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Old July 18th, 2004, 11:41 AM
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Default Considering Carnival

Thought I'd post here for some reassurance - seems like the most likely place to find pro-Carnival cruisers.

Hubby and I are going on our 2nd cruise in January (no kids again) and are giving Princess (Grand Princess) a try. We are very new to cruising (our first was Celebrity Constellation - a dream trip in every way) and have decided to try different lines and discover first hand what they're all about.

January 2006 we would like to take a cruise with our kids who will be 6 1/2 and 11. I had already decided on Royal Carribean's Adventure of the Seas, thinking of the rock climbing wall, mini-putt, skating rink, etc that the kids will love.... Then I priced it out. Based on the deals that I can find here, I can save almost $1000 CDN by sailing with Carnival, a line that frankly, I was not interested in. I've done a lot of reading on these boards and others that give rave reviews to the children's programs and have seen tons of photos of the ships I would consider and am now thinking this may be the way to go. I'm sure the kids will have fun no matter where we go which gives me a huge incentive to save the money by sailing Carnival.

To make a long story short (too late!), I'd like some reassurance that hubby and I will be happy with the ship. We don't get to vacation too often and like to feel pampered when we do get away. There's been so much talk about Carnival being the "K-mart of cruising" and "Spring break on a boat" that I'm worried we won't feel like we're getting the fabulous cruise experience that we're paying for. We don't need a "caviar and champagne" trip but would not like a "welcome to McDonalds can I take your order" trip either!

Thanks in advance for the help!

P.S. Sorry to come off so b--chy and snobby! Just nervous about trying Carnival.

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Old July 18th, 2004, 11:50 AM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

You'll be very happy just so long as you stick to the ships built after 1996 I think, the earlier ones were too las vegasy and are now showing age.
However, all the new ships are very beautiful. Some of the pictures I've seen of ships like Carnival Glory made my grandmother, a former travel agent and a veteran of over 50 cruises, ask if it was Royal Caribbean, which has beautiful interiors.
Trust me.....the image that Carnival used to have and that continues to be spread by ignorant snotty and elitist cruisers is LONG GONE! What goes on is no worse than what goes on with other lines. CCL has been working night and day to improve their reputation, and they've equaled or even surpased RCCL in my book (i have sailed each 4 times). CCL's food is going way up, as is the service. RCCL has had its food quality go way down, and its service from the more recent reviews has been shaky.
Carnival's Conquest class will give you the awesome mega-ship feel, and the Spirit class will give you a more homey feel I think, due to the smaller tonnage, fewer passengers, etc.

The average age on CCL is actually not as young as many would think. There are just as many older people as on other lines, though around spring break etc. of course there will be more kids as on any line.
You could make it a caviar and champagne trip if you want. They have so many photo backgrounds, including one where you get free champagne for the picture, then get to take it with you. Champagne is permitted to be brought aboard but you must drink it in the room or pay corkage in the dining room, or you can order the wine or champagne by the glass or bottle. Glass from your drink waiter, bottles from your team headwaiter (your primary waiter)

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Old July 18th, 2004, 11:51 AM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

You should get some good reassurances from Carnival-lovers! I have only been on Sea Princess(my friend and I for our 40th bday). The newness of the ship(Valor), reasonable price,kids(7,13) activities-slide, 24hr.pizzeria, itinerary is what made me choose Carnival. I know you can get some good bargains sometimes on Princess or RCCI. As you know :flying from Canada(we are WestCoast) for a family of 4 really adds up to the cruise price!! At least our $ is doing better!! Let us know what you decide. Take care. Brenda in Vancouver

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Old July 18th, 2004, 12:05 PM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

I have gone with Carnival 5 times out of 8 cruises. Currently I am booked on 2 more. I have never had a bad experience on this line, great service, great food and great people. A friend that went with me on my last Carnival cruise told me that all she heard was horror stories. She was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was. The image of party boats is fading and the REAL Carnival experience is being discovered. more and more. whatever you choose have a great cruise.

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Old July 18th, 2004, 01:57 PM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

I had the same reservations that you did about cruising on Carnival. I am definitely a Celebrity fan but took the chance and went on a few Carnival cruises. I have to agree that you should stick to the newer ships. Having said all that, I would go on a Carnival cruise again in a heartbeat. Prefer Carnival over RCI at this point. The food and the entertainment on Carnival is quite good, and I have not experienced any poor service at all.

