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t.crusing

Carnival or MSC

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Hi!

I'm a first time cruiser, actually I've been on a cruise when I was younger but it was a long time ago and now I'm responsible for planning it.

So.. my vacation needs to be in January 2021, it will be at least 7 days from Miami or Fort Lauderdale and I would like to stop in Mexico in one of the stops. I checked the options and there are two finalists cruises: Carnival Magic (Grand Cayman, Mahogany Bay, Belize and Cozumel) and MSC Meraviglia (Ocho Rios, Cayman Islands, Cozumel and Ocean Cay), I'm inclined to choose Carnival because through my researches MSC has fewer included restaurants and activities on board and most of them needs extra fees than Carnival, but MSC seems to be more luxurious... Anyway, I'm confused and my researches might be wrong, so if you can help me I'm ready!   

Edited by t.crusing

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MSC includes a much as Carnival.  However, while Carnival separates burgers, pizza, barbecue, etc. , MSC includes them all inside the buffet area.  While I have not sailed Meraviglia, I had sailed Armonia, Divina, and Seaside.  We enjoy MSC, but for your first cruise, I think you should go with Carnival Magic.  We have sailed her twice, the latest just last month.  EM

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In your case, I recommend Carnival. 
 

Have you looked at Royal Caribbean?  They also go to Mexico and in my opinion, they’re better than both Carnival and MSC, especially Oasis Class. 

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You might also want to consider Carnival Legend from Tampa.  EM

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Hi t.cruising,

It's great to see that you assume the possibility for your research to wrong.

Yes, it is.

Both ships are not good. The Meraviglia and luxury are at the opposite ends of the world.

But a question before I recommend anything else: why Mexico? What do you want to do /see there?

Itineraries are very subjective. IMO the only reason I would recommend a stop in Mexico is to visit Chichen Itza.

To visit Chichen Itza, you'll need to choose a ship that provides excursions there. The only way to go there is an excursion from the ship.

Happy cruising!

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On 2/7/2020 at 5:15 PM, Essiesmom said:

MSC includes a much as Carnival.  However, while Carnival separates burgers, pizza, barbecue, etc. , MSC includes them all inside the buffet area.  While I have not sailed Meraviglia, I had sailed Armonia, Divina, and Seaside.  We enjoy MSC, but for your first cruise, I think you should go with Carnival Magic.  We have sailed her twice, the latest just last month.  EM

 

I have sailed on Meraviglia, but not the other MSC ships Essiesmom mentioned nor have I sailed on Carnival Magic.  My other Carnival cruises have been on Miracle, Freedom, Pride, and Liberty.    

 

I will suggest two other factors to consider.  From what ports are the ship sailing?  Will you be driving to the port and parking your car there?

 

Meraviglia will sail from Miami, I am sure.  Will Carnival Magic sail from Port Everglades?

 

I drove and parked at Miami for my MSC cruise.  Port traffic was horrendous.  Never again; if I sail from Miami in the future, the car will be parked somewhere else and I will let another driver deal with the traffic.  Port traffic and parking at Port Everglades is much less stressful.  

 

If both ships are sailing from Miami and you are driving and parking at the Port, flip a coin.  I think you will be pleased with whichever you choose for your first cruise.

 

 

 

 

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We have cruised that same itinerary on Carnival Magic and loved both the ports and the ship. The Magic has a wonderful spa, with a thermal suite and thalassotherapy pool that is fantastic. The ship has a really good layout and did not feel crowded. Would sail her again and do the same itinerary in a heartbeat.

Edited by SRQbeachgirl

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On 2/12/2020 at 8:17 AM, ronbe65 said:

To visit Chichen Itza, you'll need to choose a ship that provides excursions there. The only way to go there is an excursion from the ship.

Happy cruising!


Wrong. Private excursions are available. 

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22 hours ago, Cruzaholic41 said:


Wrong. Private excursions are available. 

Why an excursion from the ship is the only way to go to Chichen Itza?

Because it's too far from the port, and you can miss the ship if you use local services.

 

Hapypy cruising!

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18 hours ago, ronbe65 said:

Why an excursion from the ship is the only way to go to Chichen Itza?

Because it's too far from the port, and you can miss the ship if you use local services.


