CARNIVAL VS DCL: The comparison thread!!!

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

  1. goofygal531

    goofygal531 Always planning...

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    We’ve never considered Chankanaab because I’ve heard they do not have a beach. They have a cliff (I’m exaggerating) where you jump off of to snorkel. They might have a sandy area but it’s not a beach where people go to spend the day.

    If you want a beach and a pool, I’d recommend Paradise Beach. We loved it! 10 mins from the Port, pay as you go. $3 entry fee per person. They have a very detailed website with a menu listed. Food was delicious.

    Over on the cruise forum (cc) there’s a poster named “mitsugirly”. She has detailed reviews of all her excursions. She’s been to many! I highly recommend her reports. They are very enjoyable reads. In Cozumel, she’s been to passion island, Chankanaab, Paradise Beach, Mr Sanchos, Nachi Cocon, Playa Mia etc....
     
  2. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the suggestion. I'll keep it in mind. You never know. :)

    It's actually thanks to Mitsugirly's review I knew we needed to change excursions.

    We know Chankanaab doesn't have "beach beach" (there are stairs) but we feel like it's going to fit our needs. :)
     
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  4. wanderlust7

    wanderlust7 DIS Veteran

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    We enjoyed Chankanaab. But I think it depends on what you're looking for. The dolphin encounter was a good deal not going through Disney. The sea lion show was cute. The "beach" area has palapas and drink service, but the sand seems to be only the top layer and it's hard underneath. The snorkeling is easy access with a metal ladder and pretty good according to DH and DS. There is a little cove that should be a true beach, but we didn't stop there (don't remember seeing any chairs). The pool is nice with a swim up bar and the food there was good (especially the fish tacos).
     
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  5. cruiser21

    cruiser21 DIS Veteran

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    We've been to Chankanaab. Another thumbs up from me. It's very clean, nice beach, chairs with umbrellas, great food. There's a some Mayan ruins, a little zoo with some big gators. A sea lion show. The snorkeling was great. You can also rent kayaks if you want. I actually like it better then castaway. Of course unlike Castaway there's a fee to get in and everything cost extra.
     
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  6. we"reofftoneverland

    we"reofftoneverland DIS Veteran

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    We are trying Chankanaab the next time we go to Cozumel too. We have been to Paradise Beach and we thought it was nice and a great deal, but the beach is very rocky when you walk into the water.
     
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  7. wanderlust7

    wanderlust7 DIS Veteran

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    I booked 2 Panorama sailings about a year apart. Eek!

    The first one is one of the first sailings, which I'm a little nervous about. I'll be following the Horizon roll out. If things seem problematic, I might think about cancelling. But if not, I'll be sure to report back! :)

    I used www.cruisecompete.com and went with the TA with OBC that comes out to about 12% of cruise fare (which he just subtracted from the total). PLUS it's a completely refundable rate. When it gets closer, I plan to look for the 10% off Carnival gift cards. Good deal!
     
  8. cruiser21

    cruiser21 DIS Veteran

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    I this new ship only sailing to Mexico?
     
  9. Club Disney Chandler

    Club Disney Chandler DIS Veteran

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    At this point it is. They may be adding some Hawaii sailings from time to time.
     
  10. Club Disney Chandler

    Club Disney Chandler DIS Veteran

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    Vista rolled out with zero issues, we were on the 4th sailing and it was flawless.
     
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  11. cruiser21

    cruiser21 DIS Veteran

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    The Bliss will be doing Mexican Riviera cruises too. It's nice to have some new ships on the West coast. I wonder if DCL will put a new ship on the Pacific.
     
  12. Club Disney Chandler

    Club Disney Chandler DIS Veteran

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    I didn’t know Bliss was doing Mexico! That’s awesome news, I really want to try that ship so bad, couldn’t talk the family into it this summer for Alaska. I think DCL will keep a ship on the west coast year round. It really makes sense to do that once they have more ships.
     
