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MsRay1961

Carnival or Royal Caribbean out of Galveston

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Hi everyone.  Mom and Dad are taking 6 grown kids (all 50+) on a cruise in June out of Galveston (we're in Texas).  Dad's put me in charge of picking the destination and ship.  I've been researching the differences in Carnival and RC ships and the ports, but I'm almost as confused as I was when I started researching!  First, the ports: I want to see the Mayan ruins and Grand Cayman so I need to pick one.  Any opinions on great ports?  Secondly, which ship?  We were supposed to go on Carnival Vista last summer but they had the propulsion situation, so we cancelled that trip when the dates were changed.  I've read the negative reviews of the entertainment area on the Vista (too small and bad layout for # of guests).  Enchantment of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas both have an average 4 rating on cruisecritic, but Carnival Freedom and Vista have average 4.5 rating.  I know I won't be able to please everyone in the family, but any input, comments, suggestions would be appreciated!  TIA!  

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For Mayan Ruins, the port stop of Costa Maya would be a must. https://www.thenativechoice.com/tours/chacchoben-ruins-tour

Any other ruins requires much longer bus rides which can be tiring.

 

Grand Cayman,,, I have never heard of anyone being disappointed with a stop at Stingray City to swim with the Stingrays. Even if someone is uncomfortable and wants to stay on the boat while others swim. Still a good time is had by all. I recommend https://www.captainmarvins.com/stingray-city/

 

Carnival or Royal

Out of 100 people 33 are going to say Royal, 33 are going to say Carnival, and the remaining are going to say "we've sailed on both and they are more alike than different". My wife and I are in our 60's and love both cruiselines. Carnival is more FUN in our opinion ( and alcohol consumption has nothing to do with FUN). We like Royal because we book suites and Royal has better amenities for suite guests. We've gained just as much weight on either cruiseline so food is equal, and we've lost just as much money in the casinos, so the gaming is equal.

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I've sailed both lines and I like Royal Caribbean better....specifically Liberty of the Seas.  LOS has some of the best entertainment at sea.  The 90 minute production of Saturday Night Fever is every bit as good as seeing it on the big stage at home.  Plus, the ice shows are also excellent.  

Edited by Aquahound

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Thank you Paul!  LOS is what I'm leaning towards.  The only negative I've read is that the venue for some of the entertainment is too small for the number of guests, but we'd just go early for best seats to Saturday Night Fever!

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7 hours ago, MsRay1961 said:

Thank you Paul!  LOS is what I'm leaning towards.  The only negative I've read is that the venue for some of the entertainment is too small for the number of guests, but we'd just go early for best seats to Saturday Night Fever!


the only venue that is usually too small is the comedy club.  For some reason they are never big enough on any ship....

 

The theater, ice skating show, etc are all large enough to handle a good crowd...

 

Go on You Tube and look at a video of the LOS....you will love it!!

Edited by GTO-Girl

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I'm with Liberty as well. Been on her once and booked for November. 
I like Carnival but feel Royal definitely has better shows. Have also sailed Harmony and Allure.

 

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I will be Platinum on Carnival soon and love their comedy shows.  I really don't like the Vista because or the poorly designed theater and layout of the comedy club.  Everything else about it was fine.

I have been on Liberty of the Seas and had an awesome time.  The shows are much better than Carnival's shows (except for the comedy shows).  The game shows are equivalent. Carnival has outside entertainment in the pool area, which is great.  Their dive-in movies are also fun.  Carnival also has Guy's Burgers and Blue Iguana as lunch options near the pool area.  
I would choose Liberty of the Seas because I think it will appeal to everyone.  The layout is great.  They have wonderful shows.  Just get there early to get good seats. Not that any of you guys would prefer buffet for dinner, but Royal's dinner buffet is much better than Carnival's. 

For me, the only negatives for Liberty of the Seas were interruptions while eating in the buffet to sell drink and dining packages, no self service laundry (I am crazy that way.  I travel light and wash a load mid cruise), comedy wasn't nearly as good, missed not having Guy's Burgers and Blue Iguana as lunch options, the vibe wasn't as energetic.The positives were much better theater shows, the ice show, the layout of the ship, great buffet food at dinner, and it felt so much less crowded.   

