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Why People Love Carnival

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I just returned from the John Heald Blogger’s cruise chock-a-block full of Carnival Cruise Lines lovers. This is to be expected since hundreds of the people on board were fans of the erudite Carnival ambassador, cruise director John Heald. Heald waxes on daily shipboard life at his blog site. Hence the name “Blogger’s Cruise.”

The site has become so popular that he can attract hundreds of people to book a Carnival cruise simply by announcing he will be onboard to host special events and indulge in a great deal of Carnival Fun Ship mayhem, John Heald style.

Naturally, when you get a lot of people on board a ship who are there primarily because they love the cruise line you are going to hear their opinions as to why they love it. They are also going to mention anything they don’t love about the ship.

I have to say, despite the image and rumors about Carnival Cruise Lines people, you will be hard-pressed to find a more dedicated group of cruisers to any one cruise line. The people sailing on this cruise love Carnival, and I will tell you why…

Carnival is hands-down the most successful cruise line ever. Over the years the company has made enough money to swallow up much of its competition including Princess, Holland America, Cunard, the Italian cruise line Costa Crociere and the small luxury line Seabourn. Carnival currently has 22 ships in operation with two more, the biggest Carnival ships yet, on the way and already being booked. Add in all the ships of the five other Carnival Corp. (the parent company to Carnival Cruise Lines) cruise lines and you have a total fleet of 85 ships in service today, with more on the way.

Carnival Cruise Lines, the Fun Ships, created this cruise empire and made CEO Micky Arison one of the world’s 100 richest people. When still only about 17% of the U.S. population has ever even been on a cruise, for Carnival to have that kind of success they must be doing something right, right? Right.

What do Carnival cruisers love about Carnival? Based on the comments I heard repeatedly here it is…

First of all, Carnival Cruise Lines has surprisingly good food. Food is important to cruisers because its included in the cruise fare. That means that the better it is the more value you are getting for your vacation dollar. Carnival offers delectible appetizers, salads, soups and entrees nightly. You can get a flat iron steak any night of the week – no extra charge. And they aren’t skimpy – averaging over 10 ounces, shrimp cocktails with real prawns, not those mealy keyring-sized shrimpy shrimp. Caeser Salad with freshly grated parmesan and crunchy croutons, lobster tail with hot drawn butter. Dessert is Chocolate Melting Cake, so popular over 88,000 portions are served every week on Carnival ships.

I have heard seasoned cruise professionals say Carnival has the best food of any cruise line. Syndicated radio food and travel expert, Pierre Wolfe ( says Carnival’s alternative dining spots are truly the best anywhere – with food better than cruise lines costing 10 times as much as Carnival cruise.

Great food. What else has Carnival got? Carnival has fun. Every night in the Carnival dining rooms the waiters sing and dance for you. They interact and act goofy, but in fact they are smart. One thing I have noticed lately on other cruise lines is waiters who do not speak very good English. I was on Holland America and endured a waiter who had an infuriating habit. He would pretend he heard me when in fact he did not – every time. I ordered an appetizer on an “audible.” – just deciding I wanted it at the last minute. I asked him for it and he mumbled back to me something that sounded like what I had said – so I nodded my head. That plate never arrived. Neither was their an apology for that because he didn’t hear me. This was typical for the cruise.

Our waitress on this recent Carnival Blogger’s cruise was a true jewel. A delightful young lady from Thailand who was incredibly efficient – never missed a beat, pretty and fully conversant in English. First, lady waitresses are rare on cruise ships, and being a guy I like them. But most important, she was not the exception, Carnival waiters are not just service people, they are a big part of the Carnival experience, they also talk to you, sing and even dance for you, every night. Yes, it is a little corny, but they don’t overdo it and even the most curmudgeonly cracks a smile eventually. Most people love the antics. It is emblematic of why carnival is known as the “Fun Ships.”

Carnival room stewards are also equally professional, but not nearly as intrusive. This is how I prefer it. I don’t really want my room steward to stick around and ask me a lot of questions like “you go to shore today?”, “you have fun?”, “you have good time, right?”, “good, good time.” That’s just me, a lot of people love interacting with their room stewards, but because I have worked on ships I know these people are very nice and professional, but their lifes are in reality very different from ours and in fact they don’t really relate to our feelings as much as one might think. That is not a bad thing – just life in the real world.

