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MSC v. CCL -Differences???


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You all probably know me from CCL and thinking to try a MSC cruise which would be free to me (probably will be in balcony with upgraded status/loyalty as well) Yes I can hear it already any FREE cruise is a great cruise....🤣

On the serious side I'm wondering really what the main differences are from between MSC and Carnival. I have eclusivly been on CCL and getting the itch to switch it up. 

Some of the general areas I wonder about is 

Age range, on board activities, casino (of course) show quality, quality of Staterooms, how dining works, overall vibe, mostly families or nice mix including singles.

Thanks to all that reply

Edited by euroguy
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@euroguy I'm an avid MSC Cruises guest, but I know many CCL-loyal guests do not consider MSC Cruises to be on the same playing field. I happen to really enjoy cruising with MSC Cruises, but the fun-filled party-type ship culture doesn't really apply to this cruise line. CCL has more amenities poolside for instance. There are more activities onboard a CCL ship and more guests participating in those amenities. I really enjoy the European food on MSC Cruises, but many American food lovers don't consider the food to be all that great. If it's free, you should try it. I hesitate to say you will enjoy MSC Cruises more, but that doesn't mean you won't have a good time.

The onboard casino is very active and clean which I appreciate. I really enjoy the shows, and they do have single-guest activities  (usually) daily. You will see less-English speaking guests and a more diverse crowd. Which ship are you thinking of booking? I have been on most of the U.S.-based ships.

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@Kendall James-Vargas thank you for the run down, it very informative.

Ive put a pause on MSC and other cruise brands for the time being as i just Basically stole my next 2 cruises which I broke down on CCL board as a new subject.

Additionally I have learned a new way to get free cruises on other brands but my CCL personal assistant walked me down a different path....for the moment. No she didn't know I was looking at other cruise brands. 🤐

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@euroguy I'm glad you found the information helpful! I'm going to browse the other thread after this one and check out your two new itineraries. Carnival Cruise Line has been treating you really well lately. I understand your loyalty to the line. I hope you keep your lips sealed on that secret. I'm curious about which path you took to open up those other cruise line options. I have a few friends who have received free itineraries through a certain casino perk, and they too are avid casino-goers. I should ask them which site they use and share that info with you.

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@Kendall James-Vargas it's top secret and being ex military with a clearance im pretty good about keeping secrets. With that said if you private message me im might sare some insight...key word might...lol. 

But your right that CCL has been treating me very very very well. 

as for your friends i would love to hear if they have any info to share. 

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@euroguy I had no idea you were ex-military! I'm sure you do know a thing or two about keeping secrets. Thank you for your service! I would hope when you do retire you are well compensated for your service and you are able to spend more of your days cruising. Would you be interested in taking a world cruise? That would be the most epic way to kick off retirement! 

I will be visiting a friend who earns free cruises next weekend, and I will get back to you with his response. He usually comes back from Vegas with a free cruise!

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@Kendall James-Vargas I'm ex military not retired military so won't be receiving a pension from them which is ok. My pension will be from my own investments and hopefully SS if its still around lol. 

Regarding a world cruise my imitial answer would be yes but as a qualifier it would depend on the ship. Why the ship??? Well you would be on it for a long time so it would need to be a larger ship with lots of activities and restaurants for variety..ok and a large casino too lololol. What about you would you take a world cruise?

im sure your friends a decent amount in vegas to get free cruises, but look forward to what he has to say.  I have a different way and for free... Smirk 😏 

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@euroguy I don't understand why social security is still such a big question! I feel like everyone who worked hard to earn it deserves to receive it. It's not fair that generations past didn't need to worry like we do in this day and age. 

I'm 100% interested in a world cruise! In fact, I may begin saving annually to make this dream become a reality. We need to get your CCL personal assistant to get you on an itinerary like this! 

Seabourn could be a great luxury option for you! Since it is owned by Carnival Corporation, maybe your status will transfer. 

