Anti-CCL, huge DCL fan....taking CCL cruise

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by Rogillio, May 19, 2013.

  1. Rogillio

    Rogillio DIS Veteran

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    Maybe I should have titled this post, "never say never". For year I've said we would never sail on CCL based on things I've read and based on my sister's assessment of CCL but.....well, my daughter is only off work 5 days and I found a 5 day CCL cruise out of New Orleans. 5 days, 4 adults, 2 rooms for $2,600!

    My expectations are low as far as the shows but my 'kids' are 20 and 22 so we'll allocate some coin for gambling and take some cool excursions.

    Anyone cruised on Carnival Elation out of NO and can compare/contrast to DCL?
     
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  3. PrincessTrisha

    PrincessTrisha DIS Veteran

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    Though I've not sailed the elation, I have taken 4 Carnival cruises in the last 2 years.

    Some of the things I love:

    :thumbsup2Lots of trivia contests through the day (with the prize being a genuine gold-plastic ship on a stick!)

    :thumbsup2Comedy Club in the evenings

    :thumbsup2warm chocolate melting cake (I also order the fruit plate to go with it because it cuts the richness better than the ice cream) They also have a great grand marnier souffle and cappucino pie (it's like coffee ice cream and whipped cream).

    :thumbsup2Great bedding (big, fluffy duvets) and beach towels (yes you need to keep track of the towels or it's a $20 charge but they are big and fluffy and great to take on excursions).

    :thumbsup2Waterslides for the adults

    :thumbsup2 Adults only serenity area

    :thumbsup2Chocolate buffet on the last sea day (at lunch time). Mmmm, chocolate fountain, chocolate cheesecake, cream filled swans, and so much more

    *edit* had to add one more that I forgot - superstar Kareoke! You get to sing with a live band - it was very cool (did it two or three times) absolutely awesome!!

    A great place to check out the elation and all it has to offer is the cruise pages of zydeco cruiser.

    http://zydecocruiser.net/CarnivalElation/index.htm

    He takes pictures of everything!
     
  4. NoodlesMom

    NoodlesMom Mouseketeer

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    I haven't been on the elation but I did go on the carnival fantasy out of Mobile a few years ago. Just go with an open mind and don't bother comparing it to DCL. It will be a completely different experience but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Have fun!
     
  5. TwinPrincessMermaids

    TwinPrincessMermaids DIS Veteran

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    Yea this sums up Carnival for all its PLUSES.

    My last 4 out of 5 cruises have been CCL. I'm a gold member now or something.

    Can't beat their price (especially now with so much bad press) and they offer nice ports. I hope you are going to Roatan!!!

    My last cruise was a DCL and I'm completely hooked with its magic. I can still be objective about comparing the two lines. Can't speak specifically to the Elation but my last was Dream this yr (literally week before it stranded for a few weeks in St Maar), Conquest last year, Triumph yr before, Holiday prior.

    The above are definitely the pluses. The food is also very hearty like lasagna type food.

    Here are also things to expect:
    You can bring one or two bottles of wine aboard but after that, your bags will be scanned and your liquor purchases on the ports will be held until the night prior to debarkation.

    When you set foot on the ship, there will be a bar tender there to literally hand you a beautiful looking fruity drink right there in the bar lobby to celebrate your embarkation. Dont except it because they will scan your card and charge you $9.75 or something plus gratuity. If you want to order a drink, of course that is up to you. Just be aware of this tactic. This is the start of the constant drink sales that start early and go non stop. Anytime you lounge on deck, go to a show or karaoke or practically sit anywhere, someone will repeatedly ask what they can get you. He will come to your MDR table with his pad out and ready to take your drink order. If you order a glass of water to get you ready for SuperStar Karaoke ,they will likely never come back. They do not like to bring free water. Not being overly negative, this is just part of their profit margin since they have low rates and want to make it up on drink sales. I always thought this was part and parcel of cruising until I walked on to the Disney dream and realized there was no lobby bar...

