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

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    I just updated my "pool" section on page 1 to add the change regarding the 7 ships where aft adult only pools that are now "kid-friendly":
    • Carnival Conquest
    • Carnival Glory
    • Carnival Valor
    • Carnival Liberty
    • Carnival Freedom
    • Carnival Splendor
    • Carnival Victory (my review)
     
  2. cruiser21

    cruiser21 Registered

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    I was just reading an article on MSN that said Royal was the cruise line of choice for millennials. Hal and Princess were second and third. I don't get Hal I think of them as a cruise for older people. Disney I guess ranked behind and I'm not sure where Carnival fits in. The article stated that their parents cruised on these lines that's where the loyalty comes from. Not sure the accuracy of this. I believe about 5% of anything I read in the media these days.
    Disney is what got us started on cruising because we had little kids. I could see my kids being loyal to Disney if they can afford it. The way prices are going they are going to need some REALLY good jobs if they want to take their kids on DCL cruises. I don't see my dh and I cruising DCL once the kids are gone unless prices stabilize. I can't see myself taking grandkids if prices keep going up at the rate they are.
    I talked to few people at the Beach club last week that were loyal to Royal. I spent about 45 minutes in the hot tub at BC every night. I talk to everyone. I didn't meet anyone that had been on a DCL cruise. I think when you spend a lot of time of these boards you think DCL is really popular, but I haven't met anyone in my personel or professional life that has cruised on DCL.
     
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  4. cmph

    cmph DIS Veteran

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    HAL was 2nd?? That's so so odd. I'm not a millennial; I'm in my late 30s and my parents are in their 60s. They have no interest in going on HAL again. My grandparents took the entire family on HAL when I was in my 20s. I'm the oldest of my generation and was out of school, but the dates were chosen to align with winter break for my cousins who were still in school - so this was solidly during Christmas break time when the number of young people on board would be higher. We felt like the youngest on the ship, by vast amounts, and frankly I don't remember any sort of teen club at all for my cousins. I don't recall any one of us hanging out with any people our age that we met onboard. At least I was over 21 and could drink in the bars, but it was pretty boring. I remember my cousins mostly played cards with their parents and grandparents, which frankly they could have done at home. None of our parents liked it nearly as much as the Royal we had all taken a couple of years prior (same family group). I'm not disparaging the HAL of today, as this was 15 years ago and things change... but I don't get how anyone would have loyalty based on that point in time, via their parents!! Grandparents, maybe, although i don't think even my grandparents liked HAL all that much; that particular cruise was chosen solely b/c it was southern Caribbean during the Christmas school break.

    I could see this with Princess, though. My dad considers the Princess cruise we took to Alaska to be the "gold standard" for food, etc. I'm frankly afraid to suggest we try Princess now b/c it can't possibly live up to the memory.
     
  5. cruiser21

    cruiser21 Registered

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    Like I said I take everything I read in the media especially MSN with a grain of salt. Royal always seem to be the most popular cruiseline overall. I can believe that, It's been years since Ive cruised on Royal, but it seems to be the cruiseline with the broadest appeal. I'm in my 40s cruising was for old people when I was a kid. My first cruise was on Royal during spring break. I was 21, It was a party cruise. I put Royal on my signature line , butI can't say I'm qualified to give an opinion on it. A little too much :drinking1on that cruise for me.
     
  6. Dug720

    Dug720 DIS Veteran

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    I've definitely seen the brand-loyalty-because-parents-cruised-it thing for RCCL (I don't go to HAL boards as I'll never sail them again and I'm too new to the Princess boards to really have formed a solid impression) on cruise critic for the primary reason that they enter adulthood already being at or close to top tier in the loyalty program because of the cruises they have taken as infants all the way up.

    I have enjoyed my two cruises on RCCL's Radiance Class, and I'm excited to try Princess next April (and assuming I like it the following April). I definitely like the fact that they give solo cruisers double credit (double points for RCCL and it counts as 2 cruises on Princess) in their programs since we are generally paying double anyway. It would be nice if Disney would acknowledge solos in some way.
     
  7. PrincessTrisha

    PrincessTrisha DIS Veteran

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    We leave on the Carnival Sunshine on Monday (travelling down to South Carolina tomorrow). I'll be sure to post a report (and some pictures!) when I return.
     
