CARNIVAL VS DCL: The discussion and comparison thread!

pezgirlroy

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 29, 2016
So. I have been on Freedom (twice) and for adults, it's a nice ship. The first time my son loved it, the second time he was bored. I'd choose one from San Juan simply because of the ports, and being port intensive (I don't care for sea days). I would probably choose Fascination because while it is a lower class of ship, you only have one sea day. But Freedom is a nice ship and perhaps new ports? Have you been to any of the Southern ports?

The Miracle itinerary is nice, because I do like the western ports and have heard good things about the ship itself.
I have been to a few of the ports many years ago. I actually really like Sea Days. So I prefer more than one. I am now really starting to think about the Valor out of New Orleans for the 5 night with a night in new orleans on each end.
 

we"reofftoneverland

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 5, 2015
I have been to a few of the ports many years ago. I actually really like Sea Days. So I prefer more than one. I am now really starting to think about the Valor out of New Orleans for the 5 night with a night in new orleans on each end.
We love leaving from New Orleans. The port is located in such a great place in the city. We drop our bags off at 11 with a porter, park at the port and walk into the French quarter for 2 hours or so before the ship leaves. They also have a great outlet mall in the river walk which is attached to the port. So if you have to buy a pair of shoes you forgot before you sail away (we bought crocs at the croc outlet)— super easy.
 

hdrolfe

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 16, 2014
So I currently have a March break cruise booked for 2020, but I'm not sure I'll be able to afford it (given prices on the flights keep going up, and hotels for the night before, or two if I need to get better flights). We are hoping to move next year and so I need to think about something less expensive. I'm considering doing an AI instead but I'm not sure it really compares to a cruise, or Disney for that matter. I may just go in February on a cruise. I will lose my deposit (it's only $100). I'm now considering NCL, they have a flights included special. Maybe from New Orleans? I'd go from Port Canaveral but I just can't resist adding Disney when we do that :) I know I can't do another winter without a trip of some sort. We are going to Disney in August (8 weeks!) and cannot wait for that. Ugh, I really need to win the lottery (or make more money!).
 
  • we"reofftoneverland

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 5, 2015
    So I currently have a March break cruise booked for 2020, but I'm not sure I'll be able to afford it (given prices on the flights keep going up, and hotels for the night before, or two if I need to get better flights). We are hoping to move next year and so I need to think about something less expensive. I'm considering doing an AI instead but I'm not sure it really compares to a cruise, or Disney for that matter. I may just go in February on a cruise. I will lose my deposit (it's only $100). I'm now considering NCL, they have a flights included special. Maybe from New Orleans? I'd go from Port Canaveral but I just can't resist adding Disney when we do that :) I know I can't do another winter without a trip of some sort. We are going to Disney in August (8 weeks!) and cannot wait for that. Ugh, I really need to win the lottery (or make more money!).
    What time of year are flights least expensive for you? Just curious. I do find spring break flights expensive here. Other than that around Thanksgiving and Christmas.
     

    hdrolfe

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2014
    What time of year are flights least expensive for you? Just curious. I do find spring break flights expensive here. Other than that around Thanksgiving and Christmas.
    Early December and January - February (after New Years week and before mid-February) are usually the best prices. I can go from Montreal for cheaper at slightly different times, and could look at flying from Syracuse but both are further to drive, which becomes an issue in unpredictable weather :)
     

    we"reofftoneverland

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 5, 2015
    Early December and January - February (after New Years week and before mid-February) are usually the best prices. I can go from Montreal for cheaper at slightly different times, and could look at flying from Syracuse but both are further to drive, which becomes an issue in unpredictable weather :)
    Not sure why I thought you were coming from England. Sorry! But Canada/ upstate NY is far too. Have you ever cruised out of NYC/New Jersey? Maybe your March cruise will go down in price? Our spring break cruise out of Orlando last March (we drove) went down in price as time went on. I cannot remember how much we ended up getting off the price but it was the most we have ever received in price drops. I called about 3 times to get drops. The largest one was about a month before final payment was due. It was on the Breeze which is a popular ship, so I was surprised at the price drops.
     
