Disney Cruise VS Royal Caribbean Cruise


I had so very much fun on the cruise to Cozumel last week!  I'm so blessed to have girlfriends with whom I can be completely myself and am still loved for it.  We were a wild bunch...I think several times we might have been mistaken for absolute lushes (even though none of us drink alcohol).  So many memories made!  With that said, I mentioned yesterday that our Royal Caribbean cruise paled next to a Disney cruise (which I'd like to note had an infinitesimal effect on the amount of fun had last week), but today I'm going to go ahead and compare some of the more detailed aspects in case anyone is really mulling over the two possibilities...costs, ports, activities, etc.


Having only been on two cruises, please keep in mind these are solely my own opinions and is strictly a comparison between the Disney cruise line and Royal Caribbean....although, between you and me, I have a feeling it could apply to most other popular cruise lines.
Okay, here we go...

Service:  Disney is known for its fabulous and attentive service.  They basically fall over themselves helping you and your children in every aspect.  The staff and crew seemed to really be happy to be working (even though I've heard they're paid not so great).  Our service on Royal Caribbean was dismal.  Not only were we talked down to and treated like idiots by our first dinner waiter, but each time we asked a crew member a question, 99% of the time their answer was a smiling, "I don't know."  This even applied to us asking where the bathroom was...they didn't know!!!???!!!!  Inexcusable.
Disney-1  RC-0


Ports:  Our favorite part of the Disney cruise was spending a day on the Disney-owned Bahama island of Castaway Cay.  It was amazing!!!!  I know that you can pretty much pick and chose your ports depending on when you cruise, but for this comparison, I'm sticking with my own experience.  On RC, we went to Cozumel, Mexico...which in itself isn't too impressive...however, we paid $100 for a dolphin experience and it was the best money I've spent in a looooong time.  Not only was the service great and the dolphin encounter was an experience of a lifetime, the state park of Chankanaab was the perfect place to spend the rest of the day lounging on the beach, snorkeling, etc.  I highly recommend this port/excursion...I'd love to take my kids back to swim with the dolphins.  Even though in my heart I know there's not much that can beat Castaway Cay, this one is gonna be a tie.  Blame it on my affinity for our dolphin, Frida.
Disney-2  RC-1


Food:  No comparison.
Disney-3  RC-1


Rooms:  The RC ship we cruised had supposedly just been renovated, however, there was some basic functionality that severely lacked.  One being our showers. They flooded into the entire bathroom and overflowed into the rooms.  The toilets flushed only occasionally.  Think about those two things for a sec...most people would throw a hissy fit at these basic accommodations performing so poorly.  The rooms were fine, albeit smaller than our Disney rooms of the same level.  Comparing this "newly renovated" RC ship with the older Disney ship we cruised, the quality of rooms and accommodations was still superior with Disney.
Disney-4  RC-1


Onboard Entertainment:  This is where a stark contrast can be made.  Obviously, Disney goes out of their way to ensure the highest quality shows and entertainment...I mean, like a slight step below Broadway people...pretty awesome.  Whereas the RC shows of Ice Dancing, comedy, and imitation show tunes were a step above a high school production.  I know that's harsh...because it's clear they really do try...but it's the hard, unfortunate truth of parents' thousands of dollars wasted spent on ice skating lessons, manifested in cruise ship entertainment headliners.  I kinda felt bad for them.  We did enjoy seeing the winners of "The Sing Off" perform a cappella...that was the best entertainment on the RC ship, although I don't think they're permanent.
I also want to make something clear...Disney cruises are by no means only for families with young children.  In fact, older kids and even adults tend to have more fun simply because of the vast array of options for them.  So in case you're reading this thinking it's an unfair assessment of kid-friendly versus adult cruises...I assure you, it's certainly not.
Disney-5  RC-1


Costs and packages:  This one is a bit tough to compare because I cruised RC alone and Disney with my family of 6.  But I will say that I paid $480 for my single Royal Caribbean for a 4 day cruise and we paid under $2500 for the same length on Disney for 6 of us.  I'll let you do the math.  Disney also includes more in their price, such as drinks, treats, etc....I bought a $30 drink package for just sodas on RC and there were only 2 places on the entire ship at which I could fill up my cup.



So I think I'll stop there.  No need to embarrass other cruise lines by highlighting Disney's superiority.  I think it's clear to lower your expectations if and when choosing to cruise with another line after cruising with Disney.  In our case, the company kept made the trip.  It didn't matter if our rooms were flooded or if none of the crew had working knowledge of the cruise or if the food left us wanting (figuratively, not quantitatively) or if we never got the promised cupcake bar we were so much looking forward to...we still had a wonderful time together and I believe that's really what matters.  Yes, we can't wait until our next Disney cruise, but sometimes you have to look at the experience as a whole.

When deciding on a cruise line (if I haven't convinced you Disney is the best option yet), go with people with whom you'll enjoy no matter what "set backs" come your way.  What I'm trying to say is, if you get a smokin' deal on Royal Caribbean or Carnival or Princess...go for it and make the best of it.

