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Is There A Cruise Line You Are Tempted To Try Sailing Outside of RC?


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I was really excited to try Viking (Ocean).  I had found a May 2021 cruise to take the place of the B2B May 2020 Cruises to the Baltic and then Norway that RCL had to cancel.  With all the included things in Viking the cost was pretty close.  But I am ok paying a bit more for no kids and a smaller ship. 

 

Then I put it on a hold and found out that the $14,000 would have to be paid in full in July 2020.  At this time I am not letting any cruise line hold my $ for 10 months!

 

I have come to realize that the Viking model is different and it may make more sense to book them closer to the time of sailing so I may look again when I see how the world is next Spring.

Edited by tzbeach
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I have done several cruise line (Disney, NCL, Carnival, Princess, Celebrity, RCCL and MSC at the end of this year).  I haven't done a cruise I didn't like. Disney was the best, all round food, service and entertainment were great, but it is too $$$ for regular visits.  I have found every kind does something better than the others. NCL does the flexible dinning times, kids club, and buffets better.  Royal has better kid entertainment (slides, ice skating etc...) and better perks at Diamond.  Princess is very elegant and better food. Carnival has better parties, and as a Californian, more convenient to the port. Celebrity had better food was more elegant and offers some Local portnoptions, but is expensive for the 3rd and 4th in a room.

 

While we have done the  most cruises on RCCl, we aren't married.  If the price or destination is better (or what we want) we will book something else.  We figure it can't be that bad and are willing to try, so far we haven't been disappointed, but we have liked some better than others.  I will also say it can be ship based as our least favorites cruise was a big ship on NCL (Joy), but one of our favorites was a small ship on NCL (Spirit). So research line and ships to.know what you are getting into.

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I never book a cruise line just to be loyal.

My first choice is always itinerary.

 

I have been on Celebrity (the old Chandris which I also cruised), Princess, Cunard, RC, Carnival (I remember when Carnival cruises was mainly for singles!), Holland America, NCL, American Hawaii (gone) and Dolphin (gone).  I find no significant differences in the cruise experience across all lines.  I prefer a bit more tradition and like dressing up for photo nights. However, I refuse to overpay for the cruise experience (e.g. Disney and others).  It is like buying a silver necklace that says Tiffany's for 100 times more than I would pay for the same necklace without the stamp in a market in Mexico.

Right now I am on the RC forums because I was scheduled for a RC cruise early April (and I am still waiting for a refund!). RC is a nice family-friendly line with lots of activities and some decent itineraries.

I refuse to do Costa since the captain tipped over the ship and I am leery about MSC as they both cater more to Europeans than Americans and may not offer all the same advantages.

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As a Diamond Plus, I’m pretty loyal to RCL.  I’m also Signature in Club Royale which comes with perks.  That being said, I just booked B2B Princess cruises for Sept ‘21 from Rome, ending up in Barcelona.  We’re booked on Explorer in October but obviously we’re not sure we’ll sail.  They weren’t offering a cruise to the same ports in 2021 but Princess was.  We’ll see what happens.

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On 5/2/2020 at 7:15 PM, Ocean Boy said:

Would really enjoy reading what you liked about MSC.

I've been trying to put it into words for several days now.  I'm still not sure I can, but here goes.

Cruising is our only vacation of choice.  We love being at sea.  We've never had a bad cruise, although in recent years we had begun to think we've become tired of the sameness of it.  I keep a journal on every cruise.  I'm always sad to note that just a few days after we return home, the magic has gone; thoughts of that cruise just don't occur.

Then we sailed on Seaside last January, and we've had nothing but happy thoughts about it ever since.  There was something magical about it.

The officers and crew were even warmer than on our previous cruiselines. They recognized us from one encounter to another, and seemed to really care that we were well taken care of.  And this was on a ship that is twice the size of what we are used to. The ambience/atmosphere was more special, less "hometown".  It felt more like being "away".  The variety of nationalities was refreshing.  I liked that the entertainment was not rock or Broadway.  I liked that "Margaritaville" and "Sweet Caroline" were not played all the time.  I liked that no one said to us "How 'bout them Steelers?"  (I know, these might be negatives for some.)