I didn't like the Vista and haven't been on the Freedom, although I am thinking of planning a cruise on that ship this August.

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No question for me. I think Liberty of the Seas is the best option out of Galveston. Like the last poster, I do not like Carnival’s Vista Class. Way too crowded. 

Edited by Cruzaholic41

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Liberty.  Best ship Ive been on out of about 10.  We went last  January and liked her so much we booked her again last December just to goon her again before she leaves Galveston in about a year. (boo hoo) Excellent spaces, excellent entertainment, larger cabins than most, very good food, easy to find quiet spaces, loved the adult only area, good stuff for younger, energetic cruisers, excellent service everywhere.  Loved hanging out in the promenade cafe listening to music drift down the promenade in the evening.    Loved the Cayman,  Jamaica, Cozumel intinerary.  Slowww embarkation though.  Go early or late.

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46 minutes ago, jannray said:

 Slowww embarkation though.  Go early or late.

 

Agreed, but that's on indictment on the Port of Galveston.  It was the same on Carnival Liberty.  Even getting in to the port parking lot, getting parked, and riding the shuttle to the terminal took almost an hour.  It was one of the worst embarkations I've ever had.  

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1 hour ago, Aquahound said:

 

Agreed, but that's on indictment on the Port of Galveston.  It was the same on Carnival Liberty.  Even getting in to the port parking lot, getting parked, and riding the shuttle to the terminal took almost an hour.  It was one of the worst embarkations I've ever had.  

My Dad complained about disembarking on Carnival, but I told him it was probably the ports' fault, so RC probably wouldn't be any faster.  

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Thanks for your input!  I booked 3 rooms on Liberty of the Seas for the 6/28 cruise out of Galveston.  I'm pretty sure I clicked on "pick my room" on all 3 sections, but it never showed me what rooms were available.  Will they give me a choice of rooms later?  I chose that options so that we could try to stay on the same deck.  TIA!

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22 minutes ago, MsRay1961 said:

Thanks for your input!  I booked 3 rooms on Liberty of the Seas for the 6/28 cruise out of Galveston.  I'm pretty sure I clicked on "pick my room" on all 3 sections, but it never showed me what rooms were available.  Will they give me a choice of rooms later?  I chose that options so that we could try to stay on the same deck.  TIA!

 

Great!  I think you made the right choice.  I've cruised LOS several times and I loved it every single time.  The ship is amazing.  Don't miss the shows.  They're some of the best at sea.  

 

Ref the rooms, I'm not sure what happened.  If you haven't already done so, create an account on the RCI website.  When you register your upcoming cruise...I think all you need is you last name and reservation #...it'll show what room you're in.  That is, if you didn't choose guarantee (they pick).

Edited by Aquahound

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On 2/4/2020 at 9:07 PM, MsRay1961 said:

Thanks for your input!  I booked 3 rooms on Liberty of the Seas for the 6/28 cruise out of Galveston.  I'm pretty sure I clicked on "pick my room" on all 3 sections, but it never showed me what rooms were available.  Will they give me a choice of rooms later?  I chose that options so that we could try to stay on the same deck.  TIA!


*******. If you are letting them pick your room that means you have chosen a “guarantee” rate...which means they can put you anywhere they choose on the ship.  Maybe together....possibly could not be together!!!  It could be good rooms or it could be rooms that didn’t sell because of location, etc.*****

 

I would call back and pick your rooms yourself....even if they are not beside each other maybe you can get at least on the same floor.  You may have to pay a bit more to do this, but I would rather pick my own room than leave it up to the cruise line!!  


Just don’t want you to wait until they “assign” you at room right before sailing and you are disappointed....

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I've only been on 2 cruises.  Both on RCL (Liberty and Vision).  I'm going on my 1st Carnival cruise in April.  I really like RCL but I wanted to give Carnival a try.  So far the biggest disadvantage about going on Carnival is that I don't get double loyalty points like I do on RCL because i'm a solo cruiser.

