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Princess cruisers thinking about NCL....convince us

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We have sailed Princess mainly,  also Carnival and RCI......we live on the West coast so NCL has mostly pulled out of LA like RCI.  So now I just heard a radio commercial about the NCL Joy sailing out of LA this January and it has a five night baja to Cabo and Ensenada which we're thinking about doing.  Now with our usual lines we get a stockholder OBC and perks with our loyalty level.....why should be try NCL in January...?   At our age 50's and 60's our kids are grown with no grandchildren yet so we avoid ships with lots of kids type entertainment these days.  That said in January I would think this sailing would not have too many children.  We'd just do an interior to keep costs in check.  Can we ask anyone who has sailed the Joy to chime in and tell us what they liked or did not like to help us make this easier....?   Thanks in advance.......:)

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I think you find that we are just fellow cruisers, not salespeople whose job it is to convince you to try a product.

 

We really can't tell you one way or the other as we don't know you, don't know your likes/dislikes, don't know your must-haves, don't understand your budget, etc

 

You really have to choose a line that best fits your individual needs. I don't know that a stranger can honestly do that for you.

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Qcruise

    This is my experience as a Platinum level customer ( in the 60’s age range) of Princess taking an NCL cruise on the Breakaway. A few months after the NCL cruise, we took a Princess Cruise and we were very glad to be back with Princess.

We were not impressed by the rock  wall or ropes course or the walking/ jogging track that went past a restaurant entrance/exit and lounge chairs causing  interactions with fellow passengers that disrupted our walks.

The Atrium was a very crowded area with a bar, coffee/ bakery area, computer area, guest services and most activities occurring in the same small area. Interior smoking from the casino wafted down to other decks in the center of the ship.

We found most of the ship to be crowded and uncomfortable.

   Now, with that being said, I think the Joy is another class of NCL and not the huge Breakaway class of ship.

It may  offer an entirely different cruise experience.

You may consider taking one cruise on the Joy because the port is convenient for you. You will either enjoy the cruise or like us ,be glad to return to Princess.

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We have done a number of cruise with Princess, celebrity, NCL.  We did not enjoy Princess as much as they tended to push newby's on their line to the back of the line  NCL seems to treat everyone the same.  As we have achieved Gold on NCL this is a shame but we travel with friends and family and they enjoy NCL more than Princess.  I guess you can find a way to pick on cruise lines,  just go on vacations and enjoy yourself.

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Posted (edited)

I booked that exact cruise yesterday as a solo traveler, and recently took my first cruise on the Joy's sister ship (Bliss). I'm a quiet middle-aged introvert who likes "good enough" food and wine when traveling for non-foodie purposes. I avoid children and noise and crowds. Yet I loved cruising on the Bliss.

 

  • The kids' activities are mainly on two levels, deck 5 for the youngest and deck 16 for the older set and water activities. School-aged children will be at school in mid-January anyway. I saw a few on my late September cruise but only a few.
  • On a huge ship like this, there are quiet pockets and noisy areas. You can find the environment you prefer. 
  • The restaurants, both complimentary and specialty, are good enough. Not brilliant, but if I were cruising for the food I'd book on Oceania. I went to four speciality restaurants and two of the main dining rooms, as a party of one, and never felt uncomfortable or like I was treated less graciously than other guests.

 

The Joy, like the Bliss, features an amazing Observation Lounge. I spent a lot of time there, reading and enjoying the view. I also got in the morning habit of getting a flat white from Starbucks (Joy and Bliss have actual Starbucks locations, not just "proudly serving", so I could pay with my Starbucks app and earn stars) and then walking the full length of the Waterfront.

 

NCL is offering low fares on that cruise so hey, it could be worth a try.

 

Edited by coastcat

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2 hours ago, MJSailors said:

Qcruise

    This is my experience as a Platinum level customer ( in the 60’s age range) of Princess taking an NCL cruise on the Breakaway. A few months after the NCL cruise, we took a Princess Cruise and we were very glad to be back with Princess.

We were not impressed by the rock  wall or ropes course or the walking/ jogging track that went past a restaurant entrance/exit and lounge chairs causing  interactions with fellow passengers that disrupted our walks.

The Atrium was a very crowded area with a bar, coffee/ bakery area, computer area, guest services and most activities occurring in the same small area. Interior smoking from the casino wafted down to other decks in the center of the ship.

We found most of the ship to be crowded and uncomfortable.

   Now, with that being said, I think the Joy is another class of NCL and not the huge Breakaway class of ship.

It may  offer an entirely different cruise experience.

