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Old 01-26-2013, 12:56 PM   #1
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Two years ago, we sailed the Dream a few months after it debuted. Last year, we sailed the Carnival Conquest.

If you ask my kids, they would say that the Dream was their favorite ship...though they loved the Carnival. Actually, if you asked my wife and I, we would also say that the Dream was our favorite.............But if you asked my wallet, it would say CARNIVAL.

If the difference were $500 for the entire trip, we would go with Disney every single time. Heck, if it were $1,000, we would still go with Disney. But for the time periods that I have researched, Disney can be 2x as much as Carnival, usually for a shorter trip. We had a balcony for 7 days on the Carnival ship for what we paid for a porthole for 4 days on the Disney trip.

While the Disney cruise experience was definitely a step above Carnival (newer ship, better entertainment), I wouldn't say it was 2x as good. The food was just as good on Carnival, the staff was just as friendly, and the excursions were awesome. Therein lies my problem -- I have these wonderful kids asking me for a Disney cruise, and I am not sure I want to divert so much of our money to an experience that is great, but not 2x as great as the competition.
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:13 PM   #2
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How about a trip to WDW followed by a carnival cruise?
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:14 PM   #3
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The only time we can swing Disney over Carnival is when they have a kids sail free offer. Everything was good on Carnival, but there is extra magic on a Disney ship, and generally the atmosphere is just a bit nicer on a Disney ship. It is difficult to put a value on it. I wish I could sail Disney every year. It is a lot of money, but I guess there is a lot of people willing and able to pay top dollar for their full price fares.
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:30 PM   #4
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My only suggestion is to watch for specials--they do exist, especially if you have some date flexibility.
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:31 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by DahliaRW View Post
How about a trip to WDW followed by a carnival cruise?
We could do that. We are DVC members, so it would be nice to make use of our DVC points as part of the trip.

I think what is amazing me is how much money people have to spend on vacations. This country is supposedly in a major recession, but you'd never know it by the prices that Disney is charging.
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:05 PM   #6
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My family are DCL converts. We had fantastic times on NCL and RCCL on our first two cruises; when we went on the Dream last year, we were blown away.

No, the food wasn't outstanding. But I couldn't tell you anything remarkable about the food on the other lines, either. Both previous trips were 7 nights, so we had a lobster night and NCL had a chocolate buffet. Both were fantastic. Since we've only been on 4 night trips on DCL so far (leaving for the Dream again tomorrow), DCL doesn't seem to have anything like that. But we enjoyed the food nevertheless.

My brother is a die-hard Carnival fan, mostly because of the price. He can't get himself to pay DCL prices, no matter how much he wants to go. He almost was going to come with us on tomorrow's trip because we got a FL resident rate, but his wife had surgery late last month and they still have a baby on formula and diapers. His wife refused to go. But they can't resist trying to convince us that we've paid too much for DCL and what we could get on Carnival for half the price.

I grew up with WDW in my backyard. I've grown up with the "Disney standard". Whenever we go to other theme parks, they're measured with Disney. While WDW has been slipping over the past 10 years, it's still on top (IMHO) in a quality experience. And the over experience on DCL, to us, is worth the price if we can pull off the cost. I'm not opposed to going back on RCCL; I just don't care for Carnival's atmosphere or their track record.
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:41 PM   #7
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Maybe see if you can book your WDW trip and then just keep an eye out for some of the IGT, OGT, VGT last minute rates. you would probably still be able to cancel a portion of the WDW trip before any penalty period there and you could get a great price on a DCL cruise.

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Old 01-26-2013, 02:50 PM   #8
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you say you are a dvc member, That is how I afford disney cruises. Many people think it is a bad exchange of points but it is the way I afford to cruise. this time I paid by points for my husband and myself and cash for the kids. I don't get on board cridts like most people do but it has helped us enjoy our second disney cruise
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:59 PM   #9
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I went on a Carnival cruise years ago and we're going on our first Disney cruise as a family in April. Got a great deal with kids Sail free from Miami; was cheaper than a comparable stay at the parks. We've been to the parks often as we live in Florida and wanted to try the cruise this time. Husband and I have also been on Princess cruise line. My impression of Carnival was that it's more of a party ship for 20-somethings. Not the environment I want for my younger kids. Also, like the idea of the kids clubs on the Disney ships. I expect Disney to vet their workers to a higher degree than other ships. If your kids are really clamoring for a Disney cruise I'd go that route as they grow up too fast and may not want to take a family cruise in a few years. Wouldn't go into debt over it though! 86 more days till our cruise!!!
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:26 PM   #10
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I can totally see the conflict. I've done DCL three times then took a carnival cruise with friends. Disney haves down rocked!!! Love Disney n if it weren't for the huge price diff I'd select Disney every time. Choosing another line IMO is basically not for the experience on the ship any longer... But for the time ashore. And the $$$ I save going that route could go toward some awesome excursions or another trip
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:36 PM   #11
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Decisions, decisions

I agree with the PP that I would choose DCL every time if I could justify the cost. I cannot. However, we have had some great cruises on other lines, especially RCI. I usually talk the family down off of their DCL ledge by reminding them of all the other things we can do with the money we save by going with another line: Shore excursions, a trip to WDW, etc. Still, it doesn't stop us from feeling sorry for ourselves when we pull into a dock next to a DCL ship and think, "Wish that was us!" We like to cruise annually and just cannot afford the DCL prices every year, so we are willing to try other things during those in-between years. Having said that, we are so excited to be going on the Fantasy this year!
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:41 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by momtoleasawav View Post
you say you are a dvc member, That is how I afford disney cruises. Many people think it is a bad exchange of points but it is the way I afford to cruise. this time I paid by points for my husband and myself and cash for the kids. I don't get on board cridts like most people do but it has helped us enjoy our second disney cruise
You are not the only one that does this! It's not a bad use of points if it gets you what you want.

We just booked a Disney cruise for February 2014 using our points.
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:49 PM   #13
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Walmart and Macy's both sell shirts. Quality and price can be the same if you look for sales.

We've been to wdw almost every year for the last 7 or so years. Looked into DVC but not for us. We go to wdw and are more than happy with mods and typically gone during FD. My sig shows some BC and Yc stays but these were business trips. Last year we tried DCL and fell in love. But we can't afford concierge or even a 7n, but are booked in the wonder in two weeks cause I jumped in KSF.

In NJ, we have a six flags within 20 minutes. We could go there, but to us it's not the same as Disney. So we drive 1200 miles...

You could just avoid the hassle of finding a good quality shirt in Walmart. I surely do. But I'd rather hunt the sale at Macy's...
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:21 PM   #14
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I agree with the OP 100%. We are lucky to be able to afford vacations, but we try to stretch our vacation dollars as far as possible. If we can get a good price, we'll cruise Disney. Unfortunately, more often than not, their prices are up in rip-off territory as far as I'm concerned. Fortunately, we're flexible and can have a perfectly good non-Disney trip as well.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:03 PM   #15
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If a Disney cruise is what you want, why not consider "renting" your DVC points and using that $$ for the cruise. That way you get onboard credits and don't have to book the cruise through DVC. The rent/trade board gives the info and should give an idea of what points currently go for. I have done this and it has gone well - - - has been a better deal than using points directly for the cruise. Sure you give up a WDW trip, but gain a Disney cruise. Life is about choices, as this thread points out.
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