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Old July 10th, 2009, 03:01 PM
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Default NCL Sky vs Majesty OTS vs Monarch OTS – 3 Night Bahamas

In this Review

a) A little history
b) This cruise vs comparable cruises & ship vs ship
c) NCL Sky – first look
d) Overall experience
e) Nickel and Dime-ing on NCL
f) Summary

**************************************

a) A little history

I start out with a little history on my own.
Some 11 years ago I cruised NCL the last time with a horrid experience on a horrific ship. Back then I swore to myself “never NCL” again. I held up to that promise until this last weekend.

Over the years, I really never paid much attention to NCL and I was never attracted to this Freestyle stuff.

I sailed other lines and eventually got stuck with RCI. Mostly happy these past few years NCL was never really on the horizon.

Though a change of business gave me the opportunity – back in April 09 - to tour the Norwegian Pearl and along the way I ‘graduated’ from NCL U with a Freestyle Certification (don’t ask, it is business related). Throughout this experience I became more and more aware and interested in NCL. Considering that I have some requirements which ‘forces’ me to sail on different lines I reluctantly booked the Pearl for Dec 09 and the Jade for Sept 2010.

Over the past few years we have cruised on the July 4th weekend which has become a tradition for us. Mostly we sailed the Majesty of the Seas on that weekend but last year we pulled the Monarch of the Seas into that tradition.

I was still a little nervous about the Pearl booking for Dec. It is – after all – a New Year’s eve cruise and prices tend to be higher plus final payment day is already in September (December holiday sailings tend to have that requirement). Since I still needed a short cruise on a different line (other than RCI) combined with the worries about the booked NCL cruises we decided to break with tradition and sail the NCL Sky.

And this is how I returned to NCL – after a self-imposed 11 year exile.

b) This cruise vs comparable cruise & ship vs ship

This cruise was your typical short, 3-Night Bahamas cruise on July 4th. I have sailed comparable short cruises on the Majesty of the Seas, Sovereign of the Seas and Monarch of the Seas including on July 4th.
All 4 ships (Sky, Majesty OTS, Monarch OTS, former Sovereign OTS) are comparable in size and close to age (3 of them build in the same decade and with the Majesty OTS having received a major overhaul just about 3 years ago).
Our idea was to change as little as possible from our regular cruising habits and my review is from a consumer point of view. I do not sail on TA Rates nor Net Rates. I pay full fare.

c) NCL Sky – first look

Upon arrival at the port we had a good look at the Majesty OTS and the NCL Sky next to each other. Some nervousness and excitement began to creep up which I hadn’t felt in a while. If you go on the same cruise line over and over it becomes a more repetitive procedure knowing all the ins and outs of that particular line. You still look forward to cruising yet the ‘thrill’ is somewhat diminished.

Embarkation was a breeze with friendly stuff all over directing a couple lost cruisers (us) rather quickly to the correct check-in line.

First nod to NCL: balconies have also their own check-in counter.

While the Sky was still ‘empty’ (we embarked approx at 11:30am) we decided to quickly grab a lunch and then tour the ship. Boy, did we look like lost puppies.

We finally ended up in one of the restaurants (“The Palace”) for a sit down lunch. We could have gone upstairs to the buffet area but we decided to stay right there (before we get even more lost). The positive thing was: we met our waiter and being quite fond of him we created our own “traditional dinner” in the middle of Freestyle 2.0 and had dinner with him every night in “The Crossing”. After our lunch which was OK, not bad but nothing to rave about, I created my own ship inspection before we were able to have a look at our cabin.

I certainly was prepared for a blinding effect (color) having looked at some of the pictures of the Sky but what I saw surprised me. It is not the classy, retro look of the Vision Class or Sovereign Class but it was certainly neither horrific nor color blinding. Sure, decorating wise it was different but nothing unacceptable or crazy. To be honest, after an hour or so I didn't even think of RCI's interior anymore.

