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
I agree with Paul 100%!! Anything is what you make of it. We sailed CCL Fascination and just got back a few days ago and have already booked a New Years cruise on CCL Fantasy!! It was our first cruise and we had an incredible time! We left from Chicago, stayed the night before in Marina Park Best Western, sailed the Carribean for 4 days in an oceanview room on the Main deck, and flew back home all for UNDER $500.00 per person!!!!!!! It was the most elaberate and most inexpensive vacation we have ever taken!!! Our room was nice and always well kept, our staff was always plesant and helpful, and we had the time of our lives! I keep hearing about bad food...FOR GOODNESS SAKES there are so many choices from main dining to pizza to grill to buffett....what on earth do people expect??? No matter what, you cannot please everyone everytime...just remember not to sweat the small stuff and remember why you are on vacation...TO RELAX AND ENJOY!! If you let every little thing get under your skin you are just spiting yourself... With the countless choices of food and entertainment I cannot imagine being bored enough to have time to complain!
Hi: I think most of the serious bashing is directed towards a couple of incidents where CCL was less than attentive towards a customer problem. There is the woman who had her room broken into and items stolen and the "Vacation from Hell" where a CCL employee berated the woman's Mother who was on the cruise trying to relax after her cancer treatment. In both cases, CCL show remarkable indifference towards these people. Read the posts for more details.
Then there is the story about the family whose Father died while on a shore excusion. You might have seen the coverage of that one on TV. Yes, CCL is not liable for the death but CCL could have handled the problem in a more professional manner
When you spend a lot of money on a vacation like a cruise, you need to feel confident that the cruise line cares about you. It's a feeling that you should get from the room stewart to the Captain that you are appreciated.
You can always find things to complain about. I try not to sweat the small things but big things should not spoil a hard earned vacation and those two women had ligitimate complaints.
As far as my experience goes. My first CCL cruise was in April. It was our second cruise, first being on Princess. Both cruises were fine experiences and both cruise line have a different approach. I will cruise with CCL again.
Thank you Paul. I am about to go on my first cruise. Its is a first for cruising and also for being on Carnival. I have read many reports on how "bad" Carnival was. I understand what others have said that CCl should have shown more caring with certain events like the woman with the room broken into and the other woman that lost her husband in the excursion. While I believe more should be done, I would like to compare apples to apples and see if anyone had similar experiences with another cruise line. (Heaven forbid the death, but the other things like being yelled at and room broken into) and see how the other line responds. Maybe they would respond just like Carnival, who really knows??? Wouldnt the same reaction make the other lines just as bad? Being in the customer service industry myself, i have realized you cant please everyone, and there is also ALWAYS someone out there that feels they have a miserable life so they believe that they should make others miserable as well.
My husband & I will be going on our 3rd Carnival Cruise later this year, the 2nd time on the Paradise, and we have nothing but GOOD things to say about our cruises! As they say, you can't always please everyone, and I'm sure there are bad as well as good employees in every business, but that you can always deal with later by going as high on the corporate ladder as necessary.
...and what more beautiful 100% non-smoking ship can you have than the Paradise?? I haven't seen any cruise line provide one of these ships, and our cruise in September is already 100% booked...
Well said Paul!!!!!!! We just got home a week ago and we are ready to go again. Carnival has been very good to us everytime we go. they are the Best !!!!!!! My opinion!!!! That is the only opinion I need to go by! HAHA We had a wonderful vacation and we are already ready to book another soon. It will definately be on a Carnival ship. We have cruised others also. Still keep coming back too! Char
Unfortunately some people cannot accept that their views aren't shared universally. Their attitude seems to be that just because Carnival or some other line is not among their favorites, anyone who does like that line is either benighted or foolish. Sometimes I think that they should add 'cruise lines' to the list of topics such as religion and politics that shouldn't be argued about.
Right on folks. Haven`t set foot on a Carnival ship yet. Do I care about malcontents? NOT IN THE LEAST!!Went on the Disney Magic last year. Hear all kinds of complaints. Had the time of our lives. So much so that we are going on the Pride on Sept 28 and plan to go next year
Many decades ago, when the great ocean steamers of White Star Line, and Cunard sailed the seas, sailing aboard a steamer was an expensive mode of Trans-Atlantic travel; and generally only the well-off could afford it. The dress for dinner every evening (in first class) was tuxedo with tails – anything less was for the lower classes. This is the era when cruising traditions were established.
Then around the end of the 1960’s, Royal Caribbean began offering Caribbean cruises, priced much more affordably for the masses, and lured many more people who could now afford to cruise. Many of the traditions of cruising were carried forward from the turn of the century, and seem to have been instilled in this newer breed of cruiser.
