We have been on Carnival in the past and found the ships to be just too "party time" for us. They were kinda like a drunken spring break. These were 3 day cruises and some say that the short cruises are prone to this kind of activity. Has Carnival cleaned up its act? I have read that they are trying to change thier "fun ship" image and be more "laid back".
We are looking at Carnival vrs Princess for the Mexican Reviera. Anybody been on either of these lines receintly? Are they "gay friendly"? Jim
Speaking as a gay TA, Princess is the more gay friendly line, however, if there's any consideration as to price, unless the price difference is negliable, it's not IMO, worth the additional charge.
People have a lot of preconceptions about Carnival, and while I won't deny that the short cruises tend to bring a slightly rowdier crowd on occasion, they didn't get to be the world's biggest cruise line by not giving a good product. On the longer cruises, you're going to have a much calmer enviroment, because, as with any line, it's generally the people who are a little older and more mature who have A) the time, and B) the money to be gone for a week. Carnival Pride and Carnival Spirit are both lovely ships. That said, so is the Sapphire Princess.
I do give Princess high marks in how it treats its past guests. It's very often that I book some of my clients and in a few weeks, I get a fax about how they've been given an upgrade. Of course, so does Carnival, but I see it more consistantly with Princess.
I guess ultimately it comes down to what experience you want to have. If you're looking for relaxing, fun, and casual, it's Carnival. If you're looking for something a little more upmarket and a few more bells and whistles, it's Princess.
And just so you know I practice what I preach--my favorite line is Celebrity--I eschewed Princess, Holland America, and Royal Caribbean to check out the new Carnival Valor for my non-working vacation this year.
Taking off my TA hat, speaking just a consumer, gay friendly or no, I'd probably do Carnival. It's not Celebrity, and it sure isn't perfect, but I've always had a good time. I've found Princess to be kinda stuffy--which is odd, since I've found it lacking both the old fashioned luxuriousness of HAL, and the chic, modern style of Celebrity--and while they're considered those lines peers, the product is a lot different. As it should be, but I really find it more akin to RCCL than HAL or Celebrity. And should anything go wrong, I've found their customer service to be the worst to deal with, and I deal with NCL on a weekly basis too.
Princess has plenty of fans, and they've got their own reason for liking it. I respect that, but as a TA, I have to maintain neutrality. As a regular consumer, not so much.
starri, One more question, as you seem quite knowledgable. We are thinking of the Mex Rev trip on March 4. Is that Spring break on the west coast? Collage? We probably want to avoid lots of kids or Collage yahoos if we can. thanks, Jimbo
West Coast school tend to do spring break the last week of March. Most lines won't let any cruisers under twenty-one onboard without an accompanying family member or at least someone aged twenty-five or older. Only exceptions is to legally married/domestic partnered couples.
Carnival has by far gotten away from the "fun ship" image. They offer a great product! I have sailed on Princess 4 times and Carnival 7 times. I recently returned from the Star Princess and Caribbean Princess both are very nice ships. I am booked on the Miracle and the Spirit in the near furture. I must say that the last 2 trips on Carnival were on the Elation and the Conquest. Both out did Princess in the food and service catagory! Hope this information helps.
My partner and I, and another couple went on the Caribbean Princess last year and I loved it. We had been on Carinval and it was just a big ol party boat. Princess has enough going on throughout the ship not to get bored and the class of people and ship are so much nicer than Carnival. I highly recommend it. If you go to Yahoo Images and do a search for Caribbean Princess you can see all sorts of photo's of the ship. If that doesn't see you I don't know what will.
As far as gay freindly, WOW !!!!! I was amazed, upon introducing himself, our room steward, "Patrick" asked if we wanted our beds pushed together. Then, during the formal nights taking our pictures, almost every photographer asked if we were together, they asked so that they could give us poses closer together. Some even had us holding hands. No one said anything at all. it was so nice. We felt a little uncomfortable, but heck, no one else did.
The other nice thing about Princess vs. Carnival is that Princess has more people from Europe, vs. Carnival which is mostly Americans. As we all know, Europeans are much more tolerant of other lifestlyles.
I hope you choose Princess, i am sure you won't be dissapointed.
Of the many Caribbean cruise we have taken, my partner Jon declined a family group sailing aboard a Carnival ship. Lucky him. What a monstrous cruise, my one and only Carnival adventure. Seven days and nights of lost drunken youth culminating in the well publicised suicide of one of them on the final evening. Lovely
Well thanks for all the advice, Jim and I have been away on a landlocked vacation to the White Mts in New Hampshire. We had a good time, BUT, what a hassle not being on a ship. We had to get into the car and drive two or three times a day. First you have to decide where to have dinner, then make reservation, then drive there, then wait, then take out your wallet and PAY for God's sake! Then find some entertainment in the evening. By the time we finished paying for everything we would have spent less on a cruise.
WE'll just have to try Carnival and Princess BOTH . Jimbo