You may consider taking one cruise on the Joy because the port is convenient for you. You will either enjoy the cruise or like us ,be glad to return to Princess.

 

The joy has a race track instead of ropes course. The smoking section of the casino is walled off so the smoke is contained. Most that I know choose to walk on the waterfront over the jogging track. And the joy is breakaway+ class so actually a little bigger than breakaway. It also has a huge observation deck that gives a lot of indoor space that's a lot quieter and less crowded than the atrium. 

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   Fortunately, there many choices when it comes to choosing a cruise vacation.

A cruise line or ship may appeal to a person while another finds it not to their liking. 

     I just would like to address some comments posted here. 

 dpepper64  stated that ”NCL seems to treat everyone the same.” How can that be when NCLships have the Haven area whose passengers enjoy a private pool,lounge,deck area and restaurant ?Those booked in theHaven have the service of a concierge and butler. There is a special seating area in the terminal for Haven guests preparing to board the ship where refreshments are provided as well as an escort onto the ship during priority boarding. Not everyone on an NCL cruise is treated the same as those guests booked into the Haven area. You get what you pay for,hopefully.

     While Princess does give certain privileges to passengers in a suite accommodation, those guests are not segregated in particular areas apart from the other passengers. They are not given private restaurants, lounges and pools. 

Certain loyalty level guests (Platinum and Elite) are given certain perks for their loyalty. An evening cocktail party,a party with the Captain and staff,complimentary WiFi minutes are some of the few perks. Most traveled passengers,those with over hundreds of days spent on Princess ships ,are recognized with a luncheon with the officers and the top three guests are given a bottle of sparkling wine.

     We were once “newbies” on Princess and never felt as though we were pushed to the back of the line. 

As on any cruise line or hotel loyalty program, the more time spent vacationing with the company, the more perks a traveler can expect to be given.

      Addressing something that -simply because - posted that “Most that I know choose to walk on the waterfront over the jogging track.” Yes, the Waterfront is an option for walking,but it is not ideal as a true promenade deck . After my DH and I became dissatisfied with the walking/jogging track on the Breakaway,we tried walking on the Waterfront. The negatives to using this area is that there is a smoking area that people need to walk past. Also, the Waterfront is broken up by wind screens that interrupt a direct line of walking. We also found that sometimes people used the area for standing at the rails looking at the sea or taking photos therefore blocking the path of a walker or jogger.

     We were not impressed by the cruise we took on the Breakaway. That’s okay. As I wrote, there are plenty of choices of how or where to spend a vacation. 

Some people like NCL. Some people like Princess. Some people enjoy a cruise vacation,some do not like it at all.

A person can try something once. If they like it,great,if not they move on to something else. And so it goes.....

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Princess continues to be hit with criminal penalties for pollution (in 2016 and again this year for violating their probation).  It’s a unique way of looking at it, but maybe NCL is a better line for you because they have not been habitually caught polluting the oceans.

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11 minutes ago, MJSailors said:

    

 

   Fortunately, there many choices when it comes to choosing a cruise vacation.

A cruise line or ship may appeal to a person while another finds it not to their liking. 

     I just would like to address some comments posted here. 

 dpepper64  stated that ”NCL seems to treat everyone the same.” How can that be when NCLships have the Haven area whose passengers enjoy a private pool,lounge,deck area and restaurant ?Those booked in theHaven have the service of a concierge and butler. There is a special seating area in the terminal for Haven guests preparing to board the ship where refreshments are provided as well as an escort onto the ship during priority boarding. Not everyone on an NCL cruise is treated the same as those guests booked into the Haven area. You get what you pay for,hopefully.

     While Princess does give certain privileges to passengers in a suite accommodation, those guests are not segregated in particular areas apart from the other passengers. They are not given private restaurants, lounges and pools. 

Certain loyalty level guests (Platinum and Elite) are given certain perks for their loyalty. An evening cocktail party,a party with the Captain and staff,complimentary WiFi minutes are some of the few perks. Most traveled passengers,those with over hundreds of days spent on Princess ships ,are recognized with a luncheon with the officers and the top three guests are given a bottle of sparkling wine.

     We were once “newbies” on Princess and never felt as though we were pushed to the back of the line. 

As on any cruise line or hotel loyalty program, the more time spent vacationing with the company, the more perks a traveler can expect to be given.

