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yankinuk

NCL Vs Carnival

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Like many new cruisers I thought I would pick you experienced sailors brains.

 

I have an NCL Breakaway 7 day leaving from Port Canaveral in Dec.  I am fortunate enough I recieve two 3 week breaks a year from my employer. I am considering booking a 4 day Carnival to the Bahamas from Port Canaveral the   week preceding the NCL cruise.  I would have one day in between cruises. I would like to compare and contrast the two lines. 

 

For those that have cruised both Lines  what is the major differences between them? If it helps my partner and I are a gay couple traveling with no children, and traveling outside school vacations.

 

Thanks all in advance !!  

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There really isn't much difference.   Norwegian just has no restaurant that has assigned dining time, Carni has 2 assigned dining times as well as anytime dining. 

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11 hours ago, Sauer-kraut said:

There really isn't much difference.   Norwegian just has no restaurant that has assigned dining time, Carni has 2 assigned dining times as well as anytime dining. 

I would agree with this. There will be a difference in the "feel" of a 4 day cruise and a 7 day cruise and it's probable that the CCL ship will be one of the older/smaller ones that will also affect the "feel" of the cruise. If either cruise line offered a kids sail free promotion the fact that you are sailing outside of school vacations will not matter, there will still be many kids on board. CCL does offer Any Time Dining which replicates NCL's Freestyle dining (in theory anyway, I've never tried it). NCL's entertainment choices will be much more robust. 

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Service and food will be much better on Carnival. Be careful with a 4 day cruise, on most lines they can end up be more of a party cruise.

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Target v Walmart

 

That is the best way to explain it.

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On 3/17/2019 at 10:47 AM, declansdad said:

Service and food will be much better on Carnival. Be careful with a 4 day cruise, on most lines they can end up be more of a party cruise.

 

I have to disagree here. Service and food is much better on NCL.

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Goes to show how food is subjective.  I think NCL has the worst food in the industry.  

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7 hours ago, zqvol said:

Target v Walmart

 

That is the best way to explain it.

That was a good analogy.  I actually was offered a good deal on the Carnival Dream departing from Galveston in Aug, it will be my first cruise.  I have a 7 day on the NCL Breakaway  in Dec so it will be interesting to compare the two.  Last Dec my partner and I went to WDW, I have been several times over the years.  Way too crowded, and the service has slipped, therefore its time to switch things up and try this cruising thing.

 

Thanks all for your inputs.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/18/2019 at 10:01 PM, yankinuk said:

That was a good analogy.  I actually was offered a good deal on the Carnival Dream departing from Galveston in Aug, it will be my first cruise.  I have a 7 day on the NCL Breakaway  in Dec so it will be interesting to compare the two.  Last Dec my partner and I went to WDW, I have been several times over the years.  Way too crowded, and the service has slipped, therefore its time to switch things up and try this cruising thing.

 

Thanks all for your inputs.

 

If you spend some time here you’ll find a lack of consensus on this. Many people strongly prefer one over the other.  Many instead feel the difference is related to details that are not particularly important to them. I haven’t sailed NCL because we’ve found slightly better dates and itineraries for our needs on Carnival and Royal, but from all I’ve read NCL would suit us just as well if /when the rest of the stars align. It seems to offer all the same general amenities we are looking for. We are in the target demographic. Speaking of demographics I don’t think being a gay couple has much bearing, if any, on this discussion. You’ll encounter the same man on the street general American people you would see anywhere else and likely feel no different than walking around your own neighborhood.

 

Even within the same cruise line, smaller older ships provide a somewhat different experience than larger newer ones. Again some like the old and some like the new.  Also depends on your room type and maybe location and how much $$ you plan to drop on extras.

 

Lastly you can always end up with a different vibe due to your own health and mindset as well as the potential for a single interaction with someone on the crew to delight you beyond your wildest expectations or, unfortunately, do the opposite and irritate you to high heaven.  People will say the crew/service is much better or happier on one ship or one line than another but this seems impossible to prove. 

Edited by KmomChicago

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My husband and I have taken three NCL cruises (7-day to Western Caribbean, 7-day to Alaska, and 3-day to Bahamas) and one Carnival cruise (3-day to Mexico). We'll be taking a 4-day to Mexico on Carnival in July.

