CARNIVAL VS DCL: The discussion and comparison thread!

mevelandry

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 22, 2013
Since it is our first time on Carnival, I wanted a newer ship. We also booked a Havana aft balcony...because of the past year.
It’s what I usually recommend to people who have sailed mostly on DCL. The new ships have more to offer and they are (obviously) in a much better shape than the rest of the fleet. I haven’t try a havana cabin yet but I know they are coming with nice perks (ex: the Havana pool being very rarely crowded).
 

brent02139

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 13, 2017
Sorry, wrong thread but, is there a RCCL/Royal Caribbean thread? I can't find one and didn't want to start a new one just for my conundrum. Also I've checked RCCL forum but they don't have a large RCCL vs DCL thread either. Thanks in advance.
 

belle032

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Sorry, wrong thread but, is there a RCCL/Royal Caribbean thread? I can't find one and didn't want to start a new one just for my conundrum. Also I've checked RCCL forum but they don't have a large RCCL vs DCL thread either. Thanks in advance.
I don't think there is one specifically in this forum as RCCL has it's own section. But this thread has often veered into DCL vs. all other cruise lines, so if we can be of any help, I'd say feel free to post!
 

mevelandry

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 22, 2013
Sorry, wrong thread but, is there a RCCL/Royal Caribbean thread? I can't find one and didn't want to start a new one just for my conundrum. Also I've checked RCCL forum but they don't have a large RCCL vs DCL thread either. Thanks in advance.
There are a few reviews that compared DCL and RCCL but nothing like this thread.

That being said, I will say like @belle032. You can always ask here because many of have also experienced RCCL (on top of DCL and Carnival) and may be able to answer most of your questions. :)
 

brent02139

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 13, 2017
Thank you! I've booked a DCL balcony for Alaska for summer 2022 for $12k.... But RCCL Quantum is $5k for something comparable. I did some basic research so I know what each cruise line brings to the experience. If money were no object, I would just stick with DCL, but $7k difference is quite a lot and hard to ignore. We could book the excursions that we want and still have enough left over for another RCCL cruise. So for the people who went and experienced both cruises, did the cruise line you choose matter all that much? Another possibility is to downgrade to DCL porthole room for $8k, that’s priced between what we have and RCCL. For background, we're a young family with 2 toddlers, cruising for the first time, living here in the US.

edit: RCCL is with Quantum of the Sea
 
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  • AquaDame

    DCL
    Moderator
    Joined
    Jul 7, 2010
    Thank you! I've booked a DCL balcony for Alaska for summer 2022 for $12k.... But RCCL is $5k for something comparable. I did some basic research so I know what each cruise line brings to the experience. If money were no object, I would just stick with DCL, but $7k difference is quite a lot and hard to ignore. We could book the excursions that we want and still have enough left over for another RCCL cruise. So for the people who went and experienced both cruises, did the cruise line you choose matter all that much? Another possibility is to downgrade to DCL porthole room for $8k, that’s priced between what we have and RCCL. For background, we're a young family with 2 toddlers, cruising for the first time, living here in the US.
    We do not have children, so I can't comment on that, but we did sail both RCCL and DCL to Alaska. To be honest we enjoy the onboard experience on DCL more than we have on the older RCCL ships (I'm not sure which one you are looking at, but we were on Jewel of the Seas). Certainly NOT 7K more though - on shore it doesn't matter which ship you're on and an Alaskan cruise is very much about Alaska. The overall experience and our glacier day was much better on RCCL - Hubbard was much more active and impressive than Endicott was (we did not make it into Tracy Arm on our DCL cruise). We also loved debarking in Anchorage and heading on to Denali - I wish DCL would offer one ways! I still want to do a third Alaska cruise to visit Glacier Bay and that will also have to be on a line other than DCL as they don't go there. I think I would try Princess next rather than sail with RCCL again unless it were a newer larger ship. We simply were bored in the evenings...the shows were OK but the later evening adult ones were a bit crass and disappointing, and I'm not a big drinker. Neither of us gamble... and I don't know much about 70s or 80s trivia... having "Disney" as the theme is a plus in my book as I like it. We spent a lot of time on the pool deck playing cribbage or reading in our room as there just wasnt a lot to do on the schedule for us on RCCL.
     

    mevelandry

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2013
    I haven't done Alaska nor do I have kids... but I've done DCL ships, Wonder and Dream ... (and RCCL ships --Mariner and Adventure-- that had less options than the Quantum) and ... Honestly, IMO DCL is not worth a 1000$ premium --especially the Wonder-- and absolutely not worth a 7000$ premium.

