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NavyCruiser

Value of Royal vs other Upscale Cruise Lines...

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With over 30 cruises over the past 30 years, we love Royal & are loyal Royal cruisers with 2 upcoming Royal cruises in 2020.  We also have 2 upcoming European river cruises also in 2020.

However, as we've done 4 river cruises already & plan more in the future, we're starting to try to justify its Value.

Although river cruising is more expensive initially, the all-inclusive Value, along with always purchasing/booking when there's a free air included to Europe makes more competitive.

Now we're getting the feeling of mainline Royal/Carnival/Princess has added lots of nickle & diming costs to the cruising experience, we're trying to compare to maybe an upscale Viking ocean cruise experience.

So just planning & looking at some sale prices for later in 2020 for an 8 night cruise of out Southampton UK for Viking & Royal ocean cruises on a Balcony stateroom, trying to do my best apples-to-apples comparison between the two.  

Viking's currently has these inclusive/included features, I'm listing Royal's equivalent costs, as listed according to upcoming booked cruise, cost per person per day & /total cost for 7 days:

One complimentary shore excursion in every port of call          30/150

Free Wi-Fi (connection speed may vary)                                       15/105

Alternative restaurant dining at no extra charge                          24/168

24-hour room service

Beer, wine & soft drinks with onboard lunch & dinner                 55/385

24-hour specialty coffees, teas & bottled water

Access to top-rated spa & state-of-the-art fitness center

Self-service launderettes

Port taxes & fees                                                                                   /100

Ground transfers with Viking Air purchase                                       /40

Private Veranda

Separate seating area

42" flat-screen LCD TV with intuitive remote & complimentary Movies On Demand

110/220 volt outlets & USB ports

Spacious closet & drawers

Mini-bar; security safe; hair dryer

Spacious glass-enclosed shower

Heated bathroom floor & anti-fog mirror

Premium Freyja® toiletries; plush robes & slippers

Stateroom steward & twice-daily housekeeping

 

So for Viking's cruise cost of $2000 per person, with free airfare sale,

vs Royal's $1500 + airfare (approx $700, Houston to London), + $882 costs above , - $112 Diamond balcony discount

 

So even if we ignore the airfare, I think the costs are comparable within a few hundred dollars.  Of course the ship's experiences are completely different, might be interesting to looking at first Viking (or other upscale all/more inclusive cruise lines )  ocean liners...?

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We love rccl entertainment but Europe cruises are different since there is so much port time with long excursions, sounds like Viking is a better deal . 

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42 minutes ago, NavyCruiser said:

So for Viking's cruise cost of $2000 per person, with free airfare sale,

What are details (date/ ship) of the sailing with this price?

 

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We've done many RCCL cruises and two Viking cruise and love both lines for different reasons.  Royal has more things to do especially when it comes to entertainment and usually has more sea days which we like.  I do feel at times that we are nickled and dimed on Royal but also we can pick and choose what extras we want to pay for. 

 

Viking is basically on inclusive so it is nice to pay one price up front and unless we do optional excursions or upgrade the alcohol package, there is not much else to pay for.  I think the included excursions are top notch and have only paid for a few optional excursions.  And for us the included alcohol package is just fine.

 

Another thing to consider is that Royal doesn't require full payment until 90 days out whereas Viking requires it at least a year, if not longer, prior to the cruise  

 

For us, both cruise lines are great so it depends on the type of experience we want.  If we want port intensive to places we haven't been then Viking would be my go to but if it's the ship we want and the ports are places we've been then I'd pick Royal Caribbean.

 

So bottom line, in my opinion, it depends are what you are looking for in a cruise...either way you can't go wrong.

 

Elise

 

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2 hours ago, NavyCruiser said:

With over 30 cruises over the past 30 years, we love Royal & are loyal Royal cruisers with 2 upcoming Royal cruises in 2020.  We also have 2 upcoming European river cruises also in 2020.

However, as we've done 4 river cruises already & plan more in the future, we're starting to try to justify its Value.

Although river cruising is more expensive initially, the all-inclusive Value, along with always purchasing/booking when there's a free air included to Europe makes more competitive.

Now we're getting the feeling of mainline Royal/Carnival/Princess has added lots of nickle & diming costs to the cruising experience, we're trying to compare to maybe an upscale Viking ocean cruise experience.

So just planning & looking at some sale prices for later in 2020 for an 8 night cruise of out Southampton UK for Viking & Royal ocean cruises on a Balcony stateroom, trying to do my best apples-to-apples comparison between the two.  