Still, back to the point, one reason Carnival crew and staff people are exemplary is because Carnival has excellent employee retention. This gives each employee a consistent opportunity to learn and contribute to the Carnival time-proven “Fun Ships” formula. A proven formula applied consistenly gives Carnival the competitive edge; fun times with great food and service. Also at a great price.

Now I would like to hear from Canival fans and fans of other cruise lines, especially Royal Caribbean and NCL (because they are in the same class as Carnival). Do you agree Carnival has the winningest formula with the best food and service, or is this theory all wet?

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Comment from Dave Beers
Time February 18, 2009 at 10:43 am


I agree with you. I tend to split my business between Carnival and RCI and I think Carnival has the better food of the two lines. I realize food is subjective, but overall I can’t understand anyone globally criticizing Carnival’s food. Often it is the person who went on one Carnival cruise twenty years ago and feels this qualifies them to pass judgment. Carnival has greats pizza, a deli where I can get a corned beef on rye, lots of buffet choices, “free” room service 24 hours a day, and very nice dining room food served by a smiling wait staff. The Supper Clubs are indeed quite impressive. To my tastes, RCI has declined over the years and more importantly has lost the ship-to-ship consistency they were once known for. However it isn’t enough to turn me away from them. Service-wise, I’d put both RCI and Carnival on par.

The Carnival product has improved greatly over the past decade, yet their critics seem stuck in the past when Carnival was the quintessential party boat full of drunk college kids. It simply isn’t so anymore.


Comment from Paul Motter
Time February 18, 2009 at 11:34 am

I know – the image of the “typical Carnival cruiser” is pretty bad. A lot of people think of Carnival as the line with “gluttonous cruisers who want to eat all day and drink all night while their money goes up in smoke in the casino.”

And I have to say that there are a few people like that on Carnival, especially on some of the older ships and shorter cruises which tend to be real bargains.

But… the cruise line and its ships itself are as classy and well serviced as any cruise line anywhere, which makes them a great value.

Bottom line, Carnival is a Fun Ship cruise. This means you are going to get outgoing people. They will whoop and sing&dance in the dining rooms. I don’t mean to say Carnival only appeals to people like this, I am just saying there will usually be some people like this on a Carnival cruise.

BUT – Carnival is not like a spring-break cruise, unless you are talking about spring break of 1980. It isn’t over-run with kids or younger singles on the prowl. It is more like people who are young at heart and love to let loose.

Now, Royal Caribbean is also a great cruise line. But their focus is a little different. RC has beautiful ships with lots of cool activities. Their ships are high-tech but comfortable and commodious at the same time. I like the free ice cream on deck and in the atrium, the Royal Promenades are design genius and their entertainment is as good as carnival. IMHO.

I have to agree with you that the food on RC is not as good, nor is the dining room service. In fact, on my last RC cruise I was very disappointed with the dining room service.

Now, service can be spotty. I am sure there are some great RC waiters, but mine was not good. The food was also not extrordinary.

But the dining room is not why I cruise on any ship. I cruise for the onboard activities, what I can do and watch other people do, where it goes and other kinds of service including the buffet area, coffee shops, all-night pizza, room stewards, etc.

I personally think Royal caribbean is also a great cruise line, maybe because (as you can tell) I am not a very outgoing person with strangers. That is more Carnival style. I like to keep a little more low-key.

Comment from Dave Beers
Time February 18, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Last summer on the Rhapsody (in Alaska) there was a trout entree that looked good. Everyone at our table ordered it. Half of us got salmon, prepared in the same manner as the trout. They ran out of the trout! We made a mild mention of it to our waitress (who was wonderful) and she apparently told the head waiter. The head waiter wouldn’t admit it. He came by and said “some of the trout we get looks like salmon, so you have to have an open mind”. We all sat there and just started laughing at him. We were a great table – really some of the best table mates ever – so nobody got angry about it. But why not simply come to us and say “sorry sir, but we are out of the trout” and suggest something else?

