My next cruise is with RCCL "Navigator Of The Seas" 1/13/2007 -- though Princess is my favorite cruise line our Red Hat Group liked this itenary better. (I did a RCCL cuise out of Galveston last year and decided it was my 2nd favorite cruise line.)
Important issue to me: Mandatory 1st and 2nd seating or a "Freestyle" dining where I can choose when I want to go to dinner. Carnival, Norweigan Cruise Line and Princess offers the "Freestyle" dining, one of the most important features to me when choosing a cruise.
Entertainment is a hit and miss. I hated the "Norway" but had the best entertainment that week I had ever seen. Loved the hypnosis. (No longer in service.)
Celebrity and Holland America are very good cruise lines, but they are two formal for us and the passengers seem to be much older. They still have 1st and 2nd seating, which I hate being told what time I have to eat. I want to eat at my convenience -- I refuse to do a buffet (I joined Overeaters Annonymous and Buffets are my enemy) and I like the sit down meal where I am served just one portion.
I am hoping eventually RCCL will get away from the 1st & 2nd seating. I let them know on the "Comment Card" last time and will tell them again in January.
When coming to choose a Cruise line it comes to ITINERARY and COST. If they are going to the same place and close in cost I will always choose Princess first, Royal Caribbean second and it is a real tosss up for third (Carnival I get to eat when I want to or Celebrity that is more formal and better food and mandatory 1st or 2nd seating.) I am close to 60 -- so the rock climbing, ice skating, etc., doesn't interest me. Which would be one of the top considerations if these activities interested me or family members traveling with me. Because of these activites my SWM34HetroNavyVet is joining useon our January 13th RCCL cruise.
Choosing a cruise line is very personal. I have talked to many cruisers who will only cruise "Carnival" because of the more informal atmosphere. They lost the reputation of being a party ship years ago. I learned that the hard way. Our son had just gotten out of the Navy (1996) and for his Christmas gift gave him a Carnival Cruise with us. Wanted him to be with a younger crowd versus the middle aged to old Princess passengers. There were very few single women on the cruise. I felt timeing early December and we visited two war risk countries -- was part of the problem.
I LOVE CRUISING. Seventeen cruises down and hope to keep doing one or more a year.