  • hdrolfe

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2014
    I don't think we will get a price drop, the ship seems to be almost full, there is only a handful of balconies left. It is a really good itinerary that I don't really want to give up, Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, Curacao and Aruba. On Carnival Magic.

    We will have lots of fun at Disney, we have two EMM hooked, the rhino tour and I am planning for a MNSSHP as well. I may have gone overboard on this trip.
     

    belle032

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 6, 2011
    So I currently have a March break cruise booked for 2020, but I'm not sure I'll be able to afford it (given prices on the flights keep going up, and hotels for the night before, or two if I need to get better flights). We are hoping to move next year and so I need to think about something less expensive. I'm considering doing an AI instead but I'm not sure it really compares to a cruise, or Disney for that matter. I may just go in February on a cruise. I will lose my deposit (it's only $100). I'm now considering NCL, they have a flights included special. Maybe from New Orleans? I'd go from Port Canaveral but I just can't resist adding Disney when we do that :) I know I can't do another winter without a trip of some sort. We are going to Disney in August (8 weeks!) and cannot wait for that. Ugh, I really need to win the lottery (or make more money!).
    I feel your pain about needing a break during the winter! We live in Upstate NY and I am exactly the same way. I get very miserable during January/February up here so it's really nice to have something to look forward to. That's why we're looking at a February cruise as well. And looking a prices, February does seem decently cheaper than March, if the dates would work out for you.

    That itinerary does sound fantastic and similar to the 8 day sailing we were ready to book in February 2020. But now we have another couple who wants to sail with us, we have a big DCL trip this September and DH and I want to make a WDW trip next fall. So we might scale back and book a cheaper cruise for February. While it doesn't make too much sense to book anything less than a 7 night because of traveling so far, there are cheaper sailings that we would have just as much fun on!

    Have you tried looking at flights out of Buffalo or Rochester? I'm not sure what is close to you, and I know winter flights can be tricky with the weather, but those are my 2 go-to airports. Rochester is closer for us, but Buffalo can sometimes be cheaper.
     

    Club Disney Chandler

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 18, 2013
    I need your help!! I own a restaurant that is super busy at Christmas time so we’ve never been able to take any vacations during those couple weeks. It looks like I’ll be selling towards the end of this year so we should be able to take a cruise in December 2020. I’ve always wanted to do a DCL Christmas cruise and found a 6 night on the Wonder from 12/24 - 12/30, stops in Key West and Castaway Cay. I booked 2 inside cabins for our family of 4, at a cost of about $10,000. Plus $1500 for airfare I know, outrageous but it’s kind of a once in a lifetime thing.

    Then we started talking about how fun a New Years Eve cruise on Carnival would be and have 3 options. We’ve only been on Vista, 4 cruises, and live her. Here are our options, what would you do?

    Carnival Panorama, 7 night Mexican Riviera. 2 inside is about $5000, 2 Havana Cabanas would be about $8800. Long Beach is only a 6 hour drive so there is no air travel for this option. Biggest concern here is, not totally thrilled about the Mexico ports and don’t know how warm it will be compared to Caribbean.

    Carnival Horizon, 8 night southern Caribbean to Aruba, Bonaire and both Dominican Republic ports. 2 insides is about $6000, but will need to spend $2000 on air travel to get to Miami. We did a very similar itinerary on Vista and loved it but not totally excited about Aruba or the La Romana port of DR. Very excited about Bonaire and Amber Cove. Love that it’s 8 days.

    Carnival Mardi Gras, 7 night Western Caribbean, Cozumel, costa Maya and Honduras. 2 insides $4000, 2 inside Havana $6000. Have to add in $2000 for airfare. Just got back from a similar itinerary. Loved Honduras and am excited to go back, 4th time to Cozumel and can take it or leave, indifferent on Costa Maya. With this, the itinerary is mediocre at best but that will give us a ton of time to experience a totally new ship. Also with this, we’re planning on Mardi Gras for June 2021 but will do the other itinerary of San Juan, Cozumel and Amber Cove.

