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Hello All!

We're booked for our first RCI cruise on Anthem and wondered if anyone can offer some comparison to the NCL away class?

We've done Escape, Breakaway, and a couple of smaller Carnival ships in the past. Loved NCL, won't go on Carnival again. We're looking to start building loyalty points with a line so we want to give Royal a shot before we make a decision as to which.

Any input?

 

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Havent done Anthem class to specifically compare but between Breakaway class and most of the Royal Fleet (Voyager and up classes) I would say more comparable than not.

Dining style is different with NCL being pure freestyle and Royal having some option for a more structured approach as well as the Mytime dining and specialty restaurants but apart from that its going to come down to the small things that are more quirks of an individual ship than they are the lines themselves.

If you could describe "whats important to you" in a cruise that would help narrow a compare and contrast to the relevant points.

I like both lines and sail both (along with Carnival's newer/bigger ships that also compare well).,

 

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Thanks for the insight! 

Perfect cruise for me is laid back and relaxing. I'm looking forward to spending time in the solarium on cold days, pool deck on warm days with a frosty beverage. Specialty dining is not a must (and we should have dinner access to CK). We are not party animals but enjoy cocktails and a comedy show or live music in the evenings. I'd like to try some of the unique activities on the Anthem as well.

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I have never been on a NCL ship, Anthem is a great ship,  we have cruised out of Port Liberty on the Anthem 7 times, great parking, terminal easy boarding . The ship is supposed to go to Southampton this month, then a month long fix up (not amplification), then back to US in the fall. The ship has some great features, Two Seventy has really cool show, We will Rock you is great.  flow rider (surfing) bumper cars. Food is fantastic great crew. We have a sailing Nov 30 and can not wait to be back on board.

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Congrats on the Not doing Carnival again. 🙂 We are Diamond on RCI and Platinum on NCL. We prefer RCI overall. You can always count on the Windjammer and Schooners, not matter the ship.  Someone did a YouTube video comparing them and RCI came out ahead on that one too. They did give kudos to NCL for the Waterfront concept.

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1 hour ago, MKMAJ1 said:

Hello All!

We're booked for our first RCI cruise on Anthem and wondered if anyone can offer some comparison to the NCL away class?

We've done Escape, Breakaway, and a couple of smaller Carnival ships in the past. Loved NCL, won't go on Carnival again. We're looking to start building loyalty points with a line so we want to give Royal a shot before we make a decision as to which.

Any input?

 

I wouldn’t personally dismiss Carnival if you have never done the 8 day Southern Caribbean route on a newer class ship. I would say this experience is equal to or better then any experience we have had on both NCL and Royal. 

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1 hour ago, tonyfsu21 said:

Aruba + Guys Burger Joint are a force to be reckoned with. 

CB7E1174-ED22-40B4-9932-C22FF03FE4F8.jpeg

B798DEC0-5AB8-424D-B7EE-382B3046F080.jpeg

 I know they say Carnival is the Walmart of cruises, and I can see that in the last 2 cruises with them I've been on, but I have to admit, Guy's burgers, the French fries they serve and the crumbled bacon at their condiment bar are one of the reasons I'm going back this November.

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1 hour ago, tonyfsu21 said:

I wouldn’t personally dismiss Carnival if you have never done the 8 day Southern Caribbean route on a newer class ship. I would say this experience is equal to or better then any experience we have had on both NCL and Royal. 

Thank you for the insight. We are mostly limited to NY, NJ, and Baltimore departures and there are no CCL new ships for our usual dates. I would consider trying one if there was. 

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We are loyal to Royal.  Our TA put it the best.  Carnival is a 2 star hotel, NCL is 3 star and RCL is a 4 star.  Anthem is unique in soooo many ways.  JMPO, but here are the Pro's and Cons.

PRO:

  1. 1. The terminal runs like clockwork.  15 -20 mins from checking in to having your 1st cocktail in hand.
  2. The ship only clears the bottom of the Verrazano bridge by @30 feet.  You literally will be able to tell each brand/make of the car as you pass under it. 
  3.  The Solarium is OMG amazing.  Probably my favorite, especially since it has the bistro connected to it.  Great photo op is sitting on the swing.  
  4.  Loved the fact that they have 3 distinct pool areas.  Solarium, indoor and outdoor.  
  5.  Love the little secret floor if heights don't bother you.  There is a cut away that looks down about 8 or so decks (can't recall how many decks).
  6.  If sailing in a group and have a balcony, the dividers come down.  This means you can actually have a larger balcony per se for the entire group and use the balcony doors as a way to knock on the others door instead of going in the hallway with your sea pass or WoW
  7.  The 270 is where they hold the acrobatic show, the Quest and where you get the Kummelwreck.  It is a great option for lunch.  If you go late, close to end of lunch you can watch them practice the show.
  8.  The WJ is amazing bc it actually has outdoor seating.  Not many of the RCL ships have outdoor seating in the WJ.
  9.  Did late traditional seating and had no time confliction with any show.  Love and Marriage, Comedy, 70's party, The Quest, etc.
  10.  We Will Rock You is one of the best shows on Royal

