CARNIVAL VS DCL: The discussion and comparison thread!

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

  1. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2013
    Welcome to the comparison thread!

    Here is the story:

    When I decided to start this thread, DH and I had sailed on the Disney Dream twice. Our first cruise was a 3 nights Bahamas Cruise and the second cruise was a 4 nights Bahamas Cruise.

    In 2016, we picked a 4 nights Bahamian cruise (Freeport-Nassau-Sea Day) on the Carnival Victory. Embarkation date: October 9, 2016. Since then, we have been on two other Carnival cruises and have two more coming.

    This thread started with a cruise ship comparison... And slowly became the "official" thread for general informations and getting to know the main differences between Carnival and Disney Cruise Line ships & experience.


    We created this thread because some of DCL past cruisers can't afford cruising with DCL anymore and wonder if they would enjoy a different cruise line after being so spoiled by DCL...

    We created this thread because some of DCL cruisers like to cruise but cannot afford to do two DCL cruises each year (or other year) and they don't want to wait months or years before going on their next cruise.


    -Reviews from (mostly) DCL cruisers who have tried both cruise lines. Most of those cruisers love(d) DCL too but cruise with Carnival in between DCL cruises.

    -A lot of information on the Carnival ships that we have sailed on with many pictures.

    -Discussions regarding our upcoming cruises and itineraries.


    -Yes, of course... As long as you have sailed on a Carnival ship (No, being docked next to a Carnival ship doesn't count! :rolleyes1). Details like: the name of the ship, the year of the sailing, the length of the cruise and the itinerary would be very much appreciated and would give us a better idea of your experience.


    Experiences may vary. While some cruisers may have experienced tipsy/drunk crowds during shorter cruises, a lot of us never encountered that type of behavior.

    It is common belief between Carnival cruisers that if you stick to longer itineraries and go to be before midnight, your chances of experiencing a "quiet" cruise are extremely high.

    While the cruise line is not 100% focussing on children like DCL, Carnival has been trying to break free from their "party cruise" reputation for a few years now, focussing more and more on being family friendly. The new ships (Vista, Horizon and upcoming Panorama) definitely reflect that new orientation while older ships have been upgraded to be consistent with that new orientation.


    There was a time where the topless deck was a thing but it's been eliminated in 2007 when Carnival decided to take a "family friendly" turn.


    While experiences may vary, most Carnival cruisers encountered friendly and helpful staff. The quality of the relationship seem to be very similar to DCL when people pick a dining time on Carnival ships instead of Your Time Dining (where you can meet different servers every night).


    You might be interested in the brand new Carnival Horizon:

    The Carnival Vista, which was launched in May 2016 looks pretty good too...

    You could also book a cruise on the Carnival Panorama, who will set sail for the first time in 2019?


    Yes, they do. Half Moon Cay is in the Bahamas. The island requires tendering. Half Moon Cay is not separated in different sections like Castaway Cay. There are many excursions available but there are also a lot of free activities that are listed in the Fun Times.

    They offer regular cabanas rental (good for 4 guests) starting at 279,99$.

    They also offer two-story beach villas (good for 8 guests, includes a hot tub) starting at 499.99$...

    Or a private oasis (a 1,620 square foot grand cabana , good for 12 guests, which also includes a hot tub, the package includes the services of a butler, personal chef, bartender, cabana Steward, and lifeguard, food and beverages!) starting at $1,495.99!

    **** COMING SOON: Pictures of Half Moon Cay will be available soon.****

    Take note that some of Carnival sailings also go to Princess Cays, also in the Bahamas which is mainly used by Princess (also part of Carnival Corp.) Princess Cays has an "adult only" section called "Adults Sanctuary".

    They have private cabanas available (good for 4 guests) starting at 199,99$ or 249.99$ in the Adults Sanctuary (also (good for 4 guests).

    In addition to Half Moon Cay & Princess Cays, Carnival also developped two exclusive cruise ports: Amber Cove (Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic), Grand Turk (Cockburn Town, Turks and Caicos) & Mahogany Bay (Roatan, Honduras).

    Amber Cove is situated in Dominican Republic, near Puerto Plata. You can rent cabanas. While there are no beaches in the port, there is a pool with waterslides and a lazy river, shops, restaurants (take note that the food is NOT INCLUDED) and a zipline. ***Under construction***

    **** COMING SOON: Pictures of Amber Cove will be available soon.****

    Grand Turk Cruise Center is situated in Cockburn Town (on Grand Turk Island - Turks and Caicos). Grand Turk is famous for its Margaritaville, Flow Rider, very nice beach and huge pool. Take note that the food is NOT INCLUDED. ***Under construction***

    **** COMING SOON: Pictures of Grand Turk will be available soon.****

    Mahogany Bay is situated on the island of Roatan (Honduras)... ***Under construction***


    Here are descriptions left on this thread by cruisers (some of them have cruised with DCL too, some did not):

    @hdrolfe : "I have not cruised on Disney so perhaps not a true comparison, however I have cruised on Carnival and their kids program is great. It starts at age 2 (I don't think most start until 3?). The program is quite well structured, they have the kids broken into age groups and they do activities at a certain time. My son loved it because he likes to know what exactly he'll be doing. They have a parade and story time which was a lot of fun, and also of course the Green Eggs and Ham breakfast ($5 per person). They also usually have a Build a Bear activity (for a fee) at least once. [...]"

