Hi! I'm Ron, and I am a research-aholic! 🙂
The president's day sales on cruises have me researching a cruise for 2021, most likely February. So far I have narrowed it down to NCL and MSC. We have cruised NCL twice and loved the freestyle conecpt, but we also like to try new things.
We've been on NCL, Celebrity and Carnival (most recently Carnival Horizon in December 2018) and have never had a bad cruise. We tend go go into things with an open mind and try hard not to let things out of our control bother us.
So... As part of my research I have some questions, A couple are subjective and I would value your thoughts, and a couple are more based on my newness to MSC, and so far I haven't found the answers.
1. NCL or MSC? This is one of the subjective ones, but for those who have cruised both, what is similar, and what is different? Price-wise, the base fare on NCL is higher, but with the NCL sale and perks, and comparing similar options (drink package, dining package, etc.) the total price is within $100.
2. Fantastica Balcony or Aurea Balcony? Specifically, Fantastica with the All In promo or Aurea without (since the easy drink package is included with Aurea). I think access to the Thermal Spa and the massages would be nice to have, but not mandatory, but is priority boarding, more flexible dining and the Aurea sundeck (is that the right term) wirth the difference in price? If I add massages and internet into Fantastica, and take into account the $100 OBC for the All In package with Fantastica, the different works out to be about $450 for two. (Yacht Clus isn't an option based on price)
3. Bed location and tub vs. shower - Is there a way to tell which cabin has which? I think we would prefer the bed by the bath and have the seating area by the balcony, and the shower looks to be more managable.
4. I have seen mixed info on this. If we go with a dining package (likely three dinners), can we choose the restaurants? My wife doesn't eat seafood, so we would prefer not to eat at the seafood restaurant. If we don't shoose a package, are the specialty restaurants prix fix like other cruise lines or ala carte?
I think that's it for now 🙂 Thanks for hanging in to the end and thanks in advance for your responses!