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Florida Gator

My experience on Royal after Carnival

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We just completed out first Royal Caribbean cruise after many Carnival cruises. We did not know what to expect, we had always had a great time on Carnival but wanted to see what else was out there. I hesitate to give honest opinions on these boards as everyone seems so sensitive to any critism of whichever line is their favorite. Let me say, I have NEVER had a bad cruise on either and ANY critism is on minor details and just my opinion. If I say something negative about Carnival or RCI, IT’S O.K., the world WILL NOT END and it is O.K. if we disagree!

 

This is mainly a comparison of my experience on the Mariner of the Sea to the Carnival Glory, Pride and Miracle.

 

OVERALL SHIP FACALITIES

 

As I tend to be a newer, bigger, is better cruiser, I loved the public areas on the Mariner, the Royal Promenade was unbelievable! I have seen nothing remotely like this on the Carnival ships I have sailed. Big, open and inviting. The windjammer and main dining areas were extraordinary. Loved them. The Casino was large and well planned. Our stateroom (9622) was smaller than we had on Carnival. I kept hearing about the large balconies on the “hump” and must say I was disappointed. The balcony and room were smaller. The room (although smaller) was set up nicely and well planned, very similar to Carnival. Royal Caribbean is the winner overall (mainly due to my, new, bigger is better preference).

 

FOOD QUALITY

 

The food in the main dining room was close, almost a tie with Carnival (maybe) edging out RCI. The casual dining area was not even close. While I liked the casual dining areas on Royal much better, I did not like the food, either in quality or selection. It seems very little planning went into grouping or selection of items. Now take a DEEP BREATH, hold it, hold it, now let it out. Remember, this is just MY OPNION, I am sure a lot of people LOVED it, maybe MOST people, but we were not impressed. We could ALWAYS find something we liked on Carnival. RCI pizza vs. Carnival, come on, a whole different league. Johnny Rockets was GREAT, enjoyed the food, enjoyed the show. Carnival edges out RCI on the food.

 

SERVICE

 

Both Carnival and Royal had great service. I occasionally read people talk about poor service on both lines, but we have NEVER experienced it. From the dining room staff to our stateroom staff, we have nothing but praises. This one is a tie.

 

COST

 

Before I booked on Mariner, I posted a question regarding Carnival vs. RCI, mainly because of the $1,000 price difference for a (slightly) smaller room ($250 x 4). On the Royal boards most people seems to not accept this big of difference thinking instead that I must be misinformed. I am a shopper. I look and compare and know what I am getting BEFORE I make my decision. I talked directly with Carnival and RCI as well as my travel agent, the difference was there. Let me say, it’s hard to overcome a $1,000 premium. Carnival takes this one.

 

ENTERTAINMENT

 

The main production shows on both were good. RCI had better shows some of the other nights. With all the things to do on the Mariner from rock climbing to ice skating, RCI seems to have covered all the bases. If, however, you are into the nightlife (we are not), the Mariner has a hard time competing to all the clubs Carnival has to offer. Much more laid back, that can be good or bad depending on what you like. What I DID LIKE about the Mariner (that ALMOST makes up for the $1000 premium) is the lack of smoke. Royal has cut way back on smoking areas and it shows! We were even able to find places in the casino with little smoke. I am sure ship design played a part in this also. How does this fit into entertainment? If you HATE to be around smokers and you are forced to be, you are a lot less likely to be entertained, even if you are doing something you like. A big thank you goes to RCI for being sensitive to their non-smoking guests. In a close contest, sometimes the (seemingly) small things make the difference. Winner in a close one, Royal.

 

CONCLUSION

 

As I stated at the beginning, I have never had a bad cruise! I had a GREAT time on the Mariner last week and had a GREAT time on my Glory, Pride and Miracle cruises! These two cruise lines have a lot more in common than most cruisers would like to believe and you really cannot go wrong choosing either. Having said that, I was a little surprised when I took a poll of my family on which line to take next year. Everyone said the same thing, LOVED the Mariner of the Seas, but wanted Carnival next year. I am sure that we will be traveling with both Carnival and RCI many more times, both are great companies!