    The elevators are famous for taking a really long time so be sure and be prepared for lots of stairs. This isn't a bad thing all the time. But it can be a pain if you want to bring breakfast down from the buffet and need an elevator. I noticed less of a prob getting elevators on Disney dream. Maybe because we late late dining? Not sure.

    If you book any excursions thru CCl, you will be charged in full for it on the spot with a credit card, not room credit. (Even months in advance) DCL is the only line I have seen that didn't charge you in full until close to or your excursion.

    Your dinner will be at the same table every night. Expect some waiter singing or a dance just about every night. This hails fr the days of the waiters dancing "hot hot hot" back in the 90s with the flaming deserts on their heads but isn't anything that good any more. The waiters don't want to do the samba ruffle sleeves any more and it honestly halts the entire dinner service. (Disney was smart about this. Crush entertains us and dinner service continues.)

    The appetizers are very small so prepare for that..literally 4 Lil bitty shrimp make the shrimp cocktail so you should order a couple things. The soups are all good and they have some Indian dishes and vegetarian options. Speaking of vegetarian, I was over the moon with a mid east slash Indian lunch buffet and hit it every day for three days... Until that night and I felt very very close to food poisoning that night. The next day, I only ate fish and fruit. Never ate the Tandor buffet again after that and prob never will again. :( I sure do love feta too! But I question that they reused the buffet items? I can still feel the stomach pain...this isn't 100% for sure. Sure does make for uncomfortable night life and 80s dancing...

    The hotdog grill closes and doesn't open til like midnight or something which seemed odd to me. Pizza bar I think stays open. Last yrs conquest had the most incredible pizza. Goat cheese all the works. This last one was sauceless thin crust dry and greasy....only had it once cuz it was a let down. Not sure why it varied so much ship to ship. Sign of decline from the good points of my previous trips.

    As for embarkation, getting on and off for the islands, expect lots of lines. I actually felt like I was in line half of my trip. Lines for hotdogs, lines for checking out the gift shop items, lines for getting into the MDR, lines at the stair way to get off the ship, long lines to get back on and check in. New Orleans is not as easy as PC to embark. Even with my ccl out of PC did in find this to be the case. But i do like NOLa as its very convenient.

    I've had great service and aboniminal service on my ccls. Sounds like that is the case for any line nowadays. Hope yours is like our Triumph service. Not Conquest or Dream.... Both of which were terrible. We would be missing the comedy shows because dinner service wasn't done or have to take desert to go with us so we could catch them.

    Be prepared for big screen bingo in the main theater while you wait. Of course they tell everyone to get there 30 min beforehand to get seats so everyone gets there early. So then they conveniently have a game of bingo while you wait as they try to sell as many $20 cards as they can. I don't play bingo or raffles or lottery or anything that involves taking from others who put money in and hoping to be the lucky one that gets it. This got really old. As did going through the smokey casino on promenade deck. Not sure when they started making promenades where you take all the portraits and get from dinner to show or lounge the casino deck but they do. I would start going through the other decks with rooms so I could get there directly to avoid it...and the congestion was terrible. A hallway thoroughfare is a bad place to put trivia games and photo portraits. These guys also heckle you as you walk by every day "come get your photo!"

    We did get to dress up and take old time wild west photos this time which was super fun. Costumes a bit worse for wear but it was one of the more fun things we did at night. I bought a group one.

    Some of the cruise ships have a sushi bar. Woo woo! Conquest last yr did, dream didn't. Cut backs again?

    Our itinerary was crappy in that we had to all aboard about 1:45 to leave at 2pm from Nassau meaning our tour options were less since it was short. You might say "you knew the itinerary when you booked it". True but our friends chose that cruise 5 months before we booked it. This last time we got to do the Sea lions and BL with Disney because we were there long enough which is what cruising ports is all about...

    Go to the Carnival Legends try outs. This last one was literally one of the funniest nights of my life. This 90 yr old grandma got up and was dancing to all the songs as the people tried out. I guess you'd have to have been there. I have been Britney twice. I hope they get a new show throw cuz its been the same one for yrs and yrs.

