Kids Program - RCCL or Carnival?

Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!

Family Cruises
Cruising with kids? Best Family Cruise Advice
Cruise Critic's Family Cruising Resources
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 06:40 AM.
#1
Houston
36 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
About to book a Thanksgiving or Christmas cruise and curious which kid's program is better? Last year we went on Carnival Magic (2 yo and 5 yo) and they both LOVED the Camp Carnival. They literally stayed there from open to close. Haven't been on a RCCL cruise with them, so could anyone provide feedback on that kid's program?

Thanks
Shannon
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Rhapsody of the Seas - W Caribbean- Oct 2002
Carnival Celebration - W Caribbean - 2003
Carribbean Princess - E Caribbean - Sept 2005
Norwegian Star - Alaska - May 2006
Splendour of the Seas- W Caribbean - Jan 2007
Carnival Ecstasy- WC - April 2008
Carnival Ecstasy-WC - Feb 2009
Crown Princess - E Caribbean - April 2010
Carnival Magic- W Caribbean - Feb 2012
Disney Wonder - Bahamas - Dec 2013
RCCL Liberty of the Seas - W Caribbean - Nov 2016

#2
1,180 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
I only have experience with the nursery on Royal Caribbean as DD is only 2. That was great!

I've read many great things about their children's programs on here. Most people seem extremely happy with them (biggest debate I remember seeing was which is better--Disney or RCCL and many felt RCCL was better).
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
DCL Fantasy -- 2/2015
MSC Divina 11/2014
Allure of the Seas 5/2013
Monarch of the Seas 9/2012
Royal Princess 8/2010
Ruby Princess 4/2009
Grand Princess 4/2008 Married at Sea
Grand Princess 7/2005
Ocean Princess 12/2003
Carnival Fantasy 9/2003
Voyager of the Seas 7/2001
Disney Magic 5/2000
Ocean Princess 4/2000
Premier 1999
Carnival Fantasy 1998
Song of America
Premier
Crown Cruise Lines
Costa Riviera
#3
45 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
I just had my 3yo twins on the Oasis. My dd did better in adventure ocean than my ds. They tend to do a lot of organized activities which is great for older kids. They were in the 3-5 yo age group. So the activities were great for the 5 yo's but a little advanced for a 3yo. My ds prefers to just play on his own most of the time. So I think the staff got frustrated with him not listening and transitioning between activities. If he'd been allowed to just play with the cars or the legos or whatever he would have been totally fine.

That said, they both liked being there and the staff was patient with both of them. They had a superhero theme one day and my ds really loved that one.

They will come pick the kids up early from dinner which was a nice perk. And on port days you can leave your kids on the ship while you get off. We did that one morning but we had grandparents still on the ship so we felt okay about it. I don't think we would have left them otherwise. So on port days they'll take your kids to lunch which they don't do on sea days.

My older kids (10 and 12) weren't interested in attending at all.
#4
29 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
We only went on the RCCL (Oasis) when my now almost 4 year old was 6.5 months old, so he was in the nursery. I have to say, I was very pleased with the staff. I come from an Eastern European country and one of the staff there was from the same as well - she was so excited to see my baby every time I dropped him off, she spent a good deal of time almost individually watching him. I'm actually still friends with her to this day, and we met on that cruise!

We went on Carnival (Pride) when my older son was 2.5 and my little one was 6.5 months. My older son initially had some reservations about going, but by the end of the cruise he was dragging me by the hand to take him to "school". Someone mentioned that organized activities were a problem on RCCL...my son didn't always take part in those either, but the Carnival staff just shrugged it off and let him do his thing while the other kids did the activities.

