Will we be disappointed if we don't cruise DCL in Europe?

jbthrone

Earning My Ears
Joined
Mar 4, 2014
I just made reservations on the Magic for August of 2019. We used a placeholder discount and will get money back from Costco (both are great!). We have been on 4 Disney cruises and all were fabulous. However, we are a family of 6. I just checked Norwegian for a similar itinerary and the cost difference is over $12,000! I LOVE Disney, but I don't know if I can justify it. My kids will be 21, 21, 20 and 18, so the kids clubs aren't an issue. Any experiences on DCL or Norwegian would be helpful to me. I'm not very flexible on dates because of college and work schedules for the girls. Thanks for any insight!
 

cadien

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 19, 2017
I’ve done both lines. For port-intensive itineraries like Europe, we can’t rationalize the Disney upcharge. And our kid enjoys both kid clubs equally.
 

lilsonicfan

<font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
Joined
Jan 20, 2003
I’ve been doing a lot of DCL vs NCL comparing myself and I think the short answer is: it depends.... We are booked on the DCL transatlantic in May 2019 and I was looking into a b2b. For my family of five the difference was huge as well with NCL. Not $12,000 huge but still big. So we decided to book on the NCL Epic in the Haven for what it would cost to sail in two insides or ocean views on DCL. NCL has a lot of European choices, the Epic is a mega ship but many of their smaller ships also sail Europe.

The general sentiment appears to be that sailing a port intensive itinerary such as in Europe means that the benefits of DCL may not really make so much impact.

I even considered switching our transatlantic to NCL as again it’s so much cheaper ... but leaning toward keeping DCL for my young kids.
 
  • DisneyWishes14

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 21, 2011
    IMHO, there is zero reason to spend $12k extra on a DCL European cruise with adult children. Don’t get me wrong, we loved our DCL Europe cruise in 2015, but my DS was 7 at the time, so it was an easy way for us to see European ports and still keep him entertained with all DCL has to offer younger children. You won’t need that with adult children. We’ve sailed NCL and it’s fine. The service isn’t as great as DCL, but that’s still not worth 12 grand, You may also want to look into Celebrity which is nicer than NCL, but still typically cheaper than DCL.
     

    3monkeys4me

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 2, 2010
    I think we will be doing Royal for the European cruise we are considering. For us, with certain cruises, the itinerary is the most important thing and med. cruises are that way. Really we have traveled a decent amount in Europe on land and my MIL will be traveling with us our next trip. She has a hard time dealing with her luggage and just doesn't do well on the trains (which is really our favorite for Europe) so we are going to try out a cruise. We are looking at doing Italy, Greece and Croatia which isn't something available on Disney so Disney isn't really and option for us on that particular trip.

    But anyway, with 4 adult children I don't think Disney is worth the extra charge. I would look at other options (and the NCL one sounds fine!) and either plan some really fun excursions or plan a few extra days on either side of the cruise to really make the most out of your trip.
     

    keaster

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 27, 2008
    Agree with all those above. DCL is priced really out of line with what other cruise lines charge for med cruises. I also did some pricing for a future Med cruise and found we could sail concierge on NCL for at least $8,000 cheaper than a regular veranda on DCL. With such a port intensive cruise and with all adults, I think you would be better going with a more affordable option.

    We did DCL in 2010 when our daughter was 7 and yes, it was amazing. It was also way cheaper than what they are charging today!
     

    jdb in AZ

    It could end up curdled
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2011
    We cruised the Baltic with Celebrity. The food was much better than DCL, and the $$$$ we saved paid for some great shore excursions.
     
  • Pens Fan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 27, 2014
    We've done both lines as well, and I would never pay $12K more for Disney, especially for a group of adults in Europe. Even if you are really looking for the Disney element in your vacation, you're not going to have much time to experience that on a port intensive cruise like Europe.

    We love DCL, but had a wonderful cruise on NCL last summer. There were things we missed not sailing on Disney, but also things we preferred on NCL. Personally, I'd pick the itinerary, timing and pricing that worked for our family and not worry about which cruise line we are on. Apart from the Disney aspect, I honestly don't find any big difference between Disney and the other mass market lines.

    You didn't say which NCL ship you were looking at, and they have several in Europe, so I did want to point this out. If you are looking at the Epic, check out the bathroom layouts. There really isn't a separate bathroom, per se, but a little toilet area and shower area (both separated from the main part of the cabin by frosted doors) and the sink inside the cabin itself. It doesn't bother some folks, but some hate it. We've never sailed on that ship, so I don't have any first hand experience, just what I've read online. You will only have that issue on the Epic, though. NCL's other ships have regular bathrooms.

