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NCL vs RCL

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We've only sailed on RCL and Carnival. Last Carnival cruise was a tad disappointing. Has anyone ever sailed on both RCL and NCL? If so which do you prefer and why?

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I've only sailed one of each so far (will sail RCL again this summer).  We preferred Royal for the level of service and general feel.  RCL was out of Baltimore to Nassau and NCL from Miami to Western Caribbean, so not a one for one comparison.

 

NCL seemed to have more of a party atmosphere with the included drinks package.  Royal had a higher level of service (really liked the crumb sweeping between courses), although NCL did a very nice job at the port stops with fresh cloths and popsicles while waiting to re-board.

 

The spa on NCL was very nice (we had a spa balcony), but meals left a lot to be desired.  We like anytime dining, but do like to share tables which didn't seem to be an option on NCL.  They also sat us at awkward tables - either right by the busing station or half on the dance floor where we couldn't hear each other talk.  

 

NCL had more of a party feel with the included drinks perk, but our Royal cruise had very rough seas so there might not have been as many drinking for that too.

 

What we didn't like might be what someone else wants.  We will generally choose based on itinerary and price rather than line.

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4 hours ago, pacruise804 said:

 

...

 

 We like anytime dining, but do like to share tables which didn't seem to be an option on NCL.  They also sat us at awkward tables - either right by the busing station or half on the dance floor where we couldn't hear each other talk.  

 

...

Our experience as well - also MDR food was disappointing: low quality, not served hot, while waiters seemed poorly trained and overworked.

 

Most significant was that public spaces on NCL seemed very crowded.  I think they just squeeze more people on board than other lines do for the same amount  of public space.

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We have been on NCL 3 times and RCI about 10 times. We prefer Royal.However,we are planning a NCL cruise later this year because of the ports and the convenience of cruising from Manhattan.

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We haven't been on RCL, but have on Carnival, NCL, Princess, Holland, and Celebrity.  If you like RCL, I suggest trying Princess or Holland for a more equal comparison than Carnival.  IMO, Celebrity is above Holland, but we like both and usually choose based on the destination and ports.  

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We've done two NCL and one RCL.

 

NCL wins for a us, no contest. Even if the deal was insanely good, we'll never to RCL again. None of the five of us can comprehend how anyone can tolerate such disgusting food. All five of us (three of us were under 25,) lost weight on that cruise. You have to try pretty hard to make it so that a non-picky 18-year old can't find something edible.

 

Five of five of us had to spit out food on numerous occasions. 

 

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we did 4 RCi and 1.3 NCL cruises, and while they are somewhat similar if you pick newer NCL ships, we prefer RCI. Can't wait for our Allure sailing in 30 days!

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58 minutes ago, Kmkub said:

We've done two NCL and one RCL.

 

NCL wins for a us, no contest. Even if the deal was insanely good, we'll never to RCL again. None of the five of us can comprehend how anyone can tolerate such disgusting food. All five of us (three of us were under 25,) lost weight on that cruise. You have to try pretty hard to make it so that a non-picky 18-year old can't find something edible.

 

Five of five of us had to spit out food on numerous occasions. 

 

my family said that about both of our NCL cruises. Horrible food.

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33 minutes ago, Itchy&Scratchy said:

my family said that about both of our NCL cruises. Horrible food.

Food is so subjective. We were on the Jade last month. The food was fine for us. There were plenty of things we didn't like, (which is true of all cruises we've taken,) but we had no issues finding things to eat like we did on RCCL.

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1 hour ago, Kmkub said:

We've done two NCL and one RCL.

 

NCL wins for a us, no contest. Even if the deal was insanely good, we'll never to RCL again. None of the five of us can comprehend how anyone can tolerate such disgusting food. All five of us (three of us were under 25,) lost weight on that cruise. You have to try pretty hard to make it so that a non-picky 18-year old can't find something edible.

 

Five of five of us had to spit out food on numerous occasions. 

