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-   -   NCL vs Carnival which do you prefer? (http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/norwegian-cruise-lines/383921-ncl-vs-carnival-do-you-prefer.html)

showcat July 26th, 2011 03:39 AM

NCL vs Carnival which do you prefer?
 
Having now done both I have to say I prefer Carnival due to much larger cabin sizes, better service, food, friendlier staff but some things were better on NCL including the shows which featured a Broadway review with songs from Wicked, Jersey Boys and more as well as Ariel Dancers, Magicians, comedy from Second city. I also like the fact NCL's pool and hot tubs are open till 11pm unlike Carnivals that close early.

nmnita July 28th, 2011 03:47 PM

I started to ask what NCL ship you sailed but then I saw it was the Epic.

Here is my view and everyone feels differently. That doesn't make anyone right or wrong: sailing, like so much in life is very subjective. I do agree about cabin sizes, yes, Carnival has much larger ones but I am not sure the ships and cabins are kept updated quite as well. Foodwise, I prefer NCL. Of all the ships I have sailed there are only 2 lines I probably would not sail again: RCI and Carnival. Not because they are bad or I had a horrible time and in all fairness, I have sailed short cruises on both lines. I say, I would not sail them again because: like many people we can only afford to cruise once or twice a year and there are so many choices. NCL and HAL are at the top of our list. We have always found both to have wonderful and friendly cabin stewards and a crew with a good attitude (though HAL can be a little stuffy) Following those two lines would be Celebrity and Princess. Again, I do not dislike Carnival, we are just not Carnival people.

Nita

showcat July 28th, 2011 07:08 PM

I was on the Spirit not the Epic. My friends went on the Epic and loved it, especially the studio cabins and shared living rooms because they are single. I did have a great cruise on NCL and would try them again, I just prefer Carnival in many areas(food, service, cabins) but liked NCL better in others (hot tubs,pools and shows). I will get to try Princess this winter and can't wait!

S.S.Oceanlover August 9th, 2011 01:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nmnita (Post 1383854)
I started to ask what NCL ship you sailed but then I saw it was the Epic.

Here is my view and everyone feels differently. That doesn't make anyone right or wrong: sailing, like so much in life is very subjective. I do agree about cabin sizes, yes, Carnival has much larger ones but I am not sure the ships and cabins are kept updated quite as well. Foodwise, I prefer NCL. Of all the ships I have sailed there are only 2 lines I probably would not sail again: RCI and Carnival. Not because they are bad or I had a horrible time and in all fairness, I have sailed short cruises on both lines. I say, I would not sail them again because: like many people we can only afford to cruise once or twice a year and there are so many choices. NCL and HAL are at the top of our list. We have always found both to have wonderful and friendly cabin stewards and a crew with a good attitude (though HAL can be a little stuffy) Following those two lines would be Celebrity and Princess. Again, I do not dislike Carnival, we are just not Carnival people.

Nita

When was the last time you cruised on CCL?

Bill

Mike M August 9th, 2011 01:59 AM

Overall I would probably choose NCL over Carnival. However I would not sail Epic again unless it was a fantastic itinerary or a Villa suite. I did not like the cabin on Epic nor the crowded feeling I got from the ship. I did enjoy the multiple dining venues and the variety of entertainment.

I like NCL because of the Freestyle concept that includes multiple dining venues plus I don't like being chased out my cabin at 8:00 a.m. as I was on my last Carnival cruise.

Don't get me wrong I like Carnival. I'm sailing the Liberty next March. But overall I prefere, non-Epic, NCL.

Take care,
Mike

perkydebrajean August 9th, 2011 11:00 AM

I've never cruised before but plan to next summer. I've been trying to decide between Carnival and Norwegian, but have decided to probably do NCL because since my daughter that's 18 will be with me, I think we would like the shows and such.

Snoozeman August 9th, 2011 11:44 AM

I will go with Carnival for the simple reason that they sail from Texas and Norwegian doesn't.

I don't care to fly anyway so it makes it simple for me.

Magnolia Blossom August 11th, 2011 11:20 AM

Generally, we prefer NCL (but we are platinum on CCL, so obviously we don't have a problem with them). NCL's freestyle just suits us better.

I find the food comparable and the service is fine on both lines. While the cabins may be larger on CCL (although to me it's not enough to matter) I don't find the cabins as nicely appointed as NCLs ships.

And all things being equal - the dancing waiters is something I despise, so it is the deciding factor for me.

Like Snoozeman, I enjoy sailing out of Galveston or Houston in the past, and sorely miss NCL having a ship from that location.

nmnita August 11th, 2011 03:20 PM

I toured the Glory about 5 years ago and sailed on the Ecstasy in 2008.

