My Husband and I recently came back from a western caribbean cruise aboard the Mariner. We loved it and decided that we wanted to take the kids, however in looking on line it seems that Carnival is a little less expensive. We liked the beautiful decor , great service and all the wonderful activities they had to offer on RCI. We want something comparible and do not want to sacrifice service. could anyone tell me if the ships have the same quality of service,food and decor. Can nayone also tell me from experience how their childrens programs were, we have three children 11,7,and 2.
RC is a great line for ships but we have had great success with Carnival too. We enjoy it with kids. We took our 9,10, & 11 YO on the Glory in March and they are going with us plus our 8 year old,on The Valor this April for spring break. We were actually booked on The Mariner for the three older but decided to take the 8 year old too and we could still have a balcony room and a quad for the price of the balcony room and triple on The Mariner.
Last year spring break my kids had a BLAST on The Glory and they really enjoyed all the kids programs. Some things are probably a step lower but the service was TOP NOTCH and they went WAY out of the way for our kids. (Read my above post on tipping for kids) I don't think you will be dissappointed but I would definitely choose a newer ship that is bigger and offers more.
Carnival Freedom June 2009
Crown Princess March 2009
Carnival Glory January 2008
Naviagator of the Seas Mar 07
Sovereign of Seas Oct 06
Carnival Glory March 2005
Nordic Empress 1996
I think swimmersonboard makes a great point that the age of the ship has a direct impact on the experience for families. I am not sure you can go wrong whatever you choose if the ship is newer and large enought to accommodate your family's interests.
Excuse my limited knowledge,but would the Miracle be considered a newer/ larger ship? I really do not know much about Carnival. I am defifitley not opposed to them. I Will be on the Fantasy in Jan and really look forward to it, I just have not had the chance to lok into it.
The Miracle would be considered a newer/larger ship (in service 2004 / 88,500 tons / 2,124 passengers), but is not as large as the Mariner which is classified as a mega-ship (in service 2003 / 138,000 tons / 3,114 passengers). Both offer a myriad of activities and facilities and food is comparable (of course this is highly subjective and is biased by passengers personal preferences). Personally, I think RCI's service is a bit better and Carnival ships' decors are more "glitzy" and I prefer the more "classy" look of RCI. But, both ships provide an awesome cruise.
On another note, don't compare your cruise on the Fantasy with your Mariner trip. The Fantasy is one of Carnival's older ships (1990) so while I am sure you will have fun, it will not offer the same cruise experience.
My husband and i went on the Valor Carnival's almost newest ship. it was great! We had our best vacation ever. We don't have anything to compare to but I did notice they had an excellent activities for children and youths. I am trying to talk my 17 yr.old into coming with us. He would have a great time.I am not apossed to RCI but would like to repreat on the same ship on a different itenery.
Thank you for all the wonderful comments and responses. I am such a creature of habit that when I find something I like I usually stick with it, however I really like the itinerary for the carnival ship. There really has been wonderful feedback on Carnival so I think we are going to book a 7 day western caribbean Carnival cruise out of Tampa. I really appreciate the wonderful information that you have given.
Having sailed on both of these ships, The last being the miracle that returned on 10/2, I can list out the pros and cons of both ships. The Mariner is bigger..... more classy looking. The Miracle is smaller, though pretty big.... much better food on the miracle, and it is more Vegas looking. However, as a Parent, comparing both kids program, we liked camp carnival much better. The hours worked better for us, and Carnival will take 2 year olds, whereas on the Mariner, the child needs to be 3 and potty trained first. That made all the difference to us. If you have any specific questions, please ask.