  13. cruiser21

    cruiser21 DIS Veteran

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    Just in October and April the next 1 1/2 years. The Bliss will have a couple of Panama cruises each year. I'm not sure where she is in the winter I'm guessing Miami.
    Just checked Miami in the Winter next year and New York in 2020,
     
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  14. wanderlust7

    wanderlust7 DIS Veteran

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    That's so great to hear, thank you! Especially impressive considering it's first of its class.

    I seriously considered the Bliss to Mexico for spring break 2019. It would have been about the same cost per day as a Wonder Baja non-school break. There happened to be a week where my kids had a random teacher-in-service day off AND it would be my birthday, so that tipped the scales (plus I had a placeholder to use). We NEVER travel on my birthday (kids are in school!), so really looking forward to it. :)
     
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  15. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    Has anyone seen pictures of the Carnival Paradise post dry dock? It looks nice. :)

    It reminds me of the recent pictures I've seen from the Carnival Sensation. It's not the Vista but I think I would be happy sailing on her. Maybe someday. :)

    p.s.: ARGHHHHHH The last days before a cruise are ... agonizing! :crazy2:
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2018
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  16. tigerchic89

    tigerchic89 Mouseketeer

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    Here's my 3 day trip report just off Carnival Liberty. It's long sorry, feel free to skip. It was a fun cheap trip but I still love DCL 100 times more.

    I'm going to write up a trip report here, so just move on if that kind of thing bores you! In January, I was sick of the cold weather in Atlanta and wanted to go somewhere to celebrate our wedding anniversary. I started looking at vacations and we really struggled with taking too much time and money away from our family vacations, which are still our favorite way to spend. Allen figured out that he would already be in Orlando for work in March, My mom would already be in town to see Elizabeth's drama performance, and my flight to Orlando was super cheap.

    I left Orlando on a Tuesday. Allen was already in Orlando. I planned for some ATL traffic getting to he airport, but it was worse than normal and it took me 2 hours to get to the parking shuttle spot. I went to check my bag at the self kiosk, and it wanted to charge me $25. I don't travel much so I'm confused, but we pay for that Delta AMEX so your 1st bag can fly free. So I stand in line to talk to someone. She says that since Allen is the primary cardholder I have to be traveling with him to get my bag free. But I can call AMEX later. Ok that was aggravating, charge my Delta AMEX the $25, so I can go. By this time the window for my bag has passed, but she says my bag is not "late" but it's ok she'll put it through it will make it.
    TSA line, sign says 15 minutes. No problem, I check my phone, catch up on facebook, finish my water. I check the time and I've been waiting 30 minutes and I'm not even up to the screeners. Needless to say, I got to the gate 3 minutes late, and the plane had left without me. They put me standby on the next flight to Orlando (every hour), with no charge, I cleared no problem, grabbed lunch from Chipotle and even got a window exit row seat (yay!).
    I land in Orlando and I’m happy to know that I should just be able to grab my bag that’s been waiting on me from the earlier flight. I don’t see my bag waiting so I assume that it also missed the early flight. All of the bags from my standby flight come off and I still have no bag. My bag has all of my favorite swim suits, shoes, stuff to wear on cruises, and all of Allen’s cruise clothes. My luggage was not a designer piece (a huge High Sierra rolling duffle in black), but this was the 2nd time that I’ve used it and I think it’s a good looking and could look like it’s full of nice things. I just *knew* that it had been stolen. AND I had to may $25 to check it.
    To the lost luggage counter I went. My 1st time there, I had to wait behind 3 people.
    I did not realize this, but apparently people use the lost luggage counter as an opportunity to go shopping to upgrade their luggage. I couldn’t understand all of the conversation as some was spoken in another language, but the customer’s luggage got snagged in a few spots and so the lady went to the back a few times and brought out 3 different suitcases for him to choose from. So he found one the he liked better than “his” and moves his stuff into his “new” suitcase. Sorry, I think that is so gross!!!
    Ok it’s my turn. She looks up my bag and it shows that it did arrive on the early flight. Yes, I looked everywhere, it’s not in there. She asked if I was headed to Disney. I said, “I wish, not this time but I’m staying at an off property hotel.” So then she asked, “BY chance did you have a Disney luggage tag on it?". The last time that I used the luggage was on our Thanksgiving DCL Fantasy cruise. We drove that trip, but they give you barcoded luggage tags to get your luggage to your stateroom. I had not removed that tag. She called the Disney luggage area but they could not find my bag. She said that I could hand around the airport a few hours (!!), or come back later (we had no car), but she could not deliver my bag when it surfaced because it was a late check bag!

