Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
kinggartk

RCL Vs Carnival

Recommended Posts

(Disclaimer:  I posted this same thread on the RCL board....posting here to reach a different audience.)

 

I'll try not to provoke an us vs them war...and I'll try not to be biased.

 

I just completed my first RCL cruise aboard Oasis.  I'll start by saying Oasis is a beautiful and massive ship.  It rarely felt crowded.  The staff was all very nice.

Carnival has no ship to compare to Oasis.  In that category...RCL wins Hands Down.

 

Staff for both cruislines are excellent... This one is a draw.

 

Main Dining Room...that's where Carnival shines in my opinion.  Carnival seems to have a more varied menu from night to night in the MDR than does RCL.  RCL had many items repeated night after night with only a couple of changes from night to night.  Carnival on the other hand...has only a couple of items that show up each night while the rest of the menu changes each night.  Also...Carnival has Warm Chocolate Melting cake...RCL trys to replicate...but fails.   Carnival wins hands down.

 

All other food venues.   Carnival and RCL are pretty equal.  Food Quality is fairly equal across both cruiselines. This one is a draw.

 

I don't like the reservation system for shows on RCL.  This is just my preference, others may feel different.  Carnival Wins

 

I like that Carnival has their shows scheduled to work around MDR schedules.  If I have late dinning, I can go to the early show.  If I have early dinning, I can go to the late show.  RCL seemed to only have shows at one time (10:30).  We had 8:00 dinning and found ourselves with not much to do from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.  On carnival...we would have been seeing a show during that time.  Carnival Wins.

 

Carnival seems to have more going on during the day than RCL...maybe that's just my perception.  I wanted to do more than sit in a lounger by the pool during the day...but just didn't find much more to do during those times.  Carnival Wins.

 

The Quality of the show are hit or miss from cruise to cruise.  The Water show was fantastic...Cats was very good, the Ice Show was good.  Come Fly with me was a snoozer and singers were not good.  Overall Carnival and RCL are equal when it comes to the Shows...but the Water Show and Ice Show put RCL over the top.  RCL Wins (because of the Ice and Water shows)

 

RCL communication with passengers was a little lacking.  We had to figure out on our one what documents to take with us to the various ports.  RCL gave us very little information about when and where to meet for excursions.  There was information provided on the tickets them selves...but finding the various excursion meeting locations was a crapshoot...especially on Labadee.  Carnival Wins.

 

Finally...Price.  This cruise seemed to be much more expensive than any of the cruises I have taken on Carnival.  Carnival Wins.

 

Disclaimer:  I have been on 5 Carnival Cruises and one RCL cruise.  I would definitely sail RCL again...but this Cruise on RCL helped me confirm I'm partial to Carnival.  I tried not to be biased...but...maybe I failed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

 

As you said the Oasis is a massive ship with all the bells and whistles. If that's what you are looking for in cruising, then that is where you need to go. Something like, if you need Mickey, then you need to sail with DCL. 

 

For years now, it has been that bottom line that sets Carnival apart. It is generally the best priced option. For many, that is critical. That is why, if you find a similar cruise offered by a rival company at a competitive price (after adding in all your extras), book it, it's a good price.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice analysis,we did the same, felt the same about the ship and the overall.  Be ready, I was pretty much called a nutcase for saying so here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I saw this topic, I initially rolled my eyes thinking this was just another RC vs Carnival plug fest. I'm glad I opened this one up. I really like the way you have broken your analysis down into categories taking in to account that they both do certain things better, the same as, and/or worse than each other.

 

Great thread. /following 🙂

 

Flip

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my opinion, you don't have enough cruise experience to make a fair judgment on the 2 lines.  6 cruises total just gets your toe in the pool so to speak.  You did accurately relate your history but 1 RCCL cruise is not enough to declare one cruise line winning over the other.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, NavarreCruiser said:

In my opinion, you don't have enough cruise experience to make a fair judgment on the 2 lines.  6 cruises total just gets your toe in the pool so to speak.  You did accurately relate your history but 1 RCCL cruise is not enough to declare one cruise line winning over the other.

