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benebire

Just returned from Carnival Paradise- Comparison Disney/Carnival

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Just came back from Carnival Paradise and have sailed Disney 3 times, 1-7 day Eastern, 1-7 day Western and 1 -4 day Bahamas.

 

Heres my comparison and remember this is MY opinion and what worked for our family.

 

Our ages Me 44, DH 44, DS 14, DS friend 14

 

Embarcation-Disney wins hands down , Took forever on Carnival (but in fairness think we just had a bad person the lady next to ours processed 3 people in the time in took for ours to check us in)

 

Sailaway Party- Disney, Disney, Disney- Carnival had 3 people doing a line dance. Disney knows how to throw a sailaway party, including streamers, music, food, dancing, it really sets the mood for the cruise.

 

Food in dining room- Carnival had a slight edge, same items were served but seemed a bit better quality and we were served a little quicker with HOT food arriving at our table. We had a few cases where the food was lukewarm on Disney, althought they happily made it right when you advised them.

 

Servers- Pretty close tie, slight edge to Disney, both were friendly

but Disney servers seem to go that little extra mile for you.

 

Food in buffet- Tie both about the same, both had the runny eggs! Everything else was standard buffet fare and good. Burgers on Carnival better, Chicken tenders on disney were missed.

 

Cabins- Disney for decor only, Disney cabins have a touch of teakwood and a classy nautical motif, Carnival just seemed plain and nothing special

otherwise about the same in size. FYI we had an oceanview room on both lines.

Spa services - Both good quality and prices comparable. More to follow

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Shows- Enjoyed both and both were fairly equal in quality, you have to really love Disney to enjoy the shows (which I do) If not you might prefer the shows on Carnival.

Activities- Enjoyed the Casino which Disney doesnt have.

 

Daily Activities- Disney had more varied activities specfically during the day which i preferred.

 

Miscellaneous- Disney has a specifically adult pool area and hot tubs which was very nice when you wanted to get away from it all.

I believe one of the Carnival hot tubs had a sign saying it was for adults but it just wasnt being enforced.

 

From my 14 year olds point of view:

 

He preferred Disney, he liked their club better and the arcade on Carnival was a joke ( tiny tiny tiny with like 5 games) Disney had air hockey and that was a big hit with my son.

Both lines had ping pong, Carnival actually had more tables, but it was near impossible to get a ball.

Disney had a movie theater and that was a big hit with my teen.

Movies in the stateroom on Carnival are OLD OLD. They did show a movie in one of the lounges on a big screen but it was a cartoon ( therefore a BABY movie according to DS) More to follow

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Disembarkation: Disney wins by a landslide, you literally walk off of Disney and pick up your luggage. Carnival was pure CHAOS. 100's of people standing in a small space, trying to figure out where to go, what to do, people complaining that they had been in line for an hour and somewhat else had cut the line and was in front of them on and on.But we survived and it was a short amount of confusion and aggravation.

 

Some other general thoughts on the cruises:

 

Pictures - Opportunities and costs were about the same. However Disney had a pkg deal if you buying alot of pics(yes, this is me) and Carnival didnt have this. Carnival was a little cheaper on their 5x7 price $7.99 vs $9.99 Disney, 8x10s were the same for both lines and pricey at $19.99.

We didnt do any excursions on Carnival so I didnt give a comparison there. We enjoyed Catalina Island but thought Ensenada was kinda of blah. I would sail Carnival again but NOT this itinerary. I would probably go for the bigger newer ships.

For those that use the Internet- Disney has a flat fee package with unlimited use. Carnival does NOT, it costs us a fortune ( my husband has to keep in touch with work via email even on vacation) This was an issue for us but probably wouldnt bother most people.

Carnivals atrium is awesome and we enjoyed the bar that was there, but on some decks you couldnt get through without going up or down a level, that was a bit confusing to me.

 

Carnival seemed to have alot of deck space and chairs and so there was never any problem getting a chair. On Disney you occasionally had to hunt down a chair. Didnt like Carnivals policy on giving you the towels which you had to carry around and risk losing and being charged for, we brought our own and used them. Disney has towels by the pool. Disney hands out towels for excursions. No worrying about being charged $25.00 for a towel. Not something I want to have to do during vacation.

