CARNIVAL VS DCL: The discussion and comparison thread!

mevelandry

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 22, 2013
Woot, breakfast burrito and chips.

I did request private table the other day, but was told have to do it on the ship, not can reserve in advance. Oh well. That will be our first stop.

And with the BF sale, got pictures package. So hoping some great shots will be taken. Think was much cheaper than our picture package on the DCL Fantasy 7 night cruise we took a few years ago.

Oh and already prepaid our tips. All paid off back in October.

Here is hoping unusually hot in the Western Gulf locations the second week of January.
We are no fans of buying pictures but we bought some because they were really really good. Some photographers are talented.
 
Last edited:

Mika02

Disney is in my blood
Joined
Jan 24, 2015
So I've had to change course a few times this year on my cruise. Between my job burning down in January and then me being laid off mid year and then most recently having 3 surgeries back to back and the long recovery it's been crazy. So I've officially moved our cruise to Christmas of next year (I got my ex husband to agree to let me take the kids from Christmas to after New years eve). My dad has decided to come with as well and he could only go after June so it works out since he didn't want to go alone. I was looking to try to go before my daughter went off to college but it's looking more and more likely that she will be closer to home then we were all thinking.

So now I'm looking at cruising out of the Florida area and doing a few days for the 1st time at Disney world for Christmas. Our options are Carnival Mardi Gras, Legend or Paradise. RCCL Harmony or Independance or DCL Magic. Right now leaning towards Legend (Grand Cayman, Mahogany Bay, Belize, Cozumel), Harmony (Cococay, Cozumel, Honduras, Costa Maya) or Magic (Key West, Castaway Cay, Bahamas) because it would give us enough time to coming in for Christmas visit the parks and then hit the ship. If we do Mardi Gras (Cozumel, Costa Maya, Mahogany Bay) I would probably have to extend our trip a few days into school for my boys to do Disney world. I'm excited for this hopefully my boyfriend can join us as well. Price is not really a factor they are all about the same I guess because it's Christmas but I might be able to get the Carnival down a little since I have Past Guest Credit.

I'm excited to be able to plan the whole thing but It will be really hard to wait to go lol
 
Last edited:

  • Disney Cruise Line Shipboard Credits up to $1000!
    Just make your Disney Cruise Line reservation with Dreams Unlimited Travel and you’ll receive up to $1000 in shipboard credits to spend on your cruise!
    Click Here for Details

    Already have a Disney Cruise Line reservation booked?
    If you booked your DCL reservation within the last 30 days, Email us (DreamsCruise@DreamsUnlimitedTravel.com) to see if we can save you money, apply a Shipboard Credit, or recieve our Exclusive Gift!
    *Deposit paid. Not paid in full. Other Restrictions Apply.

  • Lynne G

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2009
    Well Mika, I can tell you about the Legend on that Western cruise, as we are doing it right after the New Year Day. I am so sorry to hear of you losing your job, medical issues, and having to cancel the planned cruise. But yay, for being able to have a family holiday cruise next year. Time does fly, and will be nice to now have another countdown to look forward to, and wishing you much better health, able to find an even better job, and a great outlook in the next year. And I guess since money is not the top decider, what ports really are ones you want to visit, how big a ship, and yeah, I would stay with Carnival if you have credit there. Even though money is not the issue. Plus, are the kids interested in any of the ships? Each has some neat fun, is there a ship they prefer?
     

    Mika02

    Disney is in my blood
    Joined
    Jan 24, 2015
    Well Mika, I can tell you about the Legend on that Western cruise, as we are doing it right after the New Year Day. I am so sorry to hear of you losing your job, medical issues, and having to cancel the planned cruise. But yay, for being able to have a family holiday cruise next year. Time does fly, and will be nice to now have another countdown to look forward to, and wishing you much better health, able to find an even better job, and a great outlook in the next year. And I guess since money is not the top decider, what ports really are ones you want to visit, how big a ship, and yeah, I would stay with Carnival if you have credit there. Even though money is not the issue. Plus, are the kids interested in any of the ships? Each has some neat fun, is there a ship they prefer?
    Thanks, I can't wait to hear you review of the Legend.

