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ginger123snaps

We sailed Royal Carribean..but sticking to Carnival

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DH and I are 38 with three boys (ages 5, 5, and 4). In the last 4 months we have sailed NCL Epic, Carnival Magic, and last week RC Navigator of the Seas.

 

Room: We had a family ocean view on carnival magic and RC. We had the family haven suite on NCL…which was fabulous and really can't compare with the other two so I won't. Our bathroom on RC did not get refurbished. The toilet was chipped in multiple areas and stained….ewwww. Our bathroom was dated and small. I was not impressed with RC. On Carnival magic we had two bathrooms and this is nice with 5 in a room. The room was larger on RC compared to Carnival. The storage would have been more efficient if RC would have added shelves to the closets. On RC our family OV overlooked the helicopter pad and beyond that we had an ocean view. We had two windows on RC..but we had to keep them closed for privacy as people could look in from the helicopter pads. Because of the bathroom situation for us…Carnival's room was better.

 

Windjammer Cafe: With 3 young children…buffets are always a nightmare. On RC having the drinks already poured was a nice touch. On carnival and RC we got offered help twice. On carnival a drink cart comes around and offers refills and pastries…that's a nice touch. Service was the same on both ships. Food options were better on carnival..but this is just personal preference. We though the food was tastier on carnival. NCL's service was lacking compared to the above two ships.

 

Activities: SAME…RC has the ice skating rink and rock climbing wall. Carnival has the sky course and rock climbing wall. NCL has the bowling alley and climbing structure for kids. SAME for all three

 

SHOWS: NCL had the best shows. RC got second place. Carnival third place.

 

Kids Club: We were in the young club (ages 3 to 5) on all three ships. Carnival wins. Carnival offered a structured schedule but allowed some leniency for the kids who might want to color or play with toys instead. RC was very strict…you had to participate in what they were doing…no other option. NCL had free play the first hour of all opening times…so three times a day you had 1 hour of free play. Carnival was open first cruise day. RC and NCL did not open until the second day of cruising. RC and NCL close from 12 to 2 and again from 5 to 7. If you leave your child in the club on a port day, NCL charges to feed your child. Carnival will give your child a mat, blanket, and pillow to sleep on. RC will leave your child on a bench (we witnessed this multiple times with other children). NCL will not allow your child to sleep in the club…you have to come get them. Our boys will be 6 next week and we have a 4 year old. RC offered to move our boys to the older group…but they also said once we move them they can't come back to this side…I thought that strict. Overall vibe: Carnival really gets it…they want your children to have a good time and they want them to come back..they will bribe them with candy and do whatever it takes…I didn't get this vibe from RC or NCL. CARNIVAL WINS!!!! Having said that…my kids had a blast in all three clubs.

 

Casino: We only play blackjack at the tables. RC opens their tables at 12 pm. We like to gamble but can only do this when the kids are in the club…but the club is closed from 12 to 2 so that was a schedule conflict for us. On the NCL epic we felt like we were gambling in a hallway…we just didn't like the lay out of this ship. Also the payouts are not as great on the NCL epic. NCL epic kept all but one table open for high rollers. RC and Carnival had two $6 tables. Smoke was the same on all ship casinos…I liked that Carnival had nonsmoking tables.

 

Main Dining: Taste is personal preference and relative. I will only say that the service was the same on all three ships. They all offered great ambiance in the main dining area.

 

Fog delay: On carnival we didn't get off the ship until 6pm and on RC we got at 1pm. Carnival handled the delay better. They kept service going as if we were still their guests. They even let us sleep in and told us to pretend it was a dream and we could keep our cabins. RC shut down completely! You had to vacate your room as normal. They had breakfast but that ended at 9. You could not find food on the ship. My young boys were getting hungry at 11:30 but there was no food to be found. I heard from another passenger that he had the drink package and they wouldn't even refill his cup with soda. I did hear that they had cookies in one of the lounges, but that's not enough. Shame on RC for this one! If felt like being kicked out the door…we have served you for the time you paid and now we are DONE! RC could have handled this better.

 

pool layout: On Royal carribean there was nothing by the main pool…only ice cream. If you wanted food you had to go inside the windjammer. On the magic they have a grill right by the pool…so you could get in line wet! Also the drink station wasn't too far in either. Also on RC…once windjammer closed…you had to go to deck 5 to get water…unless you go upto a bar I suppose. It's minor…but with three young kids…these little things matter.