CON:

  1.  This is a ship where you really need to pick your cabin impo.  We sailed as a group and booked last minute (6 weeks).  To get 5 balconies connected left us with limited options.  Okay 1 option.  We were deck 12 and 1 cabin away from the bridge.  Cool bc they would wave to us, but traversing the ship was long.  Our sailing was suppose to go to Bermuda, but due to a hurricane they sent us to NE/Canada.  Did not feel any true motion.
  2.  Not a fan of the Esplanade.  Sea days it just felt cramped.  We had perfect weather, pools open. 80-85 degree days.  I could not fathom what it would be like if it was raining.  Add in the days where they do the sidewalk sale and I felt like I was doing the bump.
  3.  Not a fan of the location of Schooners.  My husband and I are a huge fans of that bar.  However, the location does not offer a sea view  and it is located next to the photo shop.  It was always packed.
  4.  Not a fan of The Gift show.  

Lastly, my SIL cruised with us LY on Adventure. (Anthem cruise was my family, Adventure was hub's side) She is top tier for NCL.  I heard for 9 months about NCL this, NCL that.  She walked on the ship ready to prove NCL would have been a better choice since both sail out the NY/NJ area.  By Day 2 she was sold on RCL.  She even said, okay, you win RCL is better. Our cruise was 8 nights to the Caribbean out of Liberty.  

  1.  Never on any NCL cruise did she see as many cleaning staff as she did on RCL.  Her exact remark was every time I enter a bathroom the staff is exiting.  Every time I go out a door to a deck, somebody is wiping the doors (this was last July b4 CoVid19)  Our cabin attendant cleaned/straightened our cabins 3 times a day.  Morning, sometime in the afternoon and then fold down service.
  2.  Day 3 she received champagne and chocolate strawberries compliments of the casino.  She only does slots.  I think she won 500 by that time.  Her response is I sail basically free with NCL due to gambling and they never gifted me anything.  
  3.  Tied to cleanliness, her pet peeve was we spent the day in the Solarium.  We all had the bev pkg.  She would get up and go into the hot tub with maybe 20% of her drink in the glass left.  Came back and the drink was gone, they re-clamped the towels, placed her book at the foot of the lounger.  She was …seriously, I wasn't done with my drink.  However, they have soo many attendants roaming that no sooner had she sat back on the lounger somebody 
  4.  We only ate in the MDR 3 nights out of the 8. (Day 1,2, and 7) She was shocked that on day 2 our waiters asked her if she wanted to have XYZ wine again tonight with dinner.  Remembered all of our drinks.  Dinner was done, and the waiter turned and said would you like the same drinks as last night for dessert.  (Specialty coffee and different alcohol sides...i.e cappuccino and amaretto for me, cap and baileys for hubby, espresso and sambucca for BIL, etc.).  She had done an NCL 1 yr prior on a 12 night Med sailing with NCL.  The wait staff never recalled what she drank.
  5.  The spa.  We girls did a mani/pedi on one of the sea days.  It was pre-purchased prior to the cruise.  She turned to me on day 2 and said, I am going to see if I can ask them to a gel mani fill, but if they are like NCL the answer will be no.  Women will understand that this is a long process.  She went to the spa and they were turning people away wanting to book apptmts.  She said to the receptionist after seeing you say no to people in front of me, I am sure I know the answer, but....They turned to her and said no problem.
  6.  Finally, RCL is known for rock hard beds.  SIL never had this problem on NCL.  I told her the day we embarked tell your attendant to give you a mattress topper and extra pillows.  They not only re-do her bed day 1 while we were at dinner, but bc she didn't tell them what type of pillow she wanted they brought her 3 different types.

Hope this helps.  

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Pima1988 said:

We are loyal to Royal.  Our TA put it the best.  Carnival is a 2 star hotel, NCL is 3 star and RCL is a 4 star.  Anthem is unique in soooo many ways.  JMPO, but here are the Pro's and Cons.

