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eroller

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About eroller

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About Me

  • Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
  • Interests
    Ships, ocean liners, aviation
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Cunard, Celebrity, Disney, Royal Caribbean
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Australia and Greece
  • If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/27450992@N06/sets/

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  1. I’m in Vancouver today. I can see GRAND CLASSICA in the far off distance. She is docked in North Vancouver, across the harbor from where all the other cruise ships dock at Canada Place.
  2. Not yet but I think it’s coming, perhaps when the new ship makes her debut. I could see them following HAL, making one level of the dining room freestyle or whatever name they come up with. All the post cruise surveys ask your thoughts on an open seating dining concept. It’s not something I personally want, as it’s an attribute that distinguishes Cunard. They are all about tradition, formality, and structure. The exact opposite of what every other line strives to be. Cunard is the last hold out and I hope they don’t give in, but with another ship on the way they have to increase market share and appeal to a broader market. We shall see. Disney also has maintained a structured MDR experience. They don’t offer freestyle in the MDR. You rotate between 3 dining rooms during your cruise, always at the same time and table number, and your wait staff rotates with you. I should add both lines offer casual open dining in the buffet if you choose, but I’m talking about the MDR’s.
  3. It can be hit or miss with much depending on timing. Longer waits during peak times. I've had really good dining experiences on NCL and some not so good. The same can be said of Carnival and pretty much every other line. There are so many dynamics in play it's very difficult to maintain a consistent experience across a fleet of ships. Pretty much every cruise line these days has some form of Freestyle dining. Some do it better than others.
  4. I agree. I’m sure they all watch each other quite closely. Interestingly Carnival Corp does have a brand where only buffet dining is included in the price. AIDA. They have waiter service restaurants but they are all additional.
  5. Good luck with that one. I’m sure it will happen.
  6. I'm rather certain this was the intent. While perhaps not blatant cost cutting, a rather underhanded way of achieving some cost savings.
  7. I would absolutely agree with this. They have paid professionals constantly looking for ways to cut costs without impacting the guest experience to an extremity where it's a deal breaker. The thought of Carnival's own customers giving them ideas to cut costs is rather absurd.
  8. Royal never went to a buffet only option which is what the OP mentioned. They went to a multiple dining concept called Dynamic Dining. It was formal sit down dining with waiter service, but with four different MDR options. I actually enjoyed it but yes it did flop. Probably before its time. Disney does quite well with rotational dining, but it's a slightly different concept.
  9. Hey someday you may choose to expand your horizons ... but for now you have found a product you enjoy and it is a great value. I'm with you on the smaller Carnival ships. The Spirit Class are by far my favorite Carnival ships. I've sailed all four. Great layout, awesome deck space and pools, and much less crowded. I wish Carnival had more of them. I'm a little concerned about how many people the Mardi Gras will carry, but hopefully the layout and amenities will compensate for the amount of people. We shall see. This ship is the evolution of Carnival so I think it's important they get it right.
  10. Fair enough. I suppose we all have our likes and dislikes. For me ESCAPE was a let down after GETAWAY.
  11. Having sailed the ESCAPE I hardly agree. Overly crowded and no observation lounges. The ship left me cold and unimpressed. I actually preferred GETAWAY over ESCAPE. BLISS is a step up in so many ways, even the decor. The track means nothing to me. To each their own.
  12. Elvis Duran probably has the most bragging rights. I think BLISS will go down as the best in this class. Spice H20, improved layout, and the observation lounges. Still the bells and whistles but also offers those the space that just enjoy a lounge chair in the sun.
  13. I agree but I don't think Carnival is unique in this regard. I started cruising in the late 70's thanks to my grandmother taking my brother and I on amazing trips. Cruising was part of that. I still have a cruise ticket from the NORWAY back in 1980. My grandmother paid more for an inside triple on that cruise than a balcony on a brand new ship today. And she had to book it a year in advance as the ship was that popular (and it was an amazing ship). Today I sail on pretty much all the lines and most offer an amazing value proposition especially compared to 20-30 years ago. The experience is different, more mainstream, but in many ways it's improved. More impressive ships and more options, but also more extra costs if you're tempted and more people. If you want the quality of what the MDR experience used to be, you generally have to pay for a speciality restaurant. But I get it, something has to give. I'm glad Carnival still offers you (and many others) a great value proposition. For me its faded. Perhaps I have outgrown it. I don't see the fun like I used to, not when I witness fights, rude behavior, crowds and lines for everything, and excessive security. I just don't see that on other lines, not to say it doesn't happen. So for me I see the value proposition in other cruise lines that offer nicer and less crowded ships, better food and entertainment, and a bit more refined atmosphere all at a price equal to Carnival or slightly more. I'm willing to pay a bit more because I see value in it. Others don't and that is perfectly acceptable too. We are all different. I'm also not loyal to any one cruise line. I enjoy them all, even Carnival but not so often any more. Not being loyal has its advantages. No emotional attachment to any one company and I'm free to sail what I want at the best value. No pressing need to defend "my" cruise line. I love the variety. Not to say I don't have favorites, but nothing so extreme that it would prevent me from sailing a different line with a great deal. I'm Platinum on Carnival and I like to return every now and then to see how the line has evolved. They all evolve, and they generally all go through periods of ups and downs. It's one reason I never judge a line on one cruise. They all have one-off disappointments. I'm planning to sail on Mardi Gras and looking forward to it. I sailed on the original (along with CARNIVALE, FESTIVALE, and many others) and I can't wait to see how Carnival has evolved. The ship looks impressive and I think a big upgrade in decor for Carnival, but it will be crowded for sure. Also it's not inexpensive, so not sure the value proposition is there but I want to try her out anyway. The more you pay, the higher the expectations. Hopefully Carnival will deliver with this ship. Happy Cruising!
  14. I agree and in that respect it's a good thing. But it also creates a perception that less is offered, or that they don't want you to order each course, and perception is a very strong thing ... often times stronger than reality!
  15. And it's quite refreshing to truly sail on a voyage across the Atlantic ... with day after day of the ship moving through the ocean beneath you. You really feel like you're going somewhere. Not like a cruise where you essentially float around between ports that are a very short distance between each other. It's even worse now with all cruise lines saving fuel. They are truly optimizing itineraries for fuel savings, which mean fewer far off ports and more floating around between ports very close to each other.
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