 

Movie night: I liked that RC played Frozen and Smurfs on the big screen…they had a good variety of movies for all ages. Carnival gave us popcorn

 

 

Overall Vibe: RC is of arrogance, Carnival is more modest and fun, and NCL is somewhere in between.

 

Overall: There is no doubt that RC's decor is prettier..but that's not enough for me to pay more then other cruise lines. I didn't feel their service was any better to warrant the extra cost in sailing with them. In fact at times their service was lacking compared to carnival magic. With young kids carnival was best for us. Would I sail RC again? Maybe….is it worth the extra cost? NO! Having said that…I had a blast on all three…cruising is FUN!

__________

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Three cruises in 4 months! I hope to get there some day.

 

Thanks for the comparison. While we no longer need the children's program, I agree with some of your assessments.

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It drives me nuts when Carnival has an issue to deal with and cheerleaders on other boards slam Carnival.

 

Carnival has consistently handled issues with far more concern about their passengers, than Royal Caribbean or Celebrity. I'm not saying they're perfect though.

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my wife and I have sailed Princess, Royal Caribbean and carnival. I totally agree with your assessment between Carnival and RC. We cruise sometimes for ports other times for the ship and sometimes just to cruise. We have no special loyalty to any specific cruise line and we don't cruise to receive perks.

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I was glad to read your post. I've cruised 8 times, all on Carnival. I've been perfectly happy with each cruise, but wondered if I was missing out by not trying another line. Royal Carribean has a ship going out of Galveston, which is where I sail from, so I'm glad to hear I'm not missing anything!

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My first two cruises were on Carnival. Some people in my circle told me I need to try Royal Caribbean. So we did. I personal hated it. After 2 days of the 7 day cruise I was done with Royal Caribbean. The Royal Caribbean was very very nice on the inside .... but to me .... thats where it stopped.

 

The Cruise director constantly was slamming Carnival. There were some passengers that really seemed to be High Class. I personally was not comfortable with that. So .... went back to Carnival and havent looked back. As every Cruise is different ..... for the most part ..... I have enjoyed Carnival ! ! .

 

thats my 2 cents

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pool layout: On Royal carribean there was nothing by the main pool…only ice cream. If you wanted food you had to go inside the windjammer. On the magic they have a grill right by the pool…so you could get in line wet! Also the drink station wasn't too far in either. Also on RC…once windjammer closed…you had to go to deck 5 to get water…unless you go upto a bar I suppose. It's minor…but with three young kids…these little

__________

 

This is the main thing I didn't like about RC (never sailed on Norwegian) while at the pool you want a drink but nope you have to trudge all they way out of the pool area to get something.UNLESS you want a bar drink, cuz their was bar staff were all over the pool area. And if your hungry you can't just have a munchie by the pool. And the ice cream was only open for a few hours in the day so you didn't get that either and if you did you waited a long time in line for it.

And yep trying to get something to drink after the windjammer was closed was no fun either.

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DH and I are 38 with three boys (ages 5, 5, and 4). In the last 4 months we have sailed NCL Epic, Carnival Magic, and last week RC Navigator of the Seas.

 

Room: We had a family ocean view on carnival magic and RC. We had the family haven suite on NCL…which was fabulous and really can't compare with the other two so I won't. Our bathroom on RC did not get refurbished. The toilet was chipped in multiple areas and stained….ewwww. Our bathroom was dated and small. I was not impressed with RC. On Carnival magic we had two bathrooms and this is nice with 5 in a room. The room was larger on RC compared to Carnival. The storage would have been more efficient if RC would have added shelves to the closets. On RC our family OV overlooked the helicopter pad and beyond that we had an ocean view. We had two windows on RC..but we had to keep them closed for privacy as people could look in from the helicopter pads. Because of the bathroom situation for us…Carnival's room was better.

 

Windjammer Cafe: With 3 young children…buffets are always a nightmare. On RC having the drinks already poured was a nice touch. On carnival and RC we got offered help twice. On carnival a drink cart comes around and offers refills and pastries…that's a nice touch. Service was the same on both ships. Food options were better on carnival..but this is just personal preference. We though the food was tastier on carnival. NCL's service was lacking compared to the above two ships.

 

Activities: SAME…RC has the ice skating rink and rock climbing wall. Carnival has the sky course and rock climbing wall. NCL has the bowling alley and climbing structure for kids. SAME for all three

 

SHOWS: NCL had the best shows. RC got second place. Carnival third place.