 

 

Quite the hyperbolic comments! "Disgusting food"? "Had to spit out food", all five of you and on numerous occasions? Seriously? Even Denny's and In-and-Out Burgers aren't that bad. 😉

 

 

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Just now, SantaFeFan said:

 

Quite the hyperbolic comments! "Disgusting food"? "Had to spit out food", all five of you and on numerous occasions? Seriously? Even Denny's and In-and-Out Burgers aren't that bad. 😉

 

 

Yes, I am not one to make such grand declarations, but I am not exaggerating. The first night we all tried the steak in the MDR. Every one of us spit out the first bite and left our meal sitting there. It was nasty. It had the consistency of a McRib sandwich. All the steaks were the exact same shape & size. It must have been some sort of meat-glue.

 

Same issue at the pizza place - one bite, spit it out, and never returned.

 

It's good we have a family policy of "take a little bit and see what you like," when at any buffet, anywhere. We didn't waste a lot of food that way, at least. We mostly loaded up on bread, lunch meat and salads for the entire cruise, trying a few things, here and there, and being mostly extremely grossed out.

 

Even the burger at upcharge Johnny Rocket's was... meh. I wouldn't call it disgusting, but certainly not as good as a Big Mac, which is not something we consider a good burger.

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29 minutes ago, SantaFeFan said:

 

Quite the hyperbolic comments! "Disgusting food"? "Had to spit out food", all five of you and on numerous occasions? Seriously? Even Denny's and In-and-Out Burgers aren't that bad. 😉

 

 

I tried to edit my post, but it wouldn't let me. Let me be more clear:

 

Edit - leaving the post as I said it, but I just checked my review from the RCCL cruise. I did find some things to eat that I enjoyed; hot dogs, french fries and the sandwiches at the cafe. I also noticed that only four of us had steak on night one - I chose pasta, but did try the steak.

 

I trust my immediate post-cruise memory more than I trust my current memory, over a  year later. Sometimes, the bad just sticks and gets worse in our heads as time goes by. Always good for me to write a review, so I can re-visit later.

 

My honest review: https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=600000

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I have cruised both lines numerous times and I will almost always recommend RCI over NCL.  In my opinion, RCI beats NCL with entertainment, dining and service, and KILLS NCL with ship design.  

 

Comparing the newest ships, RCI's Oasis Class is, in my opinion, the most amazing ship class at sea.  On the other hand, while I mostly enjoyed my cruise on NCL Escape, the ship left a lot to be desired. It was the most crowded I have ever felt on a cruise; the free dining was typical NCL awful; the pools were pathetic and unusable due to the crowds; I had to walk away from my favorite NCL specialty restaurant (LeBistro) because of the smoke stench from the casino above.  

 

My opinions aren't based on 1 cruise.  It's several cruises over the years on both lines.  To date, NCL has been the only line I've sworn to take breaks from in hopes for future improvement.  That's why I tried Escape several years after 3 HORRIBLE cruises on Dawn and Sky.  

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1 hour ago, Kmkub said:

 

3 hours ago, Kmkub said:

We've done two NCL and one RCL.

 

NCL wins for a us, no contest. Even if the deal was insanely good, we'll never to RCL again. None of the five of us can comprehend how anyone can tolerate such disgusting food. All five of us (three of us were under 25,) lost weight on that cruise. You have to try pretty hard to make it so that a non-picky 18-year old can't find something edible.

 

Five of five of us had to spit out food on numerous occasions. 

 

 

I'm very confused.  What changed?  Your review of your RCI cruise says: 

 

"We just had an absolutely fabulous time on the Independence of the Seas;" 

  

Edited by Aquahound

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3 hours ago, Kmkub said:

We've done two NCL and one RCL.

 

NCL wins for a us, no contest. Even if the deal was insanely good, we'll never to RCL again. None of the five of us can comprehend how anyone can tolerate such disgusting food. All five of us (three of us were under 25,) lost weight on that cruise. You have to try pretty hard to make it so that a non-picky 18-year old can't find something edible.

