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Old 12-22-2012, 09:58 AM   #16
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First off I'm a Disney fanatic and if I could we would take only Disney vacations I love the shows entertainment and also free sodas!! Also their service on board is unparalleled ridiculously amazing. Also I have been on holland America and carnival as well. Did not get nearly as good service shows were okay I guess food on the carnival was forgettable to me Holland America was pretty good. For family's I would always pick Disney!! The kid programs that I noticed on the two other cruise lines I mentioned were either not well put together or almost nonexistent. I'm 17 and so on those cruises I went to the teen clubs carnival I can't speak on too much didn't see much of it but the younger youth club was boring to my younger brother who was about 6-7 at the time. Not much to do on HA every time I tried to visit the club it was closed! With the vibe for teens and other clubs for the younger audience we as a family were never disappointed. The vibe constantly had fun stuff for us to do and I met awesome people it really made my experience great. I would pick DCL every time without hesitation.
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:01 AM   #17
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Wow! Which cruise lines charge for soap and shampoo?

Woody
I would like to know this as well. I've cruised most of the mass market lines and have never had one charge for soap and shampoo.
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:10 AM   #18
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I'd also add that the free and always open (9am to midnight) kids' clubs are important to me. I just can't get past the idea that the clubs on RCI close for meal times. What if I plan on eating at an odd time? Plus, my kids love eating lunch and dinner in the clubs. They may be the only ones who do, but they actually negotiate how many meals they will be allowed to eat there
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:16 AM   #19
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I'll know in just about a month if DCL is "worth" it, since we're taking our first DCL cruise then (and actually, it will be "worth" it for us, since we booked Kids' Sail Free, and it would cost about the same to sail Carnival or Royal!). I do need to address some of what has been said about "other" cruise lines, though. We've sailed Carnival and Royal multiple times, so I can definitely speak about those cruise lines-- I can't speak for any others, but Carnival and Royal are two major players in the cruise industry. I've commented in red below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmwade77 View Post
We have priced other cruise lines and while DCL starts higher, they end up lower:
Room Service is included (some cruise lines charge extra for this, we have seen a per visit charge to paying the same as you would in a fancy hotel)Room service is always free on Carnival, Royal charges (I think about $5 if the order is placed after midnight-- it is free during normal hours.
Soft Drinks are included (most cruise lines offer a drink package, but it's expensive and soft drinks aren't even included with dinner on many lines anymore) This one is true. But $50, even per person hardly makes up for the price difference most of the time.
Mixed non-alcoholic drinks are cheaper than other cruise lines (we don't drink, but I am told their alcoholic drinks are cheaper too). Don't know about this one.
No charges for amenities like soap, shampoo, etc. (Some cruise lines are charging for this as well)Why on earth would some charge for soap???! Some lines do not leave the little bottles in your room anymore, they have dispensers on the wall. We've always been OK with whatever's there. Picky people usually bring their own.
We don't have any kids yet, but they don't charge for the kids clubs (Most other lines do)Neither Carnival or Royal charge for their kids club. There is an after hours fee (usually beginning at 10 or 10:30pm. It is my understanding that the Disney Club is free until midnight, so that is two extra "free" evening hours, if you use them. All lines charge for baby sitting infants/toddlers (including Disney). Carnival's kids club takes kids at 2 years of age, though, and they don't have to be potty trained. Royal and Disney take them at 3. Carnival and Royal do close their clubs from around 12pm-2pm each day. Carnival's is open for dinner, I believe Royal's is not.
Disney only has 1-2 restaurants with an up charge (Sone other lines have an upcharge for all but 2 or 3, on average other lines have 5 with an upcharge) This depends largely on the size of the ship. Oasis/Allure do have multiple pay restaurants, but they also have A LOT of free dining venues (way more than any Disney ship)-- The ships are larger and so they have more of both pay and included restaurants.
There is no charge for any of the entertainment (Some lines have shows that cost about as much as a broadway play and some charge for thier movies) I've never seen a show or movie you had to pay for on a ship. We were just on Oasis in September and all the shows and movies were free. We were able to see a Broadway quality production of Hairspray. It was great. We also saw a couple of 3D movies, also free.
Disney has a lower cost for thier suggested gratuities than many other lines, I am assuming the pay thier staff differently than the other lines. Gratuities are pretty standard on most main lines, ranging from $10-$12 per person per day. Disney is at $12, which is the same as Royal. Carnival was slightly less the last time I checked.
Disney allows you to bring your own drinks on board, both Alcholic and non-Alcholic, something most other lines do not allow or limit. This is true. Royal lets you bring on two bottles of wine. Not sure Carnival lets you bring on any.

