All I can say is I have been on 5 cruises and LOVED them all! 1 RCCL, 1 NCL and 3 Carnival. We are cruising Alaska May or June and right now we are wanting the NCL Pearl. The Princess cruises are a little cheaper but I have heard negatives. A friend was on the Golden I believe and she was dissapointed. Her biggest complaint was the unfriendly staff. I am sure whatever one we choose we will LOVE it too! Any cruise to me is better than no cruise! I am sure if I think about it I can find some negatives but why try?
Cruising is subjective to each passeneger and each cruise experience. I have sailed the NCL Dream also,(Oct 2006 out of Houston) and would NOT sail on that ship again. I would assume you did the same cruise. That cruise was priced at $269.00 Per person (Oceanview) for 7 days on the Dream, and that in itself states the overall quality of a potential cruise. If you are objective as a Moderator, you would be opened minded. The NCL Pearl, Jewel, Gem, Star, Jade, Sun do not compare to the Dream. The Dream is old and was not a very good experience. But if you compare NCL's Pearl, Jewel, Star, Sun, Jade & Gem they are fantastic.
Since you are a cruise guru, I would have to ask
if you ever sailed on the NCL Pearl, Jewel, Jade, Gem, Star or Sun? If so when?
If you didn't, I find it hard to respond to your comments and negativity about NCL.
Agreed the Dream was not a good experience for us either, but the other NCL ships clearly are superior to our experiences on Princess Lines, which is now owned by Carnival. I strongly feel the quality of Princess has declined since the merger with Carnival. In speaking with staff members on Princess recently, they stated that many policies and procedures from Carnival have filtered into the new Princess.
Now that Apollo Management has infused $1 Billion into NCL, I strongly believe that the new " Freestyle 2.0" program will offer amenities that no other moderately priced cruise line will offer.
Many cruisers under estimate the overall quality of NCL. I project in the next few years, NCL will be a cruise line that not many other cruise lines will be able to compare with, especially at the moderate priced cruise level. Yes, there will always be upscale cruise companies that offer superior service in all areas. We are not comparing those to NCL or even Princess. Yes, there may be experiences when the cruise doesn't go 100% to ones expectations, but I comment on the overall experiences that we have had on NCL vs other lines. As NCL Platinum Lattitudes members, our perks have been fantastic as your Diamond Captains Circle, When there are problems with NCL that we experience, I write about them, I am not one sided on this issue.
Jim C: If you haven't been on one of the newer NCL ships than you can't really make the comments that you have. You have to actually experience NCL and new ships to understand what I am saying.
Richard & Mary
NCL Platinum Lattitudes
Princess Gold Captains Circle members
Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor members
If you haven't been on one of the newer NCL ships than you can't really make the comments that you have.
Why not? You also made negative comments about N. Dream. NCL's fleet isn't, at least not yet, comprised entirely of young ships. This is precisely why I asked above for the ships that simphhcc was considering.
To Richard & Mary, We were on the DP the previous 10 days from you cruise & although I do agree with some of you comments about the ship my feeling are as follows.
We've sailed on NCL numerous times & we've never has any major complaints about the service, food or the ships in general. I've never found the pricing to be much different between the two cruise lines to make me choose NCL over Princess.
You say you had to wait up to 45 minutes to get seated on the DP. Strange, because we never waited more than 10 minutes without reservations in either the Orient or Santa Fe dark's for a table for two. We always ate before 6 PM. Even when leaving the dark's at around 7 PM or so we never saw much of a line unless that were waiting in one of the lounges with a pager.
In the buffet area we did have problems finding seats but if we moved to the opposite side of the ship we could usually fine a seat without to much of a problem. Yes, NCL did have a better buffet dining solution & as I can recall we didn't have as many problems.
Disembarkation- You must have hit it on a bad day. On our cruise we had a bomb scare which held up everything for 45 min but after that everything went according to schedule. No better or worse than any NCL, RCCL, or Costa cruise we've taken.
The main theater was filled on most evenings but we always got a seat if we showed up 30 minutes in advance. We've found this to be true on any of the cruises we've been on. You can't expect to show up 10 minutes before any show & expect to be seated - NCL included.