 

Kids Club: We were in the young club (ages 3 to 5) on all three ships. Carnival wins. Carnival offered a structured schedule but allowed some leniency for the kids who might want to color or play with toys instead. RC was very strict…you had to participate in what they were doing…no other option. NCL had free play the first hour of all opening times…so three times a day you had 1 hour of free play. Carnival was open first cruise day. RC and NCL did not open until the second day of cruising. RC and NCL close from 12 to 2 and again from 5 to 7. If you leave your child in the club on a port day, NCL charges to feed your child. Carnival will give your child a mat, blanket, and pillow to sleep on. RC will leave your child on a bench (we witnessed this multiple times with other children). NCL will not allow your child to sleep in the club…you have to come get them. Our boys will be 6 next week and we have a 4 year old. RC offered to move our boys to the older group…but they also said once we move them they can't come back to this side…I thought that strict. Overall vibe: Carnival really gets it…they want your children to have a good time and they want them to come back..they will bribe them with candy and do whatever it takes…I didn't get this vibe from RC or NCL. CARNIVAL WINS!!!! Having said that…my kids had a blast in all three clubs.

 

Casino: We only play blackjack at the tables. RC opens their tables at 12 pm. We like to gamble but can only do this when the kids are in the club…but the club is closed from 12 to 2 so that was a schedule conflict for us. On the NCL epic we felt like we were gambling in a hallway…we just didn't like the lay out of this ship. Also the payouts are not as great on the NCL epic. NCL epic kept all but one table open for high rollers. RC and Carnival had two $6 tables. Smoke was the same on all ship casinos…I liked that Carnival had nonsmoking tables.

 

Main Dining: Taste is personal preference and relative. I will only say that the service was the same on all three ships. They all offered great ambiance in the main dining area.

 

Fog delay: On carnival we didn't get off the ship until 6pm and on RC we got at 1pm. Carnival handled the delay better. They kept service going as if we were still their guests. They even let us sleep in and told us to pretend it was a dream and we could keep our cabins. RC shut down completely! You had to vacate your room as normal. They had breakfast but that ended at 9. You could not find food on the ship. My young boys were getting hungry at 11:30 but there was no food to be found. I heard from another passenger that he had the drink package and they wouldn't even refill his cup with soda. I did hear that they had cookies in one of the lounges, but that's not enough. Shame on RC for this one! If felt like being kicked out the door…we have served you for the time you paid and now we are DONE! RC could have handled this better.

 

pool layout: On Royal carribean there was nothing by the main pool…only ice cream. If you wanted food you had to go inside the windjammer. On the magic they have a grill right by the pool…so you could get in line wet! Also the drink station wasn't too far in either. Also on RC…once windjammer closed…you had to go to deck 5 to get water…unless you go upto a bar I suppose. It's minor…but with three young kids…these little things matter.

 

Movie night: I liked that RC played Frozen and Smurfs on the big screen…they had a good variety of movies for all ages. Carnival gave us popcorn

 

 

Overall Vibe: RC is of arrogance, Carnival is more modest and fun, and NCL is somewhere in between.

 

Overall: There is no doubt that RC's decor is prettier..but that's not enough for me to pay more then other cruise lines. I didn't feel their service was any better to warrant the extra cost in sailing with them. In fact at times their service was lacking compared to carnival magic. With young kids carnival was best for us. Would I sail RC again? Maybe….is it worth the extra cost? NO! Having said that…I had a blast on all three…cruising is FUN!

__________

hard to compare an older RCL ship with the other line's newest, but you did. Arrogance? How is that?

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This is the main thing I didn't like about RC (never sailed on Norwegian) while at the pool you want a drink but nope you have to trudge all they way out of the pool area to get something.UNLESS you want a bar drink, cuz their was bar staff were all over the pool area. And if your hungry you can't just have a munchie by the pool. And the ice cream was only open for a few hours in the day so you didn't get that either and if you did you waited a long time in line for it.

And yep trying to get something to drink after the windjammer was closed was no fun either.

The last RCL cruise I went on, there was a ice water dispenser that you could serve yourself at the pool bars

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The last RCL cruise I went on, there was a ice water dispenser that you could serve yourself at the pool bars

 

True, but on CCL there are tables all around Lido to eat lunch or have a snack. DW and I miss this on RCCL.

 

OP, thanks for your comparisons of the 3 lines. I agree with most, but DW and I like CCL and CCL about equally. Wish RCCL had more Ports as close as CCL to us.

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Thank you for your comparison. We are hoping to have a better experience because we are cruising on a newer ship. We chose Royal over Carnival this time because Carnival would have meant repeating virtually the same itinerary we just did in October. We are keeping an open mind and keeping our fingers crossed that we will have a good cruise on RC.

