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Last Salmon Man

Carnival or Norwegian... Advice?????

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6 hours ago, Aquahound said:

In your case, I'd book Joy.  I cruised an older sister, Escape, and loved it. 

 

The negatives to NCL's newer ships are the same as Carnival's in that they are crowded and have horrible pool space. 

 

However, I think NCL has some of the best entertainment at sea...almost as good as RCI's new ships.  There is live music all over the ship and the main theater acts are very high quality.  The included perks make it a no-brainer to me.  Just realize the "free" beverage perk comes with a daily service charge.

 

They charge the gratuities on the free stuff right up front as part of the booking. The daily gratuities can be prepaid or they charge them daily on the ship.

 

As far as entertainment: if your idea of great entertainment is a 1.5 hour long musical in the main theater then NCL and RCCL are awesome. If not, then not so much. 🙂

 

I sat through Rock of Ages and it nearly killed me. LOL

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5 hours ago, Last Salmon Man said:

thank you all for the replies!

 

I did a mock booking, but as suggested, I completed the mock booking all the way to the payment page and the price jumped to 3250.  So, the final price is about $25 more than the panoroma.  Even with the additional $300 in gratuities, we are still going to pull the trigger and book the Joy before the take 5 promo ends.  As I understand it, we can cancel with no penalties up to 120 days out if we change our mind.  

 

Will definitely be back on carnival.  Kids will be bummed because they were excited to get gold sail and sign cards on their next carnival, but they will get over it!!

 

Thank you for all the advice!!

 

 

They have been extending the Take All every time it has expired for the last month or so. I wouldn't be surprised if it gets extended again.

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I was loyal NCL until the prices skyrocketed.  We tried our first Carnival in January and were pleasantly surprised.

Since the price is the same, Joy all the way! If you drink, also figure in the money saved on buying the Drink package on Carnival.  Enjoy!

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13 minutes ago, Sotermarler said:

I was loyal NCL until the prices skyrocketed.  We tried our first Carnival in January and were pleasantly surprised.

Since the price is the same, Joy all the way! If you drink, also figure in the money saved on buying the Drink package on Carnival.  Enjoy!

That is the exact same with me! My one and only cruise with NCL was in 2013 when I speculate the prices were much cheaper then!

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11 hours ago, Stick93 said:

 

Hahahah. I always saw the fish and just thought it was cute.

 

You learn everyday. 

And there is always a rebellious fish swimming the other way.....NCL even has a drink named after it.

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15 hours ago, Last Salmon Man said:

thank you all for the replies!

 

I did a mock booking, but as suggested, I completed the mock booking all the way to the payment page and the price jumped to 3250.  So, the final price is about $25 more than the panoroma.  Even with the additional $300 in gratuities, we are still going to pull the trigger and book the Joy before the take 5 promo ends.  As I understand it, we can cancel with no penalties up to 120 days out if we change our mind.  

 

Will definitely be back on carnival.  Kids will be bummed because they were excited to get gold sail and sign cards on their next carnival, but they will get over it!!

 

Thank you for all the advice!!

 

Although the Joy isn't a ship I would recommend, it's a good move to try it instead of Panorama (another ship I wouldn't recommend).

Nothing is worse in cruising than to stay with the same cruise line all the time - does not matter which one. The "golder" your card is, the more cruise life you miss.

These are a few tips for NCL newbies. It's related to the Breakaway (currently NCL best ship), but it works for all NCL mega ships in general.

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2684704-ncl-newbie-here-must-try-foods-recommendations/?tab=comments#comment-58037645

Happy cruising!

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I'm thinking of booking NCL for a little different itinerary for seemingly the same price as Carnival. 

 

Thanks for.the click through tips.

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On 8/6/2019 at 12:21 PM, Last Salmon Man said:

Morning all!

