My comparison-ish of Royal's and Disney's Kids Clubs!

bbel

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 23, 2014
Navigator was pretty good, I do think splitting 3-5 and 6+ is a better compromise than a free for all. They sacrificed much of their old Kid space to the gym, which moved to make room for Cabins, it was built in the area that Johnny Rockets occupied before. Yes, we do cross the date line (same day twice), I've been to Sydney before and have friends there, but my wife has not, actually she's never been outside the US (other than Caribbean cruise ports). We know a few other kids that will be on the cruise also, so she won't be alone. We typically only put her in one session a day (at most 2, usually she wants to go back, or if there's a specific theme she really likes) and spend a lot of time with her outside of that. The transpacific cruise is likely to be mostly older folks and only a handful of kids, we know that. Believe it or not is was cheaper than Christmastime on the Disney Fantasy even with the flights and other costs involved, (And over twice as many days) So we decided to do the big anniversary trip there instead.

I can imagine the kids clubs are always an internal budget fight since they aren't add on costs. But we wouldn't have booked them otherwise.
I remember seeing a comparison of old and new deck plans and thought it was a little crazy. When they first moved the gym they couldn't use it because the ceiling was too low once you were on the equipment Haha to they had to higher the ceiling, which obviously hadn't been a problem when it was AO.

That's insane that it's cheaper than the fantasy, and IMO a much better itinerary!
Enjoy it. I know the crew (as I am one) are always excited and refreshed for new/one off itineraries like that too!
 

starvenger

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
we are just off the Magic as of 6/14 and we did get messages from the kids club to our DCL app. the wave phones didn't work at all even though they said they tried them.
That's good to hear. Well, about the app anyway. Wave phones not working is never a good sign.
 

IndyToThere

Earning My Ears
Joined
Feb 18, 2018
We were on RCCL and DCL in the same year (last year), so we got to see the comparisons on the kids clubs with our 8 year old son. We were traveling as a party of 3 (dad, mom, son), so our son wasn't with anyone else in the kids clubs from our party. He vastly enjoyed RCCL more and wanted to go every day. The structured activities with the counselors worked out a lot better with kids that were by themselves. He also got plenty of Ga Ga Ball playtime in, which is a bonus for him.

DCL had much cooler looking rooms (the Millennium Falcon area is really neat), but he felt like he had nothing to do and nobody to play with. There was the occasional structured activity on DCL but for the most part was 'free time' and fairly chaotic with the larger range of ages.
--
So on RCCL, he spent a lot of time at the kids club; at DCL he spent more time with us (running around doing the Detective Agency activity or riding the AquaDuck / pool time). He enjoyed both cruises and might say he liked DCL a touch more, but it definitely wasn't because of the kids club. (DCL was the newer of the cruises, so newness of the trip might be a factor as well).
 

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  • jamdonnut

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 7, 2014
    Thanks very much for this comparison we have cruised twice with DCL and kids really enjoyed the kids clubs, this year we went to Aulani and the kids only went to kids club twice as there was just simply more fun to be had outside of Aunties and they found it to be pitched a bit too young for them. We are booked for RCI May 2020 when our daughter will be 13 and son 11, daughter is super confident, son much less confident so he normally goes to kids club with her will they be able to go together and what kind of stuff do they do for that age group? TIA Donna
     

    bbel

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2014
    Thanks very much for this comparison we have cruised twice with DCL and kids really enjoyed the kids clubs, this year we went to Aulani and the kids only went to kids club twice as there was just simply more fun to be had outside of Aunties and they found it to be pitched a bit too young for them. We are booked for RCI May 2020 when our daughter will be 13 and son 11, daughter is super confident, son much less confident so he normally goes to kids club with her will they be able to go together and what kind of stuff do they do for that age group? TIA Donna
    At 11 he might be able to age up to the teen club, but as I said before depends on numerous factors and you wont know for sure until your there.
    It's very unlikely they'll allow a 13 year old in the 9-11 group.
    The teen group is a lot more free. Free to come and go, activities around the ship, choosing what they want if the scheduled activities dont appeal to them.
     

    KashasMom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 28, 2012
    Thanks for the info! It will be very useful to many parents worried about trying Royal. We're definitely a Royal family (specifically Oasis class!).
     
