Other/Cheaper Cruises...?

cgolf

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 21, 2012
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.
Some of us like the product and will sail it again when the value is right. My quick ex. Is 2016, 9 night back to back was cheaper than a six night back to back in 2017, both on the Magic out of Miami with the same islands except for one that the 6 night didn’t go to. For us it was a slam dunk, we weren’t paying more for 3 days less vacation. If DCL is similar in price to other lines we would consider it again and would like to sail the new ships. We however are thrifty cruisers by choice which is why we look at price so closely.
 

tinkerone

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 3, 2007
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.
I can still remember walking onto the Oasis for the first time and immediately thinking I'd made a mistake. 30 minutes later I thought, why had I waited so long? It was just the unfamiliar that scared me however once I opened my eyes and looked around at the new I was immersed. I'm so happy we branched out and gave something else a try. You never know until you do, am I right?
 

Pens Fan

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 27, 2014
I can still remember walking onto the Oasis for the first time and immediately thinking I'd made a mistake. 30 minutes later I thought, why had I waited so long? It was just the unfamiliar that scared me however once I opened my eyes and looked around at the new I was immersed. I'm so happy we branched out and gave something else a try. You never know until you do, am I right?
That was similar to our first experience branching out. In our case it was with NCL for an Alaskan cruise. We jumped ship due to NCL's superior (for our tastes anyway) itinerary - a one way between Vancouver and Seward which in addition to the normal Skagway, Ketchikan, Juneau stops also added Glacier Bay and Hubbard glacier, and then allowed us to spend a week in mainland Alaska. We had sailed on DCL in Alaska once before, and while we enjoyed it we didn't feel it gave us enough of the real Alaska. We wanted more, so we ventured out. So - we are in Vancouver and our ship is docked right next to the Wonder. :sad: We all had Disney envy - for about an hour. Honestly. After we set sail, we just stepped into the idea that this is a new adventure, and it was probably one of the best vacations our family ever experienced. The service was great (every bit as good as Disney), the food was better, and the entertainment was fine. The shows probably weren't the quality of Disney's, but as a party of three adults (our son was 19 at the time), it actually suited us much better.

Don't get me wrong. We love the Disney product. We spent a week at WDW this past December (best.time.to.go!!!), and just booked our first ABD adventure. DH and I are contemplating booking a Disney WBTA in the future, so we aren't done with DCL. But finding out that we could move on when the price or limited itineraries didn't meet our expectations and still have an amazing trip was a great discovery.
 
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  • smmco

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 5, 2019
    We cruised on Harmony of the Seas in December. We got one inside room at 1,364 and 1 balcony at 1,823. I don't think Disney can come close to that. I'm also paying about 1/3 what DCL charges to cruise on Carnival's new ship in the Baltics next year. Say what you want about Carnival, but this is a brand new ship with a rollercoaster on top vs a 20 something year old ship. I haven't cruised Carnival, but I'm pretty excited about trying out a new ship.

    Full disclosure I have two DCL cruises booked this year. Mexican Riviera and Transatlantic. Two reasonably priced DCL cruises. Variety is good.

    It's weird because the other cruise lines carry more passengers, have more ships, and more loyal customers, but DCL cruisers think they are all second rate.
     
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    Tasmen

    Crazy Cat Lady
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2006
    I'm going to start my response with we love Disney cruises. All our cruises have been concierge because to *me*, the person who books the cruises subjectively finds it worth it.

    Some have mentioned the increase in cost for families of 4+ on Disney compared to other cruise lines. The cost increase is even larger when it comes to the 'suites' offering. I was seriously apprehensive when we booked NCL to go on a cruise with 50+ friends for someone's birthday celebration. We went Haven with a 2 bedroom suite (with an added adult, unlimited booze and internet) for the price of what a Deluxe family concierge room was for us on the Fantasy the year before (this was 2017).

    July 2020 we booked our first RCCL cruise (Western Caribbean) and another 2 bedroom suite and an extra adult. Price is the same as a 7 day Fantasy western Caribbean Deluxe Family concierge room (minus the 3rd adult).

    Will the price differences make us stop cruising Disney? Absolutely not. But it does make us look at other cruise lines for some itineraries. I want to do a Europe cruise in 2021 when my daughter turns 13. I don't see us doing that on Disney given the cost of those cruises compared to NCL and RCCL.

    tl;dr - price increases are real depending on your circumstances. I also don't see them going away because Disney will continue to price so long as people are willing to pay.
     

