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Old August 28th, 2009, 12:56 PM
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Default NCL vs. Carnival

As an avid cruiser on Carnival I am considering an Alaskan trip next summer on NCL and maybe the Epic in 2011. What are the major differences between the 2 lines? I would like pros and cons if anybody cares to comment. I know about the Freestyle Dining which is a big plus for me. What other comparisons can be made? Thanks to all that help me!
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Old August 28th, 2009, 09:02 PM
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Carnival has larger cabins and more party type activities, like pool games etc, but for Alaska that shouldn't be an issue.

NCL has more dining choices and yes, many of the restaurants have sur charges but none as high as Carnival's dining sur charges.

food is probably comparable, depending on who you talk to, drinks might be a little less expensive on Carnival (not much difference) but we like the service on NCL better. This is of course a matter of luck in many cases. I do like the attitude of the NCL crew a little better.

The ages of NCl cruisers average a little older, again doing Alaska is a little different.

Really the lines are probably more alike than they are different.

Nita
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 10:39 AM
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We prefer Norwegian for the eat anywhere any time and not getting stuck with unfriendly table mates. We have been on 5 different Carnival ships and 5 different NCL ships. For Alaska you already know how ornate the Spirit is with lively wild colors. If you are going to Alaska we would recommend paying at little extra and going on the Pearl, rather than the Sky or Star. Pearl is a newer class ship with a great almost anytime buffet on the upper deck and also very colorful. We also like the crew on NCL better than Carnival and the entertainment. Although I agree with the other replier about the younger crowd on Carnival, I think NCL has more pool side BBQ's, and just a freer feel. We always feel NCL tries harder to make gay travelers welcome. Cannot wait for the Epic to get here. Hope this helps. Clay

NLC Sea, Dream, Spirit, Jewel, and
Carnival Celebration, Elation, Ecstasy, Spirit, and Conquest.
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcc627
We prefer Norwegian for the eat anywhere any time and not getting stuck with unfriendly table mates. We have been on 5 different Carnival ships and 5 different NCL ships. For Alaska you already know how ornate the Spirit is with lively wild colors. If you are going to Alaska we would recommend paying at little extra and going on the Pearl, rather than the Sky or Star. Pearl is a newer class ship with a great almost anytime buffet on the upper deck and also very colorful. We also like the crew on NCL better than Carnival and the entertainment. Although I agree with the other replier about the younger crowd on Carnival, I think NCL has more pool side BBQ's, and just a freer feel. We always feel NCL tries harder to make gay travelers welcome. Cannot wait for the Epic to get here. Hope this helps. Clay

NLC Sea, Dream, Spirit, Jewel, and
Carnival Celebration, Elation, Ecstasy, Spirit, and Conquest.
I am glad you recognize how gay friendly NCL can be. Of all the cruise lines I think they have the most "friends of Dorothy" meetings. In fact I think NCL does a great job at making most all people and groups feel welcome.

Nita
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 01:50 PM
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My experience has been that each has things that they do better but for the most part they are a lot alike. What many people don't realize is "FreeStyle" is a lot more than unassigned dining times. While I like the Carnival Spirit, the NCL Pearl would probably be my choice for Alaska.
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 05:34 PM
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Default Re: NCL vs. Carnival

Quote:
Originally Posted by briguy
As an avid cruiser on Carnival I am considering an Alaskan trip next summer on NCL and maybe the Epic in 2011. What are the major differences between the 2 lines? I would like pros and cons if anybody cares to comment. I know about the Freestyle Dining which is a big plus for me. What other comparisons can be made? Thanks to all that help me!
NCL has a definite advantage in the dining area. More choices in types of food and dining times.

Carnival does better in the "active" activities department. They do more pool side games.

NCL's deck BBQ's are excellent and not to be missed.

Carnival has the singing/dancing waiters (if you like that) NCL doesn't.

Carnival's standard cabins are larger but NCL's outside and balcony cabins are more than adequate in size.

NCL's Freestyle disembarkation is far better than Carnival's. No rushing you out of the cabin. It makes the last morning much less stressful.

