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What makes RCCL worth the money?


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Hi Guys. Looking for your help! I'm hoping that especially those w/experience on both lines will answer.

 

What makes RCCL worth the extra money compared to Carnival? After looking at daily planners, menus, etc, RCCL looks like Carnival at Princess prices.

 

And by the way, I've been-there-done-that on:

 

- Rock walls (rock climbed in college and have done enough rock walls for fun w/my kids that its not a novelty)

- Johnny Rockets (have 2-3 of them in my metro area, Yawn.)

- Ben & Jerry's ( I LOVE them and have them in my freezer 24/7, plus 2 scoop shops nearby, but I also LOVE the vicarious pleasure of sauntering up to a free soft-serve ice cream machine 24 hours a day, even if it's the cheapest stuff around. After all, soft-serve is it's own "comfort food" and to make a comparison- sometimes you can feel like a gourmet cookie, but nothing will replace an Oreo.)

- Ice skating (ok, I'm one of those rare people in South Florida who lives within 15 min of an ice skating rink. And I can take-it-or-leave-it on ice shows.)

 

So, I'm not being cynical here, I just honestly want to know what's up from those with more experience, especially given some of my above comments. This way I'll know if its worth the extra $$$$ just to satisfy my curiosity.

 

Thanks!!!

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Hi Guys. Looking for your help! I'm hoping that especially those w/experience on both lines will answer.

 

What makes RCCL worth the extra money compared to Carnival? After looking at daily planners, menus, etc, RCCL looks like Carnival at Princess prices.

 

And by the way, I've been-there-done-that on:

 

- Rock walls (rock climbed in college and have done enough rock walls for fun w/my kids that its not a novelty)

- Johnny Rockets (have 2-3 of them in my metro area, Yawn.)

- Ben & Jerry's ( I LOVE them and have them in my freezer 24/7, plus 2 scoop shops nearby, but I also LOVE the vicarious pleasure of sauntering up to a free soft-serve ice cream machine 24 hours a day, even if it's the cheapest stuff around. After all, soft-serve is it's own "comfort food" and to make a comparison- sometimes you can feel like a gourmet cookie, but nothing will replace an Oreo.)

- Ice skating (ok, I'm one of those rare people in South Florida who lives within 15 min of an ice skating rink. And I can take-it-or-leave-it on ice shows.)

 

So, I'm not being cynical here, I just honestly want to know what's up from those with more experience, especially given some of my above comments. This way I'll know if its worth the extra $$$$ just to satisfy my curiosity.

 

Thanks!!!

Ruh roh! I can see where this thread will be going! LOL. Okey dokey, I have sailed both and I'll ignite the flame! Some cruises are more, some are less, depending on when you sail, they're very competitive. I haven't sailed Carnival in a long time and really do not look at their itineraries. If they gave me a good deal, I would try them again. My sister loves them and sails with them a lot. That being said, my son is grown and we like to travel a little more conservatively, perhaps with a little less "fun". Carnival is great for families. They have beautiful ships and staterooms. I have found the service (rude service in the buffet) and the food (cold and one family member very ill) to be less than desired the last time we sailed with them. I prefer RCI because I feel they do the "experience" a bit better. That is not to say that we haven't had strange experiences on them as well (we are coming back to RCI after a 6 yr absence). Maybe somebody can explain it better than I can, but overall, I feel that my RCI experiences were always two notches above Carnival and I was always able to match or better prices from Carnival.

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Is it really more money based on the itinerary??? Are you comparing inside to inside, etc.

 

My DW just got off of a 4 day Carnival cruise, where she compared the food in the main dining room, which she said is better than RCCl, and the food in the cafe was terrible compared to RCCL, and the ship reminded her of Las Vegas in the '50s. Lots of glitz.

 

Rick

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We just finished our first cruise with RCI and I can say it will not be our last. Previously we sailed on the Carnival Triumph (Mar 2005) and Carnival Legend (Feb 2006) and REEEEAAAAAAALLY enjoyed both vacations. Still, curiosity got the better of us and we wanted to know if we were missing something - lots of friends (and these boards) suggested that RCI was a step above Carnival but we couldn't imagine how. To be honest we were not convinced that there could be much of a difference in the two lines, especially since we thoroughly enjoyed our first 2 Carnival Cruises so much.

