carnival vs princess, eastern vs southern caribbean
I'm planning a cruise for April/May 2012 and trying to make the final decision on which ship and ports I would like best. I've been on 3 cruises, including Carnival and Royal Caribbean. I'd have to say that I like Carnival better. I've seen so many negative reviews about Carnival and I'm not sure why. They had the most comfortable beds, great service, excellent food in the dining room, and awesome entertainment. Now I'm wanting to either take another Carnival cruise or try a Princess cruise. I've heard that Princess is better and classier than Carnival, but I want to get information from people who have cruised both. Also, I've cruised the Western Caribbean and I'm planning either the Eastern or Southern Caribbean now. Which would you choose and why?
Welcome to cruise-chat!
I agree with your assessment of Carnival. I've sailed many lines, including Carnival, Celebrity, Princess, and HAL, and have enjoyed every one of them. In fact, there was one year in which I sailed Carnival and Celebrity a few months apart and felt the Carnival cruise was superior in many ways. In some respects, it's the luck of the draw. In my years of reading and writing reviews, I've found that people are more likely to recount negative experiences than positive ones, so take these with a grain of salt, as they say.
In my opinion, you can't go wrong with either. (Yeah, I know that's not much help...) Then again, there are differences between ships within the same line, so the ship itself plays a role, as well.
The main differences between a Southern and Western Caribbean cruise, as you might have discovered in your research, are embarkation port and port-intensiveness. W. Caribbean cruises tend to have more sea days, and a wider variety of embarkation ports (New Orleans, Galveston, Mobile, and several in Florida), while a typical 7-night S. Caribbean cruise leaves from San Juan and is port-intensive. As to which is better--I can't really say, as I've enjoyed them both. Depends on what you want to do in port.
Princess is my favorite line, because it feels like home to me. They're not stuffy at all, but just a little more elegant than Carnival. I've enjoyed every Carnival cruise I've taken (getting closer to 10), as well as NCL, HAL, Royal, and Costa. Celebrity was not my favorite, but still had a great time, just not my line of choice.
I, personally, prefer the southern because the water is a little warmer and the snorkeling (depending on the ports) is a little better. Belize and Roatan are wonderful snorkels, too. Dominica and Grenada are my favorite snorkel places.
You've asked a very hard question, because what I like you might not. This is totally my own individual opinions. Hope it helps a little.
I have never sailed to the southern caribbean but am planning to next month. The western caribbean is kinda the same old stuff, and to be honest, the businesses in Cozumel are starting the get very pushy, more than they were in the past. They used to talk to you from the shops and say hi and invite you in. Now they are coming out to the sidewalk and trying to lure you in.
Costa Maya is a waste, not much to do at Merida...Grand Cayman is nice. It seems to me there are more interesting things to do and newer ports in the southern caribbean, but as mentioned, you can't exactly drive there.
And take cruise reviews with a grain of salt. Opinions are just that...someone's point of view. And there are some people who just hate everything. There was a guy on a cruise I went on who was on his cell phone as we left complaining about the french fries. WHO GOES ON A CRUISE TO EAT FRENCH FRIES?
Hope this helps.
Then this type of person comes running to our website to post a rambling negative review, where it just wasn't fair that they paid $100 per day for the cruise fare and didn't get a $1000 per day cruise in return.</ahem>
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