Comparing cruise lines, Disney or Royal Caribbean

Disney is quite a bit more expensive than say Royal Caribbean or Carnival. What make Disney worth the extra money or is it not better than the later.

To me it was better because the ship was cleaner (there was a hallway on RC that I avoided it smelled so bad and our bathroom didn’t smell great coming from the toilet), the service was better, the food was better in the normal restaurants and the top dollar restaurants aka Palo and Remy were much better than the Chef’s Table experience on RC, I really enjoy Disney and the interactive scavenger hunt and theming of the ice cream restaurant to Wreck-It-Ralph just tickled my fancy, they didn’t try to upsell you so hard on extras, some things are included like sodas and soft serve ice cream that aren’t on RC which my kids enjoyed, the Pirates night and fireworks are in Disney fashion of course, the rotating restaurants are superbly themed, the spa was better with better service and the Rainforest room was wonderful. I also preferred the Beauty and the Beast show to the Saturday Night Fever show as well but I will give RC the ice skating rink. Also preferred the water roller coaster on Disney over the slides on RC. I preferred the theming of the bar area too on Disney but the open mall feel of RC where the bars were was nice and different and I did enjoy that. If you want to gamble you can only do it on RC but I liked the private island on Disney for a comfortable beach day.

Plus bigger bathrooms or split bathrooms on Disney not on RC. My kids liked having an arcade on RC though and that wasn’t on our Disney boat. They spent a lot time in the arcade.

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There is a comparison post for another perspective

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My ships were Disney Dream 4 Day to Bahamas and our staff was amazing so their experience sounds off for Disney. I was only asked once on Disney if I wanted to upgrade to a water bottle package on the first day at the pool by one person without a big wonky sign. I had to walk thru a slew of advertisements by people holding up signs to buy drink packages, etc. on Navigator of the Seas (Western Caribbean 7 days) for RC just to get on the ship and while we waited for our room to be ready I was hounded in the mall/bar area to buy extras. Our waiter was terrible in the regular dining room (though my sister in laws was better as they didn’t seat us together so we would go join their table in sessions to get the better service LOL).

A long time ago I did a Princess cruise and the food was okay but this was before the giant ships of today with all the activities and I don’t really remember the service so I cannot really compare it.

I will say we did enjoy many things on the RC and it was not one of the newer huge ships with even more to do but I just remember thinking this isn’t Disney (we did it about 10 months apart after having done Disney first) and my family members concurred who had done both aka Mom & Dad & kids.

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You can have a great experience/poor experience on any cruise line (including Disney). I think we can all say “this was my experience” but generalities such as “Disney has the best food” or “Disney has the best service” will never reflect everyone’s experience.


Yup but for 100% I can guarantee you the Navigator of the Seas has a stinky hallway and that is a fact (unless they’ve fixed it). LOL

Our first cruise was 4 nights on Disney Magic, with DH and sons who were just-turned 19 and almost 15. We chose Disney because it was a known name. Since then we’ve done 15 on RCL, sometimes with our sons, sometimes without. We tend to be frugal, and are not foodies.

Opinion: DCL is a quality product.

Both try to out-do each other in terms of on-board physical activities (zipline, rock climbing, ice skating, bumper cars, roller skating, minigolf, water slides/rides, carousel, artificial surf for wakeboarding, indoor skydiving, escape rooms, etc).
Both have extensive kids’ programming.
Both have private islands/beaches - if your itinerary stops at them.

RCL is cheaper.
RCL has casinos (DCL does not)
RCL has more ships going to more places than DCL, so more itineraries to choose from.
RCL has more ship sizes and styles than DCL (RCL ranges from more than 73,000 to over 228,000 gross tons, DCL is about 84,000 to less than 130,000 gross tons). Some people like smaller, some like bigger.
DCL standard cabins have split bathrooms with tub/shower & sink and toilet & sink, while RCL has one bathroom with shower, toilet, sink (no tub in standard cabins).
RCL has one main dining room (MDR) for the regular evening meals, where you have the same waitstaff each night. DCL has three main dining rooms and you (and your waitstaff) rotate through them in subsequent nights.
DCL can have fireworks at sea.
DCL has Disney/Star Wars/Marvel/Pixar characters and designs. RCL does not. RCL used to have Dreamworks characters (Shrek, Madagascar, etc) but that ended two years ago.

Now that DH and I are retired (no grandkids), we have talked of maybe sometime doing another DCL cruise, just for the two of us, because we do think it would be fun to splurge on that quality experience. Otherwise, for our needs, RCL suits us best.


One BIG difference for me as a solo traveler…

RCCL has beds that separate or can be put together - meaning best-case you have a lump or dip in the middle of the bed; worst-case you get eaten by the mattresses every night.

Disney has queen sized mattresses.

For me, that is a big pro! I get if you’re not traveling with a significant other, it might be awkward and then the separate - though small - beds would be better.

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