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snowtom August 8th, 2002 05:02 PM

Carnival's reputation
It is not my intention to stir the pot, but I sailed on Destiny several years ago and made the following observations: The decks were PACKED during the sea days with sunbathers and "saved" chairs. Saved chairs is one issue that is self-explantory and I don't really want to dwell on it. The bigger issue was the mass of people packed into every available square inch of deck space. Now I understand the economics of cruising with Carnival require maximum volume of cruisers per voyage. my question is whether this ratio of humans to deck space is a problem across the entire line, and more importantly, does the crush happen on RCCL and Princess as well?

The second observation was made after my wife and I sailed on Celebrity this past january. Yes the crowd was older on the Century but there was still good crowd energy, poolside music and organized sophomoric activities. The inescapable fact was that the Carnival atmosphere was more raw. I almost expected to see guys walking around in cut-off bluejeans and wearing Earnhardt 33 hats. Having said this, I'm not judging. The fact is that there is a line, socioeconomic or regional or whatever and the two cruise experiences highlighted each side of the line. So I wondered whether anyone could help me classify RCCL and Princess with respect my perceptions of Celebrity and Carnival. Don't intend to make anybody made, these werwe just my honest observations. I liked both ships, both crews, and each experience but I would definitely gravitate to the side represented by Celebrity or a hybrid experience that was an adrenalized Celebrity.

I'll duck now

Gaines August 8th, 2002 05:36 PM

Re: Carnival's reputation
You want to see a real slice of socioeconomics, go on NCL. I have never seen such things except maybe in Darwins waiting room. That should take some of the slack off of you.

Jim Bragg August 8th, 2002 05:37 PM

Re: Carnival's reputation
Anything but very broad generalizations would be a dis-service as all ships and lines differ on a cruise by cruise basis. CCL years ago gained a reputation for being a party-boat with lots of drinking and wild partying. CCL has done much to change this and I personally have found CCL to be fine with less drunks that I have seen on some other lines. I haven't really seen anyone acting that far out of line on CCL in my dozen cruises with them. ALL mega-ships seem to have problems with chair-saving around the pool during sea days including Celebrity. I haven't seen any cut-off bluejeans onboard a CCL ship although I have noticed a few on a couple others. Are they areound, most likily but so long as they aren't in the dining room, so what. As for the Earnhardt "33" caps, well, DE's # was 3, not 33 and again, so what. I know many upper level businessmen who wear suits daily that are heavily involved in NASCAR, it isn't a redneck sport anymore. I know because I used to race in the Winston Racing Series and believe me when I say that I spent quite a bit of time with executives on the business end, more so than on the track. I have also cruised on Celebrity and although there were many nice things about them the overall ship experiance was not to 'my' liking as I found the majority of the other passengers a little snooty, (granted it was a long cruise with many older people), and the activities were almost nil and the CD was unseen except on TV and just prior to some of the shows. Boring would be my word for that cruise.
Bottom line......You cannot, nor should you judge any line or even ship by a cruise or two as there are too many variables. Cruisemates gives a great objective overall opinion of each ship in the review area as to who the ship and/or line is geared to but again it is very generalized to be accurate and not all cruises will be like the previous one. You should also never judge the "class" or type of people that choose differant lines. I have seen people from all walks of life on dranatically differant ships and lines. The only thing you can usually say and be accurate is that 'generally the longer the cruise, the older the crowd and more affluant they are. Doesn't mean they are better or more sophisticated, just older with more money.
Community Staff Leader

Blumoo August 8th, 2002 07:00 PM

Re: Carnival's reputation
Well said Jim, I was going to respond, but you got it ~!

Lisa August 8th, 2002 08:38 PM

Re: Carnival's reputation
I think in regards to your question as to where Royal Caribbean and Princess would rate between Carnival and Celebrity (in general mind you) - that Princess is close to Celebrity but less rigid; with Royal Caribbean coming in closer to Princess than Carnival...and yes I do have personal experience with these lines. And this is jmho.

snowtom August 8th, 2002 10:41 PM

Re: Re: Carnival's reputation
Thanks for the info. Generalizations are dangerous but I suspect that you got my point. Despite isolated cases that always exist to skew the absolute quality of generalizations, these same generalizations are far more useful than isolated anecdotal evidence.