    Other wise, expect a country western or 70s line dance class on the stage on usually the first night. They will encourage you to sign up for free raffles like shopping or spa packages and announce them all over the ship all the time. Yes the prizes are great but you must sit thru 45 min of sales presentations and be present to the end of it to win. I wasted several sea days with this and will not be suckered into it again. Again, until DCL, I didn't know that this wasn't how all cruise lines were. Also be prepared for canned games like newly wed games where you know they have been coached to say dirty stuff just to make the audience chuckle. We have gone to several of these and the answers are always the same.

    The cabins are not like DCL although I never had an interior with Disney and did with CCL. Mom n dad upgraded to a pretty swanky suite. But the shower is the bathroom with a shower curtain divider and only a metal bar to "keep" the water inside the shower. Its really a joke because its slides down your curtain and still gets all over the floor. Our towels were always soaked. There is no where to put your shampoo bottles because with no tubs there are no ledges. They have a dispenser but that didn't help me with Rapunzel hair to my butt, I needed lots of conditioner and dropped it and my razors non stop because there is literally no where to put anything while you are showering. My friend slipped in her bathroom and hit her big toe on the bar and said blood was everywhere.

    Its not Disney so no movies on demand. We went thru the same cable channels over and over, same movies were playing all week. No Disney pics or music throughout as everything is very generic like a hotel. You will more than likely see some seriously drunk people, we always do.

    Expect poppers and lockers and shows with neon black lights. Its like they copied Americas Got Talent. Same generic singing and dancing and usually some country western show that is quite cliche. My hun never stayed long but he loved the DCL shows.

    There won't be any princesses that is for sure! But it is room and board and food and amazing destinations. If that's what you want, you should be happy.

    If all this is a spoiler alert well you did ask. Let us know what you think when you get back!

    Bon voyage!
     
  6. Jaymepops

    Jaymepops Mouseketeer

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    I have ONLY sailed CCl before Disney so Yes, Yes, Yes and about the shower YES!! You really can not compare the two...and since being on Disney..I've been so spoiled I really don't know if I can go back to CCL..but know what you are buying, it's still a cruise and have fun either way!!! Best of luck!!!
     
  7. PrincessTrisha

    PrincessTrisha DIS Veteran

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    You can bring 1 bottle of wine per adult at. Embarkation plus 12 non alcoholic beverages (same as on DCL they must be carried on).

    You'll get a towel animal and chocolates every night.

    Carnival also has some very cool collector cups ~ the whale tail, the disco ball and the puffer fish (just off the top of my head).

    There are a few movies that play on the room tvs (like on the magic and wonder ~ they play continuously through the day but change daily).

    You can also choose anytime dining on Carnival where you can go to dinner anytime between 5:45 and 9:30pm. If you find a server you like, you can request them every night so they get to know you like with the set dining times.
     
  8. TwinPrincessMermaids

    TwinPrincessMermaids DIS Veteran

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    I guess you can choose anytime open seating (with lines?) But we are MDR set time people...
     
  9. Thnlk

    Thnlk Mouseketeer

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    We were on CcL for 15 days Hawaiian Cruise January. It was our first non-Disney cruise. It wasn't terrible but it wasn't what we were used to. There seemed to be lots of lines to do things. Having to buy soda at dinner bugged me. I missed not be able to watch movies in a theatre. Tv in the room wast very good. I spend a lot of time watching tv while waiting for my wife to get ready. Having to check out towels was odd. The long and the short is when you pay a lot less you should expect less.
     
  10. lovethedream

    lovethedream DIS Veteran

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    Having been on 2 DCL cruises and one (have a second carnival booked) carnival cruise, I will agree with the above comments 1000%.
     
  11. Mickeyhugger

    Mickeyhugger DIS Veteran

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    We've sailed CCL 8 times, DCL, 10.

    While DCL is our ultimate favorite, we very much enjoy CCL. We favor the MDR food on CCL, and love their private island (Half-Moon Cay.) Still, IMHO, CC is better (especially Serenity Bay.) We've been very happy too with the CCL service.:earsgirl:
     
  12. Rogillio

    Rogillio DIS Veteran

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    Awesome comments! We will keep reminding ourselves how cheap the cruise was. I know we'll have fun.
     
