RCCL vs DCL : Getting to know RCCL (information thread)

Discussion in 'Royal Caribbean' started by mevelandry, Aug 5, 2018.

  1. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Messages:
    6,094
    Hi!

    Just like I did with the Carnival vs DCL thread in the Disney Cruise Line Category as I was slowly preparing for my first Carnival cruise after two DCL cruises. As I got to know the cruise line and main differents between the two, I compiled informations in hope they could help as I had noticed separate threads asking questions regarding certain ships or subjects but no compilations.

    I would like to do the same here: a compilation of general informations for DCL cruisers who chose to try RCCL, are currently planning their first RCCL cruise and are a little lost...

    I am going to do the best that I can but as I am also getting to know the cruise line and planning my first RCCL during Fall 2019, your help would be very much appreciated. I will add/copy paste the information I will get in the comments... :D



    *Under Construction!*


    PRIVATE ISLAND

    DCL has Castaway Cay which is situated in the Bahamas. (...)

    RCCL has CocoCay which is also situated in the Bahamas. The Island is currently undergoing major expansion in order to add a new pier, a pool, a beach club, new attractions (helium baloon, zip line) and a waterpark on site. The waterpark, the Coco Beach Club and Captain Jack's restaurant will be extra charge while the rest of the beaches, restaurants, towels, chairs and amenities will remain complimentary. (...)

    While it is not a private Island, RCCL also has a property in Labadee (Haiti). Cabanas and bungalows are available for rent. Labadee has a zip line and a slide ride and a water obstacle area for a fee.

    If your kids are doing Adventure Ocean, it will be outside in a designated area on Adrenaline Beach. This beach is also on the sea side of Labadee. It’s a bit rocky and crowded though. The adults area (I believe) is further down the beach.

    If you like calmer waters and less rocks I recommend taking the (free) water taxi to Columbus Cove.

    ***Info on Labadee, Adventure Ocean and Columbus Cove - @starvenger***


    THE WEBSITE





    THE BOOKING




    PAYING FOR YOUR CRUISE




    EARLY CHECK-IN




    THE BOARDING

    Check-in & Boarding out of FLL


    Check in goes very smoothly and quickly. After check-in you go upstairs and all kids must check-in and get a wrist band (whether or not they plan to go to the clubs) to ID their muster station. You then find a seat in a section based on your status. Once boarding starts, section by section is called. It's all very organized (and civil).

    ***Info by @KashasMom***



    FIRE DRILL




    THE CABINS




    ITINERARIES




    TRANSPORTATION




    EXCURSIONS

    RCCL offers discounts on excursions (several times during the course of a year).


    KIDS CLUB

    RCCL Kids Club is called Adventure Ocean. The biggest difference between AO and Oceaneers is that the kids are (usually) separated by smaller age groups - 3-5, 6-8 and 9-11. On some ships, these groups might get smushed together, but if separate, they have their own streamlined programs.

    AO is not open during meals, but they do offer to take the kids to lunch on selected days. On Oasis class, they’ll take them up to WindJammer for a small selection of foods. At dinner, they offer a service during first seating by which they’ll come to the MDR and pick up/sign in the kids around 6:30/7-ish.

    Like Oceaneers, you have to register the kids so that they can go to AO. There’s no magic band - they simply scan their SeaPass card to check in/out. Again, similar to Oceaneers, you have to list which adults can pick them up. Older kids can sign themselves out (to be confirmed).



    Adventure Ocean is split into three age groups as already stated. On smaller ships and during port days on the majority of ships the 6-8 and 9-11 age groups are combined.

    There are three different sessions every day that have different themes: a different science and craft and games every session. They run at 9-12, 2-5, and 7-10. Kids can come and go as they please throughout the session and unlike DCL they are strict with their ratio and will stop sign ins once capacity is reached.

    During port days advenure ocean will be open all day and any kids will be taken for lunch in the windjammer and have movie time in the break between morning and afternoon session. If there are a small number of kids they may go for a walk around the ship and get ice cream too...

    There is also the option for kids to stay for dinner on certain days where they get taken for dinner in the windjammer in the break between afternoon and evening session. Unlike port day lunches kids have to be pre signed up for dinner and it normally only happens on certain days but can vary ship to ship. Normally it's formal nights and days that the ship leaves port late. However some ships offer this every night.

    Unlike dcl staterooms do not have wave/dect phones. Nursery kids will always get given a phone/pager at check in, as will 3 year olds and kids with additional needs when there is availability.