    I could pay off 1 more RCCL cruises (with all the plane tickets, extras and excursions) with that price difference.

    Nothing against DCL (even planning to try one of their new ships someday) but we really enjoy what other cruise lines have to offer for a much better price.
     

    belle032

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 6, 2011
    Thank you! I've booked a DCL balcony for Alaska for summer 2022 for $12k.... But RCCL Quantum is $5k for something comparable. I did some basic research so I know what each cruise line brings to the experience. If money were no object, I would just stick with DCL, but $7k difference is quite a lot and hard to ignore. We could book the excursions that we want and still have enough left over for another RCCL cruise. So for the people who went and experienced both cruises, did the cruise line you choose matter all that much? Another possibility is to downgrade to DCL porthole room for $8k, that’s priced between what we have and RCCL. For background, we're a young family with 2 toddlers, cruising for the first time, living here in the US.

    edit: RCCL is with Quantum of the Sea
    I can't compare Alaska unfortunately (our September sailing on the NCL Encore was cancelled :(), but I can compare a similar type sailing - the British Isles on the DCL Magic in 2019. $12K for Alaska is insane to me. We had a lovely oceanview room for the BI and it was maybe $6K? I'd have to look it up, but I know for a FACT it was less than $8K. I know it was just for 2 adults and costs rise every year, but that just seems like so much money.

    The BI, similar to what I've always heard about Alaska, is that it's so much more about the actual ports and scenery and what's going on outside of the ship. The ship itself is more of a mode of transportation, unlike the Caribbean where it plays a huge part into what sailing we choose (at least for us!).

    Carnival is generally our go-to for the Caribbean, but we chose Norwegian for Alaska mainly because of the itinerary. DCL doesn't visit Glacier Bay, which was pretty much a deal breaker right there. It also doesn't offer anything "new & different" in terms of port stops. And I've always been told that you're going to splurge on a balcony, it should be for Alaska. So there's no way I would downgrade unless the cost savings were massive.

    I can also say that on our sea days on the Magic, it was the first time DH & I honestly got bored on a cruise ship. I assume you'd be on the Wonder, so it's an older and smaller ship as well. Because of the colder climate, activities were indoors (understandably) and seemed very limited to trivia and bingo. I think a newer & bigger ship would have offered more activities and alleviated some of that for sure. We don't have kids, so I can't speak to that, however, I hope someone else can!

    For that cost difference, I would book RCCL in a second. For all the reasons you stated. If you still want to try DCL, I'd book a Bahamas/Caribbean sailing with the money you're saving from sailing RCCL to Alaska!

    Don't get me wrong, we LOVE DISNEY. However, the cost vs. the value we get from DCL is not there for us. I know others will absolutely fight me on that, but in terms of itineraries, ships, activities, service, dining, and everything else, DCL just doesn't justify those kinds of price differences.

    I've always said you need to determine what vacations and cruise lines are best for your family, but we have learned to get our Disney fix at WDW.
     

    serene56

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 4, 2004
    It’s what I usually recommend to people who have sailed mostly on DCL. The new ships have more to offer and they are (obviously) in a much better shape than the rest of the fleet. I haven’t try a havana cabin yet but I know they are coming with nice perks (ex: the Havana pool being very rarely crowded).
    I tried those "newer" "bigger" ships. so not for us. taking away free spaces to make way for paid stuff. Spa was incredible looking. but on other cruises I felt we were all treated the same no matter where your cabin was. or what category. Now I worry because I have not sailed on DCL and if its comparrison to the newer ships on carnival I will be greatly disappointed
     
  • brewcrew

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 25, 2009
    We went on the Disney Wonder to Alaska in 2015 and LOVED every moment of it. We had two cabins for our family of 6 and it was pricey!!! We loved Alaska so much that we are going back in June 2022 (fingers crossed) but we are going on Princess (and just myself and my husband this time). I have heard that Princess and Holland America just do Alaska the best. With young children, I would definitly lean towards Disney or Royal..maybe even Princess (I’ve heard they have good children’s clubs). If you’re children are under the childcare centers ages, Disney would win hands down for me. They know how to entertain families!
     

    mevelandry

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2013
    I tried those "newer" "bigger" ships. so not for us. taking away free spaces to make way for paid stuff. Spa was incredible looking. but on other cruises I felt we were all treated the same no matter where your cabin was. or what category. Now I worry because I have not sailed on DCL and if its comparrison to the newer ships on carnival I will be greatly disappointed
    Paid stuff: Do you have any examples?

