First off, I am not a seasoned cruiser so I have to ask this about Carnival and thought this would be the place. I was considering a Baja Mexico 3 or 4 nighter, to to keep appetite for cruising at bay.
I recently took my first cruise on HAL. I loved it too death. Prior to going I consitantly read, and still do, all the posts on their site, along with the posts in the "gripes" section.
A while ago there was a thread in the gripes section about which line would you recommend to an enemy and which to a friend. There were a lot of comments about which line to a friend, but to an enemy ther were two lines that popped up constantly,,NCL and Carnival, to quote one person" the K-Mart of crusielines".
So, tell me, if you can, why these posters are wrong about Carnival. Since I have no basis for comparison,,enlighten me.
Ron - in a word - SNOBS - lol. It's the "more bang for your buck" which translates to some as cheap or economy. We are happy laid-back kinds of people so that's why we chose Carnival - don't want to be with what I might consider "snooty" kinds of people. I would rather go to Olive Garden or Applebee's for dinner than to some place with a dozen forks and waiters in tuxes - but that's just me. Try Carnival - only you can decide if you like it. TTFN Jennifer
First of all... there is nothing wrong with discount stores. Cruises are the same. You have very high-end expensive cruises and you have the deeply discounted lines. I've sailed HAL, RCCL, and will experience Carnival for the first time at the end of this month. If the cruises were the same price, I would choose HAL because I felt the service, food, and cabins were better. But I thought RCCL might have classier common areas, newer spas, and better entertainment. Much of your decision depends on what is important for you on the cruise. Also the convenience of a closer port can influence your decision. Just remember... a bad day cruising HAS to beat a day at work!
You will love Carnival. It has a fun and relaxing atmosphere. Everyone is super friendly and has a smile on their face. I took a cruise with my mother in July. This was her first cruise and my 4th. When we returned, we showed the pictures to my brother's girlfriend and she said "Both of you look so happy and relaxed in all the pictures. I want to go on a cruise."
Interestingly I think at least half the negative comments you hear about Carnival are from folks who have never been on a Carnival ship. They heard from a cousin twice removed, who's friend of a friend went on Carnival and didn't like it.
Carnival is the most successful cruise line in the world, and is carrying more passengers than any other line... so they have to be doing something right. And with that comes more people who had a "problem" on their trip.
Just a fact of life too, that those who have negative comments are more vocal, and will go to greater extremes to find more message boards to give themselves a voice.
Personally, I've been on quite a number of Carnival cruises, with my next on the Victory next month, and have never wished I wasn't there. Always enjoyed the Fun Ship experience.
Carnival and Royal Caribbean are very similar, and offer a great cruise experience. Three and four night cruises with both cruise lines are on their older, less attractive ships. But both offer a great value and I have found the differences between the two very minor.
With that said, on any give cruise, one can pay the minimum or go all out - you'll see people from all walks of life who paid $350pp for a four night cruise, and those that paid $1000 for a suite on the same ship. Calling Carnival substandard (which I know a lot of people do) or low class isn't supported by the demographics. Both Carnival and Royal Caribbean subscribe to the same marketing formula. Their newest ships are upscale, offer the best that cruising today has to offer as far as ship amenities are concerned and call on the ports people want to visit.
Food is NO LONGER considered one of the main reasons people cruise. I know a lot of people who still wish for the good old days when you got higher quality food and better service. But in terms of marketing, the cruise lines are giving what people want most - ship amenities, variety in entertainment and ports of call and choice in dining venues. In focus groups, respondants continually say they prefer a more casual environment and a good vacation value.
Three night itineraries attract a younger clientele intent on partying; four night cruises are a little more diverse in age group and a higher percentage of honeymooners book these. The cruise lines love these short cruises, as they generate a lot of shipboard revenue, especially on the three nght cruises.
I prefer four night cruises over the three night version, as it's at at more reasonable pace. But to see what each line has to offer, you have to take a 7 night cruise.
We have been on two Carnival cruises, one Disney and one Celebrity. We prefer Carnival. We found the activities on Celebrity to be boring, and not much to do on Disney unless you had kids. I enjoy the food, activities and they have the best as I have seen of nightly shows so far. Our last cruise on the Paradise had a couple from Russia that were amazing, he twirled her all around in the air. We thought the entertainment was just ok on Celebrity, seemed like new dancers. It was not a very exciting show at all. So we choose Carnival, I hated that we payed so much to go on Celebrity
I have been on 5 Carnival cruises and I am booking one for next year. The reason I keep going back? The service is good, the food is good, the rooms are good, the passengers are fun, and the value is great! There has never been a time onboard when I wished I was on a different line. I cruise RCCL about 10 years ago and at the time I preferred Carnival. I have not taken any other line since then.
