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It's all about "the vibe"


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No not *that* vibe but rather just the overall vibe onboard the ships. That is why I stick with NCL. It just seems to me that people who sail on NCL just know how to have fun. (apologies to Cyndi Lauper) Does Corporate NCL do things that I don't like? Absolutely for Sure! But in the end it's the shipboard experience that counts the most and NCL has what I want there. I only have experience with 1 other cruise line (Royal) and sailed on Oasis and Allure (when they were new) and while both ships themselves were beyond spectacular physically...the vibe just wasn't the same or even close. Maybe not much of a sample for comparison...but not looking at any others until I feel the vibe on NCL changes.

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Posted (edited)

I love NCL there is something about how they do things that is appealing to me. I have been on most of the big cruise lines and NCL is the best fit for the way I like to cruise. I have enjoyed most of the other lines except Princess that was the most boring cruise I have ever been on. I am trying Oceania next year but I still have 4 booked with NCL. I will always like them best.

Edited by saltsandknit
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I find that the NCL vibe is definitely more laid back. It's a perfect fit for my DH. I think it's the anytime dining with no formal nights that attract a more laid back cruiser.  Plus he is a beer drinker, so the district brew house with all the choices plus ability for 24 hour O'Sheehans/Local is just about perfect for him. I'm more diverse. I tend to appreciate the adult only solariums on Celebrity and RCCL, so when I travel with friends that is usually what gravitate toward. Of course, all this is dependent on itininary and pricing also. IMO when looking at the big picture, the main stream  lines have more in common than they have different.

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They're all different and I do prefer NCL.  The vibe I'd describe as 'sophisticated fun'.  Carnival is just fun and I think Royal relies too much on their hard product.

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I've only sailed NCL and that's all I have booked looking forward.  Do other lines have promos similar to NCL's ubiquitous Beverage Packages and Specialty Dining packages?  We've only sailed two NCL cruises without the beverage package, and that really detracted from the fun.  We felt compelled to map out the best happy hours with 50% off drink menus, which lowered a $14 martini to $7.  I much prefer the bottomless Black Label and dark ales that the beverage package provides.  I tend to encounter more like-minded fun loving folks on NCL than I likely would elsewhere.

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I'm looking forward to my first NCL cruise in October. I've only been on two cruises, one each with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, and they were both great.

 

I am completely hooked on cruising and don't want to go back to travel any other way. I always thought that I would hate cruises...wrong!

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50 minutes ago, CaptainWoody said:

Do other lines have promos similar to NCL's ubiquitous Beverage Packages and Specialty Dining packages?  

Each line has something, but they vary wildly; you have to read the fine print.  Carnival has the Cheers! program, which was around $35/day when I sailed, if I recall correctly.  Celebrity (which I was going to sail last year but was covid-cancelled) had a beverage program which was a quarter of that price, but was pretty limited.  I wasn't sure I was going to be happy with it, but was willing to give it a try.  NCL, as gets mentioned a million times on this board, offers the standard bev package as a perk, but you have to pay the gratuities.  Still a bargain when you look at the bottom line.  

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4 hours ago, craig01020 said:

I am completely hooked on cruising and don't want to go back to travel any other way. I always thought that I would hate cruises...wrong!

You have stated exactly the way I feel! I spent far too many years not wanting to cruise until I finally did. That was a real eye opener and just as you mentioned...no longer want to do other types of vacations! Something I always mention to first time cruisers is that no matter what your preconceived ideas as to what a cruise is like....they will be wrong! 😉

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 6/3/2021 at 3:51 PM, trivimp said:

Each line has something, but they vary wildly; you have to read the fine print.  Carnival has the Cheers! program, which was around $35/day when I sailed, if I recall correctly.  Celebrity (which I was going to sail last year but was covid-cancelled) had a beverage program which was a quarter of that price, but was pretty limited.  I wasn't sure I was going to be happy with it, but was willing to give it a try.  NCL, as gets mentioned a million times on this board, offers the standard bev package as a perk, but you have to pay the gratuities.  Still a bargain when you look at the bottom line.  

We've sailed on Celebrity and Carnival. I have a friend who has a liver of steel and hates Carnival's Cheer's program because it limits you to 15 drinks a day. Here is my take on drink packages:

 

1. Carnival Cheers. They have a problem with spring breakers getting ship faced. Expect to walk to the bar and stand in line for a drink, especially outside. It can be challenging to acquire all 15 drinks. I had the soda package and had to wait to get sodas as well. 

 

2. Celebrity. When we boarded, we were offered an upgraded drink package for similar pricing as NCL. I did not take it, but my friend did. The standard included drinks I like, plus fancy coffee and sparkly water. (I think it was an $11 limit, but it's been a while). She wanted the top shelf stuff. We were sharing a room, but I did not have to upgrade as well. The gratuity was included already in the package price. Service on Celebrity was outstanding. We joked that we held our hand up and a drink magically appeared. Ok, not quite, but they were on it. They have older customers who tend to shop more when tipsy. Drinking was encouraged.