    @trvlgirlmq : "I also can't provide a comparison because we have only cruised Carnival. My kids went on their first cruise at ages 14, 8 and 7. We primarily have cruised the Dream and Vista class. They love all of the outside activities like the Ropes course, mini golf and now the SkyRide. They participated in the clubs only on our first cruise. They are not interested in meeting new friends although they do talk to other kids at the pools, etc. They prefer to be active and out in the sunshine instead of indoors with movies and games. The larger Carnival ships are perfect if you like to be really active. The crew is always amazing with kids and we have had nothing but good experiences."

    we"reofftoneverland : "I definitely say Carnival is an excellent cruise line for kids. The entire vibe is fun and kid friendly. There are activities going on everywhere that kids enjoy. The food is kid friendly and delicious. One of our kids ate at Guy's burgers every day. Lol. Fresh pizza open all night. Family friendly movies at night on deck with free popcorn and lots of seating. The decor is bright and cheery, the kids club is the best we have experienced at sea. Yes, DCL's kids clubs have more bells and whistles, but our kids preferred CCL's. We liked Carnival, but we are interested in trying all lines--- not the kids. They are sold.

    The kids club on Carnival is structured but flexible. We find DCL's clubs generally unstructured. Our kids liked DCL clubs but sometimes got bored. Other kids in general were different on CCL than on DCL, more down to earth, less (hate to make this generalization, but) spoiled. Our kids fit in better and made more friends at the Carnival kids club than on any of our Disney cruises. The counselors on Carnival are much more attentive and caring. The DCL counselors are more remote. On a couple of DCL cruises, we have seen a couple of male counslers who were very engaged in the clubs, usually leading more physical activities, but in general we find DCL counselors a bit more jaded, very nice, but not really into it. This is our experience only and may be different for others.

    Obviously, CCL is superior for value. Just no contest. The food puts DCL to shame. The decor isn't as "cute" as Disney's but the kids don't seem to notice at all. Lol. The water park and pools are less crowded. The staff is on a par with DCL's. It is hard for us to consider DCL again. Over the next 2 years we have CCL, NCL, and RCL scheduled. We do WDW every year too, so we are huge Disney fans, but their cruise line needs to learn some from its competitors."

    *** More will be added soon ***


    They do! Each sailing has a Seuss-a-palooza parade and story time. For 5$/pp you can also participate to a very colorful Green Eggs and Ham breakfast where Cat-in-the-Hat, Sam-I-Am and Thing 1 and Thing 2 will stop by the tables to take pictures.

    There is Elephant Towel Animal and Mr & Mrs Potato Head.

    There are also scheduled photo sessions with those characters.


    Here is the list (to be updated) for all the Carnival Cruise ships that we have compared with DCL's ships:

    -Carnival Liberty (2018) by @tigerchic89:

    -Carnival Magic VS DCL (2018) - Mini-review by @ToyStory3 :

    -Carnival Magic VS Disney Dream by @Ben E N :

    -Carnival Victory VS Disney Dream (2016) by @mevelandry : From Post #1 to #44 (Pages 1 to 3) *Take note that the Carnival Victory went under major dry dock in January 2018 so the comparison of 2016 do not represent the Victory as it is right now. New review coming in April 2018.

    -Carnival Victory VS Disney Wonder (2017) by @mevelandry (page 40, comment #786):

    -Carnival Victory review (2018) post-refurbishments by@mevelandry :

    -Carnival Sunshine by @PrincessTrisha
    has made a review of the ship on this thread at page 27 (comment #538), pictures starting on page 28:

    -Carnival Vista VS Disney Dream (2017) by @mevelandry : (P.46 to 49 of this thread) starts at post #917 here:

    Pictures of the Carnival Vista (2017) can be found here: Starting at page 47 (from page 47 to page 49).

    I would also invite you to take a look at the wonderful review that Club Disney Chandler has done in June 2016. The thread is now closed to comments but there are nice pictures and great informations about the ship:



    ***Currently under refurbishment***


    Carnival website is generally user friendly. Once you connect to your account, links for your planning (booking info, excursions, drink packages, internet plans, fun shops (gifts), specialty dining reservations, photography packages, cruise check list) are on the first page.