This is why I made a point to use the words "Opinion" and "Preference" and "Perception" many times in my write up.  These are just the ramblings of a casual cruiser and my personal observations.  I don't claim to be an expert as you obviously are.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, NavarreCruiser said:

In my opinion, you don't have enough cruise experience to make a fair judgment on the 2 lines.  6 cruises total just gets your toe in the pool so to speak.  You did accurately relate your history but 1 RCCL cruise is not enough to declare one cruise line winning over the other.

In my opinion, that is exactly the kind of review I want to read.  Yes, the OP's opinions may change over time if more cruises on RCCL are taken, but initial impressions are important.

 

If I had the same conclusions, I might not want to cruise further on RCCL just so I can say "no, really, I prefer Carnival".  I would want to continue with what I knew made me happy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice write up.  We absolutely loved Allure of the seas, as there was so much going on, and the shows were fantastic.  If you are saying that Carnival ships have things equivalent to the broadway style shows (we saw mama mia and loved it), I will be happy.  We have our first carnival cruise in many years onboard Magic for an 8day southern.  The dive show was awesome, and blue planet was pretty good as well, weren't real impressed with the ice show.

 

Comparing Oasis pricing to anything on Carnival is kind of silly, as there are many, many ships with amenities and sizes close to Carnival ships that are much cheaper, and typically closer in price.  Oasis class demands a premium, because there is really nothing else like it out there on any line.  Once the new mega ship from carnival is out, it will probably cost in the neighborhood of oasis class, if not more.  

 

One thing I am finding in planning, is that some policies are better on carnival (officially allowing pop to be brought on board, and cheap bottled water) are nice options, and help keep the total costs lower.  This is offset by the drink package being more expensive, and not having a middle package, as I loved that on RCI.

 

I am looking forward to our cruise and seeing the differences first hand.  My wife and I went on Jewel of the Seas for Southern from San Juan and the ports were incredible, but did not find the shows even good, most we thought we boring, and just not our thing.  Went on the Allure and loved the ship, but the ports were not as good for the western Caribbean.  If magic gives as good of shows as Allure, we may have a winner with good ports and good ship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great comparison! My cruise history is about the same as yours, but opposite. I've been on 5 RCCL and 1 Carnival. I prefer Carnival due to the reasons you've stated. I would also add that Carnival has more included food options, especially for lunch. RCCL also has more "active" things to do, rock climbing wall, flowrider, ice skating, etc. I do not utilize these so they do not hold value for me. I went on RCCL because that was what my parents went on, but I am planning my next 3 Carnivals now!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Nic6318 said:

 

 

For years now, it has been that bottom line that sets Carnival apart. It is generally the best priced option. For many, that is critical. That is why, if you find a similar cruise offered by a rival company at a competitive price (after adding in all your extras), book it, it's a good price.

 

 

Totally agree. We have cruises out of NOLA seven times. Each time we priced NCL and found them to be significantly more expensive than CCL, and found nothing of value to justify the extra cost. Thus we have seven CCL cruises out of NOLA.

 

However, when we were looking at Alaskan cruises we found one on Celebrity that (after $350 OBC) was only a few dollars more than Carnival, but appeared to have more amenities and a favorable itinerary. Thus we are booked on Celebrity for next May. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, NavarreCruiser said:

In my opinion, you don't have enough cruise experience to make a fair judgment on the 2 lines.  6 cruises total just gets your toe in the pool so to speak.  You did accurately relate your history but 1 RCCL cruise is not enough to declare one cruise line winning over the other.