Choosing to dine after 6:30 PM would have always present a seating problem since we wouldn't have gotten to the showroom until after 8 PM.
Although we still like NCL & would go on another NCL cruise depending on the offer & itinerary we choose Princess for service, value & overall ambience over NCL.
Richard & Mary. I agree that it is subjective. We've been on 3 NCL ships. I would hardly compare NCL to Princess. Carnival or Costa maybe, but certainly not Princess. As you say the newer ships offer more ammenities than the older ones. That holds true for Princess. We just returned recently from the Emerald. There are many more choices of food on her. They had the Caribe Cafe, the International Cafe, Vins, the regular buffet, 2 dining rooms for personal choice dining (we never waited for a table), Sabatini's, the Crown Grill, the Pizzaria, and the grill by the pool. The food on Princess from our experience has been much better than NCL, but that's not how we rate a cruise. We have never had a Princess cruise where the upper levels of staff were invisible. So you can't compare your experience on an older Princess ship to that of a newer NCL ship. NCL offers a good product and they have made you happy.
Our guru rating is based solely on the number of posts we have made. I do wish I could cruise on every ship available, but don't have that kind of money. Jim's post is totally viable and he has as much right to his opinions and points of view as you.
I believe if you'll check, Princess started Personal Choice on their Grand Class ships before NCL began its Freestyle Cruising. Either way, it doesn't make much difference. Princess offers a different style of cruising than NCL which is great for the consumer. We get to choose which we prefer.
I thank Penny and Lisa for their support, but I feel it required that I make my own comments here. I never told anyone NOT to sail NCL. I made comments on the Dream. Have I sailed on any other NCL ship, no.
R&M, first off, my opinions are just that, my opinions. I never said that I would never cruise NCL again, nor did I say no one else should. I came right out and said that my only basis for comparison of other lines to NCL was my cruise on the Dream. We both seem to agree is a poor respresentation of NCL. BUT, having said that, I challenge you to find the equivalent quality difference in any ships of either the Carnival Lines (Princess, Carnival, HAL) or RCCL. The Holiday is the equivalent ship in CCL's fleet. Same realtive size and age of the Dream, but the service and food on Holiday is equal to the of any of their newer bigger and thereby your definition of better ships. If either CCL or RCI had a ship so sorely lacking with respect to the rest of their fleet, they would change something immediately. Like it or not first impressions are important. My first impression (as well as MANY other first time NCL cruisers) was the Dream. Once that impression of NCL is made, it is very difficult for NCL to get me to consider NCL again over the other cruiselines that I know I enjoy.
You seem determined to defend NCL against any critism and are making claims that they are a great cruise line. As Penny said, everyone is welcome to make their own choices, if people didn't like variety, then there wouldn't be different product offerings. NCL fills that need. They provide the Freestyle cruising product for those who like that better than assigned dinning. Which is fine.
I question your read on the Apollo Management infusion of a billion dollars into NCL. You think it will make NCL a high quality product? But I read it as NCL/Star cruises current product has so many issues that they are losing money. Apollo has to come in an bail them out. I don't see CCL or RCCL needing outside companies to invest cash into them. When they need capital they can use their own credit ratings that were earned from ability to generate revenues and cash flow to build their own companies.
From that I can only assume that I'm not the only cruiser who doesn't like the freestyle product offered by NCL.
I would have to say every cruise line has a ship in it's fleet that has major problems...I was on the Dream and wouldn't sail on it again...it was an older ship that had been stretched...it didn't make it a better ship...BUT I've sailed on 6 more NCL ships and will leave in 2 weeks on another....so one bad ship does not make a BAD cruise line...and yes, Princess is great, RCL is great...each appeals to it's fan base....Let's all be happy that we have choices and can afford to cruise on whichever ship makes us smile...Happy Crusing to one and all...Peace for 2008...
Richard and Mary:
I agree with you that cruising is very subjective. Everyone has different personalities, attitudes, and expectations. I doubt you would find any ship, even a new NCL ship, where every passenger, 100%, came off the ship and said "That was the best cruise ever." With that being said, let me address some issues in your recent post to Jim C.