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Thank you for your comparison. We are hoping to have a better experience because we are cruising on a newer ship. We chose Royal over Carnival this time because Carnival would have meant repeating virtually the same itinerary we just did in October. We are keeping an open mind and keeping our fingers crossed that we will have a good cruise on RC.

 

If you keep your expectations neutral, you should have a good time. There are some sour grapes loyalists who want to not like it, and confirming their own bias. You'll probably prefer both lines in their own way, and switching up the entertainment and itinerary is always worth it.

 

The OP's conclusion that the decor isn't worth the money, is totally misrepresenting Royal Caribbean. "Decor" is not what's focused on in RCL advertisement, reviews, or the general buzz. That's like saying Target isn't worth the extra money for those red balls in the entrance way, and maybe that's true, but Target really has more going on than that.

 

One Hint: Entertainment, RCL has more going on than "an ice skating rink and rock climbing wall."

Edited by Stateroom_Sailor

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We enjoy both Carnival and Royal. They are different, to us, in atmosphere. At higher loyalty levels, we find the benefits definitely better on Royal. Three hour cocktails every night in a nice lounge with friends is wonderful. Carnival offers a more relaxed, yes, fun environment. We enjoy the free drinks and little extras on Carnival. We are not casino or pool folks, we spend very little. There is no problem, as far as we are concerned, with enjoying both cruise lines.

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Thank you for your comparison. We are hoping to have a better experience because we are cruising on a newer ship. We chose Royal over Carnival this time because Carnival would have meant repeating virtually the same itinerary we just did in October. We are keeping an open mind and keeping our fingers crossed that we will have a good cruise on RC.

 

 

We have cruised on RCI and Carnival. DH and I enjoy Royal. The ship design (Freedom class) is great IMHO. The MDR food and service are comparable. I would cruise either line. I definately enjoyed the Allure with the multiple dining options.

 

However, DH believed there was something missing on our past 4 RCI cruises. He thought our fellow RCI cruisers were friendly and cordial but a tad bit uptight. I didnt really notice. He calls it pinkys up :p.

 

I say try all the lines and see for yourself. We continue to cruise Carnival for the ports. But I am looking foward to trying Celebrity for our Europe cruise next year..not sure how hubby is going to fare with even more pinkys in the air :D

 

Have a great time...

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One Hint: Entertainment, RCL has more going on than "an ice skating rink and rock climbing wall."

 

Hint: She didn't say that was the entertainment. She said those were activities.

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Hint: She didn't say that was the entertainment. She said those were activities.

 

I never claimed she said anything about entertainment, which is exactly the flaw. I would like to see a copy of a daily activity sheet though. I was just on the Navigator a month ago, and it seems the activities have dropped drastically.

Edited by Stateroom_Sailor

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She said this about entertainment: SHOWS: NCL had the best shows. RC got second place. Carnival third place.

 

Correct... My point is, decor is not what showcases Royal Caribbean, it's the entertainment. Shows, activities, some services could all be included, depending on what you consider "entertainment." When comparing fun ship to fun ship, it's at the core. Now if OP didn't care for some of the extras, or didn't think they were worth the money, fair enough.

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For the record…when I had priced out carnival magic and rc navigator of the seas…for the exact same week…similar cabin there was a thousand dollar price difference. I personally did not feel the shows offered on RC were worth the extra $. As for the other little extras…I'm not sure what you might be referring to…I didn't see anything "extra" offered compared to carnival. Service was the same….did I miss something? Please share…and I'm not being sarcastic…I genuinely mean this.

 

There was a poster who mentioned that the perks are better on RC. First of all congratulations on achieving those statuses on both cruise lines…that is amazing! Having said that now…I can't help but to say this….you do pay extra every time you book a RC cruise…so I can't help but to say that you have in a sense paid for those 3 hour drink perks that you were referring to. That is the least RC should do for you. I sure hope the other perks are good as well…and I don't blame you…I would sail with the line that offered the better perks also.

 

For the poster who mentioned it wasn't fair to compare carnival magic (new ship) to RC navigator of the seas…fair enough! I was only comparing the two because Navigator underwent a refurbishment last month that was suppose to make the ship like new. I get it…can't compare an older ship to a newer ship..but nothing I mentioned really made ship age an issue? Perhaps the bathrooms are nicer on the newer RC family OV's?

