vs RCCL/Carnival

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I am very comfortable with RCCL/Carnival.  Considering Norwegian for a Panama Canal Itenerary I like.  Be wife and I in our late 40's.  Son 21.  We are pretty simple, easy going.  Like to be active on board, trivia, games. Etc.  


Looking for people that have sailed both lines and can compare and contrast the two.  What should be expect versus RCCL/Carnival? TIA

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I've sailed all three. They are all similar. No set dining with NCL. More restaurants for a fee. But other than that, very similar. Every ship is a different experience, even with the same cruise line. There will be trivia, games, parties, karaoke. NCL has more technology. You can book reservations, see activities, and view your cruise balance on the television. They have interactive guides near the elevators. If you like Carnival, you'll like NCL. It's a better cruise experience. 

Edited by Siora7777
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Carnival is my favorite because of the nightlife, the piano bar is great!  RCCL is my next favorite, better than Carnival with the amenities provided in the suites.  With Carnival if you are in a suite, you only get a larger room and priority embarkation.  RCCL and NCL have similar suite amenities.  The food is similar across all three lines, Carnival has great Indian food!  The staff are very friendly and smiling on RCCL and NCL.  I have been on 3 NCL cruises and have found the staff to be unhappy and not smiling.  This reflected in poor service.  The staff would take over the nightclub dance floor and guests were unable to enjoy, both on the Star and the Sun.  I have not been on the larger ships of any of the lines, as we like under 2500 guests.  That being said, my next cruise is on NCL, solely based on itinerary.  I am going in with low expectations, determined to have fun anyway.  Who knows, I may be surprised! 

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I sailed RCI in November, after being exclusively NCL the past several years. They are much more similar than different. There were a few things that NCL does better and things that RCI does better.  However, I could see these things varying cruise to cruise, ship to ship. Overall, the cabins are similar, the food is similar, the amenities are similar, the extras you have to pay for are similar...  It's good to get out of your comfort zone and try something new.

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I've also sailed all three.  By rank, I'd go NCL, RCCL then Carnival.  None are bad...just personal preferences.   I didn't care for the party vibe on Carnival (I'm traveling with my kids).   While NCL and RCCL are close to me, I like the food better on NCL.   You can't go wrong with any though!

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We have sailed Carnival 8 times, RCCL twice, and NCL once, with a second NCL upcoming in May and 9th Carnival in September.

Overall, we have enjoyed RCCL the most--beats Carnival in entertainment and staff is friendly.

Carnival is a close second--entertainment is our major beef.  Lots of karaoke, playlist productions, and some nights with not much to do.  We love the Fantasy class ships, but lack of Dive-in movies and nights without comedy or shows make for some dull evenings.  Crew members are our favorite of the three--only a couple of sour pusses in 8 cruises.  

NCL was fine, but our least favorite.  Entertainment was head and shoulders above Carnival and maybe a tad better than RCCL, but staff were not as friendly.

Food isn't that important to us, so we don't have any gripes.  We can always find something we like to eat somewhere on the ship.  

We will choose our future cruises based on price and itinerary and likely won't sail the smallest ships unless there is a specific reason for us to book them.  

If given a free cruise, I'll sail to Nassau and Freeport on the worst rust bucket at sea and still enjoy myself:classic_tongue:

Edited by keywest1
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I was never bait and switched on Carnival or Royal. I haven’t even set foot on my first NCL cruise and I’ve already been bait and switched with the drink package. So that’s how I feel about NCL right now. 


We picked NCL to try something different, as we really love RCI/RCCL. So far, we’re not happy with the decision. 

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