I’ll admit to being reserved most of the time, and so I am usually one of those people who sits quietly at the table until the Carnival waiter parade is finished. I don’t think any less of those who get up and join the parade, waving their napkins and having fun. When I see these guests kicking up their heels I say to myself “Carnival has fulfilled those passenger’s expectations”, and isn’t that what it is all about? Carnival has never disappointed me.

Without a doubt, RCI blows the competition away with the “wow factor” of their newer ships. No reasonable person should say they can’t find something to do on the Freedom class of ships. But does one really need an ice rink or flow rider to have a fun time? Apparently Carnival doesn’t think so.

Comment from Paul Motter
Time February 18, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Well, some trout is pink like salmon, so it does look like salmon, but it doesn’t TASTE like salmon. Thanks Dave, you really hit the nail on the head.

It is a little hard to express what I am trying to say because i don’t to sound politically incorrect, but my experience in the RC dining room was exactly the same thing – a headwaiter who was just a guy in a suit but didn’t really know anything about what he should really be doing.

To be clear, RC has waiters and the dining room has a Maitre D’, but in between the two are several head waiters. They don’t do anything except walk around the dining rooms and talk to people. I thought he was the Maitre D’ (who is usually the boss of the dining room and can resolve any issue) at first, but by the end of the cruise I had figured out he was just a suit with no real power.

At my dinner I was upset about the wine service because they would pour from our bottle and then take the bottle away. Hence, the waiters were deciding who got how much wine. A few times they skipped people, or poured wine to poeple who very distinctly said “no, I don’t want anymore.” During one meal he walked away with the bottle still with wine in it and never brought it back.

The result was several people leaving wine they had paid for in the glass unused, and other people who wanted wine thinking the bottle was empty (because the waiter had it and didn’t bring it back) who ordered more wine when they didn’t have to.

This wine cost about $6.00/glass, so adding up all the mistakes the waiter wasted about $20 in wine.

The next I described what had happened to the head waiter. Boy he looked concerned, but he did nothing. The next night I took him aside again and said “I don’t think you got me, listen to me.” He said, “I will have a resolution for you tomorrow.”

The next day I had to chase him down. “What is the resolution?” I asked. He said, “I promise you this will never happen to another passenger again.”

Just like with your experience – that only says one thing to the guest “either this person doesn’t care about my complaint or he actually thinks I am stupid.”

Now, as i said, I thought this person had some real power to resolve issues. In the end I realized he had no power and that was why he didn’t do anything about my complaint – at first. But he didn’t tell me that, instead he just tried to b***s*** his way through me.

As a payong guest who also happens to write about cruise lines, I really wanted to see where this would go. It was a legitimate service complaint. What they cost us in wine could have paid their tips.

In the end he gave me one of the famous “sparkling wines” – on the last night after dinner. We neded up leaving it in the cabin.

Comment from Dave Beers
Time February 18, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Don’t forget the heroic role the head waiter plays when it comes to shellfish, as they stride to the table with knife and fork in hand to solemnly remove the shells. I beat one to it a couple years ago and I think it annoyed him.

Our head waiter on the Rhapsody was a very pleasant guy, I liked him personally, but to me he was really a variation on the Wal-Mart greeter.

Yes, in our case it really was salmon. Actually it was pretty good too, but it wasn’t what we ordered. Now see, that is when a bottle of wine suddenly appearing “on the house” would be a nice gesture.

I did a 3-night “farewell” cruise on the Sovereign Of The Seas last August, before she was transferred. On the final evening our head waiter did his best impression of a football lineman at the entrance. It was apparent he wanted to make sure everyone handed him an envelope and didn’t accidently “miss him”. I found it quite annoying.

Comment from Paul Motter
Time February 18, 2009 at 2:35 pm

It must be frustrating to have a job like that – plus it just isn’t good managerial structure.

On Carnival we had a waitress and a busboy – and one Maitre D’ who visited the entire room. There was no headwaiter.

There you have a job position where the person doesn’t really do anything. He would come by the table every night and tell us what was on the program for the next day, for example.

