Why is Carnival so successful? First of all, nobody has more cruise ships than Carnival and the cruise line offers more local ports than anyone else. I live in the Tampa area, just 25 minutes from the cruise port, and in summer we only have two Carnival ships there, in winter Holland America, Royal Caribbean, and now Norwegian Cruise Lines are joining the Carnival ships. In summer most cruise lines do not keep their ships in Florida to go to the Caribbean because of Hurricanes and as they need ships in summer in Alaska and Europe. It would not make sense to keep ships year-round in the Baltic Sea to go to Northern Europe, as they have (like a local told me in a joke) only two seasons, July and winter.
In Tampa we have two Carnival cruise ships, the Legend and the Inspiration. The Inspiration will soon be replaced by a sister ship, just to offer something different. I like the Inspiration as it offers a cruise from Thursday afternoon to early Monday morning, so you can be back in the office at 9 am, if you take the suit cases yourself and walk off the ship. I also like the decor of the smaller ship better than that of the larger and newer Carnival Legend as the Legend has more the Carnival-typical pop-art styling. For newer ships Carnival changed the design again.
It is a personal preference, but I really like the look of a Grand Ocean Liner (maybe it is the fault of the movie Titanic???), like you find on cruise ships from Princess and Cunard. If you ever have been on the Emerald Princess, the Queen Mary 2, or Queen Victoria, you will understand what I am talking about.
When I accompanied a church group this Easter week on the Carnival Legend, I realized that Carnival adapted what you find daily on Princess and Cunard - the afternoon tea. It was slightly different, Cunard and Princess are very proud of their superior service and style, their teas are pretty much identical, on Pricess it is located in the dining room, on Cuarnd in the Queens room (their ball room).
On the Legend the tea was in the dining room and they served very similar food, but was not served by white-gloved butlers. Still the atmosphere was nice, a piano player played songs from the movie Titanic and others - but hardly anyone knew about it.
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