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lysolqn

Loyal Celebrity fans thinking of NCL...

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We're long time Celebrity cruisers thinking about booking one of NCL's ships sailing out of NY.   We cruised with NCL many, many moons ago on the Norway, Windward and Seaward but all things change with time, including cruise lines, and we've heard and read some not so flattering things about today's NCL, in particular with respect to dining and service.  If you've sailed with Celebrity and NCL, would appreciate your thoughts about how the two lines compare.  Thanks.

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What is it about Celebrity that’s making you look elsewhere?

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3 hours ago, lysolqn said:

We're long time Celebrity cruisers thinking about booking one of NCL's ships sailing out of NY.   We cruised with NCL many, many moons ago on the Norway, Windward and Seaward but all things change with time, including cruise lines, and we've heard and read some not so flattering things about today's NCL, in particular with respect to dining and service.  If you've sailed with Celebrity and NCL, would appreciate your thoughts about how the two lines compare.  Thanks.

You can always find negatives if you look for them, but seeing most of the time the NCL ships are sold out of close there must be a lot of people out there that truly are happy wit NCL. We haven't sailed Celebrity for years, though we used to. because we can only cruise about once a year or maybe a little more we have decided to settle on one line and NCL happens to be the line.

 

There are things about NCL that might not be as positive as say Celebrity and some things we like better. We actually have had better service on NCL< but probably the food is not quite as good as Celebrity. NCL is more of a relaxed, do your own thing type of cruising. The entertainment on NCL is better and we have found the crew friendlier and not as formal. 

 

Give one of the newer ships a try. No one can tell you which is better, as we all look for something different in cruising. 

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Our last cruise was a Celebrity (Summit) about 3-4 years ago or so.  That was our favorite so far.  We did Carnival and NCL in the 90's, RCCL early 2000's, Celebrity recently and now doing NCL again (Bliss - Alaska - June) as we were invited by friends.  While i can't really offer a comparison since NCL for me was so long ago and it appears things have changed so much, I will certainly be comparing the two when we go in June.  I don't recall Celebrity being so much work with the pre-planning, and pre-paying service charges on the free drink package.........and we booked that trip all on our own.  For this one our friends had us use their travel agent, and it's been a lot of work.  LOL  

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8 hours ago, slugg said:

What is it about Celebrity that’s making you look elsewhere?

 

There’s nothing about Celebrity that’s making us look elsewhere. X  remains our cruise line of choice but cruising out of NJ/NY is a great plus, considering we live less than an hour from both piers. However, options for ships and itineraries are limited, so we usually go local only when we decide to book last minute.  Since we haven’t sailed NCL in decades, we thought we might try something new.  We’re a bit skittish about NCL, thus, my post. 

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No comparison.  Celebrity all the way.  NCL is less expensive. They are the generic cruise line as far as I am concerned.

Stick with Celebrity, you will be happier.

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28 minutes ago, lysolqn said:

 

There’s nothing about Celebrity that’s making us look elsewhere. X  remains our cruise line of choice but cruising out of NJ/NY is a great plus, considering we live less than an hour from both piers. However, options for ships and itineraries are limited, so we usually go local only when we decide to book last minute.  Since we haven’t sailed NCL in decades, we thought we might try something new.  We’re a bit skittish about NCL, thus, my post. 

You can't underestimate the benefit on not having to get on a plane and worry about making the cruise, or having to spend the night in a hotel waiting to start your vacation with your luggage still packed. Travelling to some distant port is a waste of time and added stress to start your vacation IMO.  Conversely, once I started sailing out on NYC (on NCL) I have vowed never to cruise any other way.  Once you pull up to the ship's curb, hand your luggage over, and check in, you are almost on vacation.  Once you climb the gangway and enter the ship, you are on vacation. 

I head into the main dining room and open one of the bottles I have brought on board.... if you are a wine drinker, there is no limit to how many bottles you can bring with you, as long as you pay a corkage fee of $15 per bottle.  Since that is all that I drink, that is another reason why NCL will always be my ship of choice.

Give it a try and enjoy the freedom of free style sailing out of NYC!!!

 

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2 hours ago, lysolqn said:

 

There’s nothing about Celebrity that’s making us look elsewhere. X  remains our cruise line of choice but cruising out of NJ/NY is a great plus, considering we live less than an hour from both piers. However, options for ships and itineraries are limited, so we usually go local only when we decide to book last minute.  Since we haven’t sailed NCL in decades, we thought we might try something new.  We’re a bit skittish about NCL, thus, my post. 

