Other/Cheaper Cruises...?

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by miss0033, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. KashasMom

    KashasMom DIS Veteran

    Apr 28, 2012
    The only thing we get for free on DCL that we don't on other lines is soda...and we really don't drink soda! I think it all depends on what you do and what services you use but for us what we spend on board a Disney cruise is just about the same as what we spend on Royal Caribbean cruise (actually more on Disney because we get the photo package).
    bbel, smmco, smiths02 and 2 others like this.
  2. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2013
    Playing devil's advocate here but vlogs are usually "critics" and cherry-picked informations. Not saying that it's not nice to have a brand new ship but I worry sometimes about the disservice that overplanning/overthinking do to us. Just to use one of your examples: what type of impact does "paint flaking of the railings" really have on your vacation, especially when you did not break the bank to be there?

    I mean... some people complained when I posted pictures of the damages on the Disney Wonder pool right after a refurbishment. I guess I was expecting to get a ship in better shape as I was paying almost 3 times the amount I would have paid on Carnival (700$ USD per person vs 350$ USD per person) for a similar itinerary so I paid more attention to that kind of details. (Higher expectations... also, the Dream was in much better shape for a similar price).

    Maybe we are just putting too much emphasis on unimportant details and we should focus more on the quality time we are having?
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  4. trvlgirlmq

    trvlgirlmq DIS Veteran

    Oct 13, 2006
    I have literally never paid for food on Carnival. Sorry, that is a lie, I bought chocolate covered strawberries for the room once. We might purchase a soda or alcoholic beverage once in a while. The included water and juice is fine for us. The Carnival ships do have up charge restaurants but there are so many included choices that my family has never felt the need to pay for anything. On our last cruise I put $200 on to our family account. We went home with about $30. Spent money on tshirts, a couple drinks and the kids got to splurge on shakes. We paid less than $4000 for an 8 night cruise in a balcony in June. Tell me how I can get away with that price for Disney? Literally no on can.

    It's all well and good to say DCL is so much better but that really makes the people who sail sound elitist when they think that spending $10,000 plus all the extras is something people can do.
    bbel, smmco, ZerasPride and 5 others like this.
  5. lilsonicfan

    lilsonicfan <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b

    Jan 20, 2003
    I also don't fully understand the "add up all the extras and DCL is worth it" mentality. It's true - pop is included on DCL. Room service has no upcharge. But what else is included that isn't on other lines? Food - EVERY cruise line offers MDR food and some sort of fast food included in the price. The difference you hear is that other lines often have multiple specialty restaurants where DCL has Palo and Remy, or just Palo. Drinks - DCL doesn't offer drink packages, other lines often do, and many throw these in for a nominal cost. Some of the activities do cost some money, e.g. a zip line or go-kart, neither of which DCL has, but DCL does charge for the Goofy sports/golf simulator. Snacks - I also find this very similar. On other lines, the food at the atrium cafe is included, like on Disney, but the coffee is not, again like on Disney. Quite honestly, the idea that other cruise lines "nickel and dime" passengers is a bit off.

    We have sailed NCL, Carnival, and Princess in addition to DCL and my biggest onboard spending was definitely DCL. Bingo, souvenirs, some specialty coffees, and about 2-3 alcoholic drinks for the week, it all adds up - and that is stuff that would cost money on any cruise line.

    We can agree to disagree. Some of us find tremendous value in being on DCL and having that 'warm fuzzy feeling' as @Mitura described. Personally, while I like DCL a lot, on many occasions I cannot justify the significant upcharge. I have never once cruised and thought "wow, I'm so disappointed in this cruise". To me, any day on a cruise is better than a day at work!
    bbel, NancyIL, ashley0139 and 7 others like this.
  6. Sanchez

    Sanchez DIS Veteran

    Aug 26, 2003
    It is interesting to me the lengths people go to in order to obtain validation for their decisions. I have no vested interest in what cruises people choose, how much they pay, whether they believe in pixie dust or magic, or what is important to them when selecting a cruise line. Decide what is important to you, make a decision, and own it. There is no need to rationalize.

