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9 hours ago, crusinpsychRN said:

Food is probably not as good. Some ships strictly enforce you can't go to cabin until 1:30pm.

We've sailed with Carnival from 2012 to now and find the food to be just as good, although the menu is more limited now (which can make it a challenge for DW to find something she can eat).

 

OP,  your sail and sign card will now be at your cabin when they are ready and until you get to the cabin you will use your boarding pass for any purchases (this procedure is also used by other cruise lines and it does speed up the embarkation process while controlling access to the cabins). For embarkation you choose the time you want to show up to the port and that is when you show up. This also speeds up embarkation. If you show up early or late they have a separate line for those folks and will check people in once the other line is empty. If you input your credit card info on the website and complete the online check in then you are checked in at the door to the terminal and there is no need to go to the counter.

 

In the main dining room they have implemented American Table which consists of a new menu (as I said with more limited options) and no table clothes on non-elegant nights. This change caused a lot of discussion here on Cruise Critic and for us it's not an issue since most of the restaurants we frequent at home don't use table clothes, either. Also the menu will include a la carte offerings from the steakhouse so if you want the steakhouse filet mignon you can order that for a lower price than going to the steakhouse (don't forget to order sides from the regular menu to augment the entree'). On sea days they offer sea day brunch in the MDR instead of breakfast. They open a little later and go a little later. I've enjoyed the brunch menu that they offer and eating later on a sea day works well for us. 

 

For the cabin your steward will give you a card that allows you to pick when your cabin is serviced- morning, evening or both. We've never had a steward balk at "both". They've added Guys Burgers to all ships now (I think) and Blue Iguana which offers made to order Mexican food (and offers a great breakfast burrito from what I've read). Entertainment has taken a step back in the main theater and they have a lot more shows that are audience participation. I believe that Punchliners comedy is the same. That's what I can think of off the top of my head. We still find that Carnival gives us a good value for our vacation dollar.

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10 hours ago, crusinpsychRN said:

Food is probably not as good. Some ships strictly enforce you can't go to cabin until 1:30pm.


Food is very subjective, but I agree with your comment that food in the MDR is not as good as it was in the past. I still think the food in the MDR is good, but to get the quality of food you used to get in the MDR you have to go to a speciality restaurant. 
 

Keep in mind this is just my opinion, with food quality being one of the most subjective topics discussed on this site. Personally I think food in the MDR is better on Royal Carribean than Carnival, but I have friends who feel just the opposite. I do think most people will agree the food quality is better in the speciality restaurants, but a lot of people don’t think it is worth paying extra to eat in these restaurants. 

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We also took a hiatus from Carnival. We sailed last in 2011 and then we didn’t sail again on Carnival until 2019.

What we encountered:

- More efficient check in process
- MDR and buffet food the same.
- Blue Iguana and Guy’s are nice additions to the food linen up
- Stage entertainment considerably worse
- Overall maintenance and upkeep throughout the ship worse. Many neglected areas.
- Crewmembers still as friendly as always, but definitely spread a bit too thin. Twice daily stateroom service now optional.

Overall, the same Carnival atmosphere is still there, and we considered the negatives or things that aren’t as nice as before to be negligible. We had a great time. Still a good value for the money but we did get a sense that corners are being cut.

Prior to this cruise, we spent the last few years bouncing across various cruise lines, and our general feel is that, the gap between the Carnival product and others is widening.


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40 minutes ago, Tapi said:

Prior to this cruise, we spent the last few years bouncing across various cruise lines, and our general feel is that, the gap between the Carnival product and others is widening.


When you mention the gap widening, is Carnival better or worse than other cruise lines in your opinion?  I have never had a bad cruise on Carnival, but currently I think Royal Carribean offers a better overall experience, which is why our next handful of cruises are all booked on Royal. Hopefully we will get to go on at least a few of them. Our next one is the end of May, but I am not too optimistic about that cruise not being cancelled. 

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5 hours ago, PhillyFan33579 said:

When you mention the gap widening, is Carnival better or worse than other cruise lines in your opinion? 