I sail both lines but NCL is my number one and if the itinerary is similar and price close, I will take NCL.

Take care,
Mike
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Old September 9th, 2009, 10:23 AM
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I agree with all of the above and must say I find the attitude since Freestyle 2.0 to be much improved on NCL. When boarding you are handed a glass of champagne and greeted with "a bubbly welcome aboard, madam/sir". There is a luggage storage area, usually in the casino, if rooms are not ready so you don't have to lug your bags with you around the ship until rooms are ready.

NCL has coffee pots in the room, most CCL ships do not.
CCL has a basket of goodies (samples) in the bathroom, NCL does not.

NCL does not have a captain's party for non-repeaters, CCL does.
NCL's repeaters party (Latitudes) has door prizes from each dept, CCL does not. NCL's repeaters party is often time late morning whereas CCL's is at happy hour.

NCL seems to have better dinner dancing type of locales than CCL.

The anytime dining is particularly appreciated when you've had a late excursion and don't have to rush to get ready for a set dinner time.

I personally hate the dancing waiters that interrupt a nice meal, so I prefer NCL's more dignified dining.

You do not get to have a waiter who knows your preferences, but on my last 2 CCL cruises, they seemed so overworked that there was no personal attention anyway.

NCL's Latitutde perks are better, as you rack up cruises than CCL's repeater program.

I sail them both but all things being equal, we go NCL.

As to Alaska, I read that Carnival did not receive a permit next year for Glacier Bay, so be sure to check the itineraries closely.

The Pearl is a great ship and the odd looking lounge chairs in the observation lounge are really cozy!
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Old September 9th, 2009, 10:07 PM
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I agree with all the above and especially would like to emphasize:
Great customer service. The staff have always been super friendly and willing to serve us the best they can...much much better then my experience with Carnival.
And Love the freestyle dinning. We enjoy a more intimate dinning by ourselves and love the flexibilty of not stressing over a dinner time.
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Old October 8th, 2009, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita
Carnival has larger cabins and more party type activities, like pool games etc, but for Alaska that shouldn't be an issue.

NCL has more dining choices and yes, many of the restaurants have sur charges but none as high as Carnival's dining sur charges.

food is probably comparable, depending on who you talk to, drinks might be a little less expensive on Carnival (not much difference) but we like the service on NCL better. This is of course a matter of luck in many cases. I do like the attitude of the NCL crew a little better.The ages of NCl cruisers average a little older, again doing Alaska is a little different.

Really the lines are probably more alike than they are different.

Nita
This made me chuckle. I don't know how you can say that if you haven't cruised on CCL in over 10 years.

While i know that you are a TA and you get feedback from your clients, I don't understand how you can offer YOUR comparisons when you haven't sailed a line for that long.

Bill
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Old October 11th, 2009, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S.S.Oceanlover
Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita
Carnival has larger cabins and more party type activities, like pool games etc, but for Alaska that shouldn't be an issue.

NCL has more dining choices and yes, many of the restaurants have sur charges but none as high as Carnival's dining sur charges.

food is probably comparable, depending on who you talk to, drinks might be a little less expensive on Carnival (not much difference) but we like the service on NCL better. This is of course a matter of luck in many cases. I do like the attitude of the NCL crew a little better.The ages of NCl cruisers average a little older, again doing Alaska is a little different.

Really the lines are probably more alike than they are different.

Nita
This made me chuckle. I don't know how you can say that if you haven't cruised on CCL in over 10 years.

While i know that you are a TA and you get feedback from your clients, I don't understand how you can offer YOUR comparisons when you haven't sailed a line for that long.

