As you said both ships have good reviews and you will enjoy either one.
I am leaning more to NCL Pearl for the freestyle cruising and with children it will be easier with the flexable dinner timing. They also have a free laundry on board(you will have to buy soap or bring your own) that could help with your packing for a family of 5. We just got off the Pearl a few weeks ago and we used the laundry twice but it was a 19 day trip. We really enjoyed the Pearl.
Hi james22, welcome to Cruise-Chat. Congratulations on your upcoming cruise. I have to warn you that cruising is addictive Both NCL and Carnival are great lines, they both have lots of activities for the children. You need to check with them about 5 in a cabin. Most lines are only 4, but there are some cabins they will allow 5. If you have a travel agent, that specializes in cruises, they will be able to tell you which lines allow 5 to a cabin and will be able to match up a ship that is perfect for you. NCL does have the freestyle dining which does offer flexibility. Carnival has assigned seating, but there is always the buffet. There are no formal nights on NCL, there is on Carnival. You need to decide on: itinerary, cost, availability of 5 to a cabin, freestyle vs. assigned seating for dinner. Best wishes, and once again, welcome aboard!
actually, kids are 24 and 20 and 3 year old the carnival does accomodate 5 to a cabin, on ncl we would have to take 2 cabins. we just don't want to be stuck on a cruise that has crappy food, and is ncl worth paying 700 more for the cruise vs. carnival
The $700 difference would not be worth it to me, unless the itinerary rocked. Both of them have good food. I'm a little more partial to Carnival's food, but NCL is very good. We were on the NCL Sky in September and on the Carnival Holiday in July. I didn't go hungry on either ship. There were 2 free dining areas on the NCL Sky, the rest were extra charge. The Holiday was free, there may have been a specialty restaurant, but we didn't visit it.
that's good to know, have you cruised the triumph at all, or is the food pretty comparable on all carnival cruises. and is there a particular part of the ship you want to stay on, i've been told the lower you are the less movement, does front mid or back matter at all?
I am partial to NCL, 80% of our cruises have been with NCL. We have tried others and had great cruises but we keep coming back to NCL maybe it's the freestyle, but with the cost different you are talking you could have a good time and still have money in your pocket when you get home. I would go with Carnival cruise.
Have you checked into Carnival for two cabins with connecting doors, with the childrens age it would give you more room and privicy vs the cost. If motion is a problem then people say lower mid ship, we have had lower front and mid and upper mid and back, it seems the same to me.
I agree with Bentnail, it doesn't seem to make much difference with the size of the ships today where you are. However, I don't have any problems with motion. Midship is suppose to be the most stable. I haven't sailed the Triumph, but have been on 5 Carnival ships. The food seems to be pretty much the same across the fleet. We've been on 4 NCL ships and have not been disappointed with the food at all. I guess I just like the chocolate melting cake they have on Carnival too much-yummo!