 

We enjoyed both lines, and would do either again. We happen to be sailing Carnival again this next one just because it's easy for us to drive to Long Beach and a 4-day itinerary better suited our needs (we're pawning the kids off on Grandma and Grandpa and we didn't think a 7-day would work). 

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, yankinuk said:

I would like to thank you all for the advice.

 

Happy Cruising !  

 

Let us know what you thought of both afterwards!

Edited by KmomChicago

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I have been on a whole two cruises, one NCL, one Carnival.   Carnival's food is much better, my entire party of 10 (that travelled with me on both cruises) agrees.  However, first word that comes to mind with Carnivals' decor is......tacky.  NCL much more luxurious feel.    I'd rather have good food.

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1 hour ago, GeminiBy4 said:

I have been on a whole two cruises, one NCL, one Carnival.   Carnival's food is much better, my entire party of 10 (that travelled with me on both cruises) agrees.  However, first word that comes to mind with Carnivals' decor is......tacky.  NCL much more luxurious feel.    I'd rather have good food.

Very true, I don't find decor' to be very filling.

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We cruised Carnival a lot but have gone to RCCL and NCL for the last  4 or 5 years.  We have a trip booked on the Glory this year so it will be a chance to see what has changed on CCL.  Food can vary and no one agrees when it comes to taste or quality.  It is the luck of the draw.  I will say that NCL has had some of the best entertainment that we have had out of 18 cruises.  As others have stated, the 3 and 4 night cruises tend to be party, booze cruises.

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Based on my experience on particular ships (which may not be on all of the ships in a line):

Carnival -
Does not require reservations for shows.  
They have more frequent comedy shows.  Often, the same comedians have many different shows. Two comedians at the beginning of the cruise and then two new ones at the second half.
Food options outside of the buffet like Guy's Burgers and Mexican.  
Self service laundry facilities.
The outside entertainment is around the center of the ship.  The inside entertainment is either in the theater, comedy club, and (depending on the ship) the atrium area in the center.
They offer a "Faster to the Fun Option" for a fee under their excursions that basically allows you to go through a faster line, your room is ready as soon as you board, and a few other perks.
They have some fun dance parties in the pool area in the middle of the ship
The vibe is high energy

NCL - 
Some shows require reservations so definitely look into that before the cruise, even comedy shows
They have game shows inside in the center of the ship.  These can fill up quickly, so getting there early is usually a must if you don't want to stand because the area can get tight.
IMO, their theater shows are better.
No self service laundry, no food options near the pool area
They often have a special where you can get a free beverage package (or other freebies)
The general atmosphere is a bit calmer than Carnival
They have a neat area on one deck Spice H2O Grotto with a cave and waterfall
They also have a Vibe area if you care to try to score tickets
They have some fun dance parties on an outside deck at the end of the ship


 

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On ‎3‎/‎31‎/‎2019 at 5:30 PM, sparks1093 said:

Very true, I don't find decor' to be very filling.

 

Holy cow, I just saw in your sig that you'll be on Anthem soon! First RC and a Quantum class ship no less!  Let us know if the old man with his little emotional support dog Tommy is there.  Apparently he's been aboard for some time. 

 

Hope you love the ship.  We enjoy the Royal Promenade area and that's just the beginning. They do keep their boats in nice shape. Bon voyage, will look for your comments after.

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1 hour ago, KmomChicago said:

 

Holy cow, I just saw in your sig that you'll be on Anthem soon! First RC and a Quantum class ship no less!  Let us know if the old man with his little emotional support dog Tommy is there.  Apparently he's been aboard for some time. 

 

Hope you love the ship.  We enjoy the Royal Promenade area and that's just the beginning. They do keep their boats in nice shape. Bon voyage, will look for your comments after.

Thanks! We'll be keeping our eye out for the dog. I will be posting a review as I usually do. :)

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Posted (edited)
On 3/17/2019 at 9:47 AM, declansdad said:

Service and food will be much better on Carnival. Be careful with a 4 day cruise, on most lines they can end up be more of a party cruise.

Totally agree here.  The 7 day cruise will be less party.  And the Carnival cabins are larger than Ncl's are.  I have sailed both and have no complaints about the food or service on either one.  I cruised in May or Sept to Alaska to avoid the kids and the prices were cheaper.  When I went to Cozemel out of New Orleans for 5 days in Sept on Carnival it didn't seem to be all party passengers, but maybe I just got lucky.  Have a great cruise.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by dustyroad

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