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Old November 26th, 2007, 11:48 AM
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Default Former Carnival customer sailing on NCL - Questions

I have sailed on Carnival 4 times and had a good time on the first three, but a bad experience the 4th time on the Imagination (extremely rude Maitre d'). I initially liked the raucous party atmosphere on Carnival, but maybe I am getting old and I prefer a more subdued crowd and better service.

I have a few questions for veteran NCL cruisers

(1) What are NCL cruises generally like? I mean, are they quieter, less unruly, less drunkeness, etc?
(2) Is it an older crowd than Carnival? A more affluent crowd?
(3) How is the food? The Service?
(4) Does anyone who has sailed on Carnival and NCL have any insights as to the differences between the two as far as the overall cruise experience?

I am sailing on the Norwegian Sun Western Caribbean in January. We go to Roatan, Belize, Cozumel and Grand Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas.

Any tips or insights would be appreciated.

John




11/2005 - 4 day Bahamas on Carnival Celebration
01/2006 - 4 day Western Caribbean on Carnival Inspiration
01/2007 - 7 Day Western Caribbean on Carnival Victory
10/2007 - 4 Day Western Caribbean on Carnival Imagination
01/2008 - 7 Day Western caribbean on Norwegian Sun
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Old November 26th, 2007, 02:05 PM
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John, I am the first to admit and not ashamed of it, I am an NCL loyalist so I may be a little biased, I am also a TA and try not to advise clients jsut because of my views. For everyone there is a special cruise line and every line has positives and negatives. In fact we are getting ready to cruise Princess in January. I look for price and itinerary, then the line.

Now to try and answer your questions: the Sun is 7 years old so isn't as glitzy as some newer ships but she is clean and has about the best crew I have ever seen. The speicailty dining rooms, overall are wonderful, so is the main dining. The buffet, well busffets are not my favorite part of the dining experience period and on the Sun it certainly isn't my favorite.

I think you will find the overall demographics a little like Carnival, but still not as many partiers, night life is there, but quieter and the age of the passengers a little older. No, not all seniors nor are the guests subdued, jsut a little less routy.

Food is subjective as we all know, I have no problems with NCL food though food on all lines has gone down a bit in the past 5 years. One thing, because of freestyle dining you will not be exposed to things like singing waiters, parades of crew members with cakes on their heads and the like. If these are things you really enjoy you are going to be disappointed. I tired of those deminstations years ago, so appreciate the quieter dining experience.

The entertainmnet will be similar with NCL having better shows, but not as much activity around the pool. Of course you are going on a pretty port intensive cruise so you will not be spending a lot of time on the ship. BTW, I love the itinerary especially for snorkeling. If you are a snorkeler do not miss taking advantage of the under water experience in Roatan. If you haven't been to Roatan, be prepared for the poverty, overlook it, enjoy the wonderful friendly people and beauty of this island.

One more thing, cabins on CArnival ships are larger than NCL. The Sun has cabins with great storage, but the cabins themselves are not huge.

Hope I have helped you, anymore questions I will be glad to try and answer.

Ni ta
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Old November 27th, 2007, 04:01 PM
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I've sailed on both Carnival and NCL and I prefer NCL - although I have only sailed once on NCL and 5 times on Carnival. On NCL the choice of food varied extensively. I found that the specialty restaurants were always a good choice but the buffet was never too far behind. Because you can eat whenever you want and at whatever time you want was the most appealing. I didn't have to worry about my husband and sons complaining about dressing up either. The people on our sailing were in their mid 30s to 40s. The time we cruised was apparently Spring Break in Florida and there were plenty of children but did not notice them until the midnight chocolate buffet. The crowd was not loud nor did I see anyone drunk! The shows were similar to Carnival and the decor was bright and it did remind me of Carnival. We're sailing on the NCL Gem in December out of New York and I am hoping we have the same experience. It's true about Roatan the snorkeling is outstanding.
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Old November 27th, 2007, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Femme64
I've sailed on both Carnival and NCL and I prefer NCL - although I have only sailed once on NCL and 5 times on Carnival. On NCL the choice of food varied extensively. I found that the specialty restaurants were always a good choice but the buffet was never too far behind. Because you can eat whenever you want and at whatever time you want was the most appealing. I didn't have to worry about my husband and sons complaining about dressing up either. The people on our sailing were in their mid 30s to 40s. The time we cruised was apparently Spring Break in Florida and there were plenty of children but did not notice them until the midnight chocolate buffet. The crowd was not loud nor did I see anyone drunk! The shows were similar to Carnival and the decor was bright and it did remind me of Carnival. We're sailing on the NCL Gem in December out of New York and I am hoping we have the same experience. It's true about Roatan the snorkeling is outstanding.
the gem should be a wonderful experience. Of course if you are going during Christmas break be prepared for kids everywhere. School break plus cruising equals kids.

