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The "TPR Klassy Kruise" 2012 Update Thread!


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^I was trying to talk her into joining RCCL!

 

Actually, other than food/buffet/dining staff, most of the staff was quite decent. We had a very nice room steward, I believe Brendon was trying to convince him to go to Disney Cruise Line!

 

The 'Cruise Director Staff' is usually pretty annoying and some don't even speak very good English on other ships, but this ship they seemed to be all American's and very friendly and fun. The cruise director himself didn't seem so great or very 'cruise director' like, but apparently he's a substitute cruise director.

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I have been wanting to cruise for sometime now and after reading this, you have def helped me to go with RCCL or Disney as my first cruise! I'm a huge foodie and i'm pretty sure i would've survived off of banana's and alcohol on Carnival! It's kinda shameful that they allow this kind of "product" to be served (in both entertainment, activities and food) SMDH

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So this is not a matter of this particular Carnival ship being older and crappy? Certainly their newer ships are much nicer and have better food??

 

Personally, like many I like RCCL, but I have heard good things about the newer Carnival ships in terms of food compared to NCL. Perhaps I should not even consider any Carnival ships.

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^ Our group has collectively done 10-15 Carnival cruise ships of all different sizes and ages. The consistency for "mediocre" seems to be a common theme. The menus and operating procedures are fleet-wide, just like they are on all the other cruise lines.

 

As many people will try to convince us that "Oh, it's better on different ships", my advice to you would be just to avoid Carnival at all costs...unless of course you're a fan of Wal-Mart clientele and Golden Corral food....

 

--Robb "Some people think Applebees is fine dining!" Alvey

Edited by robbalvey
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My brother and his wife just had their honeymoon to the Caribbean on a Carnival ship, and they said while most of the food was Golden Corral quality, some of the "nicer" dinner options were good. And they were actually pleased with the service (from two people who are rather picky about things like food and service). Not sure which particular ship they were on, though. Either way, they didn't give it a glowing endorsement, although they had fun at all the islands they stopped at.

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So this is not a matter of this particular Carnival ship being older and crappy? Certainly their newer ships are much nicer and have better food??

 

Personally, like many I like RCCL, but I have heard good things about the newer Carnival ships in terms of food compared to NCL. Perhaps I should not even consider any Carnival ships.

 

I was on Carnival Conquest a few years ago and had a great time. With that said however I was aware it was not the perfect trip. I will agree that the food was a let down pretty much the entire week. My wife and I really were disappointed with the quality of everything and frankly the complete inability of our waiters in the main dining room to get an order right and out to us in a timely fashion. I wish I could say that I thought the review of the food being terrible was over the top and blown out of proportion, but honestly it was spot on. I did however enjoy the melted chocolate cake.

 

One of the things that did stand out for me on Conquest (as opposed to Monarch of the Seas) was how much nicer the stateroom was. However I can't fairly make that comparison because on Monarch I had an inside cabin, and on Conquest I had a balcony. However I've heard from others that Carnival does tend to have fairly decent rooms as compared to the other companies. Now I will say, that my opinion of Carnival is a little bit higher likely because about a week before the cruise I got a phone call asking me if I would be interested in changing my stateroom from an ocean view to a balcony. When I asked the cost, the guy on the phone said it was a free upgrade. Not sure why the upgrade fairy decided to show me some love, but that's a great way to start a trip!

 

I was thrilled with the staff on our cruise on Conquest. I found them to be friendly, several of them learned our names, and our room was always clean. The activity staff was friendly, not terribly over the top, and overall made for a fun week.

 

Where my problem with Carnival was personally was that it was lacking in elegance. I remember going for one of the formal dinners and was shocked at how many people changed into their "formal shorts and t-shirts" for dinner. I mean you could tell these people tried a little bit harder, but a clean T-shirt and shorts (as opposed to a bathing suit) isn't my idea of formal. I went with a suit (and was worried I would be underdressed not wearing a tux) and felt somewhat out of place wearing a jacket. I frankly left the formal nights with the feeling that this was catering to a lower class.

 

Overall I did enjoy my trip on Carnival Conquest, though it was not without complaints. As I've said in other places both my wife and I are very curious to see the difference when we sail on RCCL in a few weeks. We both have this feeling that after that cruise, our opinion of Carnival is going to take a bit of a hit.

