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Old 09-10-2012, 01:59 PM   #1
4GoofyCrew
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Disney Cruise vs. Carnival

I looked at the Disney Cruise prices again recently and about fainted. There is almost no way that is ever going to be within our budget. That being said, I also looked at Carnival which is quite reasonable.

We have never cruised before so I don't really know much about it. I guess I am just curious what sets Disney apart from Carnival? I mean other than the obvious - it's Disney! The ships are probably pretty much the same, they both have tons of food and entertainment (Carnival's not being Disney characters, obviously). The excursions are probably about all the same, except for the private Cay, right? I just feel like I must be missing something REALLY big based on the almost 2x as much price of the Disney cruise. I know our kids would love the character portion but not for that much more!

Help! Fill me in on what makes the Disney cruise worth the extra money?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:07 PM   #2
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Here's my take on it:

If you've never cruised Disney before, Carnival will be a great cruise.

If you've cruised Disney before, just remember that a Carnival cruise is NOT comparable to a Disney cruise. As long as you keep that in mind, you'll have a wonderful time on Carnival.

That is what I discovered. Once I stopped comparing them, I really enjoyed my Carnival cruise. Definitely A LOT more drinking on Carnival (just an opinion based on the one cruise I went on with them) but we did leave out of New Orleans. Does that have something to do with it? Maybe.

Disney is Disney. They got it downpat for the most part. You can't beat the service 99% of the time.

If money is that big of an issue, pick the non-Disney cruise. If you want to save up for the Disney cruise, I think it is totally worth it.
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:26 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by MexiFinn View Post
That is what I discovered. Once I stopped comparing them, I really enjoyed my Carnival cruise. Definitely A LOT more drinking on Carnival (just an opinion based on the one cruise I went on with them) but we did leave out of New Orleans. Does that have something to do with it? Maybe.
Good point, I never thought about the drinking either. DH and I are craft beer drinkers and our kids go to breweries and stuff so that does bother me. If people are being responsible about it I don't mind our kids being around it. However...I hadn't thought about how other people traveling without kids might be getting their party on! (Which, of course, is their right to do...just something for us to consider.)
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:38 PM   #4
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not sure if this is true or not, but it does kinda make sense to me.

Disney's prices are higher because there is no casino on board and people tend to drink alcoholic beverages less. Those are both big money makers on other ships.

Still expensive, I agree. Honestly, my DH doesn't really like to cruise. He goes for me and our dd. DCL is about the only line he will sail, and we've been on both CCL and RCCL. In a couple of years though, I'd like to do Alaska on a cruise/land maybe on Princess, so then I'll have something else to compare to. And, we've been on the older ships for the other lines, none of these new Epic style ships, so I'm sure that makes a huge difference.

Wish you all the best, you'll LOVE whatever cruise you choose, just enjoy being with your family! Go do WDW for a few days, then take a 3-4 day on one of the other lines and get a little of each!
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Old 09-10-2012, 04:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4GoofyCrew

Good point, I never thought about the drinking either. DH and I are craft beer drinkers and our kids go to breweries and stuff so that does bother me. If people are being responsible about it I don't mind our kids being around it. However...I hadn't thought about how other people traveling without kids might be getting their party on! (Which, of course, is their right to do...just something for us to consider.)
If you are beer drinker that carnival red frog pub was awesome.
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Old 09-10-2012, 05:14 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by 4GoofyCrew View Post
Good point, I never thought about the drinking either. DH and I are craft beer drinkers and our kids go to breweries and stuff so that does bother me. If people are being responsible about it I don't mind our kids being around it. However...I hadn't thought about how other people traveling without kids might be getting their party on! (Which, of course, is their right to do...just something for us to consider.)
We just got back from our first non-DCL cruise - 7 night NCL to Bermuda. Loved Bermuda. Happily go back in a second. Will try something else beyond NCL. Smoking on the top deck was problematic (DD 4 has had too many visits to the hospital with breathing issue). Like you I enjoy craft beer but drinking for drinking sake was a phase I grew out of after university. The kid's pool was full of parents sitting around with buckets, yes buckets, of beer (just doesn't seem appropriate in a kids area).