      Addressing something that -simply because - posted that “Most that I know choose to walk on the waterfront over the jogging track.” Yes, the Waterfront is an option for walking,but it is not ideal as a true promenade deck . After my DH and I became dissatisfied with the walking/jogging track on the Breakaway,we tried walking on the Waterfront. The negatives to using this area is that there is a smoking area that people need to walk past. Also, the Waterfront is broken up by wind screens that interrupt a direct line of walking. We also found that sometimes people used the area for standing at the rails looking at the sea or taking photos therefore blocking the path of a walker or jogger.

     We were not impressed by the cruise we took on the Breakaway. That’s okay. As I wrote, there are plenty of choices of how or where to spend a vacation. 

Some people like NCL. Some people like Princess. Some people enjoy a cruise vacation,some do not like it at all.

A person can try something once. If they like it,great,if not they move on to something else. And so it goes.....

 

Breakaway and getaway the only ones that had smoking on waterfront (and I agree it's not pleasant). Apparently it's coming back on encore because of how much of the upper deck is now fee based (blech), but escape Bliss and joy are smoke free. I agree it's not a place to jog... but frankly I don't jog on vacation unless I'm about to be left behind! 

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6 hours ago, Qcruise said:

OK then.....don't convince us.......

as mentioned...... not sure why you feel entitled to be convinced "on demand" when there's 1000s of threads that describe people's experiences and both positive / negative reasons why you might want to try NCL.

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Posted (edited)

They are fairly similar lines.  Princess is our favorite cruise line so far.   I sailed the Star, which is one of NCL's oldest ships.   The staff on NCL was excellent, and there is a lot of great entertainment.  I found the food in the free restaurants on NCL to be the worst of all the lines I've sailed (HAL, Princess, Cunard, and even Carnival were fine) but on NCL we needed specialty dining, and on the other lines the regular dining was fine.  If you try enough stuff in the buffet, you will eventually find some good food there.    If the itinerary and price of the cruises you are looking at are good, we'd absolutely recommend NCL (if you are picky about food like us, you need to factor in the cost of specialty dining, but many others have been happy with NCL's free food.)  In general, we've found the major cruise lines to be more alike than different so you should feel free to try them all when the price/itinerary work for you.

Edited by kitkat343

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My first two cruises were long European Princess cruises when I was in my early/mid 20's. I went with a very large (and loud) family group. Had I gone with friends or a partner I would have been bored to tears. My family is fun and there were enough of us that we could enjoy all of the activities - even if they were pretty lame. 

I think NCL is a totally different world than Princess. I have really loved all of my cruises on them - it's a lot higher energy than Princess. I think a 5 day cruise is a perfect way for you to check them out. I don't find them crawling with children at all, in fact I can't remember one time a child has bothered me in the four NCL cruises I have done. 

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totally different experience, and let me add, a 5 day cruise is not anything like a 7 day or longer cruise so if you do choose NCL you are going to have a totally different experience. For us, and we are much older we do like NCL better because we enjoy the mixture of ages. It makes us come alive. Now, don't get me wrong, no one can ***** more about bratty kids than me, but it still is nice to see them having a good time. I do think January will have very few kids to deal with. I would be somewhat concerned about the weather, to be honest, not the ship so much. 

 

A short cruise will not see as much of a formal atmosphere as the longer cruises. To me, the biggest difference with the two lines: I think the passengers on NCL are friendlier and more down to earth, I think the crew is friendlier as well and one silly thing: NCL offers a much better M&G. 

 

No one can convince you which line is better or why you should jump ship for even one cruise, but it is always nice to try something a bit new. 

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For 5 days out of the 365 in a year, why not book the cruise you are considering and determine for yourself if NCL may work for you?

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We enjoy NCL more than Princess. Prices are better on NCL and the Joy has so much to do (if you’re willing) and lots of nice venues. The atmosphere will be more lively and fun. The only thing that will be a downgrade from Princess would be the MDR and buffet food but not by a whole lot and food is subjective. 

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I have recently become a fan of NCL.  Up until last year, Princess was my preferred cruise line, but on my last cruise with them, I felt the cruise was catered to an older age group than I feel.  I was bored, and felt there wasn't much to do.  The entertainment was not to my taste, and activities were ok.   I recently took 2 cruises on NCL, and feel like I have found my "home" cruise line.  I was on the Breakaway and Bliss (comparable to Joy) within the last year, and found the entertainment to my taste, and much more fun.  The amount, and variety of activities was much more varied to include everyone.  Also, keep in mind, the Joy is a very large ship with more lounges, restaurants, entertainment venues, and passengers.

