CARNIVAL VS DCL: The comparison thread!!!

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by mevelandry, Aug 31, 2016.

  1. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    Based on the recent comments, not that I want to be a crowd pleaser but I have a feeling that the right way to do this review and comparison thing with Carnival Vista would be to do a review first, and then, clearly separated a comparison between the two mega-ships Disney Dream vs Carnival Vista (ships, NOT itineraries).

    Now, forgive me if it takes me a few days to complete the two. I just came home yesterday and had to prepare for work...
     
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  2. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    For me "atmosphere" has more to do with "ambiance". What you are describing is something I call "attitude" aka "the way you perceive/your take on something/personal impression" which is different category to me.
     
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  4. Dug720

    Dug720 DIS Veteran

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    I’m just pointing out that many people always cry “It’s not fair to compare a short Carnival cruise to a long DCL (or any other) cruise because the atmosphere is different.”

    100% ship to ship ONLY focusing on non- atmosphere (as in nothing about how relaxed people were on the longer cruise) is fine. The moment atmosphere enters in, it is not an accurate comparison.
     
  5. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    I made a correction to my title.

    At the time I was seeing this thread as "I will try Carnival, experience the differences and then (maybe) finally make a choice out of the two". In my head it was going to to be the one and only battle. The "final battle" aka "ultimate".

    Turns out the thread is still very much alive... Time for a new title I guess. ;)
     
  6. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    If I chose to compare the atmospheres (don't remember doing it but maybe I did), feel free to skip that section.

    For what it's worth I believe that staff and entertainers can create or at least try to create a certain atmosphere and it's not bad to talk about it.
     
  7. RedSox68

    RedSox68 DIS Veteran

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    For me, a comparison "review" is comparing ship to ship -- no matter the itinerary or length. What has that got to do with how you felt about the ship itself in comparison to another ship you liked better. You can be on a ship 4 days or 8 days and still know how you feel about it when you get off. I'm enjoying your comparison's, mevelandry, and love this thread since we just took our second Carnival cruise and have discovered how much we do like Carnival and how any hundreds we have saved over Disney. They also offer better itineraries with longer cruises to New England and Canada, and sailings to Bermuda, etc.
     
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  8. we"reofftoneverland

    we"reofftoneverland DIS Veteran

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    I also love this thread because we are in this stage right now (except that we are trying more than Carnival). I don't feel like I have to agree with every little thing on the thread to love it. Actually, I would be bored with the thread if I agreed with everything on it! I like to hear different opinions and go back and forth. Since we were on the Vista in August, I cannot wait to hear mevelandry's opinions about her cruise.
    Yes, compare means in any way (compare and contrast), although you do often hear people spelling out the "and contrast" part. I think this is because a lot of people confuse the word compare with comparable which does mean similar.
     
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  9. Pens Fan

    Pens Fan DIS Veteran

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    As a family that recently branched away from Disney, I love reading ALL of the "comparison" threads about other cruise lines. I find them very informative - and the inevitable reactions to them often amusing.

    Honestly, folks, there is no right or wrong way to write a comparison post. People will write about what they have experienced, whatever that might have been, period. What else can they compare??? Whether the comparison is "fair" or not is completely subjective. The fact that this poster was getting attacked for her comparison prior to even posting it seems a bit much to me.

    But at the end of the day, I've got way too little free time to spend it getting my knickers in a wad over some stranger's opinion on cruise line message board, anyway.
    Looking forward to hearing your review/comparison @mevelandry!!
     
  10. cruiser21

    cruiser21 DIS Veteran

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    I agree with you.
    I think it's because she said she liked the Vista better then the Dream. Those with a bias towards DCL are going to look for every way possible to try to discredit her review before she even has a chance to write it. Kind of funny.
     
  11. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    Thank you. :)
     
  12. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    Thanks!

    No worries. My comparison will be fair. I have a lot of love for DCL. They offer a good product. But Carnival also offer a good product and other cruise lines do as well (I can imagine). I think my bar is set kinda high.

    I am always excited AND worried when I set foot on a new ship. I read a lot of good AND bad reviews regarding the Vista before I got there. Some of the bad comments (and good) were true. Some were half true. Most of the bad I did not experiment at all... (Quite the opposite!)
     
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  13. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    Yeah. That's sad. Especially because the Vista which reminds me a lot of the Disney Dream --which was my favorite up until October 14-- with all its bells and whistles and colors.

    I will explain why (for us) the Vista is a bit better. In the end, it is a metter of tastes and has to do with what you really enjoy and that can differ from person to person.
     
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  14. trvlgirlmq

    trvlgirlmq DIS Veteran

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    Looking forward to your thoughts.

    Don't let someone tell you to change the way you are doing something because they are a bully.
     
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  15. Sanchez

    Sanchez DIS Veteran

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    I cannot believe that you are attempting to set parameters for a review that has yet to be posted. Do you assert your unfairness argument when people claim DCL superiority when they have never cruised another line or did some 3 day Bahamas cruise 15 years ago?

