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The Cruise Ship and Cruise Line Discussion Thread!

P. 131: Disney Wish "Grand Hall" details teased!

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In honor of Robb's amazing 40th birthday cruise and because we have quite a few members on here who are into cruising, I thought I would put together an official TPR "Cruise" thread! The Cruise Experience and Theme Park Experience are very complimentary and in many ways similar - heck most of the newer ships are catering to the thrill seeker in the attractions they offer.

 

This is a great time to be into cruising with many new and innovative ships around the corner. The Carnival Dream sailed just a few months ago, the worlds largest ship - Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the seas hit the seas in December and the Norwegian Epic with its huge AquaPark will sail out of Miami in June. And of course don't forget the Disney Dream which is coming in early 2011 with the worlds first Water Coaster at sea!

 

I will post regular updates with any interesting news in the cruise industry and I invite you all to as well. This will also be a great place to post questions about cruising that you might have or questions about individual ships. Also if you have a short "cruise only" TR that might work best here - feel free to post it as well.

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The Disney Dream - it will have many "never seen before" features including the first Water Coaster at sea!

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The Norwegian Epic - Taking freestyle cruising to a new level

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The Oasis of the Seas - the largest cruise ship in the WORLD.

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The Carnival Dream - Carnivals Largest "fun" Ship

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Source I really like this idea. My wife and I have always wanted to try a cruise mainly to relax and for the food. Feels almost like a starter pack for people who aren't too sure about the cost o

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The Norwegian Epic!

 

I decided to post about this ship first since it has received the least amount of press of all the new builds but has some of the most innovative features. This ship will begin sailing in June 2010 out of Miami and will do 7 day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. Size wise it will be 153,000 gross tons which puts it just below the Freedom Class of Royal Caribbean Ships - still huge, but not competing for largest in the world!

 

For those of you who have not sailed Norwegian before, what makes them unique is their freestyle concept. They ONLY offer anytime dining and have more specialty (i.e. upcharge) restaurants than any other line. They also have more 24hour a day options for night owls. This is going to be in place on the Epic with MORE dining options than ever before - 15 that have been announced so far! It will feature everything from a dining and dancing area called "The Manhattan Room" to the largest Tepanyaki area at sea. It will also have a "cirque"-like show in its Spiegel Tent where you will watch a show while you dine. It will still have dining options that are included with the fare price but more are upcharges than ever which is sure to anger some customers.

 

The Epic is taking freestyle to the next level with Freestyle Entertainment. On a traditional ship you have a main show room and the acts rotate each night. On the Epic you will get tickets for the acts you are interested in and rotate showrooms! They also have "name" acts which is a bit of a change - Blue Man Group, Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos, Legends in Concert and Second City Improv will all be calling the ship home.

 

Nightlife has always shined on Norwegian - they cater to a younger crowd but not in a trashy "Carnival" way. Think more south beach than keg party. The Epic will have everything from an Ice Bar to an Ibiza style outdoor club and a white hot south beach inspired outside area. It will also have an exclusive ultra-lounge and a fancy Jazz Club.

 

Families will have entertainment options as well with a 3 lane bowling alley and a waterpark at sea called "AquaPark" which will have a bowl slide and another that twists and turns as it goes three stories down.

 

Staterooms will also have some new twists as you can see by the pictures below. Not sure how I feel about the shower that is almost *in* the room but I like the boutique hotel feel of the staterooms.

 

Norwegian has already said that the Epic will be a "One-of-a-kind" ship due to the cost and their current financial condition. Rates are very cheap for some of its maiden voyages and it will be interesting to see if it will sink NCL or keep it afloat. While I am not the biggest NCL fan - they do some things very well and this ship should cater perfectly to their core audience.

 

On to some pictures!

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And the Aqua Park!

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Love the look of this outside stateroom - feels like a high end boutique hotel.

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Inside stateroom - take a close look at the shower area in the back right. Weird huh?

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Posh - a South Beach inspired club.

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This is the outside SpiceH20 club at night. It will be like a hot night club in Ibiza.

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Ice Bar at sea... Cool!