 

We have narrowed down our next cruise, will be March 2020 Mexican Riviera.  We have done 4 carnival cruises (Splendor, Miracle, Vista and Magic)  and we have loved everyone of them.  We have our eye on the Panorama, but also noticed the Norwegian Joy has the same cruise, same dates, and today they have a sale for 5 free upgrades including beverage package, 3,4 guest free, excursion credit...etc

 

For the four of us on the panorama, balcony we want is $3,200.  On the joy, $3,000.  On paper, seems like Norwegian is a no brainer, but I have heard mixed things about food on Norwegian, and everything costs extra once your on board.  

 

Would really appreciate any info or advice from any of you cruise veterans that have sailed both lines, or possibly on the Joy.  It's hard to stray from Carnival when we have always had our expectations met or exceeded.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

I haven't sailed on the Joy, but I can give you some insight into the differences between Carnival and NCL....

 

Freestyle Dining. 

 

That's it.  And you can now do that with my time dining.

 

We did our first NCL in the Med, there were no Carnival ships, and it felt like cheating.  And my kiddo (then 13) and I loved it.  It was the NCL Epic, and it's a great wonderful ship.  The staff were great, the rooms were awesome, the food was outstanding, not a single complaint from either one of us.

 

Then we decided we wanted to do Bermuda, and CCL didn't have anything that worked with my birthday, so we did the NCL Escape.  And I brought along my parents--loyal RCCL-ers who also do enjoy Carnival (they've been on the Sensation, Splendor, and the Magic--they're a little jealous we're going back on the Magic for Hanukkah/Christmas and they weren't invited).  My parents LOVED the Escape.  We all loved the staterooms.  The service was PHENOMENAL.  We found quiet places around the pool deck that were perfect for napping and reading.  They also LOVED the boardwalk area; every morning while they waited for me and the kiddo to wake up they would stick a note on our door and let us know where to find them--happy and relaxing with a light breakfast on the boardwalk.  They loved the experience so much they're going to do a transatlantic for their anniversary next year.  We also really do enjoy the specialty dining on NCL.

 

For full disclosure. The ONLY thing that I found annoying on NCL was the daily ask by the dining room team to fill out a comment card about their service.  I did it, but it just felt like a lot.  I guess it's no different than the pushy drinks on the lido on CCL though.

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Have >30 on Carnival and just one on NCL, but that was a 14-night EB TA which was followed up by the WB TA on Horizon.  I really enjoyed NCL (Star) even though she was headed into dry dock as soon as we disembarked in Barcelona.

 

I prefer that size ship.  Prefer the layout to Carnival's shoe-box designs. Just don't need to pay a premium to sail on The Next Big Thing!  

 

I don't sail for the onboard entertainment but thought they were comparable, for the most part.  Enjoyed having the drink package on NCL.  I don't drink enough to justify the Cheers package (especially since I'm mostly a beer & wine drinker).  Thought the food on NCL was very good in both the MDR and specialty restaurants.  Don't recall ever being asked to fill out a comment card at dinner.

 

Enjoyed NCL enough that I bought a Cruise Next certificate which I need to use in the next 2-1/2 years, so I'm keeping my eyes open for a good deal on NCL.  Problem is most of my vacation budget is being eaten up by my upcoming Sunshine to Bermuda at the end of October and then the biggie - the Legend final Med + TA in October 2020 for a total of 25 days (plus pre-cruise days in Venice).

 

But I'll definitely squeeze in another on NCL.  Yes, branch out and try something else, even if the differences aren't major ones.

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Ok, I’m gonna be honest here.  NCL does notcompare to carnival in any way!  You have to book entertainment verses showing up at comedy/shows.  NCL is the only cruise line I have been on that I have lost weight.  If price was the same I would choose Carnival hands down!  I have sailed on NCL, Carnival, Royal, Princess, Holland America.  NCL is my least favorite.  Cabins are much smaller and food is awful.  Entertainment is a pain in the butt!  

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3 minutes ago, gardengirl2011 said:

Ok, I’m gonna be honest here.  NCL does notcompare to carnival in any way!  You have to book entertainment verses showing up at comedy/shows.  NCL is the only cruise line I have been on that I have lost weight.  If price was the same I would choose Carnival hands down!  I have sailed on NCL, Carnival, Royal, Princess, Holland America.  NCL is my least favorite.  Cabins are much smaller and food is awful.  Entertainment is a pain in the butt!  