  13. TwinPrincessMermaids

    TwinPrincessMermaids DIS Veteran

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    Sorry to be a pansy, but I'm calculating the $2600 / 4 adults (I'm assuming adults?) at $650 pp for a 5 day. Do you have a nice room or balcony or something? That might make a difference I guess if you did. Because on our last 7 Day out of PC (which I always thought PC cost a lil more to cruise out of?), we were in the 'spa' rooms on floor 10 which is considered an upgrade to a normal interior or something and while it admittedly was interior, it was about $1100 or so for our 7 day for both of us which puts it at around $550 pp I think? And that was for 7, not 5, and included 3 ports. This was last week of Feb to Mar 2 so is that what the difference is? Here is my point. I think they have been advertising Friends and Family discounts or something, but I think you can get better than $650 pp on a 5 day. I just do. Maybe ours was a lil less because we were gold members by that point, but they have had some horrendous press lately.

    Here's an example. We cruised a 7 day Feb 23-Mar 2. On April 15, Carnival called my cell phone and asked if I wanted to book another one for their friends and family summer sale. I would think they would be calling people who hadn't cruised in like a year, not in 5 or 6 weeks... But it just so happened that we were on the Dream and a week and a half later, not long after the whole Triumph thing that has been going on (and constant ribbing from work mates about "are you sure you wanna go on a Carnival?") it happened that the very same ship we had been on had secondary generator problems and had people stuck on the ship for a day, and then let them back off at St Maar when they realized they weren't going anywhere, then had to fly people back. My mom called me and said "Weren't you just on the Dream?" I said "Yeah, that's the one" she said "Well it's stuck too in one of the islands" and that was the one where they cancelled the next cruise or two afterward.

    My point being I think they are really desperate for cruisers and I can't believe that you are paying more pp for a 5 day than we did on a 7 day? Unless you have a heck of an upgrade? We paid $540 pp on Disney Dream 3 Day and I enjoyed it much more than my 7 Day Carnival Dream that we paid about the same on (with no balcony) and so I have decided that yes, cruising Disney is more, however Carnival is still an investment! I was very unhappy to be paying over a grand on the cruise. It wasn't even my idea to go but we had gone each yr with this group of friends and about a month before the trip, they were rubbing the chocolate melting cake in my husband's face, and we had miscalculated our tax refund (my fault to having an extra digit, next time I will definitely not book a cruise BEFORE I have double checked all my data input!) and so we jumped ahead and booked it. My honey had never been to the virgin islands. The only redeeming thing, and I mean pretty much the ONLY thing about that trip, was that being that close to Orlando, he agreed to take me to WDW first. That ended up being the most amazing thing about the trip. If I hadn't had that, I think I would have been bumming backwards and forwards.

    If you cruise goes to Roatan, then it might possibly be worth it. If it just goes to Cozumel and Montego Bay or something, I would be kinda ehhhh. I still think you should be able to get better rates than that. They are supposed to be the value cruise line that is accessible to everyone, but in reality, you still spend a thousand (for a couple) or so to get on it, and then you get nickeled and dimed every time you turn around. My friend does have the disco ball, the coconut head, and the puffer fish drink cups (not sure how she packs them all!) so if you are going to spring for a drink, I say get one of the fun ones.

    Just my 3 cents. I guess what I'm saying is that it still is quite a bit of cost on a Carnival when you add up what's 'missing' from the magic of the DCL. (I've decided that I would rather save that $1100 from CCL and put it towards the DCL or even wait a year or take a small 3 or 4 day before I have to pay to board my dogs for longer or get a house sitter, miss the extra time at work, and be more than glad to be done with my trip...it's just too much $$ and hassle to come away with that conclusion!)

    :worried:
     
  14. declansdad

    declansdad DIS Dad #639 New Brunswick, Canada

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    Much as what you wrote could be said about our cruise on the Disney Dream.
     
  15. TwinPrincessMermaids

    TwinPrincessMermaids DIS Veteran

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    Really? The bingo in the main theater, the smokey casino in the thoroughfare, and the 'shower', the canned smutty responses for the Newlywed games, the constant pushy pushy drink sales?

