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RCL vs. NCL


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11 minutes ago, smplybcause said:

 

I think the not friendly impression is the fault of the freestyle dining. Even with the pick your time dining on Royal I was with the same waiters each night - so after the first night they'd get to know you and chat with you each night. But it's practically impossible to get the same server on NCL so there's no rapport built and the waiters are more get your orders & get your food. I don't think it's unfriendly, but I can see how some say that as it's a quite different experience than Royal or others. 

This might explain it to a small degree, but Freestyle is the equivalent of walking into a land based restaurant and being seated. I have been to many restaurants and have almost always encountered friendly staff who served me and during all that time I don't recall ever having the same server at any particular restaurant. 

 

One thing I have noticed is that on NCL if we passed a crewmember in the hallway (of whatever job title) they would return our greeting, but rarely if ever initiated a greeting, whereas on our other cruises the crew almost always initiated the greeting with a friendly smile. 

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4 minutes ago, sparks1093 said:

This might explain it to a small degree, but Freestyle is the equivalent of walking into a land based restaurant and being seated. I have been to many restaurants and have almost always encountered friendly staff who served me and during all that time I don't recall ever having the same server at any particular restaurant. 

 

One thing I have noticed is that on NCL if we passed a crewmember in the hallway (of whatever job title) they would return our greeting, but rarely if ever initiated a greeting, whereas on our other cruises the crew almost always initiated the greeting with a friendly smile. 

 

Well yeah, but there's land restaurants where the servers will sit and have a conversation with you for a while before even getting a drink orders and others that just say hi and welcome and ask for your drink orders. I don't see one as friendly and one as not (probably because I often prefer the more perfunctory service) but I think a lot of people consider the perfunctory service as less friendly.

 

I couldn't say on your second point - that isn't on my radar so I've never noticed, but can definitely see how that could impact on whether someone sees the line as friendly. 

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17 hours ago, zekekelso said:

All I know is that all the cool people are on one of the lines (not saying which) and the other line is full of losers. 

Hubby and I cruise both lines so I guess we are cool losers. LOL.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, lenquixote66 said:

We have been on 7 RCI cruises and 7 NCL .We prefer RCI.The only reason we have done NCI is because we live in NY and many NCL leave from Manhattan.

We also live in NY and prefer Royal or Celebrity.  While Princess isn't our favorite cruise line, when they sailed from Brooklyn in August years ago, that was great. 

Edited by Cruise a holic
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17 hours ago, smplybcause said:

 

Well yeah, but there's land restaurants where the servers will sit and have a conversation with you for a while before even getting a drink orders and others that just say hi and welcome and ask for your drink orders. I don't see one as friendly and one as not (probably because I often prefer the more perfunctory service) but I think a lot of people consider the perfunctory service as less friendly.

 

I couldn't say on your second point - that isn't on my radar so I've never noticed, but can definitely see how that could impact on whether someone sees the line as friendly. 

I have never been in a restaurant where a server sat down with us and would consider that to be a major faux pas, especially if it delayed our order being taken. I have had servers stand and talk to us after the order has been put in, but only when the restaurant was slow and never more than a minute or two. I have found that the higher end restaurants tend to train their staff to be professionally aloof, friendly, but not overly so. That sums up what I've experienced on NCL. The servers are polite enough but they don't smile very much and there is certainly no idle chit chat. 

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My experience has been all on NCL, dating back to 2002.  I love the freestyle concept, and my last NCL trip was in The Haven on the Getaway, which was just amazing.  All of the staff in The Haven, from the butler to the restaurant hostess and wait staff to the bartenders, were exceptional.  Now that I am a widower, I have decided to give RCCL a try since, 1) they are actually sailing, and, 2) I simply cannot justify the cost of The Haven for just me.  I am trying a three-night cruise on the Independence in November in a deck 9 midship balcony.  I am going to be very interested to see how it works out for me.

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36 minutes ago, GA Dave said:

My experience has been all on NCL, dating back to 2002.  I love the freestyle concept, and my last NCL trip was in The Haven on the Getaway, which was just amazing.  All of the staff in The Haven, from the butler to the restaurant hostess and wait staff to the bartenders, were exceptional.  Now that I am a widower, I have decided to give RCCL a try since, 1) they are actually sailing, and, 2) I simply cannot justify the cost of The Haven for just me.  I am trying a three-night cruise on the Independence in November in a deck 9 midship balcony.  I am going to be very interested to see how it works out for me.

Dave,

We started cruising with NCL and then added cruises with Celebrity and Royal C.   I think you will enjoy Royal C, the entertainment is as good or better than NCL and dining a bit better, especially in the MDR.

We avoid the mega-ship.  Royal doesn't force you to all the expensive perks, but their drink packages are reasonable cost.

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My first NCL voyage will be next January  aboard the Epic out of San Juan. At about 200 days out I've been researching the ship and its culture on the NCL boards.

 

The variety of cuisines aboard Epic appears to be a win over Royal. Passenger traffic flow on Royal is rarely a complaint and that's not true of NCL ship design. The rest seems to be a wash.

 

We're boarding Explorer the day we disembark Epic so the contrasts will be sharp. 

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3 hours ago, Cruise a holic said:

We also live in NY and prefer Royal or Celebrity.  While Princess isn't our favorite cruise line, when they sailed from Brooklyn in August years ago, that was great. 

We loved Celebrity but never cruised on Princess.

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We cruise for the itinerary, not the ship. We are interested mainly in European ocean & river cruises (also done a smattering of Asian & Middle east cruises). For ocean cruises, we have cruised on NCL, X, RCL, Princess, Oceania, HAL, MSC, Viking & Azamara - we enjoyed each cruise because we enjoyed the itineraries. 

