Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
WeatherFx

Royalist Defects

Recommended Posts

After 32 cruises on RCL we will be taking our first NCL cruise. We have been on every class of RCL, so ship size/age is not much of a factor. Due to all the changes Royal continues to make, they have watered down the incentives to remain loyal. Now for some NCL newbie questions.

 

We are booking the Gem for 12N out of NY which seems similar in size to Vision/Radiance Class. Are they a good comparison? How is the night life, as my wife likes to dance 70's --> current? What would you recommend for peaceful sitting areas for reading or watching the sea?  Any must trys for this ship, dining or activities? Is Hilton Garden Inn still the recommend hotel with park and shuttle, as we live in NJ?

 

Thanks.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't compare to RCL, however i would highly recommend buying the Spa pass, it is quiet, no children allowed so makes it great for reading and just relaxing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, WeatherFx said:

After 32 cruises on RCL we will be taking our first NCL cruise. We have been on every class of RCL, so ship size/age is not much of a factor. Due to all the changes Royal continues to make, they have watered down the incentives to remain loyal. Now for some NCL newbie questions.

 

We are booking the Gem for 12N out of NY which seems similar in size to Vision/Radiance Class. Are they a good comparison? How is the night life, as my wife likes to dance 70's --> current?

I can't comment specifically on that ship, but I have found NCL's nightlife on the ships I have been on to be excellent. When they are on a 7-day schedule, they usually have a disco party, 80s party, latin night and techno night, based on day-of-week. Some ships now have a country western night too. If you want to follow the "party track", pay attention to the announcements from the cruise director and read the freestyle dailies carefully - they will tell you exactly what the theme is that night and where/when the party begins.

 

If it is anything like the bigger NCL ships, it will probably be 10-12 AM or so on the top deck with a continuing party after that, inside.

 

There is also a "dress up or not" night on most NCL ships, on the first night, where you can choose to dress up for dinner and the night.

 

I haven't been on any other lines, but I hear a lot of people complaining about NCL "watering down" value too, so hopefully its still an improvement over what you're seeing from Royal. I personally don't have any complaints in that regard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Love the GEM.  Haven't been on any of the RCCL ships you mentioned, but the GEM isn't overwhelming and easy to get around on.  I second the idea of getting a SPA Pass.  NCL has some of the best spas at sea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, graphicguy said:

Love the GEM.  Haven't been on any of the RCCL ships you mentioned, but the GEM isn't overwhelming and easy to get around on.  I second the idea of getting a SPA Pass.  NCL has some of the best spas at sea.

love the Gem too. My first two cruises were on that ship and they were memorable, at the time it was doing Transatlantics and was definitely a lot of fun.

Edited by spanishguy1970

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were on the Gem last fall and will be on it again this fall (different itineraries).  Can't compare it to RCI because my first Royal cruise isn't for two weeks.

 

Gem: quiet sitting area: the spinnaker is a upper deck indoor lounge with great seating and floor to ceiling windows on three sides.   Sometimes it is wonderfully quiet, sometimes, they play bingo or teach line dancing.  The Gem also has a nice library, bigger than the library on the Dawn class ships.  The library does stay nice and quiet.

 

The Gem has 4 free sit-down table-service restaurants you can eat at for dinner, you do not need reservations.   On boarding day, the main dining room is open for a quiet relaxed lunch.  You can also get a great breakfast there on sea days.   There is a 24 hour pub style restaurant with a limited menu that is also great for breakfast (especially when you sleep in).   Since it is 24 hours, it is also good for lunch, pre-dinner, or late night munchies.

 

Our cruise on the Gem was a Canadian cruise, and the night life scene was different (slower) than the scene on our Caribbean cruises.  Since some of those have been on smaller boats, it could be as much the itinerary as the ship.  I'll know for sure when we do the Caribbean on the Gem this fall.

 

We got to know our bartenders (and they knew us) and a few waiters (mostly at the pub), but you don't get to know your evening wait staff like you do on some traditional lines I have sailed on.  Maybe if I ate at the same time in the same dining room each night I would, but because I eat at different places each night, I never even remember my waiters name (sorry).

 

The Gem buffet was nicely decorated and laid out (compared to some other NCL buffets) but I am just not a buffet person, so I can't tell you too much about that.

 

The Gem is nicely (re)decorated, easy to get around and has great common spaces.  It has a great outdoor dining area out the back that we didn't use (due to Canadian weather) that I am looking forward to using on our more southern itinerary.  While I am not a big buffet person, I love me some chocolate croissants, hocky puck hashbrowns and mimosas in the sun for a "only on a cruise" breakfast.

 

I do think it is a little ironic, I follow the NCL board pretty closely, and lots of people post that NCL has made one change to many and they are defecting for another line.   Ironic to hear the same thing in reverse.   

 

Hope you enjoy your cruise!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We like the Great Outdoors on the Jewel class ships (like the Gem).  This is an open air area  Aft and is an outdoor extension to the buffet.  Great for warm weather cruises🌞

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, WeatherFx said:

After 32 cruises on RCL we will be taking our first NCL cruise. We have been on every class of RCL, so ship size/age is not much of a factor. Due to all the changes Royal continues to make, they have watered down the incentives to remain loyal.