What surprised me the most was the fact in what great condition the Sky was and how easy to navigate she was. Sure we got lost a couple times but it was mostly due to the fact that we were not in ‘our environment’. The only venue which seemed tight was the Stardust Theater. It looked a little to small considering that under Freestyle you have only one show seating. The rear seats on the balcony of the Stardust Theater have extremely obstructed view. But as we have learned later – everybody was able to get a seat. We arrived at the shows mostly with 5 minutes or less to spare and never had a problem finding a seat with a good view.

Overall we were very happy with the layout of the Sky. I never seen or experienced any back up or stuffed up areas – except the Quest show which had – when it began – standing room only left (Outrigger Lounge). But that is nothing new.

The Sky has very little wear and tear. As a matter of fact I was overly critical and I was looking for ‘problems’ and obvious wear. I just couldn’t find any. I was very happy and ready to cruise.

Our cabin was 0265 - a stern balcony. Normally I do not book right under public venues but knowing the Sky only from pictures I was worried about constant ‘peeking’ from the balconies above. So I tried to reduce the ‘peeking odds’ and booked as high as possible. This decision of course came with a little noise factor which was expected and didn’t bother us but it could be a problem for those who are noise sensitive. Having thoroughly inspected the Sky I realized that the balconies below do not have that ‘peek in factor’ as I expected. So the next time I will be booking into Deck 9 or Deck 8.

The balcony room itself was about the size of an E1 on RCI and the balcony had plenty of room. There are two things I really liked:
- the balcony floor was a patterned soft rubber and a drainage underneath. We had some rain before sail-away and in Nassau but never standing water (shoot – I hope I took a picture of it)
- the stern balconies have sliders (in contrast to the regular doors on the side balconies). This slider was actually moving with ease (in comparison to the 20 ton sliders on RCI where you need 3 people at times to move the darn doors). They also had automatic locks in open and closed position which easily could be opened from the inside and the outside.
How easy was it? I was able to hold a tray with coffee, cups and plates in one hand and unlock and open the sliding glass door in one motion with literally two fingers of the other hand.

The room had a some weird color matching. Nothing horrendous but weird nevertheless. Now since this is also posted on the NCL board I do have a question. The balcony BA has on the website - I think - a pinkish color code. Our Key Cards were in a dark pink and the room has a slight pinkish tone. Is that an ongoing theme? If so, I am very happy. Since I have a horrendous 'pink allergy' and it didn't bother me I have nothing to worry about in the future. .

d) Overall experience

Now we are coming to the meat of things. I don’t know how to describe it but the experience was STUNNING! The cruise director (Matt Baker) was probably one of the best I have ever seen. Funny and hilarious without being obnoxious and with high energy he pulled off a program on a 3-Nighter which I have not seen on RCI in years. The signature party of Freestyle (Hot White Party) - which was combined into a July 4th celebration - was top notch. The ship was in some areas nicely decorated for July 4th.
The pool deck was packed with dancing and celebrating people of all ages, the snow in July was a nice touch and this whole experience was nothing like I have seen on RCI’s comparable cruises and ships. Sure the 70s party on the Royal Promenade can not be beat but that is not what I am comparing.

We attended the “Welcome Aboard party” and the comedy show while skipping the production show. I am just not a fan of cruise ship production shows.

And CD Matt: thank you for the Quest. On RCI the Quest has lost its touch on our last 4 or 5 cruises. From being watered down to being staged (Ken Rush) this Quest was in its purest form. Thanks for that.

The staff on the Sky was absolutely terrific. From the cruise director to the casino staff to the coffee bar to the dinning room staff and the bar staff - always smiling, always helpful and always available. It was an absolute terrific experience. The cruise consultant on board (comparable to the Loyalty Ambassador) was actually knowledgeable, pleasant and very forth coming.

Food:
The food was wayyyy above average. The dinners were – I hate to say it – great. While I had no bad meal on RCI in the last few years the food quality definitely declined. But to be honest: on a 3 Nighter I never had food as we had on the Sky. It was extremely well cooked – to order. Please do not ask me about the menu or menu items. I am used to the handful of entrees with RCI. The NCL Sky had at least 10 different entrees - every single night. It was hard to pick from that selection. All our dinners were in “The Crossing” which is a free restaurant.

