Disney cruises are quite a bit more expensive than Royal Caribbean or Carnival. What makes them better than the later? For you cruisers out here.
I don’t think it’s better. It’s different and it’s a niche. The only line with Mickey and Cinderella and Captain America and Darth Vader. They also have rotational dining, which is fun.
With that acknowledged, I’ve done a handful of different lines and am loyal to none. I have yet to have a bad cruise and I’ve done DCL, NCL, Carnival, and Princess.
Carnival - for me - shot themselves in the foot with their “Fun Ship” ads that painted them as a party line. Zero desire to try them.
RCCL is nice - entertainment IMHO is far below Disney’s level. But I am an entertainment snob, so… I will cruise RCCL (though I prefer Celebrity since I am a solo adult) again.
As @qwerty6 said, with Disney you get the Disney characters and Disney experience. But RCCL is fine as long as you know that going in.
I think my wonderful Carnival experience was partly because it was predominantly families and more mature adults out of NOLA on a weekday heavy 5-night.
TBH my first Princess cruise was actually rowdier!
Just saying…they are an example of how advertising sticks. I know several people besides myself who won’t try them because of their early party ship advertising.
Personally I also feel like their interiors look like Vegas, and zero desire to go to Vegas. (Which is also why though they are adult-only, Virgin Voyages holds very little interest to me. The interiors just look tacky.)
We have done two cruises, One DCL and one Carnival. DCL at the time was The Big Red Boat and I loved the programing for different age groups. Didn’t care for the Porthole view but that’s all there was at the time. We did a Land and Sea Package that was three night WDW resort and 4 night DCL. Depending on the room level you purchased on ship gave you a better resort at WDW. Carnival on the other hand was the Triumph which you may remember a couple of years ago got stuck at sea with a major fire on board. We were well before that happened. There were way too many people, and sales staff were constantly trying to sell you things. Dinning was good but waiter was bad. Cosamel shore package was bad as we were boated to a private island which was ruff and the crew tried to get more money out of the passengers. They also gave Liquor to my children of 12 and 14 years of age. After our stop in Jamaica which was a bad experience in itself with beggers all over the place, once back on ship the halls smelled of Marijuana the whole return trip. Kids allowed in the adult pools and no supervision. It wasn’t all bad but I would not do Carnival again. Maybe Royal Caribbean but we have a DCL coming next April for the Caribbean.
We have done 16 cruises, but none with Disney. Holland America was nice for older adults, but they didn’t have much for our kids and their boats are not as showy as some of the other lines. We love Princess, but Royal Caribbean had a much better program for our kids from a young age through teenage years. We went on one Carnival cruise and hated it. So, our kids are grown now, but while we were cruising with them we preferred Royal Caribbean.
I don’t think your Carnival experience will be anything like your DCL one from the sounds of it.
Over the last almost 21 years we have cruised on Celebrity, Carnival (3x), DCL, and Royal Caribbean.
That makes it look like we loved Carnival, but in fact my sister worked for them and we cruised w/ her for dirt cheap.
Hands down, our favorite is DCL. I love how Disney has infused magic throughout the ship. The rotating dining rooms…with your wait staff is much nicer than being in the same space or battling different options every night. We found that there was a lot for the kids to do and that you didn’t really see unsupervised kids roaming the ship. Food, service, and entertainment were all first rate. We specifically booked a cruise that visited Castaway Cay twice and I would be happy doing a cruise that just visited there!
Next I would put RCL and Celebrity. They are owned by the same company. We sailed Celebrity first, when we got married back in 2000. It was lovely, service and food were amazing and the entertainment was fine. We didn’t have any kids back then so I can’t weigh in on that. RCL was a great option for us when we looked at another family cruise and couldn’t rationalize the DCL pricing. We had a great time, food, service, and entertainment were all good. We weren’t wowed, but we were also sailing on an older ship in the fleet…not one of the big megaships. Their private island was beautiful and we enjoyed it almost as much as DCL’s!
Carnival was not our favorite, but was fine. They would definitely be one of my last choices out of all those lines we have already sailed with. It is a bit too over the top for me. Too loud, too glitzy, etc. DCL, & Celebrity were both a lot more classic in their decor with RCL being slightly less so but not the over the top Vegas vibe that Carnival has.
Like WDW…any day at sea is better than a day at home/work. If I am paying (ie not the family discount rate), I am probably not choosing Carnival. If I am trying to watch my budget I would go w/ RCL or Celebrity (depending on sailing, ship, etc). If I was splurging…DCL in a millisecond.
Which carnival ships have you used?
We did Valor.
I totally don’t remember off the top of my head. My now almost 20yo was 2yo at the time so it has been a while. My sister will remember. I will ask!
I remember all the other ships, but the Carnival ones weren’t chosen by us…we sailed on whichever one my sister was working on at the time.
I think I’m gentle on Carnival bc it provided solid family memories. And I paid almost nothing. If I pay a lot, I expect a lot. I’d I pay a little, I expect much less. I paid very little for it. They had fun kids’ programming, excellent food, and movies on deck that appealed to our whole family. And it was a calm family vibe. And we loved the Dr Seuss show and breakfast. I’d do carnival again just for more Dr Seuss meals.
It all depends on what you’re looking for. I’d recommend the Cruise Critic forums to learn more, but beware they’re a little snarky over there.
We’re childfree millennials, so we don’t do Disney or Carnival cruises because we don’t want to be swarmed with children. In fact, our next cruise is with Virgin Voyges, which doesn’t allow children at all.
But we’ve also done Norwegian, Royal, and Celebrity. We didn’t love Royal - felt like their staff was all just phoning it in and their programming was lackluster. Had generally very good experiences on Norwegian, but just be prepared that they have upcharges for a TON of stuff, which is generally people’s big knock on them. And Celebrity is more focused on older adults; less nightlife, less programming in general, but still a good experience.
What I’ve found with Disney is the kids are generally in the clubs (I’ve actually seen fights where the parents want to spend time with the kids and the kids are wanting to stay in the clubs) and not around! I saw the few kids on the HAL cruise to Alaska way more than I’ve seen kids around and underfoot on Disney. There were fewer kids on HAL, but it seemed like more because their club programming was so limited and not what the kids wanted to do.
I like the adult-only aspect of VV…but it just looks like cheap and cheesy Vegas to me. Not my idea of fun or relaxing.
I think with the Edge Class, Celebrity is moving towards younger adults.
Well, I also like Vegas, so again goes back to my original point of “It all depends on what you’re looking for.” And trust me, VV is anything but cheap, lol.
Oh I know it is preference- I’m glad we have choices!
And I know - there is a difference between looking cheap and being cheap!
I think the fact that all the other cruise lines have casinos and DCL doesn’t is why DCL is more expensive.
DCL has split bathrooms in their cabins, which is a feature a lot of people like, especially when you have kids to get showered before dinner.
The rotating serving staff in the main dining rooms is nice, because you get to know your servers, but still get to experience the three dining rooms.
Other lines have the ‘any time’ dining, but I’ve heard that it can be hard to get your desired reservations where and when you want.
I love the entertainment on DCL, but I expect other lines have good entertainment, too.
I don’t think the pool areas on DCL are very good. That could be improved, but there is a lot of room for sunning and there are adult only areas of the ship, which, when the ship is predominantly families, is not very crowded.
It is because DCL only has 5 ships so there are far less staterooms available across the fleet as compared to Royal Caribbean or Carnival who each have 24 ships (as per a quick Google search)!
You will be hard pressed to find deeply discounted sailings on DCL because their demand is high and they have enough families willing to pay full price.
Anyone done any river cruises?