So, when looking at the other lines, be sure to consider all of those factors when looking at the real cost. It is amazing how fast the nickel and diming adds up on the other lines.

Then factor in that it better matches our preferences because there is no Casino, all rooms are non-smoking, they have more entertainment, there's Disney Characters around the ship.
As you can see, there are some misconceptions about what "other lines" do and don't do. I am hoping to be blown away by Disney on our February cruise, but you can really justify the extra cost with things like soda cards and kids club hours. I'm guessing it has a lot to do with service, and well, the "magic" that you don't get on other lines. I'll be able to say for sure in a month! --Katie
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:22 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by ekatiel View Post
I'll know in just about a month if DCL is "worth" it, since we're taking our first DCL cruise then (and actually, it will be "worth" it for us, since we booked Kids' Sail Free, and it would cost about the same to sail Carnival or Royal!). I do need to address some of what has been said about "other" cruise lines, though. We've sailed Carnival and Royal multiple times, so I can definitely speak about those cruise lines-- I can't speak for any others, but Carnival and Royal are two major players in the cruise industry. I've commented in red below:

As you can see, there are some misconceptions about what "other lines" do and don't do. I am hoping to be blown away by Disney on our February cruise, but you can really justify the extra cost with things like soda cards and kids club hours. I'm guessing it has a lot to do with service, and well, the "magic" that you don't get on other lines. I'll be able to say for sure in a month! --Katie
Thanks for responding to that post, as it saved me a lot of effort! That poster appears to be pretty clueless about the policies and charges of "most other cruise lines"!
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:30 AM   #21
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For me, the main reason I've chosen DCL for our last two cruises is the childcare and kid's clubs. It's the only line that really has anything for toddlers, even though you have to book and pay for under 3's. I also love the entertainment and activities, which is far better than any other cruise line I've tried. Their service is excellent, yes, but compared to other cruises I've been on it's about equal, not way above and beyond. As for "magic", well that is completely subjective! Watching my child's eyes light up when she met Minnie Mouse on her way to dinner is pretty magical. But so was watching her take her first steps in the lounge of a Celebrity ship while the whole staff stopped and clapped for her was pretty magical too.

Our next cruise coming up is our last with a two year old, and I'm going to be seriously considering other lines when I have older kids. There are a few extras on DCL, but not enough to make up for a huge price difference for me, especially on cruises during the school holidays. Also, their 2014 itineraries don't interest me a whole lot, so if they don't start offering something more interesting they're going to lose me.

My basic rule of thumb is that DCL is worth paying a little more, but not a lot more. I've seen GT rates that were around $100 per day per person; that would be worthwhile to me if the dates and last minute arrangements worked out. I've also seen summer rates that were more than double other ships. No way could I drink enough soda to make that worthwhile!

Good luck deciding and happy travels!
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:28 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by ekatiel View Post

As you can see, there are some misconceptions about what "other lines" do and don't do.
I agree. We cruise often on multiple cruise lines. Our last two cruises were Nov. 2012 on the Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas, and Dec. 2012 on the Disney Fantasy. This was our experience (in red):


Quote:
Originally Posted by cmwade77 View Post

We have priced other cruise lines and while DCL starts higher, they end up lower:

Room Service is included (some cruise lines charge extra for this, we have seen a per visit charge to paying the same as you would in a fancy hotel)
RCI does not charge for room service during regular hours. There is a $3.95 charge between midnight and 6:00 am.

Soft Drinks are included (most cruise lines offer a drink package, but it's expensive and soft drinks aren't even included with dinner on many lines anymore)
RCI does not include soft drinks. I did not price the drink package since I don't drink soda.

