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Old February 1st, 2009, 06:09 PM
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Default ncl compared to carnival

I have never cruised NCL, but am looking ahead to something different next year.....I have been on the Freedom, Glory and will be on the Victory in March. I am looking for feedback and how NCL compares to carnival and what ship would be best in comparison to the ones I have been on with Carnival......thanks in advance
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Old February 1st, 2009, 06:24 PM
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They are totally different lines. But I like them both. I feel that to get the most out of your NCL experience, it is worthwhile to try as many of the specialty dining venues as possible. To us, it is worth the extra money. We really enjoy the variety. I would recommend the newer NCL ships such as Pearl, Gem or Jewel, possibly Jade.

The spa area on these ships are very nice and they have facilities for both men and women to enjoy.

We like the wine tasings and martini clinics, its a great place to meet really nice people and the sushi is very good.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 10:24 PM
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In all fairness, I haven't sailed Carnival in about 5 years or more, but I have many clients that have. The reviews are mixed, pro, con and inbetween.

Carnival has larger cabins, a little more active night life and the traditional dining which appeals to many. The biggest complaint I have heard is food quality and service, but again food is too subjetive. We found the food to be ok, not great but oK. WE did like the lunch variety in the buffet.

NCL has the better dining choices, a little better service I think and better shows, again all subjective. Most mass marketed lines are more alike than different.

The biggest complaint I had with Carnival was how pushy they were in the spa. I had a facial and I thought i would have to play dead to keep the gal from trying to sell me every product they had, not to mention insulting me and my skin. My skin acutally cried because it was so sad...

I think you can enjoy either line.

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Old February 2nd, 2009, 03:39 PM
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just got back from the NCL Pearl, have been on Carnival Victory.

I think you can have a good cruise on either, but don't set your expectations too high. We found the service in the main dining room lousy on Sun night, better on Thursday. Went to one specialty restaurant as I don't think I should have to pay more $$ (thay had a 2/1 special with free margaritas) the rest of the itme we went to the buffet, WAY better options & faster (2 hours & still no dessert in dining room)

NCL..not a lot of organized activities. Loved the entertainment.
Carnival..more activities to get involved in, way more cameras shoved in our faces

you get what you pay for...we paid Motel 6 prices & you won't get the Marriot..

we made up our minds to have a good time & not whine...
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gardenmaniac
just got back from the NCL Pearl, have been on Carnival Victory.

I think you can have a good cruise on either, but don't set your expectations too high. We found the service in the main dining room lousy on Sun night, better on Thursday. Went to one specialty restaurant as I don't think I should have to pay more $$ (thay had a 2/1 special with free margaritas) the rest of the itme we went to the buffet, WAY better options & faster (2 hours & still no dessert in dining room)

NCL..not a lot of organized activities. Loved the entertainment.
Carnival..more activities to get involved in, way more cameras shoved in our faces

you get what you pay for...we paid Motel 6 prices & you won't get the Marriot..

we made up our minds to have a good time & not whine...
It is a shame you only tried the main dining room twice and depended on the buffet but for some, I guess that is a choice. I have clients who did the same only on Carnival. They found the service and food so bad on the Holiday they opted for the buffet..Of course it was a 5 day cruise which is always different.

I am glad you made an effort to enjoy yourself, that is 1/2 of the battle. I also don't think you can put the Pearl in the same catagory with "Motel 6" unless you have stayed at some motle 6s that were a heck of a lot better than the ones we have used.
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 06:30 AM
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I disagree about the food not being good on Carnival.

It seemed to be better in the Main Dining room without having to spend extra money in the Specialty Restaurants.

They even offered shrimp cocktails every night.

NCL has Freestyle going for it, not the food.
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie S
I disagree about the food not being good on Carnival.

It seemed to be better in the Main Dining room without having to spend extra money in the Specialty Restaurants.

They even offered shrimp cocktails every night.

NCL has Freestyle going for it, not the food.
they have shrimp cocktails every night on NCL also if you ask for them. It is on the always available menu.. but again, food is very subjective. I was happy with the food on Carnival except for the tiny servings of lox at breakfast, as I said I have had many clients that have not been happy and others that will only sail Carnival or who prefer Carnival. Most mass marketed lines are more alike than different. It is just what we get used to.