 

Seriously?  You think that a person has to have a certain number of cruises under their belt before they are allowed (by you) to give an opinion or review?  The OP is stating his or her opinion of both cruise lines based on their experiences, and their opinion is 100% valid.  You don't have to agree with it one way or the other.  That's the great thing about being allowed to form your own opinions.  But to sit there and say that 5 Carnival cruises and 1 Royal Caribbean cruise isn't enough to make a comparison is ridiculous.  The OP was simply stating a summary of his/her experience on this Royal cruise verses their previous Carnival cruises.  No where did they proclaim to be an expert on either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RCI must be cutting back in the entertainment since we cruised on the Oasis class ships last year.

 

Having one show a night at 10:30pm does not sit well with me. Disappointed to hear this.:classic_angry:

 

Jimbo. You like what you like, nothing wrong with that.👍

 

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, bakersdozen12 said:

 

Seriously?  You think that a person has to have a certain number of cruises under their belt before they are allowed (by you) to give an opinion or review?  The OP is stating his or her opinion of both cruise lines based on their experiences, and their opinion is 100% valid.  You don't have to agree with it one way or the other.  That's the great thing about being allowed to form your own opinions.  But to sit there and say that 5 Carnival cruises and 1 Royal Caribbean cruise isn't enough to make a comparison is ridiculous.  The OP was simply stating a summary of his/her experience on this Royal cruise verses their previous Carnival cruises.  No where did they proclaim to be an expert on either.

 

 

I guess the phrase "Carnival wins" seems to indicate an experienced fleet-wide analysis which is obviously not the case.  The Op has every right to his/her opinion I just objected to the way it was presented.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try one of the smaller RC, like Adventure for a more accurate comparison.

You will find a much different experience and its more the same size as the average Carnival ship.

For me I like the ship design and layout of those size RC better than Carnival.

I find the food in both the dining room and the buffet to be about the same on both.

Entertainment is a tiny bit better on RC.

 

Overall both lines are about the same. After itinerary, if the boat layout is a major deciding factor I would go RC, if price is a deciding factor Carnival wins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, NavarreCruiser said:

 

 

I guess the phrase "Carnival wins" seems to indicate an experienced fleet-wide analysis which is obviously not the case.  The Op has every right to his/her opinion I just objected to the way it was presented.

With all due respect....you didn't object to the way it was presented...you said I wasn't experienced enough to render an opinion.  Would it have made you happier if I said "Carnival Wins, IMO"? If so, I will happily go back and add those 3 little letters.

 

Just to reiterate...this was not intended to be a "Bash RCL" thread.  I enjoyed my cruise with RCL and will happily do it again.

 

I think the main problem here is that you disagree with my opinion....not the way I presented it.  And since I'm not an expert like you...it is audacious that I actually come here and express my opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, kinggartk said:

I don't like the reservation system for shows on RCL.  This is just my preference, others may feel different.  Carnival Wins

 

I just want to point out that this makes no sense at all.  If you don't like making reservations or skipping lines, then go stand in line just like you would do on Carnival.  There is a line that forms for standby all the same.  Why you don't like the ability to skip the line, I have no idea.  But you are certainly entitled to that preference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, kinggartk said:

I like that Carnival has their shows scheduled to work around MDR schedules.  If I have late dinning, I can go to the early show.  If I have early dinning, I can go to the late show.  RCL seemed to only have shows at one time (10:30).  We had 8:00 dinning and found ourselves with not much to do from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.  On carnival...we would have been seeing a show during that time.  Carnival Wins.

 

By the way, this is also just simply untrue.  The shows are scheduled around early and late dining.  There are shows at 5PM sometimes and often the late dining takes a 10:30 show time while early might have an 8:30 show time.  With some shows actually being at 2:30 or so on sea days, too.  Do you happen to have your "Don't Miss The Show" schedule?  Because I think you just didn't pay attention.....   The shows are at all sorts of times to accommodate everyone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, BNBR said:

 

I just want to point out that this makes no sense at all.  If you don't like making reservations or skipping lines, then go stand in line just like you would do on Carnival.  There is a line that forms for standby all the same.  Why you don't like the ability to skip the line, I have no idea.  But you are certainly entitled to that preference.