    On the Dream, really?
     
  16. ThePhantomsGirl

    ThePhantomsGirl I was born to cruise!

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    Okay, I love DCL and have two more DCL cruises booked.

    But I did do a Carnival cruise back and January and had a really good time. Was it DCL? No. But I went with an open mind and had a good experience. It also was my first solo cruise, so I really went out on a limb. I don't regret doing it at all.

    I know you wanted to know those have have sailed the Elation out of NO, but thought I could add a few things that others may not have yet.

    I joined the Roll Call thread at another forum (not sure that I can mention it here). That helped as I "met" a few people beforehand. Made arrangements to go with or hang with two of my excursions. In one case actually booked a tour with the other people, in the other case we just were going on the same tour and hung out for part of it. (they were able to actually climb the ruins while I could not as I have slight mobility issues)

    You have three over 21 people, so you can bring on three bottles of wine (or champagne).

    Not sure about the Elation, but I can tell you the Steakhouse on the Legend was so totally worth it. One of the best meals I've had in a long time. It costs extra like Palo. (and gasp - I thought it was better than Palo!)

    The servers were good, but not as friendly as the DCL ones. But I'll also state that on the DCL cruises I've taken, in all but one we requested particular servers. Yes, the CCL servers will do the dances as described by a previous poster. Kind of funny as some are into it, some are just doing it because they have to.

    Actually I found the friendliest server to be the one stationed at another table. Had a great group of dining mates. Since you have four people chances are you'll get a four top to yourselves.

    Yes, if you book excursions they will charge you right then and there. Pros and cons to that. No waiting up until midnight on your booking opening. Kind of nice to have it paid in advance. I only booked one ship excursion for a longer one in Belize. Didn't want to chance being left behind. And they held the ship an hour longer as we were late.

    Looks like you'll probably go to Cozumel and Progresso. Only have been to Cozumel. (I did Nachi Cochum which I liked a lot)

    Yes, you can get nickled and dimed. But, you don't have to be. Drinks costs on DCL too. Palo costs on DCL. So do photos. It will really depend on what you like to do and buy.

    Hope this helps. Enjoy it and let us know how it went.
     
  17. Rogillio

    Rogillio DIS Veteran

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    I would glady pay more and cruise on DCL but the dates worked out for us and it's out of NOLA which is about a 6 hr drive for us so we can drive down the morning of the cruise....so no hotel bills.

    We got a military discount which I thought was odd because, although my wife and I both veterans, neither of us retired from the military and are not still in the service. There was some issue with the rates concerning this and they gave us $50 OBC per room. No idea why but I didn't protest.
     
  18. TwinPrincessMermaids

    TwinPrincessMermaids DIS Veteran

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    I just don't think a 5 day on CCL should be that much... are the rooms swanky?

    I get driving to NOLA for sure. I hope DCL goes there, cuz its 9 for us! (Especially if it will still go to PC so we can run around the parks for a day without having to drive 13 hrs)
     
  19. ThePhantomsGirl

    ThePhantomsGirl I was born to cruise!

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    Oh more info on dining:

    Yes, there are two options. The "Anytime" selection or the regular MDR that has early or late. I prefer the MDR set time/same table option myself.
     
  20. declansdad

    declansdad DIS Dad #639 New Brunswick, Canada

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    I said most. On the CCl cruises I have been on Bingo was scheduled at certain times, just like DCL. It didn't happen every time you went in the theatre. The walking area of the wasn't smoky and on the Paradise, you didn't walk through the casino at all. The servers around the ship were just as pushy with the drinks. Canned responses happen at all games even on the Dream.

    The shower setup was better.
     
  21. ZellyB

    ZellyB DIS Veteran

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    We are also cruising on the Elation out of NO on a 5 day Western Caribbean. I'll be curious to hear if anyone has cruised that ship before. We are cruising in late July. There are 6 of us in two staterooms and we can also drive to NOLA, so cost was the big factor for us in choosing Carnival and this cruise.
     

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