 

Now I might be more biased.  I travel as a solo, and NCL is the only cruise line I have found, so far, that embraces the solo travelers.  We had a dedicated crew member to make us comfortable, and organize activities if we were interested. They are the only cruise line that also provides a large amount of singles rooms (while small, at least we don't have to pay the supplement fee), with a lounge where people can meet, and not feel like awkward.

 

Food wise, I think both lines are comparable.  Dining room, and buffet food was ok on both, nothing to write home about.  But on specialty restaurants, NCL has much more variety, and options.

 

I'm sorry, but I hated Carnival for the short cruises out of L.A....older ships and just hated the Booze Cruise feel.  I took RCI last year, and was never so bored on a cruise in my life.  Their idea of entertainment was non-stop trivia contests...all day. 

 

I suggest you look and review what each cruise line has to offer (entertainment, food options, ship size, etc), and see what seems most compatible with your interests/lifestyle. Only you know what you are looking for and prefer.  Princess and NCL are very different, and those differences can make or break your vacation.

 

 

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I've sailed most of the mainstream lines (RCCL, HAL, CCL, Princess and NCL) and truly find them more similar than different.  I've not sailed the Joy so can't speak to that.  I cruise to get a taste of places to see where I might like to have a land vacation.  I've found that the food in the MDR on all the lines is similar-some very good, some awful but most at least edible.  I certainly never starved.  I find NCL to be more affordable than Princess.  I'm doing a 9 day Baltics cruise next year and there was a Princess cruise with a very similar itinerary to NCL but with the "offers" from NCL the Princess cruise would have been close to $2k more pp. I'd certainly give it NCL a try. 

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Please add me to the list of people who do not feel it's our job to convince you to try NCL's product. That would certainly change if I was employed by NCL's marketing dept. 

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On 10/4/2019 at 4:53 PM, Qcruise said:

OK then.....don't convince us.......

???????

 

Not sure what it is you want?

 

If you need convincing, stick with Princess!  No one here needs or probably wants to take their time to change your mind.  Only you can do that.

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Posted (edited)

I’ll try to provide my insight. We are in our early and mid 60s. We are Elite with Princess and our preferred lines are Princess and Celebrity. That said, we have our 5th NCL cruise in recent years coming up in November, a 16-night Transatlantic. We have not sailed the Joy. We sailed the Jewel and Jade, both older ships, when they sailed out of Houston, a 3 hour drive. We sailed the Med for a fantastic price on the Epic and said we’d never go on that ship again unless it was a very special itinerary at a great price. Our upcoming cruise is on the Epic. 

 

NCL is much more casual, no formal nights.  We’re glad not to be taking formal attire for our upcoming TA, but my DH and I still tend to dress up a bit, no shorts, for dinner. I throw in a dress or two if packing allows. IMO, the cabins are nicer on Princess and the public rooms are more attractive. Food is generally better on Princess. Entertainment on NCL is by far better than Princess, fantastic shows. 

 

I hate to give advice, but if you can do this cruise relatively inexpensively and it has aspects that appeal to you, give NCL a try.  We go into every cruise informed and with an open mind. We’re not crazy about the Epic in the least, but we’re going to see some beautiful places in Spain, spend some days in the beautiful Caribbean and not have jet lag after this TA. 

Edited by lhsail

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We have stopped cruising Princess.  We found better prices and better perks on other lines, like NCL.  We love the drink, internet and shore excursion perks that Princess just doesn't offer.  Also love the different free dining options on NCL.  

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On 10/4/2019 at 1:19 PM, Qcruise said:

We have sailed Princess mainly,  also Carnival and RCI......we live on the West coast so NCL has mostly pulled out of LA like RCI.  So now I just heard a radio commercial about the NCL Joy sailing out of LA this January and it has a five night baja to Cabo and Ensenada which we're thinking about doing.  Now with our usual lines we get a stockholder OBC and perks with our loyalty level.....why should be try NCL in January...?   At our age 50's and 60's our kids are grown with no grandchildren yet so we avoid ships with lots of kids type entertainment these days.  That said in January I would think this sailing would not have too many children.  We'd just do an interior to keep costs in check.  Can we ask anyone who has sailed the Joy to chime in and tell us what they liked or did not like to help us make this easier....?   Thanks in advance.......:)

We have sailed many times on Princess, Celebrity and NCL.  Our current favorite is NCL.  We like the specialty dining venues which are very good and the various entertainment around the ship seems better than Princess.   It is hard to know what someone else likes but we have really enjoyed NCL.  It's only a 5 day cruise.  Give it a shot.  Not sure what your budget is but if you can swing it, the Haven experience is wonderful.

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Listening to the Love Boat theme on Princess set the mood for us, haven't returned.

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