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boykin

Anyone tried Norwegian ?

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We prefer Celebrity and Princess overall, but sailed NCL twice in Europe. It worked really well for those itineraries, they were port intensive and we appreciated the more casual vibe and absence of a dress code in most venues. Food in the MDRs seemed a cut below, but we loved the variety of specialty restaurants and just considered that a necessary expense. Staff was very friendly and efficient, ships were clean and well kept and brightly decorated . We wouldn't hesitate to sail NCL again if they have the itinerary we want.

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28 sailings on =X= (~350 days), 18 sailings on NCL (~200 days).  Pretty good basis for comparison.

Yes, there are differences.  Food is a tick better on Celebrity as many have said, entertainment overall better on NCL. Service I find a wash between the 2.  Loyalty programs consider a wash as well.  Suite amenities a bit better on Celebrity but not a huge determining factor.  Prices so absurd on both that it matters not to us.  Neither is worth anywhere near $1000 per day (and in some cases, $2000 per day.  Insane).  Specialty restaurants overall maybe a bit better on Celebrity but at a big price difference. 

 

Will continue to sail both without a problem.  Somehow I think people's perceptions are so colored by what they expect that it affects their entire analysis.

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We sailed with both.

First of all for port intensive itineraries in Europe company is less important. We did similar last year on NCL Star and loved it.

NCL offers great entertainment in theater and nice in lounges.

It also has variety of additional restaurants (for fee and free)

It does not have assigned seating restaurant. Only freestyle (Select on Celebrity)

However Celebrity is a premium massmarket and is more refined. In Caribbeans crowd is also more ... sophisticated(?), but in Europe pax is pretty much the same we felt.

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Sailed on NCL last year, and we are going on our first Celebrity cruise over Thanksgiving, after cancelling out a Thanksgiving trip on NCL.  While there are a lot of things to like on NCL, there are a number of significant drawbacks.  We stayed in the Haven, and loved that, but the rest of the ship was very crowded and somewhat out of control, especially on sea days.  Most of the NCL ships are much higher capacity, and at the time, they were really pushing the drink packages, and it showed.  One of the reasons we went on NCL was because of all of the activities on board (slides, ropes course, etc.), but they were closed a big chunk of the time.  The specialty restaurants were kind of hit and miss, although the Haven was quite good, if a little limiting.  I think if you are staying in the Haven it would be great, because they have really got the "ship within a ship" concept down, but on most of the public places in the ship, it feels very crowded.

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I'm almost afraid to post in this thread given it's in a Celebrity forum.  But, I have sailed both.

 

Will say up front, I like NCL....a lot!  I've sailed many of the newer RCCL ships (Anthem, Allure, Harmony, etc).  I've sailed a HAL ship,  a few Carnival and even a couple MSC (Yacht Clubs).  So, Quite a varied cruise history.

 

I sailed one Celebrity (Solstice) and never looked at another.  Maybe because I like a livelier cruise experience, but felt underwhelmed.  Maybe my expectations were a little too high.  But, I really don't remember any of the food being standout.  I don't recall much of the entertainment other than the glass blowing exhibits and playing bocce every day in the grassy area (which I did enjoy as I spent hours there every day).  Ship was pretty.  Service was hit and miss.  

 

I've sailed NCL quite a bit (Latitudes Platinum) because I truly like the service and Freestyle (something that seems foreign to Celebrity) way of cruising.  I like going from restaurant to restaurant and being seated whenever I wanted (when they were open).  MDR food is quite good.  Garden Cafe (their buffet) is what it is and no better or worse than any other buffet on any other cruise line.

 

Entertainment on NCL (at least the "Away" and "Away Plus" ships) has been some of the best I've seen at sea.

 

Are their differences?  Sure!  NCL is moving towards the "all inclusive" type of cruise, offering perks like the drinks package, specialty dining package, etc as part of the cruise.  You can take them and choose your own cabin type and location for a fare that's higher than their "Sailaway" fare, which has no perks associated and NCL chooses your cabin for you.  I choose the former over the latter as I like to have cocktails and enjoy a good meal.

