New to RCCL, looking to compare against Carnival

#21
511 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
I too used CCL exclusively for years. I've been on 10 with them but was done terribly wrong by Carnival on our last cruise with them. We were going to try another line or find a different type of vacation. We booked the Oasis and will not look back! We have another cruise booked on the Oasis we enjoyed it so much. In my opinion buffet food is better on Carnival but we certainly didn't go hungry. RC doesn't have a nice salad layout as CCL. Entertainment on RC is much better in quantity and quality than CCL. Normally after about 5 days I'm ready to get off the ship but not with RC. After 7 days, I felt like I could spend another 7. I think the staff is about the same on both. CCL closes their hot tubs early but RC has some open 24 hours.
#22
Texas
197 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
The biggest differences I have observed are that RCCL has more public spaces that feel less crowded, and comparing RCCL and Carnival is like comparing Disney to Six Flags.
#23
Charlotte, NC
541 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
My DH and I are actually considering trying out RCI in 2019. We have been sailing exclusively with Carnival for a number of years now and the itineraries and ships are getting a little repetitive. My husband mentioned that we should look for a Bermuda cruise to change things up and RCI was actually the best option.

I've done a little research and we would be sailing on the Grandeur of the Seas which is one of the older ships and doesn't have all the bells and whistles that the larger ships do. I tend to prefer the smaller ships as I have found over the years that the service seems to be better and they are not as crowded.

There have been some great comparisons shared so far. Is there anything else we should be aware of difference wise between the two so we aren't surprised (pleasantly or unfortunately)?
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#24
Rochester NY
76 Posts
Joined Nov 2015
We just got off the Grandeur last month. It is a smaller ship, but we loved the food and entertainment and crew. They had a brunch at the Italian restaurant the last sea day that also included an entertaining and informing galley tour. We like the Grandeur OTS!
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Upcoming cruises:
Liberty of the Seas 7/15/2018
Anthem of the Seas 8/23/2018
Allure of the Seas 10/28/2018

Cruise history:
Anthem otS 2017, Oasis otS 2016,
Grandeur otS 2016,2018
Nieuw Amsterdam 2018
Veendam (3), Eurodam (1)
Glory, other Carnival
Norway (NCL)
Disney
Scotia Prince
#25
Charlotte, NC
541 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Originally posted by PigsCanFly
They had a brunch at the Italian restaurant the last sea day that also included an entertaining and informing galley tour. We like the Grandeur OTS!
Great tip! Thank you!
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#26
Baja California
596 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
If you decide you do, indeed, like Royal, their loyalty benefits put all other lines to shame. When you get to diamond, which does take a while, you have some free internet, and some other benefits, but the biggie is the diamond lounge: free drinks from an hour before early dining seating until 8:00 to 8:30. In addition, there are 3 free drinks loaded on your sea pass for each day and you can use those in the various bars around the ship. I don't think any other lines have anything like that as a bonus for loyalty. If I were starting over again with cruising, I'd build my status with Royal; I'd cruise more often in junior suites rather than balconies (when the price was right) and get double points, and I'd have made diamond earlier than I did. Another nice benefit is your status (up to diamond, but not beyond) transfers to Celebrity and Azamara, and they, too, have nice benefits for that level.
#27
Nashville, TN
1,434 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
[quote=abisha;55356159]The RCI cabin stewards are pretty much "no nonsense" and just get on with their work. I think we saw our steward twice the entire week. When we did see him, he made no effort to talk to us or even greet us on day 1. However, our cabin was taken care of, so no complaints.
/quote]


We have only experienced this once in all our RCCL cruises where we hardly saw our cabin steward. However, we feel they are very friendly and always know our names and honor our requests with a smile.
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Lynn & Ken
Nashville, TN

MY REVIEWS:
Oasis of the Seas-May 2017
Harmony of the Seas (LIVE) - Nov 2016
Freedom of the Seas-May 2013

UP NEXT:
Carnival Liberty 5/10/18

AND THEN:
Regal Princess 11/25/2018
Celebrity Edge 2/24/2019
Harmony of the Seas 11/17/19

