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In general; how would you rate these cruise lines?

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I'm just wondering in GENERAL how others would rate the order of these cruise lines?

I've sailed on several and am planning a new cruise and just wondering what others think.

We're torn with which line to choose next!

Keeping in mind good food.

 

Here's how I think in general I might put them?  Based on experience on some and general reading reviews.

I have not sailed on all of these.

I'm not including much smaller ships/large yachts like Windstar, Ponant, Silver Spirit, Whisper, SeaDream , etc.

 

I'm referring to ocean cruises only (not river cruises)

And not considering 'best for kids' ; or 'best for money'; or 'best for couples', etc......

but overall sort of best

But I am considering food though

 

top:

Silversea

Crystal

Oceania   

Seabourn

 

high top:  ?

Regent?

Cunard?

 

med:  ?

Viking (ocean)

Royal Caribbean

Celebrity

Holland America

 

med/low: ?

Princess  ?

Norwegian  ?

 

low:

Carnival

 

thanks!

can't wait to hear what others think!

 

 

 

 

 

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This is how we rank the various mainstream lines on which we have sailed. (I haven't included lines that don't exist anymore.)

There are great, good and bad items with all lines.

 

Seabourn

Crystal

Azamara

Oceania   

Celebrity

Princess

Viking (ocean)

Cunard

Royal Caribbean

Holland America

MSC

Norwegian 

Carnival

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I would put Crystal, Silversea, Seabourn, and Regent in the top tier.  

 

In the second tier, I'd put Viking Ocean, Azamara, Cunard and Oceania.  

 

Third; Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, and Princess

 

Bottom; Carnival and NCL

 

But I'm basing that on typical views of cruise lines.  I'm not even sure official cruise line classifications exist anymore, such as luxury, premium, etc.  In my personal opinion, I'd rather cruise the lines in tiers 2 and 3 over the top tier lines.  

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Crystal Caribbean  ...food was  not that good  some dishes  were like they came from Masterchef Kids

who puts popcorn on  a shrimp appy  🙄

 

We prefer Oceania  ..it works for us 

 

Pick an itinerary & a price  that suits your budget

 

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Whatever any of us thought about those lines may well change as a result of this COVID-19 virus.  But taking that into some consideration we disagree with how you categorize some of these lines.   We would not put Oceania in your Top category but would consider it somewhere just above your medium.  When you talk about what I prefer to call the ultra-luxury lines I would include Seabourn, Silverseas, Crystal, and Regent.  Oceania does not fit into that same category because their "R" class ships don't fit the bill, their pricing is not all-inclusive, and even "O" would not consider themselves ultra-luxury.  

 

Below that ultra luxury category I would have another category (perhaps near luxury) where I would put Oceania and Viking.  The new MSC off shoot (not sure what they will call it) for which they are building 4 small ships would likely also end up in this category.

 

Cunard and HAL, in our opinion, are nothing more then mass market lines.  Within that large category of mass market there is something for most tastes.  Also keep in mind that several mass market lines (i.e. NCL, Cunard, MSC, Celebrity, etc) are now offering various models of a "ship within a ship" class.  On Cunard the so-called Grill Suites are a higher end product with its own deck, service, and dining venue.  On MSC, their Yacht Club is a far better product then anything outside the YC.  and NCL has their Haven Suites which also have their own deck and dedicated dining venue.  And these distinctions are important.  For example, DW and I love the MSC Yacht Club but would not even consider crusing in other categories on MSC.  

 

There is no way I would call Princess "Medium Low."  In fact, based on some of our more recent cruises I would rate Princess above HAL.  As to Celebrity, this line has been working hard at downgrading their overall product and, unfortunately, have succeeded in many categories.  At one time we thought that Celebrity had the best food of all the mass market lines.  Now, we have had better food on MSC (in the Yacht Club) and sometimes even Princess beats Celebrity food.   

 

I will no longer comment on Royal Caribbean since we now avoid that line like the plague.  Given that it used to be our favorite cruise line (our DD was Diamond by age 14) this is a big change (for us).  What happened was that we grew up and RCI changed their product in a big way.  Thirty years ago they stressed service (white glove and silver serving bowls in the MDR) and quality.  Now, they emphasize the "mass" in mass marketing and really work at being a line for the whole family.  We salute the success of their model/business plan, but it is not for us.

