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Just returned from Magic. Time for break from Carnival?


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44 minutes ago, jimbo5544 said:

Dis not know you sis a review, very interested to check it out  

Yes, I posted it on the HAL board, in order to give that audience a “family traveling with small kids” perspective. It’s hard to get that kind of information on that board. 

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11 hours ago, evandbob said:

Princess, Celebrity, MSC, NCL, and recently Royal's Symphony were lines and ships we tried once we felt we needed a respite from Carnival 

 

Subtle differences between all the ships, it's nice to experience them and even be surprised by some of the unexpected aspects - like the ship with the highest # of passengers (6,300) feeling less crowded than a mid sized carnival ship with 3,000 pax.


Maybe we have just been lucky, but we have never felt the ship was crowded on RCI, which is pretty impressive considering half of their fleet is larger than Carnival’s Vista class ships. I can’t say the same thing about Carnival ships, although usually only portions of the ship are crowded. However, there have been times on Carnival where it seems every place we went was crowded. Like last year on a cruise on Breeze, every night the Comedy Club, Alchemy Bar, Red Frog Pub, Piano Bar and Lobby Bar were all crowded most nights of the cruise. Fortunately that is the exception. On the majority of our Carnival cruises if a few of the places we enjoy were crowded, we would go to another area and find it not very crowded. 

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23 minutes ago, Saint Greg said:


But....the shows all had the same dancers!


If you think that’s bad, last year on Liberty the same band that played in the lobby bar at night also played during America Rocks. You can only imagine our disappointment seeing the same players performing in both the lobby and during a show. 😊

Edited by PhillyFan33579
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1 minute ago, PhillyFan33579 said:


If you think that’s bad, last year on Liberty the same band that played in the lobby bar at night also played during America Rocks. You can only imagine our disappointment seeing the same players performing in both the lobby and during a show. 😊

The audacity🤔

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7 minutes ago, PhillyFan33579 said:


If you think that’s bad, last year on Liberty the same band that played in the lobby bar at night also played during America Rocks. You can only imagine our disappointment seeing the same players performing in both the lobby and during a show. 😊

No need to get snarky.  My point was the shows were all basically the same. I was anticipating a little variety.

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11 hours ago, SunriseCoffee said:

 

We are in about the same situation as you are. 14 Carnival cruises and our first Princess schedule in June. Which Princess ship did you sail on?

 

The Best Sale ever and the desire to try something new is what got us to book Princess. We are back on Carnival for Thanksgiving. 

We were on the Regal, it was an ok ship, I think we are just comfortable with what we know. The only real issues we've encountered while on Carnival is guests who treat the staff poorly, I am sure it's not limited to Carnival but it seemed to be getting more and more common and that bothered us. My boss stated over and over that we would never experience that behavior on Princess and we didn't, the atmosphere just wasn't for us.  We are definitely open to trying another line and came close to booking on NCL but opted for the Magic in two weeks. Enjoy your cruise in June

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4 hours ago, Tapi said:

We just returned last Sunday from a cruise aboard HAL’s Niew Statendam, similar itinerary to yours (Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, Amber Cove plus Key West). We are not in HAL’s traditional, more senior demographics (we are parents in our 40’s raising 8 and 10 year old kids). You would’ve thought that Carnival would’ve been a more appropriate choice for us,  but we decided to give HAL a try because we’d never been to these ports, it was a new ship, but most importantly, because the cruise fare was substantially cheaper than all other cruise lines. Our cruise on HAL was actually $1.3K cheaper than Carnival for the same dates!

 

After booking this cruise, I questioned the decision, A LOT, thinking that it was a bad choice for my young family. I thought that we would all be bored to tears aboard an “old folks” ship. Long story short, we had an absolutely fantastic cruise. Easily one of the best cruises we’ve taken in recent memory as a family. Everything was “just nicer”. We came home craving another cruise on Holland America. Even my kids, who I thought would’ve had the hardest time with HAL’s calmer and more adult atmosphere, came home raving about it. 
 

It’s definitely NOT for everybody though. HAL excels in many regards specially in their impeccable service and culinary council cuisine, but I wouldn’t recommend it blindly to anybody, specially cruisers who do enjoy the more energetic and entertainment driven atmosphere found on other cruise lines. They may consider this cruise line a snooze fest.
 

What I’m trying to say is that I recommend trying other cruise lines. See what they have to offer, and if it’s something that will be appealing to you. Like we experienced, you won’t really know if they are for you until you actually try them for yourself. 