 

Well, we took the plunge and just came back from back to back cruises - the first on RCCI's Jewel of the Seas (Feb 18) and then Carnival Valor (Feb 25). While there was no one "big" thing that stood out, there were plenty of little things that added up to make RCI better. The things RCI did better included faster & smoother embarkation & debarkation, ship was more upscale and not near as gaudy or tacky, ship had more windows/viewing areas, ship had more amenities (2 supper clubs, movie theatre, Seaview Cafe, etc), ship was easier to navigate around, ship was less smokey, no lines at the buffet (Carnival was bad all 3 times), RCI had more fresh fruit to choose from, staff were friendlier (everyone said hello and stepped out of their way waiting for you to pass - Carnival staff were nice, but not as nice as RCI), the gym was nicer on the Jewel, the Solarium (adult only pool/jacuzzi area) was superb while Carnival has nothing to compare to. This doesn't include the rock wall or mini-golf course which you indicated were not of interest to you.

 

The food quality, entertainment and activities were pretty much the same on both lines. The things that Carnival did better were its staterooms were slightly larger (we had a balcony on all trips) and the casino was slightly larger. We also found that the prices on both lines were comparable.

 

Again, there was no single item that made RCI better - it was many small things that made for a more enjoyable experience. While we enjoyed Carnival, we enjoyed RCI even more and will go with them again next year. All I can suggest is that you try both to see for yourself - just be sure to do Carnival first so you don't feel let down after you try RCI. :cool:

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Oh good,it was nice to see some positive backing! I think when you take your first cruise, there can be no comparisons. So, it's nice to try other lines as well.I try never to slam any cruiseline and I think the children and teens enjoy Carnival better as they seem to have better programs. I know my son always enjoyed Carnival. You do need to compare ports, quality and quantity as well. The more ports, the more $$ the cruise in most instances.

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We just finished our first cruise with RCI and I can say it will not be our last. Previously we sailed on the Carnival Triumph (Mar 2005) and Carnival Legend (Feb 2006) and REEEEAAAAAAALLY enjoyed both vacations. Still, curiosity got the better of us and we wanted to know if we were missing something - lots of friends (and these boards) suggested that RCI was a step above Carnival but we couldn't imagine how. To be honest we were not convinced that there could be much of a difference in the two lines, especially since we thoroughly enjoyed our first 2 Carnival Cruises so much.

 

Well, we took the plunge and just came back from back to back cruises - the first on RCCI's Jewel of the Seas (Feb 18) and then Carnival Valor (Feb 25). While there was no one "big" thing that stood out, there were plenty of little things that added up to make RCI better. The things RCI did better included faster & smoother embarkation & debarkation, ship was more upscale and not near as gaudy or tacky, ship had more windows/viewing areas, ship had more amenities (2 supper clubs, movie theatre, Seaview Cafe, etc), ship was easier to navigate around, ship was less smokey, no lines at the buffet (Carnival was bad all 3 times), RCI had more fresh fruit to choose from, staff were friendlier (everyone said hello and stepped out of their way waiting for you to pass - Carnival staff were nice, but not as nice as RCI), the gym was nicer on the Jewel, the Solarium (adult only pool/jacuzzi area) was superb while Carnival has nothing to compare to. This doesn't include the rock wall or mini-golf course which you indicated were not of interest to you.

 

The food quality, entertainment and activities were pretty much the same on both lines. The things that Carnival did better were its staterooms were slightly larger (we had a balcony on all trips) and the casino was slightly larger. We also found that the prices on both lines were comparable.

 

Again, there was no single item that made RCI better - it was many small things that made for a more enjoyable experience. While we enjoyed Carnival, we enjoyed RCI even more and will go with them again next year. All I can suggest is that you try both to see for yourself - just be sure to do Carnival first so you don't feel let down after you try RCI. :cool:

 

 

Very good post and your thoughts match mine exactly on why I prefer RCI over Carnival. Both lines are good but to me RCI is a step above for many of the reasons that were listed in this post.

 

To me it all comes down to choice. Some of us feel that RCI is worth the extra money but I have to say that I have yet to pay more for a cruise with RCI over what Carnival would have charged for the same type accommodations. RCI has a much better past guest program which also makes a difference to me. IMO if price is the determining factor in your cruise choice then go with the least expensive.

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Friendly and great service. This stands out most for me. Also being able to get 24 hour room service which includes a real meal. (not just cereal and sandwiches)

 

One other thing I notice is that I love the sliding doors on balcony staterooms. No slamming doors waking you up at 5:30 a.m.! :eek:

 

On the Carnival Pride we had a suite and it was so much noise from balcony's. Everything from slamming doors and dragging furniture. On royal ships I have never encountered this.

