Originally Posted by nlb1050
Carnival all the way.
We book inside cabins and the one NCL cruise was on the Pearl and it had a terribly small inside, could hardly move around the bed to get in or out. Service was just okay, realised that the cabin stewards have too many cabind to take care of and the main dining room food was just barely okay and the service was horrible. NCL does not want you to eat in the main dining rooms they want you to eat in tehextra charge resturants. We did not try any extra charge but did try a couple of alternitive resturants and getting a reservation was a nightmare. NCL says Freestyle, well except for the main dining room and buffet you have to have a reservation and I do not call that freestyle. Carnival's your time dining works much better.
The only way we will cruise with NCL again is if our grandson does another contract and we cruise on his ship.
Everyone has his/her personal favorite line I think. Some are not partial but many are. I can see from your list of cruises you really are seem to be a Carnival loyalist. I would like to ask you why you think Carnival's your time dining works better? We have never had any trouble with "free style" and have cruised on NCL many times. We haven't had trouble with Princess "anytime dining" either, but NCLs does seem to run smoother.
I agree with Paul, probably overall Carnival has better food. They also have larger cabins, but I like the bufffets on NCL better and the specialty dining room choices. You mention you tried alternative dining rooms but not extra charge dining rooms, that was 4 years ago right? It has changed since then. All the specialty dining rooms have a sur charge now and though reservations are required (per sey) often you can just walk up and get seated.
It is always good to get 2 sides, even if we do not always agree. I do think most mass marketed lines are more alike than different and for many the decision is based on itinerary and pirce which is what we use as guide lines. We happen to love the Pearl even with small cabins. Yes, the inside cabins are very small. We are about to take a cruise from Canada down the Atlantic coast and are getting an inside cabin (another line) we know to expect a small and tight situation.