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  #1  
Old October 4th, 2012, 12:45 PM
melly923 melly923 is offline
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Default Is Disney worth the difference? Help us pick our family cruise!

Hi! I am not new to CC but I haven't logged in, for quite a while and I needed to register. Excited to be back and planning another cruise. My DH and I have taken a few cruises as a couple but we are planning our first with our young kids. Looking for advice. We always enjoy a port-heavy itenery. (Well actually my DH insists on it). We would like to cruise in Fed 2013, so it's coming up soon. Our kids will then be just turned 4 and 20 months. While we haven't cruised with kids yet we have traveled extensivily with them all over Europe, so we feel that we can handle a cruise with the kids.

The 2 choices we are talking over are RCCL Western Caribbean on Freadom of the Seas. OR Western Caribbean on Disney Fantasy. Personally I know my kids would love Disney. They love all the Disney songs and characters and would have a great time b/c of that alone. However, it is way more expensive, almost $3,000 more. Not sure it's worth the huge extra costs. I would love any advice from people who have been on either ship. I know both have good kids programs including programs for toddlers which we do plan to utalize so we can catch a dinner and a show alone a night or 2.

Also, any advice on Port activites and excursions or just beaches that are fun for families would be awesome.
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  #2  
Old October 4th, 2012, 12:57 PM
rebeccalouiseagain rebeccalouiseagain is offline
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My advice would be to do Freedom of the Seas. I've done Disney and my son absolutely loved it. A Disney cruise is everything you would expect- nice youth program, characters onboard, kid friendly from start to finish. However- if you are like me- you don't like being on a ship that is 50% kids. Dining with strangers wasn't fun for me because in my case- the child wasn't well behaved and it put a damper on dinner- which was noisy and kid-centric. Never again.

You'll have a better mix of adult activities and kid activities on Royal. There is a H2O zone for kids in diapers on Freedom class. On Disney there is a small little pool for kids in diapers- that continually circulates a stream of water- nothing like on Royal. The baby room on Disney was the "crying room". This would not be a place I'd want to leave my 2 year old. On Royal there is in cabin sitting (upon request and availability $19 per hour) and also the new toddler program where you can drop your 2 year old off.
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Past cruises: Norwegian Pearl Pacific Coast 5/3/2014 My Birthday! Celebrity Solstice Alaska 5/8/2014Enchantment of the Seas 12/6/13 Bahamas, Grand Princess Alaska 7/19/13, Celebrity Solstice California Coast 5/13, Serenade of the Seas Western Med (1/4/13)Celebrity Summit Bermuda(8/12/12),Celebrity Infinity Alaska 7/6/12
Caribbean Princess New England (8/11), Holland America Maasdam New England (6/11)Celebrity Equinox Norway (7/09), Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas (4/09) Grand Princess British Isles (08) Holland America Zuiderdam Greece/ Turkey (08) Oceania Regatta Caribbean Southern Caribbean (08) QM2 Transatlantic (07) Celebrity Millenium Western Med (7/07), Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Eastern Caribbean(4/06), Disney Wonder Bahamas (8/05), Celebrity Constellation (4/06), Sapphire Princess Alaska (5/24/05) Celebrity Millenium Transatlantic (5/1/05), NCL Spirit Eastern Caribbean (3/05), Celebrity Galaxy (10/04), Carnival Victory (6/04), Celebrity Zenith Bermuda (10/01), Celebrity Zenith Eastern Caribbean (4/01),NCL Dynasty (12/00) NCL Sky Alaska (7/00), NCL Wind Alaska (5/98), Crown Princess Pacific repo (5/98), Royal Sovereign of the Seas Bahamas (10/97), Costa Victoria Western Caribbean (3/97), Crown Princess Alaska (6/96), Vera Cruz Christmas (1981), Holland America Volendam Christmas (1980), Holland America Veendam Christmas (1975).