You can miss the ship on ships excursions as well. But still doesn’t change the fact your info was false. Private tours do exist. 

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For your first cruise, I'd suggest you choose by itinerary and price. MSC has more tiers (levels) to the services they offer, Carnival caters to the "we just want to party" crowd. I would encourage you to check the message boards for each of the ships, and see what past travelers have to say about the pluses and minuses for each ship. 

And once you do make a decision -- stop looking at other options and instead spend time doing research on your selected cruise and the ports of call.

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2 hours ago, Cruzaholic41 said:


You can miss the ship on ships excursions as well. But still doesn’t change the fact your info was false. Private tours do exist. 

I have never said that private tours don't exist.

For sure you know what ellipsis means.

I said  "the only way" that means "do not do any Chichen Itza tours other than ships excursions if you don't want to be in trouble". 🙂

Will a cruise ship leave a port knowing that  their bus with 40 passengers  is stuck on the way?

Happy cruising!

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8 hours ago, ronbe65 said:

 

I said  "the only way" that means "do not do any Chichen Itza tours other than ships excursions if you don't want to be in trouble". 🙂

 

 

Private excursions are pretty much all I ever do, and that includes a trip to Chichen Itza a few years ago.  I ditched overcrowded ship excursions about a decade ago.  I've never been "in trouble" and have never missed the ship.  

 

Not sure what this has to do with Carnival vs MSC though.  Oh well. 

Edited by Aquahound

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On 2/16/2020 at 11:12 AM, Daytona_MAc said:

Carnival caters to the "we just want to party" crowd. 

 

That is such a false representation and is usually spread by those who have never sailed with Carnival (or haven't in a very long time). Yes, the 3 and 4 day sailings tend to draw the party crowd, but that's true of most of the mass market lines. I saw more partying on a short RCI cruise than I have ever seen on any Carnival cruise I've been on.

 

"Fun Ship" does not equal "falling-down-drunk ship." It just means that there are a lot of activities to keep passengers entertained, should they choose to participate. Otherwise, there are also plenty of quiet places to curl up with a good book or just watch the sea glide by.

 

To the OP, don't let the people who insist on denigrating a cruise line they have never sailed on (or have extremely limited experience with) scare you away. Carnival delivers a great experience and itineraries for the price.

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1 hour ago, SRQbeachgirl said:

 

That is such a false representation and is usually spread by those who have never sailed with Carnival (or haven't in a very long time). Yes, the 3 and 4 day sailings tend to draw the party crowd, but that's true of most of the mass market lines. I saw more partying on a short RCI cruise than I have ever seen on any Carnival cruise I've been on.

 

"Fun Ship" does not equal "falling-down-drunk ship." It just means that there are a lot of activities to keep passengers entertained, should they choose to participate. Otherwise, there are also plenty of quiet places to curl up with a good book or just watch the sea glide by.

 

To the OP, don't let the people who insist on denigrating a cruise line they have never sailed on (or have extremely limited experience with) scare you away. Carnival delivers a great experience and itineraries for the price.

 

I have to make a comment in support of this poster's opinion. 

 

My first Carnival Cruise was aboard Carnival Freedom, a 6 day Western Caribbean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale at Spring Break time.  My friends thought I had lost my mind booking that cruise at that time of the year.  It was a great cruise!  Were there many college age cruisers aboard?  Certainly.  The vibe was upbeat (as it always is on a Carnival Cruise with good music and entertainment).  What I experienced were many young people as well as many others in a wide range of ages enjoying their cruise.  I saw nothing inappropriate or that would have caused me to retreat to my veranda cabin (the first time I booked such a cabin as a solo cruiser--just in case).  I have seen more inappropriate behavior, no doubt alcohol fueled, from a few guests on ships of the Holland America Line.  

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I am adding my support too.

Carnival has different ships that deliver different products. It all depends on the ship and the itinerary. The short "cruise-and-booze" cruises on Carnival are not any worse than similar ones on RCI or NCL ships.

Select Carnival ships are really pleasant experience.

 

Happy cruising!

