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OPINIONS NEEDED: Carnival fans who have tried "upgraded" lines. . . what is the advantage and is it worth it?


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12 minutes ago, UPNYGuy said:

 

if you were to go in the Yacht Club, yes. If you are a spa person, yes. I also find the decor on the ships more to my liking, however I quite like the decor on the newer Carnival ships. 

 

With MSC, you have to do your research to what you are getting. You can book multiple packages, but only 2 include flexible dining (aurea and Yacht Club). 

 

If you like "cirque" type entertainment, you will like MSC. They had a partnership with 

Cirque du Soleil on the Meraviglia class ships, and even had a specific theater in the round where the shows were performed. I am not sure if these shows are still being performed. 

 

this is what the inside of MSC Meraviglia looks like.

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meraviglia-atrium-79831.jpg


Very pretty, similar to the promenade on Oasis class. However I can’t see us ever booking the exclusive areas on any of these ships, from Carnival Havana through all the other fancies on each respective line.

 

And we had Cloud 9 balconies on our recent shorty on Carnival Radiance, due to a comedy of errors in the booking process, not something I would have chosen to pay extra for. Since we had the passes, we put on our bathrobes (wooo), checked it out, and the spa is not for us. 

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10 minutes ago, UPNYGuy said:

 

This is what has kept me off that ship. I have looked at it, but I wouldnt sail on it without going in the Havana area, or booking a suite. 

A lot of people think it is the worst Havana area in the fleet. The pool is so dinky as to be laughable. 
 

The suites have that exclusive Loft 19 area which seemed quite a bit better, so if I were advising you, that would be my recommendation.
 

I can manage the small room because we are hardly in it. I was in a Grand Suite on Legend with my mom last Christmas and while it was a nice big room with a huge bathroom, dressing area, tons of storage and a nice big balcony, it felt like a total waste of money to me. I paid my half but only agreed to it because mom refused to sail otherwise, and it was almost certainly her last cruise. Her health and mobility have declined further just in the following six months so I’m glad we did it but I can’t imagine ever doing it again.

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54 minutes ago, KmomChicago said:


Very pretty, similar to the promenade on Oasis class. However I can’t see us ever booking the exclusive areas on any of these ships, from Carnival Havana through all the other fancies on each respective line.

 

we try not to sail on a ship that large without booking in the "ship within a ship" area. It cuts down on the crowded feeling. The exception to this rule is Seaside (and that class). This is why we rarely sail with Royal Caribbean.

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44 minutes ago, KmomChicago said:

A lot of people think it is the worst Havana area in the fleet. The pool is so dinky as to be laughable. 

 

Reason #2 why we havent.

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45 minutes ago, KmomChicago said:

I can manage the small room because we are hardly in it. I was in a Grand Suite on Legend with my mom last Christmas and while it was a nice big room with a huge bathroom, dressing area, tons of storage and a nice big balcony, it felt like a total waste of money to me. I paid my half but only agreed to it because mom refused to sail otherwise, and it was almost certainly her last cruise. Her health and mobility have declined further just in the following six months so I’m glad we did it but I can’t imagine ever doing it again.

 

I hope you and your family had a very memorable cruise, and I sincerely hope that your mother will be able to partake in more adventures in the future.

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I’m an old lady who has sailed a lot of lines, to a lot of places.  If I were still young, I would be looking to cruise exotic destinations.  My heart wants to do that.  But my purse and body say restrain yourself.  Prior to Covid we had sailed MSC, Carnival, Celebrity.  Cancelled by Covid were Celebrity, Cunard, Carnival, and Windstar.  When things opened up again, we got a bargain and sailed Crystal.  My personal choice now is to drive to the port, which means Jax, Port Canaveral, or Tampa.  Which means mostly Carnival from Jax, plus Carnival and MSC from PC.  
     I like MSC, even though I’m not overwhelmed by their food.  I don’t go hungry, though I tend to dine a lot on appetizers, soups, salads.  The only time I have almost gone to bed hungry was one dinner on HAL, where the menu was not inspiring, and I didn’t like the best of he worst that I ordered.  That’s the only time we left the MDR after desert and went to the buffet so I could eat.  EM

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1 hour ago, KmomChicago said:

 

AAAAAAAaaaaaannnnnnddddd . . . how did you like it?

