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jtdlmc

Carnival vs NCL

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We've been on one Carnival cruise - Legend Feb 2011 - and are thinking of going with NCL Jewel for our next. There will be 3 adults and an 11 year old boy.

 

We had no complaints in regard to our Carnival cruise, except our own desire to do an excursion in every port which left us tired and worn out. Afterwards we decided we would not cruise again. But thinking more about it, our problem was that we were on the run each port day (4) and the sea days we were too tired to do anything on board - we were in bed every night by 10 pm!!!!!

 

Anyway, we've decided to give cruising another go, but this time to relax more. Anyone that has cruised both lines, what are your comments, good or bad, in regard to comparison of the two lines? Has anyone sailed both NCL Jewel and Carnival Liberty (those are the two cruises I have picked)?

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Unfortunately I don't have a recent comparison to give you... my first cruise was on Carnival in 1975, but I haven't been back since. This November will be my first Carnival cruise since then!

 

I have been on five NCL cruises with my family however, and three others on two other lines. What I can tell you is that I have found very little difference among any of the cruises I've taken. Any changes I have experienced have had to do with time - as in what decade I was cruising in or when the ship was built. In the 70s, ships were tiny and my sister and I were generally among less than 20 kids on board - at Christmas. In the 80s, ships were larger but still referred to by travel agents as 'newly weds and nearly deads' because most people who cruised were either on their honeymoon or retired. There were still very few kids on board... in fact, I don't remember noticing any (I'm sure they were there, I just don't remember them). I missed the 90s, but the first cruise I took with my husband and daughter was on the NCL Dream, which at the time was the oldest and smallest ship in their fleet and was almost like a 'transition' from old to new.

 

So, aside from size and the amazing assortment of dining options, entertainment venues, and onboard activities that are now available, everything else has always seemed pretty much the same to me. I expect to find our Carnival experience basically exactly the same as our NCL experience, with differences related only to onboard activities and dining. The same can often be said about going from one ship to another on the same line though, usually related to when the ship was built and what new developments or ideas have or haven't been implemented.

 

From what I understand, the Jewel is a beautiful ship. I've been on the Pearl, which I believe is the same class, and we loved it. We especially enjoy their specialty dining options and the ability to dine when we want, but Carnival has a steakhouse and anytime dining so I'm expecting to have a similar experience on the Conquest.

 

I think the most important thing is that it's a cruise. If you enjoyed your Carnival cruise other than the rush-rush-rushing, then I think you'll enjoy any ship you choose. :)

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We've been on one Carnival cruise - Legend Feb 2011 - and are thinking of going with NCL Jewel for our next. There will be 3 adults and an 11 year old boy.

 

We had no complaints in regard to our Carnival cruise, except our own desire to do an excursion in every port which left us tired and worn out. Afterwards we decided we would not cruise again. But thinking more about it, our problem was that we were on the run each port day (4) and the sea days we were too tired to do anything on board - we were in bed every night by 10 pm!!!!!

 

Anyway, we've decided to give cruising another go, but this time to relax more. Anyone that has cruised both lines, what are your comments, good or bad, in regard to comparison of the two lines? Has anyone sailed both NCL Jewel and Carnival Liberty (those are the two cruises I have picked)?

 

For what you explained, wanting to just relax, the NCL Jewel would be a great choice. The Freestyle concept with being able to eat whenever and wherever you want is perfect if you don't want the schedules. Since it's ship-wide, it works a lot better than CCL's any time option.

 

Also, between the Jewel and the CCL Liberty, the Jewel is a much prettier ship and I think the entertainment is a little better. Food, on the other hand, I would give to CCL. However, the Jewel has some great specialty restaurants.

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We've been on one Carnival cruise - Legend Feb 2011 - and are thinking of going with NCL Jewel for our next. There will be 3 adults and an 11 year old boy.

 

We had no complaints in regard to our Carnival cruise, except our own desire to do an excursion in every port which left us tired and worn out. Afterwards we decided we would not cruise again. But thinking more about it, our problem was that we were on the run each port day (4) and the sea days we were too tired to do anything on board - we were in bed every night by 10 pm!!!!!

 

Anyway, we've decided to give cruising another go, but this time to relax more. Anyone that has cruised both lines, what are your comments, good or bad, in regard to comparison of the two lines? Has anyone sailed both NCL Jewel and Carnival Liberty (those are the two cruises I have picked)?