    We are sailing on the NCL Jade next year in Italy and Greece. I looked at Disney's itineraries, but they didn't have any that compared to the one we are taking and the prices were much, much more than we would want to spend. It's a shame. We were on the first DCL Iceland cruise and it was fantastic. DCL does a wonderful job in Europe, but their prices have just gotten past the point where we see the value anymore for sailings that are more about the destination rather than the ship.

    ETA: With as many people in your party as you have, be sure and price out suites vs multiple cabins. You might find that the pricing is better for a large suite vs a bunch of individual cabins. NCL really knows how to treat their suite guests! We've never been able to stomach the cost for DCL concierge, but quite enjoy the NCL suite life.
     
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    cruiser21

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 19, 2016
    Your kids are all adults. I see absolutely no reason to spend the extra money on DCL. 12k is a lot of money.
     

    aggiedog

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 13, 2012
    Not worth it. We made the same decision last summer, but sailed with MSC. A concierge room with MSC cost half of what a standard room on DCL would have cost. A DCL concierge room would have cost something like 2-3x what we spent. Crazy! We saved enough money to do a week in France before the cruise. I didn't like MSC as much, overall, but there were no sea days, and we were off the ship first thing, and back on right before sail away. A shower, dinner, a board game with the kids, and we were in bed ready to repeat it all the next day. I did LOVE, however, the MSC concierge experience. I would totally sail them again for that.
     

    deanimal

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 21, 2011
    I've sailed both DCL and NCL in North America as well as 2 European cruises on other lines, all with kids under the age of 10. Overall, I agree that the extra charge is totally not worth it for Disney in Europe. If you could afford Disney prices without breaking the bank, you might want to consider the Haven on NCL. They have amazing suites and amenities and the service and food is head and shoulders above Disney in our opinion. However, every family is different. I think the important question to ask yourself is whether you want a Disney vacation with a bit of Europe thrown in or if you want a European vacation and would like to add some Disney magic. For us, Europe is magical enough without adding Disney so it's an easy choice.

    Of course, for $12000 more you could always add a stop at Disney on the way home if you wanted to get your Disney fix as well!
     
  • cruiser21

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 19, 2016
    I've sailed both DCL and NCL in North America as well as 2 European cruises on other lines, all with kids under the age of 10. Overall, I agree that the extra charge is totally not worth it for Disney in Europe. If you could afford Disney prices without breaking the bank, you might want to consider the Haven on NCL. They have amazing suites and amenities and the service and food is head and shoulders above Disney in our opinion. However, every family is different. I think the important question to ask yourself is whether you want a Disney vacation with a bit of Europe thrown in or if you want a European vacation and would like to add some Disney magic. For us, Europe is magical enough without adding Disney so it's an easy choice.

    Of course, for $12000 more you could always add a stop at Disney on the way home if you wanted to get your Disney fix as well!
    12k would be a really nice WDW trip. Wouldn't it? Imagine the possibilities.
     

    Carrie in AZ

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 18, 2003
    Well, our Disney-fanatic friends (kids ages 14, 12) just returned from sailing on Princess on a British Isles cruise and they said it was their very best vacation! They love Disney and sailing on DCL but they could not justify the price of DCL in Europe.

    I agree with the poster above who said there is nothing Disney could offer you to justify $12K more.

    Have a great time!
     

    jbthrone

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Mar 4, 2014
    Wow! Thanks for the great information! I appreciate the help. Yep. I just couldn't stomach that much of a price difference. We will evaluate our options and probably end up on Norwegian.
     

    darnheather

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 28, 2013
    I'm a DCL advocate 95% of the time but this time I'd say no way. Instead add 3 days at Disney Paris if you need some Disney in your life. You'll still be able to pay for airfare, tips, and some great excursions with the extra $12,000.
     

    bcwife76

    DisneyMomma
    Joined
    Dec 10, 2014
    My husband really wants to do a northern Europe cruise in 2020 (might push back to 2021) and we are most likely choosing Norwegian as well.
     

    cadien

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 19, 2017
    Well, our Disney-fanatic friends (kids ages 14, 12) just returned from sailing on Princess on a British Isles cruise and they said it was their very best vacation! They love Disney and sailing on DCL but they could not justify the price of DCL in Europe.

    I agree with the poster above who said there is nothing Disney could offer you to justify $12K more.

    Have a great time!
    I was just looking at Med cruises on Princess yesterday so that's good to hear! Their kids clubs sound great with the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet tie-ins. They don't currently have the itinerary we want for 2020 but that could still change. We'll do NCL if nothing else works but we'd rather not.

    Edit: Just remembered the OP is looking at switching to Norwegian. The things we didn't like are pretty quirky to us. Most people love them. And things like service, food, cleanliness are fine.
     

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