Royal Caribbean Cruise vs Disney Cruise

Since returning from a DCL 4 night cruise on the Dream in August I wanted to share some observations comparing my RCCL 2018 and DCL 2019 experiences.

A little background: these were adult trips. I traveled on these two cruises with my adult son and his girlfriend, The RCCL Cruise was a 7 night Bahamian cruise to Port Canaveral, Nassau, and a cancelled port (RCCL private island before the dock was built). The DCL Cruise was a 4 night to Nassau and Castaway Cay.

**Staterooms: **

RCCL: our stateroom was a category D1 on the Anthem. The stateroom was 198 sq. feet plus 55 on the verandah for a total of 253.

On the Dream our stateroom was a Deluxe stateroom with verandah for a total of 246 sq. ft.

Both rooms had nightly towel animals:




Following. I’m very interested b/c these are the 2 main cruise lines I’m looking at for a first cruise for my family.

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Ships and activities:

Matt Hotchberg described the Anthem as being different than other RCCL ships on a podcast and I don’t know what exactly that means, but the Anthem has a lot of activities : bumper cars, an escape room, iFly, Observation arm:

The Dream has the sports deck (sorry no pictures).

Both offered activities throughout the day but when we won trivia on RCCL we won a highlighter. On the Dream we won a DCL keychain!

Adult pool areas:



In good weather I loved the DCL areas (real pool). In colder/bad weather the RCCL area is sheltered but it is really a wading pool with multiple hot tubs.


Both ships have a nightly “show”. RCCL had three shows plus nightly live music, and two adult comedians.

DCL had nightly shows and a magician.

The Dream has “the district” and there are over 18 activities every night.

Night one was Snipets:

(My son’s amazing girlfriend is on the left)

Here they are during Match Your Mate

RCCL the entertainment was more “provided” (does that make sense?

Speciality Dining:

We did a “signature” event on each ship, and a lower level specialty dining on each ship.

Izumi (RCCL) vs Palo (DCL)



We enjoyed them both but Izumi was less than 2/3 the cost of Palo.

Wonderland (RCCL) vs Remy (DCL)



There is no contest here- Remy might be a lot more money but it is worth every penny!


I thought about naming this thread “lies I was told about cruising” but I realized I was surprised which parts of each cruise I preferred.

Let me start with “my lies” (just my own experience, you may disagree):

  1. “Disney staterooms are larger than other cruise lines”. My RCCL stateroom was 7sq. ft larger. I know it is almost the same size but I have heard the statement that Disney is the largest over and over again.

  2. “The service from the stateroom attendants and main dining room staff on a Disney ship cannot be beat”. I cannot tell you how strongly I disagree with those statements. I had to spend the first day searching for our attendant just for hand soap (none in the bathroom). I actually had more positive interactions with a few of the another attendants that I saw in the hallways. They knew my name and were lovely. The main dining room? Our waiter stopped us on the way out of the dining room after the second night. To his credit he apologized for the service we did not receive the first two nights. He then said it was the kitchen’s fault.

In both of these cases the RCCL service greatly exceeded DCL.

We did have magic on our cruise and it was lovely and unexpected.

I don’t want to give the impression we were demanding or did not have amazing service in other ways but the service everyone always talks about was not our general experience. I will never forget Jentzen.

To follow up on #2

  1. “The food in the main dining room is great on DCL”. To be fair I have heard a lot of comments recently that it has not been great. Maybe our waiter was right- the kitchen was sending out mediocre food.

  2. “Disney doesn’t nickel and dime you.” More on that later…

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What I found surprising was the things I loved about DCL:

  1. The adult areas! I loved the pool area, the District with all the themed bars, and serenity bay on Castaway Cay.

  1. We loved Castaway Cay!

  2. Although we missed live music we enjoyed the planned adult activities.


I’ll probably never get to either of these cruises (too much $$) but following bc I :heart: cruising to the bottom of my heart. :heart:.


Love the photos and the review. I won’t ever cruise, but lots of good info.


I shared with someone today that I was writing this because I couldn’t shake the cost of the Disney Cruise. I don’t think it helped that within days I received a survey that included this:

Why do they need to know that? Honestly, having the ability to pay for something and be willing to overpay for an experience is a personal choice.