 

Hank 

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I would rate:

Crystal and Oceania  —— Superior

Azamera and Cunard —- Upper Mid-level

Holland America, Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean. —- Mass Market

Carnival — Cut Rate

Cape May and Staten Island ferries - spacing

NCL - Yuck

 

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3 hours ago, neverbeenhere said:

This is how we rank the various mainstream lines on which we have sailed. (I haven't included lines that don't exist anymore.)

There are great, good and bad items with all lines.

 

Seabourn

Crystal

Azamara

Oceania   

Celebrity

Princess

Viking (ocean)

Cunard

Royal Caribbean

Holland America

MSC

Norwegian 

Carnival

Where is the Land of Bad Comedy ? I wrote comedy in the 80’s and all my rejections stated BAD ?

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4 hours ago, cool cruiser 14107 said:

I'm just wondering in GENERAL how others would rate the order of these cruise lines?

I've sailed on several and am planning a new cruise and just wondering what others think.

We're torn with which line to choose next!

Keeping in mind good food.

 

Here's how I think in general I might put them?  Based on experience on some and general reading reviews.

I have not sailed on all of these.

I'm not including much smaller ships/large yachts like Windstar, Ponant, Silver Spirit, Whisper, SeaDream , etc.

 

I'm referring to ocean cruises only (not river cruises)

And not considering 'best for kids' ; or 'best for money'; or 'best for couples', etc......

but overall sort of best

But I am considering food though

 

top:

Silversea

Crystal

Oceania   

Seabourn

 

high top:  ?

Regent?

Cunard?

 

med:  ?

Viking (ocean)

Royal Caribbean

Celebrity

Holland America

 

med/low: ?

Princess  ?

Norwegian  ?

 

low:

Carnival

 

thanks!

can't wait to hear what others think!

 

 

 

 

 

Great: Cunard,Celebrity

Very good :HAL,RCI

Fair: NCI

Worse than terrible: Carnival

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Posted (edited)

We have had excellent cruises on some of the cruise lines.  Our two cruises on Carnival were as good as our cruises on HAL, Celebrity, Princess, and RCI in terms of food, service, condition of ship.

 

We find that there is a much larger difference between ships within the same fleet, the itinerary, the length of the cruise, and the time of the cruise.   There are some ships on each of these cruise lines that we would not consider.   Not to mention the demographics on the cruise and the  on board management/staff on the specific cruise  We had two very different experiences on the same ship just as we have on different ships in the same cruise line.

 

For us, the logo on the funnel is only an indication as to what we should expect.  Those expectations can be surpassed or they can be underachieved on any of the mass market lines.  Despite what the cruise line loyalists will chirp out.

Edited by iancal

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6 hours ago, cool cruiser 14107 said:

I'm not including much smaller ships/large yachts like Windstar, Ponant, Silver Spirit, Whisper, SeaDream , etc.

 

Please note that the Silver Spirit is the largest ship in Silversea's fleet.

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This is how we rank the various mainstream lines on which we have sailed. (I haven't included lines that don't exist anymore.)
There are great, good and bad items with all lines.
 
Seabourn
Crystal
Azamara
Oceania   
Celebrity
Princess
Viking (ocean)
Cunard
Royal Caribbean
Holland America
MSC
Norwegian 
Carnival
I love your ranking !
you have placed Celebrity above Viking ocean and Cunard

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This is my ranking

 

*Ultra luxury*

Silversea

Crystal

Oceania   

Seabourn

Regent Seven Seas

 

*Luxury*

Azamara

Cunard

Viking ocean

 

*Premium Value*

Celebrity

Princess

Holland America

 

*Value*

Royal Caribbean

Norwegian

MSC

P&O UK and Australia

Carnival

 

*Cheap*

Costa

 

 

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A large online US travel agent has also given the cruise lines star rankings, according to their class.
eg) Celebrity, Princess are considered 5*
MSC is 4*
Royal Caribbean 4.5*
Costa 3*

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We had a similar experience as Iancal on our 3 Carnival cruises (it has been a few years).  All 3 were quite fine, the Lido buffets were actually better then on some HAL/Princess cruises and we did have a lot of fun.  I doubt if we would go on Carnival these days (we are in our 70s) but we have nothing but respect for the line.   On more then one occasion, while chatting with other cruisers they will tell us something like "we would never cruise on Carnival."  My response is always, "when did you cruise on Carnival and which ship?"  The answer is always the same, "we would never cruise on Carnival."  Bottom line is that many folks will knock cruise lines when they have never been on that line because "they just know they are bad."   The new thing is that folks will tell you that they would never cruise on MSC.  We have been on MSC for 2 cruises (21 day and 14 day) and they were among the best cruises we have ever had....on any line (and we have been on 15 lines).  Why?  Because when we go on MSC we always cruise in their Yacht Club.  Until recently the YC was the best value in all of cruising!  But now, they are implementing price increases which make the value somewhat questionable.  It was the same on NCL when, at one time, their Haven Suites were the best value in the cruise world.  But then they increased prices which make us question the "value."

