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Hello all! I have been pretty loyal to NCL, but I feel like if you've been on a Breakaway + class ship, you've been on them all... I've been on Getaway, Escape, and Bliss. But I have never sailed Royal before and I want to see what life is like on the other side.  I am considering booking on a refurbished Oasis class ship or one of the newer ships.  Can y'all tell me a few highlights of how the Royal experience differs from NCL?  Things to look out for, things that wouldn't necessarily be obvious to Royal newbies?  I know this question is broad, but intentionally so.  Literally, anything that strikes you as a major difference,  good or bad, I'll be happy to hear!

 

Thank you!

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Posted (edited)

There's been a couple threads on this in the last week or two. Largely they're more the same than different. Royal has set dining times unless you pick my time dining. It has pizza for late night instead of local/osheehans. They have flow riders instead of ropes course or go karts. You have to buy a drink package if you want it. Royal tends to have a bit more when it comes to pools. Their adult only area is way quiter. Newer ships have Broadway shows, some have I've skating shows. 

 

And it gets more minute from there. Oh a lot going the other way complain about the stuff NCL has in the atrium where it's usually in a bar on Royal. Royals' bars tend to mostly be walled off with a door to get in while NCLs are just open spaces you walk by. 

 

Unless your must is something NCL has that royal doesn't or you're real persnickity even if you decide you don't like Royal it's not going to be that bad. Being adaptable helps - on NCL I tend to spend most of my day time in Spice (or OL in Alaska) but Royal I hop around more finding the solarium too quite for the whole day but the pool or sports deck too loud for the whole day. 

 

Oh and food depends. I think I like NCL's buffet better. I sometimes much prefer the pizza drunk late night. Royal still has lobster night, but overall to me there's good and bad nights in each line in the MDR.

 

For me the choice, if it's up to me, comes down to price and as someone who is often sailing solo and likes a drink package I've been on NCL a few more times. But I have a NCL in Feb and a Royal in April. 

Edited by smplybcause
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Posted (edited)

The Oasis class is a great place to start.  There isn't anything like them.  I haven't sailed NCL so I'm basing my thoughts on YouTube videos I have seen.

Edited by soremekun
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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, kayjaypea42 said:

Hello all! I have been pretty loyal to NCL, but I feel like if you've been on a Breakaway + class ship, you've been on them all... I've been on Getaway, Escape, and Bliss. But I have never sailed Royal before and I want to see what life is like on the other side.  I am considering booking on a refurbished Oasis class ship or one of the newer ships.  Can y'all tell me a few highlights of how the Royal experience differs from NCL?  Things to look out for, things that wouldn't necessarily be obvious to Royal newbies?  I know this question is broad, but intentionally so.  Literally, anything that strikes you as a major difference,  good or bad, I'll be happy to hear!

 

Thank you!

Having sailed on both multiple times, I think you will be very impressed with Royal Oasis Class ships.  First, the ship is layed out so much better.  Royal has a huge inviting promenade.  NCL is crowded and layed out poorly IMO.  The different neighborhoods on Royal are really great and spacious.   The entertainment on Royal Oasis class ships is wonderful- so much better then NCL.  The food options on Royal are superior also.  The ship has great quiet spaces also- Didn't find any on NCL- except in the Haven if you can book a haven suite.  

 

I do not think you will go back to NCL.  

 

Enjoy your cruise.  We actually will be sailing  again, on the Oasis this January.

Edited by Cruise a holic
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I think you will enjoy RCCL.  their pool areas put NCL to shame.  Also prefer their shows in evening.  I thought NCL had better tasting food and buffet hours were better.  I had trouble finding places to sit on NCL that I never do on RCCL.

 

more similar than not.  I love experiencing new ships and have no hesitation changing lines.  

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We have cruised Celebrity, NCL and Royal.

 

Our preference is Celebrity, then Royal and then NCL.

 

Both NCL and Royal have great entertainment.

NCL's ship designs are sometimes awful, like Epic.  Jade class are OK.   Celebrity has the best ship design, Royal second.

Celebrity has best dining with Royal second (for MDR).  Also best in Service.

NCL's buffet is slightly better than Royal's.

NCL and Celebrity force bundling perks like drink packages with overall fares, which we don't care for at all.

Royal's Diamond benefits are the best.   It used to be a happy hour from 5pm until 8:30, now you get four drinks embedded in your key card.   

NCL's Platinum benefits are two meals in a specialty restaurant.

Royal has far more options for transatlantics than NCL.   NCL's are mainly out of NYC not Florida.

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For us it is about the itinerary and avoiding certain ships. Currently the NCL cruises are  much better for a better price in Asia, but the best itineraries are on my least favorite ship, the Sun.  Jewel class ships are our favorites, the entertainment being almost as good as Royal.  Being Plat + on NCL has some advantages, including 2 free meals for 2 in specialty restaurants.  Anthem of the Seas is our current favorite, WWRY being our favorite musical on any ship.  Would sail either line for the right price and itinerary.

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I did not notice a major difference in either Royal or NCL, they are both very similar. Of course we haven't sailed on NCL in a while because their pricing has always been too much at the time we were booking.

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10 minutes ago, sparks1093 said:

I did not notice a major difference in either Royal or NCL, they are both very similar. Of course we haven't sailed on NCL in a while because their pricing has always been too much at the time we were booking.

 

That confuses me.  I've always sailed NCL in part because they're usually way cheaper than RCCL, apples to apples.  NCL almost always includes the beverage pkg and dining plan, and often a deal for air and 3rd passenger going free.  When I've tried to book the same thing on Royal, it comes out to hundreds if not 1k+ more... That said, I am starting to wonder if I really NEED the bvg pkg.  Even with the tastings of different drinks I've never tried (always fun on a ship!), I maybe have 2-3 drinks a day, including a wine or beer at dinner.  Also not into specialty coffees... But even without that, NCL tends to offer more in terms of perks that make the price better, in my experience.  It's why, even when I've found a Royal C cruise more intriguing, I'd go with NCL.  (I usually travel with two other adults, which might make the difference.) 