We went in not expecting DCL and our expectations were 'low' by our standards. Everything was okay, nothing (service, food, shows) wow'd us and left us wanting more. DCL? We have two cruises booked next year. What does that tell you? Would I do Carnival after trying NCL? No. Would I do NCL again? For the right itinerary and ship, maybe.

Now if Disney ever did Bermuda I don't care what premium they put on it, we will be there.
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:12 PM   #7
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I don't think you'll miss the difference if you've never cruised before. My first two cruises were on Carnival and we had a good time. Now we pledge devotion to Disney

For me, my experience, I find there is more of a party attitude on Carnival. (drinking). Disney is more family for us. We are an older family so the character experience is not the big draw. If I want Vegas, I'll go to Vegas.

I can't take the smoking allowed indoors. People will point out that smoking is allowed on the verandahs on Disney, but that doesn't bother me as much the smoke in closed spaces and Carnival does allow smoking in certain clubs and the casino.

Disney customer service is above and beyond anything I've experienced on any of the lines. They really do more than what is expected for their customers.

This is just a small portion that is only my preference, but when the show girls on Carnival start kicking, it's never in sync and I can't take it . Disney shows are excellent.

We have been on 3 Carnivals, 2 RCCl, 1 NCL and 7 DCL with 3 more planned. This is only my experience and my feelings. Others will disagree.
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:24 PM   #8
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I can't take the smoking allowed indoors. People will point out that smoking is allowed on the verandahs on Disney, but that doesn't bother me as much the smoke in closed spaces and Carnival does allow smoking in certain clubs and the casino.
Well that seals it right there. I have a ZERO tolerance for being indoors (or outdoors, so verandahs are out too) with smoke. We wouldn't do the casino so I don't care about that. But if people are allowed to smoke in the cabins, that would be a NO GO for us.

Thank you for bringing that up because I think that would be a deal breaker on ANY cruise line!
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4GoofyCrew

Well that seals it right there. I have a ZERO tolerance for being indoors (or outdoors, so verandahs are out too) with smoke. We wouldn't do the casino so I don't care about that. But if people are allowed to smoke in the cabins, that would be a NO GO for us.

Thank you for bringing that up because I think that would be a deal breaker on ANY cruise line!
They aren't allowed to smoke in cabins only certain clubs and casinos. To me, the smoke is just everywhere. My husband and I had hoped to visit one of the clubs to enjoy the music and such and we couldn't go in. Couldn't walk by the Casino either. Pew!

And we aren't opposed to drinking, but Carnival tends to have more drinking in my opinion and I believe they depend more on the revenue it brings in more than Disney since Disney allows you to bring on your own alcohol.
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4GoofyCrew View Post
Well that seals it right there. I have a ZERO tolerance for being indoors (or outdoors, so verandahs are out too) with smoke. We wouldn't do the casino so I don't care about that. But if people are allowed to smoke in the cabins, that would be a NO GO for us.

Thank you for bringing that up because I think that would be a deal breaker on ANY cruise line!

We have been on 2 Carnival cruises and will take our first Disney cruise on March. Smoking on Carnival is not allowed in cabins although you will find some who smoke on the balconies (just like every line). We didn't find the smoke bad and it was restricted to certain areas. The only really noticeable area was the casino and even that was limited.

We also didn't have an issue with mad, crazy drinkers partying all the time and one of the cruises was during spring break. It is interesting to note that Carnival does restrict the amount of alcohol you can bring onboard while Disney doesn't.

We have had no issues with the customer service, food or shows on the two cruises we have had with Carnival.
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:27 PM   #11
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I didn't catch the timing you were looking at, but the further in advance you make your plans, the less expensive you'll find DCL. Generally speaking. There is always the chance of IGT/OGT/VGT or other discounts being offered closer to sailing time, but not guaranteed of those.