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  #3  
Old October 4th, 2012, 01:22 PM
cb at sea cb at sea is offline
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I'd have to 2nd that..Freedom has tons for everyone to do...and you'll have a great vacation, for a lot less money than on Disney. I'd save the Disney experience until the kids are older and can truly appreciate the "magic"!!!
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  #4  
Old October 4th, 2012, 01:31 PM
Gatrcruzer Gatrcruzer is offline
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I agree with the above posters, BUT just want to point out that the H2O Zone is only for potty-trained children, and children in diapers are not allowed. This is for health safety reasons. There are people who do not honor this, and go anyway, and they are not always caught. But just so you know, Freedom does have a small wading pool like Disney for those who are not potty trained. They MIGHT have in-room sitting available for a large fee, and have started their own nursery, similar to Disney. They will both provide an awesome experience, but $3000 sounds like way too much for me.

Only caveat: just be prepared for a lack of bathtub in many categories on RCI. You need a Junior Suite or higher to get a tub. If your children are fine with showers it is not an issue, but you might want to get a plan together if they are not.
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  #5  
Old October 4th, 2012, 02:03 PM
rebeccalouiseagain rebeccalouiseagain is offline
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This shows you pictures of the baby splash zone on Royal

http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com....php?t=1187319
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Caribbean Princess New England (8/11), Holland America Maasdam New England (6/11)Celebrity Equinox Norway (7/09), Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas (4/09) Grand Princess British Isles (08) Holland America Zuiderdam Greece/ Turkey (08) Oceania Regatta Caribbean Southern Caribbean (08) QM2 Transatlantic (07) Celebrity Millenium Western Med (7/07), Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Eastern Caribbean(4/06), Disney Wonder Bahamas (8/05), Celebrity Constellation (4/06), Sapphire Princess Alaska (5/24/05) Celebrity Millenium Transatlantic (5/1/05), NCL Spirit Eastern Caribbean (3/05), Celebrity Galaxy (10/04), Carnival Victory (6/04), Celebrity Zenith Bermuda (10/01), Celebrity Zenith Eastern Caribbean (4/01),NCL Dynasty (12/00) NCL Sky Alaska (7/00), NCL Wind Alaska (5/98), Crown Princess Pacific repo (5/98), Royal Sovereign of the Seas Bahamas (10/97), Costa Victoria Western Caribbean (3/97), Crown Princess Alaska (6/96), Vera Cruz Christmas (1981), Holland America Volendam Christmas (1980), Holland America Veendam Christmas (1975).

Upcoming cruises:Celebrity Constellation 8/9/15

Last edited by rebeccalouiseagain; October 4th, 2012 at 02:04 PM.
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  #6  
Old October 4th, 2012, 03:06 PM
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redxpanda redxpanda is offline
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DCL is a lot of fun, and my DD (15 month ) loved her short time in the nursery despite the crying going on around her. It was a really good cruise overall and super easy even with small children.

The only problem I have with DCL is the rates! They seem to sky rocket out of our price range quickly, especially 7 nights.

It is important to plan very early when rates first come out. Speculation is the 2014 DCL rates should be released soon. I am working with my Disney TA to have her get me a quote As soon as the rates are released. I am crossing my fingers that it will be low enough for us to say yes. If not, we are also looking at Carnival and NCL. Both of which also have programming for 2 year olds.
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  #7  
Old October 4th, 2012, 04:42 PM
melly923 melly923 is offline
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Thanks for the replies so far. To the point about the shower, does anyone know if the shower head comes off, attached to a hose? My kids have taken "showers" like this, sitting on the shower floor with me spraying them with the hose, but not actual standing-up ones.
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  #8  
Old October 4th, 2012, 08:09 PM
Keith1010 Keith1010 is offline
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Eventually do Disney but I would wait till the children are a little older.

Keith
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  #9  
Old October 5th, 2012, 01:38 AM
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Comes down to if those 3 thousand $$$$ change your life, year, month or what. Value means different things to different people, we did Disney when our kids were 3 and 6. We got some cute and special pictures/memories, they enjoyed the characters and disney themed stuff, 11 years later they remember almost nothing.