Thanks again

snowtom August 8th, 2002 10:46 PM

Re: Re: Carnival's reputation
Thanks for the reply. Like you I was operating on limited anecdotal evidence to form a "soft" conclusion-hence the request for clarification in general. But as I wrote, the greater question was with respect to relative crowding and deck space. I just felt packed in like a sardine on Carnival whereas Century was busy and crowded but not nearly to the degree seen on Destiny. So to repeat, is this a Carnival problem more so than on other lines (the density of people around the pool) or does it also exist on other mega's like those of RCCL and Princess?


Jim Bragg August 9th, 2002 05:27 AM

Re: Re: Re: Carnival's reputation
Snowtom, to answer directly, yes, it is the same on RCI. Princess I have not yet sailed on.
Community Staff Leader

CruisinDenise August 9th, 2002 10:22 AM

Re: Re: Re: Carnival's reputation
I think a lot of it has to do with intinerary, too.

We encountered nothing but classy people and a wonderful time on our Carnival Spirit Alaska trip. From the reviews I've read, most any Caribbean or Mexico trip can get out of control depending on time of year and who's on it, but other itineraries draw less of a party crowd.

I did some research for a family trip to Alaska next year and compared some ships. One of the comparisons was 'normal' passenger to crew ratio. Carnival's Spirit is the only one that goes to Alaska, but the p/c ratio was good, better than some others even.

All ships try to sail as full as possible, which is why you can get some great last-minute deals.

Anyways, I've only been on that one cruise, but it was fantastic. I'll let you know how the Ecstacy does in Mexico on Thanksgiving. ;)


torpeedo August 9th, 2002 05:02 PM

Re: Carnival's reputation
Sailed on 10 day cruises in Feb 2001 & 2002 on HAL's Zaandam. On the 4 sea days both pool areas were packed. Noted lots of chair saving by the mature/affluent passengers on HAL. Every chair on the Lido deck pool area was unavailable by 10:30AM., and chairs were lined up chair ro chair. The aft pool area was a little better, but become wall to wall by 11:00. And both pool areas remained that way until mid afternoon, when, I suppose, the pax went to their staterooms for naps?. We quickly learned that if we wanted a chair by either pool, we had better get out early.
So I just don't think you can draw any meaningful conclusions about the quality of a cruise experience or rate any cruise line based on this aspect of simple human nature. People will be people.

DirtyJohn August 9th, 2002 06:29 PM

Re: Carnival's reputation

MIAMI (11/16/01) - Carnival Cruise Lines has taken top honors for 10 categories in Porthole Cruise Magazine?s 2001 Annual Readers? Choice Awards, receiving more accolades than any other cruise line for the third consecutive year. This year the line also received the "Editor-in-Chief" award as "Cruise Industry Trendsetter" for the second year in a row - an honor given out by Porthole Editor-in-Chief Bill Panoff to recognize the company?s innovative on-board features and amenities.

The Readers? Choice Awards, which are featured in the magazine?s December 2001 issue, were based on a survey covering cruise lines? various services, amenities and activities. Several thousand readers responded to the survey by completing mail-in ballots or voting online at the Porthole Web site (

Carnival?s 10 Readers? Choice Awards include:

Best Moderately Priced Line

Best Value for the Money Line

Best Singles Line

Best On-Board Entertainment

Best Children?s Program

Best Dining Room Service

Best Onboard Activities

Best Discos

Best Lounges

Best Staterooms

pamda August 10th, 2002 11:15 AM

Re: Carnival's reputation
I'm chary of Readers' Choice Awards.

If "X" people sail on Cruiseline "A" and "3X" people sail on cruiseline "B", it is a statistical probability that cruiseline "B" will get three times as many votes.

Just a passing thought.

gliner August 10th, 2002 11:34 AM

Re: Re: Carnival's reputation
But 3x people must be sailing that line for some reason.