 

Celebrity seems to be more traditional.  If you like dressing up for dinner and having set dining times, NCL isn't set up for that.  You'll do better with Celebrity.

 

I have to be in a certain "mood" to book Carnival.  I'm not a snob, but Carnival has a different vibe that makes me feel....oh...I dunno....not a member of that sort of crowd, I guess? 

 

Doubt I'll ever book another HAL cruise (in bed by 10 p.m. every night as I could not find anything interesting after that).

 

I guess it depends on what you want. If you want structure, go Celebrity.  If you want to just do what you want, when you want, without worrying about packing a suit or a gown, NCL might be the ticket.

 

I've never had a truly bad time on a cruise.  There are no bad choices, just preferences in how you want to cruise.

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3 minutes ago, graphicguy said:

I have to be in a certain "mood" to book Carnival.  I'm not a snob, but Carnival has a different vibe that makes me feel....oh...I dunno....not a member of that sort of crowd, I guess?

 

Are you my long lost relative? 🙂

You put it better than me.

 

Anyway. I sailed on Breakaway and smaller NCL ships and actually I prefer smaller ... including entertainment which you don't need to book, but is more various than set entertainment like on AWAY ships. Smaller ships Dawn and Jewel class (90K tons) are much easier to navigate and lounge entertainment is amazing.

 

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On 8/11/2019 at 7:42 PM, BettyCruiser said:

 The ship excursions were no kidding twice the same offered on Celebrity and Princess so, that limits where I will cruise them, we often take ship tours when going to new locations. The aft elevators were horrible on the Bliss.

 

we like NCL but not sure I'd cruise them in Europe due to their high excursion prices.

 

 I rarely use ship excursions, but did notice this.

 I believe this is due to the fact that $50 per cabin per port is offered with "Free at sea".

 Same with drink package ... at $99pp (and you must buy it for each adult in cabin) which does not include coffee and water it is too high, but only because it is offered for "free" with "Free at sea".

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On 8/11/2019 at 10:58 AM, dkjretired said:

Food much better on Celebrity, entertainment much better on NCL... As much as people complain about Nickel and Diming on Celebrity, doesn't compare to NCL> 

 

Celebrity has one big advantage over NCl and I speak from experience and that is their smoking policies.   NCL in some areas felt like you were in a chimney...

 

Smoking was a big one for me and it's one of the main reasons I have yet to go back to NCL, I want to but I keep thinking about how smoky I found it on my last NCL sailing on the Epic.  Add in the difference in service and Celebrity continues to call me back.  I will say that it's been 5 years since I was on NCL so service could have changed but I don't think the smoke has.

 

OH OH OH ... and the lack of announcements all day long on Celebrity  ANYWHERE cabin included.  My recall is this was constant on NCL and even in your stateroom so you can't escape it (someone will correct me if my memory is wrong or if this has changed.)

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On 8/11/2019 at 9:27 AM, boykin said:

We recently sailed Equinox and loved it so we are now planning a Greek/ med cruise for June 2020 with our kids n their 20s. Itinerary is important and noticed Norwegian getaway offers, Greece, Croatia and Italy . We prefer Celebrity but wanted to get thoughts from those who may have sailed both. 

We have done 11 Celebrity, 7 NCL and 2 on Royal.

We prefer Celebrity, Royal and NCL in that order.

I still like to compare cruises, since price is important as well as itinerary.

Royal and NCL have better entertainment than Celebrity, but service and dining is best on Celebrity.

NCL does tend to have a younger age average on their cruises.

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2 hours ago, poffles said:

 

Smoking was a big one for me and it's one of the main reasons I have yet to go back to NCL, I want to but I keep thinking about how smoky I found it on my last NCL sailing on the Epic.  Add in the difference in service and Celebrity continues to call me back.  I will say that it's been 5 years since I was on NCL so service could have changed but I don't think the smoke has.

