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View Full Version : RCCL vs. Disney - I miss my DCL ships!


2disneycruzrs
08-17-2004, 04:34 AM
I'm on a work cruise to Alaska, which is my first non-Disney cruise. I'm already missing Mickey and Minnie! I've compiled my list of what's good (the few) items on RCCL's Serenade versus Disney's ship's extensive list.

What's Nice About RCCL's Serenade:

-RCCL cruises to Alaska.
-Some balconies are on a "hump" mid-ship that afford a longer balcony. I have two chairs, a table, and two lounge chairs.
-Casino (if you're into that) is available.
-Rock Wall (always wanted to try it and will later this week)
-The buffet has way more selections for all meals as does breakfast room service (eggs available).


What I Miss About Disney Ships:
-Stateroom Attendants. I haven't seen my attendant since he introduced himself yesterday. His hours are 8a-1p and 6p-11p. It seems everywhere I turned on DCL, there was my attendant. I also didn't receive my Cruise Compass last night (i.e. Personal Navigator), and no one has received a towel animal yet.
-Adult Activities. It seems there were not kids at the DCL activities, whereas here we were distracted in our Napkin Folding Class by young kids who were irritating the audience and the social hostess.
-The horn at sailaway and ports and the sailaway celebration.
-The characters (and I'm not a huge Disney fan). I missed having formal night pictures with Mickey and Minnie tonight.
-The dining room rotation and shows. There's only one show and it's tomorrow night on here.
-Dining Room Staff. They were much more friendly and personable on DCL. They're nice and attentive here, but not as interactive.
-The split bathroom. I miss the shower/tub as well.
-Disembarkation process is flexible and based on your desired time rather than assigned.
-Self service laundry room and irons available.
-Chocolate souffle - says it all.
-Adult only pool/hot tub.
-Kids are more controlled with their programs, and it seems they're not as intrusive as on here.
-The musical productions and offerings. You always have two shows to accommodate the two dinner seatings. That's not always the case here.

Feel free to add to the list if you've sailed Disney versus other lines. This cruise has made me appreciate my Disney sailings.

CurtS
08-17-2004, 06:40 AM
While I have never sailed RCI, I've read a lot on these boards about the differences between the two, many times favoring RCI. We continue to debate RCI v. DCL, though we are excited about our DCL cruise (but you always have that "what if..."). It helps to see some "side-by-side" comparisons and know we made the right choice to stick by Disney.

westjones
08-17-2004, 08:02 AM
Thanks for posting this. We considered RCCL for future cruises, but haven't been able to part from DCL yet (although with prices going up and up, we are thinking about it).

We love DCL and it does help to hear reviews from others who sail the RCCL.

Thanks again for posting!
DJ

TraSee
08-17-2004, 01:48 PM
First, I have to say that if you are on a work cruise...well, does your company have any openings???!!!;)

Second, last Feb my husband and I ventured over to RCCL from DCL. We had booked a 7 day Western. Our first stop was in Key West. We were so unhappy, we got off of the ship and drove back home without finishing the cruise. We saw our room attendant once. We found our table at dinner and as we sat the other guests at the table said there must be some mistake and that those seats were saved. (It was the table we were assigned to.) The waiter had us stand near his station while he looked for a table. We then were seated and had ordered when were told that we were at the wrong table again. Finally we were seated alone. (Felt the kids nobody wanted to eat lunch with!) The food was horrible. I compared it to Lean Cuisine. (Not bad when I need something to heat up at work by any means...but not the taste I was looking for on my vacation.) I am 42 and I am certain my husband and I were in the group of the youngest ppl on the cruise!

Anyway...DCL is where we'll be...I can't see messing with perfection!
::yes::

JerseyMom
08-17-2004, 03:20 PM
Originally posted by 2disneycruzrs
What I Miss About Disney Ships:
-Disembarkation process is flexible and based on your desired time rather than assigned.


I haven't sailed RCCL yet but I have a Southern Carribean booked for next Fall. I can already see what some of the differences are - except for the chocolate souffle - I didn't have any on the Wonder because I don't really like souffle. My question though is, has Disney changed it's disembarkation process? When I have sailed DCL, disembarkation wasn't flexible at all. Our disembarkation was based on our dining time.