IMHO I believe that Carnival gets a really bad rap about being a party ship. We are not youngsters and we enjoy them enough that I have a 16 day transatlantic cruise booked for 2005, and my 14 year old granddaughter is as happy on a Carnival ship as she was on the Celebrity ships we have taken her on.

Go for it would be my suggestion. I don't think you will be sorry as long as you stick to the newer ships.

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Old July 18th, 2004, 02:00 PM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

I personally don't think any line can compete with RCCL's voyager class ships. All of the activities are great, as you mentioned. But the promonade is what make the difference for me - a 100 yard long "main street" complete with the bricked road and street lamps. Great stores, pubs and even a sandwich/pizza shop. A mardi gras parade twice a week and strolling entertainers. The reason you are seeing prices high is you are too far out. You're getting basically brochure prices. Expect the final prices to be discounted at least 30%. Also, if you're looking at some of the aged Carnival ships, that's why their price looks so good. I still don't believe Carnival is as good as some of the others on this thread think. I read a lot of reviews on a lot of other boards and still see twice as many neagative Carnival posts as any other. Carnival has a reputation of taking its best crew and putting them on their newest ships and they are coming out with two new ships this year.

Be safe - go with the best - RCCL's voyager class ships.

Peter
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Old July 18th, 2004, 02:53 PM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

Hi bezus... We have sailed many cruise lines, and are still doing so. We like to cruise 2-3 times a year, so budgeting is a big factor. We have a great TA, who like me is a firefighter. He keeps us, and all his clients posted as to the best going rates and specials on all the lines.. We sailed the Carnival Glory in May 04, against all advise and where so glad we did. We ranked the Glory tied with the Golden Princess for the best overall cruise we've had to date. All the rumors you've heard about Carnival are just that.. "rumor". I've heard many people on this Web-Site and others knocking Carnival, when they admit they've never been on it. I will admit, that I would sail the newer ships (1998+) on any line, but only because they are newer, more modern and have better features. I will say that on the newer Carnival ships you will be very satisfied with your cruise, as we were. We were on the Caribbean Princess for the June 26th sailing and although it's a beautiful ship, but terribly over crowded, we had to rate it as just okay, as cruises go.. We are now booked on HAL Oosterdam in October and Carnival Valor in April of 05. If you like to sail and are on a budget, Carnival is your best value... Bombero
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Old July 18th, 2004, 02:56 PM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

Haven't been on any of the RCI Voyager class ships, but recently was on Serenade which is one of the new Radiance class ships and although the ship was beautiful (can't argue with that, RCI sure does build pretty ships), it will be a long time before I repeat with RCI. The food was never hot except in the alternate restaurants (where it was excellent for a price) and was IMHO not up to the standard I have found on recent Carnival ships. Have not been on an RCI cruise yet where I liked the food.

JMHO

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Old July 18th, 2004, 04:24 PM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

" personally don't think any line can compete with RCCL's voyager class ships. All of the activities are great, as you mentioned. But the promonade is what make the difference for me - a 100 yard long "main street" complete with the bricked road and street lamps. Great stores, pubs and even a sandwich/pizza shop. A mardi gras parade twice a week and strolling entertainers. The reason you are seeing prices high is you are too far out. You're getting basically brochure prices. Expect the final prices to be discounted at least 30%. Also, if you're looking at some of the aged Carnival ships, that's why their price looks so good. I still don't believe Carnival is as good as some of the others on this thread think. I read a lot of reviews on a lot of other boards and still see twice as many neagative Carnival posts as any other. Carnival has a reputation of taking its best crew and putting them on their newest ships and they are coming out with two new ships this year.

Be safe - go with the best - RCCL's voyager class ships.

Peter"