 

Do all of Carnival's ships have doors on the balcony's? I need to do some research............:confused:

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My SIL sailed for the first time on RCCL with us. She had about a dozen Carnival cruises under her belt and felt that there was no comparison (AOS) to Carnival. She felt everything about AOS was superior to her experiences on Carnival.

We have also sailed Celebrity, which you did not mention. We find Celebrity to be more upscale with better food and service than RCCL. Celebrity seems to be a tad more sedate and the food is far better than RCCL. I think Celebrity is more comparable to Princess, but I could be wrong here. :confused:

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I personally prefer the level of service we have experienced on RCI. Our one and only Carnival Cruise left a bad taste. Not to say we won't ever try them again, it will just be a while.

 

I agree with Erin. SERVICE was the biggest difference. Dark, dreary decor and smoky shops are another difference. As well, the layout of the Carnival Miracle was very awkward.

 

I wouldn't sail Carnival again if it were free, that's how negatively our cruise on Miracle compares to our RCI cruises.

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Oh good,it was nice to see some positive backing! I think when you take your first cruise, there can be no comparisons. So, it's nice to try other lines as well.I try never to slam any cruiseline and I think the children and teens enjoy Carnival better as they seem to have better programs. I know my son always enjoyed Carnival. You do need to compare ports, quality and quantity as well. The more ports, the more $$ the cruise in most instances.

 

 

Not our experience at all. There is so much more to keep children positively occupied on RCI, espcially Voyager class ships. My teens were bored out of their minds on Carnival and ended up spending more than one night in the cabin playing cards, etc.

 

If my kids went to the club, no one their age was there. Ever. The programs simply weren't attended by the older kids, and the club/arcade were in an out-of-the-way place in the front of a passenger deck (deck 5, I think) instead of on the pool or sports decks, so very few kids bothered to go there. Consequently, the ship was overrun with kids who had nothing constructive to do.

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Been on triumph twice, then EOS to see the difference. Then CCL offered me 20% off and I went back and sailed Miracle. After that we have done 2 Mariner and booked on Liberty of the Seas...should I say more? Even with the savings, the kids were bored straight on CCL. Without the fun things to do on RCI they found little to do besides swim and slide on the water slide, which was always closed. They did not enjoy the camp since they did dumb things like magzine lotto...and stuff all inside with paper and crayons. they are now 10 and 12 ... They love all the stuff to do on RCi ship.Yes I can ice skate at home within 30 min away. I can inline anytime on the roads, and mini golf we have at least 3 courses here which I can do. The question is : do we? NO. It is fun to do while cruising and playing with our kids. The ships are nicer in the way they are decorated. The cabins may be smaller on RCI ships but much nicer arranged so the space is utilized better. I love my balcony on RCI where I can leave the sliding door open, unlike a chair holding the door open on CCL. Also, I like the shower better on RCI--hate that curtain on CCL. The food was always good on CCL with service better on RCI. I enjoyed many of the shows that CCL gave us at night... that is better than the adult comedy on RCI. Pool chairs are easier to get on RCI, and there are many nice places to lounge. It is easier to get around from deck to deck and I love walking all over and looking at the art in the hallways on each deck. Something CCL does not have . Much too smokey on CCL. The main theater is always pushing drinking and serving drinks while the shows are going on-RCI does not do this. CCL seems to schedule BINGO before any show so if you do not go hour before to get seats you are out of luck. RCI does not do this and we can walk into a show 10 min before and still get a good seat. With good planning, and utilizing on board credits for booking while on board for future cruises, crown and anchor coupons, and visa rci rewards, we get tons off each cruise. Also, our TA gives us obc when we book to say thank you and this reduces it again. We do cruise off peak times, January, Oct and now we are trying on in Nov.

But unless CCL drops the prices so much, or I cannot get many incentives for RCI.... no I would still wait and do RCI. Love the coupon books they give and the gifts for Crown and anchor too. It is just a nicer time!

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Not our experience at all. There is so much more to keep children positively occupied on RCI, espcially Voyager class ships. My teens were bored out of their minds on Carnival and ended up spending more than one night in the cabin playing cards, etc.