 

Feel free to read my photo review, posted on the HAL board. I hope it gives you a good source of comparison and helps you determine if you’re ready to try something different. Click here: Our Cruise aboard the Niew Statendam

Great review.  We've done one HAL cruise, to Alaska.  It was a reward from work, and didn't have to pay for it. We did enjoy the ambiance of that cruise.  we've also done Celebrity, and enjoyed that as well. We also did NCL to Europe and a couple of RCL cruises.  it's not like I haven't sailed other lines. I always seem to come back to Carnival because the experience was 'good enough' for the price.  I just think it's not anymore.  I don't mean to offend anyone by trying to have a civil discussion about pros and cons.

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8 minutes ago, LPYRCRUISER said:

Great review.  We've done one HAL cruise, to Alaska.  It was a reward from work, and didn't have to pay for it. We did enjoy the ambiance of that cruise.  we've also done Celebrity, and enjoyed that as well. We also did NCL to Europe and a couple of RCL cruises.  it's not like I haven't sailed other lines. I always seem to come back to Carnival because the experience was 'good enough' for the price.  I just think it's not anymore.  I don't mean to offend anyone by trying to have a civil discussion about pros and cons.

There is nothing wrong with posting your experiences or thoughts.  All good. 

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2 hours ago, LPYRCRUISER said:

I always seem to come back to Carnival because the experience was 'good enough' for the price.  I just think it's not anymore.

Sometimes people just need a break from a cruise line, and sometimes they just need something new. It may not necessarily mean that the cruise line has deteriorated. 
 

We took an 8 year break from Carnival. At the time, I remember feeling fed up with the Carnival product for no particular reason, and I just needed something different, so I spent the next few years bouncing from cruise line to cruise line.  We finally returned to Carnival last year and had a great time. Yes, there were some changes but the experience taught me that overall, Carnival is still pretty much the same. But the most important thing that it taught me is that I’m the one that has changed. I’m older, and the things about Carnival that were exciting to me when I was in my 20’s and 30’s aren’t as exciting in my 40’s. 
 

So I’ll continue bouncing around from cruise line to cruise line. To me, that’s more exciting. I’m not writing Carnival completely off (we have a Panama Canal Cruise booked), but I will not sail one cruise line exclusively ever again. 

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3 hours ago, PhillyFan33579 said:


If you think that’s bad, last year on Liberty the same band that played in the lobby bar at night also played during America Rocks. You can only imagine our disappointment seeing the same players performing in both the lobby and during a show. 😊

We had similar experience on the Sunrise.

 

We enjoyed them at both venue's.

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, grandmarnnurse said:

I, too, am a nurse. A retired RN. And there is no way in hell that I’d bring disposable gloves on a cruise. That’s about as silly as seeing all these people wearing masks that aren’t going to do them any good, since only a fit tested N-95 would work. I just carry my bottle of hand sanitizer that I use, after I have washed in cabin, but used hand rails to prevent falls. Alcohol based hand sanitizer are effective against Coronavirus. But make sure your bottles of hand sanitizer are new, not expired, as the alcohol in them evaporates over time, and makes the bottle useless. I also use Zoono, a 24 hour foam hand sanitizer that works differently in how it kills the germs. 

I understand it sounds silly.  I'm not sure I'd even choose to be on a cruise ship right now, with the wildfire spread of the virus even in the midst of quarantine & infection control measures.  What we know about this coronavirus is based on what is effective on other coronaviruses, but it is too new for there to be studies.  Hence the "novel" designation.  

As for it already leveling off in China, they have taken extreme measures to limit the spread.  Travel bans within regions that are heavily infected - preventing their citizens from leaving the area.  Also a high degree of testing & trying to limit the spread by enforced quarantines.   We are not restricting travel within the US, at least for now, and our capacity to test is nowhere near what it needs to be to even determine the extent of the population affected.  

 

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Been on both Carnival and Princess. No dramatic difference. I prefer Carnival.

You get what you pay for. Many options, more expensive, out there. The luxury cruise lines are not known for great entertainment though.

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On 3/5/2020 at 1:08 PM, grandmarnnurse said:

