Back from RCCL, and boy did we miss Mickey!

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by zalansky, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. zalansky

    zalansky <img src="http://www.wdwinfo.com/images/sponsors/s

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    For those who may be considering these two lines...

    This was my 7th cruise....the past two were Disney and this last one was RCCL's Mariner of the Seas. We have a 14 month old baby and sailed the Wonder with him last September. It was hard because we had alot of gear to bring for him (formula, food, etc)...but since Disney has a nursery on board and they cater to kids of all ages, we still had a good time since we did utilize the nursery. We felt confident he was safe and happy there.

    My first issue with RCCL was that they charged us FULL CHILDS FARE in the amount of $499.00 plus tax and port charges for a baby who did not use the facilities and who did not eat any of their food! (except Cheerios LOL ) Disney charges port fees only for kids under 2. Since this was a family cruise with my sisters & their older teens, I agreed to RCCL and to pay the money to make everyone happy. I should have listened to my gut feelings....

    There is no nursey on RCCL, the kids clubs start for ages 3 + up if they are potty trained. If you want a babysitter, they only offer a very few for $10 per hour, in-room only! So, they get you again for more money on top of what we paid for his fare...but that wouldn't matter. I would never have left him behind closed doors with a stranger with no pager...he is in the heightened state of stranger anxiety right now. The kids who we saw in the clubs seemed to enjoy it and we heard good things about it. There were only about 12 kids in the 3-5 age group which is much different than Disney. There is nowhere for a baby to get wet, no Mickey Ear...

    I have heard people complain the food on Disney was "lackluster"...we have always enjoyed the food on Disney very much. The food on RCCL was bland in the dining room and flat out horrible in their buffet restuarant called the Windjammer. We skipped the meals in the dining room 2 nights because the food was so boring and took so long. They had two "upscale" restaurants on board similar to Palo, but they charge $20 additional per person for both of those. There is a Johnny Rockets on board which was pretty good...but there seemed to be a wait when we'd go so we always got takeout. They have a Ben & Jerrys but it costs $ too. To sum up the food experience, I didn't gain an ounce this cruise!

    The ship itself was incredible and definitely the nicest we have ever been on. Standing on the top deck and looking down at the Wonder was pretty wierd. The spa and gym were incredible. Everything was immaculate, with the ship being so new. Our room was unreal, a family oceanview stateroom at the front of the ship with 2 portholes, we could watch ourselves pull into port every morning. We had to be back on board earlier than cruises in the past. Two ports we had to be back or on the last tender at 3:30pm which didn't leave much time for exploring. My sisters didn't like that one bit, this being their 1st cruise. The staff were nice enough, just not magical like on Disney!

    The casino and bars were nice, but we are not big gamblers and drinkers, maybe that is part of the problem!

    My only other gripe would be, and many others sailing agreed that we spoke to, was that RCCL seems to nickel and dime you for every little thing. There are no ironing or laundry facilities on board. If you need something pressed, you've got to send it to their service, which costs $3 per piece and up. We went wrinkled. The debarkation was a virtual nightmare. We were out of the rooms by 8am and were not called to get off until 10:30am with a baby. Then, we go to get our luggage, and it is on turnstiles like at the airport, coming through piece by piece. It took us an hour to gather our bags and get to the car. Anyone who has sailed Disney knows how great their debarking system is.

    Thats it...for now. I know some people on these boards were considering the two lines and I hope that I didn't come across as terribly picky because really, I am not! I swear! I think it was two things that messed up my week:
    1) I should have known better than to travel with a 14 month old after our cruise last year. It was more work than relaxation working around his well deserved needs and schedule. But, I wanted to spend QT with my sisters and family I dodn't ever get to see because they live 2500 miles away.
    2) I am spoiled. I have been on Disney twice now and I know how good it can really be. I never have considered myself to be a Disney freak, all things Disney...but maybe I was wrong. There is nothing like Disney's deck party, dancing with Mickey and the gang and hearing Disney tunes wherever you go. Seeing Mickey hands wave goodbye. Watching Disney Dreams instead of a cheesy comedian. My husband and I both agreed, from now on its Disney or nothing! We totally feel the magic on Disney and just didn't feel that on RCCL.

    I will say, that the teens I was with, stated this was the BEST vacation of their entire (albiet short) lives! Maybe we'll try them again in 15 years? Nah...not as long as Mickey is around...

    **DISCLAIMER**
    These thoughts are strictly my opinion and are meant to be a trip report of sorts for those who PM'd me and asked me to let me know how our Mariner Trip went. HTH.

    Have a MAGICAL and WONDERFUL day!


    :wave2:
     
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  3. rae519

    rae519 <font color=6666CC>DIS Veteran<br><font color=CC00

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    My chiropractor and his SI have cruised on Carnival, Holland America and Norwegian - they didn't like HA or N at all, and have spoken to others who have cruised other lines and praised DCL - so they are planning to join us on the 2005 DCL cruise! I know they will be FANatics when they see just how wonderful the DCL is.

    Of course, they won't get their casino fix until they get to the islands but hey, I can take their money as fast as the one armed bandit can!!!!

    Thanks so much for taking the time to write up report and clue us in. It looks like we will be going on the Sensation (Carnival) in September due to a friend's on ship wedding, but I will miss the mouse!!!!!

    Rae
     
  4. han1211

    han1211 Earning My Ears

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    I agree with your summary of RCCL. We went on Soverign of Seas last year (our first cruise). I thought it was a bit on the cheesy side and kept glancing at the Wonder ship with envy. In less than 13 short days, DH & I will be on the Wonder--Yeah!!!

    Han's Wife(mermaid593)
     
  5. tink1663

    tink1663 Mouseketeer

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    We haven't even been our first Disney cruise yet and I can tell we won't try another cruise line. It's not that I'm not open to new experiences but once your a Disney fanatic nothing else seems to compare. Thanks for the report.
     
  6. NCRedding

    NCRedding <font color=navy>I've strayed<br><font color=green

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    I totally agree with your assessment of RCCL and the feeling of being nickeled and dimed to death. It may cost less for the underlying cruise, but in the end, I'm not sure that the two lines aren't even. I don't have any intention of sailing with any other lines. I hate spending money (even if it is less than DCL) if I am not going to be happy in the end. I know I love DCL.
     
  7. Regina

    Regina <font color=teal>Maybe I’ll “accidentally” drop a

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    Just a teeny clarification, if a child is under age 3, DCL only charges the port fees. (You have it as age 2.) :D

    I had no idea that there are all of these fees! YIKES!

    What kind of entertainment do they offer? I'm curious about that in comparison to Disney.
     
  8. GenieDana

    GenieDana DIS Veteran

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    You forgot some of the other add-ons,

    Golf simulator = $$$
    Sodas at meals = $$$
    Juice = $$$

    The grass isn't always greener on the other side...
     
  9. zalansky

    zalansky <img src="http://www.wdwinfo.com/images/sponsors/s

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    Well I am happy to hear about the age clarification! Even more reason we will be sailing with Disney.
    The soda card for an adult was $42 plus tip for the week and $28 plus tip for teens. My newphews wanted to do the simulator but because it was not free that was out. Every time we turned around we were pulling out the card or the cash.
    My hubby commented we could have had a grand Disney cruise vacation with what we ended up spending on this cruise. And keep in mind we didn't buy any souvenirs with the exception of a few t-shirts for the baby. It was just too too much.
    I am glad you all agree with me!
     
  10. prymsu

    prymsu <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/" targ

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    we just did a four day cruise this past christmas, and it was on RCCL Soviegn of the Seas out of Orlando, and in ten cruises, it had the worst food IMHO....
     
  11. highflyer747b

    highflyer747b Disneyholics

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    Thanks for your report on RCCL - we sailed on The Navigator and had a similar experience although I have to say the food was on par with our last cruise on Disney. The ship was awesome, our stateroom was huge, we had a great time but as you say - it wasn't Disney. Also when it comes to fellow passengers those on Disney seem so much friendlier !!
    Our main consideration when we decided to cruise with RCCL was that we wouldn't be anywhere at the same time as the Wonder or Magic - that would have been a bit too much to bear !
     
  12. lbgraves

    lbgraves Little Cinderella's Mommy

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    Thanks for your insight. Right now we aren't interested in cruising with anyone but DCL. Your experience confirms that is the right choice for us, especially with kids!!!
     
  13. indymom1

    indymom1 Mouseketeer

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    Boy did this come at a good time. We were looking at going on our second DCL cruise the summer of 2005 but with the schedules being on hold we started thinking about RCCL. Now you have us thinking maybe we should just wait until the Magic comes back to Florida in 2006. Especially since we will be travelling with a grade school boy and also a toddler.
    Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts:)

    Kathy
     
  14. tezb

    tezb There is a special place in heaven for the mother

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    Thanks for your comparisons. We just sailed w/ DCL for the 3rd time last July and we are now venturing out on the Mariner in June this year. Our last cruise w/ DCL, to be honest, was boring for all of us. We are a family of 5 w/ 3 boys who are now 18, 16 and 12. I feel there is more for them to do on the Mariner and they were getting bored w/ Disney. We too need more for us as adults. We aren't fanatics about gambling but do like to do a little for entertainment. The night life on the Disney last summer was practically non existent after 11pm. Guess everyone w/ little ones went to bed early. Every place we walked into was practically empty and dead. This just confirmed that we were ready to try something else. Also, DCL was just getting to expensive for a family of 5. Who knows, we may like DCL better after trying the Mariner...we'll see. I hear many w/ older kids prefer the Voyager ships and don't want to go back to DCL so to each is own I guess.
     
  15. zalansky

    zalansky <img src="http://www.wdwinfo.com/images/sponsors/s

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    tezb...
    The teens in our group were 3 boys ages 15, 17, & 17. Like I said at the end of the report, they all agreed it was the best vacation of their lives. The Mariner is suited best for teens aged 12 and up, I think. There is alot going on for them - they have a very cool arcade and teen club. My husband and I agreed that Disney is best for the under age 10 group, which is what we will likely do until the kids get there. The Mariner was awesome, I just couldn't get past the bad food and the other things I mentioned. To me, food is a major part of the cruise experience. There is too much competition out there nowadays. I am sure your boys will have a great time, and you will too! Enjoy!
     
  16. zalansky

    zalansky <img src="http://www.wdwinfo.com/images/sponsors/s

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    One last post, I promise!

    Highflyer, I agree with you in that the fellow passengers on Disney were overall much more friendly.
    Also, persons between ages 18 - 20 can drink beer and wine once they are offshore. The booze was very easy for even the teens to obtain on RCCL. We saw quite a few drunk teens throughout the week and they were flaunting it. I know I am a mom to a baby right now so my mindset is focused on wholesome family fun...but it was not cool to see booze flowing freely to such young people. JMO.

    Don't get me wrong, RCCL was good, just not for me and my family where we are in our lives right now. I am not looking for 15 - 20 bars and nightclubs, nor a fancy casino. I am sure everyone who has had a small child can relate! LOL.
     
  17. HRCCrazy

    HRCCrazy Member of the AZ Party Dogs, My Dog Name is Wrench

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    My first 3 cruises were on Disney, then I went on RCCL NOS and as soon as I walk into or room, I new I was not going to like it, and I was right. Try to ask a staff member something, and as soon as she spoke, I knew I shouldn't have ask.
    I missed the Disney feel.
    I will only go Disney from now on.

    Big Johnpirate:
     
  18. tezb

    tezb There is a special place in heaven for the mother

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    Loretta, just curious, had the teens you were with been on Disney before? Wondering if they had something to RCCL compare to. Disney has been our only cruise experience since 2000 and we are looking forward to trying a Class Voyager ship. This is probably going to be our last cruise on any line after this as it's getting too expensive since we are on the West Coast. It's hard to tell what people like. The comments on this thread seems mostly in favor of DCL but I have also read other threads where they raved about the food, service, etc on RCCL. You just don't know what to believe until you see for yourself.

    I am not crazy about RCCL allowing teens to drink beer and wine at age 18 but so far my son is not a drinker so hopefully he will be tame. Once he finds out the drinks are extra and he's paying for it, he won't be interested anymore either!
     
  19. dianthus

    dianthus <font color=990099>No wonder she wants to trade th

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    Loretta~ Thanks for taking the time to post your comparison report here. We saw the Mariner last November, poised for her maiden Voyage in PC & the Wonder looked like a baby next to her. We were so impressed, we thought we'd sail RCCL next for our DD's 13th Bday. I went over to cruise critic & most people said the same thing- wonderful ship, all agreed with you about getting nickeled & dimed to death.... Apparently theres a big uproar, as they are even charging for OJ in room service now?

    We weighed the pros and cons & decided to stick to what we love for this trip - DCL. Castaway Cay is too hard to give up.
    Sounds like we made the right decision for us for this trip. We love DCL!

    Thanks for giving us a great, honest report. Maybe in the future..

    ~ Linda :boat:
     
  20. mmouse37

    mmouse37 DCL Diva!!

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    Thanks for the trip report!!! Unfortunately, even on the ports DCL goes to, alcohol is very easy to obtain once off the ship. In St. Maarten my teens were offered booze and drugs almost everywhere there they went. Same thing in Cozumel. Once on the island, they really do not check ages at all...they just want to sell what they have.

    Talk about a DCL homesick passenger....check this out.

    This gentleman was on the Golden Princess last week when we were docked in St. Maarten. His cabin was directly across the dock from ours...he was shouting that he missed the Magic and couldn't wait to get back on her......all the while duct taping this to his verandah......a man after my own heart!!

    UPDATE: Guess what...this gentleman just posted that he saw my pic of him and he is a DIS'ER!!!! Yeah!!!!

    http://community.webshots.com/photo/118553635/118563443ltVBYr

    MJ
     
  21. glindamood

    glindamood DIS Veteran

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    We sailed on the Island Princess last August to Alaska. The ship was new, only her 6th or 7th sailing when we went, and a beautiful ship. The scenery was gorgeous and the staff was most helpful, we did get the excellant speech but just give me my Magic! We were not nickeled and dimed at all so that is not the issue but the Magic is just that - magical. Why does it give us goose bumps (well, it does me anyway) just to see her in port on the cams on Saturday? What is that feeling (and I do get it) when I walk onboard - no one even needs to announce me, take my picutre or anything. Don't know what it is - not good at explaining it but Princess does not have it.
     

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