 

 

You're jumping out of the frying pan and right into the fire. Enjoy NCL!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, DaCruiseBug said:

 

You're jumping out of the frying pan and right into the fire. Enjoy NCL!

 

Honestly it seems like almost everyone has the same complaints about their preferred cruise line going downhill. I frequent the NCL and X boards, and occasionally the RCL boards, and I see similar sentiments about cutbacks here and there and how much better everything used to be 5/10/15 years ago. Carnival seems to be trending upward maybe? I don’t read the boards but I hear good things about the Guy Fierri burgers and bbq, as well as the pizza. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, DaCruiseBug said:

 

You're jumping out of the frying pan and right into the fire. Enjoy NCL!

Good point!

While we love cruising on Gem class ships, our favorite ships are the newer ones like Escape, Getaway and Bliss.  Even more night life and some new specialty dining options.  Also love the Broadway type plays like Million Dollar Quartet (Getaway) and Jersey Boys (Bliss.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Jewel Class ships on NCL ( Jewel, Gem, Pearl and Jade) look to be very close to the Vision/Radiance class on RCCL. I think what may be different, never having cruised RCCL, is the ability to dine when you want, where you want and with whom you want.  The major thing I find is the wonderful rapport you build with the crew and officers. 

 

OP, I hope you really enjoy your cruise on NCL and if you go with an open mind I'm pretty sure you have a great time. 

Enjoy your cruise,

Cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, CozGurl said:

What may I ask has changed on Royal that has pushed you over the edge?

We are Diamond Plus in their loyalty tier system. Over the last couple of years, they cut down the benefits of booking on board, obc and reduced deposits. They are now catering to the Suite people. D+ used to have reserved seating for shows, priority tendering, access to Concierge Lounge - now being converted to Suite Lounge, D+ excluded. The lounges that they are converting are locations that we always enjoyed because of the view. They just came out with the "Key" program which can be purchased and you get the benefits that they are taking away from D+.

 

We understand that it is a business and they can change the rules anytime they want. That is okay with us. We still even have some great perks, at least for now. Royal is still a good choice for cruising and we will cruise with them again. We're not anti-Royal, we're just now "broadening our horizon" and considering other lines due to the diminishing perks that kept us loyal to Royal.

Edited by WeatherFx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, All-ready2cruise said:

OP, I hope you really enjoy your cruise on NCL and if you go with an open mind I'm pretty sure you have a great time. 

Enjoy your cruise,

Cheers

I am sure we will enjoy our cruise. There is no such thing as a bad cruise as long as you are not in a life boat or the sea. One of my most memorable cruises was in Hermine in Sept. 2016.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, WeatherFx said:

I am sure we will enjoy our cruise. There is no such thing as a bad cruise as long as you are not in a life boat or the sea. One of my most memorable cruises was in Hermine in Sept. 2016.

You will.....without a doubt.  You may even love the freedom of Freestyle (which is a great way to cruise).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, marktwothousand said:

 

 

I haven't been on any other lines

 

This is fascinating and it seems to apply to 90% of the posters here. Why would you never try another cruise line? Do you stay in one Hotel, Holiday Inn for example, and then decide “this place is so great I don’t need to ever go anywhere else!” Or fly only one airline?

 

Bizarre. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We sailed on our first 11 day cruise in February, and it seemed to us that the crowd was a bit older on the longer sailings and a bit less night life than on the 7 day cruises.

Enjoy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We defected from RCL too. We are diamond, went on 10 cruises with them. Food got so bad in MDR my husband was eating sliders every night as an entrée. We also were tired of dressing up twice a week to have dinner with people we didn't enjoy. I could never get the drinks I wanted as a Diamond member. 

 

Have been on 15 NCL cruises and LOVE them. VERY casual, which we love, We are on vacation and don't want to dress up. We also love the freestyle dining. Any time any where. Not forced to sit with others. We are now Platinum on NCL, We get 2 vouchers for free specialty dining dinners. 2  Free bags of  laundry, plus other perks. We like to gamble on ships and get free cruises now. Just pay port fees and taxes. Never got anything like it on RCL. 

 

Haven't been on Gem or RCL Radiance in quite  few years. I personally liked NCL Gem better. Last time we had gone on Radiance, it really needed refurbishing. 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, WeatherFx said:

We are Diamond Plus in their loyalty tier system. Over the last couple of years, they cut down the benefits of booking on board, obc and reduced deposits. They are now catering to the Suite people. D+ used to have reserved seating for shows, priority tendering, access to Concierge Lounge - now being converted to Suite Lounge, D+ excluded. The lounges that they are converting are locations that we always enjoyed because of the view. They just came out with the "Key" program which can be purchased and you get the benefits that they are taking away from D+.

 

We understand that it is a business and they can change the rules anytime they want. That is okay with us. We still even have some great perks, at least for now. Royal is still a good choice for cruising and we will cruise with them again. We're not anti-Royal, we're just now "broadening our horizon" and considering other lines due to the diminishing perks that kept us loyal to Royal.

