Royal Caribbean Cruise

So my wife and I had previously looked at doing a DCL tack on to a future Disney trip. But…truth is, some of the Disney stuff, such as character, etc., Just doesn’t seem like it is worth the premium you are paying. And, Castaway Cay doesn’t seem as nice as Perfect Day through RCCL.

So anyone want to share their tips and tricks and experiences with a RCCL cruise out of Port Canaveral? What about gotchas…things not included in the price, etc.


Actually, I am hearing over the top reviews about DCL just now. That they are 100% doing it right and it is absolutely worth every penny.

Just sharing what I’ve heard as I have no personal experience with either line.

To be clear, if money were no object, we’d probably do DCL. They rank top notch, for sure. We watched a ton of videos on their cruises. But, the price is pretty much double (or more) what we’re seeing for RCCL…but the extra amenities aren’t necessarily worth double the price for us.

So, wanting some first hand experiences with RCCL. I know there have been people here on these forums who have mentioned past RCCL cruises, so hoping to get some input!


Gotcha. I misunderstood!

No…more like I wasn’t clear enough. So, it’s all good! :slight_smile:

This - every time we look to book.

Unlike DCL my experience with RCL was that I could pre-pay all “extras” (other than extra tips and parking at the port). It allows me to budget costs). I have booked excursions, drink packages, and pre-paid tips over a year out and cancelled/re-booked as “sales” happen.

I had a blast in DCL. I will be booking RC for my next cruise.

For RC I have not traveled to Port Canaveral but I did for DCL. Travel and parking was easy. My experience with RC was that parking was paid for after the cruise.

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Okay. This part I wondered about. When I toyed around with a booking to price it out, the fine print was confusing…but made it sound like if you cancelled a booking, they would refund you a “credit” minus $100/per person. So it sounded like if you did a cancel/rebook cycle on a sale, you lose $200. But, as I said, it was confusing, so perhaps that’s now what it meant!

I’ve done DCL out of Canaveral and RCL out of Galveston. The dedicated port boarding building for DCL in Canaveral was much nicer than the shared one in Galveston but it was just a couple of hours to boarding so not that terrible. I felt personally bombarded like watching Hulu or Youtube without the premium ad-free versions (which I have the ad-free versions because I do not like being upsold). So I preferred DCL because drinks are included for example so the moment you walk onto the boat I didn’t have to walk through a million people holding up signs for drink packages. On RCL I took DD to the pool and got harrassed there by a guy walking around selling drink packages. When I’d walk through the main shop area on RCL, there was tons of signage for sales, that I never really had to deal with on Disney and I could easily avoid the shop area on the DCL but not on the RCL. The worst part of RCL for me was the floor I was on towards the front of the ship had the most horrendous smell but if I was coming from the front elevators I had to walk through that stinky area to get to my room. That and the toilets smelled bad which I didn’t get on Disney. I think because we are a family that does the extras, like the Chef’s Table (which we were also hounded to purchase as we sat in the wine bar on the first check in day) was not as good as Remy’s. The main dining room food was hit or miss on RCL for different meals but the other paid for restaurants were good (but again on Disney Palo for example is only like $30 extra and is incredible whereas your standard mexican on RCL was more and not as a good though it was good). Considering we paid for things like the drink package, the chef’s table, the extra dining, and excursions our RCL cruise did not end up being much of a discount from Disney’s and I preferred the less selling on DCL and the lack of bad smells. However, my experience in anecdotal and I’m pretty sure the RCL ships that sail out of Canaveral are bigger and newer than the ones that sail out of Galveston. We took a car service to the port from Universal Studios when we were in Canaveral and were literally dropped off right outside of the boarding port building security area which was wonderful. The parking garage was just across the way for DCL so I would hope its similar for RCL.

I book my RCL through a TA and they have always repriced my cruises. Sometimes it reduces the overall cost, sometimes it gives you an onboard credit.

If you buy a drink package or internet or an excursion, those “extras” can go on sale (Black Friday has been a great day in the past). You can cancel/re-book that too.

Sorry, I didn’t notice this until now.

We’ve done 1 DCL cruise (Magic, 2005) and 15 RCL since then. Our sons were teens when we did our first cruise (the Disney one). We discovered we love to cruise, but RCL met our needs better, mainly for cost, things to do on the ship, and itineraries. We’ve sailed RCL out of PC 9 times, as well as Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, New Orleans, Galveston, and Vancouver. We like sailing out of PC because it’s easy to get to (and not in a big, tangled city) whether driving or flying into MCO and taking a shuttle like Cortrans, and we’ve become very familiar with MCO. We have not driven our own vehicle to RCL’s terminal, we had a one-way rental that we dropped off near the port then took the rental company’s shuttle to the ship.