I can read a program, and even worse it comes off sounding “promotional” like a shipboard announcement for Bingo. I realize he is not promoting things, he is saying informational things like “tomorrow we will be in Cozumel.” But we already know that and does he realize he is interrrupting our dinner? Every night he would come over all smiley and talk for five minutes telling us things we already knew. We sat and smiled and pretended we were grateful “thank you, yes wonderful salmon er trout, yes, I know you’re working on that problem we talked about two nights ago, yes, yes, good job goos job….” And wait for him to leave.

Meanwhile the waiters are running around like mad because RC has no sommelliers and the waiters have to pour the wine for you. And these guys have to share their tips with this “head” waiter who does nothing and has no power.

RC may have envisioned something else when they created this system, but on the ship it probably isn’t working the way they wanted it to. Passengers are not stupid, they know the difference between good service and the “appearance” of good service. This guy was an annoyance because instead of being a problem solver he was a gladhander, and he kept interrupting our dinner. Don’t interrupt me unless it is going to benefit me somehow.

That is part of my personal preference of service. Like you, I could live without Carnival waiters singing & dancing, but my wife and many other people liked it so I don’t need to judge it negatively.

But does anyone ever talk about that wonderful head waiter at Royal Caribbean? No. he isn’t amusing, isn’t helpful and he is a distraction. And that is part of why RC gets lower ratings for food. If they paid more attention to real service and not the appearance of service it would be better.

I had another situation on Holland America, though. I thought their food had slipped. We got boiled vegetables that looked a lot like Green Giant. The shrimp cocktail was those mealy mini shrimp you used to get for 99 cents in cheap Vegas casinos. The steaks were 1/4 inch thick on HAL while Carnival’s were huge Flat Iron chunks of meat.

Carnival knows where their bread is buttered when it comes to food and if they can do it so could other lines.

Comment from Rita
Time February 18, 2009 at 7:30 pm

I too recently took a Carnival cruise, last October on the Paradise, and I will agree with pretty much everything you say. The food was actually a notch or two better than the food on Holland America.

However, I do have to say that I’ve never had a language barrier problem on a HAL ship. The waiters had no problem getting my order right during the 35 days I spent on the Statendam, though where I sometimes encountered a problem was with the length of time dinner would take. Sometimes it became a 2+ hour process, and at least to me, this is unacceptable. I realize that many people enjoy a nice, long, leisurely dinner when they are on vacation, but honestly, food and eating are not that important to me. I’m the sort of person (and believe me, I met plenty of others who think exactly as I do) who wants to enjoy my meal, but who doesn’t want that meal to become the focus of my entire evening. There are other things I want to do that night on the ship and I can’t do them if I am sitting in the dining room all night.

But the language barrier thing … I just honestly never encountered it in the dining rooms onboard any of the Holland America ships I’ve sailed.

As a little sidenote, on the Statendam a really nice thing they do for the crew is that the wife of the Hotel Manager (Helen and Theo Haanan) offers special English classes for new crew members who may be struggling with the language. I, along with Trisha of CC, got to sit in on one of these classes and it sure was fun. She makes the classes fun by creating various scenarios that require the participants to think and frame their answers in English. She said that the problem with the English language is that the same word can mean a lot of different things and you have to take the word in context to figure out the particular meaning to be applied in any given situation. Well, she had these kids (a couple from the shops, one from the laundry, a cabin steward, etc.) really learning during her class, and best of all enjoying themselves immensely. I would imagine that most of these newly hired crew members want to better their English skills because they attend these classes on a voluntary basis, on their off hours. When you consider how hard many of these crew members have to work, I think it is admirable that they are willing to attend an English class on some of the few hours a day they get off.

So, while I would have to say that I am happy with my service experiences in the dining room on Holland America ships, I will agree that the dining experience on Holland America is probably a bit sub-standard to Carnival, based on taste of food as well as length of time the meal generally takes. I’d be curious how other Holland America Line cruisers would rate their dining experience, especially in relation to a Carnival one.