    With DCL, you have to make a deposit of 250$ per cabin in order to book your cruise. Prices tend to get higher as you get closer to the sail date so booking early seem to be the best way to get the best price.

    With Carnival you have to make a deposit of about 50% the total of the cruise before taxes and other fees. However, they have promotions where you can sometimes book your cruie for as little as 49$/pp (promotions are usually announced on the first page of the Carnival Website) which is a nice way to secure your cabin a long time in advance.

    You can save a lot of money on your Carnival cruise by booking "Early saver": while the deposit is non-refundable (and can't be changed...make sure your plans are pretty much set in stone), you end up paying less for your cruise and if the price of your cabin category gets lower as you are getting closer to your sail date, you can fill a form and get some money back in the form of OBC, or a cabin upgrade, which is quite nice.

    For more info please see post #3 of this thread (by PrincessTrisha).

    THE BOARDING (embarkation)

    The embarkation process with DCL tends to be a bit crazy when we arrive early. In Port Canaveral, there is a lot of people and very little seats. They will call your group. They will take your picture before you board the ship. When you board the ship, they ask for our name and announce you.

    With Carnival, in Port Canaveral there is also a lot of people but the terminal is very wide and there is little wait even though the lines seem to be long. In Miami, the cruise terminal is also very wide and the process quite efficient! They may take your picture before your board the ship, but there is also a "No picture" line & they do not announce you, which seems to make the boarding process faster. Once the boarding process starts, they call a new group with a (more or less) 1 minute delay between each group.


    Faster to the fun is an "upgrade" that you can buy (price per stateroom) that gives you:

    - Priority Security, Check-in and Boarding with a dedicated security and check-in lane. You will board right after VIFP Diamond, Platinum and guests traveling in deluxe suite accommodations;

    -Your stateroom will be ready when you board;

    -FTTF luggage receive priority delivery (which is also a benefit for VIFP Diamond and Platinum guests);

    -A dedicated phone extension and a dedicated line at Guest Services (which is also a benefit for VIFP Diamond and Platinum guests);

    -Regarding dining reservations, FTTF guests will be cleared after VIFP Platinum guests. This benefit does not include specific time reservations for 'Your Time Dining'.
    Note: VIFP Diamond guests and guests traveling in deluxe suite accommodations are guaranteed their dining in the Main Dining Room;

    -Tender priority when the ship uses tendering;

    -Disembarkation: you can pick early or late disembarkation time upon arrival to your homeport.

    Prices for FTTF starting from...

    Cruise Durations

    $39.95 USD - 3 day cruises on Carnival Inspiration

    $49.95 USD - 3 day cruises (excluding Carnival Liberty and Carnival Inspiration)

    $59.95 USD - 3 day cruises on Carnival Liberty

    $49.95 USD - 4 day cruises on Carnival Imagination, Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Sensation

    $59.95 USD - 4 day cruises on Carnival Elation, Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Victory

    $69.95 USD - 4 day cruises on Carnival Conquest, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Triumph, Carnival Valor and Carnival Vista

    $59.95 USD - 5 day cruises on Carnival Sensation

    $79.95 USD - 5 day cruises (excluding Carnival Sensation)

    $89.95 USD - 6 day and 7 day cruises

    $99.95 USD - 8 day and longer cruises (excluding Carnival Journeys departures)

    I have experienced FTTF for the first time during my April 2018 cruise and I think I will book it for all my future cruises. The perks are very useful and I truly enjoyed every single one of it (with the exception of tendering which did not happen during my cruise).


    Some people care about square footage, some don't... It seems like there are no real consensus whether DCL cabins are bigger or smaller than Carnival, we'll stick to the obvious.

    DCL cabins have a nice decor and "real" queen beds that can't be separated and it can be complicated if the other adult in the room is not your significant other. The very tall headboards look very chic. The cabins have good storage space. Most cabins have split bathrooms (except for certain inside cabins). They have flatscreen tv's and a fridge. H2O products.

    Carnival cabins may vary. I would invite you to do a little research as some oldest ships cabins have not been refurbished recently.

    The best cabins (with the best decor) can be found on the new ships. Not as chic as DCL but still cute with a lot of storage space. Recently refurbished cabins have also received a fridge and flatscreen tv's. The separate twin beds (which can be put together in order to form a queen bed) are really useful if you are travelling with friends or family members that are not your spouse.

    Carnival has recently introduced Family Harbor cabins and suites on their new ships (Vista, & Horizon), with a super cute nautical decor and some of the cabins also have split bathrooms and separate sleeping quarter for the kids. Family Harbor cabins have access to the Family Harbor Lounge where there is a buffet. In the Family Harbor Lounge, they are hosting some activities daily and you'll find video games and board games.