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This is the Epic Theater where the Blue Man Group will perform.

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Dining with a cirque-style show taking place around you? Count me in!

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La Cucina will be tuscan style Italian in a beautiful setting.

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Teppanyaki dining is VERY fun at sea.

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The Manhattan Club is one of the main (read FREE) dining rooms. It will have ballroom dancing during dinner.

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Not a very attractive ship - the area up top which looks out of place is where some of their spa staterooms are. Think Concierge area.

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Thanks for starting up this thread Reed! Very excited to talk 'cruise' with a bunch of our members.

 

I agree that the Norweigian Epic looks 'interesting' I just don't like the 'freesytle concept' enough to book on NCL right now. I don't mind the extra pay for restaurants like so many people complain about but I do just like my wait staff to get to know me and my crazy eating habits!

 

The waterslides look great, I hope they can open at sea. I've heard that some of these bigger water slides have a lot of down time because it has to be VERY calm for them to open them up.

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Wow! I had no idea the NCL ship had all those different things going on. I'm not really as big of a fan of the "Freestyle Cruising" either, but that ship does look a lot more interesting than the new Carnival ship.

 

While I think that of all the new ships that have come along the Oasis appeals to me the most, but I'd think I'd be willing to give the Epic a try over the Carnival Dream.

 

It is interesting to see how many "theme park" like features these ships are including from things like carousels, zip lines, water park attractions, water coasters, cirque shows to the Blue Man Group.

 

How much longer until one of them gets a coaster?

 

--Robb

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It is interesting to see how many "theme park" like features these ships are including from things like carousels, zip lines, water park attractions, water coasters, cirque shows to the Blue Man Group.

 

How much longer until one of them gets a coaster?

 

I could picture a "Mountain Coaster" being installed on one of these. It'd be pretty sweet if they could send it out over the side like the Disney slide will do.

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Wow! I had no idea the NCL ship had all those different things going on. I'm not really as big of a fan of the "Freestyle Cruising" either, but that ship does look a lot more interesting than the new Carnival ship.

 

WTH is Freestyle Cruising???

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^It basically means you don't have a set dinner time like most traditional cruises. Almost all other ships have a Main and Late Seating; 6 and 8:30pm. Most of those traditional ships have now also started adding a flexible dining where you can make a reservation for anytime between 6 and 8:30.

 

On NCL it's ONLY flexible dining, which can often result in long waits and denial in getting into some restaurants if you didn't think ahead of time exactly what you want to do and make reservations for every day.

 

I agree with Robb, the Carnival Dream really is nothing special, just a slightly bigger version of their previous largest ship. Plus it's been getting some pretty bad reviews as opposed to Oasis' glowing reviews!

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I really like having a set dining time and the same waiter, they really get to know you and it is one of the moments while cruising that I really look forward to. They seem like family for the time that you are on the ship. I really don't think "Freestyle Cruising" will appeal to me either.

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I can offer this advice:

 

First time cruisers will usually pick Carnival or Royal Caribbean for their cruise line. Having been on both (Carnival Paradise & R.C. Explorer of the Seas), I can say that you will not have a bad time or experience on either, but the Royal Caribbean ships are so much more opulent and luxurious even when compared against Carnival's magnificent ships that I do not ever see myself cruising on any line but R.C. again.

 

Thankfully, we took a Carnival cruise before we took a Royal Caribbean. Had it been the other way around, we probably would have been mildly disappointed with the ship.

 

So if you are on the fence about cruise line, do yourself a favor and go with Royal Caribbean.

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I've only been on 2 cruises. I was on the Disney Magic in 1998, and the Golden Princess in 2001. I am well overdue for another one. I like Princess cruises. That cruise in 2001 was a blast.

 

Disney Magic:

 

Golden Princess:

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^ We did the Grand Princess which is a sister ship to the Golden. I liked Princess and the ship, but I felt that "sky walk" thing on the back of the ship was probably one of the biggest wastes of money.

 

Out of the four cruise lines I've been on, I'd rank Princess 2nd over RCCL.