But, like someone before me said, any cruise is better than being at work. Also, I always go with a positive attitude...I am not looking for the negative.
I want to try other lines, but everytime I go to make a reservation I find myself calling Carnival.
I have traveled on Carnival 2 times and Royal Carabbian 1. My favorite is Carnival. I will keep coming back. The fun atmospher,smiles on the workers faces the room stewarts and Head waiters that tell you the best places to go in port. What they liked when they had a day off. I'm not poor and I'm not rich just the average income that wants to live the life of a queen for one week. Yes Carnival fits my needs. Hope you enjoy your cruise at least 1/2 as much as I did and do every time. I give carnival 10 stars
Pride of America
Location: Wisconsin....about 100 miles south of the Frozen Tundra and 70 miles east of Camp Randall
Re: Bad rep or are peolpe nuts
I guess I will be the voice that is not all pro-Carnival. I've been on 10 cruises - 2 on Carnival, 2 on Celebrity, 5 on Princess and one on Premier. That is my background......my first cruise in 1991 was on the Fantasy (3 day party cruise to the Bahamas) - and I had a horrible time.....................so much so that it took over 8 years for me to try cruising again. Princess (and they are not snobby, just have more quality furnishings and decor and food and service, imho, than Carnival) was the line that hooked me on cruising.
I did try Carnival again in 1/03......after 3 Princess, 2 Celebrity and 1 Premier cruise and 11 years since my first Carnival cruise........and while there where improvements in food, service and decor, I still felt I was on a "cheaper" cruise line................it is the small things that make a difference to me. Was it a "bad" cruise.................no, but I didn't feel as special and welcomed as I have on my other cruises. Cabin size is not everything........decor, service, response to problems, quality of food, activities, enforcement of rules, etc. all play into how I perceive a cruise.
Will I sail Carnival again..............probably not, but will never say never.
This is MHO................I respect everyone else's, please respect mine.
Post Edited (10-19-04 00:53)
Crown Princess 1/18/14....the NEW Me, Myself and I cruise!
I have been on 3 carnival cruises. 5 night Imagination, 7 night Victory, and 4 night Sensation. I have always had a great time, and havent even considered any other cruise line. I also am not poor, and I am not rich. But the value you get with carnival is great, and I can spend my money in ports, casino, drinks, etc. When I am on vacation, I dont want to feel like I have to get dressed up, every minute of everyday. On carnival, I can feel comfy in my jean shorts. Yes the shorter cruises are PARTY ships! So be prepared for one heck of a party!
I had a fellow cruisemate explain this to me several years ago. He said, you have people that love Fords, Dodge's, GM products, Toyota's, Nissan's and ect. To each one, they all have great products. But to each individual, the other is no good. There preferance is the best out of all the automobile company's.
Thats kinda like the cruising business. They all have grand ships, and promote wonderful services. Each person has there own preferance. If one like RCL over another, then RCL is the best. And ect.
Hopefully in the near future, i can expierance all of the cruiselines; I've had wonderful service from Carnival and will sail again with them in 2005.
Ron, as others have said, if you go with a good attitude and *expect* to enjoy your cruise, then most likely you will. Liked your post DavidW - very concise.
As to the shorter cruises being "party" ships, I did not have this experience. I suppose it always depends on the particular cruise you're on, but we found the group on the Glory (7 day) to be much more of a partying crowd that our 4 day on the Fantasy. It probably also depends a lot on *when* you sail.
My husband wnet reluctantly on his first cruise in September. He doesn't like the silly games, bingo, etc. He *does* enjoy quiet time and relaxation. He was quite happy on our Carnival cruise in September. A balcony helped, of course, because he always had a retreat, but since Carnival *is* less expensive, then perhaps a balcony is possible.
Enjoy your cruise and let us know.
Carnival Elation March 11
Carnival Imagination Sept 07
Carniival Sensation Dec 06
RCI Sovereign of the Seas Sept 06
Carnival Miracle Sept 05
Carnival Glory Sept 04
Carnival Fantasy Jan 04
I have experienced NCL, Princess, Regal, RCCL, Bermuda Star Line, and Carnival. Like others have said here, it depends upon your expectaions, I believe. I agree with one poster that likes Princess, they are not necessarily "snooty" or "snobby", they just have higher quality surroundings. That is a very good way of putting it.