 

We’re X cruisers also but now living full time on the west coast and X not having more ships out here is causing us to look elsewhere for some cruises. It will be nice to drive a couple of hours to the port in place of hopping on a plane.

 

We are cruising on the Bliss out of L.A to the Mexican Riviera in October. I have cruised with NCL four times in the past but the last time was ten years ago. Not expecting the “X” type experience but we want to see if this works well enough to use in between cruises with X. We still have a TA booked for next year on the Reflection. 

 

Sometimes trying other lines is a good thing. If it doesn’t work at least you tried it first hand. 🙂

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I think it depends on what you want.  I enjoy Celebrity because there is hardly any children and the decks aren’t crowded with water slides, rope courses, etc.  I like NCL for their entertainment and the casual vibe.  I have found that NCL’s prices are higher than X’s now when comparing balconies and 2 perks.  I hate how NCL charges you the grats on the bev package.

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Our next cruise is on the Jewel- as you can see from my signature our loyalties lie with Celebrity. But we are excited to be trying the Haven experience since suites on Celeb are too spendy for us. Plus the NCL HNL to YVR itinerary includes Kauai on an overnight and none of Celeb's itineraries call on that island.

 

 

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15 hours ago, lysolqn said:

We're long time Celebrity cruisers thinking about booking one of NCL's ships sailing out of NY.   We cruised with NCL many, many moons ago on the Norway, Windward and Seaward but all things change with time, including cruise lines, and we've heard and read some not so flattering things about today's NCL, in particular with respect to dining and service.  If you've sailed with Celebrity and NCL, would appreciate your thoughts about how the two lines compare.  Thanks.

 

My opinion: Stick with Celebrity.

 

What does NCL have going for them? Compared to Celebrity I think the entertainment is a bit better on NCL and the Thermal Spa in the newer ships is better then anything else at sea. Other then that...Celebrity beats NCL hands down and in a majority of the cases i've looked at they're also cheaper.

 

What annoys me about NCL is that there's more smoking going on (NCL allows smoking in the casino and it also impact nearby areas). There's also many more kids on NCL. The food on Celebrity in the MDR is about the same quality as the specialty restaurants on NCL. The beverage package on Celebrity also includes more things, meanwhile the NCL beverage package doesn't even include bottled water. I also don't like the other fees on NCL such as a charge for room service, the service fee on the "free" beverage package and dining package etc.

 

NCL has 2 things going for them as I pointed out (IMO). As far as the rest...Celebrity wins hands down.

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9 minutes ago, DaCruiseBug said:

 

My opinion: Stick with Celebrity.

NCL has 2 things going for them as I pointed out (IMO). As far as the rest...Celebrity wins hands down.

 

Except that the OP would like to sail out of NYC and was just asking what they could expect in the way of differences.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, ZsaZsa2019 said:

Our last cruise was a Celebrity (Summit) about 3-4 years ago or so.  That was our favorite so far.  We did Carnival and NCL in the 90's, RCCL early 2000's, Celebrity recently and now doing NCL again (Bliss - Alaska - June) as we were invited by friends.  While i can't really offer a comparison since NCL for me was so long ago and it appears things have changed so much, I will certainly be comparing the two when we go in June.  I don't recall Celebrity being so much work with the pre-planning, and pre-paying service charges on the free drink package.........and we booked that trip all on our own.  For this one our friends had us use their travel agent, and it's been a lot of work.  LOL  

This is interesting to me, how is an already added $$ to your final cost for the gratuities work for you?  All you need to do is pay the bill.  No need to pre pay DSC.

Any pre-planning is usually done with the entertainment. It is just a free reservation; if you can't go at the time reserved don't go, it is worth it to reserve a show. The entertainment on NCL far outweighs any other cruise line. You will see what I mean. When we went on Celebrity the shows were so poorly done, we walked out or did not even bother.

We cruised with Celebrity 2 years ago and it was no different than the daily logistics of NCL.

Any changes you are seeing are now the norm on all of the mainstream cruise lines. I have been on Celebrity, NCL, Princess and RCCL.