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^ Which RCCL ship are you doing?

 

I will stand by that we did have "fun" on our Carnival ship, but we pretty much had to make it fun for ourselves. The experience has a whole was a huge let down, and we honestly all went into it thinking it wouldn't be as bad as it was.

 

I'm assuming Carnival has nicer staterooms because people spend more time in the rooms out of boredom?

 

I frankly left the formal nights with the feeling that this was catering to a lower class.

This is absolutely correct. You WILL see some "jeans and polo shirts" on the RCCL cruise as well, but you'll see a lot more shirt & ties and suits on the RCCL or DCL ships. That being said, they were actually not allowing people into the dining room on "elegant night" on our ship if they had shorts on. But many people were in jeans and t-shirts.

Edited by robbalvey
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The company's name is Carnival. So it's basically laying it out for you right there....sort of like traveling to Vegas and staying at Circus Circus. You pretty much know you're not going to get 5-Star accommodations and Michelin 3-Star dining.

 

Carnival exists because it can, and I'm okay with that. There's tiers to everything in life, and Carnival is generally the lowest tier on the ocean. It's only frustrating when some people try to proclaim it as a much better experience than what it really is. Some people enjoy low rent sailing, and that's fine......just don't pretend it's not....or that their track record for general operations is worthy of any true praise.

 

I'm glad TPR was able to take the bullet for us all, and showcase what it's generally all about.

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I was pretty unimpressed with the food I got on the RCCL Monarch of the Seas last July, and the service from our dinner waiter was absolutely pathetic. It was so bad from him alone that it basically ruined our dinner every night which is usually the highlight of the trip. The shrimp cocktail appetizer one night was seriously 5 shrimp that were smaller than my little finger and tasted like they had been bought frozen at a Walmart and defrosted on board. The state room we had on Royal Caribbean compared to the one we had previously that year with Carnival was much much smaller and less accommodating.

 

I've been on both Carnival and RCCL and found some good and bad with both ships, each line certainly had noticeable flaws. I don't have a terrible time on Carnival, but I would probably choose a different cruise line for any future trips. My cruise on RCCL didn't totally suck but I don't really have any desire to sail on the Monarch again.

 

I still wonder if the overall quality differs on a newer ship on a longer voyage. The RCCL cruise that I was fairly unimpressed with a 3 day Bahamas cruise on one of their older ships, and I'm sure that experience isn't the same experience you would get on a 7 day on the Oasis of the seas. In theory the quality and service should be consistent across the fleet, but I have to think that RCCL and Carnival would both assign some of the more "talented" waiters, cruise directors, entertainers, and staff members to the nicer newer ships and longer sailing. When I worked at Disney they would assign some of the better CM's to the newest attractions to be a part of those opening teams, isn't that kind of the same thing? There service at California Grill is probably a lot better than Rose and Crown.

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I was pretty unimpressed with the food I got on the RCCL Monarch of the Seas last July, and the service from our dinner waiter was absolutely pathetic. It was so bad from him alone that it basically ruined our dinner every night which is usually the highlight of the trip. The shrimp cocktail appetizer one night was seriously 5 shrimp that were smaller than my little finger and tasted like they had been bought frozen at a Walmart and defrosted on board. The state room we had on Royal Caribbean compared to the one we had previously that year with Carnival was much much smaller and less accommodating.

 

I've been on both Carnival and RCCL and found some good and bad with both ships, each line certainly had noticeable flaws. I don't have a terrible time on Carnival, but I would probably choose a different cruise line for any future trips. My cruise on RCCL didn't totally suck but I don't really have any desire to sail on the Monarch again.

 

I still wonder if the overall quality differs on a newer ship on a longer voyage. The RCCL cruise that I was fairly unimpressed with a 3 day Bahamas cruise on one of their older ships, and I'm sure that experience isn't the same experience you would get on a 7 day on the Oasis of the seas. In theory the quality and service should be consistent across the fleet, but I have to think that RCCL and Carnival would both assign some of the more "talented" waiters, cruise directors, entertainers, and staff members to the nicer newer ships and longer sailing. When I worked at Disney they would assign some of the better CM's to the newest attractions to be a part of those opening teams, isn't that kind of the same thing? There service at California Grill is probably a lot better than Rose and Crown.