 

OH OH OH ... and the lack of announcements all day long on Celebrity  ANYWHERE cabin included.  My recall is this was constant on NCL and even in your stateroom so you can't escape it (someone will correct me if my memory is wrong or if this has changed.)

Don't recall many announcements on NCL.  I know there are some that come through outside your state room.  But, the only announcements that come through your stateroom are the announcements for muster drill and a ship emergency.

 

I was on the "listing" NCL Escape cruise early this year and the announcements about what was happening came through into the cabin.  Of course, I had already been thrown out of bed by the time the announcement came on, so I kinda already knew something was wrong. 😉

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We have sailed with NCL a few times and have no real complaints.  
 

We typically love Celebrity, but are going with NCL again for our Caribbean cruise next spring.   We looked at sailing on the Edge, but we like a real balcony...something the Edge has very few of. I am starting to feel like Celebrity is no longer a brand for me.  There are too many things that Celebrity has changed and added the last few years that have no interest to me.  We feel that the food and entertainment has gone downhill on our last few cruises on Celebrity...especially on our cruise this past March on the Equinox.   Service was the only thing that still exceled.    We have never been disappointed in food or entertainment on our NCL cruises.    Service on NCL is very good... however, I do think X is a little better.      NCL seems to have a lot more fun things happening on sea days.    Celebrity is very laid back on sea days, almost boring at times.  

 

I am sure I will go on another cruise someday on Celebrity, but for now, NCL is just a better fit for us.  

 

  

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On 8/12/2019 at 9:06 AM, kelmac said:

It might be that MSC's Yacht Club is pulling over ex-Haven passengers.  The YC is a wonderful deal compared to the Haven.

 

Yeah, but the Yacht Club is mostly sold out almost a year in advanced cause it's so popular.

 

As for NCL vs Celebrity, I think it depends on the ship you're going on. I tend to like Celebrity better, but I think with younger kids, you'll find more things to do on NCL.

 

Also, with the extra gratuities you have to pay on the drink and dinner packages. If you price it out with Celebrity, they come up to almost the same price. It's only a deal if you pay for the Sale Away rate. The newer ships also feels a bit more crowded, especially in the hallways to the stateroom. In the evening, the 6-7-8 and atrium area can also get very crowded. Entertainment and food is pretty good though, but everyone has a different opinion on food.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/13/2019 at 1:10 PM, poffles said:

 

Smoking was a big one for me and it's one of the main reasons I have yet to go back to NCL, I want to but I keep thinking about how smoky I found it on my last NCL sailing on the Epic.  Add in the difference in service and Celebrity continues to call me back.  I will say that it's been 5 years since I was on NCL so service could have changed but I don't think the smoke has.

 

OH OH OH ... and the lack of announcements all day long on Celebrity  ANYWHERE cabin included.  My recall is this was constant on NCL and even in your stateroom so you can't escape it (someone will correct me if my memory is wrong or if this has changed.)

 

The Bliss and the upcoming Encore both now have totally enclosed rooms for smoking in the casino. The rest of the casino is entirely smoke free. While the area near the door to the smoking room had a cigarette odor there was no longer actual smoke wafting from the casino into the rest the ship. A big improvement.  There is also a dedicated totally enclosed cigar lounge from which there is no odor at all nearby. I find this preferable to the occasional cigar smoke we encountered from the smoking side of the outdoor Sunset Bar on Celebrity. That being said, I love the entirely smoke free casino on Celebrity. We enjoy both Celebrity and certain of the NCL ships. 

 

Mary Ann

Edited by UFMOM

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On 8/13/2019 at 1:10 PM, poffles said:

 

OH OH OH ... and the lack of announcements all day long on Celebrity  ANYWHERE cabin included.  My recall is this was constant on NCL and even in your stateroom so you can't escape it (someone will correct me if my memory is wrong or if this has changed.)