 

Back when I was very young I used to be interested in the Windjammer Barefoot Cruises, though my mom pooh poohed them as probably being a lot of seasickness, not all that safe, and not much comfort or luxury.  I never ended up trying them, because they were a little pricey and sailed from islands rather than the mainland. 

 

I know Windstar is a lot nicer and fancier than those were. Which places them right back into upgrade territory that I know nothing about. 

I went with someone who received interline rates and it was cheap. The flights were, too. It was sort of casual, but they did strongly discourage me from entering the dining room in jeans.

 

Back in the day, we made the current Cheers cruisers look like lightweights. Drunks know no class boundaries.

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Posted (edited)

Anyone with a riff raff comment has never been on a truly AI cruise. We've been on all of one and had another booked before Covid hit and the line (Crystal) went under. There is no service on earth like that of an AI ship. The passenger to crew ratio is more like 3-1 than 50-1, or whatever it is on a family cruise line.

 

I won't bother going into all the differences I noticed on my single week-long fancy cruise, but it is a really wonderful experience and worth the cost. If you never do it again, you can at least say you were treated like royalty for a few days. I'm so sad to see Crystal go. It was an affordable experience for us, though it sure isn't for everyone.

 

I've been looking at other luxury lines to see what we can/want to afford and the prices are pretty far out there. I think I'd rather put the money into a new car. lol Still, this type of cruise will forever be on our radar and if I see something on RSSC, Seabourn or Silversea that piques our interest, I'l book it with only a moderate cringe of financial hesitation. It's a big $$$ step, that's for sure, but it was absolutely worth it to us.

 

P.S. We have sailed on Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Holland and Crystal. We have a Celebrity cruise booked for this December. We used to sail exclusively on Carnival. Now we're excited to play the field and try anything new.

Edited by RollingMeadows
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Platinum with Carnival and is my "go to" line but I have been on Windstar twice, once was to the BVI and hit all the small islands main cruise lines can't and with less than 300 people it was truly wonderful. Went to islands I had never heard about. Second was on their small (148 pass.) sail ship to Tahiti. Their level of service and quality of food is amazing and their beach BBQ's and BBQ on deck are so great.  Yes you pay and totally different but If you are more inclined to sit and watch the water, small ports without a huge crowd of people, no shops or pool games but I really enjoy both.

Also have done 4 Star Clipper cruises which are on sailing ships also and go to the small ports and islands Carnival does not.  This is not as upscale as Windstar but I enjoyed it and cabins are smaller but they have cruises with no single supplement. In January I am sailing them to Costa Rica and Nicaragua  on the Pacific coast.  The best thing about both is with such small numbers service is amazing and people are easy to meet and enjoy sharing experiences. 

Wish I could do more of these but cost and covid have been tough but I do plan and try to do at least one of these each year and Carnival will be my choice for the rest of the  year.  I have done three Carnival cruises this year and another planned in December. 

Whatever you all choose  hope you have calm winds and smooth seas.

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We are primarily carnival cruisers, based on bang for the buck.  Closely followed by NCL and then MSC. 

 

NCL - strong entertainment options, broadway shows in theatre.  Most packages come with specialty dining and drink packages included.  Food a half step better. More options in buffet.  But no guys/blue iguana a minus.  

 

MSC - good entertainment, based on non speaking (musical, dance, cirque-ish) acts. LOTS of pizza options on buffet.  Slooooooooow MDR, expect 90-120 mins.  

 

Cabins the same on all lines. Staff, too - all have been delightful. 

 

Some of the 'Murica folks sailing on msc got visible peeved when captains announcements were in 4 diff languages.  I dunno i kinda dug it.  Felt like vaca! MSC matches rewards level for guests of other cruise lines. 

 

Carnival wins on sheer number of departure ports, itineraries, onboard activities, and cost.  

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18 hours ago, KmomChicago said:

Hello friends. Kmom here.  I'm looking for experienced, semi-loyal Carnival cruisers, who have generally been happy with the brand, who have also tried or transitioned to the next tiers of cruising. I am interested in all levels - next level mainstream like HAL or Princess, for example, premium like Cunard or Oceania, again just examples, luxury like Azamara or Regent Seven Seas, etc., Euro river cruises, expedition cruises, basically anything that you considered an upgrade from Carnival. 

