Royal compared to Disney?

firstwdw

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 4, 2012
How do the cruise lines compare? We found a lot of drinking, smoking etc on NCL and preferred not having a casino, drink package on Disney. Royal has casinos and drink packages so assuming it will feel more like the NCL cruise? Also, seeing Royal has tons of "attractions" for teens and older kids. Are the lines long for those activities such as flo-rider, water slides, laser tag etc? It does appear from the Compass examples online as there is not as much for families to do as there is on Disney such as animation classes, family game shows, magician workshops etc-Is there enough to do on sea-days on Royal? Debating trying Royal (assuming we would be happier on a newer, larger ship) or just saving up and doing Disney again someday. Also, LOVED the open-air ocean views all around promenade decks on Disney and NCL and the ocean views from restaurants and areas of the ship but hearing that the larger Royal ships are more enclosed and not focused as much on the sea-is that true? Thank you!!!
 

Frozen2014

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 12, 2014
You mention newer ship. We were recently on Symphony which has waterslides, laser tag, dry slide, zipline, rock wall, etc, etc. Although it is the largest ship in the world, lines weren't bad at all (and we went over March break!). I think there is so much to do, that everyone is spread out. Loved the ship! It's very family friendly. Our kids don't go to the clubs and went spent time together doing things. From the cruise planner, we joined in the scavenger hunt, saw belly flop contest and some other pool game, there are always things going on.
For laser tag, you can sign up for a session and then also do drop in. Our kids did the slides on our Nassau day so no line ups. Never had a line up at The Abyss (dry slide).

Harmony also has waterslides and Abyss, Oasis is getting refurbished in Dec with waterslides, dry slide, laser tag and other venue changes. Allure is getting refurbished after that (details to come). I highly recommend these ships. (Or Mariner, Independence or Navigator if you want shorter sailing or diff itinerary).

Yes you can buy drink packages but we saw no issues with drinking. Probably just avoid a 3 day weekend cruise though to make sure. :-)

These ships too are amazing for entertainment (broadway show, aqua show, ice skating show, + another production show, comedy show, etc) and tons of great food options...included or extra. Plus the Oasis class (Symphony, Harmony, Oasis and Allure) have neighborhoods which are unique and fun to walk around in)

The newer ships aren't as open as the older smaller ships but you can still see the water.
 
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starvenger

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
So I like Royal more than Disney, so while I try to be balanced, take everything with a grain of salt here.

I'm not certain what an NCL cruise "feels" like, but the longer Royal cruises should at its core remind you of DCL (minus the Disney stuff, but you already know that). And the longer cruises should see less drunk people stumbling around given the prices for a drink package ($18/day mistakes excluded). Casinos can be avoided, the smoke from them at times cannot be.

For activities I haven't experienced anything on Royal as long as the wait for Aquaduck. The funnel slide can be long though.

I haven't done enough family activities on board to let you know about them in Royal. That is in part due to the fact that - and I can't stress this enough - the kids can use the pools on board. They like Adventure Ocean, but we will see if that changes as one goes to the teen club and AO shifts to more of an Oceaneers setup (minus the 3-5yos).
 

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  • starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    Oasis class ships have a running track similar to DCL, so you can get some relaxing (and shaded) views from there. Bonus - it's close to the promenade so drinks (free and not free) and pizza are close by. There is some inward focus on the larger ships, it's true, but I feel like it's because there is interior space that can be focused on. I'm not sure there is any less outward focus vs DCL - just a larger overall percentage.
     

    DizneyNutz

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 19, 2004
    How do the cruise lines compare? We found a lot of drinking, smoking etc on NCL and preferred not having a casino, drink package on Disney. Royal has casinos and drink packages so assuming it will feel more like the NCL cruise? Also, seeing Royal has tons of "attractions" for teens and older kids. Are the lines long for those activities such as flo-rider, water slides, laser tag etc? It does appear from the Compass examples online as there is not as much for families to do as there is on Disney such as animation classes, family game shows, magician workshops etc-Is there enough to do on sea-days on Royal? Debating trying Royal (assuming we would be happier on a newer, larger ship) or just saving up and doing Disney again someday. Also, LOVED the open-air ocean views all around promenade decks on Disney and NCL and the ocean views from restaurants and areas of the ship but hearing that the larger Royal ships are more enclosed and not focused as much on the sea-is that true? Thank you!!!
    We were Disney DVC Members for a while and had 20+ trips to WDW. We decided to try cruising with a short Carnival cruise and it was exactly like your NCL experience. The wife said she would never cruise again. I convinced her to try a Disney Cruise and she was hooked. We cruised 8 Disney Cruises and they just kept getting more and more expensive for the same ole stuff over and over. We decided to try RCL when they moved the Oasis to Port Canaveral and we have never looked back. We have sailed 41 nights with RCL and have 18 more booked. We love the ships with neighborhoods most because we can get and interior balcony overlooking Central Park. There is so much to do and a lot more free places to grab a bite than on Disney. The Disney ships don't really have a true Promenade IMO. They have a lobby with halls leading to three shops or back to the entertainment section. Google a walkthrough video of a ship like the Harmony and you will see why I feel this way. We just completed an 11 Night Cruise with 2 other couples from Hawaii to British Columbia for the price of a 5 night Disney Cruise around the Bahamas. We are getting ready to sail a 7 night Eastern Caribbean with 2 others and we have 6 different shows booked. Combination of (Aqua, Ice, Broadway Stage, Adult Comedy, Etc.) You should give them a try in our opinion. You may find that you can go more often and even feel like you are getting a lot more for your money. Check out this video of RCL's private island. Castaway Cay doesn't begin to compare. https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/category/category/perfect-day-cococay
     

