Mariner of the Seas & Coco Cay Review - Triple Threat Match (RCCL vs DCL vs CCL)

mevelandry

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 22, 2013
Hi guys!

*Edited on October 15, 2019, more to come!*

*Mariner of the Seas and CocoCay pictures to come*

Since we have now sailed on three cruise lines, I can now do a "Triple Threat Match review" (Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Line, Carnival)

Boarding

It may be because we had The Key but we have experienced the fastest check-in/boarding of all our 9 cruises. We showed our papers and next thing we knew, we were on the ship, ready to take advantage of our The Key perks!

Winner: RCCL

The Key

We got it for 20$/pp per day so it wasn't too expensive. We got a very nice free lunch from Chop's Grille on arrival and a good breakfast on the last day, however, we had to share a table with strangers (which my husband and I are no fan of. We are shy people and usually ask for private tables). Had we paid more for The Key, I would have been disappointed. However, food was especially amazing on embarkation day... We also took advantage of the perks for reserved seatings in shows and to try the Sky Pad. I appreciated the perks but I think I could go with or without it.

Guest Services

We had lots of questions and had to visit a few times because of a problem with an excursion... I almost always met the same person at the desk. He would welcome me by our names every time and even speak a little bit of french to us. He really went above and beyond.

Winner: It's a tie.

Cabins

We had a panoramic port hole which was really awesome but overall, the design of the room was fantastic, LOTS of space for clothes. I think our cabin was new from 2017-2018. I want to live in that cabin.

Winner: RCCL

Cleanliness & Appearance

DCL has always been great with that. Carnival is nicer to its newer ships. RCCL reminds me of DCL but our cabin steward on RCCL was the best of all stewards we've had. Room serviced twice a day.

Winner: It's a tie between DCL and RCCL


Activities on the ship

I've never seen more activities than on Carnival Vista and Mariner of the Seas. I thought they were better organized on RCCL though.

Winner: RCCL

Pools

Great pools and so many (bigger) jacuzzis on RCCL.

Winner: RCCL.

Buffet food

First of all, the Windjammer looks amazing with huge windows. They tone down the lights for dinner and it almost feels like you're eating at the restaurant. There were lots of choices. Everything was so good.

Winner: RCCL (with DCL as a close runner up)

Dining Room

The foos was not better/Not worst than other MDR food.

That being said, the Dining Room on the Mariner of the Seas was the most spectacular I've seen when it comes to the look.

Winner: It's hard to decide because DCL offers entertainment while CCL and RCCL do not. But the RCCL one looked better IMO. So... It's a tie.


Included Food Counters

RCCL has a few counters here and there (hot dogs, pizza place & café promenade) those offered good food.

Winner: Carnival wins hands down with all the choices (Guy's Burger, Pig & Anchor, Blue Iguana, Asian, Deli...) ...

Specialty Dining

I've had a great experience at pretty much all the Specialty Dining I've visited but Jamie's Italian was just spectacular. It had everything we like fantastic food, great decor, amazing staff, perfect ambiance) without taking itself too seriously.

Winner: You can't go wrong with Jamie's Italian, Remy or Jiji Asian Kitchen or Farenheit 555. It's a tie.

Entertainment

This is where my husband don't agree. My husband is obsessed with comedy shows. I love comedy shows, but I also like other types of entertainment. The comedy shows were very late on RCCL (past 10:00 PM) on our short cruise. Unfortunately, we encountered bad seas and did not feel good enough to attend the whole show on the first two nights (one ice skating show which seemed great based on the first minutes I saw, and a very family friendly comedy show with some music). The show we saw on the third night was earlier and was a mix of comedy and stunts. I had a great time.

Winner: Disney shows are not 100% our jam so Carnival still wins for now but I have a feeling that I'll get to appreciate RCCL's shows more next time and I like the variety of it.

Talent of performers

I've never thought the DCL performers were outstanding and almost always had great performers on Carnival. RCCL seem to be just as good.

Winner: It's a tie.

Staff

I've seen good staff and bad staff on every cruise line.

Winner: It's a tie.

Disembarkation

Extremely fast and efficient. There were almost no line, and with their face recognition booths, we didn't even have to show our passeports or talk to a custom employee.

Winner: RCCL

AND THE BIG WINNER IS...

I've always said that I liked DCL and CARNIVAL equally because they both offered nice yet different experiences. Well... Now I have a very clear favorite.

RCCL offers the best of both worlds + his own special touch. A "relaxed classy" experience for a much more affordable price than DCL. I am completely infatuated with RCCL and I can't wait to get to know them even better in January 2020 as we'll be sailing on the Adventure of the Seas for a Western Caribbean cruise.


P.s. : Pictures and CocoCay review will be posted on page 2 later today.
 
Last edited:

OKW Lover

Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle.
DIS Lifetime Sponsor
Joined
Apr 29, 2004
CCL? Carnival or Celebrity?