Would I do it again, yes, but the reality of it all is great cruise/vacation can be had with our without the mouse.
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  #10  
Old October 5th, 2012, 10:51 AM
Gatrcruzer Gatrcruzer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebeccalouiseagain View Post
This shows you pictures of the baby splash zone on Royal

http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com....php?t=1187319
I believe that this is on the Oasis, not on Freedom. Freedom has the smaller splash pool, similar to Disney, and the H2O Zone is only for potty trained children on Freedom. Here is a link to someone's photos from Freedom, and you can see the little pool that is for those in diapers:

http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com...hp?p=35586422#

Can't remember about the shower. For some reason I think it was a fixed shower head. I believe some people bring blow up tubs to stick in the shower in order to bathe little ones, but that probably would not work as well for the 4 year old.
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  #11  
Old October 5th, 2012, 04:03 PM
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If it was my cruise, for $3k more, I'd stay with Freedom OTS, but everyone's choice for their value can be different.

But before final payment deadline, do continue to keep an eye on special deals at DCL like IGT/OGT/VGT, but usually they don't come out until after deadline so I guess that doesn't help

I did some comparison months ago and if you compare the pricing for low season in mid/late January, DCL Fantasy and Oasis/Allure OTS are pretty much the same for the similar type of cabin ... not sure about it now.
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  #12  
Old October 5th, 2012, 04:07 PM
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Lionesss Lionesss is offline
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We sailed both Disney (Magic) and RCI (Freedom and Mariner).
Oh yes, we love Disney who wouldn't, but for the price..........wow. The last time we looked
we can get on RCI a grand suite for the same cost on Disney in a Cat 7. In other words big difference.

We love RCI
Remember we do not live in a perfect world, and RCI does have needs but, we like her.
And moving up the loyalty ladder.

Safe travels.



Sue and crew

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  #13  
Old October 5th, 2012, 04:20 PM
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There is no comparison - even when I ask my girls. Their favorite ships are RCI Freedom class. They have been on RCI Freedom, RCI Indy - Disney Magic and Disney Wonder - they don't EVER ask to go back on Disney.

They do ask when are we going on Oasis

And the Baby Splash zone is not that small compared to "Mickeys hat"

THIS is the Freedom's Baby Splash zone (and to answer the shower question - yes the head is removable AND adjustable on all RCI ships)





And the Mickey hat which is the baby area on Disney



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  #14  
Old October 5th, 2012, 04:25 PM
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Here - this is a picture of a shower on our Enchantment cruise. I didn't take a picture of our Freedom or Indy shower. But you can see the shower head is movable.

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RCI Enchantment 8/3/12 - Addicted to BERMUDA!
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RCI Enchantment of the Seas 5/28/11 - Bermuda
RCI Grandeur of the Seas 9/11/10
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RCI Independence of the Seas 2/1/09
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  #15  
Old October 5th, 2012, 10:43 PM
flhokie flhokie is offline
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I've cruised on Disney & RCCL, Disney pre-DD and RCCL pre & post DD. We are taking DD on her first cruise next year--on Allure.

The one thing that I thought was excellent about Disney was the ship itself. They do the classic oceanliner very well. Other than that, I did not care for Disney and do not plan to sail on them with DD, especially for their prices.

Personally, I'd sail on RCCL and put the $3000 towards another vacation or something else. When we were on RCCL recently (without DD), the kids in the children's program were having a ball (we saw them around the ship several times).
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  #16  
Old October 6th, 2012, 03:22 AM
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I think Disney is great, and would try to do it at least once. But a $3,000 premium on a 7 night cruise? I'd rather go on Freedom and spend a few days at Disney. Did some quick math, 7 day park hoppers for two adults and one child (your youngest won't need a ticket) is $1,052.15, though you'd want at least two days to rest so a 5 day hopper would probably be sufficient. If you like camping, then a campsite at Fort Wilderness (on Disney property) averages $50 a night non-peak; that's $350 for 7 nights. Ok, so now you've just gotten an extra 7 days of vacation, all at Disney, just with the money saved by booking the really awesome Freedom of the Seas, and still have over $1,500 (ok, probably more like $500-$1,000 after splurging on character dining, few meals out, etc.). Even if you don't like camping, you can stay at a value resort for $100/night or so (depending on what time of year, obviously it'll be higher during peak season).