 

 

Hi

 

It does seem like you are just trying to pick at minor points this person has made as their perception/experience (yes, on only one RCL cruise). The OP did mention, the feeling of a lack of communication, maybe they didn't know of how some things worked. You of course, might have a completely different perspective. That is why it is their review, and not yours.

 

By the way, I have never stood in line on a Carnival ship to see a show in the theatre. If you are referring to people standing in line to see the comedy shows, that is only because they choose to stand in line, hoping to get a better seat. My last cruise, as well as past cruises, I arrive just before the show starts, walk right in (no line), sit down, order a drink, and enjoy. See, no reservations needed. I think reservations on a ship like The Oasis, is a good idea, just because there are so many people. That's one of the things with a ship that big. If that's what you like, they have everything you could possibly want. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Nic6318 said:

 

 

Hi

 

It does seem like you are just trying to pick at minor points this person has made as their perception/experience (yes, on only one RCL cruise). The OP did mention, the feeling of a lack of communication, maybe they didn't know of how some things worked. You of course, might have a completely different perspective. That is why it is their review, and not yours.

 

By the way, I have never stood in line on a Carnival ship to see a show in the theatre. If you are referring to people standing in line to see the comedy shows, that is only because they choose to stand in line, hoping to get a better seat. My last cruise, as well as past cruises, I arrive just before the show starts, walk right in (no line), sit down, order a drink, and enjoy. See, no reservations needed. I think reservations on a ship like The Oasis, is a good idea, just because there are so many people. That's one of the things with a ship that big. If that's what you like, they have everything you could possibly want. 

 

I'm not really picking at minor points.  The OP made 2 separate points about entertainment, and implied that it was pretty important.  I would agree.  Entertainment is a huge part of Oasis.  They have tons of shows and venues.  My issue is that their take on it is not really a matter of opinion, but kind of just, wrong.  This isn't just a "review"  - it's a discussion forum.  So you can expect responses that may not agree with the points.

 

I didn't challenge the lack of communication.  I would call that a minor point, personally, and I didn't feel communication was any different on Royal than Carnival.  But as for the shows, you can't claim lack of communication.  You get a "Don't Miss The Show" schedule right on your bed when you walk in the cabin.  And, of course, you can book your showtimes on the cruise planner easily before the cruise.  It's all right there on the planner before you ever even go.  And the OP claims they only have 1 showtime for shows.  That's just flat out false.  

 

The thing about reservations on Oasis, is that once you start booking times, you realize there aren't that many options (in a good way).  The way the shows are scheduled, overlapping, etc.  It's designed to move the crowds so not everyone is going to one show.  So when you factor in dining times and overlapping shows - it becomes really easy to just reserve for the shows that will fit your schedule.  If you miss it, who cares?  It's free to reserve.  If it works out, you can walk in with no line and have almost any seat in the theater.

 

You say you like to walk in right before a show starts, you can absolutely do that on Oasis.  Other than the small comedy club, you can walk in to just about any other show a few minutes before it starts and grab a seat.  And that was my point.  If you like doing that, you can do that.  So when you say "I don't like reservations, I like Carnival better" - it just makes no sense.  You can walk up 10 minutes before, without a reservation, and grab a seat all the same.  Having a reservation just means you can show up a little bit earlier and have prime seating choice.  I mean, really, how is that a BAD thing? Lol.

 

Anyways.  People read these threads and make real decisions.  Shouldn't we be accurate and correct false information?

 

Here is the schedule from Allure.  It's very similar but I can't find an Oasis example.  They leave this in your cabin for you.  Notice the show times.  It's not "only 1 show time at 10:30" - you can see Blue Planet and Mama Mia both have 5PM show times....  Oasis does similar.  Even the ice show has a 5PM offering.  Only the main aqua shows are later because they are designed to be at night/dark.  But you'll notice they also have a 12:15 dreamworks aqua show and also a 7PM ice show that is early enough for late dinner.  So yes, the OP's comments about show times are just flat out wrong.  Maybe OP can provide the show schedule if it differs from all the other Oasis class ships?