    Families staying in the Family Harbor cabins will receive 1 free night of Night Owls babysitting service at Camp Ocean (for kids that are 11 and under) and kids (11 and under) will eat free at most of the specialty dining restaurants, as long as they are accompanied by an adult. There’s also concierge service (in the lounge, from 3:00 to 5:00 PM) to help you with your plans.

    Apparently, the only downside of those cabins is that they are situated on deck 2. So, unless you pick a cabin that are completely Forward, most of the cabins are right under the galley (between the aft elevator/stairs and the mid-ship elevator), the lobby or the dining rooms and guests staying in those cabins have reported hearing noises:

    - @braysmommy had a bad experience in cabin 2429, which is situated right under the galley and very noisy. She complained to Guest Services: they moved here and her family in another cabin, gave her OBC and contacted her after the cabin change to make sure they were satisfied with their new cabin.


    Comin soon.


    To and from Port Canaveral

    Both cruiselines were asking 36$/pp each way.

    DCL usually has a nice driver and shows a video (with characters) on each way.

    Carnival is using Mears for the transportation, the driver are usually just as entertaining as the DCL one and the bus comfortable as well.

    To and from Miami (Miami Airport)

    Carnival offers shuttles to and from Miami Airport for 16.99$/pp each way.

    To and from Miami (Fort Lauderdale Airport)

    Carnival offers shuttles to and from Fort Lauderdale Airport for 31,99$/pp each way.


    With DCL, you have to wait until a certain date you are assigned (depending on your Castaway Club status, from 90 days to 120 days in advance) in order to book excursions. They are payable at the end of the cruise.

    With Carnival, excursions may appears in their own time but we are usually able to book them as soon as we book. They have to be paid for right away. They are usually a little less expensive than DCL (think 2-3$ less expensive per person although they used the same companies on land)

    Carnival tends to have a little more choices of excursions than Disney.

    What I like about Carnival is that they sometimes offer deals (20% off) when you book a "bundle" (one excursion for each port of call).

    RESTAURANT RESERVATIONS (for Specialty Dining)

    With DCL: 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: Most Carnival cruiseships offer at least a special steakhouse menu (for an extra fee) that you can order in the Dining Rooms, and the Chef's table (for 75$/pp), which is pretty much an like excursion. They select a group of 14 only. They start with appetizers and cocktails, you visit the galley and finish with a signature dinner. There is also a special breakfast Dr. Seuss theme called, Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with special decorations, special menu and characters. (Just 5$/pp)

    Bigger and newer cruiseships also have:

    -Cucina Del Capitano (italian restaurant, which reminds me of Palo) for 15$/pp*

    -Jiji Asian Kitchen (amazing asian restaurant!) for 15$/pp*

    -Farhenheit 555 (steakhouse) for 35$/pp, which offers you a free bottle of wine (or 50% off a better bottle from the wine list) if you book on the first night.

    *Both Cucina & Jiji offer a complimentary lunch menu. It's different from the dinner menu but very good.


    All DCL cruiseships have three themed 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).

    Carnival ships have two very similar dining rooms 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). One of the two dining rooms is used for those who picked Your Time Dining.

    Both dining rooms have windows.

    If you want to keep the same server team every night, I recommend you pick Early or Late dining assignments, because with YTD, you could be seated in a different section every night.


    On DCL, complimentary room service is available 24 hours a day, until 1:30 AM on the final day of your cruise.

    On Carnival (as of 2018) room service is complimentary from 6:00 AM to 10:00 P.M. (There are many items that are "included" but an expanded offering of fee-based food items, with a range from $2 to $6. Room service between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM have a fee. No room service on debarkation morning but guests have the option of enjoying breakfast at the Lido deck restaurant, at Ocean Plaza (on those ships that have one) and in the dining room.


    Yes, staff members (servers, cabin hosts, etc.) on Carnival ships are polite and friendly!

    Experiences may vary (and can be very subjective) but I noticed that Carnival guests who picked Early Dining and Late Dining assignments are even more inclined to give excellent reviews regarding the staff when they have a specific dining assignment as they are keeping the same team of servers during their cruise, as opposed to the guests who picked "Your Time Dining" which are more likely to be seated in different sections every night.


    On the Disney Dream, you will find a buffet named Cabanas. We loved the food they serve over there. There is a lot of choices. There are also different food counters, like:

    -Tow Mater's Grill who will serve pizza, burgers and fries (not that good)
    -Flo's Café who will serve sandwiches (you have to try the Tomato, Brie and Bacon one, it's amazing!), salads and fruits.

    Both are near the main pool and there is a self-serve ice cream station just passed the pool.

    On Carnival Ships, the buffet is called Lido. Around the Lido you will find many counters like:

    -Pizza Pirate/Pizzeria Del Capitano (pizza 24/7)

    -Carnival Deli (sandwiches)

    -Comfort Kitchen (hot dogs, mac'n'cheese, meatloaf, apple pie...)