Viking's currently has these inclusive/included features, I'm listing Royal's equivalent costs, as listed according to upcoming booked cruise, cost per person per day & /total cost for 7 days:

One complimentary shore excursion in every port of call          30/150

Free Wi-Fi (connection speed may vary)                                       15/105

Alternative restaurant dining at no extra charge                          24/168

24-hour room service

Beer, wine & soft drinks with onboard lunch & dinner                 55/385

24-hour specialty coffees, teas & bottled water

Access to top-rated spa & state-of-the-art fitness center

Self-service launderettes

Port taxes & fees                                                                                   /100

Ground transfers with Viking Air purchase                                       /40

Private Veranda

Separate seating area

42" flat-screen LCD TV with intuitive remote & complimentary Movies On Demand

110/220 volt outlets & USB ports

Spacious closet & drawers

Mini-bar; security safe; hair dryer

Spacious glass-enclosed shower

Heated bathroom floor & anti-fog mirror

Premium Freyja® toiletries; plush robes & slippers

Stateroom steward & twice-daily housekeeping

 

So for Viking's cruise cost of $2000 per person, with free airfare sale,

vs Royal's $1500 + airfare (approx $700, Houston to London), + $882 costs above , - $112 Diamond balcony discount

 

So even if we ignore the airfare, I think the costs are comparable within a few hundred dollars.  Of course the ship's experiences are completely different, might be interesting to looking at first Viking (or other upscale all/more inclusive cruise lines )  ocean liners...?

For us it's a matter of not paying more for amenities we don't value and a lot on Viking's list falls into that category. If we were ever to do Viking it would be to see cities we couldn't see any other way. For now our cruises are limited to what's offered here in the US.

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1 hour ago, FLACRUISER99 said:

Ivé always said you cannot compare cruise lines, each one is unique.

 

Yes, you are correct.

As I've stated above, it's not a true/fair apples to apples comparison.

But if for almost same pricing, after so many Royal cruises, ranked #6 for Mega Ship with score 78.96, we can try out Viking, ranked #1 for Large Ship with score 94.31...

https://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/top-cruise-lines

 

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1 hour ago, Biker19 said:

Not sure that a repo in the middle of the winter on Viking is a fair comparison with an in season sailing on RCI - I didn't see where air is included.

 

It isn't.  To really compare, you need to compare sailings in the same time frame, for the same length, and similar ports.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, NavyCruiser said:

 

Yes, you are correct.

As I've stated above, it's not a true/fair apples to apples comparison.

But if for almost same pricing, after so many Royal cruises, ranked #6 for Mega Ship with score 78.96, we can try out Viking, ranked #1 for Large Ship with score 94.31...

https://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/top-cruise-lines

 

No matter what other folks say you have to try any line/ship for yourself. Only you can tell if it's right for you. I say go for it.

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Having done two river cruises one at the end of the regular season but before Xmas cruises, I don’t think you are comparing even apples and oranges.  More like Apples and Watermelons.  The cheapest I have been able to book a balcony cabin on a river cruise was $3600 for two adults for a 7 day cruise.  The other cruise was $5000 for a 6 night cruise where the included tours might have been worth a little bit. The cheapest river cruise the tours were great, but all they really were was a walking tour from off the boat into the city and to whatever site was most popular, often a 3 to 5 minute bus ride to the site.  On the more expensive cruise, the tours were all day bus rides or the other kind of walking in the city where the ship was stopped.  Because we were in Eastern Europe on the more expensive cruise, we often took the bus early in the day and drove to several stops between to port cities on the Danube river, Often up to 100 miles away.  Couldn’t really see what we saw without the bus trip.  However most stops were walk in the city with a guide or just walk in the city.

 

Drinks were included in the evening and even buying drinks during the day or happy hour they were much cheaper than RCI.  I enjoyed both types of vacations but River cruises are very expensive IMHO.

 

jc

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O, and on another point, I will never book Viking or any cruise that requires you to pay in full more than a year in advance.  I will never forget what happened when Renaissance went belly-up.

 

jc

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No score is going to compare two cruise lines.  But we did enjoy seeing passengers descending huge stairs when they were docked next to us.  Apparently Viking Sky doesn't have doors in the side of the ship so you get to walk down from the lifeboat deck.

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11 minutes ago, xpcdoojk said:

O, and on another point, I will never book Viking or any cruise that requires you to pay in full more than a year in advance.  I will never forget what happened when Renaissance went belly-up.

 

jc

With full payment a year in advance good insurance would be a must.  Too long of a time frame with full payment.