If they have a more flexible disembarkation schedule now, that would be great! I'd love not having to wake up at 6 a.m. Being able to stroll off the ship at around 10 would be so much more civilized.

Minnie&Mickey
08-17-2004, 03:34 PM
I'm just curious...when we sailed on the Disney Wonder this past summer, we never saw our room steward other than the first day when he introduced himself. The room was always clean, and we always had ice, but we never saw him during the entire cruise which we were fine with. I just thought this was normal, but I've read a lot of people commenting that they never saw their steward on other cruise lines and that they always saw them on Disney. We spent a good bit of time in our room, but never saw ours! Was this unusual?

ksjayhawks
08-17-2004, 05:38 PM
We never saw our room steward either, but room was cleaned, animals were made for us, etc, etc. We didn't require anything special, so thought that was the norm.

:sunny: :Pinkbounc :bounce:

lbgraves
08-17-2004, 05:49 PM
From everything that I have read on this board & others, DCL's disembarkation is the easiest to deal with in the industry. Other lines require you to leave the ship in some kind of order based on your name, stateroom, etc. They don't have clearance with customs done as early as DCL which means that you have to wait in line. We had early seating but chose to meet friends in Topsiders for breakfast that last day so that we didn't have to eat so early. I even ran down to AP to request pancakes from our server since the buffet didn't have anything that DS would eat. Not a problem at all! This is pretty flixible IMO. On a regular day, everyone needs to be off the ship by 9 am.

We also saw our room host, Don, several times a day. He always took the time to talk to the children. He also opened the door for me a few times when I was alone with the kids & they were still upset that we had to leave the Mickey Pool. It seemed like he was always in the hall if we needed anything.

HookedonMagic
08-17-2004, 06:27 PM
TraSee--We felt the same way about RCCL food on our Mariner cruise this past March. I wrote a long "rant" about this upon our return, so I won't go on too long this time, but...Dinner in the main dining room was comparable to dinner at Perkins. And our waiters were bland and unprofessional. We ate at the specialty restaurants three nights (they were excellent!) and our waiter and server actually yelled at us. They seemed panicked they might not get their whole tip. We were also surprised by the advanced age of many of our fellow cruisers. RCCL spends a lot of advertising dollars to attract families, but we sailed with a ship full of older cruisers who made it very obvious they were not happy to be sailing with families. Our table mates griped the whole week about people who sail with kids (we sailed with both of our children but never took them to dinner once...we didn't want to disturb anyone and went out of our way to keep the grumps happy and they still complained! Geez!) And those who were not old were teenage spring breakers who took over the pools and bars (LOTS of drunk teenagers everywhere!) And don't even get me started on the evening entertainment...most nights it was embarrassing, to say the least!

On the plus side, the ship was very nice...we enjoyed our atrium staterooms, we had a great attendant, we liked the HUGE gym, and the pools were nice (when not overrun with teens!) We also like the sports deck area and the Johnny Rockets! We enjoyed smooth sailing the entire week and had a very professional captain.

To be fair, I should state that prior to that cruise we had read many positive reviews of RCCL. We had taken three DCL cruises and looked forward to sailing on the new megaship. Our expectations may have been too high, which may have impacted our feelings towards the experience. Also, prior to that cruise, we had taken a 7 day on the Magic and enjoyed one of the BEST family vacations ever. You can't get around it...RCCL is nice, but lacks pixie dust, which sounds flaky, but is true!:earseek: I guess that's why I'm hooked on Magic!:crazy:

tezb
08-17-2004, 07:57 PM
Having just done our first RCCL cruise this past June on the Mariner we too were nervous about trying something other than DCL...we have done 3. I'm happy to say that we enjoyed RCCL and so did our teen boys..so much more to do for them and us. More night life for the adults who don't have little ones anymore! I too worried about the disembarkation process on RCCL since I heard horror stories but it worked out very well. They even ask you at check in what time you need to be off the ship, etc and pretty much gave us the time we told them. The color calling was very quick and painless. While we enjoyed our DCL experience, we probably won't cruise w/ them again, or atleast not anytime son. We will definitely cruise w/ RCCL again as they have more of what we want right now...want to try the Alaska cruise next w/ Radiance.

Tybus
08-17-2004, 09:43 PM
TraSee and HookedonMagic - we had the same exact experience on RCI!