    -Swirls (self-serve ice AND frozen yogourt).

    -Ships who do not have Jiji Asian Kitchen usually have Chopsticks (Chinese Food).

    Funship 2.0 ships have:

    - Guy's Burgers (burgers and fries)

    - Blue Iguana (breakfast burritos, tacos, burritos, salads)

    Bigger/newer ship also have:

    -Pig & Anchor (Barbecue chicken, pork, beef, mac'n'cheese, potato salad)


    On the Disney Dream, there is the Quiet Cove Cafe, for adults only, who serves gourmet coffee, a nice selection of tea and some small desserts. With the exception of some desserts that are included, there is a fee for the gourmet coffee and tea. At the Vista Cafe, the kids are allowed. While there is a fee for coffee and tea, the pastries are included.

    On the Carnival Ships, there is a Café where you can find gourmet coffee, iced cappucinos, spiked coffees and a good selection of tea and different desserts, snacks, ice cream and gelatos. There is a fee for all those products but it's less expensive than what you'd pay on land. Tea and coffee go from $1.95 to $5.95 and desserts go from 1.25$ to 3.95$.


    Disney Dream has Vaneloppe's Sweets and Treats. They offer candy and desserts.

    Carnival has Cherry on Top if you enjoy candy. Some Cherry on Top also have ice cream and lovely outdoor seatings.


    I cannot give much information about shops because I am not a shopper...

    But overall, the souvenirs are much more affordable on Carnival (because you don't have the mouse on it). There are usually t-shirt from the port of call on sale. Also, there is a huge sale at the end of the cruise where everything is even more affordable.

    Also... Carnival sells Tortuga Rum Cakes.


    Disney ships have more or less 8 bars or more per ships.

    Most Carnival cruise ships have at least ten bars, including the Funship 2.0 Alchemy bar, Blue Iguana Tequila Bar, Red Frog Rum Bar and/or Red Frog Pub.


    Disney ships have 1 to 2 main pools and at least 1 water slide or Aqua duck. The bigger ships also have a splash zone for toddlers. DCL's pools tend to be in a better shape and their design is more interesting... But they are also always filled up with more people/more kids.

    Carnival ships have 1 to 2 pools (but most have 2 pools: 1 main pool + another pool in the back of the ship that is sometimes adult only*). The Aft pools tend to be more quiet.

    Most of them also have a whole splash zone with Waterworks (with 2 to 3 water slides or thrill water slides).

    *Take note that as of now, some of the aft pools that used to be adult only are now kid-friendly on certain sailings. Carnival announced that they eliminated Adult only pools on seven of these ships:
    • Carnival Conquest
    • Carnival Glory
    • Carnival Valor
    • Carnival Liberty
    • Carnival Freedom
    • Carnival Splendor
    • Carnival Victory


    On the Disney ships, there is a great adult section called the Quiet Cove with a small pool, two small jacuzzis, two bars (one of them is actually part of the pool, the other one is on a higher deck) and one cafe (Quiet Cove Cafe). The space itself is great, filled with lounging chairs and sofas. There is a lot of shade over there. There are huge windows (going from the floor to the ceiling) who will provide views on both side of the ship. Between our first cruise and our second cruise, they added Satellite Falls on the higher deck, which can be a nice place to refresh as well (Although it was closed 100% of the time we were there during our second cruise.)

    The only cons of the Quiet Cove on the bigger ships is that kids have to walk by the adult section in order to take the stairs to get to the kiddie pool.

    On the Carnival ships, the adult section is called Serenity Deck. With the exception of the Carnival Sunshine, there are usually no pool on that deck but one or two large jacuzzis. While there is a lot of seats and loungers, most of them are under the sun. That is something that IMO, Carnival could do better: adding some more spaces with shade. They are usually on the top deck of the ship and provide great views. Some of the cruise ships will also have a small buffet and different type of seats and loungers.


    The Walt Disney Theater is where you'll see the big productions (Golden Mickey, Frozen, Beauty & the Beast, etc.). All the shows are Disney themed and present Disney Characters. On certain sailings, there will be magicians or ventriloquists shows and/or a movie premiere.

    On the Carnival ships, bigger productions are presented in the biggest lounge. Performers go from very good to amazing. Themes and budget will vary. Some productions are more impressive than others but there is usually at least one big production per sailing and they are not to be missed.

    One of the highlights of Carnival cruises are certainly the comedy shows. Comedy shows are usually presented in the smaller lounge and there are comedy sets almost every night with two to three different comedians. They usually have a set that is classified "PG" and sets happening later in the evening that are classified 18+. If you are easily offended, you should avoid the 18+ shows. The 18+ shows are usually the most popular are always end up with guests standing in the back of the lounge.