PAST CRUISES:
Carnival May 2008 - Cozumel (Can't remember ship)
Emerald Princess - Eastern Caribbean 3/28/10 (Birthday cruise)
Carnival Dream - Eastern Caribbean 3/26/11 (Birthday cruise)
Crown Princess - Southern Caribbean 11/26/11
Freedom of the Seas-Eastern Caribbean 5/5/13
Freedom of the Seas-Eastern Caribbean 2/9/14
Harmony of the Seas-Eastern Caribbean 11/26/16
Oasis of the Seas-Western Caribbean 5/14/17
Independence of the Seas-Cozumel (Dad's first cruise) 3/1/18
#28
Missouri City, TX
582 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
Originally posted by Qchell
I've done a little research and we would be sailing on the Grandeur of the Seas which is one of the older ships and doesn't have all the bells and whistles that the larger ships do. I tend to prefer the smaller ships as I have found over the years that the service seems to be better and they are not as crowded.

There have been some great comparisons shared so far. Is there anything else we should be aware of difference wise between the two so we aren't surprised (pleasantly or unfortunately)?
  • I haven't encountered singing waiters on Royal in the dining room. This is a good thing for me.
  • I haven't encountered the cruise director getting on the PA system hawking bingo games on a Royal cruise.
  • There seem to be more deck parties on board Carnival than Royal. That's not to say you can't find drinking and dancing opportunities, they're just in different venues.
  • I haven't run into a chocolate buffet, midnight buffet or afternoon tea on Royal.
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Carnival: Conquest 2008 | Magic 2012 | Freedom 2016
RCCL: Liberty of the Seas 2017, Anthem of the Seas 2018
Next up: Serenade of the Seas 2019, Symphony of the Seas 2020
#29
Central Arkansas
15,165 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by gfh77665
Short story is we began cruising just as we reached our late 40's. We have been on 4 Carnival cruises in the past 5 years. Looking to try something new now, we chose RCCL, and will be leaving out of Galveston on March 5th to Cozumel.



What are the main differences between the two? I am definitely not looking to bash anything. We just wonder what we will find, and what to should we be expecting with RCCL? In brief terms, how do the two lines compare? I understand RCCL is a bit quieter than Carnival, for example. Do RCCL cruisers dress a bit more better than whats typically seen on Carnival? Anything else to know? Thanks.

Which ships are we comparing? Big differences in the two RC ships in Galveston.
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SymphonyTA Website
Karen and Bill
Past Cruises:
Enchanted Capri, Commodore Cruise Line, June 1998, Rhapsody of the Seas /2006, Rhapsody of the Seas 5/28/ (alt. route), NCL Norwegian Sun 12/31/2006, Radiance of the Seas, Alaska, 5/18/2007, Adventure of the Seas, Southern Caribbean, 3/9/2008, Celebrity Solstice, Eastern Caribbean, 12/14/2008, Voyager of the Seas, Western Caribbean, 3/8/2009, Explorer of the Seas, New England and Canada, 10/15/2009, Oasis of the Seas, Eastern Caribbean, 3/13/2010, Mariner of the Seas, Mexican Riviera, 12/5/2010, Navigator of the Seas, Caribbean, 2/3/2011, Allure of the Seas, Eastern Caribbean, 3/20/2011, Freedom of the Seas, 6/26/2011, Voyager of the Seas, 11/26/2011, Monarch of the Seas, 3/23/12, Mariner OTS, Mediterranean/Holy Lands, 10/20 to 11/3/12, Navigator of the Seas, 12/29/12, Allure of the Seas, 4/7/2013, Serenade of the Seas, 12/12/13 , Navigator of the Seas, 3/23/14 Navigator of the Seas, May 25, 2014, (alternate route),Oasis of the Seas, Transatlantic, October 14, 2014, Navigator of the Seas, January 11, 2015 - Quantum of the Seas, 12-day So. Caribbean, April 12, 2015, Liberty of the Seas, B2B, Feb. 21-March 6, 2016 ,Liberty of the Seas, 8/21/2016, Vision of the Seas, 10/15/2016,Harmony of the Seas, TA, Oct/Nov 2016, Liberty of the Seas, March 5, 2017, Celebrity Equinox, May 15-26, 2017, Liberty 8/20 to 9/1/17 Harvey Cruise,Freedom TA, WB, 10/2018, Vision of the Seas, B2B2B, January 12-26, 2018, Allure of the Seas, May 13-20, 2018