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Ha, if anything it looks like a spoiler on a top fuel dragster. Yeah, I remember going up there before we set sail and thinking to myself that it was a lot less than I had expected. I was only 12 at the time, so I wasn't allowed up there once we set sail and operations began, but I'm sure I wasn't really missing anything.

 

I remember having to cut through the casino to get to the movie theatre, and being only 12, I thought I was so cool walking through there.

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I have been thinking so much about cruises lately! A few years ago I went on Freedom of the Seas and it was one of the best vacations I have ever been on! We did a Western Caribbean itinerary and I loved the ports and the activities. I was just talking with my friends last night about how much fun that cruise was and for 2 people sharing an inside cabin in April the cost was 1100 per person, not too bad!

 

I completely agree about the freestyle dining. Dinner is one of the best parts of the cruise! I love that my waiter knows me and has a Diet Coke and a giant basket of bread waiting for me each night. I also think it is fun getting to know the other people at your table.

 

I have done 3+ of each Carnival and Royal Caribbean out of LA and I liked them both. I know Carnival has a reputation for being "trashy" but I have always had just as good a time on that line and felt it was still high caliber.

 

I am totally down with trying out Oasis in the next couple of years.

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While I agree that Freestyle dining on NCL has its downsides (lower level of service, they don't remember preferences, etc) having the greater selection of locations to choose from *almost* makes up for it. We have been talking about giving NCL another try - perhaps on the Epic. As long as you go in with slightly lower expectations you will be fine. The things they do well - branding, club/vegas-like atmosphere, choices of activities - they have down to a science.

 

I am a little worried about the sustainability of their business though - there are 7 days on Epic this fall going for $599pp which is UNHEARD of for a newbuild ship.

 

My ranking on lines we have been on...

1) DCL

2) Cunard

3) Princess

4) Azamara / Celeberty

4) RCCL

5) NCL

6) Carnival

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I went with Carnival last year (Sensation) and had a great time. Granted, it was my first cruise and I didn't know what to expect, but it was a lot of fun. I think the worst part was that the hot tubs were always filled with pre teens and my girlfriend and I never got a chance to use them. (We could have used the adult area ones, but being in our early 20s (older than 21 still), we felt young and out of place there).

 

They offered the best value at the time we booked, and we got pretty much got more than we expected with the value.

 

Next time we want to try a Royal Caribbean, or even that Epic looks pretty sweet.

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^If you had the money, would you live on The World? It sounds like they would have sufficient facilities for you to still run TPR while living on the ship.

 

I would never. Here is why, 1. You have to buy the room which is your own house so you would basically never go on any other ship. 2. It seems a little boring to me as there's no real appeal to it besides the places it goes to. 3. I love the cruising atmosphere and all the activities you can do aboard a real cruise ship. 4. They even say it's a ghost town sometimes and I would hate that!

 

I also think this is a great thread as I absolutely love cruises! I am a huge RCCL fanatic and I only want to go on their ships although I might give the Epic a try in the future when I'm on my own. So far I have been on the Disney Wonder, Navigator of the Seas, & Freedom of the Seas and we LOVED all of them although the RCCL one's were our favorite. Here's my experiences.

 

Disney Wonder:

A great ship and at the time I was quite young, about 9 or 10 and I thought it was awesome! There private island was really nice as far as I can remember and had the characters walking around in special costumes. I have a picture of Mickey and myself with the ship in the background! I think my absolute two favorite things on the ship were the slide and the dining room that changed colors throughout the night.

 

Navigator of the Seas:

A spectacular ship. I was about 10 at the time and we were on the ship when it was new. When I stepped on board I couldn't believe my eyes and at that time I think I began to realize I was a cruise ship lover. I can't explain in words how I felt all week long on the ship and I honestly did not want to get off in the end. RCCL also runs an awesome program for kids. I went every day and it was so much fun! I got to meet new friends and one night I remember we won a "challenge" and we got to push one of the "teachers" in the pool late a night :-P I loved everything and I don't have anything negative to say about the ship.