 

Five of five of us had to spit out food on numerous occasions. 

 

Since it seems to be your custom to carelessly put things in your mouth and then spit them out “...ON NUMEROUS OCCASIONS...”, I hope you bring those air sick bags (or comparable containers),  so you won’t be spitting your rejects onto plates bearing other food you plan to eat, the table, or the floor.

 

I suppose there are several reasons why so many posters on CC hate to share tables.

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3 minutes ago, Aquahound said:

 

 

I'm very confused.  Your review of your RCI cruise says: 

 

"We just had an absolutely fabulous time on the Independence of the Seas;" 

  

And so we did! I'm not like some cruisers, who give a bad review of the entire experience because their room didn't have enough towels or because it took more than two minutes to get a beer at the bar. We always try make the most of every experience, regardless of the bad parts.  Enjoy the best and let go the rest.

 

I rated the food on this cruise one star. I would have gone lower if I were able.  The food was bad, and, per my review, the best food I ate were the scones. 

 

I won't let one bad part of an experience cloud the rest of it. My review was fair.

 

I was with family, the ship was beautiful, the staff was great, and it was a very relaxing time. There just wasn't really any truly desirable food.  Not enough to ruin an otherwise great experience, but certainly a very valid consideration when choosing the next cruise.  We won't intentionally pay thousands, knowing we will likely hate the food. That would be dumb.

 

Have you never had a wonderful time doing something, even though one aspect of it was really disappointing? 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, navybankerteacher said:

Since it seems to be your custom to carelessly put things in your mouth and then spit them out “...ON NUMEROUS OCCASIONS...”, I hope you bring those air sick bags (or comparable containers),  so you won’t be spitting your rejects onto plates bearing other food you plan to eat, the table, or the floor.

 

I suppose there are several reasons why so many posters on CC hate to share tables.

Carelessly put things in my mouth? Lol... no idea what that means. I'm not sure what types of people you hang around, but if they are spitting food on their plates or onto the dining room floor, you should have a  talk with them. I don't hang around people who do rude things like that. Gross.

 

You should consider yourself very lucky that you've never once taken a bite of food that was so disagreeable that you needed to discard it, rather than swallow it. Pro tip: should that ever happen to you, though, politely put your napkin to your face and put the gross in your napkin it as inconspicuously as possible.  Then put the napkin on your plate and ask the waiter to take it away.

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1 minute ago, Kmkub said:

Have you never had a wonderful time doing something, even though one aspect of it was really disappointing? 

 

 

Yes, but one aspect of an otherwise wonderful time wouldn't make me say something like "even if the deal was insanely good, I'll never book XXXX again."  That's foolish.  I can think of at least 1 disappointing aspect of every cruise I've taken.  If I followed that logic, I'd never cruise again.  

 

I experienced several bad aspects about NCL and I still wouldn't use the word "never," especially after telling the world I had "an absolutely fabulous time."

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4 minutes ago, Aquahound said:

 

Yes, but one aspect of an otherwise wonderful time wouldn't make me say something like "even if the deal was insanely good, I'll never book XXXX again."  That's foolish.  I can think of at least 1 disappointing aspect of every cruise I've taken.  If I followed that logic, I'd never cruise again.  

 

I experienced several bad aspects about NCL and I still wouldn't use the word "never," especially after telling the world I had "an absolutely fabulous time."

Not letting a bad part of a trip, ruin the trip, is a healthy way to go through life. We were with family, the ship was beautiful, etc. Why, though, would we be willing to give away thousands of dollars in the future, knowing the food will be bad? 

 

There's lots of other choices, cruise wise. 

 

I don't see why I should write a review trashing the entire cruise, when only one part of it was terrible. Were we eating 24 hours/day and did nothing else, I likely would have. We had a great time, and laughing over the ridiculous food was a shared experience that we can now reminisce and laugh together about, as in, "remember that gelatin-meat they tried to pass off as a steak?"