I don’t want to say that Carnival is categorically worse because I think that, even with the changes in the Carnival product, and the increase in competition from other cruise lines, they still provide a product preferred by many. There are some things that Carnival does exceptionally well and that other cruise lines simply can’t replicate. 
 

The gap that I referred to has to do more with “value for the money”. Years ago, I considered  Carnival to be the best value for the money because they were consistently the price leader. These days, I find that other cruise lines, even those in the premium market, are many times offering fares that are either comparable to Carnival’s, or even cheaper. So that, combined with the changes that Carnival has made over the last years, make that gap in product offered vs. money paid wider. 
 

For example, we just sailed on Holland America’s newest Pinnacle class ship, the Niew Statendam, and we paid $1.4K less than a Carnival cruise that same week. When you’re paying less to sail on a premium cruise line than on a budget minded cruise line it makes the decision to branch out to other cruise lines easier.  

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On 3/25/2020 at 12:13 AM, Big2Little4me said:

Our last cruise was in 2013 on the splendor.  We are hoping to sail for our 20th anniversary in September in the sunrise.  What is going to be different?? 

the price maybe lower. I have a cruise for June and it is lower than a cruise I took ten years ago. 

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8 hours ago, Tapi said:

We also took a hiatus from Carnival. We sailed last in 2011 and then we didn’t sail again on Carnival until 2019.

What we encountered:

- More efficient check in process
- MDR and buffet food the same.
- Blue Iguana and Guy’s are nice additions to the food linen up
- Stage entertainment considerably worse
- Overall maintenance and upkeep throughout the ship worse. Many neglected areas.
- Crewmembers still as friendly as always, but definitely spread a bit too thin. Twice daily stateroom service now optional.

Overall, the same Carnival atmosphere is still there, and we considered the negatives or things that aren’t as nice as before to be negligible. We had a great time. Still a good value for the money but we did get a sense that corners are being cut.

Prior to this cruise, we spent the last few years bouncing across various cruise lines, and our general feel is that, the gap between the Carnival product and others is widening.

 

As usual, I have to agree with @Tapi. We stopped sailing on Carnival in 2012 due to various reasons and explored other lines until we returned for another Carnival cruise in Dec 2019.

 

I can echo nearly all of the same thoughts in the above quote. Although the cruise was okay, it is no longer the experience I am looking for when traveling. We simply outgrew Carnival and prefer cruise lines that focus on service, sophistication and attention to detail while providing an immersive experience.

 

Lately we’ve been sailing Princess and Royal Caribbean and have enjoyed every single one.

Edited by xDisconnections
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1 hour ago, xDisconnections said:

As usual, I have to agree with @Tapi. We stopped sailing on Carnival in 2012 due to various reasons and explored other lines until we returned for another Carnival cruise in Dec 2019.

 

I can echo nearly all of the same thoughts in the above quote. Although the cruise was okay, it is no longer the experience I am looking for when traveling. We simply outgrew Carnival and prefer cruise lines that focus on service, sophistication and attention to detail while providing an immersive experience.

 

Lately we’ve been sailing Princess and Royal Caribbean and have enjoyed every single one.

I have dire fears for your cruise line of choice.  

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When I cruised Royal with my kids I spent 1/2 the trip signing releases for them to do different activities. Each time they got in line to do something even if it was the same activity I had to sign permission.  Hope they changed that nuisance.

 

On Princess my son and I found a pool no one seemed to know about. It had a button to turn it into a wave pool. I think it was Grand Princess. 

Edited by crusinpsychRN
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19 minutes ago, crusinpsychRN said:

When I cruised Royal with my kids I spent 1/2 the trip signing releases for them to do different activities. Each time they got in line to do something even if it was the same activity I had to sign permission.  Hope they changed that nuisance.

 

On Princess my son and I found a pool no one seemed to know about. It had a button to turn it into a wave pool. I think it was Grand Princess. 

You can sign all the waivers online ahead of time so you don’t have to fill the, out onboard.

 

The pool you’re thinking of is the Lotus Spa pool — available on Grand and Gem class ships.

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