 

Keep in mind that we have cruised on Seabourn for as little as $400 per passenger/day.  That is actually a lot less then comparable accommodations on some mass market lines (such as Celebrity).  And on Seabourn I could sit at the bar sipping my French Champagne and enjoying my decent caviar (no extra charge).  And on Seabourn I could walk into the evening main show at the last minute and have no problem getting a seat.

 

Many cruisers get hung-up on this "loyalty" thing where they seem to adopt one particular cruise line.  Nothing wrong with that except it limits one's ability to experience other lines/options which may be superior.  

 

Hank

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Hank, you are very fortunate to have cruised on 15 different cruise lines, including the luxury and ultra luxury ones.
Variety is the spice of life !

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14 hours ago, Hlitner said:

...

 

Many cruisers get hung-up on this "loyalty" thing where they seem to adopt one particular cruise line.  Nothing wrong with that except it limits one's ability to experience other lines/options which may be superior.  

 

Hank

Agreed.

 

“Loyalty” in picking a cruise only makes sense to me after many other considerations (in roughly this descending order of importance):  does it sail where I want to go, does it sail when I want to go, do I like the service/entertainment/food  I anticipate receiving, does the price seem right?

 

(And while price is always a consideration, there is no point in doing something you do not really want to do just because it is cheap - and whatever price concessions you might get from “loyalty” are unlikely to be large enough to change  that order of importance.)

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2 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

Agreed.

 

“Loyalty” in picking a cruise only makes sense to me after many other considerations (in roughly this descending order of importance):  does it sail where I want to go, does it sail when I want to go, do I like the service/entertainment/food  I anticipate receiving, does the price seem right?

 

(And while price is always a consideration, there is no point in doing something you do not really want to do just because it is cheap - and whatever price concessions you might get from “loyalty” are unlikely to be large enough to change  that order of importance.)

When we were on the Soujourn we got into a cocktail conversation with a few other cruisers about "value."  This started when one of the group jokingly criticized DW and me because we routinely cruise on HAL and Princess (among others).  Some might say they were reflecting a degree of Seabourn snobbishness and that was partially true.  I explained to them that we look for "value" which is a completely different concept then looking for "cheap."  Actually that particular Seabourn cruise was a terrific value.  In fact one could argue that several of the ultra-luxury lines are a terrific value because they deliver a lot for one's money.  We look for a few different things on cruises.  Good food is always a plus as is great service.  I also like being able to get a deck chair whenever I please and not be sitting up against another lounger.  And not waiting in queues is also worth more money....IMHO.  And being on a ship with no photographers is a big plus as is a ship where there are no more then one announcement per day!  We are not the first to note that the more expensive the cruise line the fewer the announcements.  In a sense one has to pay more money for peace and quiet!

 

Hank

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On 6/5/2020 at 12:36 PM, iancal said:

We have had excellent cruises on some of the cruise lines.  Our two cruises on Carnival were as good as our cruises on HAL, Celebrity, Princess, and RCI in terms of food, service, condition of ship.

 

We find that there is a much larger difference between ships within the same fleet, the itinerary, the length of the cruise, and the time of the cruise.   There are some ships on each of these cruise lines that we would not consider.   Not to mention the demographics on the cruise and the  on board management/staff on the specific cruise  We had two very different experiences on the same ship just as we have on different ships in the same cruise line.

 

For us, the logo on the funnel is only an indication as to what we should expect.  Those expectations can be surpassed or they can be underachieved on any of the mass market lines.  Despite what the cruise line loyalists will chirp out.

 

"We find that there is a much larger difference between ships within the same fleet"

 

So very true.  And it is fluid because older cruise ships get updated and staffing changes can change the whole atmosphere on board.   

 

Gee, this is the second time I've agree with you.  I must be part of your fan club this morning!  Haha.  