PRO:

  1. 1. The terminal runs like clockwork.  15 -20 mins from checking in to having your 1st cocktail in hand.
  2. The ship only clears the bottom of the Verrazano bridge by @30 feet.  You literally will be able to tell each brand/make of the car as you pass under it. 
  3.  The Solarium is OMG amazing.  Probably my favorite, especially since it has the bistro connected to it.  Great photo op is sitting on the swing.  
  4.  Loved the fact that they have 3 distinct pool areas.  Solarium, indoor and outdoor.  
  5.  Love the little secret floor if heights don't bother you.  There is a cut away that looks down about 8 or so decks (can't recall how many decks).
  6.  If sailing in a group and have a balcony, the dividers come down.  This means you can actually have a larger balcony per se for the entire group and use the balcony doors as a way to knock on the others door instead of going in the hallway with your sea pass or WoW
  7.  The 270 is where they hold the acrobatic show, the Quest and where you get the Kummelwreck.  It is a great option for lunch.  If you go late, close to end of lunch you can watch them practice the show.
  8.  The WJ is amazing bc it actually has outdoor seating.  Not many of the RCL ships have outdoor seating in the WJ.
  9.  Did late traditional seating and had no time confliction with any show.  Love and Marriage, Comedy, 70's party, The Quest, etc.
  10.  We Will Rock You is one of the best shows on Royal

CON:

  1.  This is a ship where you really need to pick your cabin impo.  We sailed as a group and booked last minute (6 weeks).  To get 5 balconies connected left us with limited options.  Okay 1 option.  We were deck 12 and 1 cabin away from the bridge.  Cool bc they would wave to us, but traversing the ship was long.  Our sailing was suppose to go to Bermuda, but due to a hurricane they sent us to NE/Canada.  Did not feel any true motion.
  2.  Not a fan of the Esplanade.  Sea days it just felt cramped.  We had perfect weather, pools open. 80-85 degree days.  I could not fathom what it would be like if it was raining.  Add in the days where they do the sidewalk sale and I felt like I was doing the bump.
  3.  Not a fan of the location of Schooners.  My husband and I are a huge fans of that bar.  However, the location does not offer a sea view  and it is located next to the photo shop.  It was always packed.
  4.  Not a fan of The Gift show.  

Lastly, my SIL cruised with us LY on Adventure. (Anthem cruise was my family, Adventure was hub's side) She is top tier for NCL.  I heard for 9 months about NCL this, NCL that.  She walked on the ship ready to prove NCL would have been a better choice since both sail out the NY/NJ area.  By Day 2 she was sold on RCL.  She even said, okay, you win RCL is better. Our cruise was 8 nights to the Caribbean out of Liberty.  

  1.  Never on any NCL cruise did she see as many cleaning staff as she did on RCL.  Her exact remark was every time I enter a bathroom the staff is exiting.  Every time I go out a door to a deck, somebody is wiping the doors (this was last July b4 CoVid19)  Our cabin attendant cleaned/straightened our cabins 3 times a day.  Morning, sometime in the afternoon and then fold down service.
  2.  Day 3 she received champagne and chocolate strawberries compliments of the casino.  She only does slots.  I think she won 500 by that time.  Her response is I sail basically free with NCL due to gambling and they never gifted me anything.  
  3.  Tied to cleanliness, her pet peeve was we spent the day in the Solarium.  We all had the bev pkg.  She would get up and go into the hot tub with maybe 20% of her drink in the glass left.  Came back and the drink was gone, they re-clamped the towels, placed her book at the foot of the lounger.  She was …seriously, I wasn't done with my drink.  However, they have soo many attendants roaming that no sooner had she sat back on the lounger somebody 
  4.  We only ate in the MDR 3 nights out of the 8. (Day 1,2, and 7) She was shocked that on day 2 our waiters asked her if she wanted to have XYZ wine again tonight with dinner.  Remembered all of our drinks.  Dinner was done, and the waiter turned and said would you like the same drinks as last night for dessert.  (Specialty coffee and different alcohol sides...i.e cappuccino and amaretto for me, cap and baileys for hubby, espresso and sambucca for BIL, etc.).  She had done an NCL 1 yr prior on a 12 night Med sailing with NCL.  The wait staff never recalled what she drank.
  5.  The spa.  We girls did a mani/pedi on one of the sea days.  It was pre-purchased prior to the cruise.  She turned to me on day 2 and said, I am going to see if I can ask them to a gel mani fill, but if they are like NCL the answer will be no.  Women will understand that this is a long process.  She went to the spa and they were turning people away wanting to book apptmts.  She said to the receptionist after seeing you say no to people in front of me, I am sure I know the answer, but....They turned to her and said no problem.
  6.  Finally, RCL is known for rock hard beds.  SIL never had this problem on NCL.  I told her the day we embarked tell your attendant to give you a mattress topper and extra pillows.  They not only re-do her bed day 1 while we were at dinner, but bc she didn't tell them what type of pillow she wanted they brought her 3 different types.