 

They are very similar lines. I have been on Liberty, have not been on Jewel but have been on NCL Pearl which is very similar. You will find much more similar than different. I'd say the food overall is better on CCL, but NCL has a 24/7 restaurant which is awesome. The NCL ships are prettier. We do anytime dining on CCL, which is in essence the same as Freestyle. We cruise for itin/price and cruise both lines without a favorite. I'm sure you guys will have a great time!

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NCL generally has a better buffet set up (action stations versus lines). The lines are more alike than different, really. I will say NCL's private island has better snorkeling, but CCL's has more comfortable chairs. Also, CCL treats their older ships better than NCL.

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Hi, my family has been on 5 Carnival cruises and 1 NCL. We were on the Norwegian Gem in Feb 2011, our last Carnival cruise was 5 years ago. We got home from our Norwegian cruise and less than a week later I booked with Carnival. I will NEVER again cruise Norwegian. The staff was unattentive, seemed like they could care less about anything. One bartender at a coffee bar yelled at a woman whose toddler was crying because she fell down. Told the woman to shut her child up! This coffee bar was in the main lobby. Our balcony room was dirty when we boarded the ship, dust everywhere (you could write your name in it) and someone elses things were in the dresser. So in my own opinion, stick with Carnival where the staff is caring and the rooms are clean!:eek:

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Our first cruise was our honeymoon on the Norwegian Star in Hawaii in 2003. I really liked the idea of cruising, but the lack of service on the Star almost caused us to not cruise again. NCL has undergone changes at the top and I understand that a lot of their problems have been solved.

I have two friends that have been on NCL cruises recently and they seem to have had a great time. In fact, because of their good time we are thinking about trying NCL again.

We have been on the Legend and feel that she is one of the nicest ships we have been on.

Since I have not been on either of the ships you are asking about I would go to the one with the best itinerary. If they are the same, I would go on the ship with the best price.

If you choose NCL, please come back and give us your thoughts. Thanks.

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I have cruised both lines this year...

 

Norwegian Jade and Carnival Liberty. I have also cruised both lines on other ships in recent years.

 

It is my experience that there is not much difference outside of the freestyle dining. I prefer NCL's buffet to Carnivals. Other than that, I would sail both again.

 

I've had inside and balcony state rooms on both. Service and room size are comparable...IMO

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We've been on one Carnival cruise - Legend Feb 2011 - and are thinking of going with NCL Jewel for our next. There will be 3 adults and an 11 year old boy.

 

We had no complaints in regard to our Carnival cruise, except our own desire to do an excursion in every port which left us tired and worn out. Afterwards we decided we would not cruise again. But thinking more about it, our problem was that we were on the run each port day (4) and the sea days we were too tired to do anything on board - we were in bed every night by 10 pm!!!!!

 

Anyway, we've decided to give cruising another go, but this time to relax more. Anyone that has cruised both lines, what are your comments, good or bad, in regard to comparison of the two lines? Has anyone sailed both NCL Jewel and Carnival Liberty (those are the two cruises I have picked)?

 

 

We loved the Jewel. We have cruised NCL twice and Carnival twice. We enjoyed both! My kids prefer NCL as far as the kids area goes. I also really like the specialty restaurants on NCL. Any specific questions feel free to ask!

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The Jewel was our first cruise. We were amazed at how great the staff on board treated us. It really amazed us.

 

The Jewel has a large deck on the rear of the ship with a canopy type covering called "The Great Outdoors". I loved going out there at the end of every evening with a cup of coffee and something from the dessert buffet. It's very quiet at night and there are plenty of chairs so you can just sit and relax and watch the ocean go by. Perfect way to end a day. I want to be there right now...:(

 

BTW.. our 12 year old nephews were with us on the Pearl awhile back which also has a Great Outdoors. They also loved coming out there with us with cones from the ice cream machine.

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Don'r give up cruising. It is the best way to vacation.

 

It seems (and you admit to it) that you are trying to do too much. Cut back on all the activities a bit and relax. That is what a vacation is for. And you can always do the activities you pass on during your next cruise.

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Don'r give up cruising. It is the best way to vacation.

 

It seems (and you admit to it) that you are trying to do too much. Cut back on all the activities a bit and relax. That is what a vacation is for. And you can always do the activities you pass on during your next cruise.

 

It really is the best way to vacation! Tonight I checked on some all inclusive land vacations and even 2.5* resorts outprice Carnival and NCL cruises!