Nita

firster September 17th, 2011 11:30 AM

I just booked a cruise on NCL Jewel. We cruised for the first time last winter on Carnival Legend. I posted a similar question on another message board and the main thing I got was that they are very comparable lines but most people said the food in the dining room on Carnival was better than on NCL but NCL's buffet was better than CCL. Also NCL's entertainment was better. So....because I just want to try a different line and the fare was a slight bit less on NCL for the same sailing/comparable ports, I decided to try NCL.

We had no problems whatsoever with our CCL cruise. We were able to fit 4 (2 adults, a teenager and a child) in a balcony cabin quite comfortably on CCL but we had to get 2 cabins on NCL - pictures I saw with the pull out sofa and bunks made up were enough for me to realize that there is no way 4 people would fit in a NCL balcony cabin! The entire space was covered in beds and the balcony was not accessible with the bunk down.

Paul Motter September 17th, 2011 11:48 AM

It is a very interesting question. I agree the cabins on the (Non-Epic) NCL ships are well-appointed; they have nice bathrooms, coffee-makers (which is ideal for me) and usually a nice desk area.

The Carnival staterooms are probably bigger, but they are more spartan. I do like ones on the Spirit class, however.

I think the entertainment on the bigger Carnival ships is really good, but I also like NCL entertainment and I think it is a bit more sophisticated (no dancing waiters, etc.). The decor on both is pretty "whimsical".

The big difference is the dining. carnival has better included food in general, by far. You can get almost anything you want at no extra cost. But NCL has better alternative dining options, so you will probably find better food, but at a price.

In the end, I think I would just go with the one that offers the best deal, but I would always stick to the newer ships (I prefer them over the dated-looking older ones).

nlb1050 September 17th, 2011 02:34 PM

Carnival all the way.

We book inside cabins and the one NCL cruise was on the Pearl and it had a terribly small inside, could hardly move around the bed to get in or out. Service was just okay, realised that the cabin stewards have too many cabind to take care of and the main dining room food was just barely okay and the service was horrible. NCL does not want you to eat in the main dining rooms they want you to eat in tehextra charge resturants. We did not try any extra charge but did try a couple of alternitive resturants and getting a reservation was a nightmare. NCL says Freestyle, well except for the main dining room and buffet you have to have a reservation and I do not call that freestyle. Carnival's your time dining works much better.

The only way we will cruise with NCL again is if our grandson does another contract and we cruise on his ship.

nmnita September 17th, 2011 02:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nlb1050 (Post 1392952)
Carnival all the way.

We book inside cabins and the one NCL cruise was on the Pearl and it had a terribly small inside, could hardly move around the bed to get in or out. Service was just okay, realised that the cabin stewards have too many cabind to take care of and the main dining room food was just barely okay and the service was horrible. NCL does not want you to eat in the main dining rooms they want you to eat in tehextra charge resturants. We did not try any extra charge but did try a couple of alternitive resturants and getting a reservation was a nightmare. NCL says Freestyle, well except for the main dining room and buffet you have to have a reservation and I do not call that freestyle. Carnival's your time dining works much better.

The only way we will cruise with NCL again is if our grandson does another contract and we cruise on his ship.

Everyone has his/her personal favorite line I think. Some are not partial but many are. I can see from your list of cruises you really are seem to be a Carnival loyalist. I would like to ask you why you think Carnival's your time dining works better? We have never had any trouble with "free style" and have cruised on NCL many times. We haven't had trouble with Princess "anytime dining" either, but NCLs does seem to run smoother.

I agree with Paul, probably overall Carnival has better food. They also have larger cabins, but I like the bufffets on NCL better and the specialty dining room choices. You mention you tried alternative dining rooms but not extra charge dining rooms, that was 4 years ago right? It has changed since then. All the specialty dining rooms have a sur charge now and though reservations are required (per sey) often you can just walk up and get seated.

It is always good to get 2 sides, even if we do not always agree. I do think most mass marketed lines are more alike than different and for many the decision is based on itinerary and pirce which is what we use as guide lines. We happen to love the Pearl even with small cabins. Yes, the inside cabins are very small. We are about to take a cruise from Canada down the Atlantic coast and are getting an inside cabin (another line) we know to expect a small and tight situation.

Nita

nlb1050 September 17th, 2011 03:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nmnita (Post 1392953)
Everyone has his/her personal favorite line I think. Some are not partial but many are. I can see from your list of cruises you really are seem to be a Carnival loyalist. I would like to ask you why you think Carnival's your time dining works better? We have never had any trouble with "free style" and have cruised on NCL many times. We haven't had trouble with Princess "anytime dining" either, but NCLs does seem to run smoother.