I don't care how old a ship is, or how cheap the cruise cost, there is absolutely no excuse for poor service or food quality. You expect to find ship wear and tear on an older ship. But there is no reason an old ship should have anything to do with whether a crew member can smile, and provide good service. It should have nothing to do with whether a chef can cook a great steak. The Norway was a much older ship than any of the ships you mentioned, and she had a very loyal following for a reason. As for the cheap cost telling you it won't be a good experience, not so. Even new ships can offer significantly discounted rates during hurricane and low season to attract passengers to fill the ships.
Penny has already addressed your misconception that the title "Cruise Guru" has anything to do with whether you have been on old ships, new ships, one cruise line, or all cruise lines. It is unfeasible to expect that anyone making a post on this website has been on every ship in the fleet of any cruise line. Just as it is unfeasible to believe that just because a person is Platinum Latitudes (not Lattitudes); that they would have the answer to every question concerning NCL. I wouldn't expect them to, as status in a loyalty club is not synonymous with expertise. That person could be at the low end of the level or the high end of the level, perhaps they gained extra points by sailing in suites, or on longer cruises. In some cases maybe they buy into that level.
I would like to address your comment that service on Princess has declined since the merger with Carnival. I always feel it is necessary to clarify statements like this. Many people are uneducated and believe it is Carnival Cruise Lines that owns Princess. They make negative comments against Carnival Cruise Lines based on one negative experience, they sailed on an old ship and not a new ship, or in many cases heresay; as many people who speak negative about Carnival Cruise Lines haven't even sailed on them. I will clarify it is Carnival Corporation and Plc that owns Princess. Since it is difficult to interpret sometimes what a person puts in writing, I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you were speaking of Carnival Corporation owning Princess. This being the case it really doesn't wash that service has declined since Carnival Corp. bought Princess. Carnival Corp. also owns luxury cruise lines Cunard and Seabourn, and you don't hear of declining service on these brands.
Apollo Management has been in the news a lot recently. I have read of the changes that NCL will be making under them. Apollo has also recently bought Regent and Oceania cruises. They are indeed a savvy investment company.
I will end with saying once again, what one person experiences another will not. It doesn't matter whether it is an old ship/new ship, it doesn't matter whether it's Princess/NCL/Carnival. Everyone's experience will be different based on their personality, attitude, and expectations. I am a certified CLIA Master Cruise Counsellor. But that doesn't make me the expert on every cruise line and every ship. I believe I keep an open mind about all cruise lines. When I make post on this website I use words like "usually it will be..., should be..., or may be...". Or I will explain my statement by saying "When I went this is how it was." I don't say it "absolutely will be". Making blanket statements like that are naive. What one person experiences one week on a ship can change on the next week. Policies change, crews change, many things can bring about change. I hope everyone can respect comments and opinions posted on this website without feeling they have to be perpetually right. After all, isn't that what this great country is all about? I wish everyone happy cruising.
Originally posted by LisaP:
Which ships are you considering, as that can make a difference as well.
I was thinking about N.Pearl or any of the newer class ships. I'm in the process of weighing itinearys and costs. I have school aged children and prefer to cruise in the fall. That being said, I have to consider the amount of days I would have to take them out of school. In the process of trying to plan a NCL cruise, Princess came to mind. I haven't done any research on Princess yet but I would prefer one of their newer class ships. I've already cruised Carnival (love them) and have booked a Disney Cruise for this year. Just wanted to venture out and try different cruiselines. Decisions, Decisions, Decisions. Thanks for the responses so far.
I was all ready not to reply any more on the cruise line subject & you had to go & mention Costa. Years ago we were on the Costa Riviera & thought it was terrible. Everything that could have gone wrong did - from the food to the entertainment to the cabins, service, etc. We haven't been back to Costa since. I seriously doubt if (in general) the all the Costa ships could be as bad since they would have been out of business long ago. In any event let us all know hoe the latest Costa measures up to Princess (which I'm most familiar with).