 

For the poster who wanted an explanation of what I meant by RC being "arrogant"? I had called in to book a cruise when my kids were really little. The RC agent said to me…we don't allow kids to run wild…we are not that kind of ship. All I had asked her was…"Is RC kid friendly?". I also think its pretty arrogant on a company's part to not allow you to cancel a booking and book under a new better promotion. I get it they need to make money…but NCL and Carnival will allow you to get the better price no matter when you book…RC is being arrogant…I know that people have found different ways around this to get some perks..but why would you not give your most loyal customers who book in advance the best price without it being a hassle or big deal? Arrogance! The overall vibe of the ships service is such…at least on navigator it was….we experienced sarcasm/attitude…with our room steward, casino dealer, kids club counselor…and those are just off the top of my head. I can give you examples..but it was minor petty type stuff….nothing that kept me from having fun…just noticed it that's all! I came across this on NCL as well…perhaps it's because the tips are automatically added now and they know they will get paid regardless? I don't know…but service in general feels different from years before.

 

Oh and the poster who made the "target" analogy…well what can I say to this person…sounds like an underlying implication that carnival might be the "walmart"? I think you owe it to yourself to sail Carnival Magic or Breeze or one of their newer ships…you will be pleasantly surprised.

 

Like I said before I'm not against any one cruise line….I have enjoyed every cruise I have ever taken! We cruise for the ship. Ports don't really matter for us. We have seen most of the carribean…it's all about the ship experience for us. I have not ruled out any cruise line…all I can say is that we sailed carnival magic three times…I won't be sailing navigator again…I would choose the magic again!

Edited by ginger123snaps

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For the record…when I had priced out carnival magic and rc navigator of the seas…for the exact same week…similar cabin there was a thousand dollar price difference. I personally did not feel the shows offered on RC were worth the extra $.

 

Nor do I. Personally my budget is $100 pp for an OV, $200 pp for a balcony, Alaska or somewhere else super scenic, double that. The difference between Carnival Magic and Navigator of the Seas was $120 pp for an inside cabin. With a huge sale, we ended up getting a promenade room for $30 cheaper than the Magic's inside cabin.

 

As for the other little extras…I'm not sure what you might be referring to…I didn't see anything "extra" offered compared to carnival. Service was the same….did I miss something? Please share…and I'm not being sarcastic…I genuinely mean this.

 

Fair enough, and I'm exclusively talking entertainment comparing the Navigator to the Victory (newer ships on both lines have more):

 

1. Flow Rider'

2. Better miniature Golf

3. Parades

4. Ice Capades

5. Game Shows

6. Hobby Classes

 

Oh and the poster who made the "target" analogy…well what can I say to this person…sounds like an underlying implication that carnival might be the "walmart"? I think you owe it to yourself to sail Carnival Magic or Breeze or one of their newer ships…you will be pleasantly surprised.

 

They're both discount retailers that I shop at, I could just as easily compare decor from the Ritz to Hyatt hotels.

 

That being said, I don't blame you for not wanting to spend 1K more for RCL. We have no loyalty to any of these lines. We choose itinerary first, bang for buck 2nd. We don't eat at the same restaurant every time we go out, some get preference, but it's always good to mix it up a bit ;)

Edited by Stateroom_Sailor

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For the poster who wanted an explanation of what I meant by RC being "arrogant"? I had called in to book a cruise when my kids were really little. The RC agent said to me…we don't allow kids to run wild…we are not that kind of ship. All I had asked her was…"Is RC kid friendly?". I also think its pretty arrogant on a company's part to not allow you to cancel a booking and book under a new better promotion. I get it they need to make money…but NCL and Carnival will allow you to get the better price no matter when you book…RC is being arrogant…I know that people have found different ways around this to get some perks..but why would you not give your most loyal customers who book in advance the best price without it being a hassle or big deal? Arrogance! The overall vibe of the ships service is such…at least on navigator it was….we experienced sarcasm/attitude…with our room steward, casino dealer, kids club counselor…and those are just off the top of my head. I can give you examples..but it was minor petty type stuff….nothing that kept me from having fun…just noticed it that's all! I came across this on NCL as well…perhaps it's because the tips are automatically added now and they know they will get paid regardless? I don't know…but service in general feels different from years before.

 

!

 

I don't care if you dislike one line or another but this part makes no sense.

 

They are arrogant because they have a policy against canceling and rebooking under a lower rate? My understanding and yours of what the word arrogant means are clearly not the same. And I assume you are referring to the sales that pop up that are for new bookings only. Why would they allow you to get this price if you had already booked. Defeats the purpose of a new booking sale doesn't it.

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I have sailed on both RC and Carnival and with children Carnival definitely wins for me, without kids, it is a lot closer and price/itinerary will be the deciding factor in which one I choose.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app

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