Nita
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Old November 27th, 2007, 07:46 PM
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I really like NCL and more so than Carnival. Fits us and our group very well. I also mind very much drunk young adults but I dont mind at all kids, they bring LIFE in your heart. there are Enough quiet kid free area's! We did holiday sailing New Years Eve on Dawn last year, it was GREAT. Look forward to holiday sailing on GEM.
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Old November 28th, 2007, 10:16 PM
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Thank you ll so much. Your answers are helpful. I am looking forward to my January cruise and I especially liked the intinerary because the ports are somewhat non-conventional. I understand Belize is interesting, and I love Cozumel (this will be my 4th time there). The Grand Stirrup Cay sounds interesting on the last day.

It sounds like I picked the right line for me. Thank you all for your help.
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 04:47 AM
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I want to try NCL, but my husband thinks the crowd will be too old. BTW, we are both early 40s

I am now on a mission to talk him into trying NCL because I want to do the freestyle dining.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 01:11 PM
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We just got back from first NCL cruise in over a decade. Have been doing Carnival and Hal in the meantime. Too tired to do full write up now, but I will this week.
But, one thing....age range on NCL was from infants to ancients. In other words, abou the same as Carnival. And, these ships are so large that you can find plenty of people in whatever your age group is.
Marty
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Old December 4th, 2007, 02:52 PM
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We have been on about 5 or 6 carnival and 2 NCL. We did not like our last Carnival cruise either 15 months ago and the reaction from the CCL president's office and Customer Service VP was indicative of how the line has gone down... however, back to the question, the mix of passengers on all the mass market lines can never be predicted. We found there are always a good mix of young, middle age and older travelers. As for children, it all depends on the school season/holidays.

NCL food and service this past summer on the Jewel was great!
Entertainment- we still found Carnival best but NCL was excellant too. Nightlife and partying was definately more on Carnival (they earn the "fun" ship name).

We really like the free-style dinning options, especially in port-intensive criuses because you could vary your times depending on how the day went.
With that said, we booked the NCL Dawn for May to Bermuda!
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Old January 11th, 2008, 01:01 PM
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It is funny how views are so different. We will be going on our 1st NCL cruise in August because we like where it is going but have been on 4 RC cruises and 1 Carnival. The 1st 3 RC cruises were great, the 4th was enjoyable but we decided it was time to look around so we did a Carnival Cruise. It ranked with the best we had on RC, the funny part is both my wife and I were surprised at how much less drinking went on on Carnival. They did not push drinks at all and we did not see anyone overly drunk. The ages were very spread out and probably older than expected.

Anyway, we look forward to NCL in August out of NY.
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Old January 14th, 2008, 06:33 PM
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Let me start off with my thoughts that there are no bad cruises, just ones we liked more then others. We've sailed twice, RCI, & NCL and 4 on Carnival. We still enjoyed our Carnival sailings the best. Then RCI, then NCL. Our last cruise was on NCL, the Spirit out of NOLA. I will say it was the first sailing for this ship and crew from this port. It had just come from NY.

The ship was very nice. Toned down with wood and tasteful Asian decorations throughout. We had a great room that was an interior all by itself on deck 10 (this was the only way to get a quad on this ship).

The food was edible and plenty, but the deserts were awful. There were only two that we liked, besides the ice cream which was only served during meal services. We only ate in the dining room twice as it is annoying to have to wait for a table or take the time to make a reservation to be sure not to wait. When we did eat in there, we had to wait up to 20 minutes between a course and there was no personal service. Our group was disappointed with the food all the way around. It was mostly bland, or too much of the same. There were some meal times that it was hard to find something we liked. They were consistently out of milk, edible ketchup(some sort of red stuff was offered, but it wasn't ketchup), cups and the omelet lines were ridiculous (though that seems to be the case on mass market lines)

Additionally, cabin service was the bear minimum, and my room was never vacuumed the entire trip. Coffee was not replaced, but beds were made and the room was generally straightened up.

Entertainment was great and the itinerary was exotic. Stops at Belize, Roaton, Guatemala and Cozumel. Absolutely love Guatemala! Shopping, rain forests, people and the rivers. It was our favorite stop.

We would still sail on the line again as our first trip on the NCL was about the same with the exception of the cabin service. Our first trip we were treated to wonderful cabin service.

Happy Cruising!
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Old January 14th, 2008, 09:46 PM
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My wife and I are also sailing on the Sun in January This will be our 3 rd. cruise with NCL. We have sailed Carnival and HAL and each cruise has something different to offer.
kids=Carnival
HAL= middle agers
NCL= a little of both and their prices beat Carnival and HAL!
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Old January 14th, 2008, 11:15 PM
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We lean toward NCL for a variety of reasons: of course freestyle is the number one reason, interesting itineraries next and the diversified demographics is another. It is the one line that does not seem to cater to a particular age group or social level group.

N ita
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Old January 15th, 2008, 12:05 PM
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NCL is a great cruising experience

we've ALWAYS HAD A GREAT TIME on all our NCL cruises even though we tend to be partial to Carnival

NCLA (the US arm of NCL) may be a slightly different experience though, so keep that in mind. We only cruised twice on NCLA and overall, their service shipwide left a lot to be desired for.
JMHO


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