 

Since preferences are so personal, here's the TLDR that might help identify if there is any value for us to even consider upgrading in the future. 

 

  • DH and I have cruised Carnival four times since the restart last summer. I think we have had enough for now, but the itch will return at some point.
  • We are extremely laid back, American working class people who really don't like to dress up on vacation.
  • The highest tier cruise lines I have sampled are Disney (1990's) and Celebrity (2001).  They were fine but not enough different from Carnival for the $$, IMHO.
  • Our favorite ship was Oasis of the Seas.  Our other RCI cruise (Adventure) was fine but again not enough different to justify a higher price than Carnival.
  • This might sound stupid, but honestly I cannot quite grasp exactly what people are doing all day on luxury small ships to justify their prices. 
  • All cruise food I have ever had, worst to best, has been more than good enough for me. 
  • I can easily pack for a 7 night cruise on Carnival in a single carry on bag and I love that.
  • I really don't care if there is "visible rust" on the ship, dated decor, or cosmetic wear and tear. Yes I see it, I just don't much care.
  • I am not looking to travel with classier co-passengers. I think I would just feel like a pauper-in-disguise among the aristocrats.

 

Would there even be any point in a better cruise line for us? I am willing to pay more for better stuff, but I really have to be able to understand where we are getting the value. 

 

 

 

 

 

I would probably never pay for a more upscale cruise than what CCL or RC offers.  Why?  Because at those price points, other non-cruise vacations compare favorably.  A week on Mackinac Island sounds fantastic.  My wife would love a driving vacation up the west coast from San Diego to Seattle, stopping where and when we want for how long we want.  I would love a mid-summer fly-in fishing trip to Northern Canada or a golfing trip to Scotland. 

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We've cruised DCL, HAL, MSC, NCL, RCL, Princess, and Carnival.  I like them all for different things.

I will say that DH and I absolutely loved our MSC cruise.  Great variety of food, a beautiful two bedroom suite for a reasonable price, good entertainment, and the pizza was wonderful.  I could eat pizza every meal so that was a biggie for me.  Tried Princess earlier this year and while I'll definitely sail with them again I hated their pizza.  No flavor dough, sweet sauce, bad toppings.  

Speaking of Princess enjoyed the many quiet areas to sit, lower volume music, and daily activities.  The medallion is genius, and one of the reasons I was so taken with them.  At this time you can use the medallion to order drink and food options to your room free of charge, unlike other lines where you have to pay for drinks delivered to your room even w/ a drink package, and room service generally has a fee.  They also have good itineraries. 

DS loves RCL Oasis class, so when a ship is the destination that is our choice.

NCL I like for itineraries, the solo cabins, great specialty restaurants, and entertainment, at least on the newer ships.  I'm sailing on the Sun in September and interested to see what entertainment is like on an older, smaller ship.

Carnival...with Panorama driving distance it is an easy choice for us.  We enjoy the comedy club and the included food options, as well as specialty choices.  It is a relaxing cruise which is sometimes exactly what I'm looking for.

I'm 60 and the hassles of travel have definitely impacted my recent choices. DH and I want to book a Viking cruise, so see that happening soon.  Neither of us has any interest in paying the high cost of ship w/in a ship...with a price tag that large we can sail a higher end line.  

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18 hours ago, KmomChicago said:

Hello friends. Kmom here.  I'm looking for experienced, semi-loyal Carnival cruisers, who have generally been happy with the brand, who have also tried or transitioned to the next tiers of cruising. I am interested in all levels - next level mainstream like HAL or Princess, for example, premium like Cunard or Oceania, again just examples, luxury like Azamara or Regent Seven Seas, etc., Euro river cruises, expedition cruises, basically anything that you considered an upgrade from Carnival. 

 

Since preferences are so personal, here's the TLDR that might help identify if there is any value for us to even consider upgrading in the future. 