:cool:

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Thank you for the well written, objective comparison. I don't think you need to worry about being flamed here....

 

we're contemplating going on RCI next cruise. I'm a little hesitant because I have 6 Carnival cruises, and would like to get to platinum. I think bottom line, when we finally decide when and where we go, will be price.

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Great comparison. I was interested in the differences. I was comparing prices on the Glory to the MOS in September and would have really liked to try the Mariner, but the price difference was enough that I will end up on the Glory. I don't know if this is usually the case or not. For a family of 4 it was cheaper to get a Spa Deck (deck 11) oceanview on Glory than an inside on Mariner.

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I have to agree with Floridagator

 

I have never had a bad cruise.....I've been with Carnival, Princess, RCI & Celebrity.

 

There are small differences, but all in all quite similar. Some times the older smaller ships show the wear and tear and that is with all lines..navigating the various ships are different....the entertainment facilities differ as well....and the staff can really make or break sometimes, but again very similar. We have been slightly disappointed with some service areas on a cruise, but not enough to be a "bad Cruise" and I must say that it isn't necessarily the cruise line, just a particular staff member.

 

Good & bad in all lines, I think.

 

 

Robin

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I think your review was spot-on. Both, informative and interesting to read. It is disheartening that many newbies feel afraid or atleast leary about posting and sharing their reviews and opinions. I know what you mean about those who show extreme if not angry preference in their remarks to one thing or another. Notice that there are some who seem to post comments to almost every single thread, and it is generally mean-spirited (but it keeps their numbers high). Like you, there are those who are simply being informative and honest in expressing opinions. Thanks for that! Those of us with little experience on the many cruise lines enjoy such posts as yours.;)

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Did you try the rock climbing or the ice skating? Just wondering if there were long lines......

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I enjoyed your review. Only problem I had was given the 1st whole paragraph up for the "agree to disagree" (but I do understand why you did it), but now my opinion is, if people don't have enough sense (and manners) to not flame over unbiased, honest opinions then just ignore them, cuz most of us are already doing that. We know when someone is just plain miserable (loving miserable company, yadda yadda) and when someone is doing what we want them to do (give dang reviews)

 

glad you had a great time and yes, you are forgiven for going over to the dark side this one time :p

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Well written review...

 

Ill stick with Carnival.... As a travel agency owner that exclusively sells Carnival cruises, we get lots of free on-board perks when we sail.

 

For that reason, RCL can't hold a candle to what we get on Carnival Ships.

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The lines varied greatly depending on the time of the day. You would go by "The Wall" sometimes and there would be just 3 or 4 people there and other times you would have to wait an hours or more. This applied to almost everything opn the ship including Johnny Rockets. So much to do, if you're flexible on your time, you should not have to wait long

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I agree completely with you. I myself have been on 6 carnival cruises and loved each one of them. Last year for comparison we went on the Mariner of the Seas, and loved that also. Each cruise line has there good points as well as not so good. We liked the food and nightlife on Carnival better, but the Mariner has a nicer looking ship and the service was outstanding. We would not hesitate to go on Royal Caribbean again, and I'm sure we will, but our next cruise next year is once again on Carnival. The nice thing is that in the future we now have two cruise lines at which we can look and see which one will fit our needs for that particular trip via destination, and price. These two cruise lines are so similar it makes me laugh when I hear people complaining about how bad one is against the other. The whole time we were on our Mariner cruise I kept saying to my husband, this is just like Carnival. In fact we have friends who have never been on Carnival and never plan on going on Carnival, (oh the thought just makes them sick) They believe royal caribbean is the only way to go. They are too stuck up to give Carnival a chance, oh well there loss. Both lines have alot to offer.

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Good review I thought! Glad you had a good time. I have been on both and would gladly go on either one. I am waiting for the RC Voyager to come to Galveston at the end of 2007, I can't wait. Carnival is my first love, but RC is great too. I don't aspire to become a platinum member of either, so that does not weigh in when I make my selection.