I think the DCL PassPorter has some information comparing different cruise lines - what is/isn't included in the price, extras, comparison of kids programming, etc. You may want to take a look at that if you are on the fence. We had a fantastic DCL cruise last winter and I'd love to do it again - saving for a possible trip in 2014!
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:53 PM   #12
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reading all of this was great for me because i graduate college in december and i had been looking into cruises!
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Old 09-10-2012, 04:11 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4GoofyCrew

Well that seals it right there. I have a ZERO tolerance for being indoors (or outdoors, so verandahs are out too) with smoke. We wouldn't do the casino so I don't care about that. But if people are allowed to smoke in the cabins, that would be a NO GO for us.

Thank you for bringing that up because I think that would be a deal breaker on ANY cruise line!
I just got off the carnival magic. You can smoke in part of the casino and your veranda. You cannot smoke in your room. Also, the pool areas have certain spots you can.
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:25 PM   #14
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We've booked many CCL cruises and enjoyed them all, especially when we book one of the aft wrap staterooms. We've sailed on NCL and have an upcoming trip on RCL. We had considered DCL for that trip but I wanted to visit costa maya and DH only had 7 days off work so it narrowed down our options. I have a place-holder DCL cruise booked for 12/13 and am eagerly awaiting release of the new schedule to book something for 1/14. BTW, i've found the best DCL prices the earlier you book after schedule is released.

I've addressed several of your questions below, good luck in your choice. Remember the old adage: a bad day at sea is better than a good day at work.

I looked at the Disney Cruise prices again recently and about fainted. There is almost no way that is ever going to be within our budget(Why not book a 3 or 4 day DCL cruise in non-peak season? Be advised that when i price out cruises CCL - using military rate - is typically 2-1/2 to 3 times less expensive than DCL). That being said, I also looked at Carnival which is quite reasonable.

We have never cruised before so I don't really know much about it. I guess I am just curious what sets Disney apart from Carnival? I mean other than the obvious - it's Disney! The ships are probably pretty much the same (no they're not. CCL older ships have a vegas'y vibe with lots of neon, DCL's are more refined. DCL naturally has disney theming and customer service is higher. CCL gives a great experience but it's a different vibe.), they both have tons of food and entertainment (Carnival's not being Disney characters, obviously) (CCL again goes with a vegas'y vibe in their showroom. I must admit that we've skipped the production shows the last few times, but always catch the newlywed show and the adult comics). The excursions are probably about all the same, except for the private Cay, right (on certain CCL itineraries you can visit Half Moon Cay which, as much as I enjoy Castaway Cay, was more relaxing imo. Additionally, CCL has a larger fleet with more itineraries) ? I just feel like I must be missing something REALLY big based on the almost 2x as much price of the Disney cruise. I know our kids would love the character portion but not for that much more!

Help! Fill me in on what makes the Disney cruise worth the extra money?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 09-10-2012, 02:30 PM   #15
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[COLOR=red]We have never cruised before so I don't really know much about it. I guess I am just curious what sets Disney apart from Carnival? I mean other than the obvious - it's Disney! The ships are probably pretty much the same (no they're not. CCL older ships have a vegas'y vibe with lots of neon, DCL's are more refined. DCL naturally has disney theming and customer service is higher. CCL gives a great experience but it's a different vibe.), they both have tons of food and entertainment (Carnival's not being Disney characters, obviously) (CCL again goes with a vegas'y vibe in their showroom. I must admit that we've skipped the production shows the last few times, but always catch the newlywed show and the adult comics). The excursions are probably about all the same, except for the private Cay, right (on certain CCL itineraries you can visit Half Moon Cay which, as much as I enjoy Castaway Cay, was more relaxing imo. Additionally, CCL has a larger fleet with more itineraries) ? I just feel like I must be missing something REALLY big based on the almost 2x as much price of the Disney cruise. I know our kids would love the character portion but not for that much more!
Thanks, hadn't thought about the decor/Vegas-i-ness either. Not sure that is really our thing, especially for a family trip.

You are all giving me some good things to think about. Now that I have these things floating around in my head it does start to make the hefty price tag seem more worth while. Still not sure though...now my gears are turning again...for the price of a Disney Cruise we could stay 2x as long at WDW and at a better resort. Of course that doesn't get us to the Carribean...
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