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tonyfsu21

Ditching RC for NCL this Thanksgiving

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Just figured we would try something new. Not necessarily better (At least I don’t think) but certainly different. We are sailing on the new NCL Encore which is a Bliss + class ship and will be on its 4th voyage for Thanksgiving 2019. This will be my fourth time on NCL but it’s been quite a long time. I am really hesitant about not being on one of the Oasis Class ships like we have the past 8 years or so but the Encore looks pretty amazing! Hopefully the casino will treat me well, lol! 

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We’ll be right behind you on that one. Booked the 12/1 sailing back when it was really cheap, the week itineraries came out. I’m really hoping on the casino front that the follow the Celebrity model and make it smoke free. That’s always been my gripe with the other breakaway class ships, the smoke in the casino affects that entire area of the ship, not just the casino. 

 

We just made the switch last year over to RCL for the first time after cruising just NCL for a few years. 

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9 minutes ago, twangster said:

Always good to sample the market.  It's the only way to know your are spending your vacation dollars wisely.

Let us know what you think when you return.

Now that the live blog section has spread its net a bit wider hopefully there’s room for a NCL live blog (crossing my fingers there’s no construction delays) but a little worried there’s no deck plans online already (lots of sites just copying the Bliss plans)

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10 minutes ago, Andrew72681 said:

Now that the live blog section has spread its net a bit wider hopefully there’s room for a NCL live blog (crossing my fingers there’s no construction delays) but a little worried there’s no deck plans online already (lots of sites just copying the Bliss plans)

A blog dedicated to Royal Caribbean may not be the place for a full live blog for any other cruise line.   There's that 'other' place for that.   

Coming back to this thread to give a highlight opinion of the differences, or pros and cons seems appropriate.  

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41 minutes ago, tonyfsu21 said:

Just figured we would try something new. Not necessarily better (At least I don’t think) but certainly different. We are sailing on the new NCL Encore which is a Bliss + class ship and will be on its 4th voyage for Thanksgiving 2019. This will be my fourth time on NCL but it’s been quite a long time. I am really hesitant about not being on one of the Oasis Class ships like we have the past 8 years or so but the Encore looks pretty amazing! Hopefully the casino will treat me well, lol! 

I went on Bliss last year for Thanksgiving and loved it. This year I am doing something different and going on NCL Joy. Its also a Breakaway + class ship but it leaves from LA. I am so spoiled with living in Florida and not having to Fly but my friends and I wanted to do something different. I like NCL for certain things and certain things I think Royal does better.. So as a fellow casino player I will say this I don't know what game you play but I play Blackjack.. I usually like to start off at $25 a hand and work my way up.. If its going good I bet a lot more if its not I stick to my $25. What annoys me about NCL is I cant get a hand shuffle game for less than $50 a hand. Well I hate that. I do not like those automatic shuffle machines and while sometimes I don't mind betting $50 or $100 a hand but like I said I like to see how its going and on Royal I can get a hand shuffle game for $25.a hand so for me the casino on Royal is better but hey you might not mind this or play a totally different game where it doesn't matter.. Also I dropped a good $5k in the casino last year on Thanksgiving. Now I know thats not soo much in gambling world however, when I lose 5k on Royal I always walk away with a certificate for some kind of free cruise. on NCL no matter what I cant seem to crack their casino code... Now for specialty dining.. I really like NCL's restaurants and I think they are better than Royal's.. Don't eat in the MDR do all restaurants you will thank me. Now for entertainment I give the nod to Royal.. While NCL has shows they just aren't as good as Royal's. But the beds.. The beds on NCL in my opinion are better than Royals.. So why do I only go on NCL once a year.. For me its simple I cant seem to crack their casino code but on Royal I get like 7-8 free cruises a year (more money to gamble with) so makes it easy.. But have an awesome time and spend some time in the observation lounge its really cool 

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@tonyfsu21 @Andrew72681 this reminds me of a time last year when a few of us here were ditching RC to try out the Seaside. Same thing, brand new, price could not be beat. I was equally as nervous about not being on an OA class ship. 