    On the Disney ships, there is the Buena Vista Theater where you can watch movies (some of them 3D). There is pop corn and drinks available right outside the theater for a fee but the price is nowhere near the prices you'd pay for snacks and drink on land (the last time, I think we paid 5$ for a bucket of pop corn and 1 big soda).

    On Carnival, the offer will vary. Some have IMAX movie theaters but there is a fee for the movies (pretty much the kind of prices you'll find on land) and the snacks.

    However, they will present movies in a theater once in a while and/or, if there is a big screen near the main pool, they will present what they call "Dive-In Movies" every night (usually two to three movies per night) and you can watch movies in the pool or comfortably installed on one of the lounging chairs.
    The pop corn is FREE. :D

    For 5$/pp, some Carnival ships also offer the Thrill theater, which is more or less a 4-D ride. You will sit in a 20 seats theater with 3D glasses for a 3 short films program (it lasts more or less 15 minutes total). Enjoy the ride! It is SO MUCH FUN!!!


    There is a small mini-golf (9 holes) on the biggest Disney ships (no mini-golf on the classic ships). You can pretty much play the way you want. It is included, you don't need to subscribe or anything, you pick up your golf club and your ball and you play. It is fun but it can be a bit windy up there.

    On most Carnival ships, there is a mini-golf as well.


    The Disney ships have a gym and a small sport deck with Ping Pong tables and basket court, a jogging track, shuffle board.

    Carnival ships usually have a gym, ping pong tables, a basket court, a jogging track and shuffle board... The offer may vary depending on the ship you sail on. Most ships have much more activities available, like volley ball, dodge ball, rope course (called Sky Course), sky ride, pool tables, soccer pool, mini-bowling alleys, etc.


    With DCL, you have to call or order On Board Credit by fax... And you cannot confirm that the credit has been applied unless you call them or receive your coupon in the room on embarkation day.

    You can add on board credit online with Carnival. You buy it as "Cruise Cash" or "Cruise Cash Bar" (only good for drinks you'll buy at a bar) or "Cruise Cash Photo" (that you can use to buy pictures taken aboard) and you receive a confirmation by e-mail right away. You have to use it all because there are no refunds officially no refund. HOWEVER, many guest use a loophole, they put it all on the card to play slot machines in the casino and then cash it out.


    With DCL, you have to order my phone or by fax. I’ve never received any receipts from them, the only way I could make sure the payment was passed was by looking at my credit card statement or call them. The DCL decorative packages start at 45$.

    With Carnival, you can order your gifts online. You receive a confirmation number by e-mail for your purchase. Carnival in-room decorations packages are a little more affordable than DCL’s. There are various options with Carnival. Carnival recently upgraded their decoration packages and you can add cookies/a cake/a bottle of wine to it if you want. The packages are starting at 40$.

    Also, there are so much more choices of gifts and with the exception of flowers (which have very similar prices) and there is a lot of affordable choices. The Dr. Seuss packages are adorable!


    While you can complete your early check-in on DCL’s website 90 to 120 days in advance with DCL. You will receive a (super cute!) booklet with all the details from your trip with luggage tags prior to the cruise. You will have to select a Port Arrival Times. A few days before the cruise, you will receive a health survey that you have to fill up before you check-in.

    With Carnival, you can do your early check-in sometimes more than six months in advance. You will print all your documents. Those documents contain the health survey and the luggage tags (You have print to print those too!). They recently introduced an assigned port arrival time as well.


    Apparently, a fire drill is a fire drill (aka boring).


    DCL sends you a bill on the last night of the cruise. ***Under construction***

    Carnival sends you a bill on the last night the cruise but they also have automated machines where you can review and print your account anytime you want and you can consult your account on your tv in your cabin and on the Carnival Hub as well.


    DCL has towels you can use and return at the pool and in Castaway Cay.

    Carnival has towels in the room that you can bring to the pool or on land during port days. On some ship, you can borrow towels at the pool too. However, they will charge 22$ per towels that are not returned.


    Unlike DCL who gives you 50 MB for free (Which always left me disappointed.) and there are packages you can buy going from 19 to 80$ (from 100 to 1000 MB).

    Carnival offers you different packages including a very affordable (5$/day) Social Media plan on which you can get your messages and post on different social medias like FB, instagram, etc. They also have a few computer you can use. We have found the wifi a bit spotty but works reasonably well. There are two other packages available: The Value Wi-Fi Plan for 10,25$/day (includes e-mail, news, sports, weather, banking and finance) and the Premium Plan for 14,88$/day, which is faster and can support Skype depending on the location.


    With DCL, you will be assigned to a restaurant in the morning (or you can have breakfast in Cabanas, with a reduced breakfast menu). If you usually have Early Seating, your breakfast will be served first, and then you'll be invited to disembark. You will receive a luggage tag that will indicate in which section to pick-up your luggage the next day. They are named after characters and colors.

