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Old 03-27-2005, 09:31 AM   #1
Mickeyhugger
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Just returned from Carnival Glory..can't wait to sail DCL again!

We finally did it. Sailed on a cruise other than DCL.

I'll try to be brief, as I know there are many other comparisons on these boards, and hope some of my info is helpful to anyone still wondering if they should try Carnival.
We did the 7-day Eastern Caribbean. Similar itinerary to DCL, but no CC . It did include a half-day in Nassau. (Which I loved, as I love to shop, and this was another hidden treasure.) Our stateroom (window, no balcony) was great. I think it actually had MORE storage space. The rooms also included bathrobes (two) and had a 1250 watt blow-dryer already conveniently plugged in an outlet in a drawer. The mini-refrigerator was actually a refrigerator! If we ever sail Carnival again, we won't need to bring our own toothpaste, disposable razors, body wash and dental floss. These are included with the other amenities (shampoo, conditioner and body lotion.) The room also has a full-length mirror (did DCL? can't remember.) The corridors are wider too.
As for the food.. we thought the pizza (24-hour in fact!) was MUCH better than Disney's! Many days I didn't even try the lunch buffet because I was so hooked on their pizza. They had 4 or 5 varieties as well. DH spent almost every lunch at the seafood buffet (deck 10) indulging in the fried oysters and chips. (I helped him out with that too!) The lunch buffets each day also included an oriental buffet and a deli. The ice cream station on deck 9 had ice cream AND frozen yogurt. (Did not, however, have the chocolate syrup, m&m's, and other toppings as Disney does. There were also no cookies. We thought the food in the dining rooms was SUPERB. The chateaubriand w/bearnnaise was our favorite. Also, the Glory had more midnight buffets. (Not that we ate at any. We were too full. ) The dinner seatings were 5:45 and 8:00 in the platinum dining room, and 6:00 and 8:30 in the golden.
Lobby and promenade level had great shops. Clothes for women were available for purchase for formal night! The prices are actually reasonable too. Not more than what one would pay in a department store. What a great 'fall-back' when the unfathomable happens (airlines losing luggage.) They also had tux-rentals for men. The lines for photos didn't seem as long either. We usually had no more than two families ahead of us. (Had late dinner seating.) We also LOVED Carnival's formal night! For those of you who love to dress up, this is really the place to be, as almost everyone does. It might have been because it was spring break, and there were tons of teenagers in formals. It really added to the fun and ambiance. I can't comment on Camp Carnival, as DD did not go.
Now, for the 'down' side. The layout of the ship was very confusing. We spoke with other families who'd done other CCL's, and they said that the other ships are better designed. The Glory had 'split' levels. For example, to get from 3 aft to 3 fwd, you had to venture up to level 5 midship, and go back down. (You'd have to be there to see!) There was an overpowering sewage smell towards the back of the ship. (I'd have hated having a room in that area.) It was even worse when we debarked in St. Maarten. The employees are not as knowledgeable either. I think the cross-utilization on DCL must be much better. Whenever we ask a DCL CM a question, they get help right away if they don't know (which they usually do!). Forget it on this ship. If they didn't know, it stopped there. They WERE nice, but very uninformed. (I know too, the language barrier is part of it.) Saving the very worst for last, the check-in and debarkation process is an absolute nightmare! And for those of you who complain about having to rise early on DCL for clearing immigration in St. Thomas, stop now! It took 2 1/2 hours (yes, you read that right) on Carnival. We were late arriving, (docked at 10 am) and did not set foot off the ship until 12:40. They do 'random floors,' so you sit in your stateroom wondering if your floor will be called next. (You know how DCL informs everyone well in advance to go to the Walt Disney theatre for immigration?) No one knows where to go until the ship docks. (When we asked the night before, an employee told us they 'don't know where immigration will be conducted, as it changes with every cruise.' ) Once you DO learn where it is, you go through two lines before you clear. So, arriving at 10, waiting for our floor to be called, trying to figure how to get to midship level 5, (split-levels, remember) enduring two lines to clear, and then being advised to be back at 5:30 ship time, not St. Thomas time, makes or made for a very short day in St. Thomas. (St. Thomas closes all of their in-town shops at 5, so even though we finally got off at 12:40, it was actually 1:40 St. Thomas time, which gave us 3 hours and 20 minutes to go to Megan's bay, and shop.) That experience alone was enough to make me never want to sail Carnival again. (At that time, anyway, LOL!) There's too much more to remember now, and I'll answer any questions.
Overall, despite the negative experiences listed above, we still had a GREAT time. The first day and a half, I was moping because I kept wanting to be on DCL (I almost cried when I saw the DCL CM's at the airport. Even DH said, "I want to go get on that Disney bus.") Also, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. We heard the DCL horn before they left. It was awful! I thought I was going to lose it. My lip began to quiver and my eyes glassed over. However, once we began sailing we all really began enjoying ourselves. I very soon accepted that no other cruise line (IMHO) will ever top DCL. There's no comparison. But I agree now with others who have posted that one can still enjoy other cruises as well, if DCL is too expensive. (This was 2000.00 less for our family of three!) I can definitely see how Canival is a great family cruise for people with teenagers. There seemed to be more to do. (Others may think differently. I don't have a teenager yet.) Yes, I'd do Carnival again, but we still prefer DCL.
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Old 03-27-2005, 09:38 AM   #2
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I really enjoyed your trip report, and comparisons. I have been on 3 DCL Magic's, but yet to have sailed with another line... We were actually discussing the differences in pricing, and such recently... I do not think at my dd6 and ds9's ages, it would be the right time to change... If it is not broken, don't fix it, right?

