Carnival vs Other Cruise Lines

Updated on October 11, 2009
P.F. asks from Libertyville, IL
8 answers

We are trying to plan a cruise and the travel agent found us a great deal on a Carnival boat. We have never cruised on Carnival and really don't want to go now but the price is $2000 less than the other lines we usually go on. I asked the travel agent about it and she said they have changed and they are not the party dating scene they used to be. I don't know if I trust her or if she is trying to sell us a vacation. We are used to the customer service and atmosphere on Royal Carribean, Norwegian and Disney. Can anyone compare Carnival to one of the lines we know? We are considering a Disney one again just because we have always had fun on them. The customer service is second to none. We like good service, good food lots to do!

Edit: We are not necessarily looking for "family environment" our kids NEVER use the kids clubs just somewhere that isn't inappropriate for kids. We are more looking for high quality service. Thanks

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J.W.

answers from Chicago on

We did a carnival cruise 5 years ago and a Royal Carribean cruise 10 years ago. Compared to RC, Carnival was a dump. RC was really nice with great service, and Carnival was shabby and dirty with poor service. The cleaning lady on Carnival actually accused us of stealing a beach towel from the room, when she was the one who only gave us 3 towels instead of 4 in the first place. I would personally pay the extra money for the better accomodations and service. Good luck and have a great vacation!

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A.F.

answers from Chicago on

I have been on 5 Carnival cruises and there were ALWAYS tons of kiddos running around (last one I took was March 2005). I think it depends on the time of year -- school vacation times and holidays there are more kids. I have also been on a Princess ship but you didn't mention that line. All of the cruises I have been on, the service was great, the atmosphere was very comfortable, and though I was on the boat in 2005 with another young lady who WAS looking for a dating scene (I just wanted a vaca after finishing school)...we actually had to frequent the bars/clubs later in the evening for her to find a guy to hang with. I am sure Disney is going to be way more family oriented just given the nature...but is it worth 2000 bucks?Good luck!

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M.K.

answers from Chicago on

I'm not sure if you will consider this a fair comparison, since it's been so long since I've cruised. I was on a Carnival Cruise and on the QE2 in the late 90's, as well as a Disney Cruise in 2002. The Carnival Cruise was cheesy and cheap with so-so service -- but was significantly less expensive than Disney and QE2. Believe it or not, I thought the service on Disney was right on par with the QE2!! If I ever cruise again, I will never go back to Carnival. Disney was first-class, all the way. And the Disney ship was clean, clean, clean, clean!!! I cannot say that about Carnival. But, again...it's been over 10 years since I was on Carnival.

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L.K.

answers from Chicago on

We went on a Carnival cruise with our little one 3 years ago and there were a lot of things for us to do. The servers were so nice to our daughter. I would take the kids on Carnival again. There were a lot of younger people but I am sure that is due to the price difference. We had a great time and would go again.

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M.D.

answers from Chicago on

I have only been on the Carnival Pride (back in 2002 when it was the newest ship). I went w/ my parents, my brothers, my younger brother's girlfriend and my husband (we weren't married at the time, though). We had an absolute blast! There were tons of things for us to do. We had such a hard time trying to figure out which excursions to pick because we wanted to do them all.

I really didn't notice if there were more younger people or older people (I was 22 at the time). I did notice a lot of families though.

Food was great! Of course, my family was completely happy with the self serve soft serve ice cream machine...lol. I did not experience poor service or poor accomodations. In fact, my husband proposed to me during dinner one night and the matre d had actually spent the whole week to help him and my younger brother plan how and when they were going to do it.

Good Luck.

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J.G.

answers from Chicago on

We've cruised RC, Norw and carnival too. The service was comparable ie the courtesy and response of the staff. The food was good but not as good as the other 2.
I would say there are more group outings on carnival than couples and familie like the others. However, we're in our early 30's and there were more large groups celebrating
40 and 50th bdays partying than young kids and we were on a 3 day to bahamas. We did like it enough to go on another carnival cruise in a couple weeks. For 5 days this time.
So overall I think the other 2 are better cruise lines but we still had a good time and the price can't be beat.

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D.G.

answers from Atlanta on

P.,
I have a five year old son and in the last 12 months we have been on two cruises with him: Royal Carribean and Disney. You know Disney, so I won't comment on that, except to say that my very good friend just cruised with them (her 7th cruise with them, mind you) in August and really felt that they have diminished in terms of service. Check any boards with Disney to get plugged in to see if this may be a common perception among returning cruisers.

I cruised with Royal Carribean in March 2009 and I was very impressed. The food was terrific (service was spotty compared to Disney in Oct 2008) and the price was much cheaper. The most surprising part? The kids club was better on RCL than Disney. Unbelievable, I know, but it was my experience. I couldn't get my son out of the kids club. The kids club facilities weren't as nice as Disney, but the staff and activities were incredible. He got a lot of attention and brought many interesting projects back to the stateroom.

Carnival? I would go with your instinct. The agent is crazy if she thinks it's not the party scene. It is. They haven't changed. I wouldn't go on that line even if it were without my little guy. I would ask another agent in your area.

Good luck, and enjoy. We're planning another RCL cruise for Jan or Feb. to let you know how much we enjoyed it. Helps that it's a lot less than Disney-too. Then again, how can you beat Castaway Cay??

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M.A.

answers from Orlando on

We went on a Carnival cruise 2 years ago out of Galveston,my daughter was 4 at the time. She loved it! They had great stuff for the kids & I gave her the choice to eat with us or the kids each evening & she always chose the kids. They really do cater to children. Hope this helps!

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