We had lunch in the dinning room (embarkation day), buffet and Great Stirr Up Cay. Lunch was not bad in all three venues.

Breakfast we tried 3 times: on day 1 in the dining room, day 2 the buffet and on disembarkation day the buffet as well (Garden Café).
Ohhhhhhh, those eggs benedict in the dinning room. Terrific. Hello RCI!?!
On the two buffet mornings we had omelet once and scrambled eggs the second time. The omelets were very good, and with the scrambled eggs I did not care much for the texture but were definitely eatable.

Food was available 24 hours - without surcharge.

Which brings us to.....

e) Nickel and Dime-ing on NCL
This does not exist on NCL. Either it is a myth, simply not being informed or an outright lie. As I said before: I was overly critical and we did not change our behavior or the way we cruise. Based on info (mostly from a certain group whose initials begin with an ‘R” and end with a “C” ) I was fully expecting ‘lots of surcharges’. Not so. We ate as good but mostly better than on RCI for free (even late night).
Some drinks were slightly more expensive others were less. They had a lot of drink specials. Early on - with the alcohol content - I would have given the nod to RCI but they quickly eased up on the alcohol – oh yes, they did. .

And then something strange happened: for years I liked to spend time in the casino on RCI. Of course I left many $ there. But besides a friendly chat here and there RCI was just happy that I made sure that all their employees can get paid - by me. .
My first cruise on NCL and the pit boss came over, out of the blue, and bought everybody on the table a drink. Geez, they actually appreciate us losing money on NCL. .

The final result: Our onboard bill was surprisingly lower.

So if anybody ever tells you again: NCL is nickel and diming – that is simply not true.

f) Summary

I am not sure what to say but this cruise - from ship through staff to cruise experience does not rival RCI in the 3 and 4 Night market. It actually makes RCI a victim. NCL has done right to re-enter this market. Knowing the south Florida area very well I would reckon that NCL will become the leader in the short cruise market down here in a very short time. I have a suggestion to the NCL marketing department though: fight this nickel and dime-ing reputation. This reputation is all what's holding you back. The first question upon my return was: so how did you like NCL and its extra fees? My response was: 'what extra fees?'.

We did not change our habits one bit. We drank as much and gamble as much yet our onboard bill was much lower than on any comparable cruise before.

In Miami, the Majesty of the Seas was right behind us. At that time, still a little nervous, I wondered if I made the right decision.
In Nassau, the Monarch was docked with us. I had absolutely no feelings one way or another.
In Great Stirrup Cay, the Monarch was anchored less than a mile from us. My thoughts at that time: good riddance. I was happy were I was.

I had only one regret: Why did I wait 11 years?
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Old July 10th, 2009, 03:33 PM
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wwooww , My only question is ,
How long will this post last

Tjank you very much for the review . All I can say is thank you thank you. And I have an statment like yours but in a different way


quote"I had only one regret: Why did I wait 11 years?"

My wait will be over in less than 7 weeks,,,
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Old July 11th, 2009, 04:31 PM
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Good information. We haven't sailed NCL in years. We had a bad experience then and DH won't sail with them again. I'll perhaps try to talk him into trying it again once he's able to sail again.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by felix_the_cat
Good information. We haven't sailed NCL in years. We had a bad experience then and DH won't sail with them again. I'll perhaps try to talk him into trying it again once he's able to sail again.
You really have to. I was totally floored. Granted I am not sure if that is fleetwide or even sailing-to-sailing like that but it certainly put the Majesty second for me down here. Considering that the Majesty OTS was the first RCI ship I was ever on and put me on the loyal royal track that says a lot.