I only cruised Carnival once so far, and it was probably the one I enjoyed the least (with RCCL right behind it). There was nothing bad about the experience, it just was not as enjoyable as the others. Will we cruise Carnival again? Probably, because we have 3 kids, and can't afford two cabins, and this is one cruiselines that can accommodate us in one cabin. The kids enjoyed that cruise, but no more than the other one they have been on (RCCL).
Just because someone does not like a more value-based cruise, does not make them a snob. I am not crazy about Carnival, but LOVED Regal and Bermuda Star lines (both way lower category cruiselines, in most people's tastes, than Carnival)! There was no comparison to the customer service or food (believe it or not, in my opinion) to any other line I have been on.
Don't be like us and avoid Carnival and NCL because of negative posts.
We finally cruised Carnival in 2000 and NCL in 2004 and had a great time on both lines ( we have since been on two Carnival cruises). We found the people on board to be a bit more laid back and friendlier on a lot of other lines. The food and service were also very good on both lines. One thing to consider with NCL is the free-style cruising - I did not really care for it so we will probably choose lines other than NCL or Princess (unless we get a fantastic deal).
Now, if you really enjoyed HAL, be prepared for a little more energy on the other lines - we found HAL rolled up the sidewalks at about 10 p.m.
Also remember that a three day cruise is a whole different story than a 7day + cruise.
I avoid 3 day cruises because then you have the horror of embarkation and debarkation with only a day in between to truly enjoy.
I have cruised Carnival once, Holland America 3 times, and have another Carnival booked for next year. Forom what i have seen BOTH are great vacation choices. There are those who claim that the food and service is sub-par on Carnival and that Holland America is "all old people". Neither case was true when I sailed.
One difference that I feel is that Carnival does offer more late entertaiment options. Carnival is more a "party ship" than HAL. HAL is more the elegant classic cruise experience.
Enchanted Capri 2000
Carnival Inspiration 2001
HAL Maasdam 2002
HAL Statendam 2003
HAL Oosterdam 2004
Carnival Destiny 2005
"I have cruised on Carnival 3 times, RCCL 3 times, Princess once, Celebrity once and the old Azure Sea once. "
Ahhhh,,..the old Azure Seas! My first cruise...1982. Nothing like your first cruise!
2/13/09 Carnival Paradise
2/22/09 Freedom of the Seas
83/Azure Seas; 84/Song of America; 88/Stardancer; 92/Jubilee; 96/Viking Serenade; 97/Holiday; 99/Enchantment OT Seas; 00/Elation; 01,02,02,03/Ecstasy; 02/Voyager OT Seas; 03/Victory; 04/Adventure OT Seas; 05/Sapphire Princess 05,05,05,06,07/Monarch OT Seas; 06,07,08,08/Paradise; 06/Freedom OT Seas; 07 Pride; 07 Pearl; 08/Valor; 08/Serenade OT Seas; 08/Coral Princess
as the others have told you its all about perceptions and personal experiences.
I have sailed on Carnival and Princess and my personal preference is Princess. That's just me, i like the casual elegant atsmosphere that is Princess.
Carnival reminds me of Las Vegas.
Aside from those 3/4 day cruises which do tend to be party boats for any cruiseline we have always had a wonderful time. We have cruised over two dozen times and most of them have been on CCL. We think that for the money, food, entertainment, and friendliness of staff and size of staterooms we are getting the most for our money.
The only two lines I have to compare are Carnival and Princess as I have been on 8 Carnival Cruises and 2 Princess Cruises. I just came off the Sapphire Princess two weeks ago, and while it was definitely my favorite cruise to date, I did not think the surroundings, food or people were of higher quality than Carnival.
I really enjoyed the Sapphire because of the expanded dining options (I have always disliked traditional dining) and because of the great friends we made onboard. Other than those two things, I found the two cruiselines to be pretty much the same. I would definitely sail either again.
Simply put, a company cannot become the number one seller in the field without having a product that sells. And while some people don't like the higher energy atmosphere of Carnival or RCI there are those who prefer it.
We are in our late 40's and not ready yet for a cruise which has bingo and wine tasting as the highlights of the day. Someday we may prefer that but for now we want activities going on all day and late into the night.