    I leave her office kind of freaking out. I decide that my bag must be headed to the Fantasy (maybe I can find it and crawl inside!). I asked and found the Disney desk in the airport. Actually, I found the busses that are loading people to take them to their cruises or WDW resorts. And I start visually scanning the bus luggage holds looking for my black bag. I probably looked a little crazy stalking the luggage. So someone directed me away from the busses to the desk. I nice lady picked up the phone, called and said, ”Hi, do you have a bag down there for Harper? Yes. Yes. No bring it now to me because I also have to aske you something.” And within 3 minutes my bag was being rolled out by a Disney luggage guy. Magical.

    I didn’t want to spend $80 on a car service or $60 on a cab and I’ve heard that Uber can be high and hard to use from the Orlando airport, so I booked a Shared Shuttle through Mears. One way was $23. I had to wait about 15 minutes to be picked up, but the van was clean and nice. It stopped at one resort and dropped 5 people, the took me to the Wyndham Grand Bonnet Creek.
    Allen was staying here for work and I was able to get a key to his room. The room was nice and really large. It had a cute alcove with twin bunks that would be perfect for kids. When his meetings ended, we met his co workers in the hotel bar for happy hour. They had a work dinner event that evening, so they left and I ate dinner at the bar (which was *really* nice). The Wyndham Grand is part of 5 or 6 high rises that make up a complex the over look a lake. I took a walk around the lake and checked out the mini golf, pools, lazy river, ect. Then I headed back to the room, caught up on the internet and watched 3 Friends re-runs and fell asleep early (Isn’t this every mom’s dream???)
    The next day, Allen had some meetings and then some work emails to return. I hung out at the pool. It was a windy and cold day, but in the sunshine it felt warm.
    Around 3, I made Allen shut off his PC and we caught the free shuttle into Disney Springs (Downtown Disney). The hotel offers a free shuttle there, which I thought was awesome. But it only runs 3 times a day which was really not. A van picked us up, and it was kind of gross. There were 3 of us that got on at the Grand. Then it stopped at another Wyndham and picked up 3 more. There was no 3rd seat in the van so the 6 of us really had to squish into the 2 bench seats. So that part was kind of icky.
    We walked around and grabbed a late lunch at the Mexican restaurant by Rick Bayless. It was good but expensive for what we got. We walked around and shopped some more. Then headed to the House of Blues where they had live music on the patio. We had a few drinks there and then headed for the return shuttle. The return shuttle was a pretty nice Coach bus. There were 5 of us on it, so I’m not sure what was up with the sketch van that took us there because the 2 rides were very different.