 

We enjoyed all of our cruises and are now in the process of researching RCCL to possibly try one of the MEGA ships. I think with teenagers the extra activities might be a plus. Would be happy to answer any questions about our Disney or Carnival cruise.

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We haven't cruised on Carnival (but were supposed to be on the Miracle Easter week) but we have cruise DCL 7 times (6 -7 nighters and 1- 4 nighter) and have cruise Mariner -RCCL. We loved Disney- the ship is great, activites are awesome, food is wonderful and if it isn't- they will make it that way! but when my DD turned 13 we decided that we would try something different since she didn't care much for the DCL activites for her age. She is still into playing and loves outdoor activities. We went on the Mariner last Halloween. I was pleasantly surprised. She loved the ice rink and putt putt areas and I loved the ship. Of course, I miss DCL since it is my first love but I think now that I had such a great experience on another line, we will start trying others.

For a teen- these are the ships to do.

I do have to say that the kids programming wasn't very desirable though. At least they had other things for her to do. I think she is at the stage where the programming isn't for her.

Now that she is a teen- we might go on DCL and let her take a friend since they have the new teen only area where the ESPN bar used to be!

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Thanks for your post. We cruise both lines. I like and dislike things about both.

I think as far as teens, Disney misses the boat. My teen daughter doesn't even want to come on our nexy Disney cruise with us. I'm looking forward to trying the Valor this summer with her. From what I have been reading they have steeped up the teen club.

I also wish disney did at least one show without all that Disney magic <G>. Sometimes it just gets to you after being immersed in it for several days.

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. Didnt like Carnivals policy on giving you the towels which you had to carry around and risk losing and being charged for, we brought our own and used them. Disney has towels by the pool. Disney hands out towels for excursions. No worrying about being charged $25.00 for a towel. Not something I want to have to do during vacation.

.

 

You're review was very fair and I thank you for taking the time. The only thing that cracked me up a bit was your view on the pool towels. I don't like Carnival's towel policy either to be honest, although we had no problem with it the last time we sailed. We had fresh towels every day and were able to take them off the ship for the excursions...didn't really worry about losing them, and we didn't. Although Disney may given the towels to you with no 'threat' of having to fork over $25 if it comes up missing, SURELY you know that you pay for all the towels that walk away, with the exorbitant price you pay to sail Disney.

I know Disney seems to be a a good bit better than Carnival...my question is...is the cost worth the difference??? No one seems to comment on that and I'm extremely curious.

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I know Disney seems to be a a good bit better than Carnival...my question is...is the cost worth the difference??? No one seems to comment on that and I'm extremely curious.

 

Having been on DCL, RCCL, and CCL, I feel the extra cost for DCL is worth the difference only 1 time. If you enjoy DIsney, you will enjoy the cruise and will be glad you did it, however, I don't feel it is worth it to do it again. I would rather take 2 cruises on another line for the cost of 1 on DCL.

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Daily Activities- Disney had more varied activities specfically during the day which i preferred.

 

 

How about Night time activites- after sailing carnival and royal I liked carnival for night activities. Is there other things to do besides heading to a bar/lounge?

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I know Disney seems to be a a good bit better than Carnival...my question is...is the cost worth the difference??? No one seems to comment on that and I'm extremely curious.

 

IMO while my son is still young, it's worth it. I felt like we had gotten some quality adult time and he was happy with the kid's club too. The cabin was set up nicely for families with the split bath and curtain between the beds.

I like that there are many family activities, more then most cruises.

Being a FL resident we get some rates that are somewhat comparible to other CL's, so the hit isn't as hard for us.

I'm sure in a couple of years when my son is older we won't be cruising DCL. As much as they say it's for adults too, I can't see paying those rates without utilizing the kid's clubs and activities unless you are a real Disney freak.

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Thanks for your replies.

 

halos- you know i think your probably right about the cost of the towels but I kept picturing my teenager loosing a towel per day and having to pay for it. (LOL)

 

 

southbayer- We actually got off the ship at about 8 am, we kept and carried all our luggage off because we had a 10;30 am flight on American. I dont think I will ever cut it that close again. It was nervewracking.

 

I think in general we just love cruising and its pretty hard to have a bad time on a cruise ship. Carnival did seem to have a different nightclub or lounge to suit every one. ie. disco, piano bar, etc.