As someone who tried to branch out and try different lines, I can tell you I’m very happy to return to Carnival. I cruised two RCCL ships, the Indy and the Oasis. Let just say they lived up to their motto of WOW. They were gorgeous. But anytime you need to reserve your shows before your cruise even sets sail, was not appealing to me. And then to sit through CATS was pure torture. And they were the biggest culprits of nickel and dimeing you onboard. No thanks. We left RCCL, and decided to try NCL. We found Freestyle Cruising absolutely fabulous! We loved the more casual atmosphere and the ability to eat wherever and whenever we wanted. And their Broadway show, Million Dollar Quartet, was awesome! But there was something lacking that we missed, and that was the “fun factor”. We returned to Carnival last year, and were so glad we did. The food was better, and there was always some activity and music everywhere! Their shows are just the right length—30 minutes (endured CATS on RCCL for THREE HOURS!!), but I admit, some were just terrible. The shows and performers on my Breeze cruise last year were awful, but the shows and performers on my February Glory cruise were excellent, and we really enjoyed them. I will be cruising the Magic in April for a B2B, and if I find the shows or performers to not be so good, I just won’t go to another show on another night. There is plenty of other entertainment to keep us busy. And we love how the price point of everything Carnival fits our retirement budget. RCCL has gotten way too pricey, and NCL’s price point is creeping up to cover their Free At Sea promotions. So, for now, I am more than happy with Carnival, but everyone has their own expectations and needs in a cruise, and they need to go wherever t makes them happy. It’s worth it to try. Who knows, you may coming running back, as I did.

 

 

So you have to set up reservations for everything?! 

 

Oh that's too much. 

 

I only been with carnival but wanted to Branch out because the other ships had Haiti and other places carnival doesn't visit.

 

 

I like carnival because my mood changes one minute I will walk and listen to the singing but if they aren't singing good that night I'll walk out and listen to who ever singing near the Havana area.

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46 minutes ago, Sagittarius traveler said:

 

 

So you have to set up reservations for everything?! 

 

Oh that's too much. 

 

I only been with carnival but wanted to Branch out because the other ships had Haiti and other places carnival doesn't visit.

 

 

I like carnival because my mood changes one minute I will walk and listen to the singing but if they aren't singing good that night I'll walk out and listen to who ever singing near the Havana area.

Yup. All shows needed to be reserved prior to boarding. Your reservation is loaded to your sail card, and they scan the cards as you enter the venue. If no reservation, you can not enter until about 5 minutes before the show, if any seats available. And then your party may not all get to sit together. Someone on here mentioned it’s no big deal, but it is. How do you know what you want to do that night, when you want to eat, etc before you even board. No thank you! We RAN back to Carnival!

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Wow, I don't like the schedule because j have a schedule when not vacationing lol wake up, ready for elementary, ready for work , dinner repeat (sometimes).

 

Thanks for mentioning that .

2 minutes ago, grandmarnnurse said:

Yup. All shows needed to be reserved prior to boarding. Your reservation is loaded to your sail card, and they scan the cards as you enter the venue. If no reservation, you can not enter until about 5 minutes before the show, if any seats available. And then your party may not all get to sit together. Someone on here mentioned it’s no big deal, but it is. How do you know what you want to do that night, when you want to eat, etc before you even board. No thank you! We RAN back to Carnival!

 

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11 minutes ago, grandmarnnurse said:

Someone on here mentioned it’s no big deal, but it is. How do you know what you want to do that night, when you want to eat, etc before you even board. No thank you! We RAN back to Carnival!


Whether the reservation requirements are a big deal are not depends on the individual. While you think they are a big deal, I don’t think they are at all. However, my wife and I have been on close to 40 cruises so we have a pretty good idea what we will want to do on any cruise we take. I like knowing that each night of the cruise on one of RCI’s largest ships we have something planned.  And if for some reason we don’t feel like going or if we are having more fun doing something else, we skip the show. There is no right or wrong way here, it just comes down to individual preferences, which is one of the great things about cruising (i.e. there are so many different options out there). 

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On 3/5/2020 at 9:51 AM, LPYRCRUISER said:

We just returned on Saturday from a 6 day on Magic.  There were some things that Carnival did really well and others, not so much.

 

Embarkation  - We had the 12:00 to 12:30 check in time.  Our shuttle from our hotel only had the 10AM slot open, so we took that.  Arrived at the port and it was crazy with passengers just getting off the ship.  We went to check in and it went very quickly and efficiently.  I believe we were aboard around 11AM.

 

Dining - We immediately went to the barbeque on deck 5.  there was no line and plenty of seating.  the food was good. We ate our breakfasts in the main dining room.  Food and service were always good. Went to the Italian place one day for lunch.  Very good!  We did Guy's for lunch one day.  Good burgers and fries.  The rest of the days we were in port.  Never did eat at the buffet except for the chocolate extravaganza.  What's not to like?  We ate dinner in the Northern Lights dining room.  We had assigned early seating.  This normally takes place in the Southern Lights dining room, but I emailed the maitre'd and asked to be seated as mid ship as possible as we have some in our group who are sensitive to movement.  I was very pleased he placed us in the mid ship dining room.  However, the meals were very hit or miss.  Some nights the food was excellent and others just average. Our waiter Joseph and his assistants were excellent!