Hope your hubby is recovering quickly.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 11:23 AM
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Matt Baker. sounds familiar. Is he the British guy who does the great Austin Powers impersonation? We had this guy on RCCL Enchantment of the seas years ago. Is he the same guy? He's with NCL now?
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Sovereign of the Seas (Sept 2002)
Enchantment of the Seas (Sept 2003)
Monarch of the Seas (August 2009)
Monarch of the Seas (April 2011)
Enchantment of the Seas- Port Canaveral (May 2013)
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Hope for a BIG ship in 2015! (heck with that, we'll take a small one for 2014!)
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Old July 12th, 2009, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shahram72
Matt Baker. sounds familiar. Is he the British guy who does the great Austin Powers impersonation? We had this guy on RCCL Enchantment of the seas years ago. Is he the same guy? He's with NCL now?
Yes, you are correct. Matt Baker was the CD for RCI on the Enchantment of the Seas earlier this decade. He was our CD when we cruised the Enchantment OTS in 2004. When talking to our CD on the Vision OTS a couple of years ago, I asked about Matt Baker and he told me he left RCI to work cor Carnival for a year or so and then went to NCL. So it would appear he is still at NCL.
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Majesty of the Seas - 10/03 & 02/07 & 11/08
Enchantment of the Seas - 10/04 & 10/11
Mariner of the Seas - 10/05
Vision of the Seas - 10/06 & 09/07
Carnival Liberty - 10/07
Adventure of the Seas - 9/08
Ruby Princess - 12/09
Voyager of the Seas - 9/10
Carnival Spirit - 11/10
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Old July 12th, 2009, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shahram72
Matt Baker. sounds familiar. Is he the British guy who does the great Austin Powers impersonation? We had this guy on RCCL Enchantment of the seas years ago. Is he the same guy? He's with NCL now?
First time I saw him so I don't know his history. But according to him he is from Wales.

He was really good.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 01:09 PM
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Thanks for writing this. I too was on a NCL cruise some years back and it was the worst cruise I had been on.

Perhaps it is time for a second look.

Have you checked their itineraries in comparision to other lines? Its usually the itinerary first, then the ship that I look for when I cruise.

Thanks.

K
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Old July 13th, 2009, 04:35 PM
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Too bad he left. I remember thinking they needed to double his salary to keep him. Apparently, he was thinking the same thing. He really added a lot to the cruise. I remember a 60's party in the viking crown lounge one night were he actually dressed up as Austin Powers. It was quite entertaining at the time.

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Sovereign of the Seas (Sept 2002)
Enchantment of the Seas (Sept 2003)
Monarch of the Seas (August 2009)
Monarch of the Seas (April 2011)
Enchantment of the Seas- Port Canaveral (May 2013)
Enchantment of the Seas - (April 2014)
Hope for a BIG ship in 2015! (heck with that, we'll take a small one for 2014!)
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Old July 13th, 2009, 11:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fisherlady48
Thanks for writing this. I too was on a NCL cruise some years back and it was the worst cruise I had been on.

Perhaps it is time for a second look.

Have you checked their itineraries in comparision to other lines? Its usually the itinerary first, then the ship that I look for when I cruise.

Thanks.

K
The 3 and 4 Nighters are pretty much the same across the lines. You always have the private island and Nassau and on the 4 nighters you have either Key West (Majesty OTS), an added sea day (Monarch OTS) or Freeport (NCL and Carnival).

I don't care for either of these ports (been there too often) except the private islands.

I am just working myself through the port schedule on the longer cruises. Our Pearl cruise in Dec is an Eastern Caribbean cruise which goes to St Thomas, Samana and Tortola. That would be two ports I have not been to yet. That of course makes me happy.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 12:39 PM
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I too have started booking cruises (other than the weekend ones) to ports of call I have not been to or perhaps to one I want to return to.

Nassau does not call to me at all. I think of it as the armpit of the Carribean and may only go to the beach via the bus.

My next longer cruise will be a repositioning, that starts in Colon and goes to FLL; it has the advantage of a bonus day in Aruba (one of my favorite places) and 3 days at sea.

Looking forward to your review of the Pearl.

Thanks.

K
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Old July 16th, 2009, 01:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fisherlady48
I too have started booking cruises (other than the weekend ones) to ports of call I have not been to or perhaps to one I want to return to.