    I know that you feel compelled to offer opinions on most every thread whether relevant or not (usually not.) However, dictating requirements for a review borders on the absurd and is an exercise in self-importance. I am unaware of any vote or appointment authorizing you to control opinions of others. Please let others compare whatever they wish to compare and feel however they wish to feel. Someone's preferences do not equate to an attack on you or DCL and this preemptive defense is unnecessary.

    Finally, if you feel that you are fair and impartial you might reconsider. I find you to be a blatant and unapologetic defender of DCL and discount most of what you say.
     
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  16. Dug720

    Dug720 DIS Veteran

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    All I am saying is Carnival defenders are always saying it’s not fair to compare shorter Carnival cruises to longer ANY other line cruises, and yet that is what will go on here.
     
  17. Sanchez

    Sanchez DIS Veteran

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    Why that matters is a mystery. There is no need to "win" here.
     
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  18. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    DISNEY DREAM VS CARNIVAL VISTA (PART 1)

    PICTURES OF THE CARNIVAL VISTA FROM OCTOBER 2017 will be in the pages following this comparison.



    Regarding, THE WEBSITE and THE BOOKING, I will refer you to the first page of this thread since it has not changed much. I will simply add that Carnival sometimes offer a promotion where you can book by paying 50% off your deposit.


    THE NUMBERS

    Just for the fun, I did the exercise to see how much a Western Caribbean Cruise would have cost me with DCL vs Carnival Vista, similar dates and itinerary: the difference were that the DCL cruise has an extra night and stop at Castaway Cay and departs from Port Canaveral (there was no W Caribbean departing from Miami in October)...

    Fantasy (which is pretty much the Dream’s twin): 7 nights - Departing from PC - Jamaica (Falmouth), Grand Cayman, Cozumel & Castaway Cay - $3,289 USD for a basic inside cabin.

    Vista: 6 nights - Departing from Miami - Jamaica (Ocho Rios), Grand Cayman, Cozumel - 1298$ USD for a basic inside cabin. (We switched to a Cloud 9 spa room later which came to 1477$ but for this exercice, I'll compare the price of two similar cabins.)

    The DCL voyage is 1991$ more but you get an extra night/stop in Castaway Cay.

    AND... I don’t know how it is for you but for us, flights to and from Orlando –and hotels!-- are cheaper than Miami. We chose to fly to Fort Lauderdale instead of Miami for that reason.





    TRANSPORTATION AND BOARDING (embarkation)

    Both cruiselines were asking 36$/pp per ride.

    DCL usually has a nice driver and shows a video (with characters) on each way. I thought the embarkation process with DCL was a bit crazy when we arrived early (too many people, not enough rooms nor seats), we much prefer to use the shuttles from the resorts to bring us to the port. Yes, we arrive a bit late, but there is usually no wait and we get on the ship right away (within 15 minutes).

    We used a very similar process with Carnival by boarding a bus in Fort Lauderdale airport, which brought us to the port of Miami. Our driver, Smiley, was joking during the drive to the port and it was very entertaining. When we arrived to the port, we gave our luggage to porters. The lines were very long but they went by so fast! Our group was called about 10 minutes after we were assigned group 15. There was about 30 minutes between the moment we arrived to the port and the moment we finally set foot on the Carnival Vista.

    I guess DCL still wins this one because the bus is themed? Other than that, the experience is quite similar.


    THE CABIN

    With DCL (Dream) we booked a 5E cabin which was a reassigned handicapped room… with a gigantic verandah which cannot really compare with an inside cabin… That being said, earlier this year, we were in an inside cabin on the Disney Wonder which was very similar to those on the Dream. In all cabins, we’ve had very comfortable beds so I still have some kind of reference.

    On the Carnival Vista, they used separate twin beds to make a Queen (or was it a King?). It was the cheapest Could 9 Spa inside room where the twin beds are technically supposed to be separated… but they joined the beds for us: the result was that it was kinda cramped around the bed if you needed to access the closet (the doors couldn’t open completely) but it made the rest of the room spacious. I could have done yoga between the bed and the tv. We loved our room and found it to be very comfortable.

    This room gave us free access to the spa all week… Which would be like having free access to the Rainforest Spa on the Disney Dream all week if you have only sailed with DCL. It was a very nice perk.

    While DCL DREAM wins for the cabin, the CARNIVAL VISTA is not far behind.


    EXCURSIONS

    The only reason I will add anything about excursions here is to mention that the process for tendering in Grand Cayman was a breeze. We just went down to deck 0, waited in line for about 5 minutes to get checked-out, boarded the boat and then we were on our way to GC.

    I have not experienced tendering with DCL yet.


    RESTAURANT RESERVATIONS (for Specialty Dining)

    With DCL DREAM: After your Check-in date, you can book specialty (18+) restaurants like Palo (30$/pp) & Remy (95$/pp). We enjoyed both of them but Remy is outstanding. We have tried Palo for brunch (great!) and dinner (loved it!). We have not tried Remy brunch yet but we dined there twice and it was the best meals of my life!