In the end, although I know that MSC is not the same as NCL, our conclusion was that nothing really beats OA class, even if the price point is really low. OA class wins out in so many other ways. That did not stop us from having a good time though. Just go with eyes wide open and don’t try to compare apples to apples. And I agree with @twangster in that going on other lines can be good...it just makes you appreciate what you left more. At least that was our experience 😉

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4 minutes ago, AGSLC5 said:

I went on Bliss last year for Thanksgiving and loved it. This year I am doing something different and going on NCL Joy. Its also a Breakaway + class ship but it leaves from LA. I am so spoiled with living in Florida and not having to Fly but my friends and I wanted to do something different. I like NCL for certain things and certain things I think Royal does better.. So as a fellow casino player I will say this I don't know what game you play but I play Blackjack.. I usually like to start off at $25 a hand and work my way up.. If its going good I bet a lot more if its not I stick to my $25. What annoys me about NCL is I cant get a hand shuffle game for less than $50 a hand. Well I hate that. I do not like those automatic shuffle machines and while sometimes I don't mind betting $50 or $100 a hand but like I said I like to see how its going and on Royal I can get a hand shuffle game for $25.a hand so for me the casino on Royal is better but hey you might not mind this or play a totally different game where it doesn't matter.. Also I dropped a good $5k in the casino last year on Thanksgiving. Now I know thats not soo much in gambling world however, when I lose 5k on Royal I always walk away with a certificate for some kind of free cruise. on NCL no matter what I cant seem to crack their casino code... Now for specialty dining.. I really like NCL's restaurants and I think they are better than Royal's.. Don't eat in the MDR do all restaurants you will thank me. Now for entertainment I give the nod to Royal.. While NCL has shows they just aren't as good as Royal's. But the beds.. The beds on NCL in my opinion are better than Royals.. So why do I only go on NCL once a year.. For me its simple I cant seem to crack their casino code but on Royal I get like 7-8 free cruises a year (more money to gamble with) so makes it easy.. But have an awesome time and spend some time in the observation lounge its really cool 

Screen with the casino comparison. I can’t figure out the NCL casino earnings either and it yields nothing. With my MGM Mlife status it yields great discounts on RCCL

Between the two we thought the specialty restaurants were about even with the exception of Italian. Jamie’s Italian blew away La Cucina on NCL (Getaway and Escape) 

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4 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

@tonyfsu21 @Andrew72681 this reminds me of a time last year when a few of us here were ditching RC to try out the Seaside. Same thing, brand new, price could not be beat. I was equally as nervous about not being on an OA class ship. 

In the end, although I know that MSC is not the same as NCL, our conclusion was that nothing really beats OA class, even if the price point is really low. OA class wins out in so many other ways. That did not stop us from having a good time though. Just go with eyes wide open and don’t try to compare apples to apples. And I agree with @twangster in that going on other lines can be good...it just makes you appreciate what you left more. At least that was our experience 😉

I’d say MSC was an unproven commodity here in the US and that it still isn’t a very good fit for most Americans. I’ll admit to having an american-centric bias when it comes to cruising where I expect things to be accessible in English including entertainment. We don’t hear much about Seaside now, but I assume it’s still going out full. And I wouldn’t say the price point is much lower, our junior suite on Harmony was ~4k and our mini suite with large balcony is about the same for the exact same week of the year. 

One section I will definitely give NCL is birthday celebrations, the last two cruises for my wife’s birthday on NCL were treated like her birthday was the entire week. On Harmony they did almost nothing for it, the biggest thing was the decorations, and those I paid for. Being gone about half the year have to make her birthday count to ensure I stay married. 😜

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MSC built Seaside for the US market (so they claim).  It may take them a few years to figure out how to adapt to the US guests, but they have deep pockets and have big plans to give the big three a run for their money.  

Competition is good for us guests.  It keeps Royal on their toes.  

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Just now, twangster said:

MSC built Seaside for the US market (so they claim).  It may take them a few years to figure out how to adapt to the US guests, but they have deep pockets and have big plans to give the big three a run for their money.  

Competition is good for us guests.  It keeps Royal on their toes.  

If only that was true for the Airline market, they just seem to unofficially collude on everything to make options worse for consumers at each turn. 

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13 minutes ago, Andrew72681 said:

Screen with the casino comparison. I can’t figure out the NCL casino earnings either and it yields nothing. With my MGM Mlife status it yields great discounts on RCCL

Between the two we thought the specialty restaurants were about even with the exception of Italian. Jamie’s Italian blew away La Cucina on NCL (Getaway and Escape) 

because I am Diamond plus on Royal I am Platinum with MGM so I get great deals and comps with Vegas. I love Vegas and I love cruising both are basically my two favorite vacations. 