Anyway, for DCL vs RCL I'd rate:
Guest Services: DCL
Boarding: RCL
Cabins: RCL (especially Oasis class ships)
Buffet Food: toss up
Dining room food: DCL, but very close
Specialty Dining RCL (more choices)
Entertainment: toss up (more choices on Oasis class ships_
Talent: DCL
Staff: DCL
Ease of Debarkation: RCL
 

mevelandry

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 22, 2013
CCL? Carnival or Celebrity?

Anyway, for DCL vs RCL I'd rate:
Guest Services: DCL
Boarding: RCL
Cabins: RCL (especially Oasis class ships)
Buffet Food: toss up
Dining room food: DCL, but very close
Specialty Dining RCL (more choices)
Entertainment: toss up (more choices on Oasis class ships_
Talent: DCL
Staff: DCL
Ease of Debarkation: RCL
Carnival.
 

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  • NCRedding

    <font color=navy>I've strayed<br><font color=green
    Joined
    Feb 4, 2000
    I've done 7 DCL cruises, but only on the fantasy and the magic, and not in 10 years. I've done 1 RCCL on the Radiance, and 3 on Carnival, and 2 on Norwegian (older ships). Here are my ratings from best to worst:
    Guest services: DCL, CCL, NCL, RCCL
    Boarding (depends upon port a good bit) CCL (Port Canaveral and using Faster to the Fun); DCL, RCCL; CCL (Miami and Charleston), NCL
    Cabins: DCL, RCCL, NCL, CCL (CCL rarely has sofas or arm chairs unless you are in a balcony room)
    Dining room food: CCL, DCL, RCCL, NCL
    Buffet food: CCL, DCL, RCCL, NCL
    Other dining:DCL, RCCL, CCL, NCL
    Specialty dining: DCL (Palo is wonderful, and so reasonably priced), CCL (the steakhouse is great); NCL was OK, RCCL I didn't try
    Entertainment (Overall): DCL, CCL (tons of trivia, love the comedy clubs, the piano bar, etc), RCCL, NCL
    Talent: DCL, head and shoulders above the rest
    Staff: DCL, again head and shoulders above the others
    Debarkation: DCL, CCL, RCCL, NCL
     
  • mevelandry

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2013
    I've done 7 DCL cruises, but only on the fantasy and the magic, and not in 10 years. I've done 1 RCCL on the Radiance, and 3 on Carnival, and 2 on Norwegian (older ships). Here are my ratings from best to worst:
    Guest services: DCL, CCL, NCL, RCCL
    Boarding (depends upon port a good bit) CCL (Port Canaveral and using Faster to the Fun); DCL, RCCL; CCL (Miami and Charleston), NCL
    Cabins: DCL, RCCL, NCL, CCL (CCL rarely has sofas or arm chairs unless you are in a balcony room)
    Dining room food: CCL, DCL, RCCL, NCL
    Buffet food: CCL, DCL, RCCL, NCL
    Other dining:DCL, RCCL, CCL, NCL
    Specialty dining: DCL (Palo is wonderful, and so reasonably priced), CCL (the steakhouse is great); NCL was OK, RCCL I didn't try
    Entertainment (Overall): DCL, CCL (tons of trivia, love the comedy clubs, the piano bar, etc), RCCL, NCL
    Talent: DCL, head and shoulders above the rest
    Staff: DCL, again head and shoulders above the others
    Debarkation: DCL, CCL, RCCL, NCL
    Interesting! Thank you! :D
     

    nancy drew

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 12, 2005
    We have sailed on DCL twice, HAL once, and RCL once. I'll share our experience.

    Guest services: Equal. RCL and DCL both dropped the ball and lost major points with me.
    Boarding: RCL wins for speed, HAL wins for efficiency and flow, DCL a distant third for making people stand in line and then push and shove their way to the boarding area.
    Cabins: RCL wins for new and sleek
    Dining room food: Equal
    Buffet food: Never tried the buffet on RCL but DCL and HAL are equal
    Other dining: RCL wins for variety and quality.
    Specialty dining: RCL. I did not think Palo was worth the extra $ especially given how much DCL charges just to set foot on their ship. HAL did not have specialty dining that I am aware of.
    Entertainment (Overall): RCL hands down (Oasis class). HAL had one amazing show. DCL's shows are corny and boring unless you are 5 years old.
    Talent: RCL hands down (Oasis class). 100% broadway quality in the main show, skaters are fabulous, aqua theater performers are amazing.
    Staff: Equal. They are all friendly, say hello, stop to have conversations, etc.
    Debarkation: Equal. Walking off the ship with our bags is a breeze on all 3 lines.
    Kids Clubs: HAL hands down. Both kids L.O.V.E.D. the counselors. I did, too. HAL was the only ship where I actually got to know the counselors, and the only ship where my kids BEGGED to go to the clubs. RCL's club was hit or miss with my kids. DCL's clubs are chaos.
     