Bad food!

Bad service!

Terrible entertainment!

Every few minutes (not kidding) they closed the pool!

We were among the youngest people on the ship.

We were seated with newlyweds at dinner and we had our one year old sailing with us! I guess we were the only young people on the ship so they sat us together! I have never seen so many motorized scooters in one place!

I am glad to know that we aren't the only ones who had this experience.

georgina
08-17-2004, 10:45 PM
I didn't see a single motorized scooter on our Alaska cruise on the Serenade. There were many families.

The solarium pool/hot tub was adults only, except for 2 hours a day that they let families use it.

We received towel animals maybe 3 days of the cruise, but that's not really a big deal to us.

Our waiters were great.

My kids weren't "controlled" by kids programs, because we did many things as a family, but my youngest spent some time in the kids' area. We did participate in several of their family activities, like the scavenger hunt. I find it hard to believe kids were not intrusive on a DCL cruise, does everyone leave their children in the kids' activities? That doesn't sound like our kind of cruise at all, we vacation to spend time together.

CM_Mom
08-17-2004, 11:08 PM
I find it hard to believe kids were not intrusive on a DCL cruise, does everyone leave their children in the kids' activities?

I think what the OP meant is that the adult areas are reasonabley well defined and the CMs try to ensure that they stay ADULT ONLY and they will ask children to move to the family areas. We saw a CM politely tell a familiy that Serenity Bay was for Adults Only and direct them back to the family beach. There are lots of family activities on the DCL ships but there are also some activities that are planned to be adults only such as the Art of Entertainment and Navigator series. Also, I liked that the family and adult activities are clearly marked in the navigators so you could quickly tell what type of activity it was.

Besides, only DCL has Castaway Cay. What more can I say?

2disneycruzrs
08-18-2004, 03:08 AM
TraSee - Wow! I can't believe you didn't return to the ship! We're doing a 6-night Western with this same class RCCL ship next year, and our group would be happier doing dinner every night in the two specialty restaurants rather than the main room. The steak house on RCCL is excellent.

JerseyMom - I see your point, but I didn't think it was so strict on Disney regarding disembarkation. However, DH & I always opt for the later seating so I haven't experienced the early seating departure process. But there was a good point made about having Topsider as an option so you could relax and not have to disembark early.

I'm still surprised that it is Day 3 and I STILL have not seen my steward - not even in the hall making up other rooms! I'm sure we'll see him on grat day (Saturday)! As Hookedon Magic mentions, I guess I just feel that "pixie dust" is missing. I will say that my group of 27 on board loves the ship and she is very beautiful.

Tezb - If you're looking at sailing Alaska, book on the Serenade instead of the Radiance. It's a year newer as she debuted in Sept. 2003. ALSO, be sure to book a room on the starboard side so you see Hubbard Glacier better - and I highly recommend having a balcony for this cruise. Our group really likes this sailing, and I hope to be able to bring my DH on a Disney AK cruise someday.

CM Mom completely understood my point (and good addition with C-Cay!). When I have a family, I too want to have more family time than alone, but it's nice to have that option at that time and also now as married adults without kids. I really think it takes away from certain activities when there are disruptive kids and the event is geared toward adults. The specialty/fine dining alternatives on here require minimum age of 13. I'd rather see it be at least 18.

Mike Wolfe
08-18-2004, 09:09 AM
Originally posted by tezb
I'm happy to say that we enjoyed RCCL and so did our teen boys..so much more to do for them and us. More night life for the adults who don't have little ones anymore! .

Hello, Tezb, would you mind expanding on this, what other things were there for your teens to do on RCCL VS Disney , and if not to personnel what are the ages please???

Thanks so much to all who input,

Mike

JerseyMom
08-18-2004, 01:01 PM
I wasn't really making a point - I was hoping there was some change in their policy. Since they start boarding for the next cruise between noon and one and have to get the ship ready, I guess that's not really possible. Reading over our disembarkation paper from our last trip, it says "Please remember to bring your day bag with you to breakfast, as you are required to disembark the ship immediately following breakfast." It also says "All guests must disembark the ship by 8:45 a.m." I don't know about you but that is still early to me - especially when I am on vacation. On our last DCL cruise we had early seating and had to have breakfast on disembarkation day at 6:45 a.m. (ugh!) :headache: I guess we could have done the buffet but I really don't eat at buffets if I can help it. That said, it was still better than what I understand many cruise lines do - I understand that some make you wait in some public area - restaurant, auditorium or such - until your number is called. Next DCL cruise I have requested late seating so we can go to breakfast at 8 instead. We're not morning people - can you tell?