Freedom of the Seas:

Now I was older when we went on this ship back in 2006 when it was brand new. I knew a lot about this ship as I had been following the ship forever! This ship was probably the best you could go on before Oasis was introduced. I had a blast on this one and I was never board. The flowriders were great and I loved the Aqua Zone! I am still not an "adult" but I got to see the adult only whirlpools "hanging" over the ship and I wanted to go in so bad as they looked awesome! Great service overall and was very clean.

 

I defiantly recommend going on a larger ship though. If you have the money to even go on a ship I would save up even more to go on a larger one because 1. You will feel the ship rocking way less. 2. There are more activities ex. RCCL's larger ships have the flowriders, Aqua Zone, etc... I also disagree to all the people out there who say they don't want to go on large ships because there are too many people. Here is the simple thing to understand, they have more rooms yeah, and they ALSO have more space! I never had a problem on Freedom of the Seas with it being "crowded."

 

I truly love cruising and if the fear of sinking or something is stopping you from making a reservation then do not let it! Trust me you will NOT sink! I am a nervous wreck a lot of the time but since I have been on one I have no fear of them. If you go on Oasis of the Seas you will most likely not feel the waves at all as there has been reports that when it was coming to North America through a winter storm with 30 foot swells (that only happens in the winter in the North Atlantic ocean) workers could barely feel a thing!

 

Also if anyone is lucky enough to go on Oasis tell us all about it! My mom also loves cruises and RCCL and is saving up to go on it for next year!

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Cruises are one of the best things you can do in a lifetime imo. Although they can be quite pricey, they are definitely worth it.

 

I'm just wondering how long it'll be until there's a coaster on one of these floating hotels.

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Have any of you been on one of the NCL ships with the bowling alleys? Just wondering how reserving it works, or if it's a free for all, etc.

 

I think your post has changed my mind a bit Reed, I may reconsider and try NCL, I suppose if we could get a few of us together and try to get one of their insane suites they seem to have the best 'suite perks' of all the major lines it could be a lot of fun!

 

And the new ship is going for $599!!??! That's insane. Oasis doesn't get to what I consider 'normal' prices till Summer 2011!!!!

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I've only been on 2 DCL cruises, and one RCCL. We found that both had their pros and cons, but I think I actually give RCCL the edge, for what is important to us, value and overall experience.

 

On our second DCL cruise, we already were getting a "been there, done that" feeling. I don't feel we've even scratched the surface of what RCCL has to offer.

 

DCL gets the edge for children's services. No surprise, there, but RCCL's is good, too. It just pales, a bit, in comparison to Disney.

 

I don't know if we'll consider other cruise lines, until the kids are older and we can go on our own. DCL and RCCL seem to be the best family lines.

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I would never. Here is why, 1. You have to buy the room which is your own house so you would basically never go on any other ship. 2. It seems a little boring to me as there's no real appeal to it besides the places it goes to. 3. I love the cruising atmosphere and all the activities you can do aboard a real cruise ship. 4. They even say it's a ghost town sometimes and I would hate that!

 

You don't have to buy. They also rent. And people rich enough to live on that boat certainly could cruise on another boat if they wanted to.

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DCL gets the edge for children's services. No surprise, there, but RCCL's is good, too. It just pales, a bit, in comparison to Disney.

 

Being DINKs - one of the things we love about DCL is the lack of kids running around. You see them for the main shows but if you have the late dinner that is really the only time! You do pay a premium price for DCL but if you figure in the extras (free soda...woo-hoo!) and the quality of the service to me it is worth it...but I am fully aware it is not for everyone.

 

I think your post has changed my mind a bit Reed, I may reconsider and try NCL, I suppose if we could get a few of us together and try to get one of their insane suites they seem to have the best 'suite perks' of all the major lines it could be a lot of fun!

 

The Epic does have some amazing suites. The lowest suite prices are around $2300 next fall. Check out some of these pics of what their suites look like. Plus you get access to the special courtyard, pool and lounge. Lets book it before NCL goes out of business

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And a private concierge lounge with receptions, etc.

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With a suite you get access to this private courtyard area, pool and spa.

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OMG. This is seriously the most amazing setup EVER on a ship.

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I feel like this bed should rotate! ;)

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