Nassau does not call to me at all. I think of it as the armpit of the Carribean and may only go to the beach via the bus.

My next longer cruise will be a repositioning, that starts in Colon and goes to FLL; it has the advantage of a bonus day in Aruba (one of my favorite places) and 3 days at sea.

Looking forward to your review of the Pearl.

Thanks.

K
But for the Pearl review in January you have to look on the NCL board.
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Old July 16th, 2009, 01:43 PM
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Very interesting comparison. I have been a big RCI fan for years and never tried NCL. The reviews just didn't stand up. But with this I may give it a try. I have done many 4 nighters on Sovereign, Majesty and Enchantment.

I knew Matt Baker from Enchantment on two sailings before Carly. He was quite funny. Glad to hear he is still around.
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Old July 16th, 2009, 07:38 PM
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Matt Baker's voice on the intercom in the mornings was better than coffee! And he was a real partier too. He was way too into it not to really love his job. I envy people like that, who love their jobs.


EDIT: We just got $50 credit for each of our tickets due to price decreases, so it pays to call!
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Looking for our next cruise!

Sovereign of the Seas (Sept 2002)
Enchantment of the Seas (Sept 2003)
Monarch of the Seas (August 2009)
Monarch of the Seas (April 2011)
Enchantment of the Seas- Port Canaveral (May 2013)
Enchantment of the Seas - (April 2014)
Hope for a BIG ship in 2015! (heck with that, we'll take a small one for 2014!)
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Old July 17th, 2009, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave the Wave
Very interesting comparison. I have been a big RCI fan for years and never tried NCL. The reviews just didn't stand up. But with this I may give it a try. I have done many 4 nighters on Sovereign, Majesty and Enchantment.

I knew Matt Baker from Enchantment on two sailings before Carly. He was quite funny. Glad to hear he is still around.
You'd love the Hot White Nights.
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Old July 18th, 2009, 02:56 AM
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We recently sailed the NCL Jade out of Southampton for a 5 nighter to Ireland. We had canceled our Mariner of the Seas Cruise in May after RCI was giving us the runaround (lying to us, really) about promised OBC from the Swine flu change of itinerary (long story).

Anyway, coming on the heels of the RC Viral Marketing fiasco, and the kick in the heads to its Diamond Members and the loss of combining earned benefits, we had had it up to here with RCI.

So guess what? We had a great time. All the NCL bashing is crap. No more nickle and dimming than RCI. We ate at Cagney's and it is as good or better than Chops for the same surcharge.

Most of the passengers were British, with Americans few and far between. We stopped in Dublin and Cork and had two sea days.

RCI is slipping in quality and service. NCL was fine, and treated us well.

When we booked the Jade, basically last minute, they said if you pay with American Express rather than the card I planned on using they would give us $100 OBC. So of course I did.

As a Diamond Member on RCI, they are cutting my benefits. As a brand spanking new customer of NCL they gave us $100 OBC.

I have a cruise on RCI's Liberty of the Seas coming up soon and have the Oasis booked for 2010. Both were booked a year ago. I will have no problem booking NCL in the future. They get a bad rap. They are not worse than RCI, they are just a little different.

With the way RCI is treating their Loyal "guests", NCL is a nice respite.

JMO,
Colleen
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Old July 19th, 2009, 12:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladylouwho
We recently sailed the NCL Jade out of Southampton for a 5 nighter to Ireland. We had canceled our Mariner of the Seas Cruise in May after RCI was giving us the runaround (lying to us, really) about promised OBC from the Swine flu change of itinerary (long story).

Anyway, coming on the heels of the RC Viral Marketing fiasco, and the kick in the heads to its Diamond Members and the loss of combining earned benefits, we had had it up to here with RCI.

So guess what? We had a great time. All the NCL bashing is crap. No more nickle and dimming than RCI. We ate at Cagney's and it is as good or better than Chops for the same surcharge.

Most of the passengers were British, with Americans few and far between. We stopped in Dublin and Cork and had two sea days.