  8. RedSox68

    RedSox68 Just working to pay for cruising

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    I am very interested in this as we are sailing on her in September and would love to hear your review. Is this your first Carnival cruise?
     
  9. RedSox68

    RedSox68 Just working to pay for cruising

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    I would gladly cruise on DCL even without children, but not at the current prices anymore! I am now a senior myself (although that still shocks me LOL), but on HAL we did see more seniors than on Princess, but also saw some families but mostly with teenage kids or older. Princess has become our number one favorite line right now and hope to do another one. Disney will always be our "home", as that was our first cruise ever, so hope someday I can do at least one more.
     
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  10. Club Disney Chandler

    Club Disney Chandler DIS Veteran

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    I think that is fantastic that you get double loyalty points, it really is the right thing to do.
     
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  11. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    I know two but one is rich and the other is a travel agent.
     
  12. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    Yes please. I will put the link on the first page.

    The ship sounds fantastic.
     
  13. PrincessTrisha

    PrincessTrisha DIS Veteran

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    I've sailed the Carnival Dream 3 times, the Miracle once, and the Pride 5 times. I love Carnival. This is the first time on the Sunshine for us.

    That's why we're sailing it - for the ship. We're going to Nassau and Freeport - neither of which I find exciting - but I can't wait to try out the ship!
     
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  14. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    The Serenity section on the Sunshine is the best I've seen so far, with a pool instead of a hot tub.

    I was supposed to sail on it last year and had to cancelled (and did the Victory instead.)
     
  15. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    I have a crush on the Grand Turk - Aruba - Curaçao itinerary... It's too late to change our plans for October and switch to the 8 nights but boy do I comtemplate a carnival cruise with that itinerary for 2018 or 2019.
     
  16. Club Disney Chandler

    Club Disney Chandler DIS Veteran

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    I'll let you know how it is in a couple weeks! We board the Vista Saturday on that itinerary.
     
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  17. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    Thank you!
     
  18. hdrolfe

    hdrolfe DIS Veteran

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    I am hoping to book Carnival Sunshine for December 9th. I was booked on MSC Divina but for about the same amount of money we get an extra day, and add St Kitts, plus get Grand Turk over Nassau (again). I have MSC Seaside booked for March. That will be our first experience there. I'm looking forward to reading the review of Sunshine :) Our first cruise was supposed to be on Disney Magic but I had to downsize the cost and we ended up on Carnival Liberty. We got bit by the cruising bug and have yet to actually get on a Disney ship. Maybe someday!
     
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  19. PrincessTrisha

    PrincessTrisha DIS Veteran

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    So we're back.

    Here are some absolute highlights of our 5 nights on the Carnival Sunshine:

    Boarding Day - BBQ at the Taste Bar for lunch. To take some pressure off of the lido Marketplace, they opened up the taste bar with a compliment of BBQ food (pulled pork, beef brisket, bbq chicken along with sides of potato salad, coleslaw, mac n cheese, buns, and probably a couple of things I'm forgetting - oh, plus 3 different sauces to add to your meats). This is the same stuff as Fieri's Pig and Anchor and so good. They also had a cart with tea, lemonade and ice water (along with coffee and hot tea). Made for a relaxing first meal and we didn't have to rush with the crowd up to the Lido deck.

    JiJi's Asian Restaurant - by far and away the best specialty restaurant we've ever dined at on a cruise ship. It's only $15 per person and honestly - the flavour explosions were phenomenal. The portions are for sharing and don't look very big but trust me, you'll leave stuffed. This isn't your typical Chinese food restaurant; it's an Asian experience.

    Daytime Activities - In addition to the number of trivia contests throughout the day, Carnival has really strengthened the ties to Hasbro. They had team trivial pursuit (including giant pie pieces) on both sea days, plus Giant Jenga (called Carnival Tower), Cranium, connect 4 tournaments, Win Lose or Draw, Reverse Charades (HeadBandz), and maybe 1 other that just escapes my memory. They also had family magic shows as well as a show which demonstrated a couple of magic tricks (taught you how to do them).

    Cabins - these cabins were redone in the last big drydock and they are really nice. Lots of light wood, blues and greens, comfortable beds (that split apart), a very cold fridge (no cooling box - it kept our soda ice cold). We had one of the new cabins that were added to deck 5 and it was very convenient to everything. We were close to the aft elevator which quickly led us up to the lido deck (pool and buffet area), we were steps from the Ocean plaza where they had many of their daytime activities and live music at night, the alchemy bar, taste bar, and the coffee shop were just a few steps past that and then then casino (which yes, we do like to play the slots).