Like others have mentioned, the basic price does not include gratuities, photos, alcoholic drinks, premium coffee, soda (they do have regular coffee and iced tea if you need caffeine), other non-alcoholic drinks like smoothies, fresh squeezed juice, mocktails, shakes, and bottled water, specialty restaurants, on-board spa/salon services, internet, bingo cards, fitness classes, most room service, ship-to-shore phone calls, off-hour childcare, nursery, laundry/dry cleaning, things on their private beach/island like cabanas, and the casino. They do have several beverage packages and internet packages which you can buy ahead of time or on the ship.

Disney cabins have the split bathroom - one room has sink and toilet, the other has sink and tub/shower. RCL standard cabins have one small bathroom with sink, toilet, and shower.

Disney ships do not have casinos, RCL ones do.

RCL used to have characters from Dreamworks movies, but that ended a few years ago.

RCL has 6 different classes/sizes of ships. Disney has 2.

Depending on the RCL ship, you might have activities like rock climbing, zipline, Flowrider (surfing machine), mini-golf, ice skating, indoor skydiving, or bumper cars.

We usually eat dinner in the main dining room. The food choices generally suit us. We are not "food snobs’ by any means, and we try to make do with the free food/drink choices rather than the upcharge coffees or dining venues. Once in a rare while we might eat at Johnny Rocket’s or a specialty restaurant but usually that’s because we have a coupon or special offer.There are so many places to get food, nearly all day long. Drink packages can be nice if it seems worth it to you to have unlimitied sodas, for instance.

RCL’s Perfect Day has some free things to do/beaches to go to, and some that have a price.

We have stayed with RCL mainly because of their loyalty program (more freebies/discounts the more you sail with them) and we think they do a good job for the price.


Thanks for the wealth of information.

We are leaning heavily now toward a 4-night RCL cruise, probably in January 2024. Looking at Allure of the Seas, most likely…but possibly Mariner of the Seas.

As far as the extras…we will probably want the soda drink package, but NOT the alcohol drink package. We’re also trying to figure out the best way to handle communicating with one another WHILE on the ship…internet package hardly seems worth it, only the on-ship chat feature (which still costs a minimal fee) doesn’t provide any notifications, so it sort of becomes pointless. So I can see that RCL is purposely trying to upcharge you for things in that way. (I’m investigating the use of the Bridgefy app as an alternative to paying, but there are some bugs they have to work out first to be useful…plus, enough people would need to have it installed on their phones during the cruise.)

We do have a travel agent to book us (we know them personally, and they do lots of cruises for various lines EXCEPT Disney). And we have some friends who might end up joining us. They have done two cruises before…one Disney, and one Carnival.


DH and I usually get the 1-device internet package. We usually have our laptops or tablets along (internet addicts - (emails, weather back home, news, various forums) and take turns.

Before the on-ship chat feature, many families used the inexpensive handheld radios (walkie talkies). Communicating with each other on the ship hasn’t been a problem for us. Usually it’s just the two of us, and we make plans to meet up back in the cabin, or one of us will be in a certain area for a while (such as pool deck). It’s been 8 years since we sailed with others, such as our sons. If we all sailed together now, given how much we all use our smart phones, we’d likely want to do something like that app.

We’ve been on sister ships to the Allure a total of 4 times. Nice ship, lots of things to do, places to eat, places to just hang out. We’ve also been on a sister ship to the Mariner and will do so again this fall. We especially like the Freedom class. If it’s just the two of us, we’re good with ships smaller than the Oasis/Allure class. For a 4-night cruise, it looks like you’d have only one day at sea. There’s still plenty of things to do onboard the Mariner during the day for that one day.

On the Mariner, all rooms with balconies face outwards and you can watch the ocean. On the Allure, there are rooms with balconies that face inwards, to a courtyard type of thing (Boardwalk and Central Park neighborhoods), along with rooms with balconies that face the ocean. You can save money and still have a balcony with those inward facing ones, but for your short trip, I’d get one that faces the ocean.


We have had awesome experiences on Royal Caribbean, and perfect day at coco cay is probably the best private island out there. If you’re looking for a new or another forum to get great info, to me is the touring plans of Royal Caribbean :wink: The owner Matt Hochberg constantly puts out new articles and videos on you tube. In fact, this one posted yesterday and covers all options for how to communicate with others on the ship.
How to communicate on a cruise ship - YouTube

We have cruised RCL out of Baltimore and Port Canaveral. We sailed on the Mariner out of Port Canaveral in November '21 and that was when they had designated boarding group times so boarding was a breeze. I used my liner experience and got the first boarding time, lol. I’m not sure if they are still doing that. We stayed at a nearby hotel the night before which I could recommend.

Enjoy!! You won’t be disappointed!