Seaside has an emphasis on the outdoors, especially with the Deck 8 walkway, and all the big windows in most of the public rooms.

Ocean Cay was beautiful.

We were very happy with our cabin, the food, the entertainment, the music, the layout of the ship, and all the rest, but I think it was the warmth and the atmosphere and the differentness that really sold us.

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I've only ever sailed Royal.

However, my parents are booked with P&O Cruises and unfortunately their sailing was cancelled. P&O have been brilliant at just getting on and sorting out refunds/ FCC... My parents have sailed with P&O many times and love them. So I'd be willing to give them a try, also much more affordable than Royal most the time. 

 

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We have cruised many different lines before becoming loyal to Royal.  Found Royals loyalty program to be the best, and am happy with the line.  Actually next year will be the first time in over 15 years that we try another line, but Royal does not do river cruises anyway.  😉 

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On 5/1/2020 at 6:03 PM, Baron Barracuda said:

We tried Viking Ocean and loved it.  When price comparing need to factor in all the inclusions (beer / wine with meals, wifi, self-serve laundry, shore excursion in every port, etc).  No casino and no kids under 16

 

 Is there a mixed drink package and how was the beer selection?

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Usually sail with RC but we have sailed with Carnival.  Chose Carnival for Christmas / NYE because it was half the price with two more days.

 

Royal Caribbean Pros

Service is better.  Room kept 2-3 times a day at least.

Dinner service is better.  Food service is also faster.

Ship is much cleaner.  Paint almost always looks new. 

Pools, hot tubs are of much higher quality, and seemingly more of them.

Pool is also five times bigger between the biggest comparable ships.

Windjammer crushes Carnival's Lido Market.  Like night and day.

Performance shows on Oasis class are unrivaled.

Shops, grand promenade are generally much better.

Better "niche" bar areas for people to establish a favorite place

Solarium beauty and tranquility is unrivaled.  I could live there.

Everyone working on those ships seem to be happy to serve you.

Serves redbull.

 

Carnival Pros

Is often half the price for same / similar itinerary during the same weeks

Many more young adults and middle age people like my wife and I.  Way more bikinis ^^

More included food choices.  Some cool and unique like the mock chipotle or the Wok

Staff don't ask you to give them 10 ratings

The adult area means adults.  Not 16-19 year old 'kids' we brought.   But its much smaller.

There isn't 8-10 little kids in each hot tub.  There's still some, but no where near as many

Other cruisers have much better manners.  There isn't an entitled aura or "my kids" priority.

That tiny pool?  It allows for huge deck parties.

Interactive games and contests more fun.

People actually attend the night clubs / dance nights, and stay up late.

Bars don't start closing everywhere at 10pm.  However

 

I found the bar service with Carnival was terrible.  Any time we asked any bartender for something that requires a blender,  we got eye rolls and sighs.  Many of them seem just miserable.  Getting a drink is tough too; there are many customers and usually only 2 bartenders at each bar so its a long wait, every time.  Ill give them the exception on NYE; thousands of people top deck were trying to get beverages.  Getting a nasty look because you ordered a blender drink - these are moments that make me miss RC.   I'm also allergic to rum (ha ha ha....)  This hasn't been an issue on RC.   They happily make the frozen drink with vodka.  But for Carnival, they can't ring it into the computer that way so its a huge pain and people wouldn't do it.   So I drank tequila drinks the whole time.

 

Carnival passengers take formal night very seriously.  Each and every male in that dining room had a suit.  Not a country club style sport coat, not car salesman attire, not a plaid button down but a SUIT.  Even the little ones.  

 

Edited by YamahaRyoko
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1 hour ago, Big_G said:

 

 Is there a mixed drink package and how was the beer selection?

Beer and several house wines are included at lunch and dinner.  Specialty coffees included all day.  Honestly don't recall beer selection but I only drink beer and was satisfied.  Silver spirits beverage package is only $20/day (including grats).

 

Here's a good overview:

https://sandinmysuitcase.com/viking-cruise-bar-menu/

 

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