Upcoming Cruises:

Symphony TA, 10/28/18
Mariner of the Seas, November 9-12, 2018
Vision of the Seas, Panama Canal, 11/13/2018
Serenade TA EB, April 26, 2019
Serenade Baltics, May 12, 2019
#30
Silver Spring, MD
1,960 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
Originally posted by MrSnarkyPants
  • I haven't encountered singing waiters on Royal in the dining room. This is a good thing for me.
They've always done a number on the last night of the cruise in the dining room, but that's it.
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Hansen

NCL Seaward (1988)
NCL Norway (1990)
Carnival Holiday (January 2001)
Celebrity Galaxy (September 2003)
Celebrity Mercury (May 2005)
Carnival Liberty (January 2008)
RC Jewel of the Seas (December 2009)
Crown Princess (December 2010)
Carnival Paradise (May 2012)
Carnival Pride (December 2012)
RC Independence of the Seas (December 2013)
RC Grandeur of the Seas (December 2014)
Carnival Splendor (May 2015)
Carnival Pride (September 2015) Wedding Cruise
Celebrity Infinity (November 2015) Honeymoon Cruise
RC Anthem of the Seas (October 2016)
RC Grandeur of the Seas (February 2017)
RC Grandeur of the Seas (July 2017)
RC Grandeur of the Seas (April 2017)



#31
Northern Alberta
719 Posts
Joined Feb 2015
Originally posted by internetwhiz
Which ships are we comparing? Big differences in the two RC ships in Galveston.
True dat but if you can get to Galveston you can get to Nola too. Lets throw the Vision comparison in to the mix since we were talking about Grandeur
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ANTHEM FEB 3, 2019
JEWEL OCT 30.,2019
Liberty b2b Feb 4-18, 2018 Ben and Jerry's
MSC Divina February 4, 2017
Jewel February 28, 2016
Quantum January 23,2015

August 25,1990 Carnival Jubilee-became Henna and as of Nov 2015 was for sale for $35 mill!
#32
USA
5,847 Posts
Joined May 2012
My wife and I have cruised on Carnival and Royal Caribbean out of Galveston several times. Our most recent was on the Liberty of the Seas in December 2016.

We prefer RC for all the reasons previously given. Seeing pictures might help you understand the differences. My wife takes pictures on all of our cruises and makes them into slide shows for her website and YouTube channel.

I have links below in my signature of our various cruises, but I'll insert a link here that will take you directly to the Travel Section of her website where you can see the Royal Caribbean cruises. The pictures include scenes around the ships we were on as well as our room and shore excursions.

Nancy's Oasis Cruise Travel Slide Shows

Cruising is a fantastic way to travel!
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View my wife's cruise slide shows on her website Nancy's Oasis and individual links below.


2017 14 day Panama Canal Transit Holland America Westerdam
2016 Christmas Liberty of the Seas
2016 14 day Alaska Maasdam
2015 Christmas Adventure of the Seas
2014 Christmas Island Princess ~ Partial Panama Canal
2013 Christmas Adventure of the Seas ~ So.Caribbean
2012 Christmas Mariner of the Seas ~ W.Caribbean
2012 Radiance of the Seas ~ Alaska Southbound
2011 Christmas Mariner of the Seas ~ W. Caribbean
2011 Carnival Ecstasy ~ Western Caribbean
2011 Carnival Ecstasy Penthouse Suite Visit from the Upsell Fairy - 916 sq ft of paradise!