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1 hour ago, Biker19 said:

Not sure that a repo in the middle of the winter on Viking is a fair comparison with an in season sailing on RCI - I didn't see where air is included.

 

44 minutes ago, SRF said:

 

It isn't.  To really compare, you need to compare sailings in the same time frame, for the same length, and similar ports.

 

 

I didn't see where OP mentioned the time of year for the Royal cruise.  Did I miss that?  Or does Royal only do that cruise at certain times of the year?

Edited by time4u2go

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11 minutes ago, time4u2go said:

 

I didn't see where OP mentioned the time of year for the Royal cruise.  Did I miss that?  Or does Royal only do that cruise at certain times of the year?

RCI only sails from Southampton during the summer. The comparison Viking cruise was a repo from Barcelona in January. 

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1 hour ago, SRF said:

 

It isn't.  To really compare, you need to compare sailings in the same time frame, for the same length, and similar ports.

 

 

Absolutely.

The only way to go.

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1 hour ago, fred30 said:

With full payment a year in advance good insurance would be a must.  Too long of a time frame with full payment.

Agree, bad enough having 8-10 Booked Royal Cruises up to 2yrs out at $450ea for Deposit

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1 hour ago, NavyCruiser said:

 

Yes, you are correct.

As I've stated above, it's not a true/fair apples to apples comparison.

But if for almost same pricing, after so many Royal cruises, ranked #6 for Mega Ship with score 78.96, we can try out Viking, ranked #1 for Large Ship with score 94.31...

https://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/top-cruise-lines

 

Viking product is above a few best at sea #5 (after Cunard, top 2 HAL ships, top 2 TUI ships, and as a small addition - Haven on the NCL Bliss).

You'll find the most comprehensive Viking review here.

I have enjoyed Viking experience immensely.

However, the last thing I would associate with Viking is value for money.

They charge crazy prices, some itineraries are unique, some pretty mainstream, some pretty boring.

I am not happy to pay upfront for the things I don't need (excursions, table wine). on a good ship, I will be able to pay extra and get exactly what I want, exactly as much as I want, and the quality I want (better then Viking!)

Their ships are nearly best ships at sea, but value for money (for me) is from 2 of 5 to 4 of 5 (if the itinerary is unique).

Comparing cruise lines by scores is not unfair, it simply does not make sense.

At all.

That travel magazine does not have matter for comparison. 

To begin with, Viking ships are not large ships.  Mid-size ships are about 90 000GT +/-

Viking ships are 48000 - half the size of a mid-size ship.

This alone put their "rating" out of consideration.

Secondly, Viking fleet consists of sister ships. Whatever rating is given (let's assume it's real), it "works" for the "cruise line".

RCI scores 78.96. What is this for? Is it for the Majesty or for the Independence? Their "voted ratings" are just words with no physical sense.

What comparison has physical sense? Answer: ship to ship comparison.

 

Let's take a look at the cruises.

Viking Sky

14 days from May 30, 2021

Barcelona, Sete, Marseille, Monte Carlo, Livorno, Rome/Civitavecchia, Naples, Trapani, Crotone, Bari, Sibenik, Venice/Italy

Price (total, per cabin with double occupancy): from $14,000 for balcony cabin.

 

Most similar RCI cruise (ship size, itinerary, etc.)

Vision of the Seas

12 days from May 26, 2021

Barcelona, Nice, Livorno, Rome/Civitavecchia, Naples, Venice/Italy, Split, Kotor, Barcelona

Price: from $3,200 (inside cabin), from $5,800 (balcony).

 

Celebrity Constellation

13 days from May 4, 2021

Barcelona, Marseille, Monte Carlo, La Spezia, Rome/Civitavecchia, Naples, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Split, Koper, Venice/Italy

Price: from $2,800 (inside cabin), from $4,700 (balcony cabin)

 

14,000 - 2,800 = 11,200

How can I spend $11,200 on vacation in Europe.

O-ooooooooo!

OK, I will deduct what I pay for the included things (gratuities, useless excursions, pink elephant...) .. and still save $10.000

Well, the quality of Viking ships is far above the Connie, that's true, but.... that is a different story.

However, if we want to persuade ourselves that we pay "nearly the same money" for Viking.... Oh, please, please :)

From the other hand, what I find absolutely exciting in your plan, is an attempt to break through the cocoon of the same "preferred" cruise line. It's a good idea to find the most affordable cruise just to sample a cruise line.

Nothing in cruising limits our experience as badly as "one_cruise_line_loyalty".

 

Happy cruising!