I agree with Paul, probably overall Carnival has better food. They also have larger cabins, but I like the bufffets on NCL better and the specialty dining room choices. You mention you tried alternative dining rooms but not extra charge dining rooms, that was 4 years ago right? It has changed since then. All the specialty dining rooms have a sur charge now and though reservations are required (per sey) often you can just walk up and get seated.

It is always good to get 2 sides, even if we do not always agree. I do think most mass marketed lines are more alike than different and for many the decision is based on itinerary and pirce which is what we use as guide lines. We happen to love the Pearl even with small cabins. Yes, the inside cabins are very small. We are about to take a cruise from Canada down the Atlantic coast and are getting an inside cabin (another line) we know to expect a small and tight situation.

Nita

why freestyle does not work? Yes you can VERY easily get a table in the MDR , because they are empty.but we found it was almost impossible to get in any other resturant, why because either no one answers the phone number you have to call or no matter how early in the day we were always told no table available at all that night. We ended up having to complain to the GSD and were finally given a reservation at the Italian resturant and guess what we found when we went, half the tables were empty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We like to eat with other people when on a cruise and the only time we did was at the Italian resturant and the people we sat with were not happy to share.

Loved Anytime Dining on Princess and while we had no trouble with Your Time on Carnival we have gone back to traditional.

And yes the food in the main dining room is much better on every other line we have sailed than NCL. As I said NCL wants you to eat in the extra charge resturants. The waiters that we had in the MDR on the Pearl spent more time talking to each other than working, of course for most it was easy to do that as there were hardly any people in the rooms, but even the ones we had as our waiters were not attentive. They rather complain about how empty the dining room was. We did not find the buffet to be any better than Carnival.

Actually the worse buffet has been on MSC, mainly because there are so few choices and the cold items never changed from day to day.

We wont go on another RCL cruise again mainly because the price is too high compared with Carnival for the same cruise and the food was not any better.

We have paid for the food with our cruise fare and do not like the idea that in order to get a decent meal you have to pay extra. That shows that the line does not care for the customer just that they care about MONEY!

Paul Motter September 17th, 2011 04:45 PM

When it cimes to cruise value people do have different criteria and I know NLB has always preferred Carnival.

Carnival has made a point of remaining the most "inclusive" mainstream line - you find far fewer extra cost options on Carnival than you do on NCL or RCL.

If you are the kind of person who prefers to just stick to traditional cruising then Carnival is the line that has really changed the least in the last 10-20 years.

Mike M. likes NCL a lot because he likes the variety of cuisine available. I have to say some of the NCL meals I have had have been just amazingly good - I still think about a simple grilled ahi tuna sandwich I had on Epic all the time - it was the most delicious sandwich I have ever had.

But it was in the suite restaurant - I was eating with Roberto Martinoli and Doug Ward. I also luve the Brazilian Charruscaria - also on RCL's bigger ships now.

nlb1050 September 17th, 2011 05:39 PM

Paul, actually I prefer Princess but we just have not found the deals with Princess anymore for when we want to cruise but have found them on Carnival and we do like Carnival.

I would put in order of prefrence : Princess
Carnival
MSC
Royal

As I said before, if our grandson does another contract with NCL we would take a cruise to be able to see him, especially if he had the same work hours as he does now, which he actually likes, 7pm to 4 am. He would then be able to go off ship and spend time with us.

Paul Motter September 17th, 2011 06:06 PM

I really apologize but I had forgotten your grandson was working for NCL. Was he in IT? (computers)

That is interesting to me that you put MSC in there. Just because they are really different from the others.

nlb1050 September 17th, 2011 06:52 PM

Paul, our grandson is an assistant cook. He is on the Pride of America and working in the galley of the Cadillac Dinner. From the first day of actual work he has been cooking, did not have to start as prep only. He told us that the other night his boss was checking everything out and when he saw that Michael had his prep list all crossed off he had to ask if that was really done, which Michael said yes and showed him. Well the boss stated that Michael had completed more in one hour than another guy had in a full shift and he was amazed. We were not really surprised because we all, freinds included have know that Michael is a hard worker.

I did include MSC above others because we have had better food, entertainment and overall experience with the 2 cruises with them and would cruise them again if the cruise was right time/itineray and price, which both cruises have been really good prices. And the second cruise with them was even better than the first. Both were in the Caribbean, which is where all of our cruises have been.


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