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Old February 6th, 2009, 08:46 PM
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I have been 6 NCL cruises with our 7th planned and only 2 Carnival. We were on the Holiday in 1990 and broke down and tried the Miracle this past August. I was so pleasantly surprised with our cruise as it exceeded all of my expectations. We are looking into other Carnival cruises in the future.

I think that the biggest difference for me were the set dining times. We adjusted to this well and it was better than I thought it would be in terms of quality and service. We loved the buffet on Carnival much more than NCL. I thought that the portions were bigger on Carnival. I loved the supper club. NCL has some great speciality restaurants as well and we have been to all of them.

I actually think that there are more similarities than differences. Enjoy your cruise what ever line you decide to go on.
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Old February 6th, 2009, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimswims
I have been 6 NCL cruises with our 7th planned and only 2 Carnival. We were on the Holiday in 1990 and broke down and tried the Miracle this past August. I was so pleasantly surprised with our cruise as it exceeded all of my expectations. We are looking into other Carnival cruises in the future.

I think that the biggest difference for me were the set dining times. We adjusted to this well and it was better than I thought it would be in terms of quality and service. We loved the buffet on Carnival much more than NCL. I thought that the portions were bigger on Carnival. I loved the supper club. NCL has some great speciality restaurants as well and we have been to all of them.

I actually think that there are more similarities than differences. Enjoy your cruise what ever line you decide to go on.
Jim, I think all mass marketed lines are more alike than different. As for adjusting to the set dining times, we have tried it, but for us, it just doesn't work. Yes, for the right ship and right itinerary we could do it again, but 6ish is just a little too early and 8:00 or 8:30 is too late, not to mention there are times when we would love to dine a little later and the occassional time we want that really early dinner. As for the buffets I would have agreed until we were on the Spirit a few months ago, the buffet was the best we have had in 23 cruises.
(lunch I should add) we do not do dinner buffets and breakfast is pretty much the same on all ships, but even that was surprisingly good on the Spirit. Even the milk was hearted for hot cereal and they offer either 3 or 4 hot cereals. The only problem, I don't choose hot cereal when cruising.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 09:29 AM
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I like both lines. I have to say though, NCL has the free syle dining down pat. The maitre d' is always accomodating when you request a table for two by the window or whatever. We've been on 5 NCL cruises and this was consistent. Holland America has not perfected the free style dining concept yet. Their maitre d's need to learn to be more accomodating. Loosen up. HAL was pretty rigid in December this year. They would always say they could not accomodate your request. Always. It was ridiculous. It made for a chaotic dining experience. We ended up in the speciality restaurant for four nights, as a result. Couldn't stand the main.
Carnival has the set times and we've never been disappointed with those dining experiences. The food was great, too.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimswims
I have been 6 NCL cruises with our 7th planned and only 2 Carnival. We were on the Holiday in 1990 and broke down and tried the Miracle this past August. I was so pleasantly surprised with our cruise as it exceeded all of my expectations. We are looking into other Carnival cruises in the future.

I think that the biggest difference for me were the set dining times. We adjusted to this well and it was better than I thought it would be in terms of quality and service. We loved the buffet on Carnival much more than NCL. I thought that the portions were bigger on Carnival. I loved the supper club. NCL has some great speciality restaurants as well and we have been to all of them.

I actually think that there are more similarities than differences. Enjoy your cruise what ever line you decide to go on.
Jim, I think all mass marketed lines are more alike than different. As for adjusting to the set dining times, we have tried it, but for us, it just doesn't work. Yes, for the right ship and right itinerary we could do it again, but 6ish is just a little too early and 8:00 or 8:30 is too late, not to mention there are times when we would love to dine a little later and the occassional time we want that really early dinner. As for the buffets I would have agreed until we were on the Spirit a few months ago, the buffet was the best we have had in 23 cruises.
(lunch I should add) we do not do dinner buffets and breakfast is pretty much the same on all ships, but even that was surprisingly good on the Spirit. Even the milk was hearted for hot cereal and they offer either 3 or 4 hot cereals. The only problem, I don't choose hot cereal when cruising.
Nita
I am really glad to hear that you enjoyed the Spirit post dry dock. It is my DW's favorite ship and we are really looking forward to being back on her again this August.