RCI is slipping in quality and service. NCL was fine, and treated us well.

When we booked the Jade, basically last minute, they said if you pay with American Express rather than the card I planned on using they would give us $100 OBC. So of course I did.

As a Diamond Member on RCI, they are cutting my benefits. As a brand spanking new customer of NCL they gave us $100 OBC.

I have a cruise on RCI's Liberty of the Seas coming up soon and have the Oasis booked for 2010. Both were booked a year ago. I will have no problem booking NCL in the future. They get a bad rap. They are not worse than RCI, they are just a little different.

With the way RCI is treating their Loyal "guests", NCL is a nice respite.

JMO,
Colleen
Hope you are not losing your RC designation now.
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Old July 19th, 2009, 12:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FL_Cruiser64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladylouwho
We recently sailed the NCL Jade out of Southampton for a 5 nighter to Ireland. We had canceled our Mariner of the Seas Cruise in May after RCI was giving us the runaround (lying to us, really) about promised OBC from the Swine flu change of itinerary (long story).

Anyway, coming on the heels of the RC Viral Marketing fiasco, and the kick in the heads to its Diamond Members and the loss of combining earned benefits, we had had it up to here with RCI.

So guess what? We had a great time. All the NCL bashing is crap. No more nickle and dimming than RCI. We ate at Cagney's and it is as good or better than Chops for the same surcharge.

Most of the passengers were British, with Americans few and far between. We stopped in Dublin and Cork and had two sea days.

RCI is slipping in quality and service. NCL was fine, and treated us well.

When we booked the Jade, basically last minute, they said if you pay with American Express rather than the card I planned on using they would give us $100 OBC. So of course I did.

As a Diamond Member on RCI, they are cutting my benefits. As a brand spanking new customer of NCL they gave us $100 OBC.

I have a cruise on RCI's Liberty of the Seas coming up soon and have the Oasis booked for 2010. Both were booked a year ago. I will have no problem booking NCL in the future. They get a bad rap. They are not worse than RCI, they are just a little different.

With the way RCI is treating their Loyal "guests", NCL is a nice respite.

JMO,
Colleen
Hope you are not losing your RC designation now.
What? Where the heck did that come from? I have never been an RC, far from it. In fact as outspoken as I have been about all the RCI cuts, I have been accused more than once of being an RCI basher.

Strange that you would say such a thing. You were the one who always had the inside information about all the changes and cuts at RCI before they happened and posted them on CC. I always figured you were an RCI employee.
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Old July 19th, 2009, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladylouwho
Quote:
Originally Posted by FL_Cruiser64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladylouwho
We recently sailed the NCL Jade out of Southampton for a 5 nighter to Ireland. We had canceled our Mariner of the Seas Cruise in May after RCI was giving us the runaround (lying to us, really) about promised OBC from the Swine flu change of itinerary (long story).

Anyway, coming on the heels of the RC Viral Marketing fiasco, and the kick in the heads to its Diamond Members and the loss of combining earned benefits, we had had it up to here with RCI.

So guess what? We had a great time. All the NCL bashing is crap. No more nickle and dimming than RCI. We ate at Cagney's and it is as good or better than Chops for the same surcharge.

Most of the passengers were British, with Americans few and far between. We stopped in Dublin and Cork and had two sea days.

RCI is slipping in quality and service. NCL was fine, and treated us well.

When we booked the Jade, basically last minute, they said if you pay with American Express rather than the card I planned on using they would give us $100 OBC. So of course I did.

As a Diamond Member on RCI, they are cutting my benefits. As a brand spanking new customer of NCL they gave us $100 OBC.

I have a cruise on RCI's Liberty of the Seas coming up soon and have the Oasis booked for 2010. Both were booked a year ago. I will have no problem booking NCL in the future. They get a bad rap. They are not worse than RCI, they are just a little different.

With the way RCI is treating their Loyal "guests", NCL is a nice respite.