 

  • DH and I have cruised Carnival four times since the restart last summer. I think we have had enough for now, but the itch will return at some point.
  • We are extremely laid back, American working class people who really don't like to dress up on vacation.
  • The highest tier cruise lines I have sampled are Disney (1990's) and Celebrity (2001).  They were fine but not enough different from Carnival for the $$, IMHO.
  • Our favorite ship was Oasis of the Seas.  Our other RCI cruise (Adventure) was fine but again not enough different to justify a higher price than Carnival.
  • This might sound stupid, but honestly I cannot quite grasp exactly what people are doing all day on luxury small ships to justify their prices. 
  • All cruise food I have ever had, worst to best, has been more than good enough for me. 
  • I can easily pack for a 7 night cruise on Carnival in a single carry on bag and I love that.
  • I really don't care if there is "visible rust" on the ship, dated decor, or cosmetic wear and tear. Yes I see it, I just don't much care.
  • I am not looking to travel with classier co-passengers. I think I would just feel like a pauper-in-disguise among the aristocrats.

 

Would there even be any point in a better cruise line for us? I am willing to pay more for better stuff, but I really have to be able to understand where we are getting the value. 

 

 

 

 

I read all of your posts. To give you a fair/accurate answer, what tipped you to the point where you "had enough". Maybe this was addressed and I just missed it. 

 

Thanks

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We're platinum on Carnival and NCL; gold on MSC.

We live in Manhattan, NYC...and only cruise out of NYC.

Money isn't an issue..but value is!

 

We are "buffet people" and nobody tops NCL.  I call dining in any venue on a cruise ship "pretend pretentious".  NCL also has excellent entertainment.

 

MSC...I live on the pizza.  The rest of the food...meh.  The entertainment is great and I love the international flavor.  And the ships are gorgeous!

 

Carnival is strictly for convenience and value.  Food...except for the cakes in the lunchtime buffet I never found anything to "put on weight" over.  Entertainment also leaves a lot to be desired.

 

I care about "the value" because the better value I get on the cruise.....the more I'll waste in the casino and buying overpriced jewelry.

 

With all the above being said, like @KmomChicagoI'd like to know why I should spend a lot more for "the same product".  

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14 hours ago, UPNYGuy said:

you would be seriously put off by Oceania. the evening entertainment is a string quartet that plays in the lobby (not an atrium)

 

I mean, I would love to hear a string quartet... I just want to hear it as I sit with my feet curled up, cocoa in hand, wearing sweats. 😂

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I started with princess, and did 3 on her. Princess left the Galveston  market so I branched out to carnival and got tired of their food and alternated with rcl. I've done 3 on ncl, also celebrity and big red boat .. trying to remember.

 

You mention value and cost. With carnival bringing in jubilee as their 7 day cruise, they went higher than rcl. I can book allure and harmony for less. While I will book jubilee not now at current prices. 4 of the 5 on allure and harmony are lower than I can book jubilee, and 3 of those are inside city park balconys. My boardwalk costs a bit more but within $50. 

 

When I'm on carnival I miss free offee in diamond club, 5 vouchers a day for drinks and my free wifi. Just being honest carnival is more expensive unless I book shorter cruises which i wasnt very satisfied with. I booked carnival dream 14 days because it's out of Galveston and goes to new ports ... same reason as radiance 10 day next January. Group rates start at $1100 (10 days) vs jubilee where I dont have access to cheaper rates and starts at $1098. 

 

I did enjoy NVL and the food. I'd do ncl again and will.

 

Princess and celebrity fine but nothing special. I dont like celebrity went to all inclusive and feel like I'm paying tips and drinks etc for 2. 

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1 hour ago, Badfinger said:

 

I would probably never pay for a more upscale cruise than what CCL or RC offers.  Why?  Because at those price points, other non-cruise vacations compare favorably.  A week on Mackinac Island sounds fantastic.  My wife would love a driving vacation up the west coast from San Diego to Seattle, stopping where and when we want for how long we want.  I would love a mid-summer fly-in fishing trip to Northern Canada or a golfing trip to Scotland. 

This is an interesting point. Many years ago - late 1980's, my mom, then-husband (*I am now on number 3, seventeen years and counting this time around), and I did a drive around Lake Michigan. We did not book any hotels or motels in advance, but took about a week total, staying mostly in mom and pop joints as we moved along.

 

We spent just one day on Mackinac Island, rented bikes and rode around, and took photos sitting in the rocking chairs on the Grand's porch. I would possibly like to recreate that trip in the next couple of years. I love that it avoids the flight hassles as we are less than an hour from the south tip of the lake. 

 

I've noticed this year that long, complicated trips are starting to feel more tiring than exhilarating so flights as far away as Europe are quickly losing their appeal, not to mention the astronomical costs and continuing worries about Covid rules. 

