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Each cruise line has pluses and minuses. There's no one best cruise line. It depends on what's important to you. This may seem minor to most people, but the fact that NCL and now Carnival only offer Pepsi products is a big negative for me. It may not matter to you. NCL "nickel and dimes" more than other cruise lines. They charge for a lot of their ship activities. If you just view the ship as a floating hotel to get you to your ports of call, you wouldn't care. In fact, you might like that since your cruise fare isn't contributing to something that you have no intention of doing.

 

Also, your experience will vary greatly depending on the ship you're on. A NCL cruise on a Breakaway class or higher is significantly different than a Gem class ship. I sail out of NY/NJ, so I avoid Carnival because of the ships that sail out of NY. If Carnival would send a Vista class ship up here and I could snag a Havana Cabana, I'd do so.

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17 hours ago, Daisymae14 said:

Planning a trip for bday. I am a loyal RCCL girl, and so is my bff but my other 2 friends have only and always done Carnival.  Due to  bad things I hear so much of Carnival,  I wont cruise with them.

With that said...Can someone give me opinion on other cruise lines -that they have tried and really enjoyed as much as RCCL? We are going to meet in the middle and try something different. TIA! 

We've cruised three lines, NCL, CCL and Royal and have found all three to be more alike than different, so much so that we let the price determine who we sail with.

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Seeing that most of the people here against Carnival sailed 1 or no cruises with them, I don't know that I would base my decision off of that.

 

If you're looking for something fancier, you'd want to probably head to Princess or Celebrity. If you want fun, Carnival or NCL would be a better choice.

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We are aware of Spring break in March, not a concern to us, we have traveled during that time before.  We are all COKE lovers,  so Pepsi products are another X on the list. Ugh... Not that will deter from final decisions but when one of the drinks of choice is Jack and Coke...kinda hard to get same taste 😂. Anyway,  your feedback has been amazing! We dont want "nickle and dime" situations.  We thought the perks offered on NCL were great. But if you are paying more on cruise for activities kinda defeating purpose of perks and taking into Consideration cost of cruise for all inclusive ( besides drinks ).

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34 minutes ago, Joebucks said:

Seeing that most of the people here against Carnival sailed 1 or no cruises with them, I don't know that I would base my decision off of that.

 

Exactly what I was going to post.   I went on Carnivals oldest and smallest ship in the fleet at the time and one of their newest and largest (twice).   I enjoyed them all.   To me, Carnivals food blows Royals out of the water, especially on the "included" venue options. Carnivals specialty dining is much better and much less expensive as well.  Royal has better ships and better entertainment.     Service is the same.  JMO  

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4 hours ago, Iamcruzin said:

That's what turned me off to NCL. From what I have heard from friends who sail them you have to eat in the specialty restaurants as the MDR is awful.

Specialty restaurants weren't much better in my opinion - but we did sail on a smaller ship so maybe the bigger NCL ships have better specialty dining. One thing I did like about NCL was their buffet for dinner. Found the food there far superior to the food in the MDR.

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Hubby has done them all, with the exception of Disney because we have no children and we cannot justify the cost of their cruises when we can do two for the price of one with them. Our preferences are as follows:

 

Royal (RCCL checks all our boxes for food, entertainment, activities, ship experience as a whole)

Princess (Love the decor of the ships, the live music options they have, the ports they visit, and the food)

Celebrity (More laid back, not as many activities as Royal and the price would have to be just right for us)

NCL (hubby has sailed them, I will go on my first come March 1st)

Carnival (we swore them off for many reasons, but we are currently booked for the new Mardi Gras for Feb 2021)

 

We have considered MSC, and would do Seaside if the itinerary, timing and price would work (they status match with Royal btw)

One and done with Holland (unless you are a senior citizen, and I mean 75+ years old, you would probably not enjoy this line at all.

 

Hopefully you all can meet in the middle. For us, it's just as much about the ship experience than the itinerary. 

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19 hours ago, JennyB1977 said:

@jakeil7 I agree to an extent. However, all mainstream cruise lines get bad reviews. They also all have die hard loyalists. I suppose I am just the type of person that wants to experience and determine for myself before I write something off completely. While Carnival is not at the top of my current list, for a fantastic (in my opinion) itinerary and price, I'd sail them again.

Agree. We would never book or not book a cruise line, ship, stateroom or itinerary based on someone's positive or negative opinions or experiences. 

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3 hours ago, Joebucks said:

Seeing that most of the people here against Carnival sailed 1 or no cruises with them, I don't know that I would base my decision off of that.