So, I'm very happy with both RCCL and Carnival. Honestly, I don't think you can go wrong on either one. They're both good services.
#5
Buffalo, NY
1,200 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
I only have experience on carnival (Pride). My daughter loved it both times, she was 2.5 & 3.5. She wanted to go often. My son hated it. He had just turned 2 only a few weeks before and was just much too young for it IMO. We tried 3 times & he cried for me every time. The staff was nice, they tried. But, like previous poster said, he wasn't into the organized activities. He would have liked to just play with the cars or something but they were cleaning them up and put them away and that's when he started crying (according to my 3.5 yr old anyways).
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Carnival Destiny- 11/1999
Carnival Victory- 3/2006
Carnival Fantasy- 2/2008 *we got married*
Norwegian Jewel- 10/2010 *dd first cruise*
Carnival Pride- 9/2012 *ds first cruise*
Carnival Pride- 5/2013
Norwegian Breakaway- 4/2014
Norwegian Breakaway- 10/2016 *dd2 first cruise*
#6
Houston
36 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
Thanks for everyone's opinion. My DS will be 4 by then and in preschool, so he does somewhat well with organized activities. My DD will be 6 and she's hoping she gets to do "cooler" stuff, but loves hanging out with her little brother. We still haven't decided which cruise we'll be taking, but hope it has a good kid's program.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Rhapsody of the Seas - W Caribbean- Oct 2002
Carnival Celebration - W Caribbean - 2003
Carribbean Princess - E Caribbean - Sept 2005
Norwegian Star - Alaska - May 2006
Splendour of the Seas- W Caribbean - Jan 2007
Carnival Ecstasy- WC - April 2008
Carnival Ecstasy-WC - Feb 2009
Crown Princess - E Caribbean - April 2010
Carnival Magic- W Caribbean - Feb 2012
Disney Wonder - Bahamas - Dec 2013
RCCL Liberty of the Seas - W Caribbean - Nov 2016

#7
Buffalo, NY
1,200 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
4 & 6 should be perfect! We are cruising next year and DD will be 4 and DS will be just turning 3. Hoping he does better this next time LOL! Anyhow, I think you cant go wrong with either program
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Carnival Destiny- 11/1999
Carnival Victory- 3/2006
Carnival Fantasy- 2/2008 *we got married*
Norwegian Jewel- 10/2010 *dd first cruise*
Carnival Pride- 9/2012 *ds first cruise*
Carnival Pride- 5/2013
Norwegian Breakaway- 4/2014
Norwegian Breakaway- 10/2016 *dd2 first cruise*
#8
Rockwall TX
5,069 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
The Carnival kids club looked great and had a bunch of activities but I could never get my son through the door. He was 2 1/2 on our last trip, is an extremely friendly/social child and goes to daycare regularly but he was NOT having it. I am hoping if we take him on a cruise again he will be more open to trying it. On our ship (Magic/Oct 2012) if you didn't bring them happy you couldn't leave them to adjust and the crew didn't really help to encourage him or try to get him to stay. I know if we could have gotten him in the door, after 5-10 minutes he would have loved it.

Both Carnival and RC were great for my older two children and they always had a great time in both equally; But they started cruising at 10 and 12. This is my first experience with a younger child on vacation and we haven't been on RC with him yet to give a comparison.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Happy Cruising, Kerry






Carnival Dream 3/6/16
Carnival Triumph 10/12/13 - Platinum cruise!
Carnival Magic 10/14/12 and 3/9/15
NCL Spirit 3/13/11
RC Voyager 3/16/08
Carnival Conquest 5/28/06 and 3/8/09
RC Rhapsody 11/20/05 and 6/17/07
Carnival Ecstasy 5/12/05, 9/28/06, 3/15/07 and 10/6/07
Carnival Celebration 9/28/02 and 8/9/04
#9
Colorado
170 Posts
Joined Oct 2011
Originally posted by Precious68
About to book a Thanksgiving or Christmas cruise and curious which kid's program is better? Last year we went on Carnival Magic (2 yo and 5 yo) and they both LOVED the Camp Carnival. They literally stayed there from open to close. Haven't been on a RCCL cruise with them, so could anyone provide feedback on that kid's program?