Coming into the present, other cruise lines, Carnival in particular, have minimized to an extent the formal traditions, and have developed a more casual, festive atmosphere aboard their ships. The newest breed of cruiser will have learned the ropes in this era and will enjoy it as a preferred way of cruising.
Rightly or wrongly, Carnival has, it seems, acquired an image of beer-drinking, 20-somethings, partying like rock stars until the wee hours type of atmosphere. And I must admit to having that image myself, though not yet having sailed with Carnival.
It is this image (accurate or not) that is diametrically opposed to traditional cruising. And I think this is why many cruisers might have had an anti-CCL bias, and might so presently.
As this new style of less formal cruising becomes more established, and more the norm, I think we’ll see it become much more accepted, and eventually not even given a second thought. Until then, I think we the more traditional cruisers ought to try Carnival, before passing judgement upon something we’ve not yet experienced for ourselves.
We've been on the Ecstasy twice and Paradise once. Ecstasy was our first cruise, our honeymoon cruise and hooked us in. It is now the ideal family vacation for us. Carnival is one of the few lines that changes diapers which is a big +++++++ in my book, even though my kids no longer need them (unless we have another ;0) ) Part of the problem might be that these boards attract many more kid haters than you could ever meet in one place irl and hate ships that are family friendly, which Carnival CERTAINLY is.
We've also been on the Grand Princess and Explorer with the kids, and both have EXCELLENT kids programs too, but I think that Carnival goes out of its way to cater to all kids and I love that they offer group babysitting to all ages so that even the young ones can enjoy the kids room. I heard one mother on the Explorer complaining that her 1 1/2 yo was crying when she dropped off her older child and the little one saw the ball pit. Poor thing kept crying ball ball ball all night according to the mom.
A cruise is what you make of it. If you want a party, you can find it on any cruise. If you want tradition, all lines try to accomodate. I feel sorry for the people who can let such little things ruin their time.
As for the food, of all the ships we've been on, Paradise has had the BEST breakfasts of any, and I believe the food overall on Carnival beats the Grand and Explorer.
I work for the ground crew of Celebrity in Baltimore and I hear all the same complaints coming off the ship as you hear on the Carnival boards except complaints about the food. Although some people have complained about the food. There was a woman who came off the ship crying a few weeks ago because she had been robbed and was very upset about the way the ship handled it. She said they put a gag order on her and her adult son so she was not able to say much. I don't know the whole story because of that but then we don't know the whole story of the people that post here either. Sometimes people who don't hear what they want to hear from a company or representative decide they are handled badly even if all that can be done is done. As for the carnival bashing, many people do have a very bad opinion of carnival. All I can say is after hearing the problems coming off the Celebrity ship I realize that it happens on all the ships and I am more thankful for my 13 cruises on Carnival. I get a very small discount on Celebrity and I will still cruise Carnival instead. We are booked on the Spirit and Conquest and every time I go to work I can't wait to see a Carnival ship again. Gotta go, the ship is sailing into to port today. Cindy
Just returned from the Victory on Sunday, had a wonderful cruise, it was #26 for us. Have sailed all lines and feel Carnival holds its own against any. I have found thru the years most Carnival bashers have never sailed Carnival!!! Just heard things!!! And as other posters have said "things happen on any ship" one incident shouldn't affect your opinion for the rest of your life. My worst cruise was on the Voyager, but I'm going back to RCI in Oct, have had many wonderful cruises with them and have seen many Beer Drinking Contest on RCI, yes that has been something they have done for many, many years. You get what you put into it. Go with an open mind and you'll have a great time.
We've sailed on 5 Carnival ships and each one was better than the one before. The rooms are more than adequate and always kept spotlessly clean by the stewards. The food is varied and tastefully presented even though they are feeding thousands. The hard working waiters and assistants are always pleasant and accommodating. The shows are really well done and very entertaining. The musicians in all the bars are very good. The decor might be a tad overdone but you can't say it's not stimulating. I had a negative comment about kids being out of control on our last cruise. I e-mailed Carnival and within 4 weeks they sent me an apology and news that they were looking into how that problem can be solved in the future. They even gave me a "perk" which I wasn't looking for but it was graciously accepted. What big company in America gives a hoot about its customers.anymore. I can't wait till my next Carnival cruise and if it's not to your liking, then go elsewhere.
We put off cruising on Carnival for many years because of the bad press they had received. i.e "drunken, party ship", "poor food", "poor service".
We finally tried Carnival in 2000 because of a fabulous deal and have to say that we now regret not having tried Carnival before. We have sailed on five lines and Carnival holds is own with all of them. Each line is different and has its own advantages/disadvantages but we feel that Carnival is about the best value for your dollar out there.
If you are going for fun and are going with a positive attitude and you are not a chronic complainer I think you can have a great time on any cruise line.