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Old 10-05-2013, 03:11 PM   #1
jimsubry
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Debating the cruise line for the next cruise

We had so much fun on our Disney cruise this summer we're already thinking of another cruise in a few years. But...thinking perhaps trying RCL this time. As a couple, me and husband did them about 15 years ago, but their newest ships look so amazing. Our son will be a teen by then and perhaps not that into Disney stuff anymore.

Now, one thing I like are "private island" stops. Last time we did RCL we were scheduled to stop at Coco Cay, but because of weather we weren't able to. Would love to finally see that. Yet, when I wade through their website for Bahama/Caribbean cruises, I'm surprised not many of their trips stop there! Why not? Whilst every Disney one in the are stops at Castaway Cay!

And, I loved the dining and service so much on the Disney cruise, I don't want it to be a letdown thinking another line will be just as fulfilling.

Kids/Teens clubs: Ds (age 10) wasn't that thrilled by the Oceaneer lab. A little girl (age 11) at our dining table hadn't been either, but switched to the Edge club and absolutely LOVED it. So...I feel like ds will be missing out on that experience if we do RCL next time - do they have something comparable?

Does RCL have different dining rooms that you rotate through? Or are you always in the same one? When we did our RCL one, I remember it was just one dining room, but this was on one of their old ships which isn't even in their fleet anymore. I loved Disney's waiters that stay with you the whole trip.

Those of you who have done recent RCL cruises, any pros and cons to offer me? Were you able to stop at Coco Cay and how was it compared to Castaway Cay?
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Old 10-05-2013, 03:39 PM   #2
Lauriejl2
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I know a little about RCCL cause I research & sell travel so I can answer a few questions . RCCL does not do the rotating dining that's Disney specific . The private islands on RCCL are coco cay and Labadee which is private but not a island. I can't say anything about the clubs as I don't have first hand knowledge . Comparing the 2 cruise lines is like comparing apples to oranges . You may want to research on your own on cruise critic to get more info on that cruise line.
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Old 10-05-2013, 05:03 PM   #3
tajz90
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We took our kids on an RCCL a few years ago and while we had fun, there were a few complaints. The kids clubs didn't stay open as late as the Disney ones. At a certain point, it turned in a pay to stay situation. The ice skating and the rock wall were huge draws, but didn't stay open all the time, limiting participation. We didn't feel there was as much to do for the younger set (teenagers at the time) after a certain time so most evenings they spent in the room bored. If they had been on a Disney Ship, they'd have still been playing and having a good time.

You eat in one dining room, same table. Our kids wanted to eat at Johnny Rockets but there was an up charge so we let them only once.

Good luck on decision.
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Old 10-05-2013, 05:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimsubry View Post
We had so much fun on our Disney cruise this summer we're already thinking of another cruise in a few years. But...thinking perhaps trying RCL this time. As a couple, me and husband did them about 15 years ago, but their newest ships look so amazing. Our son will be a teen by then and perhaps not that into Disney stuff anymore.

Now, one thing I like are "private island" stops. Last time we did RCL we were scheduled to stop at Coco Cay, but because of weather we weren't able to. Would love to finally see that. Yet, when I wade through their website for Bahama/Caribbean cruises, I'm surprised not many of their trips stop there! Why not? Whilst every Disney one in the are stops at Castaway Cay!

And, I loved the dining and service so much on the Disney cruise, I don't want it to be a letdown thinking another line will be just as fulfilling.

Kids/Teens clubs: Ds (age 10) wasn't that thrilled by the Oceaneer lab. A little girl (age 11) at our dining table hadn't been either, but switched to the Edge club and absolutely LOVED it. So...I feel like ds will be missing out on that experience if we do RCL next time - do they have something comparable?

Does RCL have different dining rooms that you rotate through? Or are you always in the same one? When we did our RCL one, I remember it was just one dining room, but this was on one of their old ships which isn't even in their fleet anymore. I loved Disney's waiters that stay with you the whole trip.

Those of you who have done recent RCL cruises, any pros and cons to offer me? Were you able to stop at Coco Cay and how was it compared to Castaway Cay?

RCCL is our favorite cruise line (DH and I - early 40s - no kids) (and no flames please - we're trying the Disney Dream in a couple of weeks! ) We've been on RCCL, Celebrity, NCL, and the Disney Magic (which was a debacle, but was way back in 1998 when she'd only been sailing about 2 months, which is why we're giving DCL another try now).

Most of RCCL's cruises stop at Labadee, their other private "island," which is why only a few have Coco Cay on their itineraries. Labadee is really a peninsula on Haiti, but it feels like a private island, very similar to Castaway Cay (keeping in mind I haven't been to Castaway Cay since 1998). Labadee has a number of different beaches, some hikes, and, if you're adventurous, a huge zip line and an alpine-slide-style roller coaster down a mountain. I'm the type who cruises for the ship and often doesn't even get off in port, but I always get off at Labadee b/c it's a ton of fun and the beaches are great.