    After 10pm kids can stay up till 2am, but there is a charge of $7 a child an hour. This is called late night party zone.

    On a sea day there are 2 family activities offered and on port days there is one.

    Technically any child can be a self signer, meaning they can sign themselves in and out of adventure ocean, but staff may only advertise/suggest for the voyagers (9-11) age group. Older siblings can sign out younger ones. However, when the ship is docked someone over the age of 18 has to drop off and pick up kids from advenure ocean. As soon as the ship is moving again then anyone (authorised) can sign in and out again.Is split into three age groups as already stated. On smaller ships and during port days on the majority of ships the 6-8 and 9-11 age groups are combined.

    There are three different sessions every day that have different themes: a different science and craft and games every session. They run at 9-12, 2-5, and 7-10. Kids can come and go as they please throughout the session and unlike DCL they are strict with their ratio and will stop sign ins once capacity is reached.

    During port days advenure ocean will be open all day and any kids will be taken for lunch in the windjammer and have movie time in the break between morning and afternoon session. If there are a small number of kids they may go for a walk around the ship and get ice cream too...

    There is also the option for kids to stay for dinner on certain days where they get taken for dinner in the windjammer in the break between afternoon and evening session. Unlike port day lunches kids have to be pre signed up for dinner and it normally only happens on certain days but can vary ship to ship. Normally it's formal nights and days that the ship leaves port late. However some ships offer this every night.

    Unlike dcl staterooms do not have wave/dect phones. Nursery kids will always get given a phone/pager at check in, as will 3 year olds and kids with additional needs when there is availability.

    After 10pm kids can stay up till 2am, but there is a charge of $7 a child an hour. This is called late night party zone.

    On a sea day there are 2 family activities offered and on port days there is one.

    Technically any child can be a self signer, meaning they can sign themselves in and out of adventure ocean, but staff may only advertise/suggest for the voyagers (9-11) age group. Older siblings can sign out younger ones. However, when the ship is docked someone over the age of 18 has to drop off and pick up kids from advenure ocean. As soon as the ship is moving again then anyone (authorised) can sign in and out again.


    ***Info by @starvenger and @bbel ***

    COMPLIMENTARY ACTIVITIES

    iFly (Sky diving simulation)
    bumper cars
    Flow Rider
    North Star
    Carousel
    Rock climbing wall
    Ice skating
    Trivia
    Madagascar greets/shows
    Mardi Gras type parade
    3D theater (Harmony of the Seas)
    water aerobics
    volley ball

    ***Info by @KashasMom***

    ACTIVITIES NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE ($)

    Scuba lessons
    cupcake or sushi making class
    galley tour and brunch
    wines around the world

    ***Info by @KashasMom and @angelinaxox ***

    SHOWS


    Ice skating shows
    Aqua/diving shows.
    Aqua show with the Madagascar characters (Allure of the Seas)
    Musicals

    If you go on an Oasis class ship it's recommended that you reserve at least your shows in advance (and you should!). It can be daunting the first time especially when you don't know what else might be going on at that time. Take a look at the Cruise Compass of our itinerary and compare that to sea/port days. There are stand-by lines for each show.

    ***Info by @KashasMom***

    MOVIES



    POOLS

    3 family pools
    Good sized-kids' pool
    splash zone
    wave pool

    ***Info by @KashasMom***

    ADULT ONLY




    SPA




    COMPLIMENTARY DINING

    If you don't reserve specialty dining in advance it's usually easy enough to reserve around
    your show times as soon as you board. You can make changes to reservations if you need to either before you cruise or once on board.

    ***Info by @KashasMom ***


    SPECIALTY DINING ($)


    Johnny Rockets - at sea branch of the American burger chain. Depending on the ship, you either pay a la carte or a fixed fee. Burgers are cooked on a flattop. Per the RC Blog, shakes are rumoured to be included in the beverage package. On Oasis class ships, JR offers breakfast for free.

    Izumi - Japanese food. Hibachi grill is a fixed fee, the regular restaurant is (I believe) a la carte on all ships.

    Samba Grill - Brazilian steakhouse on Allure. Fixed fee, located at the Solarium Bistro.

    Giovanni’s - Italian food, fixed fee

    Jamie’s Italian - at sea branch of the Jamie Oliver chain. Fixed fee.

    Chops - Steakhouse. Fixed fee. More the Keg than Ruth’s Chris.

