Choosing between Caribbean cruises

Sep 25th, 2005, 06:04 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
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Choosing between Caribbean cruises

My 18 year old daughter and I have the opportunity to take a Caribbean cruise this spring or summer on one of 3 cruise lines: Norwegian, Carnival, or Royal Caribbean to Western Caribbean, Southern Caribbean, or the Mexican Riviera. Neither of us have ever been on a cruise. We have a choice of locations and cruise lines because this is a gift. Please offer any advice you have.
bhelkins is offline  
Sep 26th, 2005, 01:33 AM
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My favorite is the Western Caribbean, especially if you have a full day in Cayman. The Mexican Rivera is only good for the rough sailing for me, I don't even step foot in the ports anymore. Southern Caribbean is also OK. Choose what fits your schedule and interests best. Research the ports and see what are your priorities. Have fun.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Sep 26th, 2005, 11:10 AM
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RCI Southern Caribbean on Serenade, absolutely! Beautiful ship, great staff, super itinerary.

Next choice would be Adventure, also southern.

After that I would choose RCI to the Western.

I do not care for Carnival and would choose a newer NCL ship above any Carnival ship.

I am off on my 105th cruise next week so I am well travelled. Any specific questions I can answer, pls let me know.

kfusto is offline  
Sep 26th, 2005, 11:34 AM
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Given equality in itinerary then I would go Carnival. NCL is poorly rated on cruisecritic according to passenger reviews and the food on Carnival is better than RCI. IMHO Carnival gets a bad rap at times but from personal experience we would go with then again w/o hesitation. They have come a long way since inception in the business decades ago and I think criticism of this line stems back to that time. For a more comprehensive review go to: Cheers, Larry
jacketwatch is online now  
Sep 26th, 2005, 02:09 PM
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Personally, I like the Southern Caribbean itineraries. The islands seem a bit more exotic to me--Aruba, Grenada, St. Kitts.

The downside is you generally have to fly to Puerto Rico to reach these ports.

As to lines, you tend to get a bit more cabin for your money on Carnival, but by most accounts the two lines are pretty comparable. There seem to be more people who dislike Carnival than dislike RCL, but most who have been on both don't see a lot of difference.

Both would have a lot of younger people for your daughter to hang out with. NCL doesn't have a great rep. on the boards--but they must be better than described or they'd be out of business!
triathlete is offline  
Sep 27th, 2005, 12:38 PM
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My Carnival cruise was on a new ship just four months ago. I did not care for the food and service in the dining room, it was often served cold and special requests were not accomodated.

There was no adult pool and no adult areas and the ship was packed with kids. It was very smokey.

I prefer the overall experience on RCI.
kfusto is offline  
Sep 27th, 2005, 02:09 PM
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Our experience with special food requests was quite the opposite. My wife, who is fron India requested Indian food on our first night. A young lady came to our table and spoke to her about this. After that she had Indian food (very well prepared in fact) every night and at least twice this same young lady came to our table to see how satisfied she was. And she was! We have spoked to at least 4 other Indian friends who have cruised Carnival who also requested Indian food and received it w/o exception. Overall we were very satisfied with the food, both Indian and the other fare.
jacketwatch is online now  
Sep 28th, 2005, 08:25 AM
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Jacketwatch & Kfusto--is this the beginning of a new Peter/Paul rivalry? (I sure hope so--those posts were so entertaining!).

But to get back to the topic, I don't find either of these experiences at all implausible. The quality of wait staff & cabin staff varies depending on who you happen to have on a particular cruise. I can also recall a very inattentive wine steward (though that might have been on Princess).

A new ship often provides worse service than older ones, as it takes time for a new staff to "gel."

I have found that, in general, when I've asked for special accomodation (in food or whatever) I've received it.

I have to go with Kfusto on the singing waiters & conga lines in the dining rooms--that gets old very quickly...

triathlete is offline  
Sep 28th, 2005, 08:57 AM
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We'll see. .
jacketwatch is online now  
Sep 28th, 2005, 09:11 AM
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Go to cruisecritic and be prepared to be confused, LOL. I've cruised Carnival twice, RCCL 10 times and we're taking Princess this winter for a change. My friend took a Southern route and screamed "never again" because there were large groups of Puerto Ricans that got discounts and he said they were at times loud, rude and they played all Spanish music. Do not choose an old ship to save money. If you can sail in an off time such as May you'll avoid tons of kids. I also like the Western route, we love the Mariner and the Navigator. Huge, fun, amazing activities and the food is fine- not really gourmet, but no complaints. I did not like the service on Carnival.
LLindaC is offline  
Sep 28th, 2005, 12:58 PM
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I've experienced the "dual language" cruises as well on southern routes. On Princess, with only one place for live music (which was in Spanish most of the time) it was a negative. Didn't really bother me on the Carnival Destiny, though as there were so many places to go for music...
triathlete is offline  
Sep 28th, 2005, 02:10 PM
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I seem to favor the Southern Caribbean cruises the best. We usually go in the winter and we find the temps to the warmest. You will be going in Spring or summer. (Be careful of Spring breakers.)

We have cruised RCI, Celebrity and Carnival. I thought the food was best on RCI. but Carnival sure ran a close second. Our last cruise was on an older ship. I would strongly advise against an older ship. I would choose a newer ship and make that a priority over the specific line. Itinerary would also be important to me. S. Caribbean seem to have less "sea days." if this matters to you then the other ones. I am sure you and your daughter will have a great time no matter which you choose. Happy Sailing.
diann is offline  
Sep 28th, 2005, 07:45 PM
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hey, triathlete, I am also a triathlete! My husband and I love the Southern route, but I've heard these complaints SO many times1 I have lots of Latino friends and love the music, but my cruise friends have said many times that they feel like they are excluded or are the minority. Read the reviews! I took my girls on a Spring Break cruise in April on the Voyager. They loved it. I did it out of love, lol!REally, the newer the ship, the better the cruise.
LLindaC is offline  
Oct 1st, 2005, 01:18 PM
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Pick the itinerary you like the best.
Out of the 3 lines I would only do Royal Carib.Pick the newest ship.You will have a great time.
sharoo is offline  
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