Peter, no offense, but the three cruises I took between July 2001 and December 2002, prior to my carnival sailings, were on Voyager, Adventure and Navigator (pre-inaugural).
While I had great service, I would NEVER call those ships the best anymore. They're all very crowded, and the promenade makes it FEEL LIKE A CITY AT SEA! Aren't we trying to get AWAY from the cities and relax in a comfortable environment? Many times it was so crowded I had to go up onto the cabin decks and walk all the way around the promenade. Compared to my favorite ship, Carnival's Paradise, which is older than any of the Voyagers (but only by a year), after which Carnival has introduced 8, now coming up on 9 and 10 ships, I got better service, MUCH better food, bigger oceanview cabins, had more fun and definitely felt more relaxed and comfortable.
And why not put your best crew on the newest ships? The older ships tend to do short cruises designed for a quick fun getaway or the hook and bait for future repeaters, or pioneer new destinations.
That may just be my opinion, but my grandmother (54 cruises and counting), who is a semi-retired TA doesn't like RCCL as much anymore and has enjoyed her CCL cruises to the fullest (despite falling on the first day this past time on the pier in Nassau), even more than she enjoyed her recent RCCL cruises.
And incidentally, my mother's good friend who has worked for RCCL for many years and only recently left to work with my mother, says she wouldn't hesistate to go on CCL now based on what she has heard about the two lines' quality now.
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Old July 18th, 2004, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

we were on jubilee last summer - an old ship. there's not a thing wrong with her. i have heard from a friend who has been on several cruise lines that she doesn't feel as pampered on carnival, but i'm not sure what her expectations are. we found the staff to be very accomodating, friendly and a pleasure to talk with.

at the time, our kids were 18, 15 and 10. our 10 year old thoroughly enjoyed camp carnival - he went to the activities that interested him and hung out with us at other times.

we will be going on elation 8/8/04 and are all looking forward to being on a bigger ship and meeting new people.
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Old July 18th, 2004, 05:19 PM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

I think if you go with one of the newer ships, like the Carnival Legend, you will be pleasantly surprised.
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Old July 19th, 2004, 10:02 AM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

The Carnival ships we are considering are the newer ones, like Conquest.

Thanks so much for all the advice! We still haven't made up our minds yet about what we are doing but are now leaning more towards Carnival than we were before. I'll keep you posted (that way you can brag how you've convinced another one! ).

I had heard that the quality of RCCL's food was going downhill but had not heard so many people loving Carnival's.

Hubby and I love entertainment - how would Carnival's rate compared to other lines? I'm also curious because several of the routes we are considering have 2 or more days at sea. Hubby's favorite day on our Celebrity cruise was the day at sea. Can we expect lots of fun activities for us as well as the kids?

Thanks again for all the advice!

Brenda.

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Old July 19th, 2004, 12:13 PM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

Off Topic: Hi bzeus:Brenda in Canada from Brenda in Canada I am in Vancouver, and you?? Did you decide yet??If you are going 2006, you have lots of time!!!

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Old July 19th, 2004, 12:51 PM
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Default Re: Re: Considering Carnival

Hi Brenda from Vancouver, Brenda from Barrie here. We haven't quite made up our minds but are strongly leaning towards Carnival. I'm sure we won't be dissapointed as long as the kids have a good time and we get some time for just the two of us.

I've been reading lots of good stuff about the food on Carnival which is encouraging because their reputation in that department was not too good 5-10 years ago.

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Old July 19th, 2004, 03:31 PM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

We have been on Disney, Celebrity and Carnival twice. We like Carnival the best.
The food is good, great entertainment, and nice atmosphere. I didnt feel like they were
much different in the dining rooms. We felt that they were more personal with you on Carnival then on Celebrity. They have all the food your kids will love from hamburgers, hot dogs, to pizzas by the pool. They have a nice buffet lunch or you can have lunch in the dining room.
We just cruised on Celebrity in April, and we got bored days at sea. They have alot more that interests us on Carnival.(We are in our late 20s early 30s). The shows are alot better on Carnival, Celebritys werent all that great. You will have to try it for yourself,
every one has different opions. We have no kids so I cant speak for kids program but I have heard its great on Carnival.
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Old July 19th, 2004, 03:52 PM
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We cruised exclusively on RCL for 5 cruises. We laughed at people on Carnival ships that were on the planes we were on going to RCL ships. Well... The service went down on RCL (back in 1996) and I found that I could go on Carnival to the Southern Caribbean in a larger cabin for $1000 less. Well - why not - we would only be on the ship for 1 sea day on that route so if we hated it so what - we were going for the ports anyway. Well suffice it to say that was 10 Carnival cruises ago. We went back on RCL only once in the last 8 years because of price and it was sailing from a home port. We missed Carnival while we were on the Rhapsody by RCL. Back on Carnival this year. All I can say is try it once. Everyone is different but I think it is deffinately worth a try... Debbie
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Old July 19th, 2004, 05:14 PM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

I sailed both Carnival and RCI, both on older ships. While they both had their good points, and, in my opinion, any cruise is a great cruise, I've found I preferred Carnival for food and entertainment. The service on both ships was great. I recently booked another cruise on a newer Carnival ship and am sure we'll have a great time. Give it a try.