Bill
i have clients that report back from time to time, like almost weekly. Does that answer your question? How many people do you think can honestly give a totally objective opinion? In order to do this one would have to sail the two lines within a few months of each other. That would be damn hard. Even 6 months or a year can make a difference.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 03:13 PM
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Just got back on Jewel out of NY and it was the most disappointing of the five NCL cruises we've been on. I think the main dining room food has gotten much poorer. We dined in the alternative dining rooms and they were excellent. We started the cruise with all bath mats in our cabin, no towels, our driver on our shore trip to Salem got lost and then hit a car, and the overall experience just wasn't there. We're switching to Carnival for a June trip with the grandkids to compare.
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Old October 13th, 2009, 12:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zooman
Just got back on Jewel out of NY and it was the most disappointing of the five NCL cruises we've been on. I think the main dining room food has gotten much poorer. We dined in the alternative dining rooms and they were excellent. We started the cruise with all bath mats in our cabin, no towels, our driver on our shore trip to Salem got lost and then hit a car, and the overall experience just wasn't there. We're switching to Carnival for a June trip with the grandkids to compare.
I have read this complaint many many times. Seems like they try to feed you lousy free food so you will be forced into the surcharge restaurants.

Bill
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Old October 13th, 2009, 06:21 PM
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I love the relaxed dresscodes of NCL. There is no required "Costume of the Evening," ie Casual, Formal, Informal, Smart Casual.

With NCL., Resort Casual is always in Fashion. Nice slacks, dresses or skirts for women, slacks & collared shirts for men. Formal night is called "Dressup or not."

Barb
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Old October 13th, 2009, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barb Nahoumi
I love the relaxed dresscodes of NCL. There is no required "Costume of the Evening," ie Casual, Formal, Informal, Smart Casual.

With NCL., Resort Casual is always in Fashion. Nice slacks, dresses or skirts for women, slacks & collared shirts for men. Formal night is called "Dressup or not."

Barb
can basically dress that way on Carnival also. On casual nights you can even wear shorts if you desire.

Formal night is now Elegant night and all that is required is slacks and a shirt.

If you wish to dress up you can but it's not required.

Bill
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Old October 14th, 2009, 09:22 AM
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Default DRESS UP NIGHT

Did you notice any of the men wearing sports jackets or blazers?
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Old October 15th, 2009, 06:51 AM
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As for the food quality, I like what, I think it was Kuki said about a year ago: when you cruise NCL just plan on an extra $100 per person to eat in the specialty dining rooms. We now do this, split our eating between main and specialty and rarely have a complaint. Our last cruise we had wonderful beef the last night and the night that offered the seafood combo was outstanding. We also think the buffet, since 2.0 is as good or better than any at sea. Of course I don't know about dinner as we wouldn't eat dinner at a buffet period unless we had no choice.
By splitting up the dining between sur charge and main dining rooms we get the best of both worlds we think. We did eat in the dining room one night and were a little disappointed. It was early, pretty busy and our waitress wasn't the friendlest. Not really likeing the entree choices we both got the 8 oz sirloin. By the time she delivered it the meat was barely warm and really not all that great. Other than that experience we were quite satisfied. We can all find fault if we really look hard enough..

Nita
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Old October 15th, 2009, 09:39 AM
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On our trip, it was noted that jeans were not to be worn in Tsar's, the fancier of the two dining rooms. This was disregarded by many (mostly men) who wore jeans every night. I don't have a beef if you want to wear jeans, just go to the dining room that allows it. By the end of the cruise, some diners were down to flip-flops. I felt like I was on a Greyhound bus.
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Old October 15th, 2009, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zooman
On our trip, it was noted that jeans were not to be worn in Tsar's, the fancier of the two dining rooms. This was disregarded by many (mostly men) who wore jeans every night. I don't have a beef if you want to wear jeans, just go to the dining room that allows it. By the end of the cruise, some diners were down to flip-flops. I felt like I was on a Greyhound bus.
Same thing on PRincess last cruise: clearly no jeans or shorts, we sat with a guy that was wearing shorts and flip flops, he was an older man and just looked crappy. The first night we saw people in line with shorts (ok, to the knee but still shorts) no one got turned away. Sometimes they do. I agrree, either just do away with the dress code or enforce it..One or the other.

Nita
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Old October 15th, 2009, 06:11 PM
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Default HEADS UP

Thank for the heads up Nita... sent it to Parrot Pop regarding the alternative restaurants.. Our papers arrived today complete with luggage tags...but I'm still hoping the upgrade fairy visits in two weeks...lol and I can change the #'s...
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