I was just wondering, we are considering booking a cruise on the NCL Dream... We have previously cruised Carnival Conquest last Nov. and had a great time... but we were thinking that taking another cruise line would be fun too... so if anyone could just give an opinion of the boat and or NCL compared to Carnival, I would greatly appreciate it.
In October 2005, Norwegian Dream will take over Norwegian Sea’s year round cruises out of Houston sailing Exotic Western Caribbean seven-day cruises calling in Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; and Cancun, Mexico. The company will announce a replacement ship for New Orleans shortly;
April 13, 2003 Carnival Conquest
November 2, 2003 Norwegian Dream
February 26, 2004 Carnival Miracle
June 4, 20004 American Queen
November 20, 2004RCCL Grandeur/Seas
January 29, 2005 Carnival Sensation
September 11, 2006 Carnival Holiday
Probably the main difference would be the size of the ships. NCL ships are significantly smaller than Carnivals. The Dream, although stretched a few years ago, has some cramped areas-like the dining rooms. But other than that the ship never felt overcrowded. My outside cabin was a good size too. The last Carnival cruise I went on was the Fantasy. I don't see much difference between the two cruise lines. Norwegian just happened to have the right cruise at the right price. I was very happy with the Dream and have also sailed on the Sky-very satisfied w/both. If you have any specific questions let me know.
We loved our cabin on the Dream but really disliked the ship in most ways. The ONLY decent food is at Le Bistro. Restaurant service in most of the restaurants other than Le Bistro is poor. We ate there (Le Bistro) 9 of 12 nights for obvious reasons.
The stretching made access to certain areas a real mystery, especially after a glass of wine or two.
I just got back from a Western cruise on the Dream. Loved everything about the cruise. I thought the food was decent but not great in all places except the pizzaria. The layout is a bit awkward but by the 2nd or 3rd day you should be ok. The cabins and staff were very good. The ship also has alot of areas where you can hide from the crowds.
Just got back from an excellent voyage on the Dream. Great big cabin (compared to Royal Caribbean) but service is slow in the restaurants and the only buffet "restaurant" is the sports bar which is way too crowded with TV's blasting. The Pizzeria has no seating so you need to carry your food back to your room or find an outdoor spot to eat (very windy on sea days!) The entertainment was great - something for everyone, nice casino and very friendly staff. I
We returned from the March 14th repo cruise on the Dream. The room was very large and nice but the ship is much smaller than the Conquest. (Dream = 50K tons, Conquest = 110K tons) The children/teen program on the Dream is limited. You won't find a teen disco or a lot of activities for the kids. The staff on the Dream is fantastic and very polite. We asked for a reserved table instead of using 'Freestyle Dining' for the evening meal and loved it. (Ask for Mario in Four Seasons Restaraunt. He is great!)
I have to admit I was dissapointed in a few things with the Dream. The sports bar was used for the buffet and is very small. After you wait in line for food, you wait again holding the tray for a table or go back to your room. There is not a 24 hour pizza station or 24 hour ice cream shop on board the Dream. The pizzaria is open daily from lunch until dinner. The ice cream shop is only open from 2:00 PM until 4:00 PM. (Again, long lines)
You will have to decide what you are wanting out of your next vacation. NCL offers a smaller ship, less children, and a relaxing cruise. Carnival offers more nightlife, great childrens/teen activites and a larger ship to explore. Hope this helps!
Having traveled on both Carnival and Norwegian, I would have to say it all depends on what age of people you are traveling with. If all of you liked Carnival then I would say stick with what you like, try RCCL too. Norwegian, in my experience, has been mostly elderly guests or honeymooners (cheap honeymooners). Of course my view of this could be swayed because I am 19, but I have studied cruise lines since I was 5, I would say, try it if you are daring, but keep in mind, it is NO carnival or rccl cruise.
I have sailed both NCL (11/02) and Carnival (12/99, 12/01.3/04). there are signficant differences in the types of ships. These are my opinions. The Dream is smaller and much older. The pax were also older (but then again so am I at 57) And there was a significant group from Great Britain and Germany aboad my cruise which I enjoyed. NCL has a rotating breakfast menu in the dine room Carnival is the same everyday. I also think dine room lunches were more interesting on NCL. Carnival had slightly better dinner menus. We did enjoy freestyle dining and generally shared a table at dinner. With Carnival we had a great group of table companions this trip, ok ones in 01 and snooty ones (who changed tables) in 99. There are more daily & pool activities scheduled on Carnival but I personally was more interested in what NCL offered. Also thought the staff was much more outgoing and friendly on NCL. Saw our Maitre D at every meal on NCL and only 3-4 times at dinner on Carnival. Did not deal with shore excursion staff on NCL, all bad experiences on Carnival (it was like we were dumb and interupting her VERY IMPORTANT other activities during scheduled tour desk open hours). Delt with the pursars desk on various things on all cruises. Again, NCL was much more concerned and helpful. Carnival could have cared less. Entertainment (main shows) was very good on both.
All said and done, I would sail either again for the right price/itinerary. In fact, I am looking at either Chrixmas 04 or Alaska 05 for a family cruise of probably 5 cabins.