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Western Car vs. Mexican Riviera (Carnival or Princess)

Western Car vs. Mexican Riviera (Carnival or Princess)

Jan 4th, 2009, 08:55 AM
  #1  
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Western Car vs. Mexican Riviera (Carnival or Princess)

I am planning a 10th anniversary trip for my wife. We are in our late 40's. Since we have been on 6 or so cruises, and with the number to choose from, it gets more and more difficult to decide.

So I have narrowed it down to 2:

The new Carnival Dream (western carib to Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel).. or Saphhire Princess (Mexican Riviera).

I like the idea of the new ship and the new ports on the Dream, but not sure if it will be as good of quality. We went on an old Carnival ship to the Bahamas and we thought it was very mediocre. Plus loud, and a lot of kids.

Are the new carnival ships much better with food , etc?

Do you choose by ship, itinerary, or quality? Any suggestions? Thanks so much
brandonmd is offline  
Jan 4th, 2009, 09:25 AM
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Yes, new Carnival ships are very good quality and most likely the best value for the money. On my last Conquest cruise, food and service were better than on RCI and on par with Princess. Caribbean beaches and sea are better than Mexican riviera. That's another reason to chose Carnival. Just MHO.
spurs is offline  
Jan 4th, 2009, 10:10 AM
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The rates are almost identical. I like the idea of the newer ports they are offering. Do you think the first week of Feb will have tons of kids?
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Jan 4th, 2009, 12:26 PM
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Carnival has improved in leaps and bounds. In a poll on cruisecritic CCL was voted as the best in value and the Conquest ships were voted as having the best food for that level or category of ship. That being said we loved the Sapphire Princess. We sailed her in Alaska in 2005. All in all given its a new ship and as spurs said a preferable ininerary my vote is the Dream. I don't think kids will be there in abundance as its not yet spring break season.
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Jan 4th, 2009, 12:44 PM
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The first cruise on Carnival (about 7 years ago), was a 3nighter on the Fascination. It was approximately 300/person. It was one constant party... and the food in the dining rooms was fair. The ship smelled musty, and the cabins were fairly small.

We have been on HAL, Celebrity, NCL, and Princess.

I just don't want to have it turn out like the Fascination.
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Jan 4th, 2009, 01:29 PM
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That was a booze cruise . Seriously I think you will be fine. Carnival, nor any cruise line for that matter, would risk the rep of a new ship with that type of cruise. Good luck with your decision.
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Jan 4th, 2009, 02:31 PM
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Thanks for the information.
brandonmd is offline  
Jan 5th, 2009, 07:18 AM
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You're welcome. BTW some yrs. ago we did a 7 night So. Carib. cruise on the Destiny. We had no complaints at all and the food was wonderful, prime rib, lobster, New Zealand lamb, Chateaubriand, filet mignon. You get the idea. Cheers, Larry
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Jan 6th, 2009, 07:26 AM
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Personally, I do not care for Belize, Costa Maya or Roatan. I would opt for the Mexican Riviera on Princess.

kfusto is offline  
Jan 7th, 2009, 10:03 AM
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To each his own, I only go to the Mexican Rivera on give away cruises. None of the ports are worth much to me, and I've pretty much enjoyed staying on an empty ship.

Belize is excellent for snorkling, cave tubing and Roatan is also excellent for snorkling, which is a priority for me. Determine what your touring priority is??? Then choose the location.

I do have to say, I do greatly like the rough Pacific sailing, and going in the winter, has offered me a look at the humpback migration.
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Jan 7th, 2009, 01:45 PM
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Zip tours, cave tubing, a little snorkling. I thought the ports sound great
brandonmd is offline  
Jan 7th, 2009, 01:46 PM
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How rough is the Pacific in the winter?
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Jan 7th, 2009, 01:50 PM
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what did you not like about the ports? They sound exotic.
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Jan 8th, 2009, 04:17 AM
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Costa Maya is a port created by the cruise lines. It had little to offer IMO and even the beaches were a disappointment.

Belize is great for divers and for snorkeling but, unless things have changed, the area where Carnival docks is pretty nasty. You cannot just hop a cab or bus and head to a nice beach.

As budgetqueen says, it really depends on what you like to do while cruising. We are beach and water people so that is what we look for. We don't shop much, we don't do excursions as a rule, and we enjoy local foods and out of the way spots.

The new Carnival ships are indeed a big improvement over the old but they are not my cup of tea in decor or personality. I don't care for the "entertainment" during dinner and I like my cruises low key. And Princess offers Anytime Dining which, unless there have been very recent changes, Carnival does not. We enjoy not being on a schedule while on vacation.

And I would expect a lot more kids on the Carnival cruise based on my experience and also their target market.

When we cruise in warm waters, we pick the ship first (for us the overall ambiance is important) and then the ports. In the Caribbean, most lines are well represented and there are plenty of choices.

Of the mass market lines, we enjoy HAL the most. Large cabins, mid sized ships (I really dislike the huge ships personally) and a more traditional vibe. Food is good and they offer open dining.'

Look at the itinerary on the new Eurodam. I think it is interesting and HAL's private island is the best!
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Jan 8th, 2009, 02:03 PM
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I went on HAL last Dec. Their food and service was excellent. The crowd was older than I had really liked?

The Eurodam does the exact itinerary I did on the Westerdam last Dec. except they are stopping in San Juan instead of Tortola.

Would you go on a 7 year old HAL ship?
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Jan 8th, 2009, 07:28 PM
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The Eurodam is brand new, not 7 years old.

We were on the Westerdam in June and she looks super. All of the Vista class ships have been upgraded over the past 12-18 months.

The age of a ship does not bother me, as a well maintained ship is much more important. And most of the new builds are massive and I avoid those, period.
kfusto is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 02:39 AM
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I meant the Westerdam. I know the Euro is new, but the itineraries are identical to what i took last year.
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Jan 9th, 2009, 05:31 AM
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On the WES 6 months ago to Alaska. They have made several improvements and I liked them all. Much expanded library, new coffee bar, Pinnacle Bar, upgraded TVs, amenities and IMO they have the best room service, beds and bathrooms of any of the mass market lines. We like our creature comforts so this is important to us.

We also like the Anytime Dining option.
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Jan 11th, 2009, 07:27 AM
  #19  
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How does the food and service compare on HAL vs Princess?
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