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Old July 19th, 2004, 06:12 PM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

HI Brenda,
I have only been on 2 cruise's so far my 3rd is on Carnival Conquest.
My first cruise was on Carnival Destiny. The cruise staff was great as well as the food and activity's offered. We had a balcony room and could not have ask for anything better. The room was cleaned daily and if we left our room when we came back it had been made and ready for the rest of the day. The atmosphere is wonderful. It truely is the fun ship.
When we took our second cruise last fall it was on RCI Raspodey of the Seas.
From the time we got on the ship and the time we got off we were still wating on the fun to begin. We had a balcony room at the back of the ship our choice but you could not use the stairs as they were for staff only. So it wwas a long trip to the elevators.Our room stewart was great . The food was good but the atmosphere was for older people.They had there midnite Chocolate sampling in the area by the elevators not enough room for people to see or get close to the food with out a long wait. Everyone had told us that RCI was a step above Carnival. They were wrong it was a step down for us. If you want to have a fun Ship you need to travel on Carnival.
We will be taking our 3rd cruise on Carnival in September. Good luck with your cruise.

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Old July 19th, 2004, 08:10 PM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

To be honest, I'm a bit surprised. I had heard loads of good things about RCCL but have heard from lots of people our age (late 20s) on these boards who have not found a great atmosphere on them. We love to party but don't want a drunken free-for-all which is what we had heard about Carnival. I've got to say that from what I'm hearing, we may have been misinformed.

I'm still doing loads of research (I've got 18 months before our preferred sailing time) but I'm keeping an eye on these boards and will be looking for loads of reviews on the Valor when she sails (that's a boat we'd like to check out).

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Old July 19th, 2004, 09:57 PM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

I'm 48 and we have a few 30 year olds that travel with us. But most are in upper 40's.
We don't get blown away. The music on the ship and the activites seem to fit our needs.
I did not hear music on theRCL ship unless you were on the liddo deck and that was not but a few hours at a time. On Carnival you know you are on vacation the whole cruise. We were made to feel more special on Carnival.

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Old July 20th, 2004, 12:33 AM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

I've been on 8 Carnival cruises and 1 Royal Caribbean cruise. I've never seen a drunken free for all....my husband sometimes goes to the late show and we almost always make it to the late night buffet. We are in our 50s....and enjoy the diversity of music and activities that Carnival provides. Our RCCL cruise was disappointing....which was really too bad considering it was our longest cruise so far (10 days). This ship was beauitful the service was great, the captain was wonderful.....the activities lacked and the music wasn't as diverse which was really sad with 5 sea days. The rock wall was never "open" when we wanted to use it or see someone else using it. (They had the best chocolate covered strawberries!) However, their newer ships (we were on the Radiance of the Seas) do look spectacular....and we will probably try them down the road a ways. We started cruising on Carnival because it was what we could afford....even now we feel we get the most for our money on Carnival and because Carnival is affordable we are now able to cruise twice a year!
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Old July 20th, 2004, 12:40 AM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

One thing to keep in mind is that the drunken free for all is more likely to be seen during Spring break time. Other times of the year aren't nearly as common.

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Old July 20th, 2004, 12:50 PM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

Brenda,

Avoiding the 3-day weekender "drink-'til-yah-puke" groups will eliminate any partae revelers in my opinion (this is mostly where Carnival got that reputation anyway).

Old reputations die slowly. Carnival for the past 10-12 years require anyone under 21 to be accompanied by a parent or guardian that is, at least, 25 years old. This alone will eliminate most of the problem drinkers. Carnival used to allow High School CLASS TRIPS on their lines and now if such an event is scheduled it must be highly chaperoned. As other posters have stated, avoiding Spring Break eliminates this potential problem.

10 our of 12 cruises on Carnival and never anything but a fantastic cruise: Food excellent, service everywhere superb, great shows, great comedians, great ships and , incidentally, one GREAT STOCK ! ! .

Give us a shot, you'll discover why they call them the FUNSHIPS.