 

a49c66b4341660a17310fcf17f66629c.jpg&key

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I posted a similar pro/con post last summer after our first RCL cruise. We'd always done Carnival, so it was just our observations between the two. It helps people who are open to different lines.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We just cruised the Oasis in August. This was our first ever BIG ship, never felt crowded.  I stated before that, even though we're Diamond on RCCL (with the "perks" that I included below) and a Gold on Carnival, my hubby and I prefer the Freedom Class ships on Carnival. It's just our preference.

 

I didn't like having to reserve the shows, before I even get on the ship?!  We play it by ear each night. So, yeah, we'll stand in a line, no biggie for goodness sake (again for us, our opinion).  We ended up going to the water show, unimpressed!  But, like many, if you've seen Cirque Shows the RCCL Shows seem downright amateurish.  MY opinion, doesn't have to be anybody else's opinion, are we clear to the nit pickers?

 

The best RCCL cruise was our Alaskan Cruise easily a decade or more ago. Radiance Class I believe. A gorgeous bar area with beautiful gleaming wood, I can't remember the name now. It had a pool table. Just loved it the ship, the windows in the public areas, A+++ cruise experience. LOL cruising Alaska coastline didn't hurt the experience ...💛🛳💨💨.

 

I'm looking forward to the Dream cruise I have in a few months. And looking forward to being back on Carnival!

🌸🌸. Bobbi

P.S.

 Why did I feel I had to defend what I just wrote here??  Because it seems to me that some folks like to verbally "play with" others comments here on the Forums. 😮😳

IMG_8369.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, NavarreCruiser said:

In my opinion, you don't have enough cruise experience to make a fair judgment on the 2 lines.  6 cruises total just gets your toe in the pool so to speak.  You did accurately relate your history but 1 RCCL cruise is not enough to declare one cruise line winning over the other.

 

What is the minimum number of cruises to take before you are qualified to share your opinion?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, NavarreCruiser said:

In my opinion, you don't have enough cruise experience to make a fair judgment on the 2 lines.  6 cruises total just gets your toe in the pool so to speak.  You did accurately relate your history but 1 RCCL cruise is not enough to declare one cruise line winning over the other.

I think it's enough to form a personal preference and it seems to me that is exactly what OP stated. I expect that our upcoming Anthem cruise will likely be the same way- we'll like Royal just fine but our cruises will still be picked primarily by price.

 

OP, thank you for your balanced review.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, kinggartk said:

With all due respect....you didn't object to the way it was presented...you said I wasn't experienced enough to render an opinion.  Would it have made you happier if I said "Carnival Wins, IMO"? If so, I will happily go back and add those 3 little letters.

 

Just to reiterate...this was not intended to be a "Bash RCL" thread.  I enjoyed my cruise with RCL and will happily do it again.

 

I think the main problem here is that you disagree with my opinion....not the way I presented it.  And since I'm not an expert like you...it is audacious that I actually come here and express my opinion.

As I stated above, you are totally right in expressing your opinion, and whether I agree with it or disagree is of no matter.  As you stated I have more cruise experience on both lines than you do, however, that is also not relevant.  I have read and cruised with hundreds of cruisers who make blanket statements about cruise lines and ships with little or sometimes no basis for those opinions.  Many RCCL cruisers are guilty of this in reference to their opinion of Carnival.  So back off a little and relax.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/21/2018 at 5:24 PM, BNBR said:

 

I just want to point out that this makes no sense at all.  If you don't like making reservations or skipping lines, then go stand in line just like you would do on Carnival.  There is a line that forms for standby all the same.  Why you don't like the ability to skip the line, I have no idea.  But you are certainly entitled to that preference.

Yes...wait in standby line and hope there is a seat available...that works great.  I don't like having to make reservations in advance...because I don't know what I'm going to feel like doing on the given day of my VACATION.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter Now for a Chance to Win a 7-day Cruise for Two
      • Q&A with InsureMyTrip
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...