    However, I do think it is important (since this is an information based site) to dispel myths that are continuously repeated by those who have not sailed on comparable ships or by those who have never sailed on anything but DCL. The myths usually are:

    The cruise fares aren't that much different
    Other lines have "raunchy" entertainment choices and drunk smokers are everywhere
    Other ships are like shopping malls
    Other cruise lines "nickel and dime" you
    DCL has better service
    DCL is a luxury cruise line
    DCL has a higher quality of passengers

    There are many options out there from weekend booze cruises to luxury lines. DCL is a mass market cruise line with a unique product. If you like that product (characters and Disney theming) then DCL may be for you - assuming you agree to pay the significant price difference.

    I regularly find DCL to be 50-100% more than similar ships with similar itineraries. There are more sedate cruises (Regal/Royal Princess) and those geared towards family activities (RCCL Oasis class.) The only thing that DCL includes in the price that others don't is soda from a select few dispensers on the ship. DCL, in contrast, is the leader in separating you from your money. From water packages, popcorn, photos, child boutique experiences, tours, tastings, light-up toys, and pirate costumes to time shares, DCL heavily markets their various extras.

    I find that service is dependent on the individual but that Princess is more to my taste - understated. If you define good service as entertaining the children with jokes and magic tricks you probably would not agree that understated is better.

    Perhaps I am missing something, but in addition to DCL I have sailed on RCCL and Princess and have yet to see "raunchy" entertainment or hordes of drunk people. In fact, I would say that on Princess the the passengers seem to be more of a professional crowd. I also find the food to be significantly better and the buffet to be overwhelmingly better than DCL. The up-charge restaurants are also better on Princess. Perhaps because I have only sailed on relatively newer ships, I have never been forced to walk through a casino to get anywhere. The only time I enter a casino is if I want to be there and that is a choice that DCL does not offer.

    I guess the point is that the Toyota/Cadillac comparison is ridiculous if you bother to actually research and make reasonable comparisons. I know this: I was smugly satisfied Christmas week 2016 on Regal Princess when we pulled into St. Thomas on the Regal Princess and docked near the DCL Fantasy. We were three days into an 11 day southern Caribbean itinerary and they were four days into a ho-hum seven day eastern itinerary. I was getting better food and great service on an equivalent ship. Our cost for four adults (1 balcony room and 1 interior for our adult aged children) was less than $5,000. The DCL price for equivalent rooms? Around $10,000. Alas, I had to go without the magic tricks and soda.
    bbel, amiskell28, suedon70 and 17 others like this.
  7. runskyhy

    runskyhy It's not less monkey, it's Moe Monkey!

    Jan 26, 2009
    We've sailed Disney most often and Princess and RCCL Oasis when it suits us. We've also seen unruly behavior on all these cruise lines. Princess has wonderful itineraries at excellent prices. The ships feel a bit 'beige' to us, but we spend most of our time in ports for those. RCCL Oasis-class has a wide variety of activities available on the ship and, surprisingly, it just never feels crowded. Disney is our home-away-from-home though. We aren't DVC, but it feels like coming home. (And full disclosure, I took my first cruise on Carnival 25 years ago with some college friends during spring break and refused to cruise for more than 10 years afterwards. Both the crew and the passenger personalities left such a bad memory, I wouldn't take a chance on them again... Well, unless they paid for me to cruise a 7-nt Disney cruise in the Roy Suite the following week. Every cruiser has a price, right???) :rotfl2::rotfl2:
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
    ray3127 likes this.
  8. miller4x4

    miller4x4 Earning My Ears

    Oct 3, 2014
    I always find these posts fun to read. Especially the people who will come to a Disney cruise line specific forum and claim that they have left DCL with no intention of ever returning. (then why are you on these forums? I know that may sound offensive but it is an honest question not a barb)

    From what I have read over the years, it is like anything else, a personal decision which should be made by comparing the specific cruises against your personal list of criteria.

    Some people will choose busch gardens or seaworld over disney world every day of the week because of cheaper ticket prices. Others will compare restaurants, quality of food, attractions, park hours, parking, number and size of bathrooms, whether they offer plastic or paper straws, etc. and proudly proclaim that their choice is "better." And, for them, it probably is. But, bashing seaworld because they don't have enough rides for a family that is looking for roller coasters makes as much sense as bashing busch gardens because they don'e have enough sharks. Everything comes down to want you are looking for and it should be a total package evaluation not just picking a couple variables that "match up" and claiming it makes the comparison apples to apples.