    With Carnival, you can have breakfast in the dining room or at the Lido. The disembarkation time will depend on the deck you are staying at. You will receive a notice on the last night inviting you to disembark at a certain time. Your number will be called. There are designed areas where you can wait.

    There is express check-out (usually happening in the Main Theater) but the first people to get off the ship will be those who bought the Faster to the Fun Option, then the guests staying in suites, then the rest of the passengers.


    :jumping1::beach: ROLL CALL pirate::jumping1:

    June 2, 2018 @trvlgirlmq - 8 nights Southern Caribbean - Vista
    June 30, 2018 @disneyfan551- 7 nights Western Caribbean - Magic
    September 29, 2018 @belle032 - 8 nights Eastern Caribbean - Conquest
    October 6, 2018 @lovin'fl - 8 nights Eastern Caribbean - Horizon
    October 8, 2018 @trvlgirlmq - 4 nights Western Caribbean - Triumph
    October 11, 2018 @Monykalyn - 4 nights Western Caribbean - Valor
    October 13, 2018 @mevelandry - 5 nights Eastern Caribbean - Sensation
    October 22, 2018 @diseverestfan - Elation

    January 12, 2019 @PrincessTrisha - 13 nights Carribean - Sunshine
    March 9, 2019 @we"reofftoneverland - 7 nights Eastern Caribbean - Breeze
    April 14, 2019 @mevelandry - WDW & 5 nights Eastern Caribbean - Sunshine


    May 30, 2020 @trvlgirlmq - 7 nights Mexican Riviera - Panorama

    June 6, 2020 @clubdisneychandler - 7 nights Mexican Riviera - Panorama
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
    FluteTuba, accio, starrzone and 9 others like this.
  2. houseofduck

    houseofduck DIS Veteran

    Feb 16, 2013
    It's interesting that you say that the Carnival website is friendlier. My reaction to it was the opposite. I didn't think it would be possible to find a site worse than Disney's, but I had a difficult time navigating Carnival's.

    Maybe, it was because I was looking for something specific or because it was my first time on the Carnival site. I have a relative getting married in Cozumel in the Spring. We have a large family and I am entertaining the idea of taking a cruise instead of flying everyone there, getting accommodations, ... Carnival has a few ships in port that day, so, I was looking for a specific cruise. I knew the ships and the date they would be in Cozumel, but I didn't know the start dates for the cruise, origination port, length of cruise, or cruise type (Caribbean, Mexican...). I did find the cruises eventually, but I found the interface a little cumbersome.

    Looking forward to reading about your experiences in October!
    mevelandry likes this.
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  4. PrincessTrisha

    PrincessTrisha DIS Veteran

    Dec 10, 2004
    Just to clarify - Carnival cruise deposits are based on the number of cruise days.

    2 days - deposit is $100 USD per person
    3 days - deposit is $100 USD per person
    4 days - deposit is $150 USD per person
    5 days - deposit is $150 USD per person
    6 days - deposit is $250 USD per person
    7 days - deposit is $250 USD per person
    8 days - deposit is $250 USD per person
    9 days - deposit is $250 USD per person
    10 days and longer - deposit is $400 USD per person

    Alaska - deposit is $400 USD per person
    Europe - deposit is $400 USD per person
    Transatlantic - deposit is $400 USD per person
    Panama Canal - deposit is $400 USD per person
  5. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2013
    I agree with you for the cruise search part.

    ... but when it comes to adding or changing stuff to an existing reservation, I like the way they did it.
  6. Ofinn

    Ofinn DCL Platinum

    Feb 18, 2013
    I love the Carnival Website. NCL is ok. DCL and RCCL are horrible. The old DCL website was ok this new one is just awful. I like that you can cancel a cruise online on Carnival. Money is back in the account in 2 days or less.
    mevelandry likes this.
  7. Club Disney Chandler

    Club Disney Chandler DIS Veteran

    Jun 18, 2013
    I would have to rank websites, best to worst:

    RCCL - their has to be one of the worst ever! Their old one was so much better.

    I look forward to reading more of this.
    mevelandry likes this.
  8. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2013
    Breaking News: Sounds like we are boarding late due to staterooms refurbishment. I have seen the difference between the old cabins and the new ones. The refurbished cabins look very good (they are changing the red carpet for a blue one and the bathroom is completely refurbished).