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We're Gold with Carnival but will hit Platinum later this year so it's fair to say it's our favourite cruise line. We like the Fun ships atmosphere, vibe or whatever you want to call it. The food's good and we like the entertainment.

 

We've also cruise RCI, NCL and MSC. We haven't tried any of the premium lines as we're not at all interested in dressing up for dinner, lectures at sea or going to bed at 9pm (only joking, well half joking). The great thing about cruising is there's something for everyone.

 

Having done one cruise on each of RCI, NCL and MSC we haven't gone back for more. NCL was the best of these but since they've gone all inclusive and hiked the price up we haven't felt the desire to cruise with them again. No point paying for things we aren't going to avail of.

 

RCI was good, very similar offering to Carnival but a couple of negatives, first being they were very pushy with trying to upsell at every opportunity, secondly the timings of the entertainment at night time meant that a lot of things overlapped so you had to miss some things. We would go again if we found a good deal.

 

MSC was terrible, stunningly beautiful ship but everything else was awful. Food, entertainment and the general atmosphere onboard was the worst we've ever experienced. Never again.

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1 hour ago, edspec said:

We've cruised DCL, HAL, MSC, NCL, RCL, Princess, and Carnival.  I like them all for different things.

I will say that DH and I absolutely loved our MSC cruise.  Great variety of food, a beautiful two bedroom suite for a reasonable price, good entertainment, and the pizza was wonderful.  I could eat pizza every meal so that was a biggie for me.  Tried Princess earlier this year and while I'll definitely sail with them again I hated their pizza.  No flavor dough, sweet sauce, bad toppings.  

Speaking of Princess enjoyed the many quiet areas to sit, lower volume music, and daily activities.  The medallion is genius, and one of the reasons I was so taken with them.  At this time you can use the medallion to order drink and food options to your room free of charge, unlike other lines where you have to pay for drinks delivered to your room even w/ a drink package, and room service generally has a fee.  They also have good itineraries. 

DS loves RCL Oasis class, so when a ship is the destination that is our choice.

NCL I like for itineraries, the solo cabins, great specialty restaurants, and entertainment, at least on the newer ships.  I'm sailing on the Sun in September and interested to see what entertainment is like on an older, smaller ship.

Carnival...with Panorama driving distance it is an easy choice for us.  We enjoy the comedy club and the included food options, as well as specialty choices.  It is a relaxing cruise which is sometimes exactly what I'm looking for.

I'm 60 and the hassles of travel have definitely impacted my recent choices. DH and I want to book a Viking cruise, so see that happening soon.  Neither of us has any interest in paying the high cost of ship w/in a ship...with a price tag that large we can sail a higher end line.  

 

Thank you so much; this is exactly the kind of detail I am looking for. I can actually get an MSC weeklong cruise for free right now through My Vegas, but only through early fall, and we are traveled out for the time being so we won't be doing so.  However I am going to keep next summer and fall open and consider something like this if they keep providing these incredible last minute deals. 

 

I think I would like NCL entertainment quite a bit; I have always sort of dreamed of trying Princess, being a child of the Love Boat era. It's not a burning desire but there is a little tiny ember back there and I may use them when we (most likely) eventually do Alaska. Or maybe HAL. I always wanted to try them too, but again we are in the bonus round of the bucket list, so anything we manage to get to at this point is fine, but not really mandatory. 

 

If we could drive to a port in a half day or less, that would be the deciding factor for sure.

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Only been on two cruise, Carnival Magic and NCL Breakaway. I would consider the ships equivalent for comparison. There are pros and cons to both. If you could mix the good of both you would have a great cruise.

 

Carnival: It is just more fun. I can't put it into words, but the people just have more fun and the line entertains during the day. Gets people doing stuff on the Lido deck and feels like a party atmosphere. The casinos are more lively and realistic. The lack of late night dining options is one thing I absolutely hate on Carnival. It is bland pizza or room service which is expensive and extremely small portions.

 

NCL: Looks and feel are a touch nice. Not having to count drinks, O'Sheehan's open 24/7 for real food are the two biggest advantages NCL has over Carnival. Entertainment wise, the Lido deck was boring. You got to sit there and listen to random music, but nothing entertaining. Limited crazy games, nothing to get the crowd to party a little. Call it what you will, but our captain blew stopping in Roatan and cut Costa Maya out of doing practically anything. NCL's private port in Belize is nice but insanely expensive. Not something I would ever do again. 