JMO,
Colleen
Hope you are not losing your RC designation now.
What? Where the heck did that come from? I have never been an RC, far from it. In fact as outspoken as I have been about all the RCI cuts, I have been accused more than once of being an RCI basher.

Strange that you would say such a thing. You were the one who always had the inside information about all the changes and cuts at RCI before they happened and posted them on CC. I always figured you were an RCI employee.
Then we both were mistaken. I could have sworn you were an RC.

If I'd been an employee at RCI there sure would be no RCs, no Oasis. .
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  #20 (permalink)  
Old July 19th, 2009, 11:15 PM
Member
Passenger
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 61
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by FL_Cruiser64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladylouwho
Quote:
Originally Posted by FL_Cruiser64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladylouwho
We recently sailed the NCL Jade out of Southampton for a 5 nighter to Ireland. We had canceled our Mariner of the Seas Cruise in May after RCI was giving us the runaround (lying to us, really) about promised OBC from the Swine flu change of itinerary (long story).

Anyway, coming on the heels of the RC Viral Marketing fiasco, and the kick in the heads to its Diamond Members and the loss of combining earned benefits, we had had it up to here with RCI.

So guess what? We had a great time. All the NCL bashing is crap. No more nickle and dimming than RCI. We ate at Cagney's and it is as good or better than Chops for the same surcharge.

Most of the passengers were British, with Americans few and far between. We stopped in Dublin and Cork and had two sea days.

RCI is slipping in quality and service. NCL was fine, and treated us well.

When we booked the Jade, basically last minute, they said if you pay with American Express rather than the card I planned on using they would give us $100 OBC. So of course I did.

As a Diamond Member on RCI, they are cutting my benefits. As a brand spanking new customer of NCL they gave us $100 OBC.

I have a cruise on RCI's Liberty of the Seas coming up soon and have the Oasis booked for 2010. Both were booked a year ago. I will have no problem booking NCL in the future. They get a bad rap. They are not worse than RCI, they are just a little different.

With the way RCI is treating their Loyal "guests", NCL is a nice respite.

JMO,
Colleen
Hope you are not losing your RC designation now.
What? Where the heck did that come from? I have never been an RC, far from it. In fact as outspoken as I have been about all the RCI cuts, I have been accused more than once of being an RCI basher.

Strange that you would say such a thing. You were the one who always had the inside information about all the changes and cuts at RCI before they happened and posted them on CC. I always figured you were an RCI employee.
Then we both were mistaken. I could have sworn you were an RC.

If I'd been an employee at RCI there sure would be no RCs, no Oasis. .
Well I sure don't know where you got that idea from. I have been a bit of a thorn in RCI's side about the RC Program and got banned from CC twice for inquiring why CC seemed to protect the RC's. After the Diamond cuts I was very outspoken on CC as well as calling and emailing RCI regarding the cuts.

I have defended the Oasis some months ago in that I think it a little unfair to judge something before it even hits the water. But certainly everyone has a right to their opinion. People who don't like big ships probably won't like the Oasis. We booked Oasis last summer for summer of 2010 with two other families. We still plan on sailing her unless of course reviews come back that it is some sort of awful ship or something. I really can't imagine that happening.

My interpretation after sailing NCL after so many cruises on RCI was that RCI's recent changes seem to be based on the NCL model. More pay restaurants, larger ships, my time/freestyle dining, RCI's Why Not? theme/NCL's Whatever, Whenever theme. RCI seems to be more of a follower in this regard. And NCL has the new Epic which I guess would be on par with the Oasis?

JMO,
Colleen
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  #21 (permalink)  
Old July 20th, 2009, 04:52 PM
Senior Member
First Mate
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 445
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladylouwho
Quote:
Originally Posted by FL_Cruiser64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladylouwho
Quote:
Originally Posted by FL_Cruiser64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladylouwho
We recently sailed the NCL Jade out of Southampton for a 5 nighter to Ireland. We had canceled our Mariner of the Seas Cruise in May after RCI was giving us the runaround (lying to us, really) about promised OBC from the Swine flu change of itinerary (long story).