    _auroraborealis_

    I like marshmallows. And adult beverages.
    Joined
    Oct 18, 2015
    I will likely cruise DCL again. I cancelled a Mexican Riviera booking, largely because the timing ended up not good and I'm not thrilled with the travel advisories.

    I just couldn't justify it for Alaska. Not at the pricing and itinerary differentials. The ship I'll be on even has an enclosed pool area, which seems useful? With the price difference of even unlike to like (which is to say - a suite vs. OV on Disney), I can handle some upcharges and still cover all the shore excursions within the same cost of room-only on DCL. Depending on the upcharge, this doesn't include a helicopter excursion, but it's awfully close. For a family of 4!

    If we do Europe, I'm sure it will be on another line. Again: port intensive, and their rates are just way different.

    Caribbean? Might happen again. Mexican Riviera, if things clear up, maybe. Bermuda from NYC seemed quite sane as well for pricing.
     

    tinkerone

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 3, 2007
    For those who feel the price difference is negligible if its only two sailing I sat down last night and did a few comparisons. It was hard because DCL only has their bookings out till September of next year whereas RCCL has theirs out till April of 2021. That's another disadvantage, in my mind, to DCL. Its hard to plan ahead. Anyways, I did two sample sailings, one in mid August and one in mid September. I wanted to look at New Years Eve sailings for 2020 but couldn't because DCL has not posted, as mentioned above. Keep in mind that we can book in Canadian funds for RCCL so I am using $1.38 as our exchange point which is on par with our banks. Both sailings are out of Port Canaveral for comparison purposes. Both are Ocean view Verandas. Royals are 232 sq ft, DCL comes in at 246 sq ft so a difference of 14 sq ft. Taxes are included but no tips or transfers, they would both be similar so I didn't factor them in.

    Aug 16, 2020-- Harmony of the Seas $4068 Cnd. ($3129 US)
    Fantasy $4929 US
    Difference of $1800 US or $2484 Cnd., not insignificant.

    Sept. 12, 2020-- Harmony of the Seas $$3648 Cnd. ($2643 US)
    Fantasy $3710 US
    Difference of $1067 US or $1472 Cnd.

    They are big numbers when you consider its for two. And with the US rate always fluctuating for us its nice that we can opt in at a set rate by booking in Canadian dollars.

    I'm not trying to sell other cruise lines, just trying to show that there are savings to be had even if you are only booking for two. I used the Canadian rates because that is what we would be booking in so that is what our decision is based on. I'm sure if I were to have looked at comparing US to US it would be much the same.
    We all need to book what we feel comfortable with and relax because when it comes down to it, its our vacation. Who cares what others are doing or what they paid. If you want to spend on RCCL do so, Carnival have at it and if its DCL that lights up your sky, have a blast. Vacations don't come often enough and family time is important. :flower3:
     
  • mevelandry

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2013
    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.
    DH and I are just two and the difference with other cruise lines is always huge (but we always book under promotions with other cruise lines so that might have an impact).

    EDIT: I just priced out our upcoming cruise with Carnival to compare with DCL, except I picked inside cabins for the test, in order to show the lower prices available:

    Bahamas, 4 nights - 2 Adults:

    1057$ USD for Carnival vs 3491$ USD for DCL = 2434$ more to sail with DCL.

    (By the way, I've sailed that exact itinerary in 2017 with DCL for 1700$ USD... What is going on!?!)


    I'm not sure which cruise lines you are referring to but all I can is that my experience with Carnival (and with my current planning with RCCL and Celebrity) is that they advertise the casino among other things/events because they have it on board but I don't feel like they push it more than any other activities that is available on board.

    Same goes for the drinking. Just because drink packages are available (and advertised, among other packages) on other cruise lines doesn't mean they push it. Also, my experience is that just because drink packages are not available on DCL doesn't mean that guests on DCL ships don't drink or drink less.

    Regarding the shows, I believe it's all a matter of tastes and perception: On DCL, the shows "Dreams" and "Believe" were pure torture to me ... but I enjoyed the "Golden Mickeys" the first time I saw it, and I loved "Frozen". Some loved all of them. Some hated all of them.