Gary :-)
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Old July 20th, 2004, 04:35 PM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

carnival is not a drunken free for all.

a friend of mine cruised rccl with her children. she felt rccl would have appealed to her parents, but said she thinks (based on what our family experienced on carnival) that they would have enjoyed carnival better. she & her husband are both in their 20's with children ranging 1 yrs to 7yrs

my teen daughters have been on jubilee & celebration. one daughter was on a rccl ship with her choir. she felt rccl was a bit more formal, but enjoyed both cruises. she did say cabins are larger on carnival.

another couple we know has been on norwegian & carnival - i believe they liked their carnival cruise best.
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Old August 25th, 2004, 12:08 AM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

Wow! Thanks everyone for all the feedback! I've been so busy planning our next cruise that I hadn't given much thought to the 2006 one lately.

I was on a website a few days ago that showed virtual tours of most ships so you can check out their rooms, pools, dining rooms etc. I have to admit I was quite turned off by the pool shots for the Conquest. Didn't look all that great. The main dining rooms looked fine but the staterooms seemed sort of cheap looking.

Also went on another website and downloaded some menus from the dining rooms. Maybe they need to get some new writers for these. Everyone seems to rave about the food but they don't play it up so well on their menus.

I've ordered some brochures so I can get some more pics and details - still keeping an open mind but have lots of research to do (what can I say, I'm a geek, I LOVE all this planning!).

Thanks again for all the help. Very wonderful!

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Old August 25th, 2004, 10:22 AM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

Well, you *are* on a Carnival board, so expect lots of raves about Carnival, but in truth a couple of things worked for me.

The staterooms are larger.

I've just heard too many folks talk about the food on RCCL not being very good. I found the food on Carnival to be quite good.

Your kids will probably enjoy either kids program.

Enjoy *both* your cruises.

dorothy

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Old August 29th, 2004, 04:24 PM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

yall will love Carnival..they are a great cruise line!!our kids love it!!

Anymore questions just email..twirler_kimmy03@yahoo.com!
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Old August 29th, 2004, 05:03 PM
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Default Re: Re: Considering Carnival

Hi Brenda. Will you please e-mail me with the websites you've been visiting that show menu and virtual tours. I would be interested in checking them out. You are not allowed to put website addresses on this board but if you send them to be directly I would certainly appreciate it. Thanks Libby
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Old August 30th, 2004, 01:35 AM
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

I've been on two Carnival cruises (11 years apart and on two totally different ships - the Fantasy and the Legend.) Carnival delivers a good product but I felt the food was not as good as on the others lines I have been on (but that does not include RCCL as I will not be going with them until November) and the "pampered" feeling was definitely far behind what I have had on other lines. Mind you, I did not have a bad time, but have had better times on other lines. I don't like booth seating for meals in the dining room (many, many booths), the service was interrupted by the music programs.

I am not a fuddy duddy...... but I have run into drunk and rowdy crowds on both Carnival ships I have been on (on the Legend it may have been due to the NFL playoffs being that weekend.....we had the NFC crowd on our ship and they were rowdy! - and the Fantasy was a three dayer back in the party til you puke days in 1991..........)

I would say give Carnival a try but keep your mind open to other lines as well.

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Old August 30th, 2004, 02:35 PM
KC
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Default Re: Considering Carnival

I have enjoyed all the input about both Carnival and Royal Carribean ships. I have been on C Celebration twice and C Conquest. Later I went on the Navigator of the Seas (RCI) and the Rhapsedy of the Sea (RCI). I enjoyed all the cruises. All of these cruises have been in the past 3 years. Both RCI this past summer. I have taken my 14 year old on 2 of them. I don't have anything negative to say about either company. We are in our 40's and don't drink. We enjoyed the food on all the ships. We had an outside and an inside cabin. Carnival has larger cabins but then the cabin on the Navigator was larger then the Rhaps. The main difference to me was how they treat former guest. On RCI they seem to offer more perks to former travelers. This makes you feel more welcomed. The other difference to me was the shows. On Carnival the shows were more Vegas Type while on RCI they were more Broadway type. Whoever said they didn't have enough to do on the Rhaps of the Sea must not have read the paper each day. There was so much to choose from just like on the Conquest. Each ship played all types of games and offerred numerous behind the scene events. The Navigator offered all of that and more with the ships amenities. (My favorite was the ice skating rink). The Conquest has 24 hour pizza but so does the Navigator. The Rhaps shut down at 2am for food other than room service. When you book tour cruise think about the ports and the price. The ship will be great if you don't have preconceived notions. (sorry some of the words may be misspelled, I have a sling on my arm).
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