    So my kids Love Disney:smickey:. They are worried of Carnival because of things they have heard (drunken people, older broken down ships) my daughter and middle son did a Carnival cruise (San juan, St. Thomas, we missed Bahamas and Grand Turk due to a hurricane) when they were younger I believe 6 and 1. They loved it. But after years of hearing bad things my daughter is leery of Carnival she'll be 18 in a few months. My middle son just like hotels and pools he's not a big adventurer. When they were 13, 8 and my little one was 4 we went on a Disney Cruise on the Disney Magic and really that's all they remember. They love Disney world lol. We had been talking about going for Christmas one day so they will be happy with that part of the trips so being on a Disney cruise is not a necessity.

    Being on a ship with a good amount to do would be helpful especially for 17 year old and my 9 year who are busy bees they love rides and theme parks. My 12 year old really is more of a video game guy hates rides hates trying new things. So he would like anywhere where he can hang maybe meet a few people and play some video games or basketball or watch some sports. Any Cruise line with a good kids/teens club would do for the younger two they do well with organized activities. Anything with a good amount of pools, hot tubs and slides they will be happy.

    As to ports I really want to go anywhere that is not Nassau because we did that on Disney and I wasn't that big of a fan. I have cruised a few times I did a Southern Caribbean cruise on my Honeymoon on Carnival (San Juan, Aruba, St. Thomas, Barbados, Dominica) Loved that Itinerary my least favorite place was Barbados since it was so rocky on the beach, then a babymoon (New orleans, Cozumel) Didn't see much in Cozumel it was really hot and I was pregnant :blush:. Anywhere new for me would be great. My kids don't care where we go they would go right back to the Bahamas lol We aren't big beach people which is why I'm not taking them to an all inclusive. I think CocoCay they would really enjoy.

    Food is also pretty important my daughter and I are big foodies. My middle son is very picky and has multiple allergies (nuts and seafood) and my younger son is not picky will try new stuff (he likes sushi) but he also has nut allergies. I had bariatric surgery this summer and had complications hence the multiple surgeries so there are some things I can't eat or not in large quantities any more. So Cruise line with no sugar added dessert would be great so far I know Disney has that because I did a ship tour on the Magic. So we need lots of variety but lots of the basics too nuggets, fries, burgers and pizza for the kids.

    My Dad has never cruised but he's an adventurer so anything with a beach and food he'll have a good time. He grew up in Jamaica so he loves island life and wants to see different islands now that he's retired. My boyfriend has never cruised is also not picky he loves steaks he's not a beach person, likes trying new things and go new places. He likes casinos and he like the drinks flowing when he's on vacation. He's pretty laid back.

    So all this to say I have been on 3 Carnival Cruises ( 2 ships Triumph and Destiny both of which have been redone and renamed) I had an amazing time on all 3. Went on a Disney Cruise I had an amazing time there too. I did like the kids club better on Disney then on Carnival we literally had to drag the kids out for dinner and then they would crawl in to bed at night. I would like to try Royal I've read their kids club hours are not convenient on sea days but as long as my youngest can sign himself out of the kids club and go to the pools or slides he will be fine he will be 10 when we sail.

    Room wise I will put my kids in 1 room and me and my dad in another if my boyfriend comes I will get us a seperate room and put everyone else in a room together. I don't have much of a room preference not worried about split bathrooms or anything since we will probably do two rooms. My kids I'm sure would like somewhere comfortable for when they feel like hanging out in the room.
     