 

We do realize that we did too much in the ports - we didn't do anything on board the ship other than sit on deck in the sun for an hour or two each sea day! We only saw one show - The Big Easy and never once sat by the pool - we were always up a deck - and partook in the entertainment there, nor did we go to any of the bars (and we are drinkers, not falling down drunk, huge party-types, but we like to have a few now and again!) So we'd like to maybe just walk around the port areas, go to a nearby beach, etc. instead of having to be up at the crack of dawn to eat breakfast, get off the ship and meet our excursion and then rush back to the ship before sail away. We know better now :p

 

Thanks for all your insights. It's still up in the air. I just wish Carnival had the reduced deposit like NCL does this week, I hate to part with that much money 18 months in advance :eek:

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Our neighbors have cruised over 15 times on various lines. Their worst experiences have been on NCL. Their best cruises have been on Carnival. They said the service and food are absolutely horrible on NCL and they will never sail with them again. These are not picky people, either. They just have had nothing good to say about NCL.

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I've cruised on Carnival 16 times with the 17th in November. NCL 6 times and 2 of them were 14 and 15 nights.

 

First time I cruised NCL 7 night Dream - didn't like it much because we normally cruise as a group and Freestyle didn't work well when trying to coordinate dining for 54 people. (Live and Learn). We've now been on 6 cruises with NCL and have grown to like it more. Bothered us at first that in order to get the 'good' food, you had to pay extra. Still don't like it, but we have grown not to hate it.

 

Carnival has better food in the MDRs - especially if you like seafood. NCL does not serve alot of seafood in the MDRs - they will have fish, but not shrimp, etc. Specialty restaurant plus $ to get the best food.

 

NCL's drinks are more expensive than Carnival.

 

We have found the NCL staff to be wonderful. Better than the last couple of Carnival cruises staff.

 

NCL's balcony cabin has a coffee maker and a fridge. Carnival has no coffee maker and only sometimes a fridge.

 

Carnival has 24 hour pizza and ice cream.

 

NCL has 24 hour restaurant that serves, wings, chili, sandwiches.

 

We love sea days and have learned not to run to exhaustion in port. We don't want to have to take a vacation from our vacation.

 

It has to be an individual choice... I'm glad you decided to give cruising another chance.

 

Kathy

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I took 4 cruises in a row on NCL and then my last cruise was on the Carnival Dream. Overall, I have to say I like NCL better but it's probably because I sailed it first. The biggest difference to me was the availability of food. It seemed like on Carnival, there were lots of times when the only food you could get was pizza or ice cream. I kinda pig out on cruises so I like to be able to get mid day snacks a lot, things like crackers and cheese. That just wasn't how it was on our Carnival cruise. The cabin was bigger on Carnival but the bathroom was bigger on NCL. The staff was wonderful on both lines, and the quality of food was about the same (very good, not amazing). Seriously, you will have fun on both lines. They have their differences but they still know how to make sure you have the time of your life.

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I've cruised on Carnival 16 times with the 17th in November. NCL 6 times and 2 of them were 14 and 15 nights.

 

First time I cruised NCL 7 night Dream - didn't like it much because we normally cruise as a group and Freestyle didn't work well when trying to coordinate dining for 54 people. (Live and Learn). We've now been on 6 cruises with NCL and have grown to like it more. Bothered us at first that in order to get the 'good' food, you had to pay extra. Still don't like it, but we have grown not to hate it.

 

Carnival has better food in the MDRs - especially if you like seafood. NCL does not serve alot of seafood in the MDRs - they will have fish, but not shrimp, etc. Specialty restaurant plus $ to get the best food.

 

NCL's drinks are more expensive than Carnival.

 

We have found the NCL staff to be wonderful. Better than the last couple of Carnival cruises staff.

 

NCL's balcony cabin has a coffee maker and a fridge. Carnival has no coffee maker and only sometimes a fridge.

 

Carnival has 24 hour pizza and ice cream.

 

NCL has 24 hour restaurant that serves, wings, chili, sandwiches.

 

We love sea days and have learned not to run to exhaustion in port. We don't want to have to take a vacation from our vacation.

 

It has to be an individual choice... I'm glad you decided to give cruising another chance.

 

Kathy

 

When did you last cruise on NCL ? Their drink prices are NOT nigher. In fact, many have 2 for 1's at happy hours.

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We cruised Carnival in 2009 to the Western Caribbean and cruised NCL June 2011. Our cruise on NCL to the Baltics this year had terrible food. We started eating at their pay restaurants and they were still crap. We were just looking for good food not gourmet. After we came home we cancelled our December 2011 cruise that was scheduled with NCL Jade to the Med. and booked on the Carnival Magic for October 2011. We will be cruising with our 9, 8 & 5 year old kids.