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@Kendall James-Vargas ive heard of the Seaborn line but really have no explored them, but if I recall they are a high end line. By the time I retire and have the time to take a world cruise I will probably ly be a CCL loyalty  Diamond level 🤣 who know maybe CCL will have world cruise by then.

I will say I have been hearing not only from you but other that MSC seems to be really doing a good job and new ships coming out so I may take a cruise on the after my currently 2 booked cruises in 2024, maybe sooner if they have a short cruise here on west coast that I can squeeze in to try out.

 

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@euroguy Seabourn is definitely top-of-the-line cruising. That would be amazing! Cruising the world with Diamond status; is the dream. I wouldn't be surprised if CCL had a world cruise by then. From what I have learned about you, I don't think you are very far off from retiring! I still have many years of work left, so I will live through you and your experiences. I love that you share all of your insights from your cruises. I learn so much about new ports and ships I haven't cruised on from you!

Unfortunately, I haven't found any West Coast cruises with MSC! In the future, I bet the line will expand to that coast, but for now, the line is only cruising out of Port Canaveral, Port Miami, and New York in the U.S.

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@Kendall James-Vargas you are way to kind. I think you know much more than you let on and i have tendency to try and be detailed, which leads to be long winded at times. With that said, im am glad you have found something in my ramblings to be of use.. hopefully others have as well. 😁

if I'm being honest I've never looked up or explored Seabourn. Not sure why but i havent and probably should just to see whats out there in them woods.

I too looked up msc to see if they cruise out of California and like you pointed out only east coast which is a bummer. They are a growing line so I wouldn't be surprised if they already have the west coast on the radar for the future.

Regarding doing a world cruise as diamond, I suspect mostly diamond guests would be on the ship.as they would be retired and probably have been cruising for a bit of time. I can't recall which CCL cruise it was but recently a cruise had so many Diamond people on it CCL sent out a letter to all Diamond travelers that certain loyalty perks would not take place. Priority boarding/debarkation, priority dining. Can't remember what else. That kinda takes the fun/reward of being diamond status. 

For the cruise out of Orlando in February, I finally have all the flights scheduled, hotel reserved, transportation to and from the airport and port set and finally in the R&D (research & development) stages for places to see and things to do at each stop. I sorta have system that I created and try to implement for each location, it's a process 🤪

Not sure if you've been to Amber Cove, but what I initially thought was going g to be a dud as CCL owns and developed the port and land around it, but actually Puerta Playa aka Amber Cove has so much to see and do beyond the CCL development. Amber mines, coffee/rum/cocoa/cigar production, amazing waterfalls, mountain cable trolly, old Spanish fort from 1800's, one of the amber pieces was used in Jurassic Park movie from Amber Covend...do you know which piece?? And  the list goes on. It's going to be difficult to decide what to see and do but I have a pretty good idea what I would like to do. Care to guess??? 😆 

See here I am once more long winded again ...😕 😞 

Edited by euroguy
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@euroguy I love your lengthy posts! Seabourn is a more niche line. What impresses me most about the cruise line are the itineraries. If I wanted to explore a certain region and get the full experience, I would book a Seaborn itinerary. 

Seabourn is an expedition cruise line! The line actually just revealed a new Mediterranean dining venue for one of its ships.

https://www.cruisehive.com/seabourn-unveils-new-mediterranean-style-dining-venue/113354

Yes, MSC Cruises is due to expand to the West Coast! 

You deserve that loyalty status! I can't wait to see you earn it.

I love how much of a planner you are! I'm just like you; I enjoy having everything mapped out with plenty of time to spare. I grew up with a very fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants type of family. It's refreshing to hear you enjoy the same type of prep!

I would love to know which piece! 

image.thumb.png.081780a84565e28cbd5281abebe9ef87.png

 

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@Kendall James-Vargas I do also like spontaneity and flying by seat of my pants but as long as no time issues come into play other than when have to be back home. 