 

3. NCL appears to be a great package, until you realize the decent wines (above $9), coffee and the fancy water are not included. So I'm paying more to get less, even though on the surface, it seems like a better package, what with the $15 drink price. Now I'm considering upgrading, for another couple hundred, because they've excluded just the exact items that many of us will pay to upgrade to get.

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i'm sorry, to me the vibe is what you make it regardless of the ship or the company.  i enjoy the freeestyle dining, as i dont want to wear a suit or jacket while on vacation. personally, i dont care about or look for a particular "vibe" i'm interested in the itinerary and the cost.

 

so i try and book a haven whenever possible.

 

that being said, i will admit i'm a major curmudgeon, and fairly anti-social. while i'm not a snob and will talk to anyone that wants to strike up a conversation, i dont go out of my way to do so. i might chat with people sitting next to me at the sushi bar or at teppanyaki, but that's about the extent of it.

 

my wife, and 22 year old grandson, however, will talk to anyone and everyone. by the time the ship actually sails, everyone on board knows my grandson.

 

he doesnt get it from me.

 

and yes,  before you all jump down my throat, i confess to being a grumpy old man. just remember if we ever sail on the same ship, grumpy old men need love too

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We're only NCL! Why would we switch now being almost platinum plus, just couldn't see cruising any other line.

 

We love most things NCL, a few things I really could care less about like the go karts, laser tag, motion 3d, the ropes course for sure. Everything else is amazing.  Whether you love or hate NCL, it's all about how you want to spend your vacation. 

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Previously, Carnival was my "go to" cruise line. Now, I will be trying all the mainstream cruise lines (CCL, NCL & RCI) plus Celebrity. However, I will be comparing the lines from a solo cruiser point of view. I'm definitely curious about NCL's studio cabins & studio lounge plus assigned ship staffer for the solo cruisers. I know I won't get anywhere toward a loyalty status with one particular cruise line but oh well, variety is "the spice of life".

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On 6/3/2021 at 4:01 PM, craig01020 said:

I'm looking forward to my first NCL cruise in October. I've only been on two cruises, one each with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, and they were both great.

 

I am completely hooked on cruising and don't want to go back to travel any other way. I always thought that I would hate cruises...wrong!

 

I feel exactly the same! I was dragged onto my first cruise about a year after I started dating my husband. He had committed to a birthday cruise with a close friend before we even met. So, when the time came, I could either go with him or stay home alone and I decided to go with him. I always thought I would not enjoy cruising because I have never been a pool/beach/sun person and I always thought it would be too "fancy" for me. I am so glad my introduction to cruising was with NCL! The freestyle dining and relaxed dress code put my mind at ease about the "fanciness". The HUGE variety of activities and public spaces on the ship quickly showed me that spending all day by the pool was not my only option. And it turns out there is literally nothing I love more than being out in the ocean, watching and listening to the ship cut through the water. I may hate beaches, but I LOVE the ocean! It's now the only way I want to vacation. I tried an all inclusive back in April (once we were fully vaccinated) and it just paled in comparison.

 

I have also decided to embrace the fancy a bit. I will be sailing on Celebrity next month with a set dining time for the MDR and an evening dress code. We'll see how that works out.

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1 hour ago, JamieLogical said:

I have also decided to embrace the fancy a bit. I will be sailing on Celebrity next month with a set dining time for the MDR and an evening dress code.

My only experience on Celebrity was awesome!

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11 hours ago, craig01020 said:

My only experience on Celebrity was awesome!

 

Again, from a solo cruiser perspective, Celebrity is very solo friendly and appears to be increasing their marketing to solo cruisers. Celebrity Edge has 16 Single Infinite Veranda (SIV) staterooms , Celebrity Apex has 24 SIVs and the new Celebrity Beyond will have 32 SIVs!

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20 hours ago, JamieLogical said:

I have also decided to embrace the fancy a bit. I will be sailing on Celebrity next month with a set dining time for the MDR and an evening dress code. We'll see how that works out.

 

Me 2. I'm booked on Celebrity Edge (in a Single Infinite Veranda stateroom) on Oct 2, 2021. I'm going to have to "step up my fashion game", lol. I don't mind dressing up a little more for Celebrity but I'm like you, I think I prefer the more casual, "freestyle" type of cruising.

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2 hours ago, MorganClark said:

 

Me 2. I'm booked on Celebrity Edge (in a Single Infinite Veranda stateroom) on Oct 2, 2021. I'm going to have to "step up my fashion game", lol. I don't mind dressing up a little more for Celebrity but I'm like you, I think I prefer the more casual, "freestyle" type of cruising.

 

I spent about $200 on new clothes and shoes, bought 5 pairs of wide leg pants, three linen shirts to wear over canis I already owned, and two pairs of shoes on clearance.

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As my signature shows, I've been mostly a rccl/celebrity cruiser with mostly traditional dining and dress codes. With that being said, I've thoroughly enjoyed every one of my sailings and the vibe was different almost every time. Some of that was because of the ship differences and my fellow cruisers, but I think it was mostly because of the various friends and family that have joined us over the years. We have sailed just me and my wife, me my wife and daughter, and with as many as 29 in our group. It's always fun and entertaining.