  • we"reofftoneverland

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 5, 2015
    Wow thank you so much for all the information. Your analysis was so fair and on target for dcl. Absolutely beautiful clubs, kids more self-directed, character interaction very cool. Pluto's pajama party was our favorite. We have not sailed rccl but they are on our list. We were a dcl family that happened to try carnival about 3 years ago and we have been all carnival since (I think 5cruises now with one more 3 night dcl mixed in). It was just random that we tried carnival and not royal. Now we are a bit stuck because our kids love it, much more than dcl to our complete shock. The kids club on Royal sounds a lot like Carnival, so I suspect they would love Royal too. Carnival counselors are definitely more hands on than on dcl and I think I read that they have degrees in the field like on rccl. They do tend to be a bit older than the counselors on dcl as you mentioned about rccl. Our kids make more friends on Carnival and participate in a lot more activities. On dcl, when we would pick them up, they were usually on iPads, especially the last couple of years we sailed with them, which... well, ugh! Not a big deal, but they can do that at home. We really like them interacting with other kids more. One thing that is telling is that on dcl we never tipped the kids club counselors, just did not think about it, but on Carnival we always tip the counselors and hate to say goodbye. We really do get to know them, and our kids really get to know them. This has never happened on dcl. The dcl counselors are very nice and competent, but it is just different. The counselors on Carnival make our cruises wonderful, they are so caring and sincere and enthusiastic. Royal sounds so similar we are dying to try them!
     

    bumbershoot

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2007
    I never noticed this post before! I have thoughts.

    Kids can also age up to teens (again manager dependent rules) at 11 if a waiver is signed by a legal guardian.
    I really wouldn't recommend that, from my son's experience. He was 12, he's an extrovert, he was tall and his voice had already changed, he has tons of older friends (he's a dancer and one of his dearest friends at that time was 18), and he did NOT feel comfortable at the teen club on Royal. It's possible they treated him as older because of height and voice, and maybe that's why he was so uncomfortable, but he went the first night and never went back. And this is a kid who LOVED the 9-11 groups before.


    kids aren't made to eat
    I know you say that as an adult in charge, but my son's experiences were very different. First time, he was supposed to eat there and then they called us (on the phone in the ROOM, not even a wave phone) to "make sure" he's vegetarian before allowing him to eat a cheese sandwich. Because we were out and about, we never got that message until we got back to the room *with* him, and he hadn't eaten. Next cruise they lined up the children in the food area and made them sit. They didn't have to eat, that's true, but he wasn't allowed to go play. He had specifically had food BEFORE we dropped him off, so he didn't have to maybe not get fed when hungry, and it was almost the reverse situation. After that we stopped sending him at meal times at all.

    Both companies offer a pick up service from the dining room
    Pickup service from *outside* the dining room. :) I think it's worth being specific so that parents know that waiting at the table isn't how to do it.

    What resonated the most: DCL staff not really getting to know the kids. On another line, by day 2 my kids were greeted by name when they went to the clubs. On DCL, even though we were there for 13 nights, maybe one staff member knew my kids by name. (possibly a good thing, lol)
    So much the same with us. There was ONE CM out of who remembered my son. Whereas the royal staff knew my kid so quickly, by name, and greeted him around the ship when they saw him.

    3-11 is pretty chaotic and I didn't care for it on DCL.
    Even worse. 3-day-before-13th-birthday.

    but he felt like he had nothing to do and nobody to play with.
    Same with my son. Only child surrounded by kids in large family groups...even his strong ability to make friends was thwarted.
     

    bbel

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2014
    I know you say that as an adult in charge, but my son's experiences were very different. First time, he was supposed to eat there and then they called us (on the phone in the ROOM, not even a wave phone) to "make sure" he's vegetarian before allowing him to eat a cheese sandwich. Because we were out and about, we never got that message until we got back to the room *with* him, and he hadn't eaten. Next cruise they lined up the children in the food area and made them sit. They didn't have to eat, that's true, but he wasn't allowed to go play. He had specifically had food BEFORE we dropped him off, so he didn't have to maybe not get fed when hungry, and it was almost the reverse situation. After that we stopped sending him at meal times at all.
    From my experience it depends on what the complaints were the previous cruise. If someone complained strongly about their kid not eating, then while they were not forced to eat, the next cruise we wouldn't be allowed to let the kids so anything but eat or watch a movie the next cruise (craft, iPads, games were shut off) If the next cruise someone complained that their kid wasnt allowed to do anything while food was there, then they wouldn't be allowed to promote food and kids carried on with whatever they wanted.
    As for the vegetarian thing. Its unfonfortunate. Not defending (just from my experiences) but 90% of the team speak english as a second language and sometimes things get confused/miscommunicated, I remember one girl thinking vegan and vegetarian were the same thing, she came from a country where it's really rare to be veggie. If they were that picky about it, chances are there was an issue recently with a vegetarian kid and they were taking extra precautions. At least they had your kids best interests at heart.