2011 Carnival Conquest ~ Eastern Caribbean
2010 Caribbean Princess ~ NE/Canada Upgrade Fairy Visit FREE PH Suite
2009 Star Princess ~ Alaska Inside Passage
2008 Christmas Carnival Ecstasy ~ Western Caribbean
2007 Carnival Conquest ~ Western Caribbean
#33
Georgia
57 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
I've found the lines very similar, but we've mostly chosen ships for the itinerary, not the cruise line. The only thing I've missed from Carnival was the free cappuccino in the MDR. We would have one every night after dinner, often with the molten lava cake!
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Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas July 2008
Carnival Magic August 2011
Carnival Victory March 2012
Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas September 2016
Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas August 2018
#34
Southeast Texas
284 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Great info all -- keep 'em coming if there is more to share. We are in our mid 50's now, but we have a young mindset, so the party animals on Carnival do not bother us. Although we are pretty quite ourselves, "people watching" the Carnival party animals do their thing can be pretty amusing, LOL.

The real reason we booked this 4 day RC cruise is to do a "trial run" to get acquainted with RCCL before we choose an extended cruise in the next year or so. Our experience in March will help us choose which line is best for our big trip. We are pretty easy to please so I think either one would probably be fine, but this cruise will help us decide between the lines. Thank you all!
#35
15 Posts
Joined Feb 2014
Originally posted by gfh77665
Does RCCL provide an itinerary slipped under the door listing the activities for the next day?
I have been on both Carnival and RCCL and have never had any itinerary "slipped under the door"...
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#36
Charlotte, NC
541 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Originally posted by Teemoi
I have been on both Carnival and RCCL and have never had any itinerary "slipped under the door"...
Oddly (at least to me) there were a number of complaints to Carnival about the twice a day room service (morning and turn down). Carnival then went to a system where you can choose morning, evening or both service. If one were to choose just morning service, my assumption would be that the schedule would be simply slipped under the door in the evenings. We always choose to have service both times so our schedule is always on our bed when we get in from dinner.
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#37
919 Posts
Joined Nov 2017
I've been wanting to try Carnival, but every sailing I've checked out of Port Canaveral (very convenient for me) was more expensive than Royal. I looked into the Breeze vs Oasis later this year, and OV cabin on the Breeze was more expensive, as well as the drink package. I think combined it would have been about $500 more for Carnival, and the itinerary were similar. So I stuck with Royal.

When the price is right, I will do Carnival.

One thing I've learned on this message board is that a lot of Royal cruisers have negative things to say about Carnival. Most of those people have either a) never even sailed Carnival b) sailed once on a 20 year old ship 3-day booze cruise or c) just had a bad experience and therefore equate that with the brand as a whole.

The reality is that you'll never truly be able to know what the differences are between the two until you do them yourself. Otherwise, there will always be bias in just about everything you read on this message board.
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#38
649 Posts
Joined Apr 2016
Here’s my thoughts:


Royal:

Nicer ships ( Carnival doesn’t have anything like the promenade)
Flowrider (reason we cruise Royal)
Better loyalty program

Carnival:

Way better spa
Better food, Royal completely fails at off dining time food.

The clientele is exactly the same between the two cruise lines. You’ll find a ton of people on CC who try to act like there’s a huge difference between the types of people who cruise each line but there’s not. You cruise short cruises during busy times like spring break, you’ll find a bunch of rowdy partiers. You go longer cruises off peak, it’ll be more subdued.
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Previous Cruises:
Carnival Victory - Feb 26th, 2006
Carnival Magic - Sept 21st, 2014
Liberty of the Seas - April 16th, 2016
Liberty of the Seas - Sept 18th, 2016
Harmony of the Seas - Nov 26th, 2016
Liberty of the Seas - May 15th, 2017
Liberty of the Seas - Jan 21st, 2018
#39
Missouri City, TX
582 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
Originally posted by valerievol
We enjoyed the solarium on RCCL more than on Carnival due the large hot tubs that were actually hot. We also found the decor on RCCL more subdued. We especially liked the promenade..
Really, when I compare my experiences on the two lines, they're more alike than different. But the one place I spend the most time in is the adults only pool area, and the Solarium beats the Serenity deck. Carnival tends to put its Serenity deck up top on the front of the ship and it's a tough place to be when it's windy. While not every Solarium is enclosed, there are enough windows on the ships I've been on to make it more pleasant on a windy day. Factor in the better hot tub experience, and we'll end up hitting Platinum on RCCL after our next cruise. I might return to the Carnival Magic for the right ports and price, but right now, other than the Royal cruises we've booked, the only others I'm interested in trying are NCL, Princess, and maybe X.
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Carnival: Conquest 2008 | Magic 2012 | Freedom 2016
RCCL: Liberty of the Seas 2017, Anthem of the Seas 2018
Next up: Serenade of the Seas 2019, Symphony of the Seas 2020
#40
Scarborough ON Canada
4,096 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by Qchell
My DH and I are actually considering trying out RCI in 2019. We have been sailing exclusively with Carnival for a number of years now and the itineraries and ships are getting a little repetitive. My husband mentioned that we should look for a Bermuda cruise to change things up and RCI was actually the best option.