I hear you, but we've sailed at least 10 RCCL ships ranging from their 90,000 tonne ships to 225,000 tonne and the quality of food, level of service, and entertainment was consistent on all of the ships.

 

Our group has also done the same with Carnival and found the same applies (This was Elissa's 4th Carnival cruise).

 

While I agree that the bigger, newer ships will offer more to do and be more impressive, there is no excuse for the level of quality to be so drastically different between the two. Your Rose & Crown versus California Grill comparison makes a lot of sense, and I've been to both of those restaurants, even though they are a different level of dining, the consistent Disney quality is still there. Even staying at a "value" Disney resort, you still get a level of quality you would expect from "Disney", and that's the kind of consistency I'm talking about.

 

It's possible that you either just had an "off" visit on an RCCL ship, or perhaps the line just isn't for you. Perhaps try a different ship, or something like DCL or NCL next time?

 

--Robb

Edited by robbalvey
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^ Our group has collectively done 10-15 Carnival cruise ships of all different sizes and ages. The consistency for "mediocre" seems to be a common theme. The menus and operating procedures are fleet-wide, just like they are on all the other cruise lines.

 

As many people will try to convince us that "Oh, it's better on different ships", my advice to you would be just to avoid Carnival at all costs...unless of course you're a fan of Wal-Mart clientele and Golden Corral food....

 

--Robb "Some people think Applebees is fine dining!" Alvey

 

Thanks for the advice. A floating amalgam of Golden Corral and Wal-Mart sounds even worse than Speed 2.

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While I agree that the bigger, newer ships will offer more to do and be more impressive, there is no excuse for the level of quality to be so drastically different between the two. Your Rose & Crown versus California Grill comparison makes a lot of sense, and I've been to both of those restaurants, even though they are a different level of dining, the consistent Disney quality is still there. Even staying at a "value" Disney resort, you still get a level of quality you would expect from "Disney", and that's the kind of consistency I'm talking about.

 

It's possible that you either just had an "off" visit on an RCCL ship, or perhaps the line just isn't for you. Perhaps try a different ship, or something like DCL or NCL next time?

--Robb

 

Your right, my RCCL trip must have just been a really "off" visit because I've read nothing but glowing reviews about RCCL from you and Elissa and other people over whose judgement and opinions I generally respect and admire. I guess a better comparison might have been something like Six Flags America compared to Six Flags over Georgia. A trip to SFA might ruin your opinion of the Six Flags chain even though while the level of quality of the attractions, food, atmosphere etc is fairly consistent chain wide there are clearly other parks in the chain that are far and away better than SFA. At the same time as good as the best Six Flags parks might be they still aren't quite on the same level of quality as Disney and Busch parks.

 

The best Carnival Cruise is probably still not as good as the worst Disney or RCCL cruise.

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^We're working on a fun TPR Cruise in 2013...on Royal Caribbean!

 

The problem is only 3 weeks of vacation and you offer too many great trips each year! If I can get them spaced out far enough maybe I can sneak in a 4th week!

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I have only been on one cruise, and that was RCCL's Monarch Of The Seas. We were staying in a Grand Suite and it was more than adequate for the 4 night cruise. The food was actually decent in the buffet and the main dining room was nice. Our waiter was very attentive and nice, anything we asked for we got. There was no slouch in service whatsoever throughout the whole crew.

 

Compared to this Carnival trash, the Monarch Of The Seas seems more like a 5-Star resort now... Never will I ever be going on Carnival Cruise Lines.

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I'm so glad I went with RCCL for my first cruise. My wife and I took our honeymoon on Freedom of the Seas (only a week after the TPR cruise on Freedom). We loved it, and definitely want to go on a cruise again. I didn't know anything about the lines, so I needed all the help I could get. Thanks to you guys, I pretty much knew my best choice would be anything but Carnival. I considered NCL for a bit, but as soon as I saw the glowing RCCL reviews I knew that was what we wanted.

 

And now my suspicions about Carnival are completely confirmed! I hope you left comment cards, I would pay to see those!

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