 

If you're looking for something fancier, you'd want to probably head to Princess or Celebrity. If you want fun, Carnival or NCL would be a better choice.


I have 35 cruises on Carnival and I don’t have much to say about them negatively. However, Carnival’s newest ships pale in comparison to Royal’s older class ships like Voyager class. A lot depends on your individual likes and dislikes, but if you are more of a ship person than a port person, especially after visiting dozens of ports over and over again, Royal has Carnival significantly beat in my opinion. That is why I find Royal more and more appealing these days. 

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We cruise(d) with 8 lines and now do 5-6 a year. We are in our late 40-ies and cruise since early 30ies.

Here is our observations:

 

Royal Caribbean - 16

Celebrity - 6

Princess - 7

NCL - 9

Holland America - 2

Carnival - 3 (not planning anymore, Just not our neighborhood/style)

MSC - 2

Cunard - 1


As we have reached Diamond level with RCI, plus we try to cruise more from local ports RCI is our first line of choice. For us it is the best combination of all parameters which currently are - presence of comfortable Adult only areas with pools, preferably covered solarium, decent food, good entertainment both in theater and smaller lounges, decent passengers mix both in refinement and age wise (well this depends on itinerary. On really port intense ones we can somewhat overlook this)

 

We find Celebrity, Princess, Holland, Cunard to be more interesting in passengers refinement category, also more interesting and sophisticated included food on average (except for Cunard which surprised us with unimaginative food in MDR), room amenities etc. Also we love thalasso pools on 90k tonns ships of Celebrity. On all these companies except Princess you will find towels placed on loungers by the pool .. and other nice touches. However entertainment in theaters could be not up to RCI, NCL or MSC standards (Carnival has not impressed us at all by entertainment), also I  suppose night life isn't very active (I cannot judge as I am in gym at 6 am, so go to bed at 10-11pm)

 

I enjoy 90K tons Dawn and Jewel classes of NCL. They lack normal adult zones, but if sail in warmer climates still work if itinerary is good. (Lately we did Bermuda, Adriatic, Southern Caribbeans with them) We enjoy entertainment in both theaters and lounges.. I'd say buffet food exceeded RCI buffet offerings lately and they have free style full menu restaurants O'Sheehans. However  their 140K+ tons ships we find extremely overcrowded and pool spaces are poorly designed, so we won't sail on them.

 

MSC.. we have not been on their largest ships, but sailed on Divina and Poesia. We loved beauty of their ships, nice rooms, European flare, nice shows. While we were never hungry, food was nothing to write home about. With their tendency to adjust to American style (our first cruise featured more genuine Italian performers in loungers) I am not sure we will go out of the way to sail with them. However we have not sailed in Yacht club, people seem to like this experience. 

Edited by Tatka
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Just  wanted  to  throw  my opinion  out there....  I  would  suggest  that you look  into  MSC .   We have  sailed  many lines ( Royal ,  Princess , Disney ,  MSC  and Norwegian  ).  MSC  was definitely  a  "different  " experience ,  but not  in a bad way.  We loved everything  about both the Divina  and the Seaside ,  and the fact that they matched our loyalty  level  was an added  bonus .  They offer some  great  deals .  Give them  a look.

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12 minutes ago, thegraminator said:

Just  wanted  to  throw  my opinion  out there....  I  would  suggest  that you look  into  MSC .   We have  sailed  many lines ( Royal ,  Princess , Disney ,  MSC  and Norwegian  ).  MSC  was definitely  a  "different  " experience ,  but not  in a bad way.  We loved everything  about both the Divina  and the Seaside ,  and the fact that they matched our loyalty  level  was an added  bonus .  They offer some  great  deals .  Give them  a look.

We've done 24 cruises on Celebrity, 9 on Royal Caribbean, we've also been on Princess, HAL, Norwegian and two of the last three on MSC. We've had enough of the cutbacks and soaring prices so we were ready to walk away from cruising until we tried MSC. Both cruises have been 14 day cruises, on the Seaside, in a Yacht Club Deluxe Suite. Best two cruises ever. We are now of the mindset that's it's MSC Yacht Club, or stay home. Prices on MSC have risen dramatically, but not as high as the other lines. We don't see the value in the new pricing so we might be staying home for awhile.