 

 

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2 hours ago, IonImplantTech said:

I've only been on 2 cruises.  Both on RCL (Liberty and Vision).  I'm going on my 1st Carnival cruise in April.  I really like RCL but I wanted to give Carnival a try.  So far the biggest disadvantage about going on Carnival is that I don't get double loyalty points like I do on RCL because i'm a solo cruiser.

 

 

As a solo traveler, do you  have to pay double?  There are some cruises I'd like to take, but friends and family can't get away.  Going by myself wouldn't be bad.

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18 minutes ago, MsRay1961 said:

As a solo traveler, do you  have to pay double?  There are some cruises I'd like to take, but friends and family can't get away.  Going by myself wouldn't be bad.

 

I never really paid too much attention.  When i've been pricing i've seen double, more than  double and less than.  I just price a cruise to answer this question and it was a couple more hundred more than double for a 7 day cruise.  Thats why I carnival for me is a negative, they don't offer 2x reward points.

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On 3/5/2020 at 7:08 PM, MsRay1961 said:

As a solo traveler, do you  have to pay double?  There are some cruises I'd like to take, but friends and family can't get away.  Going by myself wouldn't be bad.

 

On Royal Caribbean you usually have to pay double. Sometimes you can find a deal where it is less than double. 

 

If you travel solo on RC you do get double reward points. 

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Since you mentioned Mayan ruins specifically, you should be aware of the following:

 

First, do not take the Mayan ruins excursion from Cozumel. There are no ruins on the island, and the excursion actually involves a long ferry crossing to the mainland, and then a bus ride to and from the ruins, and of course the long ferry ride back again. This is an all day excursion for (IMO) minimal time at the ruins and a maximum of time getting to and from.

 

You can see Chacchoben ruins from the Costa Maya port stop. There is a fairly lengthy bus ride involved, but many people feel the tour is a good value.

 

If you're doing a longer Western Caribbean itinerary that includes Belize, consider the ruins at Lamanai (spl?) in Belize. This too is an all day tour involving a river trip and bus ride, but the ruins are far more impressive than any of the two offered from the Mexico ports. 

 

As to cruise line choices, I would always prefer Royal over Carnival. But the mainstream cruise lines all offer the same basic product, and in the end a cruise is what you choose to make of it.

 

 

 

 

 

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Have not been on the Enchantment OTS but we have been on the others you mentioned - some more than once.  I would recommend them all except the Vista.  We did a B2B on her last Nov and found her not to be our favorite ship for a lot of reasons but did find the crew to be great.  If everyone is over 50 and would prefer a more mature crowd, I would probably suggest an RCCL ship on a cruise 7 days or longer.

 

There is a Mayan ruin excursion from Cozumel which takes you to the mainland (Tulum, I believe).  There is one on Cozumel but it is, in my opinion, false.  I would not recommend it.  But, if you don't mind an 8 hour excursion to the mainland, you can probably find a cruise that stops in Cozumel and Grand Cayman and have both your wishes satisfied.

 

I agree with the comments by others that the comedy venue is always packed - makes no difference which cruise line, which ship, or which performance (early or late) - they are always crowded.  My opinion is that Carnival's entertainment may lag behind some other cruise lines but it is, on many occasions, a case by case opinion.  Are you really there to be "WOW'd" by each and every performance?  

 

I will have to say that, as a proud military retiree, Carnival, hands down, has the most respect for veterans and by any measure, the best Veteran's gathering.  

 

Don't think I have helped you a lot but after 30 cruises on 4 different cruise lines I have to say that the worst cruise we ever had was ---- WONDERFUL!!  If something isn't 100% to your liking; smile, breathe in, breathe out, move on.

 

Hope you have a great cruise!

 

 

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On 3/5/2020 at 5:08 PM, MsRay1961 said:

As a solo traveler, do you  have to pay double?  There are some cruises I'd like to take, but friends and family can't get away.  Going by myself wouldn't be bad.

I've always had to pay double for solo but think you have the whole closet and bathroom to yourself!  Presently solo gets double points.    Pricing studio rooms I find sometimes they are as expensive as a single - smaller and no double points.

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