Carnival vs. NCL

Mar 15th, 2005, 11:07 AM
  #1  
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Carnival vs. NCL

We are beginning to think about a cruise to the western Caribben that would include Grand Cayman, Belize, Roatan Island, and Cozumel. Both NCL and Carnival have a suitable itinerary. We loved our cruise with NCL two years ago (especially their handling of the "freestyle" dining and the relaxed nature of the cruise). I have heard that Carnival tends to be more frenetic and has lots of what I would call "forced gaity" (Hey, let's all do the limbo now!!!!). The last cruise guide I read also indicated that Carnival tends to appeal to a younger crowd. Has anyone been on both who can give me an idea of whether we should even consider Carnival? I should also say that we are in our 40's and 50's and tend to like things pretty laid back and casual.
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Mar 17th, 2005, 07:33 PM
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Have done both, NCL ship out of Galveston (I'm assuming your departure port) is a little older. Carnival spends more per pax on food, and you will find it better. NCL food is ok, but if you do the specialty restaraunts you can get a pretty good meal for a few $$. We took our family on Carnival, and it wasn't as bad as it's reputation. Lots of just regular folk. I would check out cruisecritic.com reviews, and then see if one is considerably better deal than the other.
daisee is offline  
Mar 18th, 2005, 05:33 AM
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In addition to regular folk we met alot of professionals on Carnival as well including MD's, engineers and teachers.
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Mar 18th, 2005, 06:21 AM
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Thanks for the recommendation of cruisecritic.com. I checked it out and it's got a wealth of helpful information. The NCL cruise we are looking at actually goes out of Miam on the Norwegian Sun. Don't know if that's the ship you were thinking of daisee. Anyway, having read some of the member reviews about the NCL ship and itinerary and the Carnival Valor ship and itinerary, I am leaning toward staying with the line we know and love. Thanks again for the input.
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Mar 18th, 2005, 06:52 AM
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I really wouldn't say Carnival has forced fun, at least not from out experiences. However I fully understand staying with the tried and true. Bon voyage!
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Mar 18th, 2005, 07:49 AM
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I have sailed on the Sun four times and really enjoyed her. she is a very pretty ship, well maintained and very clean.

It is much less frenetic IME than Carniva. Fewer announcements, less hawking, not as spring breaky.

Food in the specialty restaurants was very good. Nice gym and spa area and open pool deck is not as sardine tight as many ships these days.

I cast a big vote for the Sun.
kfusto is offline  
Mar 18th, 2005, 08:34 AM
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Thanks for the specifics on the Sun! We were on the Dawn before and really liked it. Glad to hear the Sun is comparable. Now I just need to convince my sister and brother-in-law.
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Aug 1st, 2005, 06:34 PM
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I, too, am comparing the NCL vs. Carnival cruise to Grand Cayman, Belize, Roatan, and Cozumel. Would children (ages 14 & 8) enjoy NCL or Carnival? We all are veteran European travelers (backpackers), but we have never been on a cruise or to the Caribbean. We all are avid swimmers and snorkelers. Which cruise is the most relaxed and casual i.e. no formal dinners? I'm afraid my husband won't go if he has to wear a jacket and tie to dinner, and neither my daughter nor I wear dresses. jcasale, which cruise did you take and what did you think?
Marsha is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2005, 05:12 AM
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Actually there is alternate dining on any cruise so you need not go on formal nights. You could even do room service then if you so choose.
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 10:31 AM
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NCL is good for people who prefer not to dress up. Although there is usually one formal night - it is always optional and on the Sun (which has 2 dining rooms) one dining room is designated the 'formal' dining room for formal night. The other remains
"resort casual". On NCL "resort casual" is the offical dress code (in the evenings, no shorts or muscle type shirts or t-shirts in the dining rooms). Men usually wear docker type pants and a collared shirt. Women wear sundresses or pants/capris/skirts and tops. Shorts etc are always permitted in the buffet area.
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