Just don't say I didn't tell you so.  :)




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14 comments:

  1. LOVE disney cruises! we just went on one in january and had a blast!

    www.modernsuburbanites.blogspot.com

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  2. I've never cruised and have been DYING to do a Disney one...after reading this I feel better about not "settling" for another line.

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  3. Oooh, I loved this! I have only been on one cruise (Carnival) before kids, but I don't think I would want to do a non Disney cruise with kids after reading this. I love Disney and how well they do everything, so I'm not surprised their cruises are fantastic, too!

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  4. I like the Disney cruise I haven't been on the other ones but I say Disney rocks they have new technology and everthing crazy cool even tho the other ships are cool im with Disney hands down

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  5. Done both Disney and Royal Caribbean several times. I guess I've had a different experience...like 180 degrees different. My article would sound the same, except in RC's favor..haha.

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  6. Thanks for taking the time to write this but I feel your report is a little slanted and I think you overlooked a number of RC benefits. First, your soda pass can be refilled at any bar or restaurant. In fact, RC has the Coke Freestyle machines which are amazing.

    Second, the price difference is a BIG deal. I mean, Bentleys and Rolls Royces are great cars but I buy Ford or Dodge because the price difference is considerable. You mentioned the price and the fact you could do about 2-3 RC cruises for 1 DCL cruise is not just a little anecdote.

    You did not mention which RC ship you sailed on and I think that does matter for the comparison.

    Also, for entertainment, did you overlook all the activities the ship offers? RC offers rock climbing walls, ice skating, flow riders just to name a few. Don't forget the casino either.

    For food, where did you eat? To be a good review, you ought to give a few more one to one examples.

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  7. Like the previous post states, there are only a few items on this list. Ports of call on any cruise line vary and some are not as clean or exciting than others. I have never been on a Disney Cruise but am researching it for my famliy if 4, two kids 8 and 1. The ports are limited on Disney. I've sailed multiple times on Carnival and RC and RC has always been my preference. This age of the ship does matter in my opinion. The size of the rooms are important. RC provides a much larger room for less money. I've been on a carnival ship and the water sloshed out of the shower on days with rough seas. I have only had rooms with tubs on RC so this is not an issue. If you are going to pay that kind of money for a Disney cruise, you may as well put your money to a larger room with walk in closet and large balcony with RC.

    All that said, I'm still torn and the curiosity of The hype of Disney cruises nags at me. I think the decision will still lead me back to RC.

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  8. I've been on fourteen rc cruises and have never encountered the poor reviews you had listed. That's truly unfortunate.

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  9. I haven't been on any other cruise line other than Disney, but I have done my research on the others and as far as I am concerned, nothing compares to Disney. All of the extras are actually included in the price... including the famous soft server ice cream dispenser and soda fountain on the pool deck. Our first cruise was out of Port Canaveral, Florida. We did the western Caribbean itinerary... The cruise was just so perfect and enjoyable that I can't think of any other vacation I had been on where I could so completely take my mind off of work. If you add up all of the extras on say RC... the price is comparable... If you go Disney you won't go wrong.

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  10. I am an adult with no kids. I never thought I'd like cruising until I sailed on the Disney Wonder. I fell in love, but here's the catch...I'm only a Disney cruiser. I've been on all 4 ships and have sailed 12 times since 2008. I make sure to talk to my fellow cruisers to find out which other cruise lines they've been on. At least 80% of the people I have 'polled' have said after sailing Disney they would not go back to the competitors. This includes a lot of people without children. I'm not knocking the other cruises but I know what I like and I don't want to be disappointed.

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  11. How did you pay less than 2500 for a family of 6??? Just curious because the 4 day I'm researching for my family of 5 seems to be way more than that!!

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    1. I would like to know that too! I have never encountered a price that cheap, but if there's a secret, I would love to know too! :)

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  12. Prices have definitely sky rocketed. We were able to book out a year in advance for my family of 5 for 5400. We cruised Disney Fantasy 7 nights Dec 5, 2015. We had an oceanview room. To go and price that out now is more around 8000 and all ocean views with the 5 person capacity and interior are booked as far out as you can book. So basically we are going to try to watch it when it opens up for Nov/Dec in 2017. The farther out you book the better, but you have to borderline stalk it! Not possible to get the 2500 deal any longer. The word is out and everyone is hopping on and booking early and going Disney...

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  13. Prices have definitely sky rocketed. We were able to book out a year in advance for my family of 5 for 5400. We cruised Disney Fantasy 7 nights Dec 5, 2015. We had an oceanview room. To go and price that out now is more around 8000 and all ocean views with the 5 person capacity and interior are booked as far out as you can book. So basically we are going to try to watch it when it opens up for Nov/Dec in 2017. The farther out you book the better, but you have to borderline stalk it! Not possible to get the 2500 deal any longer. The word is out and everyone is hopping on and booking early and going Disney...

    ReplyDelete

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