I understand your point. And I also notice the "take backs" you referred to.  We are also D+ on Royal. But we are also P+ on NCL. We have been cruising both lines plus Celebrity, Princess, HAL, MSC and Carnival. I do not have a favorite. I enjoy them all, but i love NCL's big ships, service on Celebrity, HAL and NCL, don't know what specifically I like about Carnival, but I like it. And I still have cruises booked and will book Royal. I mean, I would grumble but I would not leave because of cut backs....that's how much I love cruising!

The Gem, I would compare with Freedom class.

Like others posted, do get a Spa Pass...NCL has far better spas than Royal.
NCL are better problem solvers and situation handlers.

Like the shows better.

 

Good luck and happy cruising!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, CruisingNole said:

 

This is fascinating and it seems to apply to 90% of the posters here. Why would you never try another cruise line? Do you stay in one Hotel, Holiday Inn for example, and then decide “this place is so great I don’t need to ever go anywhere else!” Or fly only one airline?

B/C NCL is good at handling travel for singles. They have the solo cabins and meetups. Other lines do have some kinds of social programs for lone travellers, but I have talked to other people travelling on their own, and they say, none of them even come close to how NCL does it.

 

Also, I hear that many other lines have scheduled dining times and assigned seating. I can't imagine being married to a particular dinner schedule, and just showing up at a table of people I don't know alone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, marktwothousand said:

B/C NCL is good at handling travel for singles. They have the solo cabins and meetups. Other lines do have some kinds of social programs for lone travellers, but I have talked to other people travelling on their own, and they say, none of them even come close to how NCL does it.

 

Also, I hear that many other lines have scheduled dining times and assigned seating. I can't imagine being married to a particular dinner schedule, and just showing up at a table of people I don't know alone.

Kind of hit the nail on the head with regards to NCL.  They handle solos much better than other lines (have done 2x solo on RCCL and 1x solo on CCL, too).

 

Once you experience the freedom of dining when you want, where you want, how you want, it’s tough to go back to getting dressed up and dining at the same time every day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, graphicguy said:

Kind of hit the nail on the head with regards to NCL.  They handle solos much better than other lines (have done 2x solo on RCCL and 1x solo on CCL, too).

 

Once you experience the freedom of dining when you want, where you want, how you want, it’s tough to go back to getting dressed up and dining at the same time every day.

I guess I will find out...My NCL cruise was with someone, knowing my next would be a solo cruise. I paid a lot of attention to how they "dealt with" the solos. I did Carnival solo and chose fixed dining. I like to dress for dinner (even when it's not formal/elegant night). I enjoyed it very much. I am outgoing and can make friends/conversation easily. I could have also chosen a table alone or gone somewhere else if I wanted to be alone. Carnival did a great job with singles events (even age group specific). I have RCCL, Princess and Celebrity all planned as a solo. I don't plan to ever limit myself by brand. Itinerary, prices and sail dates are my top priorities.

Edited by JennyB1977

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, JennyB1977 said:

I guess I will find out...My NCL cruise was with someone, knowing my next would be a solo cruise. I paid a lot of attention to how they "dealt with" the solos. I did Carnival solo and chose fixed dining. I like to dress for dinner (even when it's not formal/elegant night). I enjoyed it very much. I am outgoing and can make friends/conversation easily. I could have also chosen a table alone or gone somewhere else if I wanted to be alone. Carnival did a great job with singles events (even age group specific). I have RCCL, Princess and Celebrity all planned as a solo. I don't plan to ever limit myself by brand. Itinerary, prices and sail dates are my top priorities.

Nothing wrong with any of that.  If you like the set dining times, getting dressed up, etc you can have fun on any cruise line.  I’ve always felt, a cruise is as good (or bad) as you make it, like any vacation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Arzeena said:

I understand your point. And I also notice the "take backs" you referred to.  We are also D+ on Royal. But we are also P+ on NCL. We have been cruising both lines plus Celebrity, Princess, HAL, MSC and Carnival. I do not have a favorite. I enjoy them all, but i love NCL's big ships, service on Celebrity, HAL and NCL, don't know what specifically I like about Carnival, but I like it. And I still have cruises booked and will book Royal. I mean, I would grumble but I would not leave because of cut backs....that's how much I love cruising!

The Gem, I would compare with Freedom class.

Like others posted, do get a Spa Pass...NCL has far better spas than Royal.
NCL are better problem solvers and situation handlers.

Like the shows better.

 

Good luck and happy cruising!

Off topic - how would you rank overall food for all of the lines you've sailed on?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have cruised Royal, Carnival & a couple of other lines years ago.  We now stick with NCL.  DH no longer has to bring a suit (even though he looked great in a Tux!)

Now we still dress up a little most nights and enjoy going 'out' for dinner, but we really do enjoy not being locked in to a certain time to eat.  NCL's night life is great and reminds me of when we go to Vegas:classic_cool:   (Yes, we love the casino too!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter Now for a Chance to Win a 7-day Cruise for Two
      • Q&A with InsureMyTrip
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...