 

We went on a 15 day TA to Barcelona on the NCL Epic, and except for muster, I don't recall any CD announcements made in our cabin.  I do tend to tune that nonsense out, but I believe NCL had way less CD interruptions than on Carnival, whose CD's go on and on interminably shilling junk products and events.

 

I do recall Capt Kate giving twice daily updates after a serious bus accident involving Summit pax in Tortola.  We were all appreciative of her efforts as these were of concern to everyone on board.

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I sailed 3 x cruises. 2 Caribbean, 1 Alaska all in AQ. Last summer I did an NCL cruise with friends who always sail NCL. Itinerary was changed by NCL, months before.  Strike 1. The food was awful. The entertainment was good, better than X. Service wasn’t as friendly. Friends were in a Haven Suite. It was beautiful and they had great service. We were able to join them for one dinner in their special restaurant.  Much better food than MDR. We also tagged along when leaving ship for excursions.their butler took us down in private elevator.  The pool was awful. Only a few chairs right near the pool. Ppl put their stuff out at 7am, crew didn’t enforce any rules.  A few other things I didn’t like. We are back to X next month. 

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On 8/11/2019 at 6:58 AM, dkjretired said:

Food much better on Celebrity, entertainment much better on NCL... As much as people complain about Nickel and Diming on Celebrity, doesn't compare to NCL> 

 

Celebrity has one big advantage over NCl and I speak from experience and that is their smoking policies.   NCL in some areas felt like you were in a chimney...

I agree 100 percent with both of your observations. The smoke on NCL was horrible. 

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On 8/11/2019 at 10:43 AM, mafig said:

 

Were you in a suite?  

We cruised NCL several years ago, mini suites and then full suites.  However, with the larger ships and the Haven, the prices are higher than we care to spend, and I don't want to take the chance on the bidding process.

I've often wondered, however, if we could cruise these newer ships in a balcony.  As I get older I find I can't stand crowds and I get the feeling that these ships are very crowded.  

However, I have read your posts and respect your opinion.  If you weren't in a suite, I'll give them another look.🙂

 

Ooopsie, just re-read your post and see that you were NOT in a suite.  Maybe I'll give them another look.

We were on the getaway last June. It was insanely crowded. Close to 4K guests. After only cruising X, I could see the difference in the amount of people.   Our balcony room was next door to my friends haven suite room. Our balcony was large, hers was massive.  They paid triple what we paid.

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Posted (edited)

I was invited on an introduction cruise of NCL Escape (sister ship).

The interieur design was very nice. The exclusive Haven area is top notch. I liked the ship and that it was modern in a way reminding me of S class.

 

However, I would never book a cruise on her and here´s why:

- Top Deck:

  The back is dominated by the huge activity areas (rope course etc.), Margaritaville and loud music.

  The front is close of to Haven guests which leaves the middle for regular passengers and it felt like sardines in a can.

- Interieur:
  Nicely designed, but I missed open space and quiet areas like I am used to on Celebrity

- General feeling:

  NCL was more focused on party and vibe. Most of the bars are along one promenade so you can hop from one to the other.

  It´s advertised with “Three thrilling decks of non-stop action”. Nice for the ones who want that... not so nice for others.

For me there was just too much going on, too much noise, too much party etc. 
NCL can be more compared to Royal, maybe MSC or Carnival - targeted towards families who want action. 
To me personally it felt crowded everywhere - although I was able to use the Haven area usually off-limits to non Haven guest. 

To have a Celebrity feeling you would have to book a Haven stateroom. Just to be able to escape from the crowds. I would not do that because I don´t like "fenced off" areas to the extend of Haven. I also ask myself (same with Yacht Club on MSC): why would I want to book a closed off area to have the same feeling that I can have on the entire ship with Celebrity or comparable cruise lines (like Princess, HAL etc.).