    ScooterScott44

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 23, 2018
    Overall, they are very similar. DCL wins on a few point and really has a more classic feel while RCCL wins on others. We find that we are probably not going to be doing many more cruises on DCL and likely will transition to Royal, since we finished our second one just over a month ago.

    Royal seems to have more activities, for all ages. Kids clubs a little more focused but it does have the late night charges. The food in MDRs are similar, but the bigger ships beat Disney easily with specialty dining. Shows are similar but Disney gets the edge here, but most of the shows don’t change much. Casinos are easy enough to avoid and if you really want to look out on the water the upper decks and so many balcony rooms make it pretty easy. The solarium is also a pretty unique space.
     
  • nancy drew

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 12, 2005
    It is tough to compare "Royal" to DCL because they have a MUCH bigger fleet, newer ships, and more to offer to a wider variety of people. We have sailed on DCL twice and Royal once. I do not feel DCL is worth the insane upcharge.

    *The shows on Royal are far better than anything Disney has to offer.
    *We had great and not so great service on both.
    *Crowds were way worse on DCL even though we were on a bigger ship on Royal.
    *Food was fairly equal but Royal's specialty dining is much better than DCL's.
    *Royal visits SO many more places than DCL, I would be bored visiting the same places over and over.
    *The Solarium is far better than the "adults only" area on DCL that has a constant parade of kids walking through. Plus it has an amazing view of the ocean, unlike the adult area on DCL.
    *We can take 2+ Royal cruises for the cost of 1 DCL cruise.

    I reviewed our Royal cruise and the link is in my sig, if you want to check it out. Our next cruise is on Royal. The only way I will sail on DCL again is if there is a steeply discounted rate on a sailing that goes somewhere interesting.
     

    starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    The way I see it DCL puts a premium value on the ships and Castaway Cay so ports (or at least Caribbean ports) are not as important a focus. Nothing wrong with that.

    The Oasis class is deceptive with its size. You'd think that larger ship + more people = more crowds, but it's basically the equivalent of having 1.5 times as many people in a space that's 1.5 times larger, so everything is spread out about the same.
     

    Mousefan mom

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 21, 2015
    This is very interesting to read. We went on our very first cruise--Disney Dream this spring. While I loved it, I found the family areas so jam packed, it was suffocating for me (i.e. the pools my kids were allowed to swim in, and as much as I wanted to do the Aquaduck with them, I couldn't bear the crowds and lines). I enjoyed the adult areas, but this meant the kids had to be in the childcare (during times our 10 year old preferred not to be we found ourselves at a bit of a lull). My teen did enjoy all the funnel vision movies that played on Disney--and the movie theater. Does Royal have those?
     

    starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    Some of the ships show movies on the pool deck.

    On Oasis class ships they'll show movies outdoors at the Aqua Theatre.
     
  • wdwfan

    My heart belongs to Disney!
    Joined
    Aug 19, 1999
    I used to be so loyal to DCL until I got priced out. So, we decided to try Royal, and I'm very pleased to say that we've never looked back. After 3 Royal cruises, and a fourth one booked for next summer, we're hooked on the value, the entertainment, essentially everything a Royal Caribbean cruise has to offer.
     

    firstwdw

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2012
    Lots of good advice. Thanks everyone! So, in comparing (which I know is hard since they are different experiences) would you say the 4 largest RC ships are most comparable to Disney (oasis, allure, harmony and symphony)? I know Royal has some older ships and I don't want to be disappointed with a ship in need of updating/maintenance or with very little to do. I am hesitant to try something else other than DCL since if it's a flop that is money that could have gone towards DCL but on the other hand.....DCL is so very pricey.
     

    Magical2017

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 2, 2016
    Lots of good advice. Thanks everyone! So, in comparing (which I know is hard since they are different experiences) would you say the 4 largest RC ships are most comparable to Disney (oasis, allure, harmony and symphony)? I know Royal has some older ships and I don't want to be disappointed with a ship in need of updating/maintenance or with very little to do. I am hesitant to try something else other than DCL since if it's a flop that is money that could have gone towards DCL but on the other hand.....DCL is so very pricey.
    Some older ships are being refurbished, as well as a few of the Oasis class ships (Allure and Oasis)so they may feel "newer." We booked an Oasis class for our upcoming cruise. Depending on when you are cruising, Royal also has some brand new ships scheduled to sail in the next few years. I like to Google walk-through videos. It is how we chose Allure.