 

 

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great feedback!

 

I'm torn; for Dec/Jan:

 

We're thinking of an Australia/New Zealand cruise

 

whether to go with:

Viking; Princess; Cunard, RCL

 

keep in mind the things we care about the most:

good food

clean well kept ship

 

what do people think?

 

thanks!

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17 hours ago, Hlitner said:

We had a similar experience as Iancal on our 3 Carnival cruises (it has been a few years).  All 3 were quite fine, the Lido buffets were actually better then on some HAL/Princess cruises and we did have a lot of fun.  I doubt if we would go on Carnival these days (we are in our 70s) but we have nothing but respect for the line.   On more then one occasion, while chatting with other cruisers they will tell us something like "we would never cruise on Carnival."  My response is always, "when did you cruise on Carnival and which ship?"  The answer is always the same, "we would never cruise on Carnival."  Bottom line is that many folks will knock cruise lines when they have never been on that line because "they just know they are bad."   The new thing is that folks will tell you that they would never cruise on MSC.  We have been on MSC for 2 cruises (21 day and 14 day) and they were among the best cruises we have ever had....on any line (and we have been on 15 lines).  Why?  Because when we go on MSC we always cruise in their Yacht Club.  Until recently the YC was the best value in all of cruising!  But now, they are implementing price increases which make the value somewhat questionable.  It was the same on NCL when, at one time, their Haven Suites were the best value in the cruise world.  But then they increased prices which make us question the "value."

 

Keep in mind that we have cruised on Seabourn for as little as $400 per passenger/day.  That is actually a lot less then comparable accommodations on some mass market lines (such as Celebrity).  And on Seabourn I could sit at the bar sipping my French Champagne and enjoying my decent caviar (no extra charge).  And on Seabourn I could walk into the evening main show at the last minute and have no problem getting a seat.

 

Many cruisers get hung-up on this "loyalty" thing where they seem to adopt one particular cruise line.  Nothing wrong with that except it limits one's ability to experience other lines/options which may be superior.  

 

Hank

 

Terrific post.  Thanks!  

 

It is like food.  Why try it if I don't like it.  Haha.   

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We have yet to do the luxury cruises, but we have done about 70 cruises and for last ten years cruised in suites , so here are my favorite midrange lines for suites 

Celebrity- best suite restaurant and lounge but mediocre entertainment 

MSC yacht club- super bargain for the price with decent entertainment and the best suite lounge 

RCCL- nice suites, great entertainment, a few too many children, mediocre suite restaurant and lounge.

Hal - nice suites , ok entertainment, almost no real perks .

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1 hour ago, cool cruiser 14107 said:

keep in mind the things we care about the most:

good food

clean well kept ship

 

what do people think?

 

thanks!

You will need to compromise on some items on your list 😉

Then again it depends  what you consider "good food"

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, cool cruiser 14107 said:

great feedback!

 

I'm torn; for Dec/Jan:

 

We're thinking of an Australia/New Zealand cruise

 

whether to go with:

Viking; Princess; Cunard, RCL

 

keep in mind the things we care about the most:

good food

clean well kept ship

 

what do people think?

 

thanks!

I think Viking would be a clear step above the others re: good food and clean well kept ship, Cunard would be next, then Princess then RCL..

Edited by navybankerteacher

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Anyone who does a modicum of research and, if new to cruising, consults some knowledgeable TA's, will develop a feel for what each cruise line offers. There is a tendency, well, more than a tendency, for some to recruit for their own personal favorite line while disparaging other lines.

 

My favorite example is about two couples we know who have different favorite lines. One couple (call them A) always books a suite on Princess, the other couple (call them B) favors one of the luxury lines. A persuaded B to try the luxury line. B came along with A on the luxury line, but was determined from the onset to complain about everything and to promote their Princess experience above all. No way the luxury line could match their Princess suite!

 

We have our favorite line. Doesn't matter which one. Totally don't care whether others like it or not. But we also don't disparage the lines that others choose.

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5 minutes ago, All That Jazz said:

We have our favorite line. Doesn't matter which one. Totally don't care whether others like it or not. But we also don't disparage the lines that others choose.

I agree

 What works for  one person may not work for others

 

  You could probably ask 100 people getting off the same ship same sailing & you will get  100 different  opinions

 

If people ask about our favourite line I give them the details  &  let them decide for themselves whether to try it or not

 

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