 

If my kids went to the club, no one their age was there. Ever. The programs simply weren't attended by the older kids, and the club/arcade were in an out-of-the-way place in the front of a passenger deck (deck 5, I think) instead of on the pool or sports decks, so very few kids bothered to go there. Consequently, the ship was overrun with kids who had nothing constructive to do.

And your experience was not mine :D. So, we agree to disagree. I think every cruise differs and as the boys got older, they didn't enjoy the programs as much, at least mine didn't. Sister's son is much more outgoing and had a better time connecting. They're are both good from my point of view for families, but not when we desire a relaxing vacation away from the summer months. We have sailed X with the children also and have been loyal to them for the last 6 years. Your cruise is what you make it. Us, we like service and I think the service on RCL stands out better than CCL.

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We sailed on the Carnival Victory last year and we loved our cruise. Our then 6 year old son LOVED Camp Carnival & the 24-hour soft serve ice cream machines. We loved the huge deck that you can stand on top of the bridge & we spent almost every sunset and cruise docking/leaving on top of the bridge with the captains view. We also love the all glass balconies with no obstructed views due to lifeboat covers &/or humps. We did not like how smoky the ship was.

 

Next month we are sailing Jewel of the Seas. I picked this ship because all glass balconies are a must for me, & the children's pool area looks better than the Carnival set up for my kids ages 7 & 3. I also decided to try RCI because the itinerary was better. However, I was not willing to pay the premium price that RCI charges over Carnival & so browsed the cruises beforehand, picking what I wanted if the price were lower. I checked everyday, & sure enough they put the cruise I wanted on Happy Hour special, so I paid what I would have paid for a Carnival cruise. BTW, my oldest son is still mad at me that he won't be going to camp Carnival or have 24-hour ice cream, so I'm hoping he will change his mind after we get on-board. If it were up to him, we would have never left Carnival.

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We've been on Carnival twice in the last couple of years and enjoyed both cruises, and on Princess once, and enjoyed that cruise a lot, too. But I agree with many of the prior posters that a lot of little things that RCI does better add up to an overall more pleasant experience. The only thing that I would add that I haven't seen posted yet is that I think RCI ships have a higher space per passenger ratio which is VERY important, I think, if you are looking to maximize relaxation time and minimize lines on a mainstream ship. We had long lines all over the place on the Carnival and Princess ships and all felt croweded. Not so on the Freedom, which even though it carried 3600 passengers our week, never felt crowded.

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I personally think that the main difference is how they treat their repeat customers. RCI has better benefits to their crown and anchor folks.

 

Actually, I have a RCI cruise next month and a Carnival cruise in Oct and paying more for the Carnival cruise. Shhhhh dont tell anyone on this message board. lol

 

We just lucked into a really good price on RCI and not on Carnival. I like them both. I dont cruise just for the perks they give you to induce you to come back, I enjoy the cruise and both are nice.

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Is it really more money based on the itinerary??? Are you comparing inside to inside, etc.

 

My DW just got off of a 4 day Carnival cruise, where she compared the food in the main dining room, which she said is better than RCCl, and the food in the cafe was terrible compared to RCCL, and the ship reminded her of Las Vegas in the '50s. Lots of glitz.

 

Rick

 

I think the prices between CCL and RCI can be significantly different. For example, I was booked on Carnival Destiny for the same date that I booked for Adventure of the Seas, slightly different ports (more ports for Destiny), but same aft cabin category, and same southern carib. cruise area. The price difference was over $1000 less for CCL.

 

Now, I ended up cancelling CCL and rebooking on AoS because I kept reading bad reviews about not having a/c and there is NO way I am going on a s. carib cruise and taking the chance that I won't have a/c :eek:

 

Carnival is more of a Las Vegas-type of cruise from what I have heard. That doesn't mean it's bad, it just means that it is different from what RCI projects. I think RCI is more elegance and less glitz than CCL. The newer CCL ships do look pretty nice, though.

 

It just depends on what a person likes. The best way is to just take both, on ships that are similar caliber. Frankly, to me AoS and Destiny are not really comparable because Destiny is so much older than AoS is. If it was Destiny v. Enchantment of the Seas, I think that would be a fair comparison because they ships are pretty much the same age.

 

If it was all about price to me, and the ships were the same age and doing the same itineraries, I would go with the cheaper cruise (unless I was just hearing really bad things about a ship). JMO.

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Another way of looking at it is by age and sailing length. The shorter cruises up to 7 days are a good indicator of the age group that prefers that line. I think Carnival has the youngest group, then RCI, then Princess, etc. Also, anything longer than 7 days will also have an older group of people on the ship as more retirees will be found on the ships.

