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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, 02:12 PM   #3
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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   #4
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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, 02:25 PM   #5
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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, 02:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
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, 02:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keishashadow View Post
[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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Old 09-10-2012, 02:35 PM   #8
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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, 02:36 PM   #9
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Carnival

On my honeymoon 14 years ago I did a short 3 night Carnival cruise at the end of a week at Disney World. I did Carnival because it was cheaper.
The instant we got to the port I could see that the Disney port was so much nicer. The Carnival ship was old, food yuck, and customer service awful.
We were newlyweds no kids yet and found the Carnival cruise to be lots of drinking and saw only three families. Now the longer cruises are probably different. Now my sister who is single and has no kids cruises with Carnival. She likes the party atmosphere and the cheaper rates.
With Disney you do not have to do a shore excursion since they go to Castaway Cay. I thought that Carnival would nickel and dime for everything.

In October my family of 4 is doing our first Disney cruise.
I booked my Disney cruise 18 months out to get the best rate and so that I could have time to pay for it. My 4 night cruise with balcony was $2900.
I know Carnival would be less, but with the extras I'd pay out for, and the Disney quality I think Disney will be more than worth it.
This is my two cents.
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:38 PM   #10
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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, 02:39 PM   #11
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Thanks for starting this thread. I have been asking people the same thing about the price difference. I have not had anyone tell me that it was not worth it...
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:56 PM   #12
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If you're on a tight budget, why not just save longer and enjoy the Disney cruise? Or book the trip at a time of year when fares are lower? Or book way in advance to guarantee the trip but still lock in a reasonable price?

I agree with the poster who said that Carnival would be ok if you've never cruised on DCL (or anything else, for that matter), but once you've enjoyed a mid-range (e.g. RCI, Princess) or high-end line (e.g. Cunard, Silversea) it would be tough to step down.
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:01 PM   #13
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I took my family on the Carnival Dream when it was new and we had a great time. It's a very family friendly ship (all of Carnival's newer ships are). People will have you believe that everyone on a Carnival cruise spends the entire week drunk, but that's simply not true. We didn't see anyone out of control. Sure, there will be people that overdo it, but there are people like that on ALL cruises, including Disney. In fact, if you read other threads on here, you will see several people say they have seen many drunk people on DCL.

I love Disney, but I simply cannot justify the pricing. Our cruise in a balcony cabin was $2,000 less than an oceanview on the shorter Disney cruise sailing at that same time (sorry, don't remember what sailing it was). The cruise we're taking in December on the Oasis of the Seas in a Central Park View Balcony is still much less than the Fantasy sailing at the same time.
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:10 PM   #14
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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, 03:18 PM   #15
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Thanks for starting this thread. I have been asking people the same thing about the price difference. I have not had anyone tell me that it was not worth it...

I am really looking forward to our DCL cruise as we are big Disney nuts but you have to keep in mind that you are on a Disney Discussion Board and you will not here many people tell you it isn't worth it. And there are some who will tell you that only the worst classes of people will cruise Carnival.
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