Thanks
Shannon
See, it depends on the kids and the ages. My boys were 10 and 6 on the Magic, and hated the kids club (except night owls the paid part). We had a great cruise though and they really enjoyed themselves.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature



Past Cruises:

Carnival Magic 2015 Belize, Roatan, Cozumel
Carnival Magic 2012 Jamaica, G Cayman, Cozumel
#10
3,722 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Generally in the 8YO and under set - any line's kid's program will be fairly similar. DD did not care for Disney (a little too unstructured for her - she was young and most of the activities were open to all age groups), but otherwise Princess, RCCI, X and NCL were all great in her book -- games, movies, sports, crafts. Once a typcial kid hits the 8-10YO age range, they are looking for something beyond coloring and ga-ga ball. It is at that age range that individual ships (not even so much lines) and that ship's amenities start becoming more important.

Going over Thanksgiving is a mitigating factor -- I know that NCL put on extra kids crew and converted a conference center room to overflow play on one of our Tgiving cruises because of the big number of kids expected. We have cruised RCCI and X during American Tgiving, but those have been Med cruises so the number of kids booked was really not any different than other times and thus no special considerations -- don't know what RCCI does if they expect a larger than normal number of kids.
#11
18,837 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
We have had lots and lots of debates around here about that very same question.

I have had some Carnival nightmares. So after three tries - they are off of my list. Others like you have had some wonderful experiences with them.

So if you were to ask me - I would say "ROYAL!" But if you have already had a good experience with Carnival and the prices are obviously cheaper then don't change what you like
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

RCI Enchantment of the Seas 05/20/16
RCI Anthem of the Seas 11/8/2015
RCI Allure of the Seas 5/4/14
Norwegian Getaway PreInaugural 1/27/14
NCL Breakaway PreInaugural 5/8/13
NCL EPIC 11/24/12 - Ewes Baby!
RCI Enchantment 8/3/12 - Addicted to BERMUDA!
NCL Gem 10/2/11 - Back to Bermuda!
RCI Enchantment of the Seas 5/28/11 - Bermuda
RCI Grandeur of the Seas 9/11/10
Carnival Triumph 6/7/09
RCI Independence of the Seas 2/1/09
Disney Wonder 09/11/08
Carnival Sensation 08/07
RCI Freedom of the Seas 5/07
Carnival Elation 11/06
Disney Magic 2/05
NCL Norway 6/02
RCI Sovereign of the Seas 9/98
RCI Sovereign of the Seas 9/97
Kids club schedules and children's menus including RCCL Adventure Ocean, Camp Carnival,
Disney, NCL, Princess, HAL and Celebrity posted here....
http://photobucket.com/cruisekidpages
#12
18,837 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Oh and I was only answering your question based on the topic "Carnival or Royal"?

So to answer about the actual Adventure Ocean - it is a wonderful program. My kids adore it. They have a pirate party and PJ party. During the pirate parade they dress the kids up and march them throughout the ship and "take over the ship". We have been to talent shows and circuses.

The older ones go to pool parties and proms.

I can't say enough about the program. The worst thing about AO is trying to convince my girls to stay OUT of AO. I have to set ground rules where they have to eat meals with me. And that doesn't always work because AO has special kid dinners. So sometimes my kids go to dinner with me AND AO friends.

And my girls aren't like this with EVERY program. I got called every night on Epic to come pick up my 8 year old. And I got called a few nights on Gem too. So there is something different about AO.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

RCI Enchantment of the Seas 05/20/16
RCI Anthem of the Seas 11/8/2015
RCI Allure of the Seas 5/4/14
Norwegian Getaway PreInaugural 1/27/14
NCL Breakaway PreInaugural 5/8/13
NCL EPIC 11/24/12 - Ewes Baby!
RCI Enchantment 8/3/12 - Addicted to BERMUDA!
NCL Gem 10/2/11 - Back to Bermuda!
RCI Enchantment of the Seas 5/28/11 - Bermuda
RCI Grandeur of the Seas 9/11/10
Carnival Triumph 6/7/09
RCI Independence of the Seas 2/1/09
Disney Wonder 09/11/08
Carnival Sensation 08/07
RCI Freedom of the Seas 5/07
Carnival Elation 11/06
Disney Magic 2/05
NCL Norway 6/02
RCI Sovereign of the Seas 9/98
RCI Sovereign of the Seas 9/97
Kids club schedules and children's menus including RCCL Adventure Ocean, Camp Carnival,
Disney, NCL, Princess, HAL and Celebrity posted here....
http://photobucket.com/cruisekidpages
#13
Florida
2,918 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
Do they do pirate night on all the ships, or just the bigger ones? I am not sure there will be enough kids on the Grandeur to have a parade...lol
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Upcoming Cruises
2017 RCCL Navigator of the Seas (9 day Southern - Christmas Cruise)
2018 RCCL Radiance of the Seas (10 day Alaska Land/Cruise - Southbound)