    What would you guys do?
     

    we"reofftoneverland

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 5, 2015
    I need your help!! I own a restaurant that is super busy at Christmas time so we’ve never been able to take any vacations during those couple weeks. It looks like I’ll be selling towards the end of this year so we should be able to take a cruise in December 2020. I’ve always wanted to do a DCL Christmas cruise and found a 6 night on the Wonder from 12/24 - 12/30, stops in Key West and Castaway Cay. I booked 2 inside cabins for our family of 4, at a cost of about $10,000. Plus $1500 for airfare I know, outrageous but it’s kind of a once in a lifetime thing.

    Then we started talking about how fun a New Years Eve cruise on Carnival would be and have 3 options. We’ve only been on Vista, 4 cruises, and live her. Here are our options, what would you do?

    Carnival Panorama, 7 night Mexican Riviera. 2 inside is about $5000, 2 Havana Cabanas would be about $8800. Long Beach is only a 6 hour drive so there is no air travel for this option. Biggest concern here is, not totally thrilled about the Mexico ports and don’t know how warm it will be compared to Caribbean.

    Carnival Horizon, 8 night southern Caribbean to Aruba, Bonaire and both Dominican Republic ports. 2 insides is about $6000, but will need to spend $2000 on air travel to get to Miami. We did a very similar itinerary on Vista and loved it but not totally excited about Aruba or the La Romana port of DR. Very excited about Bonaire and Amber Cove. Love that it’s 8 days.

    Carnival Mardi Gras, 7 night Western Caribbean, Cozumel, costa Maya and Honduras. 2 insides $4000, 2 inside Havana $6000. Have to add in $2000 for airfare. Just got back from a similar itinerary. Loved Honduras and am excited to go back, 4th time to Cozumel and can take it or leave, indifferent on Costa Maya. With this, the itinerary is mediocre at best but that will give us a ton of time to experience a totally new ship. Also with this, we’re planning on Mardi Gras for June 2021 but will do the other itinerary of San Juan, Cozumel and Amber Cove.

    What would you guys do?
    Oh wow, all awesome choices. My first thought was go Mardi Gras but then I saw that you are booked on it for another time. So... I would do the 8 night on the Horizon. We love 8 nights, that itinerary, and the Miami sail away. Plus, that ship looks even better than the Vista. We are booked on the panorama summer 2020 and are really just booked for the ship, also not super excited about those ports.
    We have done dcl wonder the week before (arrived back on the 24th) and the week after Christmas (left the 26th). The one before Christmas was the key west/castaway itinerary. The one after was Nassau/ castaway. Dcl Christmas cruises are nice but not worth the premium IMO. It has also gone up a lot since we have done it. 2013/2014. We feel like Disney’s parks are much more impressive at Christmas time than the ships. We have also cruised with NCL right before Christmas (arriving back the 24th). That was actually a lot of fun. It was decorated just as much as the dcl ship and also had the gingerbread creation and other Christmas themed events and theming. What was really cool about that cruise was getting off at ports before Christmas—- awesome. We stopped at Cozumel and grand cayman which were both really festive. Also the Ncl private island which had some greenery but nothing like the real ports. The Key west stop with dcl right before Christmas was not as dressed up for for us, but we also ended up docking at a military base and got bused into town by dcl. We have been to key west 2 other times on other lines and docked at the regular port both times. Not sure if dcl docks at the base regularly. So we did not get the full Christmas port experience at key west.
    I imagine that CCL is pretty similar to NCL and Dcl at Christmas.
    But just to throw something crazy at you... what about Hawaii since you are close to the west coast? Dh and I were just saying the other day that we really want to do hawaii at Christmas (or just do Hawaii period! because we have never been). I know NCL has a ship that is based there and CCL does Hawaii too. I am not sure if CCl does Hawaii in December but I just read a trip report by someone who went on carnival to Hawaii and it looked fabulous. There were a lot of extra events and lectures on the cruise. But, sorry to stray from your question. The cruises you and your family are looking at are all great options!
     