    Wonderland - Molecular Gastronomy. Fixed fee. On the newer ships

    Sabor - Mexican/Tex-Mex. Can be a la carte or fixed fee, depending on the ship.

    150 Park Fare - ??? Fixed Fee.

    Chef’s Table - Tasting menu (?). Fixed fee


    ***INFO by @starvenger ***


    CAFÉS/COFFEE SHOPS




    BARS ($)




    CANDY SHOP ($)




    INCLUDED BEVERAGES & PACKAGES ($)




    ROOM SERVICE

    DCL room service is free.

    RCCL is available 24h/day. They charge 7,95$ per order and a 18% tip is additional and will automatically be added to your check.

    ***Info by @mevelandry***

    SHOPS



    GIFTS



    INTERNET



    CAST MEMBERS/STAFF

    Nice and helpful.

    ***Info by @KashasMom***

    DISEMBARKATION


    *********ROLL CALL********

    2018


    August, 2018 - @Frozen2014 - 4 night Bahamas - Mariner of the Seas
    August 26, 2018 - @starvenger - 7 nights Western Caribbean - Allure of the Seas
    September, 2018 - @Denise W - 7 nights Bermuda - Serenade of the Seas
    September 16, 2018 - @anjuan - 7 nights Caribbean - Allure of the Seas
    October 28, 2018 - @tortoni - 7 nights Eastern Caribbean - Allure of the Seas *Halloween Cruise*
    October 29, 2018 - @Terri - Brilliance of the Seas
    November 3, 2018 - @KashasMom - 7 night Western Caribbean - Harmony of the Seas
    November 25, 2018 - @ZerasPride - 7 nights Western Caribbean - Oasis of the Seas *Happy 25th Anniversary Cruise!*



    2019


    April 9, 2019 - @3monkeys4me - 8 night South Pacific - Ovation of the Seas
    January, 2019 - @Denise W - Back to back 7 days Eastern and Western Caribbean - Symphony of the Seas
    Mar 2019 - @Frozen2014 - 7 nights Western Caribbean - Symphony of the Seas
    June, 2019 - @Club Disney Chandler - 9 night Bermuda and Caribbean, Anthem of the Seas
    July, 2019 - @Denise W - 9 nights Caribbean - Anthem of the Seas
    October 11, 2019 - @mevelandry - 3 nights Bahamas - Mariner of the Seas



    2020


    Mar 2020 - @Frozen2014 - 7 nights Bahamas - Anthem of the Seas
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
    Jsmncrews and Magical2017 like this.
  2. hdrolfe

    hdrolfe DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2014
    Messages:
    810
    RCL also has Labadee as a private island (though of course it's not it's own island, a private port?). Room service comes at a cost now, except for the continental breakfast.
     
    mevelandry likes this.
  3. Avatar

    Advertisement


  4. starvenger

    starvenger DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2015
    Messages:
    1,769
    I call Labadee a private peninsula. Cabanas and bungalows can be rented similar to Castaway Cay (CC).

    Labadee has a zip line and a slide ride, for extra cost of course. There is also a water obstacle area for a fee.

    If your kids are doing Adventure Ocean, it will be outside in a designated area on Adrenaline Beach. This beach is also on the sea side of Labadee. It’s a bit rocky and crowded though. The adults area (I believe) is further down the beach.

    If you like calmer waters and less rocks I recommend taking the (free) water taxi to Columbus Cove.
     
  5. KashasMom

    KashasMom DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    Messages:
    1,959
    Please tell me more about Columbus Cove! Family beach? Water taxi from the area where all the boat excursions start? Have only been to Labadee twice. Once our family stayed on the beach and once daughter and I went on an excursion to Paradise Cove, which we loved. Only complaint was that it was too short! The water was gorgeous though and loved floating on the mats and relaxing. I was planning for us to stay on board when Harmony was in Labadee in November but may reconsider if Columbus Cove is nice. Thanks!
     
  6. starvenger

    starvenger DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2015
    Messages:
    1,769
    Yes, it’s a family beach. There’s an area towards the end that are for bungalows, but lots of room for family. There are quite a few trees around that provide some nice shade.

    The taxi, I think is at a different location than the excursion boats. You’ll see it before you reach the end of the pier.
     
    KashasMom likes this.
  7. KashasMom

    KashasMom DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    Messages:
    1,959
    This info applies to the Oasis & Allure:

    Check-in & Boarding out of FLL:
    Check in goes very smoothly and quickly. After check-in you go upstairs and all kids must check-in and get a wrist band (whether or not they plan to go to the clubs) to ID their muster station. You then find a seat in a section based on your RCI status. Once boarding starts, section by section is called. It's all very organized (and civil)!