We also do not usually do the dinner buffet but will almost always do it for breakfast and lunch if we are not in a suite. It is great to hear that the buffets have improved. I was very impressed with the Carnival Miracle's lunch buffet. It was so much better than the Dawn's IMHO.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 08:57 PM
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Heard that the Norwegian ships are more laid back than carnival. I have yet to try a Norwegian but Carvnival ships seem to be laid back as well. I guess it depends on when you go.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nace0
Heard that the Norwegian ships are more laid back than carnival. I have yet to try a Norwegian but Carvnival ships seem to be laid back as well. I guess it depends on when you go.
I think it depends on what you call "layed back"

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Old March 14th, 2009, 10:38 AM
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We've been on 17 Carnival cruises and only 2 NCL. We just got home from a 4 day cruise on the Sky and loved that ship! It didn't seem as crowded as the Carnival ships we've been on, less chaotic on the pool deck, less announcements. On the down side, we didn't find the food nearly as good in the main dining rooms as on Carnival. NCL's breads and pastries are great!

Cabins on the Sky are smaller than Carnival's cabins. Service on both lines seems to be comparable.

I enoyed the Sky so much that I talked my husband into booking a B2B on the Sky in Nov.
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Old March 14th, 2009, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by popsec
We've been on 17 Carnival cruises and only 2 NCL. We just got home from a 4 day cruise on the Sky and loved that ship! It didn't seem as crowded as the Carnival ships we've been on, less chaotic on the pool deck, less announcements. On the down side, we didn't find the food nearly as good in the main dining rooms as on Carnival. NCL's breads and pastries are great!

Cabins on the Sky are smaller than Carnival's cabins. Service on both lines seems to be comparable.

I enoyed the Sky so much that I talked my husband into booking a B2B on the Sky in Nov.
great, love to read about converts or 1/2 converts. This isn't to say you won't or shouldn't cruise Carnival again, but if you like the Sky this time you will love it next time I am sure.

Thanks and I really think most mass marketed lines are as much a like as different, especially NCL, RCI and Carnival...Yes, carnival cabins certainly are a bit bigge.

Nita :|
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Old March 14th, 2009, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita
Quote:
Originally Posted by popsec
We've been on 17 Carnival cruises and only 2 NCL. We just got home from a 4 day cruise on the Sky and loved that ship! It didn't seem as crowded as the Carnival ships we've been on, less chaotic on the pool deck, less announcements. On the down side, we didn't find the food nearly as good in the main dining rooms as on Carnival. NCL's breads and pastries are great!

Cabins on the Sky are smaller than Carnival's cabins. Service on both lines seems to be comparable.

I enoyed the Sky so much that I talked my husband into booking a B2B on the Sky in Nov.
great, love to read about converts or 1/2 converts. This isn't to say you won't or shouldn't cruise Carnival again, but if you like the Sky this time you will love it next time I am sure.

Thanks and I really think most mass marketed lines are as much a like as different, especially NCL, RCI and Carnival...Yes, carnival cabins certainly are a bit bigge.

Nita :|
Actually when we were on the Spirit 2 1/2 years ago I wasn't all that impressed and said I'd never go on NCL again unless we got a great deal........the Sky has changed that thinking. We've still got 2 cruises booked this year on Carnival and will continue sailing them (love the platinum perks! ). But at least now I know there's at least one NCL ship I really like and it opens the door to the possibility of others
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Old March 15th, 2009, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by popsec
Actually when we were on the Spirit 2 1/2 years ago I wasn't all that impressed and said I'd never go on NCL again unless we got a great deal........the Sky has changed that thinking. We've still got 2 cruises booked this year on Carnival and will continue sailing them (love the platinum perks! ). But at least now I know there's at least one NCL ship I really like and it opens the door to the possibility of others
Many folks love the Spirit. It is clearly not my favorite NCL ship. I have been on every ship currently in the NCL fleet. I have to admit I was only on her for a 1 night cruise. The ship clearly has some features I really liked but in general I did not like the feel of the ship. That is why ther are so many different ships and lines for all of us. We are all different.

The last Carnival ship I was on was the Spirit. It was great. The balcony cabin was larger then most NCL ships. My boys loved the pizza. There is clearly more in common with Carnival and NCL then different. Freestyle and MY NCL Platinum perks keep me returning to NCL. Right price and right itinerary I would have no problem with Carnival.
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Old March 15th, 2009, 03:14 PM
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again, this shows how we all see things and how subjective cruising can be. We loved the Spirit except for a couple of things: 1-the cabins, especially the balc were on the small side (neat bathrooms though) and the casino was awful in so many ways. Otherwise we enjoyed sailing her. No, she isn't the Jewel or even the Sun, but we did like the ship..

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