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Thanks for some great information. We have only done Carnival, but since RCI sails from New Jersey it would be mucho convenient to drive to the pier so we have considered it. I have only avoided it because I work with a "die-hard" RCI cruiser who wants to ram it down my throat as being the best cruise line in the universe......arrrrrg! :rolleyes: After reading your review we may have to give it a try.:confused:

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Great review. Balanced and well thought out! We were looking at the Mariner as well for July (but that little thing called work got in the way).

 

We have a different problem as for as "perks" go. Since we are already Platinum on Carnival, I told my husband why not start the "perks" process on another cruiseline. This is one of the reasons we were looking at the Mariner. The other was the Royal Promenade. That sounds like it would be right up my alley.

 

Add the lack of bothersome smoke and you may have just convinced me that that the extra $1,000 ( for 4 of us) is worth it.

 

For us it isn't a matter of if we will try other cruiselines, but just a matter of when.

 

The only thing that will deter that will be if Carnival adds the "Elite" Black card and then we would have something else to aim for. LOL

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Great Review!

the Royal Promenade was unbelievable

I have seen the pictures and it is very impressive. Do the pictures do it justice? It looks like a market street, a very cool concept to have on a ship.

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That was a very informative review. Having never sailed on RCI only Carnival and once Norwegian I thought it was nice to see what a comparison between Carnival and RCI would be like. Its definately something I'll take into consideration next time I book a cruise. Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts!! :)

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I just have to add my 2 cents...my SIL and I would have printed the same review. It was right on the $$:)

MAO

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FOOD QUALITY

 

The food in the main dining room was close, almost a tie with Carnival (maybe) edging out RCI. The casual dining area was not even close. While I liked the casual dining areas on Royal much better, I did not like the food, either in quality or selection. It seems very little planning went into grouping or selection of items. Now take a DEEP BREATH, hold it, hold it, now let it out. Remember, this is just MY OPNION, I am sure a lot of people LOVED it, maybe MOST people, but we were not impressed. We could ALWAYS find something we liked on Carnival. RCI pizza vs. Carnival, come on, a whole different league. Johnny Rockets was GREAT, enjoyed the food, enjoyed the show. Carnival edges out RCI on the food.

 

 

 

I'll be heading on my first Royal Caribbean cruise this December and a few more to follow. I'm a foodie so I appreciate your comparison to Carnival. I've read several reviews that say Windjammer isn't as good as Carnival buffet and I'm ok with that but, over all, how would you rate the dining room food and also did you get to the specialty restaurants? Any info is appreciated!

 

Nick

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Our stateroom (9622) was smaller than we had on Carnival.

 

This appears to be a D1. Are you saying this is smaller than a cat 8? I thought they were 188 SQFT plus the balcony, where Carnival is 185 SQFT plus the balcony?

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I have only done 1 Carnival cruise (Triumph 3 summers ago) I had a good time and will some day repeat the experience. For now I choose something different as my vacation time is limited.

 

You should never be afraid to speak your mind. If someone doesn't like it thats' their problem.

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I too, appreciate your honest comparison of the cruise lines. I have only cruised Carnival but, have been researching our cruise for next year. I was wondering what the differences between the two were. I mainly choose our cruise by the price and the ports we want to visit. I will definately give RCL a try if the price is right.

 

Thanks again

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Great review - totally agree with your points. Been on Carnival 6 times, RCI soon to be 3 times, Princess once and Disney once. Never had a bad cruise! Looking forward to going on NCL some day.

 

RCI ships are outstandingly beautiful (voyager class prettiest ships in my opinion), but also absolutely love the Carnival Conquest class.

 

I also think food is a smidgen better on Carnival. There is also more of it and it is available more hours of the day.

 

Prices for everything definitely better on Carnival.

 

Next cruise is a 3-day on the Sovereign. Needed a quick getaway and this will fit the bill.

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Thanks for that great review. We've only sailed Carnival, and love it so much we really don't have plans to sail RCI, but I never say never! ;) It's nice to have some objective comparisons to the 2 lines for future reference. Glad you enjoyed your cruise! :)

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