    If you like a particular cruise line and do not want to try a different one, that is entirely up to you. If you have had a particularly bad, or good, experience on a trip and want to share, then I would say that is what these boards are for. (the sharing of knowledge)

    In the meantime, I'll sit back and watch while people get vicious defending there chosen territory and attacking the ones they dislike.
  9. ray3127

    ray3127 Mouseketeer

    Aug 2, 2018
    I'm all for this.

    The trouble is that for many of us, a cruise is a major event that occurs once a year if we're lucky. It's not like trying a new restaurant on Friday night. It's a major investment in time and money, and we might not get back to do another cruise for a year, or two, or longer. The opportunity cost is enormous. So unless the financial savings are substantial (which I realize they can be, depending on the time of year, ship, etc.), then I'm not going to tell somebody they really should try 'cruise line X, Y, or Z', because hey, you might like it.

    OP has had my experience, in that the cost difference in the ships/times of year we can travel is minimal. If the cost difference for others at other times/itineraries is significant enough, then by all means, it is likely worth trying other lines.

    But I'm not going to fault people for sticking with what they know and love, or urge them to try something different, "just because". At least not with the significant financial/time investment required for a cruise. Unless you can easily drive to the port, have a lot of vacation time to burn, and/or a whole lot of disposable income, then the opportunity cost is too great to simply say "it's worth a shot". If you can do those things, then I think the case for "try something different just to see" carries a whole lot more weight.

    I do not begrudge those that have decided other lines offer more value for their vacation dollar. That's really excellent; different strokes for different folks, and I'm glad you've found what works for you. I haven't gotten there yet; maybe one day I will, or maybe one day I'll try another line or two and come back to DCL and never leave. Who knows. At this stage of my life, when I can do one cruise every 1-2 years, maximum, I'm not too interested in taking a chance to save the 20ish% difference that I've found at the times I can sail (which is only during my school breaks, for Caribbean cruises, for my family of 4). The opportunity cost is just too great.

    As the kids grow up (and Alaska comes into play down the road) I'm certain we will try others. But right now it's not worth it. Not yet.

    Given the OP's experience, I don't think they should feel pressured into trying anything different, or be made to feel like they're missing out on anything, either. That's kind of what their initial post sounded like to me... they felt like they were missing something somewhere, based on what they've read. Like there were really inexpensive great cruises that they just couldn't find. I was telling them that they hadn't necessarily missed anything. If they love DCL and they're happy with the pricing, then the opportunity cost may be too great for them to try something else. If they find a truly great deal elsewhere and it's an itinerary they want to try, then I'd probably encourage them to go for it.
    NancyIL, mmmears, Keyser and 3 others like this.
  10. ray3127

    ray3127 Mouseketeer

    Aug 2, 2018
    I'm glad you've found what works for you. Most of what you are referring to is a difference of opinion, which I have no problem accepting. We disagree on a bunch of subjective factors; no problem.

    Like I said in a follow-up, different strokes for different folks, and the most important thing is that everybody feels like their vacation dollar is maximized. If you're getting the value you want, then you win.

    The 50-100% cost difference, I'm done arguing about. That can be true at times, but in general I haven't found those price differences in my research. It's statements like that which drive people like the OP to post their question to begin with. They have found it is simply not the case also. So I guess agree to disagree again.

    And on the Toyota/Cadillac thing, talk to Pete, the creator/owner of the DIS Boards. I was simply parroting what I heard from him on a recent podcast. You can go listen to it yourself if you want. I'm don't necessarily agree with the statement 100%, but his basic line of thought was 'you get what you pay for'. You obviously don't think DCL offers the value to support the price. No worries.