    Last edited:
  • Club Disney Chandler

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 18, 2013
    Oh wow, all awesome choices. My first thought was go Mardi Gras but then I saw that you are booked on it for another time. So... I would do the 8 night on the Horizon. We love 8 nights, that itinerary, and the Miami sail away. Plus, that ship looks even better than the Vista. We are booked on the panorama summer 2020 and are really just booked for the ship, also not super excited about those ports.
    We have done dcl wonder the week before (arrived back on the 24th) and the week after Christmas (left the 26th). The one before Christmas was the key west/castaway itinerary. The one after was Nassau/ castaway. Dcl Christmas cruises are nice but not worth the premium IMO. It has also gone up a lot since we have done it. 2013/2014. We feel like Disney’s parks are much more impressive at Christmas time than the ships. We have also cruised with NCL right before Christmas (arriving back the 24th). That was actually a lot of fun. It was decorated just as much as the dcl ship and also had the gingerbread creation and other Christmas themed events and theming. What was really cool about that cruise was getting off at ports before Christmas—- awesome. We stopped at Cozumel and grand cayman which were both really festive. Also the Ncl private island which had some greenery but nothing like the real ports. The Key west stop with dcl right before Christmas was not as dressed up for for us, but we also ended up docking at a military base and got bused into town by dcl. We have been to key west 2 other times on other lines and docked at the regular port both times. Not sure if dcl docks at the base regularly. So we did not get the full Christmas port experience at key west.
    I imagine that CCL is pretty similar to NCL and Dcl at Christmas.
    But just to throw something crazy at you... what about Hawaii since you are close to the west coast? Dh and I were just saying the other day that we really want to do hawaii at Christmas (or just do Hawaii period! because we have never been). I know NCL has a ship that is based there and CCL does Hawaii too. I am not sure if CCl does Hawaii in December but I just read a trip report by someone who went on carnival to Hawaii and it looked fabulous. There were a lot of extra events and lectures on the cruise. But, sorry to stray from your question. The cruises you and your family are looking at are all great options!
    Thanks for the input. We went to Hawaii back in 2015 and it was beautiful but we really want a cruise for this trip.

    I’m leaning toward Horizon too, I love 8 night itineraries and agree there is nothing like cruising out of Miami.
     

    mevelandry

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2013
    I need your help!! I own a restaurant that is super busy at Christmas time so we’ve never been able to take any vacations during those couple weeks. It looks like I’ll be selling towards the end of this year so we should be able to take a cruise in December 2020. I’ve always wanted to do a DCL Christmas cruise and found a 6 night on the Wonder from 12/24 - 12/30, stops in Key West and Castaway Cay. I booked 2 inside cabins for our family of 4, at a cost of about $10,000. Plus $1500 for airfare I know, outrageous but it’s kind of a once in a lifetime thing.

    Then we started talking about how fun a New Years Eve cruise on Carnival would be and have 3 options. We’ve only been on Vista, 4 cruises, and live her. Here are our options, what would you do?

    Carnival Panorama, 7 night Mexican Riviera. 2 inside is about $5000, 2 Havana Cabanas would be about $8800. Long Beach is only a 6 hour drive so there is no air travel for this option. Biggest concern here is, not totally thrilled about the Mexico ports and don’t know how warm it will be compared to Caribbean.

    Carnival Horizon, 8 night southern Caribbean to Aruba, Bonaire and both Dominican Republic ports. 2 insides is about $6000, but will need to spend $2000 on air travel to get to Miami. We did a very similar itinerary on Vista and loved it but not totally excited about Aruba or the La Romana port of DR. Very excited about Bonaire and Amber Cove. Love that it’s 8 days.