Mixed non-alcoholic drinks are cheaper than other cruise lines (we don't drink, but I am told their alcoholic drinks are cheaper too).
I have not compared the prices of mixed non-alcoholic drinks.

No charges for amenities like soap, shampoo, etc. (Some cruise lines are charging for this as well)
RCI supplies amenities like soap and shampoo.

We don't have any kids yet, but they don't charge for the kids clubs (Most other lines do)
I believe RCI charges for kids clubs very late at night.

Disney only has 1-2 restaurants with an up charge (Sone other lines have an upcharge for all but 2 or 3, on average other lines have 5 with an upcharge)
The Liberty has two specialty dining restaurants, Chops Grill and Portofino.

There is no charge for any of the entertainment (Some lines have shows that cost about as much as a broadway play and some charge for thier movies)
All entertainment on the Liberty of the Seas is free, including the Ice Show, which is fantastic!

Disney has a lower cost for thier suggested gratuities than many other lines, I am assuming the pay thier staff differently than the other lines.
On the Liberty, the suggested gratuity was $11.65 per person per night. That was less than DCL's $12.00 per person per night.

Disney allows you to bring your own drinks on board, both Alcholic and non-Alcholic, something most other lines do not allow or limit.
We are Platinum with DCL, and Diamond with RCI. Diamond guests are invited to the Diamond Lounge each evening, which on the Liberty had a free open bar and appetizers.
As Diamond guests on RCI, we also receive coupon books for things like free photos and free internet time.

Hopefully this helps clear up some misconceptions about other cruise lines..

Woody
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:53 AM   #23
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We have cruised with Disney and Carnival with 3 tween/teen kids. We greatly prefer Disney, but we can't always afford it so we travel Carnival for the price. We have only sailed Disney when kids sail free, and then they are price comparable.

- They have a soda card on the Carnival available for purchase for unlimited soda, but you are limited to about a half of can a soda at a time, so you are endlessly running back and standing in line for soda refills which takes away from your relaxation and enjoyment. At least on Disney you can bring your own large mug and fill it up a full as you want.
- people are more aggressive with regards to saving and hogging deck chairs with no consequence, and can be nasty (didn't find this on DCL)
- The kids clubs are open far less on Carnival and are less structured for the tweens/teens. I can't tell you how many times our 12/13 year old went to his club only to find the club locked because the entire group was gone playing sports or because the club was just plain closed. He is shy and doesn't play sports, and there was so little supervision that he was never made to feel included. For the last 2 years we have had him spending his time with us (and never enjoyed the cruises as much), so we never got the break that we did when we had him on Disney where they made sure that everyone had something to do, and were included in many things - not just being pushed to do sports all of the time.
- The service on Carnival was very good and we had no complaints. The staff were pleasant, but they just weren't "over the top" like they are on Disney. It felt much more like a trip of a lifetime on Disney and more like just a nice trip on Carnival.
- The Carnival ships also have way more of a party/alcohol attitude, which was good, but by the end of the cruise it sometimes became annoying. Saw staff pursuing guests and vice versa on Carnival, but not DCL. The staff is just more professional on the DCL.
- I will sail Carnival again because of the price and enjoy it, but I would be wishing I was on a Disney ship enjoying the extra special treatment and the relaxed elegant atmosphere.
- One positive about Carnival is that it has king size beds.
- One more negative about Carnival is that you are at the same table in the same restaurant for 7 days straight, and the waiters seem to have more tables than they can handle. Tried to order a coke in the dining room. The waiter said that I had to ask the bar waiter, but the bar waiter never came anywhere near our table not once all week. My husband had to walk around each night and find the bar waiter to order, and then it would show up when the meal was almost over.
- I'd say the food is about equivalent for both cruise lines (however, we are sailing on the Disney magic in a month or so, and I will miss the chocolate melting cake served on Carnival.
- The shows are superior on DCL, the shows on Carnival were not that great, so we mainly went to the comedy shows held each night instead which were very good.

We haven't been on RCL, but it doesn't appeal to me. My husband would like to try that line someday, so we may get there yet. I think that I might prefer it later when we retire and travel without the kids.
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:54 AM   #24
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Also, movies are FREE and first run and 3D included. ..and there are movies in the room all day long..

we were on Carnival and they charged for movies and the free ones were so old it was of little interest. ( like Grease old) and the movies are only in the room at certain times..