    Excursions:
    We usually book our own excursions but have done a few through RCI. We booked a Sea Turtle Release in Cozumel with RCI because at the time I only found it through them. Last year when my daughter and I cruised alone we booked tubing on the Rio Bueno in Falmouth, a dolphin excursion at Chankanaab in Cozumel, and an excursion to Paradise Cove in Labadee. All of the excursions were excellent. We waited to book until RCI offered discounts on excursions, which they do several times during the course of a year.

    Complimentary Activities:
    My daughter (she doesn't do kids' clubs on any cruise line) loved the carousel and rock climbing wall. She wasn't tall enough to do the flow rider without the boogie board so didn't want to do that but she's looking forward to doing it standing up in November. She hasn't gone ice skating yet but will likely do that in November as well. We really liked the shows, played some trivia, enjoyed the Madagascar greets/shows and enjoyed the Mardi Gras type parade around the promenade but we spent most of our time in the pool (love that they have so many on each ship). I also love that they have live music on the pool deck. Looking forward to the 3D theater on the Harmony too.

    Shows:
    We love the ice skating shows and the aqua/diving shows. There were 2 of each on our Allure cruise including an aqua show with the Madagascar characters. We also enjoy the musicals - very good productions. There is usually another main production show as well.

    Pools:
    This is a BIGGIE for us (as you might know from reading some of my posts complaining about the Disney pool). There are 3 family pools plus a good sized-kids' pool as well as a cool splash zone and a wave pool (think that's what it's called). We spent most of our time in
    what is considered the sports pool. There was enough space to swim and it was never crowded. They offered water aerobics and volley ball
    each day. They also had (for fee) scuba lessons there.

    Complimentary dining:
    On our last cruise we ate at the specialty restaurants 4 nights out of 7. The other 3 nights we ate at the buffet. It's easy and there are a lot of choices - some good, some okay. We had lunch at the buffet, Wipe Out Cafe, or Park Cafe. Park Cafe has a lot of options - salads, sandwiches, etc. and is good. Breakfast we ate in the buffet, Park Cafe, or Johnny Rockets. For snacks we ate at Cafe Promendade, Boardwalk Dog House, or Sorrento's. Food was usually good to very good and even if we had't gone to the specialty restaurants, we would have been satisfied.

    Specialty Dining:
    We never did specialty dining before but on our Allure cruise they offered a great deal the day we boarded. We took the 3 restaurant
    package. My daughter (then 8) would either be free or small charge depending on what she ate. I loved that she could go to the specialty
    restaurants with me and since it was just the two of us traveling it really was a special time for us. We selected Chops, Izumi (hibachi) and Giovanni's Table. We found out after we booked those that our TA had gifted us with a specialty restaurant so we choose 150 Central Park. We had a lot of fun at Izumi's and I loved the food at Chops. But 150 Central Park? Wow! It was such a great experience. We were seated in very high back chairs at a table for two. They had a sampler of 6 salts from around the world that you added to your unsalted butter for your bread. We had fun comparing all the salts and choosing our favorites. The service there was excellent. And the warm donuts for dessert? Who knew they could make donuts so delicious? In the end they charged very little for my daughter - nothing in Giovanni's, and little in the others, even though she always ate off the adult menu. It was definitely worth it for us. One other meal we enjoyed was the Madagascar character chocolate breakfast ($10 each). We'll be doing it again!

    Shops:
    Lots of shops and sales. We're not big shoppers so we didn't buy much although they did have a few nice things. The sales are one of the things that Disney people complain about but honestly it's easy to avoid (as are the smoke and the casino).

    Staff:
    We found everyone to be nice and helpful. We didn't have the same dining team each night but that's never been very important to us. If it is, I believe you can ask for the same team (in the same dining room).

    Booking Dining/Entertainment:
    If you go on an Oasis class ship it's recommended that you reserve at least your shows in advance (and you should!). It can be daunting the first time especially when you don't know what else might be going on at that time. What I do is look at the most recent Cruise Compass of our itinerary and compare that to sea/port days. If you don't reserve specialty dining in advance it's usually easy enough to reserve around
    your show times as soon as you board. You can make changes to reservations if you need to either before you cruise or once on board. There are stand-by lines for each show but I'm more comfortable booking and getting a good seat!