Here´s what I wrote about Escape on our website: 
http://www.travelandcruise.net/travellove_en/Ships/NCL-Escape/ncl-escape.html

Edited by Miaminice

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We did Norwegian and Celebrity for Alaska and Norwegian was terrible! Their cruise director was loud and always hawking things to buy and on the PA all hours. I hated it. Never again.

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2 hours ago, jlatels said:

We did Norwegian and Celebrity for Alaska and Norwegian was terrible! Their cruise director was loud and always hawking things to buy and on the PA all hours. I hated it. Never again.

 

This was my memory too, as I posted prior but others have chimed in to say they did not experience this so I began to wonder if my recall was wrong or I was crazy (maybe both) or if instead it has changed since I sailed them.  Hmmmm

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Posted (edited)

There is a lot of action on NCL.  We were on the Getaway last June.  There was a ropes course, water slide and maybe something else?  I didn't partake in any of those.  

 

The package we got came with 3 specialty restaurants.  We had to pay additional 39.00( IIRC) on top of that to eat at Ocean Blue, which IMHO was not worth it.  The food was mediocre.   We also paid additional $$ for the Cirque Dinner show.  That food was good.  The show was really good, we were right up front and I could reach out and touch a performer if I so desired( I'd never do that. LOL).   

 

It was interesting to see the differences between Haven guests and the regular folks.  Example:  The buffet for regular folks had no berries.  No strawberries, blueberries or raspberries.  The Haven guests got the berries.  The melon for regular guests was left in wedges with the rind.  Haven guests received nice cubes of melon.  Our friends took us into the Haven for the breakfast before debarkation.  We also went to a dinner with them and my friends paid whatever the up charge was.  I think it was 70 bucks for my spouse and myself.  

 

The price difference between our regular large balcony room and my friends Haven suite was over 6k.  Not worth it IMHO. 

 

Another thing I ABSOLUTELY hated was that NCL held all of the fun Games( trivia, newlywed, etc) in the Atrium.  There is not enough seating there and the majority of the time it was standing room only.  They could hold these activities in the Theater, but they don't.   I placed my purse in the seat in front of me to save it for my friends who were on the way and a woman got in my face and starting yelling at me that I can't save the seat.  My friend was walking towards me when I saved it. 

 

 

 

Edited by calicakes
more info

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49 minutes ago, poffles said:

 

This was my memory too, as I posted prior but others have chimed in to say they did not experience this so I began to wonder if my recall was wrong or I was crazy (maybe both) or if instead it has changed since I sailed them.  Hmmmm

You're not alone! I have PTSD every time I hear the name Simon.

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Posted (edited)

I have sailed NCL...I like the vibe of their ships.  Good entertainment....I find them to be well kept.  Good specialty restaurants, etc.   The Escape is my favorite of their "away" class of ship.  

Edited by PTC DAWG

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7 minutes ago, calicakes said:

Another thing I ABSOLUTELY hated was that NCL held all of the fun Games( trivia, newlywed, etc) in the Atrium.  There is not enough seating there and the majority of the time it was standing room only.  They could hold these activities in the Theater, but they don't.   I placed my purse in the seat in front of me to save it for my friends who were on the way and a woman got in my face and starting yelling at me that I can't save the seat.  My friend was walking towards me when I saved it. 

 

 

 

Same thing on my last NCL cruise.  But at least they offer those, even if they seem low-brow.  You can easily avoid them if you don't like them.  That was something I found lacking on our Alaska cruise on Celebrity - although they held silent disco essentially in the atrium, not much different.  A goofy newlywed game or glass blowing...  hmmm.  I just took the NCL Escape to Bermuda.  So many choices, and plenty of quiet time opportunities.

 

I have enjoyed my NCL cruises (best by far for entertainment), I have enjoyed my Royal cruises, I have even enjoyed my Carnival cruises.  I choose on intinerary and price.  I have done a couple of long weekend trips on Carnival, and the people watching is the best by far.  Bachelorette parties galore.  Don't judge, just enjoy.  

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