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4 minutes ago, Andrew72681 said:

If only that was true for the Airline market, they just seem to unofficially collude on everything to make options worse for consumers at each turn. 

Southwest just entered the Hawaii market.  Already fares to CA have dropped 17% on other airlines.  Anytime Southwest enters a new market they call it "The Southwest Effect".  

As a million miler on Delta I'm heavily vested in that loyalty program but I fly Southwest now as well.  

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I would love to know your opinion of NCL.  I've looked at the reviews of Bliss + class and priced out a few cruises.  For my cruising weeks, the price was the same if not more than Oasis class so I'm sticking with RC.  However, would also love to see a comparison of the pros and cons.

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1 hour ago, AGSLC5 said:

because I am Diamond plus on Royal I am Platinum with MGM so I get great deals and comps with Vegas. I love Vegas and I love cruising both are basically my two favorite vacations. 

I’m Mlife gold so am supposed to get benefits on RCCL but that staff has been useless recently. 

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1 hour ago, twangster said:

Southwest just entered the Hawaii market.  Already fares to CA have dropped 17% on other airlines.  Anytime Southwest enters a new market they call it "The Southwest Effect".  

As a million miler on Delta I'm heavily vested in that loyalty program but I fly Southwest now as well.  

I fly Southwest 75-100 times a year (I’m in the BWI-DCA-IAD area) and fly Delta the rest of the time (60 or so segments a year), that southwest effect is a limited time thing. When we look back in 36 or so months we’ll probably have seen fares stabilize, and also remember that Southwest is flying planes over to Hawaii without outlets and Recaro slimline seats with No IFE. 

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14 minutes ago, melski94 said:

I would love to know your opinion of NCL.  I've looked at the reviews of Bliss + class and priced out a few cruises.  For my cruising weeks, the price was the same if not more than Oasis class so I'm sticking with RC.  However, would also love to see a comparison of the pros and cons.

I compared the two back in my live blog from Harmony back in December. 

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Hubby and I will be on NCL Escape over Thanksgiving.  I loved NCL when we cruised years ago and am excited to try it again.  I'm not real happy with some of the service fees on the free stuff but it's worth a try.  I would love to try MSC but we travel on free cruises through the casino so we go with who is giving us a free cruise.

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12 hours ago, tonyfsu21 said:

Just figured we would try something new. Not necessarily better (At least I don’t think) but certainly different. We are sailing on the new NCL Encore which is a Bliss + class ship and will be on its 4th voyage for Thanksgiving 2019. This will be my fourth time on NCL but it’s been quite a long time. I am really hesitant about not being on one of the Oasis Class ships like we have the past 8 years or so but the Encore looks pretty amazing! Hopefully the casino will treat me well, lol! 

Be careful ,when you come back to cruise with  RCL they might  force you to walk the promenade with one of the officers shouting  "Shame , Shame , Shame" 🙂 

Enjoy the cruise.  

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18 hours ago, AGSLC5 said:

I went on Bliss last year for Thanksgiving and loved it. This year I am doing something different and going on NCL Joy. Its also a Breakaway + class ship but it leaves from LA. I am so spoiled with living in Florida and not having to Fly but my friends and I wanted to do something different. I like NCL for certain things and certain things I think Royal does better.. So as a fellow casino player I will say this I don't know what game you play but I play Blackjack.. I usually like to start off at $25 a hand and work my way up.. If its going good I bet a lot more if its not I stick to my $25. What annoys me about NCL is I cant get a hand shuffle game for less than $50 a hand. Well I hate that. I do not like those automatic shuffle machines and while sometimes I don't mind betting $50 or $100 a hand but like I said I like to see how its going and on Royal I can get a hand shuffle game for $25.a hand so for me the casino on Royal is better but hey you might not mind this or play a totally different game where it doesn't matter.. Also I dropped a good $5k in the casino last year on Thanksgiving. Now I know thats not soo much in gambling world however, when I lose 5k on Royal I always walk away with a certificate for some kind of free cruise. on NCL no matter what I cant seem to crack their casino code... Now for specialty dining.. I really like NCL's restaurants and I think they are better than Royal's.. Don't eat in the MDR do all restaurants you will thank me. Now for entertainment I give the nod to Royal.. While NCL has shows they just aren't as good as Royal's. But the beds.. The beds on NCL in my opinion are better than Royals.. So why do I only go on NCL once a year.. For me its simple I cant seem to crack their casino code but on Royal I get like 7-8 free cruises a year (more money to gamble with) so makes it easy.. But have an awesome time and spend some time in the observation lounge its really cool 