There was not a full length mirror, but 3/4 anyway, right near the bed, on the way to the washroom..

I can not imagine hearing the horn, but not being there... I listen to the horn all day on my computer!

Glad all went well, and now you know your personal preference...
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Old 03-27-2005, 11:44 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickeyhugger
But I agree now with others who have posted that one can still enjoy other cruises as well, if DCL is too expensive. (This was 2000.00 less for our family of three!) I can definitely see how Canival is a great family cruise for people with teenagers. There seemed to be more to do. (Others may think differently. I don't have a teenager yet.) Yes, I'd do Carnival again, but we still prefer DCL.
Glad to hear that for the most part you enjoyed your Carnival cruise. We went on our first cruise last summer (just a 3 nighter) on DCL, and wanted to try a 7 night. Because DCL will be on the west coast, we decided to try another cruiseline. We chose the Carnival Miracle and I will be making my final payment at the end of this week. The price couldn't be beat ($5000 total for two rooms with balconies, mid-June 2005 with 2 people per room) and it is a brand new ship. We have friends that sailed the Miracle the first month that it was sailing and loved it. My kids are practically adults (17 & 20) and both of them feel that Carnival will have a lot to offer for their age groups. I'll admit, that I'm excited about this cruise, but I know I will be making comparisons to Disney the entire time...and I'll be missing seeing Mickey!
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Old 03-27-2005, 01:45 PM   #4
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Wow, great comparisons. Thank you for taking the time to post this very informative post! I am always curious about other cruise lines, this was very helpful. I am glad you still had a good time, in spite of the quivering lower lip and glassed over eyes!
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Old 03-27-2005, 02:30 PM   #5
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Very Interesting!

Although we are not planning to try another cruise line in the very near future, we do subscribe to Cruise Travel. This month's issue included a full review of the Carnival Glory. The articles are never to critical, so it was interesting to see a "real life" point of view.

If anyone wants a copy of the aricle, PM me with your address and I will send it to you.

P.S. I find it fascinating to read about ships after I have actually seen them in port. For example, I dug out an issue from last year to read about the QM2, which was tendered in St. Maarten when we were on the Magic in January. It is a very fun magazine if you are into cruising. Just FYI
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Old 03-27-2005, 10:25 PM   #6
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We were on the Magic last week on the Eastern run and were mighty impressed with the Glory - we've sailed Carnival before and were impressed with their food and activities. Sorry to hear about the St. Thomas snafu - at least did you get to dock at Havensight? We were out at Crown Bay with the Zaandam, not where you want to be. At St. Martin the QM2 pulled in after us and was at anchorage for the day - beautiful ship (as is the Magic). But the best ship we saw all week was the Monarch of the Seas - when we do our next cruise in a couple years we'll probably sail on one of the RCCL Voyager class ships in order to have enough activities for our kids - they were bored by the 3rd sea day on the Magic (DS11 and DD9).
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Old 03-28-2005, 06:38 AM   #7
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Well, my first cruise was on the Carnival Fascination. Not as big as DCL. My first cruise on DCL isn't until May '06, so I can't do any comparisons yet but I can tell you about Carnival. It was THE SMOOTHEST ship I've ever been on. I kept leaning over to my husband while we watched the stage show saying, "I can't believe we're on a cruise ship". I never felt the ship move. We even had to turn around when we docked in Nassau and never even felt it. I'm hoping DCL is the same. I've heard horror stories about the swaying. Anyway, I was not impressed with the food. It was good, but the portions were small. I'm not one of those people who goes to a restaurant looking for the most food either. There was plenty to do on the cruise, too. I can't comment on the kids programs, as hubby took me alone for my 40th!!! What a guy! When we were docked in Nassau, the Explorer of the Sea was there. OMG!!! Talk about dwarfting anything else in the dock. It was enormous. I would love to cruise on that some day. I will miss not having a casino on board the Magic. Although, it may save me some money. All in all, for my first cruise it was great. That's what got me hooked and ready to try DCL with the kids. So, I have to wait until May '06 to compare, but I would cruise Carnival or another cruiseline especially if the price is right.

Just wanted to put my 2 cents in.

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Old 03-28-2005, 08:07 AM   #8
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We sailed the Glory last July and found embarkment easier than DCL, and we carry off our luggage and we off the ship and to our car is about 15 minutes.