Completed Crusies
2013 RCCL Grandeur of the Seas (6 day Bermuda) Review AO Daily Planners
2014 RCCL Grandeur of the Seas (8 day Bahamas - Thanksgiving Cruise) Review & AO Daily Planners
2015 RCCL Freedom of the Seas (7 day Western - Thanksgiving Cruise)
2016 RCCL Harmony of the Seas (7 day Western - Thanksgiving Cruise) Review, Compasses and AO & Teen Planners
#14
18,837 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by RSLeesburg
Do they do pirate night on all the ships, or just the bigger ones? I am not sure there will be enough kids on the Grandeur to have a parade...lol
They do them fleetwide.

This was the Enchantment - the same class as the Grandeur. The AO was small that sailing.

Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

RCI Enchantment of the Seas 05/20/16
RCI Anthem of the Seas 11/8/2015
RCI Allure of the Seas 5/4/14
Norwegian Getaway PreInaugural 1/27/14
NCL Breakaway PreInaugural 5/8/13
NCL EPIC 11/24/12 - Ewes Baby!
RCI Enchantment 8/3/12 - Addicted to BERMUDA!
NCL Gem 10/2/11 - Back to Bermuda!
RCI Enchantment of the Seas 5/28/11 - Bermuda
RCI Grandeur of the Seas 9/11/10
Carnival Triumph 6/7/09
RCI Independence of the Seas 2/1/09
Disney Wonder 09/11/08
Carnival Sensation 08/07
RCI Freedom of the Seas 5/07
Carnival Elation 11/06
Disney Magic 2/05
NCL Norway 6/02
RCI Sovereign of the Seas 9/98
RCI Sovereign of the Seas 9/97
Kids club schedules and children's menus including RCCL Adventure Ocean, Camp Carnival,
Disney, NCL, Princess, HAL and Celebrity posted here....
http://photobucket.com/cruisekidpages
#15
Palmetto, FL
922 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Originally posted by Precious68
About to book a Thanksgiving or Christmas cruise and curious which kid's program is better? Last year we went on Carnival Magic (2 yo and 5 yo) and they both LOVED the Camp Carnival. They literally stayed there from open to close. Haven't been on a RCCL cruise with them, so could anyone provide feedback on that kid's program?

Thanks
Shannon
Hi
We have been cruising on RC for 12 years with 5 kids, they are now 21, 20, 18, 15 and 9. We wouldn't cruise anywhere else. We love Adventure Ocean on Royal! They have an awesome program. We are cruising on Liberty of the seas for Thanksgiving and cannot wait!!
Dawn
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
#16
Palmetto, FL
922 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Originally posted by Precious68
Thanks for everyone's opinion. My DS will be 4 by then and in preschool, so he does somewhat well with organized activities. My DD will be 6 and she's hoping she gets to do "cooler" stuff, but loves hanging out with her little brother. We still haven't decided which cruise we'll be taking, but hope it has a good kid's program.
When my 15 yr old was 8 1/2 she wanted to be with her older sister age 11 in Adventure ocean 9-11 yr old group and RC allowed them to participate in either group to be together which thought was nice. Also when my son was 15 (but immature emotionally and physically) they allow him to stay with the 13-14 yr old group which was more structured and he had a blast. So sometimes it's not always about the chronological age. Love RC
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature