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Mexican cruise, Carnival Ecstasy or RCCI Viking Serenade?

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We are planning our first cruise in July(with our six children ages 7-19) and deciding between the 4 day Baja CA or the 7 day Mexican Riviera. Is the 7 day that much better for the cruise experience? Our ship choices are Carnival Ecstasy or Royal Viking Serenade. Any recent experience on either of these ships? Any comments would be greatly appreciated!
Sandy

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    Hi Sandy,

    First, it is a good idea to take a short cruise for the first time escpecially if you live in the LA area and do not have to fly. Four day would do perfectly.

    There are pros and cons for both mass-market cruise lines.

    Carnival's Ecstacy was built in 1991 therefore the ship is newer. The space ratio per passenger is higher therefore the ship will not be as crowded. The staterooms are 185 square feet and plenty of room for storage. The kids would have a better time. The ship is extremely eclectic or what you would call a "Las Vegas" motif (if that suits your fancy). The 24 hour pizza, calzone and salad restaurant is a plus.

    The Viking was built in 1982 and I doubt the ship will be in the fleet that much longer. Older ships are more difficult and expensive to maintain. The ship is definitely more elegant than the Ecstacy. The cabins are the size of a bathroom and you certainly would be cramped with more than 2 in a cabin. The ship is dressier than Carnival. The service is average, same as Carnival. The food is only rated average but some say it is a matter of taste. The buffet lines are usually shorter on RCCL. The production shows are not as exciting or as varied as Carnival. This again is a matter of taste.

    Other than the above, the cruise experience is the same.

    Paul

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