    On Carnival, I have seen "Vroom" twice and "Studio VIP" and I enjoyed them more than any DCL show I saw! The music was more my type. Maybe they don't look good to you... but everybody have different tastes and enjoy different type of voices. And you might even like some of them if you tried them. Who knows...

    (End of reply to tlprice)

    *********************************************************************************************************

    (To other DISers...)

    I guess what I am trying to say is: I understand the fear of trying something new and not liking it because I've experienced it in the past.

    BUT I feel uncomfortable when people classify other cruise lines's offering as bad or likely bad when they have not tried it... because you cannot have the real feel of an experience unless you try it. When I was on the Disney Dream next to a Carnival cruise ship on my first cruise, I made fun of the Carnival ship thinking that our ship was so much better and more fun. Imagine our surprise when we decided to try Carnival (the year following our accident because we had a little less money but wanted to cruise anyway) and realized that I actually LOVED the entertainment on Carnival. It was also nice to know that we could spend half the money and be just as happy with our vacation.

    DCL is amazing but I will always encourage people to keep an open mind/open heart towards other cruise lines because... Life can happen... and I don't want people to feel miserable or feel like they will never have a "good" or "equally good" vacation if/when they cannot afford DCL prices anymore.
     
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    Tasmen

    Crazy Cat Lady
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2006
    BUT I feel uncomfortable when people classify other cruise lines's offering as bad or likely bad when they have not tried it... because you cannot have the real feel of an experience unless you try it.
    ^^^ this. It is also part of the reason I don't flat out say no when people want us to go on cruises with them on other cruise lines. The 2020 RCCL cruise we booked is not only us going on a big family trip but also us dipping our toes in the Royal pond to decide if we like the temperature of the water before pulling the plug on a bit Europe trip.

    It's easy to judge from the sidelines.
     

    smiths02

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 13, 2009
    1) I have very limited time off I can take. They only time I can really get enough time off for a cruise longer than 3 days would be Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break, and 4 weeks in the summer (mid June to mid July). So I agree with others that a larger pricing difference happens in peak times than say January.

    2) Also agree with others that a larger price difference happens with a larger group.
    My MIL mentioned another cruise and my DH was thinking about it, so I priced out a spring break 2020 cruise
    DCL-$16,959
    RCCL-$8,458
    (Comparing 2 verandah rooms with 7 people split between the rooms).

    3) Also the discounts on DCL are harder to come by, you have to book the first possible day and use OBB or be able to go last minute (see #1).
    Granted, in my pricing example above, that was just a price I looked up not opening day with OBB.
    The other cruise lines also generally discount the kids or more than 2 in a room. This goes back to #2 that if you are only sailing with 2 people, then it won't matter if the 3rd person is free.
     
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    tlprice

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 5, 2014
    I'm not sure which cruise lines you are referring to but all I can is that my experience with Carnival (and with my current planning with RCCL and Celebrity) is that they advertise the casino among other things/events because they have it on board but I don't feel like they push it more than any other activities that is available on board.

    Same goes for the drinking. Just because drink packages are available (and advertised, among other packages) on other cruise lines doesn't mean they push it. Also, my experience is that just because drink packages are not available on DCL doesn't mean that guests on DCL ships don't drink or drink less.
    I never said I was afraid of trying new things, I have seriously looked at other cruise lines. What I was referring to about the gambling and drinking is when I look at other lines' versions of personal navigators I don't really see many activities listed that I would personally enjoy. A majority of the offerings seem to revolve around gambling or drinking. I'm not saying nobody likes those activities or that there is anything wrong with them, they are just not my thing. I also am probably not even close to a demographic that most cruise lines are trying to appeal to. I am a single mother that travels with only my pre-teen daughter.
    I also have only stayed in Inside rooms on my DCL cruises except one OV that I got an exceptional deal. The most I've spent on any cruise is $3800 for my Med. cruise last summer. So, I am content at this point with my decision to cruise DCL.
     