  • EXCLUSIVE - Dreams Unlimited Travel Gift Basket!
    Book your Disney Cruise Line vacation through Dreams Unlimited Travel and receive an exclusive, complimentary Gift Basket. This Gift Basket is a result of client feedback as well as posts from DISboards.com; we call it our “What you didn't know you needed on a Disney Cruise Kit”.
    Click Here for Details

  • mevelandry

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2013
    So I've had to change course a few times this year on my cruise. Between my job burning down in January and then me being laid off mid year and then most recently having 3 surgeries back to back and the long recovery it's been crazy. So I've officially moved our cruise to Christmas of next year (I got my ex husband to agree to let me take the kids from Christmas to after New years eve). My dad has decided to come with as well and he could only go after June so it works out since he didn't want to go alone. I was looking to try to go before my daughter went off to college but it's looking more and more likely that she will be closer to home then we were all thinking.

    So now I'm looking at cruising out of the Florida area and doing a few days for the 1st time at Disney world for Christmas. Our options are Carnival Mardi Gras, Legend or Paradise. RCCL Harmony or Independance or DCL Magic. Right now leaning towards Legend (Grand Cayman, Mahogany Bay, Belize, Cozumel), Harmony (Cococay, Cozumel, Honduras, Costa Maya) or Magic (Key West, Castaway Cay, Bahamas) because it would give us enough time to coming in for Christmas visit the parks and then hit the ship. If we do Mardi Gras (Cozumel, Costa Maya, Mahogany Bay) I would probably have to extend our trip a few days into school for my boys to do Disney world. I'm excited for this hopefully my boyfriend can join us as well. Price is not really a factor they are all about the same I guess because it's Christmas but I might be able to get the Carnival down a little since I have Past Guest Credit.

    I'm excited to be able to plan the whole thing but It will be really hard to wait to go lol
    I love Carnival but I really had a great time on RCCL and CocoCay is absolutely fantastic (totally beats Castaway Cay for me).

    I think I've never heard bad reviews about Honduras (Roatan)... It's a great place for snorkeling and as you may have seen here recently, they have a nice Sloth & Monkey sanctuary.

    I'll try Costa Maya next month, it looks fun! :)
     

    mevelandry

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2013
    Thanks, I can't wait to hear you review of the Legend.

    So my kids Love Disney:smickey:. They are worried of Carnival because of things they have heard (drunken people, older broken down ships) my daughter and middle son did a Carnival cruise (San juan, St. Thomas, we missed Bahamas and Grand Turk due to a hurricane) when they were younger I believe 6 and 1. They loved it. But after years of hearing bad things my daughter is leery of Carnival she'll be 18 in a few months. My middle son just like hotels and pools he's not a big adventurer. When they were 13, 8 and my little one was 4 we went on a Disney Cruise on the Disney Magic and really that's all they remember. They love Disney world lol. We had been talking about going for Christmas one day so they will be happy with that part of the trips so being on a Disney cruise is not a necessity.

    Being on a ship with a good amount to do would be helpful especially for 17 year old and my 9 year who are busy bees they love rides and theme parks. My 12 year old really is more of a video game guy hates rides hates trying new things. So he would like anywhere where he can hang maybe meet a few people and play some video games or basketball or watch some sports. Any Cruise line with a good kids/teens club would do for the younger two they do well with organized activities. Anything with a good amount of pools, hot tubs and slides they will be happy.

    As to ports I really want to go anywhere that is not Nassau because we did that on Disney and I wasn't that big of a fan. I have cruised a few times I did a Southern Caribbean cruise on my Honeymoon on Carnival (San Juan, Aruba, St. Thomas, Barbados, Dominica) Loved that Itinerary my least favorite place was Barbados since it was so rocky on the beach, then a babymoon (New orleans, Cozumel) Didn't see much in Cozumel it was really hot and I was pregnant :blush:. Anywhere new for me would be great. My kids don't care where we go they would go right back to the Bahamas lol We aren't big beach people which is why I'm not taking them to an all inclusive. I think CocoCay they would really enjoy.