 

Room  -- We had a mid-ship balcony.  Our steward asked if we wanted morning or evening service.  I asked for both and he accommodated us with stellar service and attitude!

 

Entertainment  -- This is where Carnival seemed to falter.  We had four different shows but with the same cast.  The Carnival singers and dancers were OK, but seemed to be trying too hard.  A lot of screaming instead of singing.  The quality is just not up to the standards of other cruise lines we have sailed.  The Comedy club was good!  Saw two different comediennes and enjoyed them both.  The Love and Marriage show is always a hoot!

 

Ports  -  LOVE Half Moon Cay. Grand Turk was good, although we didn't get a chair at the beach. The locals were charging $50 for 2 chairs with umbrellas.  We found spots at the pool and enjoyed that.  We stayed on the ship at Amber Cove.  Just felt that lounging on the ship would be less hassle and more relaxing.

 

Disembarkation  -- Did self assist. We were at the airport by taxi at 7:30.

 

Overall thoughts. -  I can't say I didn't enjoy our cruise.  I just think we're more in tuned for a more upscale experience in dining and entertainment.  I still think Carnival gives you the biggest bang for your buck, but you do get what you pay for.  I'm ready to try Princess and see how it compares.  if there's something I didn't mention and anyone has questions, I'd be happy to answer.

You know I get what you mean.  I took a cruise in Feb with my daughter.  Service great, food blah and entertainment OK. I miss the adult amenities that other lines offer.  I think I'm just a bit burned out and need to try another cruise line.  I will definitely come back to Carnival, it is a great bang for the buck but sometimes you gotta shake it up a bit. 

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We just disembarked the Magic. Thought the Playlist shows were terrible. Had awful service the first 3 nights in the MDR... like 45 minute wait for bread, no bar service,  wrong/missing food, etc. However, we thought the FunSquad was probably the best we’ve ever sailed with. Simon is amazing as a CD. Loved Shay in comedy, and we enjoyed all the effort they all put in. 

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I'm not going through all these responses but when i read your heading I was expecting the worst. Then I read the OP's post and couldn't see any issues. Maybe for you it is time for a change butbfor my family and I we love what cardinal has to offer, we'll definately try something else down the road but right now no complaints on our end. 3 up coming Carnival cruises booked. 

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On 3/5/2020 at 11:51 AM, LPYRCRUISER said:

We just returned on Saturday from a 6 day on Magic.  There were some things that Carnival did really well and others, not so much.

 

Embarkation  - We had the 12:00 to 12:30 check in time.  Our shuttle from our hotel only had the 10AM slot open, so we took that.  Arrived at the port and it was crazy with passengers just getting off the ship.  We went to check in and it went very quickly and efficiently.  I believe we were aboard around 11AM.

 

Dining - We immediately went to the barbeque on deck 5.  there was no line and plenty of seating.  the food was good. We ate our breakfasts in the main dining room.  Food and service were always good. Went to the Italian place one day for lunch.  Very good!  We did Guy's for lunch one day.  Good burgers and fries.  The rest of the days we were in port.  Never did eat at the buffet except for the chocolate extravaganza.  What's not to like?  We ate dinner in the Northern Lights dining room.  We had assigned early seating.  This normally takes place in the Southern Lights dining room, but I emailed the maitre'd and asked to be seated as mid ship as possible as we have some in our group who are sensitive to movement.  I was very pleased he placed us in the mid ship dining room.  However, the meals were very hit or miss.  Some nights the food was excellent and others just average. Our waiter Joseph and his assistants were excellent!

 

Room  -- We had a mid-ship balcony.  Our steward asked if we wanted morning or evening service.  I asked for both and he accommodated us with stellar service and attitude!

 

Entertainment  -- This is where Carnival seemed to falter.  We had four different shows but with the same cast.  The Carnival singers and dancers were OK, but seemed to be trying too hard.  A lot of screaming instead of singing.  The quality is just not up to the standards of other cruise lines we have sailed.  The Comedy club was good!  Saw two different comediennes and enjoyed them both.  The Love and Marriage show is always a hoot!

 

Ports  -  LOVE Half Moon Cay. Grand Turk was good, although we didn't get a chair at the beach. The locals were charging $50 for 2 chairs with umbrellas.  We found spots at the pool and enjoyed that.  We stayed on the ship at Amber Cove.  Just felt that lounging on the ship would be less hassle and more relaxing.

 

Disembarkation  -- Did self assist. We were at the airport by taxi at 7:30.