    The next morning we needed to head to Port Canaveral. I could have hired a car service for $130. Or we could have spent $50-$80 getting back to the airport and then spend $40-$70 on a shuttle. Instead, we got an Uber ($10) to Avis in the Hilton lobby near DtD. Our rental car was $70 ish for the day. Allen thinks the guy was going to give him the red convertable Camero SS (?) but when Allen answered, “no I’m not traveling alone I’m with my wife” and he saw all of our luggage we got upgraded to an SUV instead of the intermediate that he reserved. We left the Disney area and stopped at McDonalds for breakfast. I had scoped out a Publix right off the turnpike near the port. We stopped there, picked up 2 bottles of wine, a 6 pack of Dr. Pepper, a 6 pack of LaCroix, some sunscreen and chapstick. We also refilled the car with gas.
    We dropped the car at Avis and took the Avis shuttle to get to the port.
    We looked into just extending a land vacation in Florida after his work conference, but nothing looked perfect. We didn’t want to do theme parks without the kids, the Florida beaches were not super cheap and the weather could still be cool, ect. So I looked into cruises. Of course I checked every DCL option and came close to booking one. But in the end, we decided to try Carnival as it was 1/3 the price. I read reviews on the Liberty and overall the Liberty got good reviews. So we booked a Carnival 3 night for $850ish (!!!) I decided against FTTF and against the Cheers! Package (glad I made both choices). I ordered 1 12pack of water which was the perfect amount.
    I selected a check in time of 11:30-non, thinking that if we got there early we could check in. But after doing some reading, I decided we should arrive at the port around 1, then we could drop off our carry ons and heavy beverages as our room would be ready at 1:30, then we would go to lunch. Our Avis driver got us to the port area around 12:30 (right on schedule) the lines were long. As we were waiting in the traffic, she asked in broken English if we were ok walking with our luggage, which we were … “I make it easy for you”… she went though some other gates… I think she dropped up off at the pick up zone becuase the area was deserted. Anyway, we tipped her and headed up an empty escalator.
    There was a long line and a short line. I thought that we could get in the short line since our port arrival time had already passed, but the short line was only if for the 30 minute window. So we got in the long line with all of the early and the late people. It did move pretty fast, and then I realized that we were checking in. I asked a carnival lady if we could still check our bags, and she said “Sure you can get out of line and go back downstairs”… so apparently we bypassed bag check and we were carrying on our luggage. Which ended up being perfect. The check in was quick and easy. Compared to DCL, it felt more like checking into a football game or concert than checking into a hotel. No desk, just little mobile scanners, etc. Not a big deal, just different.
    We were on the ship by 12:50. Stopped by guest services (line was short, we were right there) to ask about the cost of upgrading our room, but none were available. Tons of elevators, never a problem getting an empty one. We took our luggage to deck 7 and were prepared to wait until 1:30. AT 1:10 Allen suggested that I just run and see if our room might be ready. They leave your key cards in a sealed envelope outside your door when the room is ready. Sure enough, ours was ready so we got all of our luggage, carryons, and drinks settled then headed to lunch.
    We chose the Lido deck buffet. It was fine. Typical buffet food. DCL buffet on sail away day is much much better. We did not have Cheers, so we drank water. Allen tried the tea but hated it. The lemonade was okay, and the coffee was ok too, probably better than DCL free coffee. For desserts, I think I liked the carnival buffet desserts better. They had servers who sliced cheesecake and it was really good, so that was a +1 for Carnival. Allen tried the soft serve but didn’t like it, it was very “icy” and not creamy like DCL.
    I loved our room location, Deck 7 right in the middle of the ship. 2 flights up to the open deck and buffet, 2 flights down to the casino and clubs, 3 flights down to the resturants. Our room was tiny. But fine for the 2 of us. Plenty of closet space. Colors were ugly, pinks and teals and oranges. It was clean. Bathroom counter was large, I think larger than DCL. The shower stall was tiny, I hated it. Our stateroom host Eva was awesome, we asked for extra towels, 2x daily service, ice, wine glasses and bottle opener. I had to do a load of laundry the 1st night as I had forgotten to pack a few things. $3 each on your room key.
    We had Anytime Dining which we liked. We went around 7 each night and had to wait minutes the 1st night. We were seated alone. We bought the 3 bottle wine package so we had 1 bottle each dinner. The dinner meals were good, but we like DCL food better. Service was fine. We like DCL servers better. I found it very difficult to understand the servers’ accents. Even when they were from the same countries as our DCL servers.
    For 2 adults, there was much more stuff for us to do. We went to the comedy show one night and it was okay. Pretty typical. We didn’t go back. We saw all 3 main shows we loved them. Very talented performers. And we liked the music. We went to the 10:15 show every night. I liked the big dual seats with drink and arm rests in the theatre. It was more comfy than the single seats. We went to the piano bar once and like it. We planned to go back but never made it.
    We did spend a lot of time in the casino. It sucks that that allow smoking but it wasn’t too bad. I play craps and Allen watched. Of course, I think that I have mad dice rolling skills and that I am super lucky. Allen kept quoting me stats and probability theories. Whatever. I came out ahead $68. I played slots while waiting for the craps table to open and ended up losing $10. I wish DCL had a casino. We were able to buy used and cut decks of cards for the kids for $1 each.
    Our only port was Nassau. We booked an excursion through Carnival to Balmoral Island ($80ish for both of us). The Ferry included a lot of waiting around getting there and back. And the water and sand were beautiful. But I think the set up there is very sketch. DCL had their own area so the DCL excursion may be nicer. But the food and drink prices were a rip off. And the sting ray and dolphin areas looked just.. very sad. I had heard that the ocean side of the island was beautiful, but we were kind of roped off from accessing anything other than our areas. Which was fine. I’m glad that we got to go to a beach area, and I didn’t expect much for $80, but nothing special about Balmoral!! It honestly seemed like they were trying to recreat Castaway Cay... and not too well!