    I've done my research and made reasonable comparisons. Just because my conclusion is different than yours doesn't make me wrong. It just means we are both consumers in a capitalistic marketplace :)

  11. Mikamarii

    Mikamarii Mouseketeer

    Aug 30, 2018
    Value is extremely subjective. I can justify a 50$ steak dinner but can not justify a 5$ coffee. Heck we have a 2000$ Thomas Kincaid Disney painting that we love but get frustrated when multiple lights burn out in our kitchen .
    Reviews and people’s experience are great barometers to get an idea of something but at the end of it your opinion is what matters for your dollars.
    As humans we all seem to want to rationalize our decisions. The easiest way to do that is to put the other thing down. By degrading one we inflate the other.
    We’ve done 3 dcl and one celebrity. Liked them all. We will try others too. There are things we loved about celebrity, things we didn’t, same with Disney. We look forward to trying other cruise lines but not out of spite for others. Being outraged all the time seems exhausting!!
  12. darnheather

    darnheather DIS Veteran

    May 28, 2013
    Yes! I'm only able to vacation every 18 months. So the risk factor is very high in my mind if I try another line. That's three year's I'd have to wait for DCL.
    pixiedustedme and ray3127 like this.
  13. belle032

    belle032 DIS Veteran

    Apr 6, 2011
    I think @Sanchez put it very well. OP, it sounds like you are happy with DCL and wouldn't be happy with many other cruise lines because you are not their target audience, and that's totally OK. To answer your question about "cheaper" cruises and how other cruises aren't that much different in terms of price, just realize that there is lack of price difference for you. When people make that statement in terms of trying to justify their DCL cruises, I feel that is truly doing a disservice to others because not everyone is in the same situation. And many times, it's simply not true.

    DH & I are booked on the 7-Nt. British Isles voyage on the Magic this year. I am justifying this cost because it is a bucket list trip, Disney had the dates and length of trip that we could make work, and not many (if any) other lines sail that itinerary. So I'm OK with it knowing what it costs. But for our more frequent cruises to the Caribbean, I simply can't justify the cost. At all. And I will say we LOVE Disney (previous cast members, met at WDW, engaged at WDW, etc.) For how many other cruise lines and ships sail the Caribbean on near identical itineraries, you cannot convince me that, on average, DCL is cheaper or on the same price level as other lines while still offering a very similar product.

    Carnival is DH & I's favorite cruise line. We enjoy beverage packages, R-rated comedy shows (for the record-EVERY adult show we've ever attended had MULTIPLE disclaimers and crew members warning you that it was adult and gave you MULTIPLE chances to leave), and casinos. We've always had crew members that have gone above and beyond and met such friendly, amazing people. We are not cheap, trashy, wild, drunk young adults. So if someone refuses to sail on that line, that's fine with us. Does it affect us in any way? Nope. Not at all. Does that make us a "lesser" cruiser? Nope. Not at all.

    OP, it sounds like you found the type of vacation you are looking for. I think in your case maybe it's like shopping for a wedding dress...once you find one you love, then stop looking.
  14. tinkerone

    tinkerone DIS Veteran

    Jun 3, 2007
    I must have missed this. Who has claimed they have left DCL with no intent to ever return? I know I have said I switched cruise lines a few years back but never said I would not return, in fact I said I would be sailing again the year. Others have talked about not feeling the cost is in line with what they wish to pay but did they say they were not ever returning?
    I'm still on these forums so I can keep up with any changes that may, or may not, interest me. I'm not here to get vicious defending my chosen territory, so to speak, or to attack the ones I dislike and I don't see others doing it either. Again, maybe I just missed these posts and if I did sorry I wasn't thorough enough. There have, however, been some very good points made That others may not have thought of or been aware of.
    bbel, ZerasPride, mevelandry and 2 others like this.
  15. gotomu212

    gotomu212 DIS Veteran

    Sep 2, 2010
    I can only speak for myself I’m a platinum cruiser, and have another long cruise coming up in 2 months with Disney so I’m not one who is never coming back. That said I did post our experience on the first page on how for some destinations we’re finding a Disney price premium way out of whack (for us Europe) and when the OP asked where people were finding these deals I provided our price info. Edit-I don’t mean out of whack subjectively just that they are 30-65% over competitors and way outside the range.

    So were no longer exclusive to Disney and we evaluate the disney cruise against other options (cruise lines and noncruises) before we book. I’ll still cruise them when it make sense, and I don’t have any strong feelings about it either way other than a little bit of shock at the number of people who are paying such inflated prices for the European itineraries specifically.

