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What is your favorite cruise line other than Carnival?

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57 minutes ago, RWolver672 said:

We have cruised on Carnival 11 times and RCI once.  We only cruise every other year and really look forward to each cruise.  We did not enjoy the RCI one for several reasons.  Rude staff, having to make reservations, fellow passengers that acted like they were better than you if you spoke to them, etc.  We went back to Carnival and will stay with them because we have always had fun and enjoyed our cruises with them.

 

If we ever stray away from Carnival again, I would like to try the American Steamboat Co's paddle wheel boats.  It looks like it would be fun other than the ports they stop at are not on the top of my list to see.

We felt the same exact way about RCCL! The staff was incredibly rude, nothing like the friendly staff of Carnival, and the atmosphere on Carnival was just way more fun. We HATED having to make show reservations BEFORE we cruised! How do you know what your day will be like, and when you felt like going? No, we very gladly returned to Carnival, where we felt like we were coming home. But if I had to choose an alternative cruise line, it would be NCL, because we loved the freedom of Freestyle Cruising, but even with NCL, reservations needed to be made for all shows, including the Comedy Shows. We NEVER got into one comedy show in two cruises with them, as we couldn’t even get reservations! We love going to Comedy shows nearly every night on Carnival WITHOUT reservations! 

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We cruised without kids on lines that no longer exist!  With kids we started with a few on Disney, then went almost exclusively to Carnival.  After we got "bored" with the same entertainment, food, ports, we moved over to NCL for a few Caribbean cruises, but moreso for  "exotic" cruises that fit our dates - Hawaii, Med., Baltics, Italy/Greece, etc.  Enjoyed the change of pace with NCL. (Platinum level there) Cruised once with RCCL and hated it.  We now use Carnival for Caribbean/Bahamas, and NCL for Europe - though Carnival's 2021 itineraries to Europe look interesting. 

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We started cruising on HAL and did 4 HAL cruises before trying anything else.  Next was Celebrity. Then friends were going on a charter sailing on Carnival and we decided to give it a try.  We have done 3 Carnival cruises so far and do enjoy Carnival and have a Carnival cruise booked for February.

 

However when we decided to take a cruise in January of 2021 we considered all of our past experiences and booked with Celebrity.

 

So if we had to pick a "Favorite" right now it would be Celebrity.

 

That being said, if we were to want to do a Northern European cruise such as the OP is planning, we would go with HAL.  I think their itineraries are better and the experience is very close to Celebrity with the benefit that the prices are generally a bit lower.

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Great thread.

 

We have cruised on 2 mass market lines, Carnival and Princess.  We view them differently.  Fun vacation v. destination travel.  We enjoy both.  For us, the 'fun' of Carnival probably outweighs Princess on comparable itineraries.

 

We've also had a few 'small ship' experiences that are admittedly at a different price point including Windstar and Star Clipper. (as well as the defunct Windjammer)  That is so different as to not be a direct competitor.  LOVE that experience in the right application such as island hopping the BVI's. 

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7 hours ago, grandmarnnurse said:

We felt the same exact way about RCCL! The staff was incredibly rude, nothing like the friendly staff of Carnival, and the atmosphere on Carnival was just way more fun. We HATED having to make show reservations BEFORE we cruised! How do you know what your day will be like, and when you felt like going? No, we very gladly returned to Carnival, where we felt like we were coming home. But if I had to choose an alternative cruise line, it would be NCL, because we loved the freedom of Freestyle Cruising, but even with NCL, reservations needed to be made for all shows, including the Comedy Shows. We NEVER got into one comedy show in two cruises with them, as we couldn’t even get reservations! We love going to Comedy shows nearly every night on Carnival WITHOUT reservations! 

I realize that many people base an entire cruise line on one cruise, I did the same thing with Carnival on my first cruise with them in 1985. Swore I would never go back. 

Just so others aren’t confused, reservations are NOT mandatory. They only get you into the Broadway and production shows 10-15 mins earlier. This works for those that like to sit in first few rows. They also aren’t on all RCI ship classes. I don’t do comedy shows on any ship, but I have heard there are smaller venues on Royal ships, but have also heard the same complaints about the Vista class ships on Carnival. 

HATE is a very strong word to use for the luxury of being able to cruise. I have cruised most of the mass market cruise lines since my first cruise in 1980, and there has never been anything bad enough on any of them to ever use that word.

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13 hours ago, crzndeb said:

I realize that many people base an entire cruise line on one cruise, I did the same thing with Carnival on my first cruise with them in 1985. Swore I would never go back. 

 

 

I think most people will try something once and if they don't like it won't try it again.  Especially if you are going to spend $3000 on something.  If I touch something that's hot and get burned, I'm not about to touch it again to see if I'll get burned another time.

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10 hours ago, RWolver672 said:

 

I think most people will try something once and if they don't like it won't try it again.  Especially if you are going to spend $3000 on something.  If I touch something that's hot and get burned, I'm not about to touch it again to see if I'll get burned another time.

I totally understand that. I guess I have been very lucky in my cruising life, that nothing has ever made me not want to go back, and most inconveniences I can easily overlook. My 2 daughter’s first cruise was back in the early 90’s on NCL Seaward. It has been the only NCL cruise I have been on, but I would like to cruise on them again, since they do go to more varied itineraries (South America). I have 2 MSC cruises next year in the Med, so I’m anxious to try them.

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On 11/15/2019 at 7:15 AM, grandmarnnurse said:

We felt the same exact way about RCCL! The staff was incredibly rude, nothing like the friendly staff of Carnival, and the atmosphere on Carnival was just way more fun. We HATED having to make show reservations BEFORE we cruised! How do you know what your day will be like, and when you felt like going? No, we very gladly returned to Carnival, where we felt like we were coming home. But if I had to choose an alternative cruise line, it would be NCL, because we loved the freedom of Freestyle Cruising, but even with NCL, reservations needed to be made for all shows, including the Comedy Shows. We NEVER got into one comedy show in two cruises with them, as we couldn’t even get reservations! We love going to Comedy shows nearly every night on Carnival WITHOUT reservations! 