    Food is also pretty important my daughter and I are big foodies. My middle son is very picky and has multiple allergies (nuts and seafood) and my younger son is not picky will try new stuff (he likes sushi) but he also has nut allergies. I had bariatric surgery this summer and had complications hence the multiple surgeries so there are some things I can't eat or not in large quantities any more. So Cruise line with no sugar added dessert would be great so far I know Disney has that because I did a ship tour on the Magic. So we need lots of variety but lots of the basics too nuggets, fries, burgers and pizza for the kids.

    My Dad has never cruised but he's an adventurer so anything with a beach and food he'll have a good time. He grew up in Jamaica so he loves island life and wants to see different islands now that he's retired. My boyfriend has never cruised is also not picky he loves steaks he's not a beach person, likes trying new things and go new places. He likes casinos and he like the drinks flowing when he's on vacation. He's pretty laid back.

    So all this to say I have been on 3 Carnival Cruises ( 2 ships Triumph and Destiny both of which have been redone and renamed) I had an amazing time on all 3. Went on a Disney Cruise I had an amazing time there too. I did like the kids club better on Disney then on Carnival we literally had to drag the kids out for dinner and then they would crawl in to bed at night. I would like to try Royal I've read their kids club hours are not convenient on sea days but as long as my youngest can sign himself out of the kids club and go to the pools or slides he will be fine he will be 10 when we sail.

    Room wise I will put my kids in 1 room and me and my dad in another if my boyfriend comes I will get us a seperate room and put everyone else in a room together. I don't have much of a room preference not worried about split bathrooms or anything since we will probably do two rooms. My kids I'm sure would like somewhere comfortable for when they feel like hanging out in the room.
    Side note: With kids I would avoid Carnival Paradise. Not much to do. My husband and I sailed on the sister ship Sensation and we were a little bit bored as there was not much to do on it. They are also older ships and some elevators are broken.
     

    Mika02

    Disney is in my blood
    Joined
    Jan 24, 2015
    Side note: With kids I would avoid Carnival Paradise. Not much to do. My husband and I sailed on the sister ship Sensation and we were a little bit bored as there was not much to do on it. They are also older ships and some elevators are broken.
    I remember you guys here telling me that in one of my early plans. And based on what I've read online so I've definitely crossed it off the list. It's a Shorter Itin (Grand Cayman and Cozumel out of Tampa) and if I'm going to do a similar short one I will do the Independence of the sea (same exact stops but out of Fort lauderdale) instead. Independence is not in play right now because I don't want to have drive the 3 hours to the port lol.

    Can't wait to hear about Costa Maya!
     

    hdrolfe

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2014
    I remember you guys here telling me that in one of my early plans. And based on what I've read online so I've definitely crossed it off the list. It's a Shorter Itin (Grand Cayman and Cozumel out of Tampa) and if I'm going to do a similar short one I will do the Independence of the sea (same exact stops but out of Fort lauderdale) instead. Independence is not in play right now because I don't want to have drive the 3 hours to the port lol.

    Can't wait to hear about Costa Maya!
    Costa Maya is lovely. It depends what you want to do. We went to the Malecon to one of the beach clubs and just enjoyed the water. There are ruins if you are willing to do a bit of a drive (I'd suggest the cruise line for that) Or there is the water slide/zipline park. You can actually see this from the ship when you dock. I think it's pretty much the same cost through the cruise line as it is on it's own, but given how close it is, it is possible to walk there I believe. The port area itself has some options, there is an aviary you can get a ticket to walk through, dolphins right there to swim with (if you do that) or just see. Lots of shops and some food/drinks as well. Also a Starbucks to get your wifi fix :)

    Honestly, from your choices, I'd go with Harmony or Mardi Gras. In your case, because you mentioned the Mardi Gras timing doesn't work as well, Harmony of the Seas. RCL is a great cruise line, that ship has everything you could want to do, water slides, a dry slide from top of the ship to the bottom, zipline, rock climbing, ice skating. You would have to book your shows I believe, It is on my bucket list :) And Harmony won't be in Port Canaveral for too much longer, I believe Allure will be replacing it (after she gets updated like Oasis is), I think early 2021.
     