I remember sailing the NCL sky many years ago and one of the people we were with was at his own blackjack table where the dealer was dealing (2) hands to him at $100/hand x 2 and he was treated pretty well. I think he had a comped Cruise (which doesn’t say much because it was only a 3 or 4 day sailing) and comped meals in all the speciality restaurants pre “free speciality dining promotion”. Fast forward many years and my last sailing on Mariner in March I was playing consistent $100/hand blackjack and $500 per spin roulette and I have not achieved the highest player rating level to date. The person next to me on roulette was playing close to $1000/spin so it was an exciting table. I will probably play the same level action on the NCL Encore for Thanksgiving & maybe that will get me somewhere with the NCL casino program but who knows? 

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1 hour ago, tonyfsu21 said:

I remember sailing the NCL sky many years ago and one of the people we were with was at his own blackjack table where the dealer was dealing (2) hands to him at $100/hand x 2 and he was treated pretty well. I think he had a comped Cruise (which doesn’t say much because it was only a 3 or 4 day sailing) and comped meals in all the speciality restaurants pre “free speciality dining promotion”. Fast forward many years and my last sailing on Mariner in March I was playing consistent $100/hand blackjack and $500 per spin roulette and I have not achieved the highest player rating level to date. The person next to me on roulette was playing close to $1000/spin so it was an exciting table. I will probably play the same level action on the NCL Encore for Thanksgiving & maybe that will get me somewhere with the NCL casino program but who knows? 

Yeah maybe consistent betting is what NCL looks for. Like I said I start at $25 a hand(sometimes I even play two hands at $25 a hand) but go to $50 and then $100 and if it keeps going well I have bet $500 a hand on blackjack before but I don't bet that much consistently and maybe thats why I cant crack the casino code with them? I have no idea lol. All I know is I lost 5k last year and usually when I lose 5k on Royal I do walk away with a certificate. Now there was a couple times on Royal I got extremely lucky and won 10k playing blackjack and still walked away with a balcony certificate so I guess I figured NCL would work the same but for me it doesn't seem to. Please report back on how it goes for you because if you do the consistent betting on NCL and have good luck with getting comps I will have to try that method. 

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NCL casino was weird with me.  I got a "free" cruise after sailing with them only once....and then not even a peep after that.  Their "free" cruise is even less free than Royal's.  In addition to paying taxes and port charges, they also charge a fee - I can't remember what they called it - around $175 so a free cruise with NCL is far from free.

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21 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

NCL casino was weird with me.  I got a "free" cruise after sailing with them only once....and then not even a peep after that.  Their "fee" cruise is even less free than Royal's.  In addition to paying taxes and port charges, they also charge a fee - I can't remember what they called it - around $175 so a free cruise with NCL is far from free.

Yeah I noticed even the “free drink package” and “free speciality dining” ended up costing me $175.00. Curiously odd. I think we’re gonna give it a shot in the name of doing something different. 

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2 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

NCL casino was weird with me.  I got a "free" cruise after sailing with them only once....and then not even a peep after that.  Their "fee" cruise is even less free than Royal's.  In addition to paying taxes and port charges, they also charge a fee - I can't remember what they called it - around $175 so a free cruise with NCL is far from free.

Current NCL free packages are $19.80 per day on drink package, $15 for three night free upcharge dining, and $240 per person per cruise for admin fee.  Yeah I wasn't happy with the free fees.

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9 hours ago, Hoski said:

Current NCL free packages are $19.80 per day on drink package, $15 for three night free upcharge dining, and $240 per person per cruise for admin fee.  Yeah I wasn't happy with the free fees.

Yeah, I think I was remembering their "administrative" fee.

How can a FREE drinks package still cost you $19.80/day ?  

#mindblown

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