    Disappointment: What are you looking for?
     

    Club Disney Chandler

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 18, 2013
    Since it is our first time on Carnival, I wanted a newer ship. We also booked a Havana aft balcony...because of the past year.
    We strayed from DCL when Carnival Vista (Panorama’s slightly older sister), was brand new, we were on her 3rd sailing. We really fell in love with Carnival and the Vista class ships. As long as you go into your cruise knowing it won’t be the same level of service as DCL, you’ll be fine. They really are different experiences, SCL is definitely a pampered more luxury experience, and Carnival is a ton of fun! We love both lines but for different reasons! We’ve been on Vista 4 times and know her pretty well, feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
     

    Club Disney Chandler

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 18, 2013
    We are one of the people who just had our Carnival Mardi Gras June cruise canceled. I’m definitely bummed but figured it would happen so booked a B2B on her for June 2022. We also had a WDW vacation booked for the same week as Mardi Gras for this year as a back up. We are now canceling it because I just booked Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas for June 26, 2021. They are sailing out of Nassau, so we are spending a day at Atlantis before the cruise. We will have 2 days at Perfect Day at CoCoCay, 2 sea days and a stop in Cozumel and Grand Bahama Island. We are required to be vaccinated and still don’t know what the mask policy will be.

    We are beyond excited to be on a ship this year. They are sailing out of Nassau so they don’t have to follow the CDC rules and no sail order. This will be our first time on Royal and are very excited. It’s a really good rate too, $4800 for 4 people in 2 connecting balcony cabins. Mevelandry, what did you think of Adventure of the Seas?
     

    belle032

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 6, 2011
    We are one of the people who just had our Carnival Mardi Gras June cruise canceled. I’m definitely bummed but figured it would happen so booked a B2B on her for June 2022. We also had a WDW vacation booked for the same week as Mardi Gras for this year as a back up. We are now canceling it because I just booked Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas for June 26, 2021. They are sailing out of Nassau, so we are spending a day at Atlantis before the cruise. We will have 2 days at Perfect Day at CoCoCay, 2 sea days and a stop in Cozumel and Grand Bahama Island. We are required to be vaccinated and still don’t know what the mask policy will be.

    We are beyond excited to be on a ship this year. They are sailing out of Nassau so they don’t have to follow the CDC rules and no sail order. This will be our first time on Royal and are very excited. It’s a really good rate too, $4800 for 4 people in 2 connecting balcony cabins. Mevelandry, what did you think of Adventure of the Seas?
    That is so exciting! I can’t wait to hear your review about the “new” way of cruising.

    I’m looking more and more into the possibility of cruising this fall/winter. We have a credit now with NCL so the idea of being able to cruise this year is pretty appealing!
     

    brent02139

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 13, 2017
    Hi, so we stayed with Disney, but downgrading it to a porthole cabin. So it's halfway between a RCCL balcony and Disney balcony. Plus my wife was starting to get anxious about kids climbing and falling off of the balcony (more about the stress-free experience vs worrying about actually falling out of balcony)

    Still, quite a price difference, but we wanted to come away with a great family experience, and I think that Disney would be the best opportunity for that. Other than the morning excursions which we will no doubt be psyched about, but also want to be mindful of not doing too much, and be back on board the ship before the kids have a meltdown. We will take advantage of all the Disney activities it has to offer while it seems like RCCL is geared towards older kids.

    Thank you all for your help!
     

    mevelandry

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2013
    We are one of the people who just had our Carnival Mardi Gras June cruise canceled. I’m definitely bummed but figured it would happen so booked a B2B on her for June 2022. We also had a WDW vacation booked for the same week as Mardi Gras for this year as a back up. We are now canceling it because I just booked Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas for June 26, 2021. They are sailing out of Nassau, so we are spending a day at Atlantis before the cruise. We will have 2 days at Perfect Day at CoCoCay, 2 sea days and a stop in Cozumel and Grand Bahama Island. We are required to be vaccinated and still don’t know what the mask policy will be.