 

In all honesty, if you could eliminate the 15-drink limit and have a 24-hour bar/restaurant that serves a standard menu, Carnival would have it all for me. On our cruise 8-night cruise, I hit the 15-drink limit 6x. The 2 days I didn't were port days. No, I was not stumbling around drunk or anything but literally having to think about having a drink or not because of the count is crazy for $550 for the week. And the limited dining is ridiculous. You could have a set menu: burger, nachos, chicken wings, salad, etc. Easy menu always available, and included.

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1 hour ago, DrSea said:

I read all of your posts. To give you a fair/accurate answer, what tipped you to the point where you "had enough". Maybe this was addressed and I just missed it. 

 

Thanks

 

Fair question!  I am turning 56 next month. I am still working full time. My dad has a cottage he owns that supposedly he plans to leave to me, and it is falling apart and needs a bit of work. I have a 16 year old who needs permit hours to get their license and meanwhile still needs to be ferried around. My mom turns 79 this year, lives with us, and has fallen three times since December, the last time breaking her arm up very high near the shoulder.

 

I volunteer as much as I can at a local cat rescue that is understaffed, volunteer-wise. In addition, the director, who is 50 and also works full time running her co-located full service horse farm and boarding facility, had an eye tumor this year (has been, we believe, successfully treated with a temporary radiation implant), but feels just a little bit less strong and energetic as a result. She also has a teenager at home, and her husband has been in a hospital in Chicago for almost 2 weeks and has had two abdominal surgeries. 

 

The kitties at the rescue would like me to be there petting and spoiling them about 120 hours per week. I also have two cats at home that I miss when we leave, that mom can't take care of anymore (we hire a local kid and it's fine). 

 

We flew to Orlando last August for Mardi Gras, drove to Baltimore in December for Legend, flew to Houston in April for Vista, and flew to LAX in May for Radiance.  Getting to Chicago airports is a pain, I am so over flying, because it is also a pain, driving to Baltimore was pretty terrible, logistics on the ground once you land are yet another hassle. 

 

Having to do a Covid test is stressful to me as for 3 of the 4 cruises we didn't even know if we would be able to sail 3 days in advance as we were getting ready for all those journeys. 

 

I used to love planning all these details but find a combination of my age, Covid, not wanting to leave mom or the cats too often or too long, and the details now feeling like a million little irritations rather than fun challenges, means I am losing my enthusiasm for what used to be one of my main passions.

 

Also because Carnival is so consistent across the whole brand, I am losing the novelty factor, and I have never really been a travel repeater, because there is so much else out there and I am wondering if a different line would refresh the experience. 

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1 hour ago, MsTabbyKats said:

We're platinum on Carnival and NCL; gold on MSC.

We live in Manhattan, NYC...and only cruise out of NYC.

Money isn't an issue..but value is!

 

We are "buffet people" and nobody tops NCL.  I call dining in any venue on a cruise ship "pretend pretentious".  NCL also has excellent entertainment.

 

MSC...I live on the pizza.  The rest of the food...meh.  The entertainment is great and I love the international flavor.  And the ships are gorgeous!

 

Carnival is strictly for convenience and value.  Food...except for the cakes in the lunchtime buffet I never found anything to "put on weight" over.  Entertainment also leaves a lot to be desired.

 

I care about "the value" because the better value I get on the cruise.....the more I'll waste in the casino and buying overpriced jewelry.

 

With all the above being said, like @KmomChicagoI'd like to know why I should spend a lot more for "the same product".  

 

Thank you so much. We are getting tired of the mediocre Carnival entertainment. It was better overall on Mardi Gras, but the Playlist shows were possibly the blandest we had ever seen on any Carnival ship.

 

I do like buffets - again Mardi Gras was the only ship I didn't eat a lot of meals in there, because there were so many other options. But typically we are there a lot, so hearing NCL is good with that and with nighttime entertainment could be a game changer. And yeah, the lunchtime Carnival buffet cakes have been fabulous lately. 