Edited by ronbe65

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My apologies to SRQbeachgirl and rkacruiser who seem to think that my comment  "Carnival caters to the "we just want to party" crowd" implies that everyone is a drunk. Chill out! If you follow the videos posted on YouTube one can see that Carnival passengers do like to party, and by that I mean they focus on the nightlife and dance clubs, the pool parties and activities on board, and where to go for this or that food on the ship. Do some of them drink? Yes. Drink too much? Perhaps. But you can find drunks on any cruise, if you look for them. What you might not find on another ship is a group of fun-loving people who came to play on board. THAT is Carnival's biggest draw, and that is what i would call a party crowd. And that is definitely one aspect of a cruise to consider when choosing a ship.

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19 hours ago, Daytona_MAc said:

My apologies to SRQbeachgirl and rkacruiser who seem to think that my comment  "Carnival caters to the "we just want to party" crowd" implies that everyone is a drunk. Chill out! If you follow the videos posted on YouTube one can see that Carnival passengers do like to party, and by that I mean they focus on the nightlife and dance clubs, the pool parties and activities on board, and where to go for this or that food on the ship. Do some of them drink? Yes. Drink too much? Perhaps. But you can find drunks on any cruise, if you look for them. What you might not find on another ship is a group of fun-loving people who came to play on board. THAT is Carnival's biggest draw, and that is what i would call a party crowd. And that is definitely one aspect of a cruise to consider when choosing a ship.

Thank you for your apology.  Unfortunately "party" has become synonymous with drinking so stating they cater to the "we just pant to party" crowd does imply a lot of drinking.

 

My husband and I definitely are not what you would consider partiers - drinking or otherwise.  We don't do pool parties or dance clubs, but we do enjoy the relaxed yet upbeat atmosphere on Carnival.  I haven't sailed MSC yet, but NCL and Royal also seem to focus on what you highlighted.  I suspect MSC also has guests who came to play and not only to be shipped to the ports.

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Every cruise is different because the guest mix is different.  My opinion:  the ship's Senior Management can also make a difference in the guest experience.  (Example:  Cruise XX:  the HD/Captain go on leave after many great guest experience cruises.)  Following cruise XX1:  a different HA/Captain embarks and the guest experience may--not always--but, can change simply because of the change of management. 

 

That is why it is very difficult to explain the difference between/among cruise line lines for those who have never cruised.  

 

My opinion:  because of the increased size of the cruise lines' fleets, consistency of cruise product delivered has been--and continues to be--an issue.

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On 2/18/2020 at 8:01 PM, Daytona_MAc said:

My apologies to SRQbeachgirl and rkacruiser who seem to think that my comment  "Carnival caters to the "we just want to party" crowd" implies that everyone is a drunk. Chill out! If you follow the videos posted on YouTube one can see that Carnival passengers do like to party, and by that I mean they focus on the nightlife and dance clubs, the pool parties and activities on board, and where to go for this or that food on the ship. Do some of them drink? Yes. Drink too much? Perhaps. But you can find drunks on any cruise, if you look for them. What you might not find on another ship is a group of fun-loving people who came to play on board. THAT is Carnival's biggest draw, and that is what i would call a party crowd. And that is definitely one aspect of a cruise to consider when choosing a ship.

 

Thank you for clarifying. The "party" label has been used so extensively to disparage Carnival that I would hate for new cruisers to miss out on what could be a great vacation option for them based on a misperception.

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On 2/19/2020 at 8:19 PM, rkacruiser said:

 

That is why it is very difficult to explain the difference between/among cruise line lines for those who have never cruised.  

 

 

 

IMO it will be much easier if we compare what matters: ships, not labels.

Carnival vs NCL? >>> What ships?

Climate of the Eastern Hemisphere vs Western? >>> What country?

First time cruisers often operate with the minimum of "definitions" they have in mind (cruise line names).

The way the question is asked  ("cruise line A vs cruise line B") is misleading from the first step.

Why not correct it right away?

But the answers keep coming: everything except... the ships 😨

 

What Carnival is yours?

 

Happy cruising!

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, ronbe65 said:

 

IMO it will be much easier if we compare what matters: ships, not labels.

 


I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. The OP did specify what ships they were considering. Meraviglia and Magic. 

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5 hours ago, Cruzaholic41 said:


I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. The OP did specify what ships they were considering. Meraviglia and Magic. 

Hi,

I have quoted your post. 🙂

 

Happy cruising!

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