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cool cruiser 14107

In general; how would you rate these cruise lines?

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Posted (edited)

We've been lucky enough to have made over 40 cruises across 18 different lines, with Berlitz star ratings from 2 to 4+ (some of these are no longer sailing), and for us, we also consider the combination of both itinerary and ship.  For example, our California to Hawaii and back trip had eight sea days, so the ship itself and its facilities were important, and we chose Cunard for this one.  On the other hand, for a Mediterranean cruise with a different port almost every day, the ship is a lot less important, so itinerary would be the main factor and we've been happy with ships rated towards the lower end of the scale.

 

Like LHT above, if we are asked about a line, we describe it as best we can and pick out certain key features which we think our friends may not be happy with e.g. if they don't like formal, avoid Cunard, if they want a quiet trip round the Med, avoid MSC in summer, and so on.

 

Edited by Sekhmet

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On 6/6/2020 at 7:08 PM, 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

Agree.  Possibly on the restart cruising will become more along these lines, fewer people, better food, more space, more enrichment.  Of course, that will include higher prices - which is not a bad thing.

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1 hour ago, Ride-The-Waves said:

Agree.  Possibly on the restart cruising will become more along these lines, fewer people, better food, more space, more enrichment.  Of course, that will include higher prices - which is not a bad thing.

So, perhaps we should all consider pricing.  Yes, some folks will be willing to pay more to be on a mass market ship with fewer total passengers.  But I suspect that most will not pay the price.  The problem is that there are already better more luxurious cruise lines that charge more money and they are quite nice.  I have cruised on Seabourn for as little as $400 per passenger day and that was for what they called a suite (more like a deluxe balcony cabin).  On that line everything was included which meant things like good caviar, French Champagne, top shelf booze, etc.   Shows were never crowded, lounges were spacious, staff greeted us by name, etc.  If mass market lines increase their prices they are going to need to compete with better lines.  We have often cruised on Princess and HAL, but are not willing to pay anything even close to one of the small ship luxury lines to go on those mass market lines.   Just a few weeks ago we went online with the intent of booking 2 weeks on MSC in their Yacht Club (we love it).  But, the pricing had increased about 20% from what we are paying later this year.  As a result, we decided to book with Oceania which was actually about the same price.  There is a message there somewhere.

 

Hank

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I read that the entertainment on Oceania and Holland America are not comparable with that on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Princess

 

 

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On 6/5/2020 at 10:19 AM, cool cruiser 14107 said:

med:  ?

Viking (ocean)

Royal Caribbean

Celebrity

Holland America

 

med/low: ?

Princess  ?

Norwegian  ?

 

low:

Carnival

In my humble opinion, I wouldn’t lump Viking with Celebrity an Holland America, and I wouldn’t lump those two with Royal Caribbean.

 

From the lines listed above, I would lump them as follows:

 

- Viking


- Holland America

- Princess

- Celebrity

 

- Royal Caribbean

- Norwegian

- Carnival
 

One cruise line not listed is MSC, which offers various classes of service ranging from Bella to Yacht Club. Depending on which class you select, the experience can feel as budget as Carnival or as upscale as more premium cruise lines. I place it somewhere near Royal Caribbean.

 

Our last cruise was on Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam. Even though we are a younger family and we don’t quite fit into HAL’s older demographic, we had an absolutely fantastic cruise. Just the right amount of upscale while still maintaining an unpretentious vibe. HAL has truly stepped into the 21st century with this class of ship. A more modern but still traditional cruise experience with more offerings for younger cruisers.

 

 

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2 hours ago, drsel said:

I read that the entertainment on Oceania and Holland America are not comparable with that on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Princess

 


That is absolutely true. Oceania’s is nearly non existent and HAL’s has been very scaled back.

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14 hours ago, Tapi said:

 I would lump them as follows:

- Viking


- Holland America

- Princess

- Celebrity

 

- Royal Caribbean

- Norwegian

- Carnival
 

One cruise line not listed is MSC, which offers various classes of service ranging from Bella to Yacht Club. Depending on which class you select, the experience can feel as budget as Carnival or as upscale as more premium cruise lines. I place it somewhere near Royal Caribbean.

 

Our last cruise was on Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam. Even though we are a younger family and we don’t quite fit into HAL’s older demographic, we had an absolutely fantastic cruise. Just the right amount of upscale while still maintaining an unpretentious vibe. HAL has truly stepped into the 21st century with this class of ship. A more modern but still traditional cruise experience with more offerings for younger cruisers.

 

thanks!

Yes, I think this seems to be in correct range of what many others are saying (about the ordering).

and in the middle category (HAL, Princess, Celebrity), you'd put Princess above Celebrity? That seems to be about 50/50....1/2 like Celebrity better...