By looking at your signature, it appears you have only went on NCL Sky, which is like a Fantasy class equivalent. It would be unfair to compare that type of ship to Carnival Breeze (which you've sailed on) or Panorama. NCL has really amped up their game with the Breakaway and Breakaway plus class ships, and I really feel that if you sailed on one of the newer classes of ships, you opinion would differ.

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I haven’t updated my signature in awhile.  I have been on several NCL ships.  Only because I get free cruises through the casino.  

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Just now, gardengirl2011 said:

I haven’t updated my signature in awhile.  I have been on several NCL ships.  Only because I get free cruises through the casino.  

But have you sailed on a Breakaway or Breakaway Plus class ship?

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15 minutes ago, gardengirl2011 said:

Ok, I’m gonna be honest here.  NCL does notcompare to carnival in any way!  You have to book entertainment verses showing up at comedy/shows.  NCL is the only cruise line I have been on that I have lost weight.  If price was the same I would choose Carnival hands down!  I have sailed on NCL, Carnival, Royal, Princess, Holland America.  NCL is my least favorite.  Cabins are much smaller and food is awful.  Entertainment is a pain in the butt!  

 

I think you are over stating booking entertainment. I never had an issue booking a show as its easy to do and if I missed booking it we stood on standby and were let in 15 minutes prior to the show. The shows on the big ships are broadway shows and are excellent. The drawback is there isn't always a show as they have to play the shows on multiple nights. On the smaller ship (we were on Gem) the entertainment was amazing for a 10 night cruise that was different every night - No issues there.

 

On Carnival they have cut down the size of the comedy club on the newer ships and refurbs which effects getting in and seeing the shows with a seat. The main showrooms have also gotten smaller with the newer ships and refurbs . The show times are also earlier because they need that area for the night club. I personally find the shows a bit more amateur, but they are trying to make them better again.

 

Lastly the cabins are smaller but I think they are cleaner and prettier -  and the I hate the shower curtains on carnival as they are pretty grimy.

 

I have liked all the cruises and cruise lines I have been on - they all do something better and somethings not as well. Price being cheaper on one vs the other will always take me to the cheaper one!

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All cruise lines have positives and negatives.  I personally prefer Carnival over NCL.  My personal preference is either Holland America or Princess.  Celebrity is also a great cruise line if you can get past the snobbery.

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3 hours ago, gardengirl2011 said:

Ok, I’m gonna be honest here.  NCL does notcompare to carnival in any way!  You have to book entertainment verses showing up at comedy/shows.  

 

2 hours ago, gardengirl2011 said:

Yes, I have sailed on the escape 

 

I've also cruised Escape and there were only 2 shows where reservations were recommended.  They were the 2 main productions.  Otherwise, no, you did not have to book any of the other entertainment unless it was the for-fee dinner theater show.  The comedy shows, game shows, Howl at the Moon, etc, were all first come, first serve, just like on Carnival.  

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3 hours ago, Stick93 said:

 

I think you are over stating booking entertainment. I never had an issue booking a show as its easy to do and if I missed booking it we stood on standby and were let in 15 minutes prior to the show. The shows on the big ships are broadway shows and are excellent. The drawback is there isn't always a show as they have to play the shows on multiple nights. On the smaller ship (we were on Gem) the entertainment was amazing for a 10 night cruise that was different every night - No issues there.

 

On Carnival they have cut down the size of the comedy club on the newer ships and refurbs which effects getting in and seeing the shows with a seat. The main showrooms have also gotten smaller with the newer ships and refurbs . The show times are also earlier because they need that area for the night club. I personally find the shows a bit more amateur, but they are trying to make them better again.

 

Lastly the cabins are smaller but I think they are cleaner and prettier -  and the I hate the shower curtains on carnival as they are pretty grimy.

 

I have liked all the cruises and cruise lines I have been on - they all do something better and somethings not as well. Price being cheaper on one vs the other will always take me to the cheaper one!