 

Since the food is not, however a huge factor, the MSC thing would still be fine. We like pizza; I used to like Carnival's but not as much anymore, and RCI's is just not great. We could eat pizza several days in a row; in fact DH and I are doing a couples overnight in Chicago in a couple of weeks and we bought a Pizza Bus tour. 🙂 '

 

We still spend plenty of extra cash on Carnival as well. We did a $400 cabana on Half Moon Cay last Christmas, for example. A splurge but really awesome and worth the price for one time. We typically buy a good shore excursion from the ship at 2 out of 3 ports we visit each 7/night cruise, and just walk around briefly / mostly stay on the ship for the third.  We buy a couple of cocktails per day, maybe a few photos. 

 

I can hardly imagine the convenience of living in NYC to be right there at the port in about ten minutes. 🙂 We spend hundreds of additional dollars, or more, getting to and from the ports, which of course has to be figured in to the total cost / value ratio. 

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We sailed Princess… did we have a good time? Yes. Would we sail them again? If the price was right. … the food was so yummy, even in the main dining room. 
What I didn’t love.. I kind of felt out of place. My husband and I cruise them when we were in our late 20’a early 30’s and I just didn’t feel like the majority of the entertainment was geared toward us. I personally would rather listen to a DJ or a singer with a guitar versus a string quartet in the atrium. Did it ruin our cruise? Absolutely not. We had a great time. But I think Carnival does a much better job during the lunch time of having different venues to eat at. Guy’s, Blue Iguana, shaq’s etc.. i think Princess had pizza? But this was also several years ago so thing could be different now. I felt like they had the buffet and the dining room for no cost and that’s it. I felt like Carnival’s breakfast was better too. Again , could have changed since then. 
We really did have a nice cruise and we would go again for a good price. 
but, ultimately we learned we really do enjoy Carnival.
 

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4 hours ago, RollingMeadows said:

Anyone with a riff raff comment has never been on a truly AI cruise. We've been on all of one and had another booked before Covid hit and the line (Crystal) went under. There is no service on earth like that of an AI ship. The passenger to crew ratio is more like 3-1 than 50-1, or whatever it is on a family cruise line.

 

I won't bother going into all the differences I noticed on my single week-long fancy cruise, but it is a really wonderful experience and worth the cost. If you never do it again, you can at least say you were treated like royalty for a few days. I'm so sad to see Crystal go. It was an affordable experience for us, though it sure isn't for everyone.

 

I've been looking at other luxury lines to see what we can/want to afford and the prices are pretty far out there. I think I'd rather put the money into a new car. lol Still, this type of cruise will forever be on our radar and if I see something on RSSC, Seabourn or Silversea that piques our interest, I'l book it with only a moderate cringe of financial hesitation. It's a big $$$ step, that's for sure, but it was absolutely worth it to us.

 

P.S. We have sailed on Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Holland and Crystal. We have a Celebrity cruise booked for this December. We used to sail exclusively on Carnival. Now we're excited to play the field and try anything new.

 

I had a way too long post that disappeared about my love for Crystal (RIP) but I completely agree with you!

 

For us, the destination was the Crystal ship itself and what a destination she was. I just loved that my husband and I could enjoy each other, sleep in, take our time with dinner, etc., without feeling rushed or crowded. Virgin Voyages felt really similar to Crystal -- the ship is a modern, trendy destination ... I didn't even get off the ship in Key West. I would've paid a higher fare to have cocktails included on Scarlet Lady, but the offerings and program were top-shelf and I didn't feel the prices were unreasonable compared to what I pay for a quality cocktail at a nice bar here in New Orleans.

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after the next 2 cruises this sept, rcl gives me a 25% solo discount making the price gap even larger when I price carnival out of Galveston. 

 

With all the flight commotion I'm still not wanting to fly, but flying net spring break to meet some float away poters on oasis, cant apply my 25% discount until after sept pts post.

 

My issue with carnival is they arent good to solos and seem to have decided the more in a cabin the better. 

 

I think I liked ncl the best. Not sure which ships. Breakaway and getaway maybe and a older ship. Even solo cabins are not a value .. prima coming to Galveston. I'll wait for last minute when they knock off the extras like flight for 2nd pax. 

 

Wish carnival gave me free drink vouchers and free wifi. I miss those when I do carnival and have to pay for them. I have carnival stock. Got me twice wrong. Doesnt help its back down so much. So I'm ok with keeping carnival prices so much higher than rcl. Galveston has always been a good port for carnival, a cash cow. 

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