 

I don't know anything about MSC, I'll have to check them out; thanks! : )

14 hours ago, Tapi said:

 

 

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24 minutes ago, cool cruiser 14107 said:

and in the middle category (HAL, Princess, Celebrity), you'd put Princess above Celebrity?

 

I haven’t had a chance to sail on Celebrity which is why I didn’t rank it above the ones I’ve sailed on, but from everything I’ve read, it’s in the same category as the other two. Based on Celebrity’s image of modern luxury, I have a feeling that I will like it a lot, probably more than Princess and Holland. I do enjoy a more modern vibe which is why I enjoyed sailing on Nieuw Statendam more than other, more traditional Holland America ships. 

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2 minutes ago, Tapi said:

I haven’t had a chance to sail on Celebrity which is why I didn’t rank it above the ones I’ve sailed on, but from everything I’ve read, it’s in the same category as the other two. Based on Celebrity’s image of modern luxury, I have a feeling that I will like it a lot, probably more than Princess and Holland. I do enjoy a more modern vibe which is why I enjoyed sailing on Nieuw Statendam more than other, more traditional Holland America ships. 

 

If you liked Nieuw Statendam, I think you'll love Celebrity.  When I cruised Koningsdam, I noted that it was similar to Celebrity.  Celebrity has the most modern vibe of any line I've sailed.  

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12 hours ago, Cruzaholic41 said:


That is absolutely true. Oceania’s is nearly non existent and HAL’s has been very scaled back.

I agree that stage entertainment on HAL is VERY scaled back, specially when compared to cruise lines with stage entertainment on steroids like Royal Caribbean‘s.

 

On our last HAL Cruise, stage entertainment at the World Stage consisted of a 6 member dance troupe performing against interactive LED screens. No singers, no orchestra or live music, and no scenography.  They performed two shows. One was really good, but the second one was bad enough for us to leave before it was over. For the rest of the week, we had 2 fly in performers, a magician and a comedian, and one night the entertainment consisted of a BBC Planet Earth documentary. Some passengers ahead of us left the theatre fuming and loudly argued about the entertainment for the night being a 30 minute documentary about ocean animals. 
 

But to be fair, the stage entertainment may be scaled back, but the live entertainment throughout the ship has improved with the music walk concept. BB King’s, Billboard, Rolling Stones, and the Lincoln Stage Center. All very talented. 

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8 minutes ago, Aquahound said:

 

If you liked Nieuw Statendam, I think you'll love Celebrity.  When I cruised Koningsdam, I noted that it was similar to Celebrity.  Celebrity has the most modern vibe of any line I've sailed.  

Thanks, I’m really looking forward to one day sailing on Celebrity! I wouldn’t be surprised if they become my new favorite cruise line. 

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, Hlitner said:

So, perhaps we should all consider pricing.  Yes, some folks will be willing to pay more to be on a mass market ship with fewer total passengers.  But I suspect that most will not pay the price.  The problem is that there are already better more luxurious cruise lines that charge more money and they are quite nice.  I have cruised on Seabourn for as little as $400 per passenger day and that was for what they called a suite (more like a deluxe balcony cabin).  On that line everything was included which meant things like good caviar, French Champagne, top shelf booze, etc.   Shows were never crowded, lounges were spacious, staff greeted us by name, etc.  If mass market lines increase their prices they are going to need to compete with better lines.  We have often cruised on Princess and HAL, but are not willing to pay anything even close to one of the small ship luxury lines to go on those mass market lines.   Just a few weeks ago we went online with the intent of booking 2 weeks on MSC in their Yacht Club (we love it).  But, the pricing had increased about 20% from what we are paying later this year.  As a result, we decided to book with Oceania which was actually about the same price.  There is a message there somewhere.

 

Hank

Agree.  The issue will be the comparable price increases for the upscale lines like Azamara, Oceania, Seaborne, etc., which will also have to follow the "mass Market" increases as lines attempt to recoup monies "lost" during the pandemic.  Will be interesting to watch as it shakes out.

 

From a "ranking" perspective suggest that Celebrity and the newer "Royal" class Princess ships are a cut above the Royal Caribbean/Norwegian level with Carnival at the bottom of any ratings.  Do favor the smaller ships of Azamara/Oceania/Seaborne over the others.  Every time we take a cruise with Azamara its like "coming home" again.  Great line with wonderful crews.

Edited by Ride-The-Waves

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1 hour ago, Ride-The-Waves said:

Agree.  The issue will be the comparable price increases for the upscale lines like Azamara, Oceania, Seaborne, etc., which will also have to follow the "mass Market" increases as lines attempt to recoup monies "lost" during the pandemic.  Will be interesting to watch as it shakes out.