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1 hour ago, Sobro said:

My first NCL voyage will be next January  aboard the Epic out of San Juan. At about 200 days out I've been researching the ship and its culture on the NCL boards.

 

The variety of cuisines aboard Epic appears to be a win over Royal. Passenger traffic flow on Royal is rarely a complaint and that's not true of NCL ship design. The rest seems to be a wash.

 

We're boarding Explorer the day we disembark Epic so the contrasts will be sharp. 

 

The Epic is a weird ship...NCL's only ship in that design. People tend to either love it or hate it. I tend to hang out in their adult area Spice the most and Epic is the only one with a pool which was nice. 

 

That switch will be interesting with the comparison so fresh in your mind!

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12 minutes ago, smplybcause said:

 

The Epic is a weird ship...NCL's only ship in that design. People tend to either love it or hate it. I tend to hang out in their adult area Spice the most and Epic is the only one with a pool which was nice. 

 

That switch will be interesting with the comparison so fresh in your mind!

Epic was our least favorite ship ever.  We always felt crowded.  The pool area was so small and dominated by an attendant with a loud speaker  WAY too loud.  Hated the Blue Man Group show.  The ice bar was a zero.  

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3 hours ago, GA Dave said:

My experience has been all on NCL, dating back to 2002.  I love the freestyle concept, and my last NCL trip was in The Haven on the Getaway, which was just amazing.  All of the staff in The Haven, from the butler to the restaurant hostess and wait staff to the bartenders, were exceptional.  Now that I am a widower, I have decided to give RCCL a try since, 1) they are actually sailing, and, 2) I simply cannot justify the cost of The Haven for just me.  I am trying a three-night cruise on the Independence in November in a deck 9 midship balcony.  I am going to be very interested to see how it works out for me.

Dave......so sorry for your loss. Going forward, I hope your have more cruising in your future that you enjoy.

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2 minutes ago, 4774Papa said:

Epic was our least favorite ship ever.  We always felt crowded.  The pool area was so small and dominated by an attendant with a loud speaker  WAY too loud.  Hated the Blue Man Group show.  The ice bar was a zero.  

 

I never hung out by the pool area since I was in Spice. No longer Blue Man Group - it's now a broadway show Priscilla something. They turned one of the venues into a Beatles cover band venue - each night they played a different Beatles album which was cool and one of the nights the guys popped into Howl at the Moon to play with them. I didn't do the ice bar, but my friends did and loved it - but they were the only ones in there. I stayed at the martini bar which has one of my favorite drinks. 

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Epic has the Priscilla Queen of the Desert musical. Also a singing and dancing production show.

 

It will be weird not having a set MDR table. 

 

I've read plenty of negative posts about Epic but it'll be our first cruise since April 2019 so it'll be fantastic regardless of any crowding and standing in line. 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Sobro said:

Epic has the Priscilla Queen of the Desert musical. Also a singing and dancing production show.

 

It will be weird not having a set MDR table. 

 

I've read plenty of negative posts about Epic but it'll be our first cruise since April 2019 so it'll be fantastic regardless of any crowding and standing in line. 

 

 

 

If you have more then 8 people getting reservations is smart if you want to eat at a specific time. The trick is if one MDR says there's a wait doesn't mean there is at the other. They might be able to tell you if there is a wait at the other one, but they're close together so it doesn't take long to walk to the other. 

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1 hour ago, 4774Papa said:

Epic was our least favorite ship ever.  We always felt crowded.

The public spaces on the Epic are too tight and there's actually no real walkways and hallways; you walk through the various venues which is why the ship feels crowded.

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1 hour ago, kwokpot said:

The public spaces on the Epic are too tight and there's actually no real walkways and hallways; you walk through the various venues which is why the ship feels crowded.

Yes, a poorly designed ship, no wonder they didn't build another one like it.

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2 hours ago, Sobro said:

Epic has the Priscilla Queen of the Desert musical. Also a singing and dancing production show.

 

It will be weird not having a set MDR table. 

 

I've read plenty of negative posts about Epic but it'll be our first cruise since April 2019 so it'll be fantastic regardless of any crowding and standing in line. 

 

 

We are huge Royal Caribbean fans (freedom is our favorite ship)  but have sailed Epic twice and absolutely loved it! Believe it or not we actually preferred it over Oasis. Yes the ship is different and a bit quirky but in a way that makes it special. We thought the pool deck was very nice. No more crowded than a royal Caribbean ship. Loved the water slides. Huge pool bar and also roll out carts to relieve the crowds at the main pool bar when needed. In our opinion the buffet was head and shoulders above Royal and we loved the outdoors seating, something few royal ships have. As far as dining, we never made it to the "main dining rooms".  Between the 2 or 3 nights at specialty restaurants that is usually thrown in with the "free at sea" package and the buffet we just never made it either trip. If I remember right most nights they have themes at the buffet and one night is seafood. There was shrimp everywhere. Best tip I can give you is make all your reservations online as soon as they're available (possibly 90 days out I can't remember) and then plan the other evenings around that. Specialty dining reservations can be hard to get if you wait.

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Epic seems to be a love it or hate it ship. Reservations open 120 days out. We will try our first of two "free" specialty restaurants during sailaway since we can experience the same thing a week later. 

 

Some say Epic's spa is its best feature although I'm not a spa goer.

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When built, the Epic was easily the ugliest cruise ship I’d ever seen. Fortunately, NCL realized their mistake and didn’t repeat it. Unfortunately, at least a couple lines looked at the design and decided to copy it. Ugh. 

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21 minutes ago, Sobro said:

 

Some say Epic's spa is its best feature although I'm not a spa goer.

Love the spa on the Epic! It was the last NCL new build that had single sex steam and sauna rooms in addition to the wonderful coed Thermal suite. 

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