Plus the entertainmet on Disney is Broadway type shows..again other lines have shows but Disney's are much better..
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:48 PM   #25
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We've cruised on NCL, RCCL, X (Celebrity), and DCL in the last decade. We did not particularly care for NCL, their freestyle dining was a pain, and would only cruise with them again if we were in a suite. We like RCCL, X, and DCL, and have cruised with all three in the last couple of years. Our 7 year old DS likes all three for different reasons, and would gladly go on any of them again, but prefers DCL. DCL does by far the best with our (under 3) DD.

Where DCL really stood out, for us, was the activities you could do together as a family. There were a lot of open house hours, where all of us could go together to the kids clubs to do crafts, dancing, playing, etc. Our son also enjoyed going to drawing classes where he learned to draw Mickey and Goofy, and to origami classes where he learned to make a frog. There were very family friendly movies in theaters, not just on the tv in the room, throughout.

People talk a lot about the entertainment on the DCL ships. We loved every show we went to on the Magic last month, although we didn't make it to all of them. Our experience on other lines has been very hit or miss. The ice shows on the RCCL ships that have the skating rinks are some of our favorite shows ever. We loved an aerialist and some acrobatic cirque de soleil style shows on X. We like some of both of those lines' production shows well enough, but they aren't generally as good as the ones we saw on DCL, and we've hated some of the other ships guest vocalists, comedians, and other weird variety acts. Basically, we thought DCL's entertainment was more consistently good, but the best shows on other lines do compare pretty well.

As far as meal quality goes, we were not particularly impressed with the food in the MDRs on DCL. The service was top notch. The food was slightly better than average mass produced banquet food. We had a few things that we very good, but a fair number of things that... weren't. RCCL used to have better food, but we've thought they've gone down in the last couple of years. The food on X was consistently better than either RCCL or DCL. The food on NCL was not as good, nor was the service. We've tried the additional fee restaurants on every ship we've been on since ships have started having such things. Our favorite so far remains Qsine, on the Celebrity Eclipse. (We have not been on the newer DCL ships, so have not tried Remy.) We consistently prefer the food in those restaurants, and consider them very much worth the money. All of the lines seem to do a pretty good job in the extra fee restaurants. I will say, we would not have enjoyed the DCL cruise as much if we hadn't been in the Walt Suite; we were able to order Palo for room service often. I think food quality (other than Palo) was DCL's greatest weakness, honestly.

The other area where DCL shines, which I've touched on already, is customer service. With one minor exception, every cast member I encountered tried to improve our vacation in either small or substantial ways. We were impressed with almost everyone we dealt with, concierge, cabin steward, dining room staff, room service staff, entertainment staff, kids club staff; they were all friendly and accommodating. This may have been because of the suite we were in, or that may be normal for all guests, I really don't know.

We always wondered why people on these boards said, "I will only sail DCL!" I can understand it now. I am not one of those people, but we loved our cruise on DCL. We love things about other lines, too. That said, while we have young children, DCL is now our top choice. After our return from our first DCL cruise, we had a family meeting, and decided to cancel the 2 week RCCL cruise we had booked for next year and book another 1 week DCL cruise instead.
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:43 PM   #26
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I am trying to make up my mind on which line to cruise , I am a longtime Disney fan , but my kids are getting tired of the Disney Parks
They will be 12 & 14 by the time we cruise next January .
I have looked extensively at DLC , CCL and RCCL . Disney is always much more expensive , I am worried about service on CCL and I do not like the RCCL ports.
I am so confused , thoughts ?
Why not cruise DCL? It may be expensive, but you do get what you pay for, there is something to do for everyone...and the staff really go above and beyond to make your trip incredible. I would suggest getting a free DVD from the website and have your kids watch to see if they are interested.
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:09 PM   #27
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We like being able to carry on our own drinks, we love free soda, we love the size of the staterooms, and the incredible beauty and level of service you find on board.
However, our main selling point is the family atmosphere- while there is an exception to every rule- for the most part we do not have to worry about anything our kids see while on board. From the shows to the deck parties, everything is family friendly and that is hard to come by anywhere else!
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:32 PM   #28
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I am a Disney vacation fan for three distinct reasons: Creativity, attention to detail, extraordinary customer service.