Comment from storm’n norman
Time February 19, 2009 at 11:01 am

Gidday Everyone from Cruisemates……

Just dropping in to say that I had the “BEST” time this past week on the JH Bloggers Cruise due to the ‘interaction’ of ALL the diehard JH fans, the fabulous crew on board the ship and of course ONE-ON-ONE time I had to spend with Cruising “icons” such as Kuki, Paul Motter and other Cruisemates / Press personalities (not forgetting John Heald)! In one of the Q & A’s on board the ship as well as in an interview with Gene Sloan (USA Today Blog) – check out:
I made the comment that the reason I and so many other ‘diehard’ Carnival Cruisers cruise this line is the “PEOPLE”!!!
I hope to catch more of you on a Carnival ship in the near future!
Best regards,
Storm’n Norman
(just celebrated my 38th Carnival Cruise on board Fantasy 7-12 February)

Comment from leo
Time February 19, 2009 at 9:57 pm

Well , I took my first cruise in my line and it was under carnival , my second cruise was royal , and my 3rd cruise is going to be next month with royal , as in today I have the royal credit card. I hope u get the idea. Royal is the best
leo – miami -25 yrs

Comment from Darlene (Ready2gonow)
Time February 20, 2009 at 7:57 am

Paul, I was with you on the Bloggers cruise and had a great time. I have sailed Carnival 7 times and RC 5. I truly don’t notice much difference between the two lines, with regard to dining room food and service. Wine service has always been comparable, without a problem. On the Fantasy, we enjoyed our waiters from the first cruise so much, during the Rehab cruise, we had breakfast in the dining room, just to be able to visit with them. On one RC cruise, the Head Waiter had a complete meal sent to my DIL, who was in her cabin, with a headache.

I haven’t sailed a newer Carnival ship, so I can’t compare the ships, in many aspects. In January we sailed Liberty of the Seas and simple loved the ship.

I guess I say all this in order to say that I would sail either cruise line, any time! When I book, sometimes I book for the ship (just gotta see it!), sometimes for the itinerary, sometimes for the price.

Great article and comparison.

Comment from Paul Motter
Time February 20, 2009 at 8:19 am

Don’t get me wrong, I am BIG fan of Royal Caribbean and would cruise on them anytime. In truth, given a choice of mega-ships I would personally sail on Royal Caribbean, because dining room service is not a make or break factor for me on a cruise. I enjoy their ships a lot.

If the choice was between older ships I would choose Carnival because their upgrades have been very intuitive as to what they needed to add. But they really just make them close to what you get on newer ships.

I am glad you had a competent head waiter on your RC cruise. That just wasn’t what I experienced. In fact, on Cekebrity we had two cases where we paid the service charge to dine in the Murano restaurant and my wife got sick over the salad and had to leave and the Maitre D’ refused to send any food to her room. Adding insult we saw a charge for the restaurant on our bill. They did take it off with no question, but only after I talked to the hotel manager.

Comment from beentravelin
Time February 20, 2009 at 8:35 am

Why do you feel this way “leo”? Could you give specifics?

Comment from Dave Beers
Time February 20, 2009 at 9:35 am

I have people ask me almost every day “which cruise line is best?” and the answer is “there is no correct answer”. It depends on the individual and what they want out of the cruise. Crystal offers a wonderful cruise product, but it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I cringe when people flatly state “this line is best”. It might be more to one’s preference, but unless one has cruised on every line out there – and several times on each – “best” is really an anecdotal comment.

I don’t mean to sound dismissive of RCI. Our next cruise is with them. I am a diamond C&A member and have the credit card. I’ve got enough points now for a free 4-night cruise for two. Nice award for running up a lot of credit card purchases. It’s just that nobody should dismiss Carnival as being a lesser product. You can’t argue with the success of a company which started with one old ship and 30 years later owns several major cruise lines.

Carnival and RCI are more alike than they are different.

Comment from Paul Motter
Time February 20, 2009 at 9:40 am

A funny thing – the one thing I heard Carnival fans complaining about was the rewards program. They say it doesn’t give enough. Royal Caribbean’s is much better, they say. I am not a member of any (too much trouble for me) so I don’t know.