    I don’t get the impression that a lot of people are posting defensive posts but more discussions. I find it helpful. I was really nervous to jump ship the first time and had similar questions about quality, nickel and dining, reputation of some cruise lines. I like to hear other people’s experiences. Some times it applies to me too, sometimes I think that’s not an issue/important for me, but it’s all interesting.
    bbel, ZerasPride, mevelandry and 4 others like this.
  16. KashasMom

    KashasMom DIS Veteran

    Apr 28, 2012
    The only time I've seen people saying they won't return is if they are priced out. I don't think anyone "hates" Disney so much that they are vicious. Yet, some people do get beaten up a bit because they cruise on other lines that the Disney cruisers see as way below Disney. I am one who loves another line better than Disney but I still cruise Disney when the moons align. I at least have tried other cruise lines and can speak from EXPERIENCE as opposed to hearsay.
    bbel, NancyIL, suedon70 and 4 others like this.
  17. Davistigers

    Davistigers Mouseketeer

    Jul 18, 2010
    We're cruising on the new Carnival Panorama in December over New Year...the same Mexican Riviera 7-day itinerary we're cruising next month on DCL. Even though it's not the same time of cruise, both are during "holiday seasons" (SoCal Spring Break and New Year). Here are the price differences:

    April 21/7 nights/DCL Wonder/2 adults + 1 child/Inside Guaranteed IGT = $4,197 (gratuities not incl)
    Dec 28/7 nights/CCL Panorama/3 adults + 1 child/Ocean View Family Harbor = $5,246 (gratuities incl)

    For the additional $1,050 with the Carnival December cruise, we're getting: addition of my adult son, included gratuities, ocean-view instead of inside, and access to the Family Harbor lounge.

    We love DCL and this will be our 6th cruise. We don't drink, gamble or enjoy raunchy entertainment, and for that reason Disney has been great. And our kids loved the kids' clubs as they were growing up. We're hoping the new Carnival ship -- which is the first of its class to sail from Long Beach, CA where we live -- will offer plenty to do!
  18. tlprice

    tlprice DIS Veteran

    Oct 5, 2014
    I find the same as you. I never really find much savings when I price out other cruise lines. I think it is because, like you, we are only a party of 2. I think where the price differences really come in is if you have more people cruising.

    I do sometimes look at other cruise lines, but more for different itineraries than price difference. When I look at what is offered on the other lines though, I think I would be thoroughly bored. I don't gamble and I don't drink and that seems to be where many cruise lines' focus is. Most of their shows don't look all that great either. I am totally a kid at heart, so Disney is where I feel most comfortable.
  19. cgolf

    cgolf DIS Veteran

    May 21, 2012
    We have seen large price differences in off peak cruises for 2 adults since 2017. Next years 8 night cruise on the adventure of the seas will cost us approximately 95 buck a person per night and this includes the soda package. Disney wasn’t even close. Same with our cruise on the Edge which was approximately 150 per person per night, DCL wasn’t even close even with an OBB discount applied.

    I am surprised people can find any that are close, we can’t. We do compare like itinerary’s too and times of year.
    KashasMom likes this.
  20. cgolf

    cgolf DIS Veteran

    May 21, 2012
    I will say I was similar to you, and drove my wife crazy, surprised she didn’t kick me out of the house, before our first RCCL Cruise. Before that trip I said the vacation would suck, staff would be unfriendly, we would get nickeled and dimed to death, and after less than a day I found out it was all untrue and we have had a great time on all 3 of our cruises outside of DCL. It may not work out for all, but I am glad we took the chance.
    CarrieAP, bbel, ZerasPride and 4 others like this.
  21. mareed

    mareed DIS Veteran

    Jun 5, 2000
    Disney is almost double for me and I'm comparing as like to like as possible. Royal Caribbean Liberty of Seas Western Caribbean out of Galveston Labor Day week 2019 is $1517 for 2 in a balcony cabin - this includes TX resident and Crown & Anchor discount. I'm booked on the Fantasy the same week Western Caribbean using an on-board discount that was reserved opening day in the lowest category verandah for $2925. Take $200 off that for the onboard credit and it's $2725 compared to $1517. For me, I also have to fly to FL so that's additional cost where it's a short drive to Galveston. Honestly if I hadn't already reserved airfare, I'd probably cancel DCL and go with Royal.
    trvlgirlmq and KashasMom like this.

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