Anyway, coming on the heels of the RC Viral Marketing fiasco, and the kick in the heads to its Diamond Members and the loss of combining earned benefits, we had had it up to here with RCI.

So guess what? We had a great time. All the NCL bashing is crap. No more nickle and dimming than RCI. We ate at Cagney's and it is as good or better than Chops for the same surcharge.

Most of the passengers were British, with Americans few and far between. We stopped in Dublin and Cork and had two sea days.

RCI is slipping in quality and service. NCL was fine, and treated us well.

When we booked the Jade, basically last minute, they said if you pay with American Express rather than the card I planned on using they would give us $100 OBC. So of course I did.

As a Diamond Member on RCI, they are cutting my benefits. As a brand spanking new customer of NCL they gave us $100 OBC.

I have a cruise on RCI's Liberty of the Seas coming up soon and have the Oasis booked for 2010. Both were booked a year ago. I will have no problem booking NCL in the future. They get a bad rap. They are not worse than RCI, they are just a little different.

With the way RCI is treating their Loyal "guests", NCL is a nice respite.

JMO,
Colleen
Hope you are not losing your RC designation now.
What? Where the heck did that come from? I have never been an RC, far from it. In fact as outspoken as I have been about all the RCI cuts, I have been accused more than once of being an RCI basher.

Strange that you would say such a thing. You were the one who always had the inside information about all the changes and cuts at RCI before they happened and posted them on CC. I always figured you were an RCI employee.
Then we both were mistaken. I could have sworn you were an RC.

If I'd been an employee at RCI there sure would be no RCs, no Oasis. .
Well I sure don't know where you got that idea from. I have been a bit of a thorn in RCI's side about the RC Program and got banned from CC twice for inquiring why CC seemed to protect the RC's. After the Diamond cuts I was very outspoken on CC as well as calling and emailing RCI regarding the cuts.

I have defended the Oasis some months ago in that I think it a little unfair to judge something before it even hits the water. But certainly everyone has a right to their opinion. People who don't like big ships probably won't like the Oasis. We booked Oasis last summer for summer of 2010 with two other families. We still plan on sailing her unless of course reviews come back that it is some sort of awful ship or something. I really can't imagine that happening.

My interpretation after sailing NCL after so many cruises on RCI was that RCI's recent changes seem to be based on the NCL model. More pay restaurants, larger ships, my time/freestyle dining, RCI's Why Not? theme/NCL's Whatever, Whenever theme. RCI seems to be more of a follower in this regard. And NCL has the new Epic which I guess would be on par with the Oasis?

JMO,
Colleen
Not sure where I got the idea from that you were an RC. But I do apologize for that unjust affiliation.

I am not sure why everybody is comparing the Epic or even the Dream with the Oasis. Neither ship was build to compete with the Oasis. They are not close in amenities neither in size.

The closest ships in size are the Voyager Class ships.

I recall an interview by M Arison about a year ago in which he was asked what Carnivals response to the Genesis Project was. His answers was that if they felt like building a ship the size of the Genesis Project they could but it is not their brand. They are happy with their current fleet and the addition of the Dream and Magic. They have no interest in competing with the Genesis Project.

My point with NCL though is: you can cruise as cheap as you want to. The whole NCL trash talk was "oh, they charge you everywhere extra". This is not so. You can have free dinner just as you can have on any other line. If you choose to pay extra, so be it. But to simply say that NCL is all about extra fees: that is just not true. The Epic will be very much the same.

Here is the big difference I saw between RCI and NCL:
RCI's food quality is declining in the regular main dining room - step by step. They kinda tell you: if you want better food, go pay extra.

NCL's free dining was superb. The menu was TWICE the size of any RCI cruise I have ever been on. When have you seen an RCI menu with 10 different entrees?

The other big difference was the superb service everywhere. RCI service was never bad but NCL topped that one - big time. BUT I will check NCL out if that was just a fluke or not.

Got two big group cruises coming up: post thanksgiving and spring break and then of course in between the Pearl.

we'll see if it was a fluke.
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