Most of my cruises are with Carnival, however, I have done cruises with Princess and RCCL in the past year. I have also sailed with NCL and several other lines that are now defunct.
That being said, for the availability and value (gotta love those military discounts), we will stick with Carnival. Besides, at this point we are Platinum with them, and the extra perks make it even more enticing.
BTW, one of my RCCL cruises was Freedom of the Seas and that was too big for me, so I doubt you'll ever see me on the Oasis class ships.
I will try the Carnival Dream when it comes out, but I hope Carnival stops at that size. I would hate to see all cruise ships turn into floating mega-resorts.
I agree with you 100%. I too tried the RCI megaships, (Mariner Of The Seas), and agree that it was too big, and too crowded, and not my cup of tea. I prefer the Spirit class ships overall, with Conquest class a close second. I will also try the new "Dream", but I'll be surprised if I prefer it over the smaller, more intimate ships. The only "BIG" ships that I've really liked are the Princess ships. They seem to know how to handle the large number of passengers aboard.
With all I've read about "Dream", I'm anxious to give her a try. Prices are a bit too high right now, but I figure probably by next Fall, or Spring of '11, they'll come down enough that I'll spring for a cruise aboard her. In the meantime, I'll just have to keep cruising the smaller fleet.
Reference the discounts, you are absolutely correct. You need a good agent who knows you, and knows what you qualify for, and will take the time to check all the discounts available to find the best one for you. I too qualify for the military discount, but occasionally, find that there's another one that's even better. Good advise indeed.
Oh, believe me, I know how to get the best price. I am a TA, but find that we can get better pricing with my husband's military discount than with any TA rates. I always check past guest and resident rates, but military is still the best.
This past February, we scored a great deal on a Pack and Go rate, 3 nts. Fantasy, OV cabin for $185.00 complete. It was available about 4 weeks out, but that pricing only lasted for about 3 days.
I've never checked the Carnival website, so I don't know if the Pack and Go rates are available to the public, or only to TA's and PVP's, but if they are available to the public, and you live anywhere near a port and can travel at the last minute, you should keep your eyes on those rates.
wish last minute discounts were available out of NYC ports!!! got my mom and sister in law into a last minute option to join us next week and their cabin was $300 a piece more than the rate when we booked!
Definitely agree that princess is a nice large ship, definitely question being able to disperse close to 5,000 passengers on those mega ships myself. We loved our cruise on the crown princess would give it just a step up from carnival as far as food goes but hands down to carnival for shows over princess as well as comfort in theatre. Amazing how we like one thing over another.