Comment from Paul Motter
Time February 20, 2009 at 9:41 am

Hey Dave, which cruise line is “the best?”

Comment from Dave Beers
Time February 20, 2009 at 1:57 pm

>>which cruise line is “the best?”<<

Comment from Paul Motter
Time February 20, 2009 at 1:59 pm

OK – which one is the worst?

Comment from Dave Beers
Time February 20, 2009 at 2:40 pm

My answer somehow didn’t go through. It was a “cringe”.

The worst? That’s easy. The worst is the cruise line I am not on right now!

Comment from Rita
Time February 21, 2009 at 6:18 am

“OK – which one is the worst?”

Well, if I read the reviews posted on this site under the Reader’s Reviews section, I guess I would have to say MSC. A good review for that line is a rarity. Then, I guess coming in second would probably have to be NCL.

In both cases, I think the “color” of the reviews is solely as a result of misperceptions regarding what the traveler is paying for. In the case of MSC, I get the feeling it is a traditional Italian line, with traditional service and food. Well, Americans have their own ideas of what Italian is, and those ideas can be way off the mark. I am Italian, and to me Italian is pizza, ravoli, enucci, lasagna, etc. Well, apparently that is NOT “traditional” Italian food. Well, if I got on an MSC ship and got food that did not jive with my idea of Italian … especially when I was really looking forward to some good eats … I guess I would be disappointed too.

The service too might be different than what we are used to. From what I understand, MSC does well when they sail Europe, or at least reasonably well. But when they come to the Caribbean, they do lousy. Maybe it’s an “American” thing? I honestly don’t know and can only present my thoughts. I have never, and would never, waste what precious little vacation time I get in a year sailing MSC.

With NCL, I think most of the people who don’t like it simply can’t wrap their hands around the “Freestyle” concept. It is far different from what we are used to. “Freestyle” is about a lot more than dining … and things seem to be a lot less structured on NCL. Maybe that’s why some people come away not enjoying their cruise.

Also, I think … and again, this is just my own perception … that people get a really low price on an NCL cruise and they figure that they are getting a real deal. Well, I personally think that the low price assumes that in order to truly take advantage of the NCL dining format, and to truly experience Freestyle cruising, requires one to dine in a variety of venues onboard … including the pay for service restaurants. This puts quite a few people off. They feel that they paid their cruise fare and that should include all of their meals. So, on a matter of principle, they will often refuse to dine in the extra fee restaurants. Because of that, the small number of no extra charge venues become bogged down and bottlenecked. These folks who will only eat in them then complain that service took forever, and the food quality was bad. Duh! What did you expect?

Everyone I’ve spoken with and the positive reviews I’ve read all seem to indicate that they had a great cruise because they went to different dining venues, many of them extra charge, during their sailing. It is those people who seemed to enjoy their NCL experience and loved the “Freestyle” concept. I would imagine this is logical, because it is only these people who truly experienced “Freestyle” as it was meant to be. The negative reviewers did not take advantage of everything the Freestyle concept involves and for that reason were disappointed with their cruise.

So, it is these two cruise lines that I think are probably the worst, at least from the tone of our community members’ reviews.

Comment from Dave Beers
Time February 21, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Those are valid observations, Rita. I’ve read reviews along the same lines…Americans who expect the food on MSC (Costa too, when in Europe) to be like going to Olive Garden or Pizza Hut. I’ve read some negative reviews where they were upset because everyone wasn’t speaking English, or they did the announcements in several languages. I guess some are a little late in realizing the whole world doesn’t revolve around the U.S. anymore. But that is something for another discussion.

Comment from starkiss
Time February 21, 2009 at 2:17 pm

How typically American to start rating ships this way or that. I bet in a blindfold test, you couldn’t tell where a dish came from; whether it was Carnival or RCI.

Comment from Paul Motter
Time February 21, 2009 at 3:12 pm

I think the dishes come from IKEA, but I can certainly tell the food apart.

No, just kidding. I don’t know where you are from, starkiss, but I have never know America to have a reputation for being full of food snobs, as compared to say Europe, for example.