    Choice of evening activities - From comedy shows, to Hasbro the game show, to playlist productions, to the love and marriage game, to the casino, to live music in 3-4 places around the ship, the Sunshine has it all.

    Service - our cabin stewards (main one and his assistant) were excellent. Even though we filled out the form for evening service and not both, they were regularly in the room through the day to just "tidy up" (empty the garbage, replace towels, clean the bathroom). It was only the beds that got made once a day. They also helped with a few issues we had (not due to the ship but our issues). Our dining room servers were excellent - fast paced and efficient. One night my dad's steak was over done and he was going to just eat it but our server wouldn't allow it. She literally snapped her fingers at the assistant waiter and said, "Get him a new steak - make sure it's medium rare!" and not 5 minutes later, it arrived hot and perfect at the table.

    Platinum Perks - this is my second cruise as Platinum and the first time I really took advantage of any perks. We had priority boarding, priority debarkation, separate line at guest services, 2 bags of free laundry for a 5 night cruise, chocolate covered strawberries to the cabin, a free drink at brunch, a backpack, a special party on the last night and a free 1.5 litre bottle of water.

    Now there were a few downsides (as with any trip):

    We sailed out of Charleston and I won't do that again. It's 3 steep ramps up to the ship, and you have to take a bus from the parking lot to get to the ship. Debarking was easy but expensive. We tipped the wheelchair pusher from the ship to the end of the 3 ramps ($5), the port wheelchair pusher who went from the end of the ramps, down through the luggage place and through port and security and out to the buses ($5), tipped the first porter who picked up our luggage at the inside terminal and took it the bus ($5), tipped the bus driver who operated the wheelchair lift and drove the bus (he was really good $5), and then another porter when we got off the bus to take the luggage from the bus drop off to the car ($5). I don't mind tipping and always get a porter, this just seemed excessive. This is a port issue though, not a Carnival one.

    The toilet in the accessible cabin was on an angle. On day 1, due to this my mother missed her wheelchair and ended up on the floor. She had a stroke previously and can't use her right arm or leg so she can't stand up on her own. We had to call medical and the nurse came, confirmed she was okay and then they brought in a bunch of guys to help get her back into her wheelchair. Thankfully they had a commode chair available otherwise I don't think we would have been able to stay on the ship. We didn't find a single good accessible toilet on the ship (they were either too low, awkwardly placed, too much stuff in the bathroom or the grab bars weren't in the right place). For this reason, we won't be sailing this particular ship again. This doesn't impact most people but accessibility is our number 1 concern for any vacation.

    Service in the Casino - again, may not impact most people but the bar servers didn't seem to want to serve whatever drink I asked for - they kept trying to get me to order something different. o_O Frankly, it was just odd. I did get enough points for a "Drinks on Us" card and for cookies to be sent to the cabin.


    Anyways, in case you can't tell, I really enjoy sailing on Carnival. I think they have great food (MDR, MDR breakfast and brunch, Guys Burger, Pasta Bar, Mongolian Wok, Cuban bites, Taste bar for the taste bar and they had breakfast there everyday), a nice variety of daytime activities (especially for those who are sun adverse such as myself), comfortable cabins with lots of storage space and just a comfortable, fun environment. The majority of cruisers seemed very relaxed and I didn't notice any "bad behaviour"; what I did notice was a ton of families, couples, singles, large groups, small groups and just the regular walk of life.
     
  20. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the awesome review. I liked it so much that I added it to the list of reviews on the first page with a link to your post. Feel free to add a few pictures (if you want) on the post or in following posts regarding the ship. :)

    Did you complain to guest services during the cruise or after the cruise regarding the problems with accessibility? I think it's a pretty important issue.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2017
  21. KayKayJS

    KayKayJS Mouseketeer

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    This is true for us too. I know on our first cruise (and maybe our second) on DCL, our server figured out our drink orders by day 2, and I LOVED that. On our cruise last month on the Wonder, we were already done with bread service by the time we got our soda. I did not like that. Little things like that (and the fact that the cruise we're looking at is $1600 on the Oasis vs $3500 on the Fantasy) are what made us book RCCL for the first time for 2018.
     
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