With regard to Castaway Cay, I have been researching cruises pretty extensively and it looks to me as if CC is much bigger than most cruise lines' private islands - i.e., princess cay, greater stirrup cay, half moon cay. Looks like they(the other lines) are putting 50% more people on an island half the size. My next cruise is on NCL and they have to tender over to the island. It is much nicer to be able to just walk off the ship onto the island. Most people that I have talked to who have cruised DCL and other lines say that CC wins hand down. CM-Mom is right about that. ::yes::

Bosjoe
08-18-2004, 01:18 PM
I Miss My RCCL ship. :)
Rock Climbiing, Mini-golf, Ice skating, Johnie Rockets. The atrium Area. Atrium Parade.
As an adult with no kids I find it more fun on RCCL. The megaship.
Disney is geared to families with children. So they have alot more for the children. As for the Alaska Cruise, you will get more of the older generation. So the averaged aged just zoomed up to above 40.
Disney does have a gorgeous ship. I have been on Wonder twice with my third coming up this December. I will most likely not do the shows on Disney again since they have not changed in a few years. As for shows on RCCL they have 2 sessions except for the first night, they have started to combine them since so many people are tired or exploring the ship. RCCL megaships do have adult only pool areas I use them over the Main pool area. Also going in the summer time on these ships can be crazy as teenagers are all over the place. And they seem to think they have thier own set of rules.
As for room attendents I got to see mine just about everyday on RCCL. and the servers were great to talk to. These people bust thier tail off. They are up at 5-6am getting the dining room ready. then up to past 11pm fininshing up second seating dinner. They are rushed for first seating and I am sure some of them get stressed out and some might just have bad days.
But it comes down to everyone does have different experience and expectations on the same cruise. But as a whole you are going to have fun on just about any ship.
:)

SandraLee
08-18-2004, 02:04 PM
What are the shows like on RCCL -- specifically the Radiance?

My DS9 and DD6 LOVE to go to the shows. They are avid live-performance junkies. I would be disappointed if the shows on another ship were not 'kid friendly'. I don't need to have characters to enjoy the show.

We will be doing the Panama canal next year and then probably venturing over and trying a Royal Carib cruise. I love the beauty of the Radiance class ships. I don't think I would like the mega-ship. It is just too big for me and I could care less about ice skating and gambling on a cruise.

soccercruiser87
08-18-2004, 02:42 PM
RCCL might have a bigger house but DCL has the mouse!!!::MickeyMo

2disneycruzrs
08-19-2004, 03:51 AM
Well said, Travis!

Bosjoe: I have not been on RCCL's megaship but I wouldn't mind seeing it sometime for the added activities. You are correct about the age of the cruisers, however it has surprised me how young the cruisers really are. There are more young families and adults under 40 than I predicted. It's a nice mix. And some of these seniors are a hoot! I also do not have kids, but there are just too many things open to everyone at all times on this ship.

SandraLee: I can't answer the shows specifically on the Radiance, but being that this ship is the same class, I'm sure they're similar. Day 1 and today (4) were comedians. Day 2 was a group performing Temptations songs (I liked them and didn't think I would). Day 3 and 5 are the RCCL singers & dancers. I truly believe the talent is better on DCL, especially the singing.

I think today was one of those days that just solidified it for me. First, I had two elevators AGAIN with all the buttons pushed - and it was a shore day! Like I said before, I've never had that happen on DCL though I'm sure it does occassionally. My stateroom attendant saw me (this was the first I saw him since he introduced himself) and came running to tell me that they switched him and he's no longer my attendant. Mind you, he knows that our grats are pre-paid since I'm in a group, and he laid out our grat vouchers (receipts). I seriously feel he did this knowing I would probably give him a gratuity on top of the voucher to give to my new attendant. Why would RCCL switch attendants mid-cruise is unbeknownst to me! He also mentioned that they were starting towel animals tonight. If he were to do it before tonight, he would be in trouble as they are not allowed to do it even if the guest requests them. Can you believe that?!