But like i said, there really is a difference, and when food is part of what you pay for when you buy a cruises (it’s included in the cruise fare) that affects your entire perception of the value of the cruise.

It is important.

Comment from storm’n norman
Time February 22, 2009 at 9:56 pm

Hey JH Bloggers (and others on Cruisemates)….

Following the cruise with Kuki (and Mrs K), Paul and other Cruisemates, Ann and I have finally gone through OVER 750 photos of the cruise and decided upon 175 of the highlights of the pre-cruise (Beacon of Hope Day) as well as the cruise itself!

To view the photos click or copy & paste the following address.

Please feel free to upload any photos you want with this address!

If you have any ‘special’ requests, don’t hesitate to contact us / me on

Hope you like the photos……any comments welcome!!!

Best regards,

Storm’n Norman & Ann

Comment from cathie
Time February 25, 2009 at 7:17 pm

I am taking my very first cruise this saturday the 28th, I am very excited! I am taking a Carnival (Inspiration). Thank you all for great feedback and I will have to let you all know when I return how much fun I had !

Comment from Fireba11
Time March 4, 2009 at 10:51 pm

I think the key with Carnival is the overall value for the money. The food, service, entertainment, shows, decor are normally very nice. Why spend hundreds of dollars more for a comparable cruise with another line when you can have it all with Carnival and save money?

My biggest gripe with Carnival is the lack of cruises going out more then 7 days. I realize that is where their sister cruise lines like Princess and HAL comes in but it would still be nice to cruise on the Fun Ships for a longer cruise.

Comment from linda hartwick
Time December 14, 2010 at 12:43 pm

I have cruised on about 35 carnival cruise ships, I just got off a royal carribean ship the food was much better than carnival and the cruise was half the price compared to carnival

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time December 22, 2010 at 7:26 am

What is, is, with the ships. What most Americans think is Italian food, is just that, pizza, lasagna and you get the idea. We have had “Italian food” since the cafeteria in grade school, the cardboard pizza, the over cooked noodles, the canned Ragu or worse sauce. Then we have Olive Garden, and Quizznos. To some, I suppose this is real Italian food. I like Quizznos. If you are lucky, and have one nearby, do try Carabbas. Being from Boston, some of the BEST Italian restaurants are found in the North End, and of COURSE, little Italy in NYC.

I have traveled extensively in Italy, and have sailed Italian Line and Costa and what one can see for themselves is, the evening meal is basically Northern Italian, lunch and buffets, southern with a heavy dose of Sicilian. A spaghetti house will serve those awful twists of dough, with little garlic, and crap wine.

Olive Garden has some pretty weird ideas of what is authentic, just look at their ads on tv.

I have no desire to try MSC, and Costa, well, its not what it used to be. Costa is about as Italian now as Norwegian Cruise Line is Norwegian.

Believe me, I am not knocking pizza, lasagna and spag and meatballs. However, that is what most people think, expect and demand. I love them but, NOT ON MY CRUISE. (unless the pizza is genuine, not a boboli crust), and not prev. frozen.

Comment from George
Time March 26, 2011 at 10:20 pm

It is interesting what you all seem to think between the two lines. I was given a free 8 night Southern Caribbean Carnival Cruise through their Casino Program. I really did not like the Carnival Victory and thought the ship was dark and depressing. To me, the Adventure of the Seas (which is its competitor in San Juan) is MUCH, MUCH nicer. The meals at the main dining room (though the room on Victory was gaudy and ugly) was better than some of the RCCL ships, excluding the Adventures outstanding three story dining room.

I really feel RCCL deserves more praise than it often gets. To me Carnival is like Walmart, while RCCL is similar to Target. One chain are innovators while the others is into full world domination.

RCCL is a true innovator, which has changed the cruise industry many times. It is a classy line that has moved cruising into this millennium. What has Carnival done, that was a revolutionary or a “game changer”??

I agree with the previous poster that MSC’s big problem is with their dining. It is really sad, the Posia is one of the best ships I have been on, bar none: however I don’t see how I would survive 7 or 14 days on her. I have read reviews where people said they lost wait, after my voyage I can see how. If they made great improvements in this one area, they could be the European Celebrity.

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