Dinner at RCCL is in one main dining room (or you can pay for specialty restaurants, like Palo or Remy on DCL). The buffet is open for dinner, too, if you want a change, but there is no "rotational" dining like they have on DCL. So, that is one drawback to RCCL if you like the rotational dinners. I do have to say the service I've received on all my RCCL cruises, from everyone - dining room staff, stateroom attendants, etc - has always been excellent.

We don't have kids so can't speak for the kids' clubs, except to say that our friends with children who cruise RCCL are very happy with them. I believe the PP is correct that they switch over to a pay-by-the-hour system at night.

If it matters to you, RCCL also does not include free soda, which many people see as a big perk to DCL. You can buy a soda card, however, for about $50 for a 7-night cruise, and the newer ships (and being rolled out to the older ships) are the Coke "Freestyle" machines where you can choose many different flavors. Along those lines, some DCL cruisers say they feel nickel-and-dimed on RCCL, but honestly, I've never seen it - there is always free food and activities available. (FWIW, i felt very nickel-and-dimed on NCL, and would likely not cruise with them again.)

As for the newer RCCL ships, Oasis was our favorite by far, and we're going on Allure (Oasis' sister ship) next Jan. We also loved Liberty of the Seas, especially since she was updated a couple years ago to add some of the features from Oasis, like a 3D movie theater and a cupcake shop. Some folks feel they are not as connected to the ocean as older ships, as a lot of the action is focused inward and it can be hard to actually get outside and see/feel the sea. This is something I didn't really notice on Oasis but we had a balcony cabin so admired the ocean from there - I might feel differently if we had an inside.

Also, we found the entertainment on Oasis and Liberty to be much better than NCL and Celebrity (can't comment on DCL as it was so long ago). Each had a broadway-style show that was fantastic, a cirque-du-soleil style show with acrobats etc, and an ice skating show. Oasis also has a water/diving show, and a comedy show. All stellar.

I see that I'm writing a novel here and I don't know if it helps or not, but hopefully it will. I think RCCL would be a good choice with teens or preteens, especially to save some $$$ over DCL, which is a lot more expensive. The food is good; the entertainment is great; Labadee is awesome. If you will miss the Disney touch, or if the lack of rotational dining is a deal-breaker, then it's probably worth waiting for Disney, though.
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Old 10-06-2013, 04:37 PM   #5
jimsubry
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Quote:
I see that I'm writing a novel here and I don't know if it helps or not, but hopefully it will.
Thanks! Yes, very helpful! I was not aware of Labadee, so that sounds like a definite "plus". The shows will be as well, we especially love Cirque Du Solei type stuff, and I just think the shows on Disney, while very cute, will be considered a bit too babyish by our future teen son.

If people don't want to go to the "pay" restaurants, are there free lunch type places, like they have "Flo's Café" on Disney where you can grab pizza, burgers and sandwiches?

Love hearing first-hand experiences from other cruisers!
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Old 10-06-2013, 08:53 PM   #6
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Thanks!
If people don't want to go to the "pay" restaurants, are there free lunch type places, like they have "Flo's Café" on Disney where you can grab pizza, burgers and sandwiches?
Oh yeah, you will not go hungry for lunch. The buffet is open and free for lunch. Oasis and Allure have a cafe called the Park Cafe which has paninis, salads, and sandwiches, which is also being rolled out to some of the older ships. Oasis and Freedom class (and I think maybe the next older class, too - Explorer class?) have the Promenade Cafe, a 24-hour cafe with small sandwiches and awesome baked goods. There is also a pizza place with pretty good pizza that's open until 2 a.m. or so on all those classes of ships. I'm 99% sure Oasis/Allure have a grill near the pool, but we only went there once and honestly I'm blanking on which ship it was for sure (apparently 40 is not too young to have a senior moment ). Allure has a hot dog place, too, and Oasis and Allure have free donuts (which are ok, but hey, they're free). Everything I just mentioned is free. Now I've made myself hungry.

As a PP said, I'd definitely check out cruise critic if you haven't yet. They have great professional reviews of each ship, including dining and entertainment, as well as reviews by passengers, and message boards like the Dis (I'm there under the same screen name, though I tend to post more on the Dis). It's a great resource for trying a new line.
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Old 10-06-2013, 11:29 PM   #7
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We've cruised with RCCL a lot, and we were very happy with them. We do think DCL is better for young children, but I suspect our kids will be as happy with RCCL once they are older. The rock wall and ice skating rink are real draws for some active teens and adults.

We also enjoy the rotational dining on DCL, but we generally like the specialty restaurants so much better on all lines we've been on that we just build those in as part of the cost when budgeting for a trip. I do consider them a plus for DCL, but I still am not a huge fan of most MDR food in general.