Sorry that it is a bit stressful for you; I hope you enjoy your cruise. You may be pleasantly surprised. No cruise lines are the same really so a comparison may be futile. 😊

Edited by Cruisercl
typo

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I'm afraid I have to agree with DaCruiyseBug, only b/c the OP already seems to be so hesitant and in their words, "We’re a bit skittish about NCL, thus, my post". IMO, I wouldn't chance wasting my money on a cruise which I might easily dislike or even hate.  

 

My DH refused to consider X as a cruise when we started cruising together in 2012 and was absolutely thrilled with our experience on NCL.  Why? No formal nites, no worries about dress codes at all, no worries about dining with strangers, so he really enjoyed the more relaxed atmosphere of NCL and was thrilled with the service we rec'd.

  

I'm not saying NCL is bad, however, I am saying it's different from X experience and I'd really consider the change in experience expectations. I'm platinum on NCL and wouldn't consider cruising on X.  Just sayin'

 

Hope you enjoy your cruise no matter which cruise line you choose. 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, All-ready2cruise said:

I'm afraid I have to agree with DaCruiyseBug, only b/c the OP already seems to be so hesitant and in their words, "We’re a bit skittish about NCL, thus, my post". IMO, I wouldn't chance wasting my money on a cruise which I might easily dislike or even hate.  

 

My DH refused to consider X as a cruise when we started cruising together in 2012 and was absolutely thrilled with our experience on NCL.  Why? No formal nites, no worries about dress codes at all, no worries about dining with strangers, so he really enjoyed the more relaxed atmosphere of NCL and was thrilled with the service we rec'd.

  

I'm not saying NCL is bad, however, I am saying it's different from X experience and I'd really consider the change in experience expectations. I'm platinum on NCL and wouldn't consider cruising on X.  Just sayin'

 

Hope you enjoy your cruise no matter which cruise line you choose. 

 

 

Yes! Just because I cruised on a cruiseline and wasn't thrilled with it doesn't mean it is not a good experience for others.

We are not all looking for the same cruise and too many variables for it to be all or none.

IMHO, however, I am not sure I would take internet opinions as gospel; you never hear about those that loved their experience.  It is a cruise for gosh sakes, relax and enjoy!!😁

 

 

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19 hours ago, ZsaZsa2019 said:

Our last cruise was a Celebrity (Summit) about 3-4 years ago or so.  That was our favorite so far.  We did Carnival and NCL in the 90's, RCCL early 2000's, Celebrity recently and now doing NCL again (Bliss - Alaska - June) as we were invited by friends.  While i can't really offer a comparison since NCL for me was so long ago and it appears things have changed so much, I will certainly be comparing the two when we go in June.  I don't recall Celebrity being so much work with the pre-planning, and pre-paying service charges on the free drink package.........and we booked that trip all on our own.  For this one our friends had us use their travel agent, and it's been a lot of work.  LOL  

Some of the differences have to do with the newer pricing and some have to do with mega ships verses standard sized ships. This is one of the reasons we always use travel agents. 

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We have done 7 NCL cruises and 11 on Celebrity.    

 

Both lines have significantly upped their prices due to price bundling with promos that we don't want.

Even though Celebrity now has an option to exclude promos, the price is still inflated.

 

This is why we are looking more at Royal Caribbean.

 

Still, between the two lines, if you are retired and don't care about water slides, etc, or very loud awful music by the overcrowded pool, you might prefer Celebrity.

 

NCL excels in entertainment and fun in the evening.  They usually have one large bar set aside for what I call self entertainment.

 

Dining is superior on Celebrity as generally is service, but NCL has several good specialty restaurants that are very reasonably priced.

 

NCL's drink package doesn't include a good Cabernet, and we very much dislike the inflated value ($99 pp, per day) and resulting 20% gratuity.

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17 minutes ago, 4774Papa said:

NCL's drink package doesn't include a good Cabernet, and we very much dislike the inflated value ($99 pp, per day) and resulting 20% gratuity.

 

That adds up to $40 per couple per day. Disappointed to hear that NCL does not include a decent cabernet in their package. I'm also put off by the exclusion of coffees and bottled water. Are sodas also excluded?

 

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1 minute ago, TMLAalum said:

 

That adds up to $40 per couple per day. Disappointed to hear that NCL does not include a decent cabernet in their package. I'm also put off by the exclusion of coffees and bottled water. Are sodas also excluded?