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4 minutes ago, Kmkub said:

Carelessly put things in my mouth? Lol... no idea what that means. I'm not sure what types of people you hang around, but if they are spitting food on their plates or onto the dining room floor, you should have a  talk with them. I don't hang around people who do rude things like that. Gross.

 

You should consider yourself very lucky that you've never once taken a bite of food that was so disagreeable that you needed to discard it, rather than swallow it. Pro tip: should that ever happen to you, though, politely put your napkin to your face and put the gross in your napkin it as inconspicuously as possible.  Then put the napkin on your plate and ask the waiter to take it away.

You should re-read your post - you come across as a party of five, all of whom, in your words, “...HAD TO SPIT OUT FOOD ON NUMEROUS OCCASIONS...” -  I simply expressed the hope that you were doing it discretely.  

 

Frankly, I suspect just a bit of hyperbole on your part in emphasizing how bad the food was — that it was so bad that you all had to keep spitting it out. Alternatively, you all either have EXTREMELY  sensitive taste buds or else very informal table manners.

 

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2 minutes ago, navybankerteacher said:

You should re-read your post - you come across as a party of five, all of whom, in your words, “...HAD TO SPIT OUT FOOD ON NUMEROUS OCCASIONS...” -  I simply expressed the hope that you were doing it discretely.  

 

Frankly, I suspect just a bit of hyperbole on your part in emphasizing how bad the food was — that it was so bad that you all had to keep spitting it out. Alternatively, you all either have EXTREMELY  sensitive taste buds or else very informal table manners.

  

I'm sorry that our dislike of the food is upsetting to you. Are you the head chef for RCCL? 

 

We're happy at Morton's steak house and can be happy at Denny's if needed. Our taste buds are just fine. Perhaps the food on this particular cruise wasn't the norm, but it was bad. Did you read my review? I listed my favorite food as the scones, and noted that we were happy with the hot dogs and fries.

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6 minutes ago, Kmkub said:

I'm sorry that our dislike of the food is upsetting to you. Are you the head chef for RCCL? 

 

We're happy at Morton's steak house and can be happy at Denny's if needed. Our taste buds are just fine. Perhaps the food on this particular cruise wasn't the norm, but it was bad. Did you read my review? I listed my favorite food as the scones, and noted that we were happy with the hot dogs and fries.

All right:  I will accept your contention that you have extraordinarily sensitive taste buds - and then abandon this discourse.

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Just now, navybankerteacher said:

All right:  I will accept your contention that you have extraordinarily sensitive taste buds - and then abandon this discourse.

Cruise line loyalists/cheer leaders are funny. Disagree with them about anything regarding their chosen line, and you're a horrible person.  

 

You consider Morton's Steak House bad food? No wonder you like the meat-glue gelatin they call steak on RCCL.

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48 minutes ago, Kmkub said:

Cruise line loyalists/cheer leaders are funny. Disagree with them about anything regarding their chosen line, and you're a horrible person.  

 

You consider Morton's Steak House bad food? No wonder you like the meat-glue gelatin they call steak on RCCL.

 

RCI is not my chosen line and I'm pretty sure its not navybankerteacher's either.  You're the one with the most posts here, arguing with everyone.  So who is really the cheerleader?  Let it go already.  

Edited by Aquahound

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1 minute ago, Aquahound said:

 

RCI is not my chosen line and I'm pretty sure its not navybankerteacher's either.  You're the one with the most posts here, arguing with everyone.  So who is really the cheerleader?  Let it go already.  

Uh.... what? You two have 35,000 posts, combined. I'm not even in the neighborhood with just under 950. Lol...

 

For the record, I'm not arguing at all. I am being attacked for my opinion. I am being told that it is irrational to not cruise on a line, simply because I find the food terrible. This is all very odd. I dislike being attacked. Stop attacking, and I'll stop defending. Fair?

 

 

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