I've done a little research and we would be sailing on the Grandeur of the Seas which is one of the older ships and doesn't have all the bells and whistles that the larger ships do. I tend to prefer the smaller ships as I have found over the years that the service seems to be better and they are not as crowded.

There have been some great comparisons shared so far. Is there anything else we should be aware of difference wise between the two so we aren't surprised (pleasantly or unfortunately)?
Carnival has better beds and bedding. I can't say that I've had a good night's sleep on a bed on a Royal Caribbean ship without taking some kind of sleeping aid.

Carnival has a greater variety of daytime and late night food -
  • they have more "made for you" options instead of food sitting in warmer trays or a fridge (on Carnival they have made for you pizza, deli, burgers, tacos/burritos, pasta and wok - all or some depending on your ship).
  • Carnival's brunch food in the MDR is also better than Royal's MDR Breakfast/lunch.
  • Carnival offers Tea Time on Sea days.
  • Pizza and Ice cream are 24 hours on Carnival - which is great if you're out late and want more than a cold, premade sandwich.

    Originally posted by Qchell
    Oddly (at least to me) there were a number of complaints to Carnival about the twice a day room service (morning and turn down). Carnival then went to a system where you can choose morning, evening or both service. If one were to choose just morning service, my assumption would be that the schedule would be simply slipped under the door in the evenings. We always choose to have service both times so our schedule is always on our bed when we get in from dinner.
Nope, at worst if you have only once a day service on Carnival, your Fun Times is left in your mailbox. Most of the time though, even if you only get service in the morning, the room steward will still put the fun times on your bed in the evening.
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Patricia (Trisha to my friends and family) cruiseforfood.com
Disney:
Magic 10-30-2010
Dream 10-30-2011 & 11-03-2011
Magic 4-30-2012
Fantasy 10-26-2013
Magic 11-15-2015
Carnival:
Dream 3-12-2011 & 3-19-2011
Miracle 8-26-2011
Dream 10-27-2012
Pride 03-15-2015
Pride 01-17-2016 & 01-28-2016
Pride 07-10-2016
Pride 08-21-2016
Sunshine 05-29-2017
Pride 01-07-2018
Royal:
Explorer of the Seas 2-24-2013
Explorer of the Seas 2-23-2014
Navigator of the Sea 11-10-2015
Freedom of the Seas 02-12-2017
Celebrity:
Summit 06-01-2014
Equinox 11-21-2014
Summit 08-30-3015
Summit 02-18-2017

Princess:
Caribbean Princess 11-20-2017

Future Cruises:
Adventure of the Seas 05-18-2018 (7 nights) A Cheap getaway
Caribbean Princess 11-25-2018 (14 nights) Circle Caribbean
Caribbean Princess 12-10-2018 (10 nights) Partial Panama Canal
Caribbean Princess 12-19-2018 (14 nights) Circle Caribbean
Celebrity Infinity 01-05-2019 (5 nights) Because we're already in Florida
Carnival Sunshine 01-12-2019 (13 nights) Journey Cruise
Disney Fantasy 01-26-2019 (7 nights) Stars Wars at Sea
Disney Magic 02-03-2019 (5 nights) Marvel Day at Sea