Our last 2 cruises have been on the Escape and the Encore and I really did enjoy the freedom of freestyle and only wearing casual clothes. My go to outfit for dinner has been a nice pair of shorts and a button down shirt. My only real gripe with modern day cruising is the necessity of reservations for almost anything. While we do go to specialty restaurants, I do like the nights we go to one of the mdr's whenever we want without a reservation. If we have to wait a few minutes, who cares we're on a cruise ship and relax with a cocktail (a beer in my case).

NCL, right now in our lives, fits really well for us. We love all the venues on the breakaway+ ships, the entertainment is terrific and non-stop (especially all the live music), and it's been a good value.

The drink package is perfect for us. I like to drink pretty much all day, every day, but I'm a bloody mary and beer guy. My wife doesn't drink much, but likes to search for something she likes and the package allows her to do that. My daughter, who just turned 21, is also a simple drinker, so it works for us. As others have said, if you're a fairly serious wine drinker or like the really expensive alcohols, it only helps a little.

I just booked a Joy sailing in January. Right now, it's just the 3 of us and it is a good value with all the free at sea perks and we're super excited. Hopefully we get some of our people to join but we're fully prepared to go it alone. Lmao!!

My last observation would be that a big factor in how the vibe might be would be a direct correlation to how much research and planning one does before their sailing.

I'm a planner that does a lot of research. Most of you, on these forums are the same. But, I think most people just wing it and that can lead to some frustration. For example, I knew about the sun deck on deck 19 outside of the Vibe beach club on the Escape ahead of time. It's great! It's not crowded (almost empty the first 2 days), has a whirlpool, a bar and is still only a minute walk to the pool area. Probably 90% of my fellow cruisers never knew the area existed and my people took advantage of that knowledge.

I always feel bad for the late risers who come up to the pool deck at 11:30 and are shocked they can't get a seat near the pool. My point is that planning and research will minimize any aggravation that comes about and will help with the vibe. 

Happy cruising!

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The OP nailed it for us....we just "feel" something when we board an NCL ship.  Vibe is a great way to describe it.  My DH says it feels comfortable like we are "home"  Definately my Happy Place onboard any NCL ship.  I can't wait until October!!!!

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We have sailed NCL twice and again in December (YAY!!!). We are going back in the much complained about Encore. We didn't do anything extra in Dec 2019 because we aren't big VR people or Laser Tag. We decided against the go carts because they were slow. with that said, kids will love this ship because of all the extras. My most favorite and what has sold me on NCL is the addition of the observation lounge. I love the views and the vibe of this area. We have also never paid for NCL vibe but might consider it this go round. If you find a good bartender and treat them well, you have great service without that. NCL is doing it right IMO. 

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2 hours ago, TSUmom said:

The OP nailed it for us....we just "feel" something when we board an NCL ship.  Vibe is a great way to describe it.  My DH says it feels comfortable like we are "home"  Definately my Happy Place onboard any NCL ship.  I can't wait until October!!!!

 

I'm likin' what I'm reading about NCL's "vibe". But, of the many cruises I currently have booked, my first NCL cruise won't be until Encore Oct 23 - Nov13, 2022, from Seattle to Miami (via Panama Canal). 21 days in a studio cabin (I'll be solo)!

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Funny, this wasn't my experience on NCL out of Boston to Quebec. We had to skip two ports due to weather and you think these old betties were going to riot.

 

Some nice quotes....

 

"You need to give us something to do"

"How can you have fun"

"The ships interior is too crowded"

"You need more gym classes since we're not getting off"

"There are just not enough activities"

 

My wife made some old ladys chin drop when the lady asked her "Are you having fun?" and my responded "yup, I am not at work"

 

Don't get me wrong, I generally enjoy NCL and have been on several here in the states and the med but we couldn't help but laugh at these people.

 

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9 hours ago, KAYKAY121 said:

We have sailed NCL twice and again in December (YAY!!!). We are going back in the much complained about Encore. We didn't do anything extra in Dec 2019 because we aren't big VR people or Laser Tag. We decided against the go carts because they were slow. with that said, kids will love this ship because of all the extras. My most favorite and what has sold me on NCL is the addition of the observation lounge. I love the views and the vibe of this area. We have also never paid for NCL vibe but might consider it this go round. If you find a good bartender and treat them well, you have great service without that. NCL is doing it right IMO. 

Funny story about treating bartenders good... we met this young man on the Pearl who we tipped every drink or so a few bucks. Well a year later on another ship we saw him at the pool bar, remembered my name. Also, happened another time with another bartender. A few bucks here and there goes a long way. 

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On 6/29/2021 at 10:18 PM, ClevelandCruisin said:

Funny story about treating bartenders good... we met this young man on the Pearl who we tipped every drink or so a few bucks. Well a year later on another ship we saw him at the pool bar, remembered my name. Also, happened another time with another bartender. A few bucks here and there goes a long way. 

It makes all the difference to someone in the service industry to know that you appreciate the service they are personally giving you. Everybody has to pay gratuity on the package but few show gratitude a drink at a time while cruising. We always have cash for that purpose (and slot machines). 🙂

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