Well, that's just how I look at it. Or...book Freedom of the Seas now, bank the extra $3,000, and wait for an irresistible deal on a Disney ship (saw a really, really low Transatlantic last year or the year before; if we weren't in Alaska at the time, I would have jumped all over that).
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  #17  
Old October 6th, 2012, 10:26 AM
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I agree that at this age RCCL would be a great choice. I love Disney, but I think for the money you should do it when your children are older. Then they will remember it!
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  #18  
Old October 6th, 2012, 12:07 PM
GoldenRose GoldenRose is offline
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We have a 7 year old son and a 1.5 year old daughter, and we've cruised a fair amount. (My husband and I will hit Diamond on RCCL on the cruise we're booked on for next summer, and our 7 year old will hit Emerald in his own right.) We currently have two cruises booked, coincidentally, one Disney and one RCCL.

Our son did his first cruise at 7 months, our daughter at 14 months, both on RCCL. We were not very impressed with what they for babies and toddlers on RCCL 6 and 7 years ago, but we thought they had much better resources for the under 3's 6 months ago. On the particular ship we were on in February, they had a toddler play group every morning (they've had this for many years), they had toy check out (you could borrow one bag of toys for the whole trip, or trade it out as often as you wanted if your child didn't like the toys or was ready for new ones), and they set up an indoor age appropriate play area with books and toys for the entire cruise. The last is not standard, as I understand it, and depends on the percentages of younger children to older children.

Anyway, we've been very happy with children's programming on RCCL recently. We're also about to try Disney, because we've been curious about it, and they made it easy for us by sailing out of Galveston this year.
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  #19  
Old October 6th, 2012, 10:55 PM
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VillaHappy VillaHappy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melly923 View Post
Thanks for the replies so far. To the point about the shower, does anyone know if the shower head comes off, attached to a hose? My kids have taken "showers" like this, sitting on the shower floor with me spraying them with the hose, but not actual standing-up ones.
Short answer - yes. I would put a towel or something on the shower floor before bathing. Just my .02
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Jewel of the Seas 7 night Southern Caribbean from San Juan; November 2013
Adventure of the Seas 7 night Southern Caribbean from San Juan; February 2013
Disney Magic 7 night Western Caribbean from Port Canaveral; March 2012
Liberty of the Seas 8 night Eastern Caribbean from Miami; February 2011
Freedom of the Seas 7 night Western Caribbean from Port Canaveral; February 2010
Grandeur of the Seas 5 night Bermuda from Baltimore; July 2009
Mariner of the Seas 7 night Mexican Riviera from San Pedro, CA; March 2009
Explorer of the Seas 9 night Canada/New England from Cape Liberty, NJ; July 2008
Nordic Empress 4 night Nassau/Freeport from Miami; November 1993
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  #20  
Old October 6th, 2012, 11:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crusinmama06 View Post
There is no comparison - even when I ask my girls. Their favorite ships are RCI Freedom class. They have been on RCI Freedom, RCI Indy - Disney Magic and Disney Wonder - they don't EVER ask to go back on Disney.

They do ask when are we going on Oasis

And the Baby Splash zone is not that small compared to "Mickeys hat"

THIS is the Freedom's Baby Splash zone (and to answer the shower question - yes the head is removable AND adjustable on all RCI ships)
I love you, Crusinmama! <3 My kids don't ever want to go back on Disney. They love the Freedom class ships, and we would go on Freedom again anytime!
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Independence of the Seas 8 night Eastern Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale; January 2014
Jewel of the Seas 7 night Southern Caribbean from San Juan; November 2013
Adventure of the Seas 7 night Southern Caribbean from San Juan; February 2013
Disney Magic 7 night Western Caribbean from Port Canaveral; March 2012
Liberty of the Seas 8 night Eastern Caribbean from Miami; February 2011
Freedom of the Seas 7 night Western Caribbean from Port Canaveral; February 2010
Grandeur of the Seas 5 night Bermuda from Baltimore; July 2009
Mariner of the Seas 7 night Mexican Riviera from San Pedro, CA; March 2009
Explorer of the Seas 9 night Canada/New England from Cape Liberty, NJ; July 2008
Nordic Empress 4 night Nassau/Freeport from Miami; November 1993
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