  • belle032

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 6, 2011
    @Mika02 You have some great choices! Based on itinerary and what you're looking for in a cruise, I'd probably go with the Mardi Gras or the Harmony of the Seas. Mardi Gras will be brand new, looks stunning and I imagine it will have plenty of activities for your family. The Harmony has already been around and proven to have lots of activities for everyone. Plus, CocoCay looks awesome and makes me want to give RCCL a try! And I think in terms of food, you'll have a lot more choices on either of these ships versus a smaller ship.

    I haven't been on the Legend, but we're doing that same itinerary at the end of January on the Conquest and I'm looking forward to it!

    We just got off the Magic and while it was a lovely ship and we had a great time, DH & I felt it was a little lacking in terms of activities. We did a European itinerary, so we didn't utilize the pools/outside space much, but it seemed like on a Caribbean sailing the spaces would get very crowded very quickly. Plus, in that itinerary, the only place I'd really care about going back to is Castaway.
     

    trvlgirlmq

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 13, 2006
    I think Coco Cay looks amazing but I can't get my family to try new things!

    I've booked our 2nd excursion for 2021! We are doing a Beatles tour in Liverpool with Fab4Tours. We decided to just do the express 2 hour overview so that we can also spend a couple hours at the British Music Experience museum.

    I'm a bit miffed though that we are docked 7 - 4 but none of the tour companies are allowed into the port until 9:30. Also, pretty much every museum, attraction, etc doesn't open until 10. So we will have a lot of wasted time and then have to hurry through an amazing city with tons of history. We will make the most of it and maybe be inspired to go back someday.
     

    belle032

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 6, 2011
    I think Coco Cay looks amazing but I can't get my family to try new things!

    I've booked our 2nd excursion for 2021! We are doing a Beatles tour in Liverpool with Fab4Tours. We decided to just do the express 2 hour overview so that we can also spend a couple hours at the British Music Experience museum.

    I'm a bit miffed though that we are docked 7 - 4 but none of the tour companies are allowed into the port until 9:30. Also, pretty much every museum, attraction, etc doesn't open until 10. So we will have a lot of wasted time and then have to hurry through an amazing city with tons of history. We will make the most of it and maybe be inspired to go back someday.
    We really liked Liverpool! It was so nice to be docked and be able to walk directly off the ship right into the city. This was the only port we didn't book an excursion and there is plenty to do right on the waterfront. DH & I actually did an escape room (so fun!), did some shopping, went through the Maritime Museum and had a couple pints at a pub right nearby. It was sunny and warmer that day so it was really great just to stroll. Museums were all free I believe so go through at your leisure. Overall, a nice relaxing last port day!
     

    Mika02

    Disney is in my blood
    Joined
    Jan 24, 2015
    I'm laughing because people always say I plan too early but all the rooms I would want on Harmony are already taken lol.

    Told my daughter about the plans she got very excited she definitely doesn't want to do the Mardi Gras because she definitely wants some time in the parks before we head on the ship and she also said Independence of the sea is too short she wants 7 full days on our cruise. Other then that she was no help lol.
     

    trvlgirlmq

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 13, 2006
    We really liked Liverpool! It was so nice to be docked and be able to walk directly off the ship right into the city. This was the only port we didn't book an excursion and there is plenty to do right on the waterfront. DH & I actually did an escape room (so fun!), did some shopping, went through the Maritime Museum and had a couple pints at a pub right nearby. It was sunny and warmer that day so it was really great just to stroll. Museums were all free I believe so go through at your leisure. Overall, a nice relaxing last port day!
    Well, I have 2 huge Beatles fans so that was a must for them! My DS is super excited to see Strawberry Fields.
     