There are multiple cruise lines that provide really fun experiences for the whole family. When we aren't sailing with very young children, we generally pick by convenience, cost, and itinerary. We've loved sailing with DCL, RCCL, and Celebrity, for different reasons. We have found DCL the clear winner with young kids, but once they're older we'll gladly sail with other lines in addition to DCL.
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:02 PM   #8
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BTW, just found this and it might be helpful. This is all the dining venues on oasis and allure. i think the wipe out cafe is the free place for lunch on deck with burgers, chicken fingers, etc.

http://www.creative.rccl.com/Sales/R...rant_Flyer.pdf
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:59 AM   #9
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. . . The rock wall and ice skating rink are real draws for some active teens and adults.
I would also add the Flowrider and Zip Line.

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Old 10-09-2013, 10:32 AM   #10
MAJPLO
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Went on an Oasis cruise in May with family ages 3-85 years old. The kids liked the club but it shuts down for lunchtime and at some point earlier than I expected (I'm thinking it was 10pm or 11pm) which was sort of inconvenient. Plenty of included food options as well as many with up charges. I didn't care for the shows in the theater and neither did my kids although we all loved the water shows. The parades were useless wastes of time and pretty disappointing. Search for a trip report here on the DIS by a poster, nenner. She has a great review of either Oasis or Allure called Shreck takes on Mickey or something like that. We spent a LOT more onboard RCCL than on Disney and the two excursions we did were not through the ship so less expensive. We spent more on RCCL despite the fact that on our Disney cruise we bought the full photo package CD and paid a deposit on an onboard booking. It was lots of fun and you should definitely check out some trip reports here and on cruise critic. I would go RCCL again but I would budget better! Same dining room each night and I found it to be cramped and loud. Same dining team each night. Smaller rooms! And no split bath.
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Old 10-09-2013, 01:00 PM   #11
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After about 6 or 7 straight cruises on Magic and then Fantasy, we decided to try RCI's Oasis this year. In short, it was a great trip. There are some things Disney does better (Main Dining Rooms food) but we think that on a whole, the variety and pool/recreation space on Oasis/Allure can't be beat. Castaway Cay blows away Cococay and such but Oasis/Allure's appeal is the ship.....

Hoping this works but will try to paste a link a detailed trip report and the corresponding thread. The review is pretty complete and detailed. Cheers....

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3092490
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Old 10-09-2013, 01:05 PM   #12
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Oasis and Allure in a class of their own, that is indisputable. Our next non DCL cruise will likely be if we can get a deal on those.

Otherwise, RCI is the same (to me) as any other vegas-style cruise line. We actually preferred CCL's food (but their ships are disorienting and service abysmal). Anyway I priced out my same 4 day cruise in May for the 3 lines out of PC, all going to Nassau/Private Island/Freeport and RCI Enchantment was actually cheaper than CCL Sensation. My DCL cost me about $200 more, a value which will easily be made up with Castaway Cay, entertainment, fireworks, dining, 'new' ship and BYOWhatever...

But if I wasn't going on Oasis or Allure, or a Freedom class, I don't think I would be going on RCI at all because the older ships, I don't think are any different than like a CCL? I could be wrong. Its been 11 years since I was on the Legend OTS and I couldn't even remember its name!
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:14 PM   #13
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But if I wasn't going on Oasis or Allure, or a Freedom class, I don't think I would be going on RCI at all because the older ships, I don't think are any different than like a CCL? I could be wrong. Its been 11 years since I was on the Legend OTS and I couldn't even remember its name!
Many of the older ships do have the ice skating rinks (all the larger classes, so about 10 ships), and I think all have the rock walls now.

We have been happy with the options on RCCL on several different size vessels, and we actually haven't done either the Oasis or Allure. But DCL was so much better for my young kids (and we did similar routes, not even 6 months apart), that we've shifted to DCL for now.
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Old 10-10-2013, 12:47 AM   #14
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We just did an RCI cruise in July. While we had a wonderful time, both my girls and I felt that we missed Disney. My oldest was 15 on Disney and 17 on RCI. She said the teen program on Disney was better. It's not that RCI was bad, it's just that it wasn't as good as Disney. Hours weren't as good, scheduled activities weren't as frequent or as fun. My little one preferred Disney as well because she is very shy and not a fan of sports, and with RCI, it's the scheduled activity or nothing. At least with Disney it was a choice for her.

Dining was one room only, not rotating like Disney. We really enjoyed the food on RCI, I thout it was better than on Disney.

For our family, even the teens, it's Disney as the clear winner. That won't stop us from cruising other lines she. We find good deals or itineraries we enjoy, but Disney will always be tops for us.
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Old 10-10-2013, 05:20 AM   #15
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This is a great thread. We have cruised 5 times with DCL and have loved each one of them. My "kids" are not "kids" anymore but we still love to cruise Disney and will do so with them and without them.

We have just started to consider/think/look into RCL as a possibility for 2015. 1) try a different line and 2) huge price difference BUT we are afraid if they are going to nickel and dime us on everything and if anyone in our party is tempted to gamble this will squash the price difference. I also wonder if we are going to miss the Disney ships/feel and Castaway Cay. Lot's to think about for sure.
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