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NCL cruiser Thinking about Royal


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So some history. I've been on the Grandeur of the seas Many years ago. I've been on Carnival twice. My last 27 cruises have been on NCL. I have 2 more booked with NCL.

We have been in all style of rooms, from inside cabin to a Haven suite.


We are thinking about RCCL. Looking for people that can compare the 2, I know it's all personal opinion on likes and dislikes. Looking at things like, cost, drink and dinner packages, food quality etc.



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We've been on both and found them to be more alike than different from food to entertainment. We haven't sailed on NCL since Del Rio took over, and while I don't care for his business model it's mostly because NCL always prices out much higher than the competition (when we booked our Anthem cruise we booked Anthem we booked it for $1880. A comparable cruise on NCL for the same week out of NYC was $3600). We absolutely loved the Anthem and she is easily the best of those we've sailed on to date.

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I sailed on NCL last week for the first time in seven years.  I found that Royal is a bit more transparent with prices.  The “free” drink package that NCL offered actually cost $20.60 per day in gratuities, to be paid at the time of the initial cruise fare/port fees/taxes.  We did not take that offer, instead paid $29.80 for two $12 drinks, plus a $2 cash tip for the server.  We did take the “free” dining package for two nights.  We had to book a higher level cabin than we really needed to get that package, then $36 dollars in gratuities were added, and finally we were given zeroed receipts at the end of the meal with additional tip lines for the chef and the assistant waiter (we tipped in cash, as we always do).   I think it would have been less to book a basic cabin and just pay for specialty dining on board, but it took a bit of analysis to figure that out.  There was also a member of the entertainment team in the theater just before the show every night, selling pull tab tickets.   Internet was more expensive than Royal, then on the second to last day, shorter packages were offered. It was $9.99 for (I believe) 24 hours, then in the small print I saw the $3.95 service charge added to that.  NCL seems to raise the “a la carte” prices of extras to push the “free at sea” options that are not really free at all.  I feel that it is easier to see what actual costs are on Royal without constantly searching the small print to get to the bottom line.  


We enjoyed the food on NCL, but found a lot of repetition, even on a 5-night cruise.  There was also a much more limited selection at the buffet, though that might be different on a larger ship.


We found the entertainment to be very similar.


We enjoyed the cruise, but yesterday we booked a new one with family members in a second cabin and found ourselves going right back to Royal after analyzing the true cost of the NCL option.  I hate having to feel like I need to be on guard every minute to avoid financial surprises.





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We've just gotten back from our first RCL cruise and we enjoyed it very much.  Up until now we have four cruises with NCL and loved them so we were concerned if we would enjoy RCL as much.  I have to say that we loved our cruise on the Anthem but there were definite things we missed about NCL.  People talk about nickel and diming on NCL and I can honestly say we've never felt that way but I did with Royal.  From the start I found out you constantly have to check prices for drink packages and excursions because they go up and down constantly and I ended up having to cancel and rebook these to get the lower price.  Once on the ship there were Royal people everywhere trying to sell you something, even when we were seated at Chops for lunch, embarkment day,  the waiter tried to sell us the specialty dining package.  That did stop after the second day.  We loved the Anthem but missed the Atrium in the middle of the ship as well as O'Sheehans for a quick snack.  Anthem did have the pizzeria, which we really like, but the small pub charged for their snacks.  We also missed the waterfront on the BA and GA.  Now the food, we felt the MDR food was much better on Royal but the buffet was better on NCL.  The beverage package on Royal is also better as it includes coffee drinks and bottle water. Entertainment on Royal was excellent but again we missed the parties outside at H2O.  We are now looking for a cruise for next summer and I think we are going to be sailing with RCL again as the prices and itinerary are better than NCL for us.   Hope this helps.

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After many years of not cruising and good memories of NCL We sailed NCL 2 years ago to Alaska.  Everything was nice except the food in all venues.  It was HORRIBLE.  Off-tasting fish, cold, tasteless entrees,  nothing but school cafeteria quality in the MDR for 10 solid days, with hum-drum service. We decided that good food with excellent service must be a thing of the past.  Then we decided to give RCCL a chance and chose Liberty of the Seas.  NO COMPARISON.  We were shocked at the excellent quality of MDR food and service.  Excellent intertainment also.  We  were so happily surprised that we are returning less than a year later.  Both ships were roughly the same age.  RCCL was a larger ship by 1000 capacity.  Cabins and storage were about twice the size on RCCL (Balconies on both).  We loved the promenade on RCCL and spent many a pleasant times visiting and people-watching in their cafe promenade whike kistening to a variety of music drift by.  Just nice.

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