 

We have cruise on both Princess and RCI and love both lines. These seems to be the ones that we prefer for the moment. Someday I do want to try Carnival but just haven't done so yet. We have many friends that have cruised Carnival and have loved it so it is all a personal preference.

 

Joe

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I have to agree that it just depends on what people like. I sailed carnival many years ago but I was younger then too.. When i sailed it was definately a party ship and I am sure it is even more so today. I don't know if it's because I have gotten older that I haven't been back to Carnival or why really. Here is all I remember about it.. Dancing around the tables at dinner, drinking at the pool, the best pizza and calzones, and fun fun fun !!

 

Rccl is totally different to me.. The service in the dining room is more laid back and special.. Very good and courteous wait staff. I haven't been on a voyager or freedom ship but that is next up for me. The pizza wasn't as good as Carnival is all I can remember food wise. Princess has the best IMO..

 

I say try different lines. I don't stick with one line because I like variety.

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Hi Guys. Looking for your help! I'm hoping that especially those w/experience on both lines will answer.

 

What makes RCCL worth the extra money compared to Carnival? After looking at daily planners, menus, etc, RCCL looks like Carnival at Princess prices.

 

And by the way, I've been-there-done-that on:

 

- Rock walls (rock climbed in college and have done enough rock walls for fun w/my kids that its not a novelty)

- Johnny Rockets (have 2-3 of them in my metro area, Yawn.)

- Ben & Jerry's ( I LOVE them and have them in my freezer 24/7, plus 2 scoop shops nearby, but I also LOVE the vicarious pleasure of sauntering up to a free soft-serve ice cream machine 24 hours a day, even if it's the cheapest stuff around. After all, soft-serve is it's own "comfort food" and to make a comparison- sometimes you can feel like a gourmet cookie, but nothing will replace an Oreo.)

- Ice skating (ok, I'm one of those rare people in South Florida who lives within 15 min of an ice skating rink. And I can take-it-or-leave-it on ice shows.)

 

So, I'm not being cynical here, I just honestly want to know what's up from those with more experience, especially given some of my above comments. This way I'll know if its worth the extra $$$$ just to satisfy my curiosity.

 

Thanks!!!

 

We've never sailed on Carnival. Why? Out here in Southern California most of the folks I've spoke with who cruise consider Carnival the 'party boat'. We've heard stories of drunks in the hallways, poor service, children running everywhere, et al. OK.........I have no way of knowing if any of this is true but when your a 'first time' cruiser that's not what we're looking for.

From reading many posts here it seems our information may be dated or just plain incorrect but the thought continues to stick in our mind and that's why I don't see a Carnival cruise in our future just yet.

 

I've concluded that the ship itself has as much to do with the food, conduct and cleanliness as the company itself. To wit: Our first cruise was on the Norwegian Spirit and we both loved the boat and it's crew so much we picked it again to sail the Caribbean eight months later and again it lived up to our expectations. So it was an easy call when we planned our cruise to Mexico....We chose the Norwegian Star and we had a so so cruise. The food was not as good, the crew less attentive and the ship itself did not appear as clean and in the end left a bad taste in our mouth.

So when we chose to go to the Caribbean again we picked RCL's Empress of the Seas........a smaller boat and we had a blast. The food was excellent, the crew attentive, the Mojitos were great and the whole cruise exceeded our expectations.

We wanted to take a cruise around the islands of Hawaii but after our last experience with NCL and reading all the reviews about NCL America there is no way I'm going to spend a dime with them. Give me a well trained worldly crew anyday... So we booked our Hawaiian cruise with Princess and picked up a bonus of going to Tahiti as well..

Sorry, didn't mean to ramble on here just wanted to make a few points that may or may not help you decide...:) One company's ship may thrill and another disappoint......you just don't know and I suppose it's part of the adventure finding out....

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Believe it or not, you can get a great deal on a RCI cruise too! I think that initially the RCI cruise was maybe 100-200 more than the same accomodations on a Carnvial cruise, but I decided what the heck and booked with RCI anyway...thanks to my awesome travel agent, I got a lower price and a better room on RCI, so really the price depends on how you play the game sometimes too. If you use a really active TA or if you check prices/sales everyday, you can probably get a better deal than the one listed on either cruise (if you book far enough in advance...or wait till the last min!).

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