    At least at Royal you have to pre sign up on most ships and note what your kid can or cant eat, so it's quite rare to come across many of the kid eating issues I came across at Disney.

    Pickup service from *outside* the dining room. :) I think it's worth being specific so that parents know that waiting at the table isn't how to do it
    If were being that specific then its at the front of the restaurant for DCL, no table pick up service there either.

    And for royal true, but I would say 99% of people that use the service for the first time check a number of things about this before they use it, which deck (restaurants are on more than 1)? what time? This information is usually clear on the daily kids compass and varies between ships. (The other 1% find us by accident and dont even know about the service)
     
  • bbel

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2014
    Excited to see what they do with Adventure Ocean on the Odyssey of the Seas. Looks like they're finally investing some new ideas into the kids club!
    Only over a year to wait till we see it...haha...!!

    20191031_011306.jpg
     

    beccawes7471

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2005
    Wonderful comparison. Our personal experience (after 2 Disney and one RCCL) has been that Disney looks cooler but it is all bells and whistles where kids just run around and/or are on screens most of the time. There were just so many kids in there, it seemed extremely chaotic every time we were there and our daughter and son both decided on non kids club activities most of the time. For us RCCL was much more controlled and interactive. Our daughter went the first night and met a great friend (who, 2.5 years later we drove 8 hours to meet up with again for a summer vacation) and so she went back every night for the evening session and says she had more fun with the organized activities and themed games on RCCL but she still thought Disney’s looked cooler but she didn’t actually spend much time in there. Again, just our experiences, thank you for sharing yours!
     

    starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    Excited to see what they do with Adventure Ocean on the Odyssey of the Seas. Looks like they're finally investing some new ideas into the kids club!
    Only over a year to wait till we see it...haha...!!
    I don't know if it's new ideas but a combined 6-11 group means probably one less counselor per session. I do appreciate them keeping 3-5s separate though.
     

    bbel

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2014
    I don't know if it's new ideas but a combined 6-11 group means probably one less counselor per session. I do appreciate them keeping 3-5s separate though.
    Probably, but they add in so much other activities we do that hopefully they wont lower the staff numbers. I was on one ship that after dry dock had the same amount of staff but added in so many extras we had to work around the ship that we had to combine the 6-11s anyway so we could do everything else...

    After working a couple of the ships in the bigger classes, I request the small ships now (vision, radiance class etc) and they always have their 6-11's combined which I think I prefer, but definitely keep the 3-5's separate!
     

    bbel

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2014
    Wonderful comparison. Our personal experience (after 2 Disney and one RCCL) has been that Disney looks cooler but it is all bells and whistles where kids just run around and/or are on screens most of the time. There were just so many kids in there, it seemed extremely chaotic every time we were there and our daughter and son both decided on non kids club activities most of the time. For us RCCL was much more controlled and interactive. Our daughter went the first night and met a great friend (who, 2.5 years later we drove 8 hours to meet up with again for a summer vacation) and so she went back every night for the evening session and says she had more fun with the organized activities and themed games on RCCL but she still thought Disney’s looked cooler but she didn’t actually spend much time in there. Again, just our experiences, thank you for sharing yours!
    My first royal ship (after years at Disney) was one of their smaller, older ships. I remember being walked round on the first day thinking, is this it? I was there in low season and the total amount of kids on the ship was less than the amount we'd have in a room at Disney.
    At first I thought I'd made a huge mistake, but then I realised how much nicer it was to work, getting to know the kids and families, getting the kids involved etc. I think if I went back to Disney now I'd really struggle...or get fired...haha.

    Never judge a book, or kids club, by its cover haha!
     

    bbel

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2014
    Just watched a walk through of the new Adventure Ocean on Oasis. Wow.

    If Royal keep this up, Disney are gonna have some competition in the 'fancy looking kids club' category!
     

    starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    It was overdue for Oasis. Sad that they sacrificed some space for the sake of some new staterooms though.
     

    Carolynleanne

    Canadian Disney mom
    Joined
    Mar 17, 2012
    Thank you for this extensive review! We've just booked our first RCI cruise and I've been nervous about the kids clubs. That being said, I kind of loathed that my kids would go to the DCL club and just play video games all day. They never made friends and they never participated in activities. I LIKE that they'll be forced away from those screens on RCI - even if my kids arent impressed by it initially. I know they'll have fun.
     

    yellowfish78

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2004
    I have kids going with us on the Independence in November of this year and I'm excited for "structure" on RCCL. My youngest (who will be 6 at travel time) thrives with structure and Disney's clubs was rough for him. I remember one morning on DCL they had a preschool hour and he loved it then he just sat in the corner until we came to get him...
     

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