 

 

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If looking at value, I would have to say we could not justify an AI cruise, as we rarely want shore excursions, do not use wi-fi, buy very few drinks, do not use room service, etc.

However, I do like trying new cruiselines, even if they might be a bit beyond the comfort zone initially.  Pre-decision research is a good thing.

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4 hours ago, ronbe65 said:

Viking product is above a few best at sea #5 (after Cunard, top 2 HAL ships, top 2 TUI ships, and as a small addition - Haven on the NCL Bliss).

You'll find the most comprehensive Viking review here.

I have enjoyed Viking experience immensely.

However, the last thing I would associate with Viking is value for money.

They charge crazy prices, some itineraries are unique, some pretty mainstream, some pretty boring.

I am not happy to pay upfront for the things I don't need (excursions, table wine). on a good ship, I will be able to pay extra and get exactly what I want, exactly as much as I want, and the quality I want (better then Viking!)

Their ships are nearly best ships at sea, but value for money (for me) is from 2 of 5 to 4 of 5 (if the itinerary is unique).

Comparing cruise lines by scores is not unfair, it simply does not make sense.

At all.

That travel magazine does not have matter for comparison. 

To begin with, Viking ships are not large ships.  Mid-size ships are about 90 000GT +/-

Viking ships are 48000 - half the size of a mid-size ship.

This alone put their "rating" out of consideration.

Secondly, Viking fleet consists of sister ships. Whatever rating is given (let's assume it's real), it "works" for the "cruise line".

RCI scores 78.96. What is this for? Is it for the Majesty or for the Independence? Their "voted ratings" are just words with no physical sense.

What comparison has physical sense? Answer: ship to ship comparison.

 

Let's take a look at the cruises.

Viking Sky

14 days from May 30, 2021

Barcelona, Sete, Marseille, Monte Carlo, Livorno, Rome/Civitavecchia, Naples, Trapani, Crotone, Bari, Sibenik, Venice/Italy

Price (total, per cabin with double occupancy): from $14,000 for balcony cabin.

 

Most similar RCI cruise (ship size, itinerary, etc.)

Vision of the Seas

12 days from May 26, 2021

Barcelona, Nice, Livorno, Rome/Civitavecchia, Naples, Venice/Italy, Split, Kotor, Barcelona

Price: from $3,200 (inside cabin), from $5,800 (balcony).

 

Celebrity Constellation

13 days from May 4, 2021

Barcelona, Marseille, Monte Carlo, La Spezia, Rome/Civitavecchia, Naples, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Split, Koper, Venice/Italy

Price: from $2,800 (inside cabin), from $4,700 (balcony cabin)

 

14,000 - 2,800 = 11,200

How can I spend $11,200 on vacation in Europe.

O-ooooooooo!

OK, I will deduct what I pay for the included things (gratuities, useless excursions, pink elephant...) .. and still save $10.000

Well, the quality of Viking ships is far above the Connie, that's true, but.... that is a different story.

However, if we want to persuade ourselves that we pay "nearly the same money" for Viking.... Oh, please, please 🙂

From the other hand, what I find absolutely exciting in your plan, is an attempt to break through the cocoon of the same "preferred" cruise line. It's a good idea to find the most affordable cruise just to sample a cruise line.

Nothing in cruising limits our experience as badly as "one_cruise_line_loyalty".

 

Happy cruising!

 

 

,

Here I thought he was comparing Viking River cruises to RCI, and now we are comparing Viking Ocean cruises... I said before the comparison was apples to watermelons.  This comparison is Ferraris to Chevys.

 

The both have four wheels and will take you to the same places, but.... 

 

not the same. 😉

 

jc

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I like Royal but don’t consider it an upscale cruise line.  
 

Viking river ships typically hold 200 passengers.    You can’t compare that to a mass market ocean going cruise ship.  
 

 

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8 hours ago, xpcdoojk said:

,

Here I thought he was comparing Viking River cruises to RCI, and now we are comparing Viking Ocean cruises... I said before the comparison was apples to watermelons.  This comparison is Ferraris to Chevys.

 

The both have four wheels and will take you to the same places, but.... 

 

not the same. 😉

 

jc

The OP was comparing ocean ships.

Viking is 4.5*+, while the Independence was very close - near 4.5* (before the devastating  "renovation"). RCI Freedom & Oasis classes remain within a few "mass market" mega ships that touch 4*. Any cruise ship can be evaluated and rated regardless the price tag.

Some "luxury ships" are below 4* by design. They charge for the top notch B&B at sea, but a "real" cruise ship is something more than that. 

Happy cruising!

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