    We are beyond excited to be on a ship this year. They are sailing out of Nassau so they don’t have to follow the CDC rules and no sail order. This will be our first time on Royal and are very excited. It’s a really good rate too, $4800 for 4 people in 2 connecting balcony cabins. Mevelandry, what did you think of Adventure of the Seas?
    Loved it! I love the look of the ship overall. I am not that much into casinos, but the Adventure‘s casino decor is my favorite to this day (the dancers statue and the decor at the entrance did it for me)...

    There was so much to do! My family and I love going to Schooner’s (a nice bar with a classic look) to play Trivia. I loved the variety of the shows and IMO the skating show is not to be missed —we encounter rough seas that night, which made it even more impressive— but honestly, there wasn’t any bad shows ( quite the contrary) and all the singers were great. The comedy shows tend to be a little more family friendly than Carnival.

    In order to avoid crowds on the first day, we treated ourselves to a lunch at the Steakhouse and it was fantastic. I haven’t tried the italian this time but I heard it was great as well.

    Windjammer (buffet) is great and there is always a 2$ special on Mimosas in the morning... At night you can buy an affordable glass of wine sit near the aft view window, the lights are tamed and it almost feels like you’re eating at a nice restaurants. But most of the time, we ate in the dining room —main dining— which is absolutely spectacular and our food was always good.

    We tend to stick to the adult pool because we love it over there but the main pools on the ship are nice and the hot tubs are the biggest I’ve ever seen on cruise ships.

    The only thing I liked a little bit less was that we were put in a deck 2 cabin... We had a few storms during the night and the waves were crashing on the hull (making a lot of noise) but the view was amazing. The soundproofing wasn’t great between us and the other connecting cabin and we had an unpleasant loud neighbour... but since you are family, I’m sure you won’t have any problems.

    To me, RCCL is the perfect mix between DCL and Carnival (Best of both worlds) and absolutely love the cruise line.

    And don’t even get me started on CocoCay, best private island ever (Yes, better than Castaway Cay) I am absolutely jealous of your two stops.

    Is your Grand Bahama stop at the new RCCL place they were planning to build? I can’t wait to see what they will do with that stop.
     

    hdrolfe

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2014
    We are one of the people who just had our Carnival Mardi Gras June cruise canceled. I’m definitely bummed but figured it would happen so booked a B2B on her for June 2022. We also had a WDW vacation booked for the same week as Mardi Gras for this year as a back up. We are now canceling it because I just booked Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas for June 26, 2021. They are sailing out of Nassau, so we are spending a day at Atlantis before the cruise. We will have 2 days at Perfect Day at CoCoCay, 2 sea days and a stop in Cozumel and Grand Bahama Island. We are required to be vaccinated and still don’t know what the mask policy will be.

    We are beyond excited to be on a ship this year. They are sailing out of Nassau so they don’t have to follow the CDC rules and no sail order. This will be our first time on Royal and are very excited. It’s a really good rate too, $4800 for 4 people in 2 connecting balcony cabins. Mevelandry, what did you think of Adventure of the Seas?
    Well I'm jealous! That trip out of Nassau looks amazing. Or maybe I'm just really wanting to cruise? Naw, 2 days at Coco Cay, plus some other stops? If I could get out of Canada (without a 2 week quarantine when I get back) I'd be on it! I am sure you will have an amazing time. All adults? Adventure does look like it has quite a bit for adults and kids to do. Full report when you get back please :)

    I'm sad you had Mardi Gras cancelled on you, I'm on it in December and it keeps changing and looking like we may be the first cruise on it lol... if we can even go :)
     

    belle032

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 6, 2011
    Hi, so we stayed with Disney, but downgrading it to a porthole cabin. So it's halfway between a RCCL balcony and Disney balcony. Plus my wife was starting to get anxious about kids climbing and falling off of the balcony (more about the stress-free experience vs worrying about actually falling out of balcony)

    Still, quite a price difference, but we wanted to come away with a great family experience, and I think that Disney would be the best opportunity for that. Other than the morning excursions which we will no doubt be psyched about, but also want to be mindful of not doing too much, and be back on board the ship before the kids have a meltdown. We will take advantage of all the Disney activities it has to offer while it seems like RCCL is geared towards older kids.

    Thank you all for your help!
    I think that's great reasoning that works perfect for your family. Your littles are the perfect age for Disney! I know you'll have a wonderful time!
     





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