    Lynne G

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2009
    Oh and Mika, while we have only done DCL cruises, my then 21 year old and I did the Magic that you are considering. Not much to do at night, and no slides for adults like on the Fantasy. In fact, it was on that cruise, that my kid said, not getting off the ship in Nassau anymore. And I think they are usually only 5 night cruises.

    If Harmony was sold out, have you considered the other Oasis ship? And keep checking, cabins can become available any time, as people cancel, or change plans. Note that the Oasis recently got the upgrades that the Harmony has. And yep, my kids both prefer the 7 night cruises. Though I have to say, before we boarded the Magic, we spent 4 days at Universal. This January, because of the college schedule of my younger one, we are only doing the cruise, and no time for park fun. Oh well. It is 7 nights, and 4 different ports. 2 at sea days. So all in my family are very much looking forward to our first Carnival ship, even if the decor is not our favorite, and well, all of us are a little worried about how different or the same the Legend will be to what we have only known.

    Whatever you decide, with park fun or not, I am sure all will enjoy the cruise for Christmas.
    .
     

    Mika02

    Disney is in my blood
    Joined
    Jan 24, 2015
    Oh and Mika, while we have only done DCL cruises, my then 21 year old and I did the Magic that you are considering. Not much to do at night, and no slides for adults like on the Fantasy. In fact, it was on that cruise, that my kid said, not getting off the ship in Nassau anymore. And I think they are usually only 5 night cruises.

    If Harmony was sold out, have you considered the other Oasis ship? And keep checking, cabins can become available any time, as people cancel, or change plans. Note that the Oasis recently got the upgrades that the Harmony has. And yep, my kids both prefer the 7 night cruises. Though I have to say, before we boarded the Magic, we spent 4 days at Universal. This January, because of the college schedule of my younger one, we are only doing the cruise, and no time for park fun. Oh well. It is 7 nights, and 4 different ports. 2 at sea days. So all in my family are very much looking forward to our first Carnival ship, even if the decor is not our favorite, and well, all of us are a little worried about how different or the same the Legend will be to what we have only known.

    Whatever you decide, with park fun or not, I am sure all will enjoy the cruise for Christmas.
    .
    Yeah we have the option of 4 or 5 days on Magic I would only do the 5 day one. My daughter wasn't excited about that one truthfully neither am I, only good thing about it would be that we could stay longer in Disney world lol.

    I Noticed an Allure of the sea heading out the same time same Itinerary as Harmony as well but leaving from Miami by then it will be Amplified. So I think it will between those 2 and the Carnival Legend.

    Neither the RCCL is sold out just the rooms I would want are booked up mostly the spacious ones for my dad and my kids to go into. I'll figure that out I know it's fairly early enough. My daughter's excitement made me even happier with this option.
     
    Last edited:

    hdrolfe

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2014
    Yeah we have the option of 4 or 5 days on Magic I would only do the 5 day one. My daughter wasn't excited about that one truthfully neither am I only good thing about it would be it we could stay longer in Disney world lol.

    I Noticed an Allure of the sea heading out the same time same Itinerary as Harmony as well but leaving from Miami by then it will be Amplified. So I think it will between those 2 and the Carnival Legend.

    Neither the RCCL is sold out just the rooms I would want are booked up mostly the spacious ones for my dad and my kids to go into. I'll figure that out I know it's fairly early enough. My daughter's excitement made me even happier with this option.
    Have you called? Sometimes rooms are not shown online that might be available to book if you call. Also, things can open up closer to pay in full time as people cancel. But that's a risk of course :)

    I'd suggest Disney first, we've done it both before and after a cruise and it is much more relaxing to do the cruise after the hectic Disney days.
     


    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Get Daily Email Updates

    Book your Disney Cruise through Dreams Unlimited Travel and receive a Shipboard Credit and an Exclusive Gift Basket!



    DECK PLANS


    STATEROOMS


    ITINERARIES




    Top