When I'm traveling to New locations on a ship completely different story I do tons of research and planning as I really want to have an immersive experience of the area as I'm not sure if or when I will return.

I'm pretty sure my review on the Mardi Gras and destinations will be lengthy as the ship has so much to offer and I'm still trying to figure out how I can try and maximize the time on it to experience the most as well as the ports of call are all new to me.

I figure the information might be helpful to someone else in the future. Hmmm maybe I should start a blog or YouTube channel... yeah right I have no idea how to do that. 🤣

 

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@euroguy I would have never guessed! That's some impressive art. I wouldn't even know where to begin in producing such a specimen. Typically when I think of mosquitos, I think of fly swatters and bug spray. 

In regards to your Mardi Gras itinerary, do you typically line up first to hop off at the ports quickly or do you wait until the crowds die down? For ports that are new to you, lining up early could be a good game plan. I usually try to wait for the crowds to die down if it's a port I have already been to. There is no sense in rushing off of the ship if I know the territory already.  

I think the blog idea would be a great idea! It's a great way for others to follow along on your epic journeys. 

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@Kendall James-Vargas the amber pieces are hundreds to thousands of years old depending where it comes from. In the case of Amber Cove they hundreds of years old which is pretty amazing. Yes I will be on the hunt for a real piece of amber that hopefully has naturally incased some sort of insect. 

As fir how quickly I get off at a port a lot depends on what I have planned for the port. If I have a preference I prefer to have things planned for an early start so I finish with a 2-3 hour buffer of time to make sure I'm back to the ship on time. Now with that said if I do an excursion through the ship then the times are set and just go with the flow as the ship will wait if running behind. I don't normally book excursions through the ship as they are over priced for a lower quality of experience, however exceptions do exist like for my march 2023 cruise in the a.m. I hired a driver in Puerta vallarta from 8a to noon to go play with the tiger, but also booked the dolphins swim from the ship that was on the same day starting at 1pm this way I was guaranteed to to make it on ship. My Feb 2024 (carribean) cruise i will make all excursions off ship as im getting better prices and seeing more. Of course an exception exist like my upcoming trip in Sept 2024 to Mexico, which I have been to several times and looking for something very different and I have $1500 on-board ship credit so I'm booking a couple excursion through the ship, i.e. a 4 hour yacht trip out of Cabo, which includes white glove service open bar, meal, snacks, snorkeling and cruising around and Puerta vallarta 6 hrs trip on horses crossing g rivers going through jungle, to a remote village then having a delicious full spread dinner, unlimited open bar with trained horse dancing performance and native culture dancing. Both trips are small group trips. 

I really have no idea what it would take to put together a blog or YouTube site and so many others are already doing it, don't see me doing it.  These boards are probably as close to it as it gets lol

Do you normally book excursions through ship or separate?? What kind of excursions do you enjoy?

Hope this super long response answers the question... so many factors come into play what where when and $$

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@euroguy I wish you much luck on your amber adventure! Where do you typically find these unique pieces? 

The pre-fixed excursion times definitely make a damper to port day plans. In fact, you have to cater your entire port day around the excursion timeframe. For that reason, unless the excursion is exceptional, I usually opt to do something more flexible. I am a sucker for those all-day, all-inclusive beach break excursions. If it's a Caribbean port I'm familiar with, I do find myself booking a beach excursion relatively often. 

That horse excursion in Puerta Vallarta sounds amazing! It is going to be well worth it. It's six hours! I wonder if you will have much time to explore the port before or after that, but then again, I don't know if there will be much more to explore!

I touched on the last part of your question further up in this post, but it all depends! I often want to explore on my own if I speak the language (Spanish or English) and if it's a reasonably safe territory. Since I typically travel with my children, I often opt for easy and safer options than if I were to be cruising alone. If I was alone, I would be so excited for a horseback excursion! 

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