 

unfortunately I don't think there is a better way. Suppose you didn't have to make reservations. With 6000 pax on the ship suppose one night 2500 wanted to see a certain show.

 

With only a limited amount of seats per venue there would be an awful lot of disappointed people on that given night.

 

That being said there is a cruise line out there that for everybody.🙂

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On 11/15/2019 at 4:15 AM, grandmarnnurse said:

We felt the same exact way about RCCL! The staff was incredibly rude, nothing like the friendly staff of Carnival, and the atmosphere on Carnival was just way more fun. We HATED having to make show reservations BEFORE we cruised! How do you know what your day will be like, and when you felt like going? No, we very gladly returned to Carnival, where we felt like we were coming home. But if I had to choose an alternative cruise line, it would be NCL, because we loved the freedom of Freestyle Cruising, but even with NCL, reservations needed to be made for all shows, including the Comedy Shows. We NEVER got into one comedy show in two cruises with them, as we couldn’t even get reservations! We love going to Comedy shows nearly every night on Carnival WITHOUT reservations! 

Perhaps it was the ship we were on, but we never hound the crew or staff on RCL Adventure of the Seas to be rude at all. They weren't as friendly or as happy as those on a Carnival but everyone we encountered was very pleasant and helpful. 
We didn't need to make reservations for the theatre or comedy either - just walked in and found good seats to enjoy the shows, which we found to be superior to the shows on Carnival. 

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On 11/13/2019 at 2:52 PM, Eli_6 said:

Just curious.  I am wanting to take a Norwegian Fjords or Iceland cruise and this isn't a route Carnival normally takes.  (They have one, but dates don't work.)

 

I was looking at Celebrity and had a little sticker shock.  We like to do a Havana room, Vista balcony or Suite on Carnival and a comparable room on Celebrity is at least twice the price.

We did Norway and Baltic B2B in June  on RCL. We loved it! However, we have booked a cruise to Norway (I told you we loved it!) for June 2021 on Carnival Legend! 
 

We have sailed HAL, Carnival, RCL, and NCL. I wouldn’t go back on NCL. Our itinerary and cabin were wonderful, but everything else was meh. I would cruise any of the others at any time! 

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Our choice would be Princess.  

Princess has been offering Iceland, Norwegian, etc. cruises for a very long time .  :classic_smile:

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On 11/13/2019 at 3:39 PM, grandmarnnurse said:

Well, let me say that we started cruising with Carnival in 2000, after one cruise on a now defunct cruise line. We sailed with them for 5 cruises until 2007. After a break from cruising to take care of some medical issues and 2 major surgeries, we returned to cruising in 2014 with a cruise on the RCCL Independence of the Seas. We loved it, but never felt the MDR food wasn’t as good as our meals on Carnival. We also felt Royal tended to try to “nickel and dime” you more. But we followed in 2015 on the RCCL Oasis of the Seas with our sons and their families. The ship WOWED us, but the service was horrible, the food still not as good as Carnival, and there was even more pressuring to purchase things. Not to mention, it was necessary to pre reserve all shows prior to cruising, something I did not like. We rolled with a cruise in 2017 on the NCL Getaway. We were lured to them by their Free at Sea offers. This was the first year they were offered, and we loved having the drink package included, without the price of cruise going up. We booked the same ship to cruise with family in 2018. We found their food much better than Royal, and the service was also better. But there were no roaming waiters for cocktails, probably because they don’t have to push for sales, since most people have the drink package. What we loved was their Freestyle Cruising concept. To eat wherever and whenever you wanted. Loved that! Their buffet was fabulous and probably the best we’ve had at sea. We recently returned to Carnival because we missed them, their food (which have more complimentary choices now), their Dive in Movies, and their fabulous top notch staff. We felt Carnival gave us the best cruise experience for the value, which was important to us as a retired couple on a much more limited budget. With all that said, if I had to choose between RCCL and NCL as an alternative to Carnival, it would be NCL. But that is only my personal opinion, and everyone has different tastes in a cruise line. It is a very subjective matter. It all depends on what is important to you in a cruise line. I hope I’ve helped you. Happy sailing! 😎🛳🌴🏖

I agree 100% with you.

 

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Royal is my go to line, and I also like HAL and Princess.  MSC is cool too.  Celebrity is a hit or miss. NCL is good for solo.  Carnival is good value.  

 

Tried Hurtigrugen recently and small ship itineraries are certainly nice.  

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On 11/13/2019 at 3:28 PM, havanadaydreaming said:

NCL, for us.  for some there is up front sticker shock but after the Free At Sea promotions they're very close to what we pay on Carnival...and I think they have better food/entertainment onboard. 

 

MSC was nice too.  id sail them again.  definitely not the same "party" vibe as Carnival, however. 

We are booked for Alaska on NCL summer 2021. I hope we like it. I agree, the priced seemed steep at first  but when we consider that we have open bar and other perks, not too bad.  So far we have done Roya Caribbean and Holland America. They all seem to have their advantages, but Carnival is still our favorite

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We've sailed on Cunard, Celebrity, NCL, RCCL, Carnival and way back when, some folks might remember Home Lines (Oceanic, Homeric). The best have been Celebrity and Carnival. Although not available now, Home Lines was our all time favorite. We will be sailing in a few short weeks on our 10th cruise with Carnival, and our 7th on the Carnival Pride....can't wait. So our choice for now would be Carnival.

 

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