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ratfam

Disney Cruise Line Family Spends Christmas on the Freedom!

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Hi, me, DH, DD17 and DS14 just enjoyed the Christmas sailing on the Freedom. Since we are Disney Vacation Club members we are fortunate to have cruised 6 times on Disney Cruise Line, including a fabulous 15-night Panama Canal cruise, so it is hard not to compare, and that is a lot of what I heard my family doing the first day or so, and I was getting concerned that it would affect their enjoyment. Overall, we concluded that Disney just has the crew members friendliness and general cleanliness/upkeep thing perfected and Royal Caribbean didn't meet their standard--things weren't constantly being cleaned, repainted, etc.; transfers from airport and to excursions did not go smoothly; while some crew members were lovely we met with more who were surly or unpleasant than on Disney. However, overall we had no complaints about the service or the ship and we are planning to cruise on the Oasis next Christmas. What did Royal Caribbean do great? The Royal Promenade was amazing--nice to have a place to hang out at night that was happening. The variety of options at night also seemed to keep more people engaged into the evening. The pools were wonderful, we found the food in the main dining room to be really good, and the dining room to be a very nice setting. I was glad that we were all able to more away from comparison mode and just enjoy the Freedom for itself.

 

I appreciated all of the information I was able to pick up here, happy to answer any questions.

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Hi there!

 

Our good friends from Canada (who we made on our Adventure cruise last Christmas) were on that Christmas cruise on the Freedom! They have a 15 year old son and 13 year old daughter - all really enjoyed the cruise, too! We had the pleasure of meeting up with them for dinner at Disney to compare our Christmas cruises.

 

So glad that you enjoyed your cruise! It's been a while since I've cruised Disney, but I'm hoping to take a cruise on the Disney Fantasy in spring 2014. I'm actually glad to hear that Disney's crew is just over the top. We just took a Princess Cruise, which seems to have a reputation of being a little more upscale than Royal Caribbean, though I would disagree. I have so far found staff on all ships to be the same - most are very friendly and go out of their way to help you, but you can also run into a real jerk who woke up on the wrong side of the bed and is giving the company a bad name. That's always really frustrating. I assumed that Disney would take great care of their ships, considering the overnight maintenance they perform in their parks (I'm a huge Disney nut -always glad to meet another!). I, too, have noticed that Royal Caribbean will let paint chip and allow things to go without repair - especially when the ship is scheduled for a drydock (we sailed the Monarch this summer, a ship which they have sold, and it was in terrible shape). That's an area where I will say that Princess has Royal Caribbean beat - the Island Princess was in great shape, though she is scheduled for a dry dock makeover very soon.

 

I've found that I really enjoy trying out different cruiselines, and while I do like to compare, I find myself doing it in a "this is different" way, rather than "this is better" (though sometimes, something is better for you). For example, I absolutely love Royal's grand dining rooms, and I was rather annoyed by the end of the cruise with Princess's cramped, single-level, low ceiling dining room. However, that wouldn't prevent me from sailing Princess again.

 

Glad to hear you enjoyed your cruise!

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Your review, nicely done;)

We to have sailed Disney, The Magic, and yes you can tell a difference but, for the price and quality we are now sold on RCI. (Mariner, Freedom x 2 ) And Upcoming Allure.

We loved Castaway Cay, but, we have found a new love in Labadee. We enjoy Barefoot beach.

Cannot wait to sail again, July hurry up and get here!

Safe travels.

Sue and crew

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We have sailed on Disney twice with our family and will be on Royal ( Freedom) for the first time in March. We are curious if your kids got involved with any of the teen activities? The entertainment for the kids on Disney was great and gave us an opportunity to have some alone time. Just wondering if our teen will have fun programs, as well as our 7 and 9 year olds?

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Having cruised on Disney 3 times and RCCL twice (with third coming up), I totally agree with your assessment. DCL just gives you that DISNEY "most magical place on earth" feeling. But RCCL gives you a first-rate vacation experience for better money.

 

We booked a dummy rez on DCL for next year hoping to do Fantasy in 2014 and really... it's out of our price-range, especially when I can get RCCL trip for almost half the cost. We will still cruise on Disney someday, but it'll probably have to wait until we aren't dealing with school vacation weeks. In the meantime, I know we'll have a blast on our Royal sailings!

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Hi Repeates, I can't give you much input because my teens did not participate in the programs. The first night they had what was billed as a mixer and my kids arrived late because we all saw the show and ate dinner together first, they said that there were a lot of kids but that they were all in small groups and they didn't feel that they could break in so they left. I wasn't there so I don't know whether there were teen staff around who could/should have been available to help or not, but I really chalk it up more to my kids not wanting to get involved even though they had always gotten involved in the kids' programming on Disney with no problem. They did deliver programs schedules to the room every night for the kids' different groups and there were several different evening activities. Christmas also seemed to be a bit unusual in that there were lots of large family groups and kids hanging out with cousins, and it is always easier to meet new kids when you are already with a group. Next time we will be sure that our kids get to the opening mixer on time, no matter what they need to miss.

 

One other thing I forgot to comment on was the staterooms. We were used to traveling all 4 of us in one room, so that is what we booked on the Freedom. We did fine and treated it like being at camp, but it definitely was not as user-friendly as the Disney ships with their split bathrooms and bunks separated from the parents' bed. I ended up showering in the gym to reduce traffic flow, which worked well. However, for our next RC cruise we will be in two rooms--two of the lowest-level internal cabins wasn't that much more expensive than one, particularly when you added the extra shipboard credits, and I wish I would have checked that out the first time!

 

My kids did want to look at the Fantasy on Disney instead of the Freedom, and I told them no go because it was twice as much, plus DH and I were really ready for something different. I did not have trouble convincing them to re-book on the Oasis for next year rather than trying again for the Fantasy!

Edited by ratfam

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