We went on Celebrity last May, and were astounded at the poor (in some cases, rude) customer service. We'll still take other cruiselines, but I'm not willing to waste my limited vacation time and dollars on another mass market cruise line. We will go to the luxury lines if the itineraries suit us. It will probably mean fewer cruises, but at least they will be worth the money.
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:55 PM   #29
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We were on the Dream this past Sept for our first ever cruise. Our boys are 11, 13 & 18. They had the best time. We did the parks for 5 days first and they all said they would much rather cruise again instead of the parks.

The Edge club was open until 1 am for the 11 & 13 yr old. They made so many friends thru the club. I really didn't see them for the whole cruise except in passing by the pool. We ate 1 meal together as a family, they were having too much fun to make them come & eat w/us.

Our 18 yr old didn't enjoy his club as much. Some of the activities that were planned nobody showed up for or they were scheduled at wierd times & we weren't leaving C.C. early so he could be in the ping-pong tournament. The going away party for his club didn't interest him. He said that most of the people were 21 and they were all drinking, which he couldn't do.

We had 2 rooms and they were excellent. We didn't have any compliants about the food. The shows were great and we liked the choice of the movies that were playing.

I loved Deck 4, it was so relaxing to sit there. We also liked the shuffleboard on that deck.

We don't take vacations every year but I will definately start saving so we can do a DCL cruise again. Although my 2 youngers ones would probably enjoy the cruiseline w/the surf thing and the rock wall.
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Old 12-23-2012, 12:17 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by MISSREBECCA76 View Post
We like being able to carry on our own drinks, we love free soda, we love the size of the staterooms, and the incredible beauty and level of service you find on board.
However, our main selling point is the family atmosphere- while there is an exception to every rule- for the most part we do not have to worry about anything our kids see while on board. From the shows to the deck parties, everything is family friendly and that is hard to come by anywhere else!
Exactly. On Carnival, we were always asking if the shows were appropriate for children. Carnival offered a soda card but our kids were 5 & 9 at our last Carnival cruise so they didn't drink a lot of soda anyway. We tried RCCL (Navigator & Liberty) a couple years ago and while they weren't bad cruises, we missed so many aspects of DCL. First, you must sign your pool towels in and out. If not returned you get charged $20/towel. My kids aren't slobs but they are not so careful where they set their towel down, when they're used to DCL offering a whole cabinet full of fresh clean towels to take as many as you need. They certainly weren't looking at them as if they were a $20 bill. Needless to say, I felt I was constantly nagging about their towel's location.
Also the soda deal on RCCL involves buying a mug and then you need to use it to fill up each time. From an infection control perspective, this idea skeeves me plus it's a hassle to keep carrying it around and having to wash it out. We ended up just paying for soda at the bar which still wasn't a huge amount.
I also like that DCL is considerate of people's dining times when scheduling shows. When we wanted to see the ice skating show on Liberty, it began around 30 mins after the start of dinner so we had to miss our MDR meal that night to see the show. DCL offers 2 shows: one early for those with late dining, then a later show for those on early dining. No need to miss dinner just to see a show. The show was free but you had to go somewhere to get tickets in advance. I like how on DCL if something's happening, you're free to join in.
Also, on Liberty, ds was 12 which put him in the teen club with other kids up to 17. Developmentally, that's a huge stretch between the 2 ages. It's like having 6th graders hang out with HS seniors. Much of their time wasn't scheduled activities but a lot of "chilling in the club" time. We checked it out the 1st day before sailing and it was a couple sofas, a round dance floor in the center, and around 5 internet-connected computers that charged an exorbitant amount to go online and that's all you could do on them. We knew that 1st day that he wouldn't want to go back.
My kids are 12.5 & almost 16 now but we started cruising DCL when they were 10 & 6.5. Back then our dining room servers would cut their meat & crack their lobster. If I even tried to get up to do, they jump in and remind me I'm on vacation.
There is so much to do that even if it's raining on a sea day, it's easy to find something else to do.

Here's another POV:

http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberre...?EntryID=53177
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