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When did you last cruise on NCL ? Their drink prices are NOT nigher. In fact, many have 2 for 1's at happy hours.

 

When we were on Spirit last Thanksgiving, there were different drink deals every day even a special on certain beers one day. There was a certain time of day that they had Margarital Madness or Mojito Madness, which was 2 for 1 on those drinks. It was nice to get a deal sometimes on the drinks.

 

That trip on Spirit was our only NCL cruise, our next one is Carnival Conquest, and our first 4 where Carnival. I will travel on both lines again. For us it will always come down to the best value for when and where we want to go. For example, we went NCL at Thanksgiving, because I could book us in a Balcony cabin for 600 cheaper that Carnival at that time, plus an OBC. This next one Carnival had the best price.

 

Everyone's opinions will vary based on what is important to them as well as what ship, not just the line.

 

When it comes to the food I felt like both lines had ups and downs. NCL had alot more options for specialty dining, but I couldn't see paying extra for those restaraunts when we had the already included options, but I have friends that travel NCL specifically for the Specialty Dining.

 

All the Carnival ones we have been on, offered the room service and the pizza/deli sandwiches 24 hours, but NCL Spirit had the Blue Lagoon that offered Buffalo Wings, Fish and Chips, Chicken Strips, Burgers, Chef Salad, Cheesecake, and a few other options (I think) available 23 hours a day. My at the time 9 year old loves buffalo wings so this was a big deal for us and something we are definitely going to miss on the next one, but I missed my Warm Melting Chocolate Cake on NCL. With the buffet foods, I didn't have a preference for one or the other taste wise, but the lines on NCL were way better to us.

 

Maybe you could find some recent reviews of each ship that includes the daily papers to help you decide.

 

As far as trying to do to much, some how I manage to always do that on whatever vacation it is. Good Luck, I hope you enjoy your trip!

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When did you last cruise on NCL ? Their drink prices are NOT nigher. In fact, many have 2 for 1's at happy hours.

 

Two things here. I have always found CCL's drink prices to be higher, but not by much. As far as the 2 for 1's, do they do that on all ships? I've only seen it on Sky. :confused:

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We have cruised the Liberty(2008) and the Jewel (twice this year) There is no doubt that the crew and staff on NCL is the best I have seen on almost any cruiseline.

The buffet, especially the setup on the Jewel is excellent.. We loved eating in the specialty restaurants and doing "whatever, whenever". We did fall in love with NCL and the Jewel The small catch I see is the rooms. We have not been in a regular balcony room in over 10 years I hear that NCL rooms may be a tiny bit smaller that CCL. I am however a suite snob and I admit my addiction. If you can see your way to booking a suite NCL then it is the only way to go, the perks are amaziing. I liked the Liberty, I love the Jewel. We are cruising Carnival again this coming January out of San Juan. I wanted to do the port intensive Victory and then relax in San Juan for a few days.

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They are more similar than different. Each has it's own flaws and strengths. I personally would not pay any attention to what anyone says regarding food, entertainment, or service because that is completely subjective and based on someone elses experience (which most likely won't be the same as yours as each cruise is different with different dynamics happening). Just take your own advice and don't over schedule yourself. Relax and enjoy your cruise:).

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When did you last cruise on NCL ? Their drink prices are NOT nigher. In fact, many have 2 for 1's at happy hours.

 

I agree, drinks are similarly priced and they do have some specials. The one thing that is WAY higher on NCL is their BV department. Close to twice the cost of CCL's BV.

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Having been on the Gem ( Jewel's sister ship ) and the Liberty, the biggest difference ( IMO ) is the size of the balcony stateroom. CCL's balcony rooms are much bigger and have more storage than NCL.

 

NCL has better pool lounge chairs than CCL.

Food---in the MDR, CCL wins out

Food --- in the buffet, NCL wins

Entertainment---NCL has better entertainment

 

Whichever you pick, have a great time.

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I agree, drinks are similarly priced and they do have some specials. The one thing that is WAY higher on NCL is their BV department. Close to twice the cost of CCL's BV.

 

Actually that's one of the first things I looked into - lol! We purchased bottles through BV on our Carnival cruise and wanted to make sure the same could be done with NCL - as you say, the prices are double!

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Actually that's one of the first things I looked into - lol! We purchased bottles through BV on our Carnival cruise and wanted to make sure the same could be done with NCL - as you say, the prices are double!

 

I guess you and I are on the same wavelength:). I had been ordering from BV most trips, but last year actually broke out the old Rum Runners again for our NCL trip. It was like $80 for a bottle of Gin!:confused:

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