    Roll Call:
    2018 - November 3rd - 7 night Western Caribbean - Harmony of the Seas
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
  8. Club Disney Chandler

    Club Disney Chandler DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2013
    Messages:
    2,670
    Add us to the roll call:

    9 night Bermuda and Caribbean, Anthem of the Seas, June 2019
     
  9. starvenger

    starvenger DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2015
    Messages:
    1,769
    Adventure Ocean:
    The biggest difference between AO and Oceaneers is that the kids are (usually) separated by smaller age groups - 3-5, 6-8 and 9-11. On some ships, these groups might get smushed together, but if separate, they have their own streamlined programs.

    AO is not open during meals, but they do offer to take the kids to lunch on selected days. On Oasis class, they’ll take them up to WindJammer for a small selection of foods. At dinner, they offer a service during first seating by which they’ll come to the MDR and pick up/sign in the kids around 6:30/7-ish.

    Like Oceaneers, you have to register the kids so that they can go to AO. There’s no magic band - they simply scan their SeaPass card to check in/out. Again, similar to Oceaneers, you have to list which adults can pick them up. I believe older kids can sign themselves out, but I don’t know for certain.

    FYI, I’m on Allure in less than a month. Will see what stuff I can grab to help out here.

    Lanyards:
    I believe Royal will give out lanyards upon request. For the newer ships like Harmony and Symphony, they use RFID so if you have your DCL lanyards (with pouch) they will be perfect. Older ships use a mag stripe and can get hole punched to use with a lanyard. My observations have shown that a typical DCL lanyard raises no eyebrows among your fellow cruisers. A blingy lanyard - that’s apparently a topic of conversation.
     
  10. 3monkeys4me

    3monkeys4me Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2010
    Messages:
    462
    You can add us to the roll call... 4/9/19 Ovation of the Seas, 8 night South Pacific

    I'll try to add more info later.

    Lanyards - We are planning on trying out the WOW bands on Ovation... Available on Quantum Class and Harmony I believe. $5 each and the take the place of a Sea Pass card, except for exiting and reentering the ship in Port.
     
  11. ZerasPride

    ZerasPride DVC Member Since 2001

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 1999
    Messages:
    3,932
    This is such a nice thread!! Thanks OP!

    Lanyards - I bought a cute Coach lanyard for myself on sale and DH says he doesn't need one. :love2:

    Roll call - We are sailing on the Oasis of the Seas on November 25, 2018 Western itinerary for 7 nights to celebrate our 25th anniversary.
     
    Club Disney Chandler likes this.
  12. Denise W

    Denise W Disney Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 1999
    Messages:
    1,413
    Roll call:
    Just completed Brilliance of the Seas 12 night Baltics cruise
    Sept 2018 Serenade of the Seas 7 day to Bermuda
    Jan 2019 Symphony of the Seas. Back to back 7 days east and west Caribbean
    July 2019 Anthem of the Seas 9 day Caribbean
    Denise
     
  13. KashasMom

    KashasMom DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    Messages:
    1,959
    We did a 13 night Baltic on the Serenade 2 years ago - best cruise ever! Amazing itinerary!
    Jealous of your b to b! Looking at Symphony for Jan 2019 as well. It's either that or the Anthem but not thrilled with the Anthem itinerary for Jan but...no flying in Jan is a big plus!
     
    Denise W likes this.
  14. Club Disney Chandler

    Club Disney Chandler DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2013
    Messages:
    2,670
    That itinerary looks amazing! Please come back here and give a review when you return, I’d love to read about your adventures. I love living vacations through others experiences.
     
  15. 3monkeys4me

    3monkeys4me Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2010
    Messages:
    462
    I will update! To be honest we were a bit disappointed with the itinerary to begin with. We were originally booked on the cruise before, 10 nights to New Zealand which we were really looking forward to, But we had to switch due to a school commitment with my oldest daughter. We are really looking forward to it now though. Hopefully we will ge a chance to do New Zealand in a few years.
     
    Club Disney Chandler likes this.
  16. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Messages:
    6,094
    This post just reminded me I should totally add Amber Cove to the Carnival Thread.
     
  17. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Messages:
    6,094
    Thanks, I copy-pasted those info in the section. :)
     
  18. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Messages:
    6,094
    Done!
     
    Club Disney Chandler likes this.
  19. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Messages:
    6,094
    Done!
     
    3monkeys4me likes this.
  20. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Messages:
    6,094
    Added all of them!
     
  21. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Messages:
    6,094
    Done!

    And Happy Anniversary! :D
     

Share This Page