Originally posted by Imalismom
Warning, very long list of questions to follow:

Since I live outside of Galveston, I tried Carnival (Western Caribbean), and really did not like the one week cruise I took from that cruise line. Carnival had some things I liked (price), but they also had other things I did not like (nothing for an older teen to do). I have also tried a Disney cruise out of Port Canaveral (Eastern Caribbean).

I am now looking at booking a New Years cruise out of Galveston for 2010.
The price is good, and it would be a mother/daughter cruise, (daughter would be 17). This would be to Honduras and Belize. Mom and daughter are very close, and frequently travel together while DH is bogged down with work and travel.

We are looking at a E-1 or E-2, but have asked the TA we are working for to see if they can find a hump room in the E or D range available.

This is where my RCCL knowledge stops, and my questions start. When I am asking a question, I am also listing what I know of Disney and Carnival so you can help in the answering. I do like Disney over Carnival, but I seem to read about a lot of people who like RCCL over both Disney and Carnival.

What are the shows like? Disney has the Disney Broadway type shows, Carnival had the Vegas type shows – what are RCCL’s like?

Shows on Royal Caribbean are less "Vegasy" and more like a mix of Broadway/Vegas. Shows are, in my opinion, top notch. They feature beautiful sets and many times great music. Quality dancers and singers. Also, some shows include the Love and Marriage Gameshow, which features cruisers.

What are the pools like? Disney’s are fresh water, small and very very very crowded, but the adult pools are truly adult pools – no children allowed. Carnival’s were salt water, and had a slide that only opened on one day on our week cruise

On older ships, salt water. On some of the newer ship, especially the Oasis, fresh water. The Voyager of the Seas has an adult's only solarium and pool located on deck 11 forward. There is a kids section (Adventure Beach water slide) deck 12 aft, while there is also a main pool on deck 11 midship.

What is the family entertainment like? Disney during the day has little things on and off that children and parents can do together (i.e. make racing cars out of vegetables, scavenger hunts to find things on the ship, shuffleboard/ping pong tables). Carnival had nothing.

RCL offers a good bit through their Adventure Ocean Program. Some activities include family scavenger hunts. I would bet Disney has a bit more family activities than RCL.

How are meals handled? Disney you keep the same servers, but rotate between three restaurants, with the same people and same table number. Carnival you stayed the whole week at one place at the same table with the same people. Disney has an upscale adult only restaurant that is a $15 per person extra charge, which also has a brunch offering (and a high tea offering (all three over 18 only). Carnival had one upscale, but my 16 year old was able to dine with us, for an added charge. Both Carnival and Disney had a main seating (~5:15pm) and a late seating (~8:15pm), and you were assigned to one or the other. Are there copies of menu’s anywhere posted to look at what the menus look like?

Try www.cruiseclues.com and look up Voyager of the Seas. Some sample menus will be posted.

RCL offers traditional seating (6:00 pm and 8:30 pm) as well as My Time Dining, which must be done while reserving your cruise. My Time DIning allows you to dine at various times during the evening; however, you must make a reservation time with the My Time Dining Desk.

Under traditional seating, you will have the same server every night. On the Voyager, there is only one main dining room. Very elegant. If you elect, you can also stick with the same server every evening even when choosing My Time Dining.

Johnny Rockets has a $4.95 cover charge and has a great menu for lunch.

Voyager also features Portofino, an italian restaurant. Cover charge is $20 pp, but no one under 13 is allowed after a certain hour.

What are the excursion offerings like? Both Disney and Carnival had great offerings, which were both over priced, and cheaper to do on your own, however, sometimes its better to pay the extra charge and go with a “safe” bet.

Excellent. From active to relaxing.

How are RCCL pre trip forums? Carnival is pretty non-existent. Disney has one very known website that has a very active forum that by the time you get on the ship you have met many families, you make Fish extenders to give each other gifts, and have “meets” as soon as you get on board to meet each other. My teen agers goes on the ship with several “friends” already made and feels very comfortable with the pre friendships made through the teen forums. Does this happen with RCCL?

No way to connect with teens except through Cruise Critic.

What is the adult learning entertainment like? When I was on Carnival, I did not do any, so I really can’t remember how or what they were, except napkin and towel folding classes. On Disney, I remember going to the art of entertaining, where you learned about dishes that were made on the ship – watched them being made and then got to sample them. They also have beer/wine/tequila tasting tours (although I have never done any of them).
They also have napkin and towel folding classes.

Napkin and towel folding, cooking classes, wine tasting, couples massage specials, late night comedy, Love & Marriage Gameshow, pool parties and club dancing.

… and then the general question…

What else makes RCCL to cruise ship to cruise with over Carnival and Disney and why?

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships are a little bit more elegant than Carnival's ships and feature less of a children vibe than Disney. Ships are much bigger than Disney and Carnival. There is an emphasis of onboard activities and innovation like Rock Climbing, Mini Golf, Ice Skating, Basketball, horizontal atriums, etc.

It is a quality experience that offers a consistent vacation product. I have been cruising for 17 years with RCL and am treated the same on a 3 day cruise as I would be on a 7 night cruise....all about consistency.

Service is top notch, food can be iffy according to who you talk to, in my opinion, food is also top notch.

I recommend you look at the deck plans of the Voyager of the Seas and see what the ship offers as compared to the Disney and Carnival Ship you sailed on.

Thanks in advance,

Ali’s Mom
Hope this helps!