    With CARNIVAL VISTA:

    We have decided to experience the Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse (35$/pp) which reminded me a bit of Remy (at least for the American dishes). It is more relaxed than Remy but we have found the quality of the food to be very similar, with the nice plating and only 4 services instead of 7. I appreciated that because we had booked on the first night, we had the choice of a free bottle of wine (In this case a Santa Carolina Merlot 2015, which is by no definition a fine wine but we found it to be surprisingly good) or 50% of the bottle of our choice. In my heart, this one comes very close to Remy.

    We have decided to try Cucina Del Capitano (15$/pp) which we found just as good as Palo! They gave us an extra appetizer… Nice ambiance, great music... It was fantastic!!! They open their Pasta Bar for lunch and it’s free.

    The biggest surprise of our cruise was probably Jiji Asian Kitchen (15$/pp) which would be … the Asian version of Palo, with some dishes plated like Remy. They also open their Noodle Bar for lunch and it’s free.


    Now, I have to talk about Bonsai Sushi which is also specialty dining but it's walk-in and you pay “à la carte”. I’ve had Wagyu Beef bites that were to die for, for only 4$ and my husband had 2 skewers (chicken and beef) for 2$ each that were excellent as well. The décor is super nice. This place is a gem and I went there two times during our cruise.


    There was also a special Dr. Seuss theme brunch called "Green Eggs and Ham" with special decorations, special menu and characters. (Just 5$/pp)… We have tried it. It was kinda similar to the brunch I’ve had the last time on the Carnival Victory but with more colors. I loved their steak and eggs. The food is themed (super cute!) and Thing 1 & Thing 2, Cat in the Hat and Sam-I-Am come to visit and take pictures with the kids. It’s super cute. If you have children or excellent tolerance to children songs, I highly recommend it. ;)

    CARNIVAL VISTA wins.



    THE DINING ROOMS


    All DCL cruiseships have three dining rooms and you are subjected to a rotation. They have two options: Main seating (between 5:45 PM to 6:15) or Second seating (between 8:00 PM and 8:30 PM).

    On the Disney Dream, we really enjoyed the Royal Palace (good food for dinner but also for lunch), it is beautiful in there and the dining room has a few portholes which bring a bit of light in the dining room.

    While we could appreciate the ambiance of the Animator's Palate, we did not like our food at all, on our first cruise. On our second cruise, we decided to skip this MDR and we booked Palo & Remy instead.

    On the Carnival Vista, they have two similar dining rooms (Horizon and Reflection –smaller!) and three seating options: Early Dining (6:00 PM), Late Dining (8:15 PM) and Your Time (anytime you want between 5:45 and 9:30). Only one of the two dining rooms is used for those who picked Your Time: the Horizon dining room. Both dining rooms have windows.


    Overall, my husband and I found the food in the Carnival dining rooms to be of much better quality and better tasting than the food in the DCL dining room on the Victory and we found that it was the same for the Vista.

    We loved the décor of the Horizon and Reflection.

    I would like to mention that Carnival Vista recently introduced a new breakfast menu where you can get a regular 2 eggs any style among fancy things like “Avocado Toast”, “Vanilla French Toast with caramelized bananas” (I am not even ashamed to say that I’ve had it three mornings in a row!). In my opinion, that breakfast menu was much superior to any breakfast I’ve had on the DCL DREAM (and Wonder).

    CARNIVAL wins on this one.


    FOOD COUNTERS

    Here’s the thing: Outside of the Brie, Bacon and Tomato sandwich (which is amazing), I am not a fan of the food we can find near the pool on DCL. I think the pizza taste like cardboard. I don’t like their burgers and hot dogs. Don’t care much for their salads.

    Carnival is DESTROYING the competition with its concept of Funship 2.0 with Guy Fieri’s Guy’s Burgers (ate there three times, then I had to be reasonable for the rest of the cruise) and his new BBQ called Pig & Anchor (ate there 3 times… because it was only open 3 days during our 6 nights sailing!!!), Blue Iguana (Mexican food)… Pizzeria del Capitano offers fantastic wood-oven pizza.

    I mean, there is no contest. Carnival Vista DESTROYS Disney Dream in this category.


    CAFETERIA

    I find Cabanas (Disney Dream) and Lido (Carnival Vista) to be very similar in quality and offerings.

    It’s a tie.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
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  19. Dug720

    Dug720 DIS Veteran

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    It’s not about “winning”. It’s about consistency.
     
  20. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    Hey... PEACE!

    Please stop fighting.

    I was so excited to come back and give my review and post pictures ... and now the fights are starting to ruin that for me. :sad: I don't want this thread to be closed, ok? I worked hard for it.


    In total honesty, I don't remember reading that, ever: what I have read a lot though, is that short Carnival cruises and longer Carnival cruises offer two different kind of experiences as 3 nights cruises tend to be more often used as "booze cruises" and longest cruises are more quiet...

    BUT it has absolutely nothing to do with the comfort of a cabin, the quality/choices of the food, the quality of the décor, the quality of the service or the quality of entertainment, which are the topics that are being discussed in the reviews, and I've never felt like those categories were impacted by the length of a cruise nor their itinerary.

    And with all due respect: if you don't like the way I review and doubt my impartiality... Nobody forces you to read my comparison. Just skip it and stay happy.
     
  21. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    Let it go. Please. It's just a board. Not a thesis.

    Let's move on.
     

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