Char August 10th, 2002 01:09 PM

Re: Re: Carnival's reputation
Well said Jim! Thank you for saying what I was feeling when I read his post. I myself Love Carnival and have never felt so crowded on pool deck or anywhere else on the ships. I am not by any means wealthy but also don't consider myself lower class either. I don't think Snow knows anything about Car racing . I think his nose is up in the air way too high. He could get a nose Bleed! Char

gliner August 10th, 2002 03:33 PM

Re: Re: Re: Carnival's reputation
I agree, that guy must be a real blue blood. Anyone so crass would be unhappy pretty much anywhere.

Jim Bragg August 12th, 2002 04:29 AM

Re: Carnival's reputation
The last post was insulting in nature to people that choose CCL and NCL so it was deleted. Bear in mind people that open and honest discussion is always encouraged but personal attacks and/or insults to individuals or groups are not allowed.
Community Staff Leader

Cindy August 12th, 2002 08:25 AM

If Carnival is so cheap, why is it more $ than others????
We've gone on Carnival 3x, RCI twice, and Princess once. The reason we chose Grand Princess over Carnival Destiny class ship was the GP was about a thousand LESS for the same cruise with a comparable cabin. Same reason for Destiny/Spirit class ship vs RCI Explorer. Explorer won out with being close to a thousand LESS. I thought the Grand was superb, Explorer had everything, but Carnival's food and presentation of the food was better than either of these. Otherwise they all seem comparable in experience. HOWEVER, there were a couple young girls on the same floor as us on the Grand that smoked pot, we even heard a couple cabin stewards joking about it once, smell was VERY obvious, yet nothing happened to these two. On EOS, a few drunks were tossed off at different ports, one was a group of 50-60 somethings that started a fight on the Royal Promenade. On any of the 3 Carnival cruises we've done, we don't know of any incidents, and security seemed tight.

How people can say Carnival is cheap when other cruises are SO much less is beyond me. As for the reputation, testiment to human nature that it can stick yet no longer true. As for deck space, I'm not a sunbird, I appreciate shade with my very light skin, so I have no clue what the chair situation around the pools is like on others. On the Grand, I enjoyed swimming at night, the pools are amazing on her. Explorer adult pool has sprinklers, that's not for me. Decks on all the ships I've been on have seemed pretty packed with sunbathers. My experience is Princess seems to handle crowd control best.


don August 13th, 2002 05:50 AM

Re: Re: Carnival's reputation
I expected the cut-off jeans party `til you puke atmosphere on Carnival and did NOT find it. I loved the Sensation and thought it had a wonderful family atmosphere. That much being said. . . . I have cruised all the major lines and found Princess to be much more comparable to Celebrity in terms of dining, passengers and entertainment than either Carnival and RCCL.

Tim August 13th, 2002 08:02 PM

Re: Re: Re: Carnival's reputation
I think snowman probably needs to take a different approach to a vacation.....perhaps Alaska where he won't encounter too many people. In my experience, some people just like to complain to hear themselves talk. Carnival is just as "croweded" on deck at the days at sea as any other cruise line. Take a beautiful sunny day sailing on the water with 2000 people on board all wanting a nice tan and YES! There will be crowds my dear.

gliner August 13th, 2002 08:54 PM

Re: Re: Re: Re: Carnival's reputation
I agree. Although we never had a problem getting a chair on our Paradise cruise in June. There were plenty of chairs and the ship was fully booked. Now on NCL we never, and I mean never got a seat on deck. Hence the differences in the 2 cruises. Guess which one we will be on next summer?

Sandyduce August 15th, 2002 12:04 AM

Re: Re: Re: Carnival's reputation
I would like to say that I just returned from my 2nd Carnival Cruise (Victory & Paradise) and I was always able to find deck chairs no matter what time I went on deck. We always found 3 together for my daughters & I.

The cro Carnival crowds were a great bunch of people on vacation having fun! We did not encounter any drunks or loud room parties. Both cruises were a delight from beginning to end.

I'd sail Carnival anytime!

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