Final numbers on each cruise:

I am sure there would be an increase in the price of the RCCL in the almost two years since we took it.

7 night cruise for three adults- $3166 add $1050 for the drink package (Black Friday sale) and $500 for internet, onboard dining and brewery tour- total for 7 nights $4600

Disney Cruise line:

Four night cruise for three adults- $5161.00 add $1380 on board (Palo, Remy $700, jet skis, alcohol) total $6500

I understand that DCL comes with soda but I could prepay the alcohol package on RCCL and get unlimited bottled waters and speciality coffee.


My first and second cruise experiences were DCL, separated by 13 years. The first one planted the seed that I’d try for another “someday” but we did other things for lots of reasons. Then we did DCL 4N Magic in 2016 and it was nothing short of amazing. It was so amazing that I was worried about trying something else. That four night for 8 people in secret porthole rooms cost $4500, plus tips. It was off season and it was 2013 when we booked.

We loved cruising and wanted to do a 7N in 2016. 7N for connecting inside staterooms for the 8 of us on Fantasy would have been $11,000. For NCL (Norwegian) we found 7N (similar ports) connecting balcony staterooms for the 8 of us for $5500 for the same week.

DH and I were a little worried to try something other than DCL. When you read a lot of DCL forums I read time and time again how awful the other lines are. Would we enjoy NCL? Would the kids? Would we be nickeled and dimed non stop? Etc. But we reasoned that even if we would have had more fun on DCL, would we have TWICE as much fun??

We went for it (and spent a week at WDW before going on the NCL and it still cost less!) and didn’t regret it at all.

Since then I have been on two Princess cruises with mom friends and the family did a budget Carnival cruise.

I’d love to do a DCL again but not only is it astronomically priced (we have to adhere to school schedules now that kids in college), but I wonder if there would be enough to do vs. the ships with ropes courses and skating rinks and massive waterslides and and and.

The things I liked about DCL:
The entertainment really is above and beyond what I’ve seen on other lines.
As someone who likes both set dining times and teams, but also likes multiple venues, the rotational dining is wonderful.
The Buena Vista indoor movie theater knocked my then-tweens’ socks off.

Don’t mean to hijack @MagicDust - but I am all about cruising and I think those of us who enjoy Disney-related travel need not feel like its DCL or nothing.


You are referring to the nightly entertainment? We did not see Beauty and the Beast because it conflicted with Remy but the other shows were not at the same quality as the Gift (although that had a really strange moment) or We Will Rock You on the Anthem. I think it is only the larger RCCL ships ( more expensive) that offer those types of shows? I think the reason I enjoyed the main dining experience con RCCL was due to my set time and team. What I learned on DCL is that a weak team can impact you too.

Would I cruise DCL again? Most likely I know it is the only line my husband would be happy on. Although I prefer the activities on a larger ship. We had a blast, but we can have a blast anywhere!


In the nutshell this is us, too. We had a blast on a dinky, old Carnival ship this summer.

Agreed - poor serving teams or cabin stewards make a huge impact. I never even met our steward on DCL. Granted he did shake DH’s hand but I was the lead on the other stateroom and he didn’t bother to meet me. My best steward ever was on Princess.

Yes. The entertainment I’ve seen on NCL, Carnival and Princess didn’t compare to the evening stage performances on DCL. I also like that on DCL the meal times were set so it was easy to go to show or dinner and then do the other. NCL is not set up that way. We needed reservations for everything and with a large group it was extremely hard to get the set times we wanted. Carnival did it like DCL.

Thanks, that is helpful for future planning!

I’ve seen a lot of surveys but never one that went up to $10 million…

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Usually Disney has asked me about my annual income. I know Len and Jim Hill said they thought this question was to see if there was a loyal base for “boutique cruises” (is that the phrase?). Other surveys I have taken always ask for me to not count the equity I have in homes. This, to me, is the “how much are you really worth question “.


Two years later I want to thank you for this quote. I’ve been listening to many DCL podcasts lately and they make it sound like all other cruise lines are floating turds on water.



I stand by it.
We loved DCL, but we also had a massively great time on a budget cruise on an old Carnival.

I miss cruising so much. Can’t wait for that last piece of the Covid garbage to disappear.