 

From a "ranking" perspective suggest that Celebrity and the newer "Royal" class Princess ships are a cut above the Royal Caribbean/Norwegian level with Carnival at the bottom of any ratings.  Do favor the smaller ships of Azamara/Oceania/Seaborne over the others.  Every time we take a cruise with Azamara its like "coming home" again.  Great line with wonderful crews.

My issue with Azamara and Oceania are their continued use of the old "R" ships.  We actually were fans of Renaissance and enjoyed several of the R ships when they were still R ships :).  The regular cabin and cabin bathroom sizes on those ships are appropriate for a mass market line such as Princess.  But both Azamara and Oceania hold themselves out to be more upscale then mass market and charge prices well above what one pays for comparable cabins on the mass market vessels.  If I pay more for Seabourn or Silverseas I understand that I am getting a terrific space ratio, large cabin/suite, etc etc.  But with those R ships of Azamara and Oceania I am paying more money for what is essentially a mass market vessel that has been adapted to a higher end calling.  But the cabins are simply not up to price.

 

Hank

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20 hours ago, drsel said:

I read that the entertainment on Oceania and Holland America are not comparable with that on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Princess

 

 

I have cruised Holland America many times but not for a few years and cruised celebrity two years ago and there entertainment was better than celebrity, I find rccl to be far superior than any other line for entertainment, I have had issues on Princess while they have good entertainment I could not see shows since showrooms were not big enough to hold the passengers. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Hlitner said:

My issue with Azamara and Oceania are their continued use of the old "R" ships.  We actually were fans of Renaissance and enjoyed several of the R ships when they were still R ships :).  The regular cabin and cabin bathroom sizes on those ships are appropriate for a mass market line such as Princess.  But both Azamara and Oceania hold themselves out to be more upscale then mass market and charge prices well above what one pays for comparable cabins on the mass market vessels.  If I pay more for Seabourn or Silverseas I understand that I am getting a terrific space ratio, large cabin/suite, etc etc.  But with those R ships of Azamara and Oceania I am paying more money for what is essentially a mass market vessel that has been adapted to a higher end calling.  But the cabins are simply not up to price.

 

Hank

Fully agree.  The cabins are small.  We sail only in Azamara's "Club Continent Suites" which are about 250 sq ft.  Looking to try Oceania's "O" class ships for their larger cabins and more selections for dining.
 

Edited by Ride-The-Waves

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14 hours ago, Hlitner said:

My issue with Azamara and Oceania are their continued use of the old "R" ships.  We actually were fans of Renaissance and enjoyed several of the R ships when they were still R ships :).  The regular cabin and cabin bathroom sizes on those ships are appropriate for a mass market line such as Princess.  But both Azamara and Oceania hold themselves out to be more upscale then mass market and charge prices well above what one pays for comparable cabins on the mass market vessels.  

 

Hank

 

I love the smaller "R" class ships and understand that I'm paying more for the smaller ship, not so much for cabin space/amenities. Given that both lines only rarely have ANY type of discounted solo supplement, and thus I pay twice as much as most cruisers per person, you can imagine how much I must like it to even contemplate their itineraries. (Speaking of which, I find Azamara's far better than Oceania's....)

 

One thing I look forward to in retirement is being able to take advantage of more of these lines' solo supplements, which are usually only offered on cruises sailing in the quite near future (the type of thing I usually can't book due to the need of reserving my time off well in advance....)

 

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Posted (edited)

We see larger differences between ships in each cruise line's fleets than we do between cruise lines.  There are some cruise ships that we will not not consider in several of the mass market lines.  That does not preclude us from selecting different ships on those cruise lines.

Edited by iancal

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22 hours ago, Tapi said:

I haven’t had a chance to sail on Celebrity which is why I didn’t rank it above the ones I’ve sailed on, but from everything I’ve read, it’s in the same category as the other two. Based on Celebrity’s image of modern luxury, I have a feeling that I will like it a lot, probably more than Princess and Holland. I do enjoy a more modern vibe which is why I enjoyed sailing on Nieuw Statendam more than other, more traditional Holland America ships. 

Having been in celebrity edge all I can say is, it was glorious and extremely luxurious. Even better was lack of pompous formal lovers. Sorry for generalisation there but I am on about the ones that seem to love the golf country club vibe. I can do without those sorts.

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11 hours ago, iancal said:

We see larger differences between ships in each cruise line's fleets than we do between cruise lines.  There are some cruise ships that we will not not consider in several of the mass market lines.  That does not preclude us from selecting different ships on those cruise lines.

Same here.  I would never again set foot on an Oasis class.  Same for any Princess ship other than the Royal class.

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