 

Sodas are included but I was also not happy with the exclusion of bottled water.

With that being said, the water available at the buffet and elsewhere is perfectly fine for drinking. I just preferred having it included as I did on my RCL cruises. It was nice to pick a bottle or 2 up on my way back to the cabin at night or whenever else.

And the included drink package isn't the best for drinkers of fine wine or high priced booze but if you're a drinker of mixed drinks and beer, you'll get pretty much everything you want included.

 

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Two things I preferred on Celebrity, the smoke free interior, and Cafe Bacio.

We do like to have a leisurely breakfast in the coffee shop, with decent espresso style coffees ( prepared to pay for them) and a choice of pastries. Celebrity was great for this. NCL Jade was terrible, the paid for coffee was mediocre and the only snacks available in the coffee area were a very limited selection of rather stale looking macaroons and chocolates, and there was a charge for those as well! We only went once, and spent less on that cruise than usual. 

Wouldnt go anywhere near a casino where any smoking is allowed at any time.

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We've done both the Epic and the Reflection. 

We enjoyed both equally tbh.

Celebrity more refined, NCL more atmosphere.

NCL's entertainment is much better.

Food to Celebrity better.

Deck areas on Celebrity better but Epic had an adults only deck area.

Drinks on a par.

Staterooms on Celebrity better.

Disembarkation on par.

Preferred the bar areas on NCL, better live music.

Spa better on Epic.

Hopefully this helps. We are doing both Epic Haven and Celebrity Constellation again shortly.

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5 hours ago, TMLAalum said:

 

That adds up to $40 per couple per day. Disappointed to hear that NCL does not include a decent cabernet in their package. I'm also put off by the exclusion of coffees and bottled water. Are sodas also excluded?

 

Barb,

For a 14 day cruise you will pay $554 for a couple JUST for the gratuities.  This is on top of the inflated price for the drink package promo.

 

On our last 7 day NCL cruise from Boston to Quebec City in Fall of 2018, I brought my own wine onboard, paid the $15 per bottle corkage fee and paid  less than JUST the gratuity we would have paid, had we selected the beverage package.   

 

I think sodas are included, but we don't drink soda.

 

Prior to the price bundling by NCL we would buy a wine package that would be 90% of what we drank on our cruise.  We would pay about $300 for that package.  I don't think NCL offers that package anymore.

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I've never been on Celebrity, so take this with a grain of salt, but I loved the Haven on our last NCL cruise and we're booked again for next summer.  I seriously don't know how you could NOT enjoy sailing in the Haven.  I hope you give it a try.  

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21 hours ago, DaCruiseBug said:

 

My opinion: Stick with Celebrity.

 

What does NCL have going for them? Compared to Celebrity I think the entertainment is a bit better on NCL and the Thermal Spa in the newer ships is better then anything else at sea. Other then that...Celebrity beats NCL hands down and in a majority of the cases i've looked at they're also cheaper.

 

What annoys me about NCL is that there's more smoking going on (NCL allows smoking in the casino and it also impact nearby areas). There's also many more kids on NCL. The food on Celebrity in the MDR is about the same quality as the specialty restaurants on NCL. The beverage package on Celebrity also includes more things, meanwhile the NCL beverage package doesn't even include bottled water. I also don't like the other fees on NCL such as a charge for room service, the service fee on the "free" beverage package and dining package etc.

 

NCL has 2 things going for them as I pointed out (IMO). As far as the rest...Celebrity wins hands down.

 

Don't forget the entertainment/nightlife on NCL. X has very little of that.

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22 minutes ago, FreestyleNovice said:

 

Don't forget the entertainment/nightlife on NCL. X has very little of that.

That's probably the biggest reason I don't sail Celebrity anymore.  Sailed Solstice and the best entertainment was the glass blowing demonstration.  Interesting for sure.  But, that's as good as the entertainment got.  Not my idea of great entertainment.

 

We also had some issues with the service on Celebrity Solstice.  To pay what we paid for the Solstice, we steered back to NCL (and sometimes MSC).

 

If you get a decent rate with the perks, you'll probably be able to save quite a bit of money vs Celebrity, too.  They only charge $20/day for tips with their drink package.  Specialty dining is really good, too.

 

Being in NY, that's icing on the cake.

 

Good luck with whatever you choose.

 

 

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