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OK - you want to go in March (less than two months)

        you want to go for 5 days

        you want to try another line (not Carnival, not Royal Caribbean)

So - your choices (for Bahamas/Caribbean) appear to be - 

        Celebrity Infinity (from Miami)

        Norwegian Sky or Pearl (from Miami)

        Norwegian Sun (from PC)

 

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1 hour ago, KroozFoolz said:

OK - you want to go in March (less than two months)

        you want to go for 5 days

        you want to try another line (not Carnival, not Royal Caribbean)

So - your choices (for Bahamas/Caribbean) appear to be - 

        Celebrity Infinity (from Miami)

        Norwegian Sky or Pearl (from Miami)

        Norwegian Sun (from PC)

If it were me, I think I would pick the Infinity!

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We've taken cruises in March for 3 of the last 4 years during our kids Spring Breaks. We did 1 on Royal, 1 on NCL, and 1 on Carnival. We're doing another one this March and decided to do Royal again mostly for all of the things for kids to do.

 

But among the three, the most fun we had on all three was on NCL Escape, mostly just because my wife and I loved the open air nightclub on the back of the boat each night and the parties they had there. It was much better than anything else to do at night on Carnival or Royal. The lines at the bars on NCL were frustrating though, since everyone has free alcohol package the bars are always crowded. 

 

Besides the nightlife, the free lunches (bbq, guys burgers, mexican) were the best thing about Carnival, and Royal had the most activities for kids.

 

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We always sailed Carnival, we will be going on our first Royal cruise in March 2020. I loved sailing Carnival up until our cruise last July 2019 on the Sunrise out of New York, at which point I cancelled 4 Carnival cruises and booked 4 Royal cruises. I was attacked in the hallway by a group of 10+ 15-18 year old African American kids, they filmed the interaction with them trying to get me to call them the N word. Meanwhile calling me a fat white fa*got. My youngest son was attack in the arcade and all of his arcade tickets stolen. We were on the Lido at the buffet and a huge fight broke out between families right in front of us regarding the legitimacy of a person's kids. I was in the casino and there was a fight between two women and one had her top ripped off and completely bared it all. Every single night we had to call security because people were partying outside our room at 2am in the morning. We contacted John Heald and corporate and no one could do anything to help us, we were prisoners in our room. On the second to the last night the security guard asked my wife what exactly we want them to do because they can't control what's happening on board. I was a staunch Carnival supporter and couldn't understand why people spoke so poorly of them until this.

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18 hours ago, cruisegus said:

But what port do they sail from? very few, not a main cruise line in my opinion


sail out of Miami.  Only a viable option on price and  their newer ships are gorgeous.  Similar itineraries they have their own island now too.  Again I would go Royal or As noted it’s ‘wave season’ for cruise lines they are all(except Royal) giving wifi, drinks, gratuities (Princess,Celebrity, NCL, MSC)

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3 hours ago, bburk00 said:

We always sailed Carnival, we will be going on our first Royal cruise in March 2020. I loved sailing Carnival up until our cruise last July 2019 on the Sunrise out of New York, at which point I cancelled 4 Carnival cruises and booked 4 Royal cruises. I was attacked in the hallway by a group of 10+ 15-18 year old African American kids, they filmed the interaction with them trying to get me to call them the N word. Meanwhile calling me a fat white fa*got. My youngest son was attack in the arcade and all of his arcade tickets stolen. We were on the Lido at the buffet and a huge fight broke out between families right in front of us regarding the legitimacy of a person's kids. I was in the casino and there was a fight between two women and one had her top ripped off and completely bared it all. Every single night we had to call security because people were partying outside our room at 2am in the morning. We contacted John Heald and corporate and no one could do anything to help us, we were prisoners in our room. On the second to the last night the security guard asked my wife what exactly we want them to do because they can't control what's happening on board. I was a staunch Carnival supporter and couldn't understand why people spoke so poorly of them until this.

Was this not caught on camera?

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23 hours ago, John&LaLa said:

 

That was our first cruise, January 1989

 

We still have a souvenir from that cruise.

He's 30 now. 😉

 

Awesome!!!  That was my first cruise, my second was at 30 yrs old I convinced my husband to try a cruise, we had a 2 yr old son and was pregnant with twin boys due in several months.  He was hooked after that and we have all sailed many times.

 

As for the original post we sailed RCCL our first 4-5 cruises, kids in tow, then didn't sail for probably close to 10 years.  We did land/resort vacations.  Well we decided we loved cruising so did a ton of Carnival sailings until Jan 2019 we went on the Harmony and we've been loyal to royal ever since!!  I

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