Also in St. Thomas, we we waited maybe 20 minutes to clear customs and were actually off the ship 20 minutes before the schedules disembarkment time. I think alot of that has to do with the number of ships in port, which then effects the number of customs personnel are available. When we went there were 3 ships in port, and we were the last a arrive. The biggest part of the 20 minute wait, was waiting for the customs folks to get set up. (We has an early excursion with Godfrey, so got to go through the line before they called floors).
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Old 03-28-2005, 09:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiggerInNY
Well, my first cruise was on the Carnival Fascination. Not as big as DCL. My first cruise on DCL isn't until May '06, so I can't do any comparisons yet but I can tell you about Carnival. It was THE SMOOTHEST ship I've ever been on. I kept leaning over to my husband while we watched the stage show saying, "I can't believe we're on a cruise ship". I never felt the ship move. We even had to turn around when we docked in Nassau and never even felt it. I'm hoping DCL is the same. I've heard horror stories about the swaying. Anyway, I was not impressed with the food. It was good, but the portions were small. I'm not one of those people who goes to a restaurant looking for the most food either. There was plenty to do on the cruise, too. I can't comment on the kids programs, as hubby took me alone for my 40th!!! What a guy! When we were docked in Nassau, the Explorer of the Sea was there. OMG!!! Talk about dwarfting anything else in the dock. It was enormous. I would love to cruise on that some day. I will miss not having a casino on board the Magic. Although, it may save me some money. All in all, for my first cruise it was great. That's what got me hooked and ready to try DCL with the kids. So, I have to wait until May '06 to compare, but I would cruise Carnival or another cruiseline especially if the price is right.
We did the Ecstasy in 2000 - same class or slightly larger than the Fascination, but baby bottom smooth on the way to Nassau and back. Last week on the Magic Eastern we had smooth seas (4-8 foot swells at most - that's pretty minimal), but we definitely felt the rocking much more than on Carnival. You do get used to it pretty quick, and then it's kind of fun. If you're doing an Eastern then you'll want to get used to the motion because any sort of water excursion (especially at St. Thomas) will take you thru some choppy water on small boats. It's a blast!
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Old 03-28-2005, 09:30 AM   #10
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My 14yo son just returned from a week on the Carnival Miracle with a friend's family yesterday. He had a great time! We've sailed DCL twice and were curious on his comparisons. In short, he felt that my DH and I would enjoy it and the teens had alot of fun, but he didn't think my DD's ages 11 and 6 would. He didn't elaborate. He thought DCL had better shows and more activities for kids. I asked him about the food, and he thought it was about the same, but he like Carnival's 24 hr. pizza. He got in late last night, so hopefully I'll hear more today. He made alot of friends on the cruise. Because of spring break, there were lots of teens and young adults there.
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Old 03-28-2005, 09:57 AM   #11
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My DD16 took a Carnival cruise with a friend's family last year to Bermuda out of NYC. Now she had been on 10 DCL cruises so she was very excited to compare ships. She really enjoyed her Carnival cruise...said food was good and there were plenty of things to do. She did not come right and say one was better than the other...I think she felt they had their own special qualities.

We have the Carnival Legend booked for a family reunion cruise this June out of NYC to the Caribbean....50 people booked and my other two, DS20 and DD21 will be anxious to sail on another ship other than Disney. I love DCL the best, but would most certainly sail other lines (and have done so) and have enjoyed myself on all my cruises....
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Old 03-28-2005, 10:37 AM   #12
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I keep hearing mention on the "Voyager class ships". All I can say is run, do not walk and DO IT! It was, by far, the best cruise we have been on. The ships are amazing and beyond compare and there is soooo much to do. We haven't utilized the kids programs (and I hear the hours at sea are chopped up, yuck), but if I could recommend one cruise/ship to someone, this would be first (and there is not a close second)

My humble opinion....
That said....Any cruise is a great cruise....sign me up!!!
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Old 03-28-2005, 12:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennat
I keep hearing mention on the "Voyager class ships". All I can say is run, do not walk and DO IT! It was, by far, the best cruise we have been on. The ships are amazing and beyond compare and there is soooo much to do. We haven't utilized the kids programs (and I hear the hours at sea are chopped up, yuck), but if I could recommend one cruise/ship to someone, this would be first (and there is not a close second)

My humble opinion....
That said....Any cruise is a great cruise....sign me up!!!
______________________________________________

Thanks for the info! We've been interested in RCCL as well.

Don't get me wrong folks. I could LIVE on DCL. DH and I are mainly interested in visiting other ports, and a cruise seems the better way to go!
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Old 03-28-2005, 02:07 PM   #14
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I'm Disneyagain's 12 year old son. We are going on a cruise in Nov 05 for my 13th B-day. My mom told me we could go on a 7 day RC cruise. Then I asked her about a 3 day DCL. After about a week of begging she decided to go wth DCL ! I would never go on another cruise line
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Old 03-28-2005, 02:34 PM   #15
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I'm at work and he's home on the computer

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