    mevelandry

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2013
    I've done 7 DCL cruises, but only on the fantasy and the magic, and not in 10 years. I've done 1 RCCL on the Radiance, and 3 on Carnival, and 2 on Norwegian (older ships). Here are my ratings from best to worst:
    Guest services: DCL, CCL, NCL, RCCL
    Boarding (depends upon port a good bit) CCL (Port Canaveral and using Faster to the Fun); DCL, RCCL; CCL (Miami and Charleston), NCL
    Cabins: DCL, RCCL, NCL, CCL (CCL rarely has sofas or arm chairs unless you are in a balcony room)
    Dining room food: CCL, DCL, RCCL, NCL
    Buffet food: CCL, DCL, RCCL, NCL
    Other dining:DCL, RCCL, CCL, NCL
    Specialty dining: DCL (Palo is wonderful, and so reasonably priced), CCL (the steakhouse is great); NCL was OK, RCCL I didn't try
    Entertainment (Overall): DCL, CCL (tons of trivia, love the comedy clubs, the piano bar, etc), RCCL, NCL
    Talent: DCL, head and shoulders above the rest
    Staff: DCL, again head and shoulders above the others
    Debarkation: DCL, CCL, RCCL, NCL

    Which ships on CCL and NCL?
     
  • mevelandry

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2013
    We have sailed on DCL twice, HAL once, and RCL once. I'll share our experience.

    Guest services: Equal. RCL and DCL both dropped the ball and lost major points with me.
    Boarding: RCL wins for speed, HAL wins for efficiency and flow, DCL a distant third for making people stand in line and then push and shove their way to the boarding area.
    Cabins: RCL wins for new and sleek
    Dining room food: Equal
    Buffet food: Never tried the buffet on RCL but DCL and HAL are equal
    Other dining: RCL wins for variety and quality.
    Specialty dining: RCL. I did not think Palo was worth the extra $ especially given how much DCL charges just to set foot on their ship. HAL did not have specialty dining that I am aware of.
    Entertainment (Overall): RCL hands down (Oasis class). HAL had one amazing show. DCL's shows are corny and boring unless you are 5 years old.
    Talent: RCL hands down (Oasis class). 100% broadway quality in the main show, skaters are fabulous, aqua theater performers are amazing.
    Staff: Equal. They are all friendly, say hello, stop to have conversations, etc.
    Debarkation: Equal. Walking off the ship with our bags is a breeze on all 3 lines.
    Kids Clubs: HAL hands down. Both kids L.O.V.E.D. the counselors. I did, too. HAL was the only ship where I actually got to know the counselors, and the only ship where my kids BEGGED to go to the clubs. RCL's club was hit or miss with my kids. DCL's clubs are chaos.
    Which ships?
     

    Denise W

    Disney Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 19, 1999
    We have taken 8 Disney cruises (Magic, Wonder and Fantasy), 9 RCCL cruises (Monarch, Brilliance, Serenade, Anthem, and Symphony), one Carnival cruise (I think it was Glory?), one Celebrity cruise (Summit, will be on Edge next year), and 3 NCL cruises (Pride of America and Dawn). I loved every single cruise. Each ship is very different regarding service, etc, even in the same line.
    Denise
     

    mevelandry

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2013
    @mevelandry do you know if I can get a $25 gift card for a friend going on Carnival??? Target only had $100!!
    You sure can! You can go on the website and order "cruise cash" in the Funshops section.

    However, it's going to be delivered in the room. But you can send her an email telling her that she received that gift.
     
    Last edited:

    gumbypee

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 5, 2012
    You sure can! You can go on the website and other "cruise cash" in the Funshops section.

    However, it's going to be delivered in the room. But you can send her an email telling her that she received that gift.
    I knew I could count on you!! :D

    Thank you
     

    suedon70

    Living the dream...
    Joined
    Feb 19, 2014
    Hi guys!

    I plan to do a "Triple Threat Match review" (Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Line, Carnival) when I come back from my first RCCL cruise in 5 months... In the meantime, I was wondering if some of you had sailed on the three cruise lines and how you would rank them in each category? (Guest Services, Boarding, Cabins, Buffet food, Dining Room food, Included Food Counters, Specialty Dining, Entertainment, Talent of performers, Staff, Disembarkation). It would also be helpful if you mentioned the ships you sailed on.
    Looking forward to your review! I haven't sailed Carnival yet but have cruised 11 times on 4 different lines (1 on Britanis- now defunct; 2 on RCCL on the retired Sovereign of the Seas 13+ years ago; 1 on the Emerald Princess in 2016, and 7 so far on Disney). I plan to do a DCL vs. Princess vs. NCL review next year after our Baltic Cruise!
     

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