Now I may be way off-base, seeing as i am rather new to these boards... but it seems as if there is a large number of people who hold some almost snobbish anti-CCL bias... the "McDonalds of the sea", the "Sizzler of Cruising" among other derogatory epithets are quite common among the cruise board peanut gallery....
..I'm an experienced cruiser, though I'm only in my Mid-20's... i've sailed on new and old CCL ships... Celebration, Holiday (twice), Jubilee, Tropicale, Ecstasy, Sensation, Imagination, even the one that started it all, the ol' tss Mardi Gras... and now i'm booked on the Victory July 7... frankly, I've never had a bad experience... Maybe i'm just a very "glass half full" type person. In fact, i know this to be the case; if i'm on a cruise, it'll take a minor miracle to so much as "ruin" FIVE MINUTES of my time... But still, reading some of these accounts on the boards, it seems as if some people look at Carnival as this lowbrow also-ran...
..I've sailed on ships from other fleets as well.... These include RCI's Sovereign of the Seas, NCL's Norwegian Sky and Star I (not the new Star, the old Royal Viking relic), as well as the now defunct Star/Ship Majestic and ss Dolphin IV. The only "bad" experience I've had was on the old NCL Star, and even that was a nice trip... I've seen NCL get ripped plenty as well, but three years after my so/so Star trip I went back to NCL on the Sky and had one of my top three cruises, it was wonderful.... I'm not about to indict a whole LINE based on one week with a few minor problems... we can't expect every minute of every voyage to go off without the proverbial hitch, can we?? Do some people just not find it in themselves to "go with the flow?"
As for the Carnival thing, why all the attitude? Fine, bash Carnival's activites such as beer drinking contests, hairy chest contests, etc... you'll find the same thing on RCI and NCL, and if you don't like it, it takes place for 15 minutes of the whole cruise and ships are big enough these days you can surely find something else to your liking. CCL packs more activities into the day than any other line bar none-- but again, these are all OPTIONAL, correct?? On a cruise, you don't have to do anything... so basically, Carnival gives you more OPTIONS... some people hate the options, but the vast majority loves at least one of them at any given time..... CCL wouldn't be the most popular line on earth if this wasn't the case.
The food is a common victim of verbal and written assaults on CCL as well... First of all, there's no question CCL food has improved over the years, even the line's harshest critic can admit that. Secondly, I'm willing to bet that in a blind taste test, CCL more than holds its own with RCI, NCL, Princess and the like. From what I've heard, Celebrity is a notch above.. this is fine. You DO get what you pay for. But I've found CCL's food to be more than adequate, more abundant than on any other line, and a great ability to be formal and laid-back at the same time. Plus, CCL unquestionably ushered in the new era of modern cruising, and innovations such as the 24-hour pizzeria amoung countless others can be credited to the red, white, and blue Fleet de Farcus, no?
As for the ships themselves, this part baffles me. I consistently find CCL's ships to be mind-blowing treats for the senses. They're technologically impressive, new, and full of themes, colors, and excitement... yes, it may be too much for some, and the energy level may be too high, but is that a reason to look down on this line?? Maybe you'd prefer Crystal or HAL-- another Carnival product? CCL has one of the most innovative fleets in the business. Look at the Cruise climate when the HOLIDAY class was introduced in the 1980's-- the cruising world hadn't seen anything like it. The FANTASY class took it a step further, and then the DESTINY class broke the 100,000 ton barrier. CCL has always been a pacesetter.. larger cabins, more energy, less stuffiness.
I've never had a problem with poor service, an impersonal air, whatever you usually hear complained about w/ CCL. I think it's a fair assessment that all the mega-lines suffer from the same hit-and-miss phenomena than any land-based resort would. I feel as if there are plenty of quiet, elegant spaces on a number of Carnival ships... but if you want a different approach, there are surely lines better suited to you... but why do people consistently go out of their way to belittle this line?? I guess it's true... it's not easy being king.
University of North Texas '02