    Carnival Mardi Gras, 7 night Western Caribbean, Cozumel, costa Maya and Honduras. 2 insides $4000, 2 inside Havana $6000. Have to add in $2000 for airfare. Just got back from a similar itinerary. Loved Honduras and am excited to go back, 4th time to Cozumel and can take it or leave, indifferent on Costa Maya. With this, the itinerary is mediocre at best but that will give us a ton of time to experience a totally new ship. Also with this, we’re planning on Mardi Gras for June 2021 but will do the other itinerary of San Juan, Cozumel and Amber Cove.

    What would you guys do?
    I'd do Mardi Gras. The ship looks amazing.

    There are tons of different exciting excursions to do in Cozumel, you sure absolutely none of them would interest you?

    I don't remember if you've been to Costa Maya... The aviary looks fun... So does the restaurant with luchadors (wrestling) LOL We're going in January and I'm a bit excited about it.
     

    hdrolfe

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2014
    I need your help!! I own a restaurant that is super busy at Christmas time so we’ve never been able to take any vacations during those couple weeks. It looks like I’ll be selling towards the end of this year so we should be able to take a cruise in December 2020. I’ve always wanted to do a DCL Christmas cruise and found a 6 night on the Wonder from 12/24 - 12/30, stops in Key West and Castaway Cay. I booked 2 inside cabins for our family of 4, at a cost of about $10,000. Plus $1500 for airfare I know, outrageous but it’s kind of a once in a lifetime thing.

    Then we started talking about how fun a New Years Eve cruise on Carnival would be and have 3 options. We’ve only been on Vista, 4 cruises, and live her. Here are our options, what would you do?

    Carnival Panorama, 7 night Mexican Riviera. 2 inside is about $5000, 2 Havana Cabanas would be about $8800. Long Beach is only a 6 hour drive so there is no air travel for this option. Biggest concern here is, not totally thrilled about the Mexico ports and don’t know how warm it will be compared to Caribbean.

    Carnival Horizon, 8 night southern Caribbean to Aruba, Bonaire and both Dominican Republic ports. 2 insides is about $6000, but will need to spend $2000 on air travel to get to Miami. We did a very similar itinerary on Vista and loved it but not totally excited about Aruba or the La Romana port of DR. Very excited about Bonaire and Amber Cove. Love that it’s 8 days.

    Carnival Mardi Gras, 7 night Western Caribbean, Cozumel, costa Maya and Honduras. 2 insides $4000, 2 inside Havana $6000. Have to add in $2000 for airfare. Just got back from a similar itinerary. Loved Honduras and am excited to go back, 4th time to Cozumel and can take it or leave, indifferent on Costa Maya. With this, the itinerary is mediocre at best but that will give us a ton of time to experience a totally new ship. Also with this, we’re planning on Mardi Gras for June 2021 but will do the other itinerary of San Juan, Cozumel and Amber Cove.

    What would you guys do?
    If it was me, I'd choose Mardi Gras. But since you already have her booked for later, I'd probably do Horizon. Bonaire doesn't come up that often on Carnival so the opportunity for a new (rare-ish) port would be nice. Plus it's 8 days.
     

    belle032

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 6, 2011
    Anyone seeing what’s going on with the NCL ship in Barcelona? Omg, how disappointing and I can’t even imagine the hassle it’s putting people through! But if that’s not an advertisement for trip insurance, I don’t know what is!
     

    we"reofftoneverland

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 5, 2015
    Anyone seeing what’s going on with the NCL ship in Barcelona? Omg, how disappointing and I can’t even imagine the hassle it’s putting people through! But if that’s not an advertisement for trip insurance, I don’t know what is!
    Have not seen— will look. But has anyone seen what is going on with vista?! Looks like it has lost all power. Apparently John heald is onboard as well as Matt. Wild. I hate to admit it but I wish I was on there. Seems kind of exciting!
     

    Club Disney Chandler

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 18, 2013
    We made a decision.................we’re going on Mardi Gras! We’re still going to book her for June 2021 as well. The ship is so big and so new we know we’ll need to spend lots of time on her to figure her all out. We just couldn’t let the thought of spending New Years Eve in that beautiful atrium with a party let by Matt Mitchum go by the wayside.
     

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