 

I do think some of the things on Disney make it worth a few $ more but in some cases people seem to save over a $1000 going on another line and thats alot of $$$.

We just want to try RCCL because of having teenagers, it seems like it would have something for everyone. I'm eyeing the Mariner of the Seas sailing from Port Canaveral in Dec. 2005 for a 5 night cruise. Will let you all know if/when I book that. Would love to be able to compare yet another line to Carnival and Disney.

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I would love to do a Disney cruise, even though I don't have any children. :) But the price is what's stopping me from even pursuing it. I can save on average about $500.00 on the low end.....

 

I keep hearing a lot of good things about Disney though, so probably one day.

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kinda curious as to when you actually did get off the ship

 

Just got off the Paradise yesterday (4/4) and didn't get off the ship till 1:15 with about a quarter of the ship still behind us. Major customs problems didnt

get the ship cleared till late (thats what they told us).

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I think it's really hard to compare and "older" ship like the Paradise with a Disney ship. Especially it's itinerary, which I think you figured out.

I think the newer ships on Carnival are wonderful! We've been on many Carnival cruises, one Disney, and in Dec. went on the Mariner.

For us, we wouldn't do another Disney cruise. Not worth the extra money. Just too much Disney for us. Wasn't happy with the food selection on Disney at non meal times either. The shows I enjoyed so much more on Carnival.

But what one person may really like, another may not.

The Disney ship was nice, but I think the newer CArnival ships are nicer.

The price difference for our cruise in June on the Pride, same date, same itinerary, was double on Disney! Like the one poster said, I'd much rather go on two cruises than one Disney. You're paying for the name though.

I think it depends on kids ages as well. We have teenagers. I think little kids would love Disney. If you could afford it, then you might want to try it.

It wasn't for us. But again, it might be for someone else.

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I know Disney seems to be a a good bit better than Carnival...my question is...is the cost worth the difference??? No one seems to comment on that and I'm extremely curious.

 

Well, yes, it is worth it, but like someone else said, not every year. We cruise every year, and it would not be worth it to cruise Disney that often. We did it 5 or 6 years ago, in it's inaugural year, and will do it again so my young nephews (who weren't born yet), can experience it.

 

It's in a completely different class than any other cruise, IMO. Lots of awe inspiring details, but then again, that's what makes Disney, Disney. They do everything to another level, and the cruise is no exception.

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I just got back today from my first Royal Caribbean cruise on Splendour of the Seas, and it was fabulous! At the time I booked this cruise a year ago, I really wanted to go on a Disney cruise - with no kids! I'm a BIG Disney fan...even worked for them at the time (at The Disney Store...no longer owned by Disney), but it was still considerably more expensive than Royal Caribbean. I don't regret my decision one bit, although I'd still like to sail with Disney at least once!

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Do ALL the shows have Disney characters?

Is it true there is no casino on Disney ships?

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I think that the comparisons were good, having cruised both Disney and Carnival.

 

Is it worth the money? As another poster said, not for cruising every year. My hubby and I just cruised Carnival for the 1st time on 4/10, and it greatly influenced our decision to cruise with the kids to see how they like it.

 

As for the teen club on Disney, it really depends on how many are onboard and how their personalities mesh. Last December we were on the 3 night Wonder (our very first cruise!), and we hardly ever saw our 14 year old son. He had a BLAST! The biggest thing was that he hooked up with a couple of other boys his age and they hung out together for the trip. When it was all over, he was asking us when we'd be able to cruise next!

 

I didn't find the Wonder to be overly "Disneyfied", though, true to form, the little kid's club looked like it could have fit right in at the Magic Kingdom (really cute!). Our little one who is 3 really loved it in there and the counselors were a nice bunch of people :)

 

Sadly there's no casino, it's true. But they do have bingo and that was a hoot. I won a tennis bracelet in a raffle, then proceeded to leave the darn thing on the ship. LOL! Oh well, it just goes to show how much I'm not into diamonds. :p

 

I think that with any cruise, you won't know what to expect until you get there. So we'll take the kids on another line one day and see how they like it. Hopefully they'll like it as much as they did on the Wonder, and if not, we'll find something to do :)

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