Hope this helps.  

 

 

This is so helpful. Thank you for taking the time to go into such detail - it is much appreciated!

What is this secret floor that you mentioned?

We are on deck 10 midship..  is this a good location?

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2 hours ago, USFFrank said:

 I know they say Carnival is the Walmart of cruises, and I can see that in the last 2 cruises with them I've been on, but I have to admit, Guy's burgers, the French fries they serve and the crumbled bacon at their condiment bar are one of the reasons I'm going back this November.

The Carnival topic comes up here often.  Everyone has their own taste, I get that.

For us, after about 3 days of Windjammer lunch on RCL, we're looking for something else.  Carnival's newer ships never leave us wanting something else for lunch.  We are not big on upgraded restaurants, so we do the MDR unless it is a special occasion.  Carnival's dinner menus are as good as Royals to us... if not better.

The place Carnival falls short is its fleet.  The majority of their ships are 20 or so years old.  They did not get into the arms race of bigger better ships in the early 2000s.  However, their newer ships, starting the the Magic and Breeze are fantastic.  There just aren't as many of them as RCCL, NCL, and now MSC in North America.

People who dismiss Carnival out of hand are really missing out in my opinion.

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I hope you are not referring to me as dismissing out of hand. In my experiences thus far I've enjoyed NCL more than Carnival, which is why I won't choose to sail Carnival anymore. Now I'm adding another line to compare.

Not to say that I didn't have a good time on the Carnival cruises or that there was nothing I liked about them. Just that in planning to do a couple of cruises a year I'd like to start building loyalty and they aren't my top pick.

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MKMAJ1.  

I have to be honest, we keep sailing on different ships, and so maybe I am wrong regarding the floor location  I believe it is on the same deck as the WJ.  It is maybe an 18 by 18 lucite square that looks straight down.  

Every RCL ship has little discoveries on their ship, and once you do multiple ships it becomes a blur.  IE On Anthem they have in the Solarium door that takes you out like a bridge, you have to know it is there and how to open that door.  Otherwise it looks like just a glass door.

My husband will say I am navigationally challenged.  It took me 5 days to figure out the shortcuts, whereas, he figures it out on Day 1.  IE.  We would take 1 staircase, go down multiple floors, cut through the casino, and than take a staircase up to the MDR.  

We never use the elevator unless we see the stow away piano player.  Yes, that is a thing.  

One other thing that I love about the Anthem regarding their WJ.  You are forced into a hand washing station.  Nobody can enter without washing their hands.

Deck 10 is great.  Mid ship is great.

 

 

 

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50 minutes ago, RCVoyager said:

The Carnival topic comes up here often.  Everyone has their own taste, I get that.

For us, after about 3 days of Windjammer lunch on RCL, we're looking for something else.  Carnival's newer ships never leave us wanting something else for lunch.  We are not big on upgraded restaurants, so we do the MDR unless it is a special occasion.  Carnival's dinner menus are as good as Royals to us... if not better.

The place Carnival falls short is its fleet.  The majority of their ships are 20 or so years old.  They did not get into the arms race of bigger better ships in the early 2000s.  However, their newer ships, starting the the Magic and Breeze are fantastic.  There just aren't as many of them as RCCL, NCL, and now MSC in North America.

People who dismiss Carnival out of hand are really missing out in my opinion.

I can also add that we ate speciality dining all (8) nights on the Carnival Horizon and the dining experience was also leaps & bounds ahead of RC. Not saying anything is wrong with RC speciality dining but we just found CCL to have better service, better menus and better choices across the board in terms of dining options. You can be loyal to more then one brand. I swore off CCL for more then a decade because I thought it was a bit too “budget” but my opinion has changed over the last couple years. The longer 7+ days to more exotic ports of call are better in regards to the ships and the overall experience. 

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2 hours ago, tonyfsu21 said:

I can also add that we ate speciality dining all (8) nights on the Carnival Horizon and the dining experience was also leaps & bounds ahead of RC. Not saying anything is wrong with RC speciality dining but we just found CCL to have better service, better menus and better choices across the board in terms of dining options. You can be loyal to more then one brand. I swore off CCL for more then a decade because I thought it was a bit too “budget” but my opinion has changed over the last couple years. The longer 7+ days to more exotic ports of call are better in regards to the ships and the overall experience. 

This was almost exactly our experience, did some of the older Carnival's out of Tampa, swore we would never cruise Carnival again and moved "up" to Royal. Got roped into doing a cruise on Vista with friends and realized what we disliked about Carnival was the older/smaller ships not the brand itself.

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