    As far as booking a different line, I completely get booking what you are comfortable with since it is an investment. I am not loyal to any line right now, and definitely want to book several different lines. I'd say to keep doing your research with a variety of cruise lines.
     

    starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    On Allure last year they also showed movies in the Amber Theater during the day.
    True but they (pp) were asking about Funnel Vision so I presumed that they weren't curious about the indoor movies.

    Lots of good advice. Thanks everyone! So, in comparing (which I know is hard since they are different experiences) would you say the 4 largest RC ships are most comparable to Disney (oasis, allure, harmony and symphony)? I know Royal has some older ships and I don't want to be disappointed with a ship in need of updating/maintenance or with very little to do. I am hesitant to try something else other than DCL since if it's a flop that is money that could have gone towards DCL but on the other hand.....DCL is so very pricey.
    I'm going on Independence next Jan. It was recently updated and in terms of size is probably comparable to the larger 2 DCL ships. In terms of on board stuff... tbd.

    With the bigger ships, people love them, and people also do not love them. You won't hate it - it's still a cruise after all - but you'll only know which category you fall into after doing a cruise. And I get it - there's a bit of fear of the unknown - but you can't look at cruises through that kind of lens. You'll enjoy yourself. The question, really, is whether you'll enjoy more or less than your DCL cruise.
     

    John VN

    DIS Cast Member
    Joined
    Aug 2, 2003
    I used to be so loyal to DCL until I got priced out. So, we decided to try Royal, and I'm very pleased to say that we've never looked back. After 3 Royal cruises, and a fourth one booked for next summer, we're hooked on the value, the entertainment, essentially everything a Royal Caribbean cruise has to offer.
    Pricing has us switching also. "B4B" i.e.-- Bang 4 Buck has become our mantra. We are even trying other lines.

    This is very interesting to read. We went on our very first cruise--Disney Dream this spring. While I loved it, I found the family areas so jam packed, it was suffocating for me (i.e. the pools my kids were allowed to swim in, and as much as I wanted to do the Aquaduck with them, I couldn't bear the crowds and lines). I enjoyed the adult areas, but this meant the kids had to be in the childcare (during times our 10 year old preferred not to be we found ourselves at a bit of a lull). My teen did enjoy all the funnel vision movies that played on Disney--and the movie theater. Does Royal have those?
    suffocating is how we felt at DL compared to WDW and I guess that is one of the reasons we like Oasis. Size Matters when lots of cruisers on board.
     

    Frozen2014

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2014
    Lots of good advice. Thanks everyone! So, in comparing (which I know is hard since they are different experiences) would you say the 4 largest RC ships are most comparable to Disney (oasis, allure, harmony and symphony)? I know Royal has some older ships and I don't want to be disappointed with a ship in need of updating/maintenance or with very little to do. I am hesitant to try something else other than DCL since if it's a flop that is money that could have gone towards DCL but on the other hand.....DCL is so very pricey.
    I would pick based on amenities. Symphony and Harmony have waterslides, dry slide, which are also being added to Oasis (Dec) and Allure (following year). These ships are also the best when it comes to shows and food options. All 4 have rock wall, zipline and Boardwalk which is lots of fun. Symphony also has laser tag (and its being added to Oasis - not sure about Allure). They also have a parade in the promenade and other fun stuff. They also have more pools and although more people, everyone is spread out so it doesn't feel as crowded.

    Mariner, Independence have been refurbished to also add the perfect storm waterslides and Sky Pad. Navigator has different waterslides...more like the Disney ones. They look like tons of fun . (Going in august so can't comment yet from personal experience).

    I would avoid the smaller ships if coming with kids as they won't have the extra amenities.

    They all have kids clubs (which I can't comment on as our kids didnt go) and a daily cruise planner with fun activities for all.
     

    ScooterScott44

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 23, 2018
    So, in comparing (which I know is hard since they are different experiences) would you say the 4 largest RC ships are most comparable to Disney (oasis, allure, harmony and symphony)?
    Not really, the Oasis Class (Oasis, Allure, Symphony, Harmony) and Quantum Class (Anthem, Ovation, Quantum) are really bigger, newer and don’t really match up well to any of the Disney ships. You have to drop back to a couple other tiers to get a better comparison. The Radiance Class is probably the best comparison to DCL classics (Magic and Wonder) but it is just a little bigger. The Voyager Class is just a little bigger than the Dream class and the Freedom Class is even a littler larger but both of those are the closest.

    Many of the ships that are closer to Disney sized are a little older but like Disney they do regular dry docks so are pretty well maintained. Also some of those have been through major overhauls which Royal calls “Amped”. We were on Oasis not too long ago and it is in for major dry dock soon. We did not think it appeared as old or dated as she is. If you do choose one of the older ships try for one that has already been amped for the latest and greatest.
     

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