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  • lilsonicfan

    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Joined
    Jan 20, 2003
    @tlprice it's totally okay to be a kid at heart and to feel comfortable on DCL! That is what works for you now and maybe it will still work for you in the future. I think all that mevelandry is saying is that it's not necessarily the only answer. I will say that having cruised other lines I've never found that their activities really revolve around gambling or drinking, neither of which is really my thing either. Cruises with casinos will always heavily advertise casino events though (as they generate income for the cruise). There are lots of things on DCL that are on other cruises, such as napkin folding/crafts, trivia, bingo - admittedly none of those things have a huge appeal for me on any line.
     

    mevelandry

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2013
    I never said I was afraid of trying new things, I have seriously looked at other cruise lines. What I was referring to about the gambling and drinking is when I look at other lines' versions of personal navigators I don't really see many activities listed that I would personally enjoy. A majority of the offerings seem to revolve around gambling or drinking. I'm not saying nobody likes those activities or that there is anything wrong with them, they are just not my thing. I also am probably not even close to a demographic that most cruise lines are trying to appeal to. I am a single mother that travels with only my pre-teen daughter.
    I also have only stayed in Inside rooms on DCL my cruises except one OV that I got an exceptional deal. The most I've spent on any cruise is $3800 for my Med. cruise last summer. So, I am content at this point with my decision to cruise DCL.
    Sorry, I thought the line that I put between my answer to your message and the rest of my comment made it clear that it was the end of my reply to you was followed with a "general" comment. (Will fix it).
     
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    DisneyWishes14

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 21, 2011
    We are gold on DCL and have also sailed on NCL 3 times (not a huge fan), the Paul Gauguin and, just recently, we tried (hesitantly) Celebrity for the first time. My DS is 11 and gets 2 weeks off during Christmas time. Typically, he gets the week before Christmas off and we would travel then to keep prices lower than traveling during Christmas week. Well, last year, his break fell over Christmas week and, all of a sudden, our vacation costs skyrocketed. I priced out DCL and, since we typically sail in concierge, the price for the 3 of us for the same Caribbean itinerary we've sailed several times was over $20k. There was just no way I was going to pay that. I priced out Celebrity and found we could do a southern Caribbean itinerary (which we had never done) out of San Juan in a suite with all the perks for less than half of DCL. In fact, it was less than sailing in a verandah on DCL that very same week. We decided to try something new and we really enjoyed it! It's really low key. The food is good, the pools are quiet and relaxing and the entertainment was not X rated. There was no crazy partying going on. My son even enjoyed it as they had a small kids club and a sports deck that he enjoyed. We liked it so much, we are sailing the same week this year, but this time they are going to the ABC islands! I would encourage you to price out Celebrity - particularly the ships they haven't completely overhauled yet. I find the pricing is a bit better than DCL and I definitely liked it more than NCL.
     

    cgolf

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 21, 2012
    We are gold on DCL and have also sailed on NCL 3 times (not a huge fan), the Paul Gauguin and, just recently, we tried (hesitantly) Celebrity for the first time. My DS is 11 and gets 2 weeks off during Christmas time. Typically, he gets the week before Christmas off and we would travel then to keep prices lower than traveling during Christmas week. Well, last year, his break fell over Christmas week and, all of a sudden, our vacation costs skyrocketed. I priced out DCL and, since we typically sail in concierge, the price for the 3 of us for the same Caribbean itinerary we've sailed several times was over $20k. There was just no way I was going to pay that. I priced out Celebrity and found we could do a southern Caribbean itinerary (which we had never done) out of San Juan in a suite with all the perks for less than half of DCL. In fact, it was less than sailing in a verandah on DCL that very same week. We decided to try something new and we really enjoyed it! It's really low key. The food is good, the pools are quiet and relaxing and the entertainment was not X rated. There was no crazy partying going on. My son even enjoyed it as they had a small kids club and a sports deck that he enjoyed. We liked it so much, we are sailing the same week this year, but this time they are going to the ABC islands! I would encourage you to price out Celebrity - particularly the ships they haven't completely overhauled yet. I find the pricing is a bit better than DCL and I definitely liked it more than NCL.
    My wife and I sailed the Celebrity Edge and absolutely loved it. The food was incredible and the staff was great. I have a review of it on the Dis RCCL board.