    I think ours is not refurbished yet... But knowing they will work for at least four weeks before our cruise... Who knows... we might get lucky. *Fingers crossed*

    Club Disney Chandler likes this.
  9. Love2Cruz

    Love2Cruz DIS Veteran

    Sep 13, 2014
    I loved the Victory, it has an "under the sea" theme and she has a beautiful emerald green ceiling in the lobby. The cafe is nice too with a nautical theme on the tables. They have abstract "under the sea" art on the 5th deck near the casino (The Promenade) that is made with glass mosaic pieces. It's a beautiful ship,, will be even nicer after the refurb....too bad they're not adding all the 2.0 features.
  10. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2013
    Yes, not gonna lie to you I would have loved that. Especially since we (originally) were supposed to sail the Sunshine to the Bermuda and had to change plans. I was absolutely sold on the Fun 2.0...

    But the truth is I won't know what I am missing. I hear mixed reviews about the ship (some say it's in good shape, others said it should be dry docked) I'm really anxious to see for myself.
  11. Frozen2014

    Frozen2014 DIS Veteran

    Jan 12, 2014
    Great comparison so far....and good to see how they compare.

    Btw...we did a Blue Lagoon excursion with our Royal cruise (beach day with lunch). Lovely place. Really peaceful waters, you get use of the standard beach floats...and you can rent other stuff plus the Aqua park. It was also nice to walk over and see the Dolphins (we didn't participate but could watch another group). The ferry ride over is nice too.

    I've never been on Carnival but have been on Disney and Royal ships. Carnival sounds similar to Royal wrt dining times/my time vs traditional, excursion booking, etc

    Enjoy your upcoming cruise.
    mevelandry likes this.
  12. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2013
    Thank you. I can't wait to be able to give you more info (the real feel of it) and show pictures.

    I plan on showing a realistic point of view. With Disney, at least on the Disney Dream, I have been used to a «looking brand new» cruiseship. From what I understand, I can't expect that from the Victory who is apparently showing her age from «a little» to «a lot» depending on the reviews.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016
  13. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2013
    I updated a few sections: Restaurants, Dining Rooms, Cafes... And started working on the Bar section too (not completed) and also added "Shops", "Candy Shops" and "Theater" and "Pools" sections (not completed).

    Please let me know if there is another section you'd like. (Take note that since DH and I have no kids, we won't be able to review nursery, kids club and kids sections.)
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016
  14. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2013
    Just updated the "Early Check-In" section as I just printed my documentation and luggage tags for our Carnival cruise.
  15. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2013
    Just added more info about the pools, the adult only sections, the mini-golf and cabins.
  16. tinkerone

    tinkerone DIS Veteran

    Jun 3, 2007
    Following. This thread is very interesting, thanks for doing it.
    mevelandry likes this.
  17. Krissynae

    Krissynae Florida Frequent Flyer

    Dec 24, 2005
    /We just cruised on the Victory 8/21/16-8/25/16 the same cruise it sounds like you are going on. The adult area is very nice. I was traveling with a toddler and my mother who is older. So was not able to escape to it very often. Made it there the night we left Nassau after the Latin party. The kids pool is nice but we never saw it filled. I am not sure why. My little guy like the play place but the last night was not into it. I think he was done with the hold cruise thing. it got to be too much for him. We were room 8361 and it is a little tight.. The ship is older and is in need of an update. But truthfully you are not in there enough to car. We did dinner at the Atlantic dinning room. The night we made it there the food was AMAZING. I had a grilled chicken on Alfredo and it was so delish.. My mother had steak and it was PERFECT. The day at sea we did the Dr. Suess Breakfast and it was a blast.. My grumpy child only lasted a few minutes after we entered the room.
    here are the pictures it is the second album..

    On carnival gratuity is taken ahead of time while DCL they give you envelopes at the end.
    linetbo likes this.
  18. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2013
    Thanks for the review and pictures! :) We will be on the samed deck.

    You can prepay DCL's gratuity in advance as well. We did it both times.
  19. tlprice

    tlprice DIS Veteran

    Oct 5, 2014
    I find it interesting that you said the excursions are less money on Carnival. I looked up all 3 excursions I have booked for my upcoming DCL cruise on the Carnival site and they were all either more money or basically the same price. On Carnival my daughter wouldn't be able to go on the Tranopy Adventure in Jamaica because theirs is only 12 and up. I also looked at their (Carnival's) room decorations and see why they are cheaper. They LOOK cheap. Mostly streamers and cardboard cut-outs.
  20. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2013

    About the excursions, not saying all of them are less expensive but those we were interested in, prices were similar but Carnival were few dollars less to begin with...

    BUT, if you read the entire section, I mention that Carnival also offers deals on them. When I originally booked (although we changed plans afterwards), I saved 20% on my excursions (60$ less!)

    As for the DCL vs Carnival decorations...

    EDIT: Look for post #41 for pictures of the decorations. They did a good job.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
  21. tinkerone

    tinkerone DIS Veteran

    Jun 3, 2007
    Our RCCL cruise for November is offering 20% of excursions this weekend. That really helps especially with a larger family. I have never seen DCL offer that.
    bbkangs and mevelandry like this.

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