    We bought a few beverages in Nassau, (3 longnecks for $6), grabbed some gifts for the girls (3 leather bracelets/anklets for $10), and headed back into the port gates. The port officer stopped us and said that we had to finish our beer outside the gate. We were then approached by a man who offered to sell us something to enhance our beer-buzz, which we politely declined. Headed into port area and I decided that I wanted to have some braids in my hair. The prices were high ($4 per braid), but a nice lady told me that, "All prices are negotiable".. and that she's do my 4 full braids for $10. We shared the 3rd beer while she did my hair (and I prayed for a lice free experience!), I gave her $15 cash and we were back on the ship.

    We went straight up to try Guys burgers. The line was 10 minutes long, and we each ordered the Ringer. Allen likes 5 guys better, I though Guys was pretty tasty, especially the fries. The next day we had tacos from Blue Iguana. They were good, but I think we've had better in Atlanta. We did not get to try the pizza as the lines were always 20-40 deep. We did not try the Deli, BBQ, sushi, or upgrade seafood. We also did not do the upcharge Steakhouse or Chefs Table. Sea day we found a space on deck near a satellite bubble that provided Allen's lounger full shade and mine full sun. There were some pretty raunchy on deck festivities.... we did not participate. We did share a bucket of beers, about $28 with tip for 4.

    We carried off our luggage on the last morning, no lines, super easy. We hired a shared shuttle, Cortans, to take us to the airport. $20 each and it was nice and such a value.

    Overall it was a great trip at for not too much money. I'm glad we went as we had fun. We wouldn't take our kids though
     
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  17. we"reofftoneverland

    we"reofftoneverland DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the report! Never heard of Balmoral @ Nassau. Very funny about your bag.
     
  18. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    FWIW I thought your review was fun and I read it all. :D

    IMO DCL still has the edge on Carnival when it comes to the cabins. They should definitely refurbish them all. The new cabins are awesome and almost just as good but the old cabins have the worst colors.

    What do you mean by "DCL having a better set up"? You mean near the ship? Because the cruise lines all use the same companies during excursions so I don't think it would have changed much had you done this excursion with DCL...

    Was the comedy show you saw PG or 18+? DH and I prefer the 18+ shows. We find them more entertaining. That being said, it can be hit or miss depending on who does it. There are some comedians we loved and some we liked and others that were just ok. My DH and I don't always like the same comedians.

    I wish you had tried the Steakhouse. So worth it in my opinion! :)

    I wasn't expecting you to like a 3 nights Carnival cruise to Nassau as much as DCL but I'm glad you had a good time.

    Based on what you said, there's a possibility you would enjoy a longer cruise on a new Carnival ship: better cabins, better food options, more activities (more for the kids too). It would most likely cost you half the price of a DCL cruise for that one too.
     
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  19. PrincessTrisha

    PrincessTrisha DIS Veteran

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    thanks for the report.

    One issue stands out for me though - I think Allen had frozen yogurt and not the ice cream. Carnival's soft serve isn't different than DCL's. The Frozen yogurt though is the one that seems a bit icy and not so creamy. If you don't look at the sign above the machine, it's easy to get the wrong one (I've done it many times myself).
     
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  20. tigerchic89

    tigerchic89 Mouseketeer

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    I hope I'm replying to this quote correctly, I've never tried before <blush> i'll reply in itallics

     
  21. tigerchic89

    tigerchic89 Mouseketeer

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    yes, as he was eating it I was like "that looks like frozen yogurt".. so maybe he did get the wrong machine!
     
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