    Our college age daughter saw our pictures of the Edge and listened to what we did and she decided to Join us on the Celebrity Apex in 2021. It will be her first cruise since 2016 on the Magic.
     

    ray3127

    Life goal = Quarterly vacation
    Joined
    Aug 2, 2018
    We are gold on DCL and have also sailed on NCL 3 times (not a huge fan), the Paul Gauguin and, just recently, we tried (hesitantly) Celebrity for the first time. My DS is 11 and gets 2 weeks off during Christmas time. Typically, he gets the week before Christmas off and we would travel then to keep prices lower than traveling during Christmas week. Well, last year, his break fell over Christmas week and, all of a sudden, our vacation costs skyrocketed. I priced out DCL and, since we typically sail in concierge, the price for the 3 of us for the same Caribbean itinerary we've sailed several times was over $20k. There was just no way I was going to pay that. I priced out Celebrity and found we could do a southern Caribbean itinerary (which we had never done) out of San Juan in a suite with all the perks for less than half of DCL. In fact, it was less than sailing in a verandah on DCL that very same week. We decided to try something new and we really enjoyed it! It's really low key. The food is good, the pools are quiet and relaxing and the entertainment was not X rated. There was no crazy partying going on. My son even enjoyed it as they had a small kids club and a sports deck that he enjoyed. We liked it so much, we are sailing the same week this year, but this time they are going to the ABC islands! I would encourage you to price out Celebrity - particularly the ships they haven't completely overhauled yet. I find the pricing is a bit better than DCL and I definitely liked it more than NCL.
    This is really helpful to hear. My wife and I had planned NCL for an anniversary trip in 2016, but had to cancel. Ended up on DCL in 2017, got home and started researching cruises like crazy. Had our next sailing booked on Celebrity, but again had to cancel. So, it was nice to hear the perspective of a Gold DCL cruiser who has sailed on the two lines that interest us the most--NCL & Celebrity. I think if we did sail just the two of us, we would give Celebrity a shot. While we would definitely enjoy DCL, I think we would feel guilty sailing them without the kids, and it sounds like Celebrity might just be our speed (and the OP's, too).
     

    mevelandry

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2013
    We are gold on DCL and have also sailed on NCL 3 times (not a huge fan), the Paul Gauguin and, just recently, we tried (hesitantly) Celebrity for the first time. My DS is 11 and gets 2 weeks off during Christmas time. Typically, he gets the week before Christmas off and we would travel then to keep prices lower than traveling during Christmas week. Well, last year, his break fell over Christmas week and, all of a sudden, our vacation costs skyrocketed. I priced out DCL and, since we typically sail in concierge, the price for the 3 of us for the same Caribbean itinerary we've sailed several times was over $20k. There was just no way I was going to pay that. I priced out Celebrity and found we could do a southern Caribbean itinerary (which we had never done) out of San Juan in a suite with all the perks for less than half of DCL. In fact, it was less than sailing in a verandah on DCL that very same week. We decided to try something new and we really enjoyed it! It's really low key. The food is good, the pools are quiet and relaxing and the entertainment was not X rated. There was no crazy partying going on. My son even enjoyed it as they had a small kids club and a sports deck that he enjoyed. We liked it so much, we are sailing the same week this year, but this time they are going to the ABC islands! I would encourage you to price out Celebrity - particularly the ships they haven't completely overhauled yet. I find the pricing is a bit better than DCL and I definitely liked it more than NCL.
    Cool! I booked a very short Celebrity cruise in order to test the cruise line in january 2020... Your review is encouraging. :)
     

    cgolf

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 21, 2012
    Cool! I booked a very short Celebrity cruise in order to test the cruise line in january 2020... Your review is encouraging. :)
    In case you didn't see this, might give you an idea of what celebrity is like, although we did it as 2 adults. I will say apparently the Edge is a bit different than the other ships, but I would think some stuff like food and staff would be general to Celebrity.
    https://www.disboards.com/threads/thrifty-couple-celebrity-edge-review-jan-27th-to-feb-3.3732773/
     

    Tasmen

    Crazy Cat Lady
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2006
    I would encourage you to price out Celebrity - particularly the ships they haven't completely overhauled yet. I find the pricing is a bit better than DCL and I definitely liked it more than NCL.
    I have wanted to try Celebrity out for a while. They don't have a lot of 2 bedroom options that I've seen or maybe I'm looking at the wrong ships.
     

    tidefan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 1, 2007
    So, as I write this, I am sitting in the Horizon Court onboard the Regal Princess staring out at Cozumel. Let me say this. We love DCL. It is by far our favorite. That being said, this ship is amazing. This may be the best food we've had on a cruise. Very impressed.

    Princess is our go-to outside of DCL, but we had not been on their larger ships. I'll do a review once off, but we are having a blast...
     

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