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18 minutes ago, kayjaypea42 said:

 

That confuses me.  I've always sailed NCL in part because they're usually way cheaper than RCCL, apples to apples.  NCL almost always includes the beverage pkg and dining plan, and often a deal for air and 3rd passenger going free.  When I've tried to book the same thing on Royal, it comes out to hundreds if not 1k+ more... That said, I am starting to wonder if I really NEED the bvg pkg.  Even with the tastings of different drinks I've never tried (always fun on a ship!), I maybe have 2-3 drinks a day, including a wine or beer at dinner.  Also not into specialty coffees... But even without that, NCL tends to offer more in terms of perks that make the price better, in my experience.  It's why, even when I've found a Royal C cruise more intriguing, I'd go with NCL.  (I usually travel with two other adults, which might make the difference.) 

It all depends on what one wants/needs. We don't need air since we drive to the port. We don't need dining because the MDR meets our needs. We don't need drink packages because we don't drink that much. We did get one for our cruise on Anthem and before we booked that cruise NCL was twice the price for a similar sailing so even with adding a beverage package later (when Royal had it on sale) we still came out hundreds ahead. I'm glad we did it once, but now that we've tried many different drinks and found a few new favorites we usually come in better paying as we go (and we ingest far less calories along the way as well since we aren't trying to make the package "worth it"🙂). 

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We sail on both and see more things alike than different. The entertainment on Royal tends to be better and more options on a Oasis class than any other ship at sea.  Water show, Ice show and Broadway show all on one ship...wow. All of it free no pay for dinner theater. 

 

Our most recent sailings on NCL have been in the Haven but on Royal its generally 2 balcony cabins. Our kids were 17 and 15 on our last cruise and can not fit on a sofa bed. Not really apples to apples when it comes to cabins. I do think Royals Balcony cabins are designed well with plenty of storage space. Beds are comfy, service is only 1 time a day and we never seem to know will it be morning or night. 

 

Royal has more free food options especially at dinner. The MDR have more options than NCL. I have never gone hungry on either ship.  

 

Royal ships feel more open than NCL ships.

 

Oasis class always(in my experience) dock at ports as in no Tenders. That makes getting on and off the ship easier than quicker. 

 

I don't think you will be disappointed in a Oasis class cruise.....not many people are there are always some Grumpy Guss that hates big ships with lots of options.   

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One thing I like better about NCL is that when getting a specialty dining package , you can make your dinner reservations in advance.  If you get a dining package, on Royal, you have to wait until you are on the ship to make specialty dinner reservations.  I also think NCL sometimes offers more interesting itineraries even though they are a smaller line.

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Opinions - everyone has them. Regardless of all opinions, yours will be the only one that counts. 

 

We are D+ on RCI and Plat on NCL. Will cruise 4 NCL, 2 RCI and 1 Celebrity (Elite±),  if they go in the next 12 months. No favorite cruise line.

 

FOOD very subjective we like NCL MDR/Specialty Restaurants. Much more choices.

SHIP/Entertainment - RCI OASIS CLASS 

BEV PKG/AIR PKG -  NCL

PRICE - NCL RCI CEL depends on ports.

We find Celebrity the most expensive.

 

Try RCI OASIS CLASS. Be very surprised if you don't like it.  Try something new rather than staying with one cruise line. Each one is different and is an experience. 

HAPPY CRUISING STAY SAFE!

 

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We have been die hard NCL fans and are on the Advantage of the Seas, we have been super impressed with specialty dining onboard.  We love the ship layout, and when it comes to private Islands we are on Coco Cay today and can see GSC, Royal wins this competition hands down. 

 

Accessibility is good on both brands.  The UDP on Royal is a much better value than the dining packages on NCL, you can eat at specialty dining every night and lunch on sea days.  I do think NCL buffets are better, and entertainment on both is great.

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My first comparison is the crew. You can expect professionalism from the NCL crew ... like in a high end restaurant. But on Royal, you get that with a warm and welcoming aspect mixed in. They make me feel like they've been waiting weeks for me to board. (The NCL Escape crew was a nice friendly exception to the rule.)

 

Second big one is the public spaces. I was on the Bliss, the Escape and the Getaway. The only public space that wowwed me was the Observation Lounge on the Bliss ... and that was amazing. On Royal ships, the wide open interior spaces are stunning ... from Central Park, to the Royal Promenade to the Boardwalk (since you're looking at Oasis class ... but you'll find amazing architecture and art on every ship). And the Solarium on the Oasis class will blow away Spice.

 

I feel that the entertainment on Royal is on a par with NCL ... except that the balance tips in Royal's favor when you add the Aqua Show and the Ice Show.  

 

I tend to agree that the food on NCL scores higher than Royal, but the last few cruises I found that they were upgrading the buffet offerings.

 

I feel the loyalty program is much better on Royal, but who knows how much of it will survive. The upper tiers are getting pretty crowded.

 

As far as pricing goes, included drinks are no attraction for me and NCL is building that into the price. They also offer shore excursion credit as a perk, but my experience was that their shore excursions were surprisingly pricey, so that negates the perk.

 

OK ... now there's this one minor thing that bugs me on NCL. Why don't they have any drawers to store "stuff" in the cabins? They only provide shelf space. Last cruise, I took small collapsible storage boxes to simulate drawers. But overall, it seems like the cabins on Royal have more storage potential ... and girls need lots of storage. 🙂

 

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