What sealed it all today was the dining room service. Like Palo, RCCL's specialty steakhouse is EXCELLENT both in food and service. However, it just keeps getting worse each day for us in the dining room. This is the THIRD day one gentleman in our group has not been served one of his courses. I sat tonight at his table and there were so many events that I shook my head and finally had to say something to the head waiter. He has ensured us of speedy and accurate service the remainder of the cruise. There were FIVE different things that happened at our table tonight. One of our tables has a different service team and they have been attentive. I know these folks work long days, but there has to be attentiveness.

There was a wedding sailing party nearby of about 30 who clanged their glasses for the couple every 10 minutes (I am not exaggerating). The head waiter asked them twice to stop and did they - no. The maitre d should have stepped in but did not. That group made it seem like we were on a Carnival cruise! One of our group's biggest frustrations is the bar/wine format. There is a bar attendant who comes around twice for orders. The wine is handled by the asst. waiter. Everytime you purchase one of these items, your card is charged and you have to sign each time. I appreciate the asst. on DCL handling both bar and wine, taking our card, and running it at the end of dinner. Does RCCL think we're going to run from our bill - where?! I'm trying to be open-minded but it's difficult when you're used to a certain service level, especially for the price our company paid, and it's not delivered. Becuase we are a large group, we pre-paid the gratuities, and they certainly are not at what I would have given.

I think the main difference is if there is a reasonable request, DCL makes it happen and doesn't question or make excuses. They do what's in the best interest of the customer paying the bill.

mrsltg
08-19-2004, 07:34 AM
My next cruise is on NCL and they have to tender over to the island. It is much nicer to be able to just walk off the ship onto the island. Most people that I have talked to who have cruised DCL and other lines say that CC wins hand down.

Hi JerseyMom-

I have sailed NCL and gone to their island. It was beautiful! Yes you have to tender there, but it takes all of 10-15 minutes and it drops you right on the beach. We had a fantastic time on that island!

Erin :D

tezb
08-19-2004, 10:03 AM
Originally posted by Mike Wolfe
Hello, Tezb, would you mind expanding on this, what other things were there for your teens to do on RCCL VS Disney , and if not to personnel what are the ages please???

Thanks so much to all who input,

Mike

My boys are 12, 16 and 18. The 18 yr old was able to go to clubs, the casino and basically adult things. He mainly hung out w/ us but still enjoyed the options. He loved the shows too, many good comediennes.

The other 2 enjoyed the FUEL teen disco and The Living Room hangout, rock climbing, ice skating, sports, mini golf, roller blading, etc. The arcade was a good size too...but expensive! Just more options for everyone and after our last DCL cruise in 2003, it was apparent that my kids were ready for something else, they were getting bored w/ DCL.

Thanks for the tip on the Alaska Cruise Jen..

JerseyMom
08-19-2004, 10:30 AM
Originally posted by mrsltg
Hi JerseyMom-

I have sailed NCL and gone to their island. It was beautiful! Yes you have to tender there, but it takes all of 10-15 minutes and it drops you right on the beach. We had a fantastic time on that island!

Erin :D

I've never been on a ship that you had to use tenders. It's good to know that it's not that bad.

mkauffman
08-19-2004, 02:36 PM
Originally posted by ksjayhawks
We never saw our room steward either, but room was cleaned, animals were made for us, etc, etc. We didn't require anything special, so thought that was the norm.

Our room steward was always there. We loved him as much as we loved our wait staff. In fact, he became our family "watch dog" for my 16 year old son who loved to find pretty girls to flirt with!!

Michelle

mmouse37
08-19-2004, 06:22 PM
FYI for those who never sailed DCL before...DCL does have to tender on the Western and sometimes on the Eastern.

On the Western you always have to tender at Grand Cayman as there really is no cruise dock.

On the Eastern you sometimes have to tender in St. Thomas. It all depends on how many ships are in port that day.

DCL has huge tenders that they use....most other lines use their lifeboats as tenders.

Disney hires tenders that hold I'd say about 100 people at once.

MJ

2disneycruzrs
08-20-2004, 03:32 PM
I miss the special wake up calls from Mickey. A voice telling me the time just doesn't cut it.