 

Overall thoughts. -  I can't say I didn't enjoy our cruise.  I just think we're more in tuned for a more upscale experience in dining and entertainment.  I still think Carnival gives you the biggest bang for your buck, but you do get what you pay for.  I'm ready to try Princess and see how it compares.  if there's something I didn't mention and anyone has questions, I'd be happy to answer.

It's possible some of the entertainment bailed because they didn't want to risk catching the Coronavirus.  I know I would have. 

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On 3/5/2020 at 11:13 AM, LPYRCRUISER said:

 I can't say I didn't enjoy our cruise.

this was in my original post.  maybe it's because I'm now of medicare age and my tastes and needs have changed over the last 35 years.  I've always defended Carnival to the haters and I'm not trying to slam them now.  I've always wondered if the lines where you pay more, Princess, HAL  & Celebrity, were worth the extra. I'm very frugal, and Carnival has always delivered.

BINGO we are right there with you......medicare age and retired for both of us and with 20+ Carnival cruises under our belts we were looking for a change.  We are Floridians so we have always cruised out of Florida ports.  We are wintering in Yuma, Arizona this year and I found a 7-day HAL out of San Diego and we tried it.  Since we were newbies I booked an ocean view obstructed room.  WOW we were blow away and we loved the ship and everything associated with the cruise.  Our room was as big as a balcony room on Carnival.  Too many pluses to list here.....I have a list two columns long!

 

We are booked on Horizon for December 2020 in a Havana aft balcony cabin.  After sailing Vista and fighting the lines and crowds the only way I would sail that class of ship again would be in a Havana cabin.  These cabins book early and are difficult to find and we were blessed to get a booking.  We will be cruising with our friends and I plan on spending the majority of my time in the Havana area pool & hot tub away from the crowds.

 

Being retired has its advantages we don't have to utilize vacation days and we can cruise any time of the year and we try and avoid school and college breaks.  Cruising is not anything like it was when I started cruising back in the 90's, but just my opinion.

 

Whatever you choose enjoy and stay safe!  Thanks again for taking the time to share your experience with us.

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On 3/5/2020 at 12:01 PM, LPYRCRUISER said:

When I go on a cruise, I just want to laze all day.  but once the sun goes down I would like an excellent meal and outstanding entertainment.  I just felt a little let down.

 

I admittedly haven't done a large variety of lines (Carnival, Royal, Norwegian, and Princess), but based on research I've done for some upcoming travel (booked on Viking Ocean for our 25th anniversary) I think there is a bit of an inverse relationship between food and entertainment.

We are not wowed by Playlist Productions, but do generally enjoy the house band at Red Frog Pub.  We don't attend the comedy shows, but Carnival consistently gets good reviews for them.  Royal Caribbean has some of the best "wow factor" entertainment, and we also enjoyed Princess and Norwegian shows better than Carnival, but included food was hit or miss on all lines.

 

On 3/5/2020 at 2:58 PM, scpirate said:

They didn't say it was bad.they just felt it could have been better.i know how they feel .my third carnival Cruise made me go in a different direction even though I come back and forth.carnival serves a purpose but it's not "the one" to everyone.

 

I agree.  Even though we are branching out to Viking (very different experience than mainstream) I am sure we will return to Carnival depending on the type of vacation we are seeking.

 

On 3/5/2020 at 4:41 PM, wolft927 said:

So, I have worked on board NCL, Cruised RCCL, Princess, Carnival, Premier and also Dolphin Cruise lines when they were around. Reading your post i think you would absolutely like Princess. Much more elegant, Entertainment i would say is not much better then Carnival as far as the production shows. Food, hands down Princess. Regal Princess was an amazing ship but i will say that by 11pm,  everyone has gone to bed lol. I cruise Carnival now more often simply because I do not need to fly to my port and because i still enjoy the laid back atmosphere. Best of luck with future cruises

Regal Princess is the ship we sailed, and my perspective is a little different than yours.  I did feel they was an understated "elegance" for lack of a better word, but it was subtle to me rather than drastically different than Carnival.  Carnival is very much a Fun ship, while Princess was much more relaxing and being at ease.  I did find the production shows much better, but alternative entertainment did seem very sedate (although a few others were still in the night club when we went to bed around midnight 😉 ).

Food to me was very hit or miss.  We enjoyed Alfredo's and the Winemaker's Table (upcharge) is one of the best dining experiences I've had land or sea yet the MDR, buffet, and international cafe were just meh for me and I was very glad to find Blue Iguana and Guys when we returned to Carnival.

 

OP - I understand being disappointed even when on the surface it seems the cruise was overall fine.  Sometimes we want better than fine 🙂 I hope you find what you are looking for.

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