 

What Carnival ships got smaller comedy clubs with refurb? and which ships got smaller main showrooms with refurbs?

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7 minutes ago, NightOne said:

 

What Carnival ships got smaller comedy clubs with refurb? and which ships got smaller main showrooms with refurbs?

The new vista class ships have smaller venues than the dream class ships. 

 

The sunshine, sunrise and radiance will have or have had their aft lounges  where comedy was removed and places in smaller venues. Their main showrooms were also made smaller. 

 

There are mixed reviews on all this. 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, gardengirl2011 said:

Ok, I’m gonna be honest here.  NCL does notcompare to carnival in any way!  You have to book entertainment verses showing up at comedy/shows.  NCL is the only cruise line I have been on that I have lost weight.  If price was the same I would choose Carnival hands down!  I have sailed on NCL, Carnival, Royal, Princess, Holland America.  NCL is my least favorite.  Cabins are much smaller and food is awful.  Entertainment is a pain in the butt!  

 

 

I read this with a puzzled look on my face.  I have been on pretty much every mainstream line, several times each with Carnival leading the count by a large margin.  They all do most things the same way, in the spots where they try to be unique you will find something better and some worse than the competition.  However, NCL in my experience is nothing like you describe.  The food, just dishes just like other lines, ranged from okay to fabulous.  For the entertainment, even on the biggest ships,  there are only a couple of shows where reservations are recommended.  You can still show up for those if seating is available.  For the rest of them it was general seating just like Carnival does. 

 

Thinking of it, the cruise we took on the Escape last year may have been our best cruise ever.

Edited by ray98

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Through our cruising years, we've migrated to sailing in (almost exclusively) suites. It's there were significant differences become obvious between (mainly) Carnival, and all others.

 

On NCL ships (Epic and newer) they have "The Haven", which is basically a ship within a ship for suite guests. Pool, bar, restaurant, butlers, etc. The restaurant is pretty much like specialty dining for all meals, though it's "included". Disclaimer: you're going to be paying more for suites on NCL, and other lines, compared to Carnival... nothing comes without an associated cost.

 

There are still plenty of great things which Carnival offers but we know that, when sailing with them, we're sacrificing many appealing amenities -- with full room service hot breakfast being one which comes to mind, if only because it's one of the first orders of the day.

 

That said, when we do sail with Carnival, there's little incentive to sail in a suite... other than having a larger room or a slightly larger balcony. I think that Carnival is ever so slightly starting to acknowledge that they might be missing out on some business, as evidenced by the Mardi Gras - with suites on all corners forward and aft and a suites only sun deck area. Hey, it's a start! 🙂

 

Thus, from my perspective - the gulf between Carnival and NCL is even wider than it is for many others. Moral of this story then, I suppose, don't take my word for it !!! LOL

 

Tom

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We have booked 2 NCL cruises because of the freebies, but we are very happy to be returning to Carnival next May. Our NCL cruises have been great--no such thing as a bad cruise in my book!

We definitely prefer Carnival and think Carnival has much better food, and is more fun. 

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10 hours ago, ray98 said:

 

 

I read this with a puzzled look on my face. 

 

I think several did, including me. In fact, that info was so exaggerated, I question her honesty about cruising Escape, which conveniently isn’t in her signature. Oh wait, she hasn’t updated it. Yeah, right. 

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Here is my experience.....cruised the Norwegian Escape and after that Carnival Splendor and then Magic.  Hubby and I felt like NCL did not have enough to keep us busy in the evening.  The Escape was a great ship. We did notice the balcony cabin was smaller compared to a Carnival balcony cabin.  We both thought that NCL Escape did not have multiple things that we could do in the evening due to timing of offerings.  On Carnival, we would go to one activity in the evening and run to the next.  We love that about Carnival.  So many things to choose from and because of the way they schedule, one can do multiple things at night.  Also, we did not like that we had to book to see a show/comedy on the Escape.  On Carnival, just show up!!  I'm sure that which ever you pick, you will have a wonderful vacation.

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