RCL vs DCL

JM_97

Mouseketeer
Joined
Dec 17, 2019
Thinking about vacations once COVID settles more and now more specifically, cruising. It'll be at least a year down the road but I want to start thinking ahead. Obviously love DCL but it's a hefty price. The more I keep looking at Royal, the more I become interested. So I'm going back and forth on if Disney is worth the price or if I should save the money and go on RCL. They would both be Bahamas/Caribbean trips so itineraries wouldn't be all that different. Would love some reasons for both!
 

Mrsjvb

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 5, 2007
Overall, we prefer Royal. We vastly prefer their MDR options. For the price of a Naivstor balcony, you can get a Grand suite which comes with extras that are important to us, like the suite Lounge.

specialty dining is better on Disney, and they do a better job keeping adult only areas adult only.

the larger Royal ships have tons of on board activities.
 

CynBeth

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 17, 2011
We have never been on Disney but have done 3 cruises with Royal and love it. We went to Alaska, Western Caribbean, and Bahamas. We would have gone on our 4th this summer to Italy, Spain, and Monaco. Some ships are attractions themselves such as Allure which has a Central Park area and the Boardwalk and an aqua theatre at the back. We usually stay in a balcony room not a suite. I would save the money and give them a chance.
 
  • starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    My take is always that you have to make the jump and figure out for yourself whether you like it or not. I love the Oasis class. I tried a Freedom class and loved that too. And i tried DCL Fantasy... and it wasn't for me.

    And that's not to say that it was a bad cruise - it certainly wasn't. But there were just some things that allowed me to determine that i was sticking with Royal.
     

    JM23457

    Registered
    Joined
    Jun 13, 2020
    If you've sailed with Disney, you know its positive distinctions: beautiful ships, theming, characters, fireworks at sea, water coaster on the Dream class, top-notch family friendly shows, larger than industry standard staterooms with most having 2 bathrooms, extensive inventory of Disney movies on demand in the stateroom, Castaway Cay, quiet adult areas onboard & on CC, less upselling than on other mass market lines.

    You probably also know its negative distinctions: high price & repetitive itineraries.

    And therein your decision lies: weighing the value of these factors to you personally.
     
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    OKgirl

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 7, 2015
    We are DCL owners and love Disney in general. But we didn't care for our first DCL cruise last fall on the Fantasy. We cruise a lot (1-2 times a year on average) and usually do RCL, Carnival, or Norwegian. While our DCL cruise wasn't bad at all, it just wasn't for us. The food was bland in our opinion (and we rated it last on the 5 cruise lines we have tried). The staterooms didn't seem any bigger to us and the shower ceiling was only about 5'10" tall or so (my husband's head hit the top of the shower). We always cruise in 2 staterooms with my husband and me in one cabin and our 3 kids in the other so the split bathrooms weren't needed for us. There was only 1 water slide on the Fantasy with a wait of nearly an hour on a port day. We never tried it on a sea day due to the line. On other cruise lines, there are 3 or more slides with a huge splash pad so we never waited longer than 10-15 minutes for a slide on a sea day. (with little to no line on port days). We found ourselves pretty bored on DCL. To be fair, it's hard to compete with the activities of an Oasis Class RCCL ship (zip-lining, ice skating, rock climbing, surfing/wake-boarding, multiple water slides/large splash pad, etc). We were really looking forward to Castaway Cay but then extremely disappointed that the kids play area is on a floating dock and had a giant line for the kids to get on it. They were on it for 3-4 minutes and the water slide dumped them into the ocean....back into the line for another 15-20 minutes. And the snorkeling area with the cool stuff to see on the ocean floor was 100-150 yards off shore. Needless to say, we skipped that. Now if the DCL cruise was comparably priced, we would just chalk it up to "every cruise line is a bit different". But since it was MORE THAN DOUBLE in price (in October/off season), maybe our expectations were too high. When I asked my husband if we should book a placeholder with DCL he said "so... we could cruise in 2 junior suites with full drink packages, upgraded dining plan, all excursions paid for AND buy matching Tag Heuer watches on another cruise line for the same price?" When I slowly nodded, he told me not to book a placeholder with DCL...

    But DCL had the most comfortable beds I have slept in and the service was outstanding! My kids loved the kids clubs, too. I think maybe we missed our window with DCL. It's probably great for parents of young children. Teenagers may prefer other cruise lines.
     

    Julie Amber

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2017
    I have been sailing RC pretty exclusively the last 3 years and have loved it. The Oasis class is especially incredible and we have absolutely had a ball on them. Having said that, when finances allow, I'll do another Disney as well. We've only sailed the 2 smaller Disney ships: Magic and Wonder and loved them for the experience they are. I think my teenager would get bored on the smaller Disney ships, but they were great when she was younger, and I actually loved them for a couples only cruise as they do a better job of keeping adult only areas actually adult only
     
  • JM_97

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 17, 2019
    I just have a hard time accepting Disney's prices. It's (probably) worth it but the Mariner OTS and the Disney Dream basically have the same trip and a balcony on the Mariner just a little bit more than an inside on Disney . The Allure and the Disney Fantasy also have the same trip at Allure is like $900 less. Plus being able to have a drink package is tempting lol
     

    Sehsun

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 30, 2003
    We've been on the Disney Fantasy twice and Mariner of the Seas once. We really enjoyed both cruises. DH and I think the shows on DCL are better, but we enjoyed the Windjammer buffet on Royal more.

    Also the adult areas on Royal seemed slightly nicer - for example, the hot tub was bigger and less crowded. :)
     

    cutigerlady

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 9, 2012
    We sailed on the Fantasy and it wasn't for my family (DS4, DS9, DH). In fact, my DH was determined to never step foot on another cruise again. Last September, he humored me and we tried RCL Harmony and we loved it! My kids are 8/13 now. The ship was huge and never felt crowded. We thought the variety of activities was better and it wasn't crowded like we saw on Disney. My family spent hours at the rock wall and we thought the shows were just as good as Disney and enjoyed the variety. The fact that people were split up between multiple venues, it didn't seem as crazy. We are also enjoyed that we didn't have to have a scheduled dinner time (and we are not huge buffet fans either) and loved MTD. We thought the service was just as good too.

    We ended up booking another trip for this September while on board (now moved to 2021)! Luckily, we ended up booking a last minute Christmas cruise last year and that was awesome too! For that trip, we went on the Mariner and I loved the size of that ship!
     

    MichelleCanada

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 21, 2017
    We sailed on the Fantasy and it wasn't for my family (DS4, DS9, DH). In fact, my DH was determined to never step foot on another cruise again. Last September, he humored me and we tried RCL Harmony and we loved it! My kids are 8/13 now. The ship was huge and never felt crowded. We thought the variety of activities was better and it wasn't crowded like we saw on Disney. My family spent hours at the rock wall and we thought the shows were just as good as Disney and enjoyed the variety. The fact that people were split up between multiple venues, it didn't seem as crazy. We are also enjoyed that we didn't have to have a scheduled dinner time (and we are not huge buffet fans either) and loved MTD. We thought the service was just as good too.

    We ended up booking another trip for this September while on board (now moved to 2021)! Luckily, we ended up booking a last minute Christmas cruise last year and that was awesome too! For that trip, we went on the Mariner and I loved the size of that ship!
    We are cruising with RCCL next summer for the first time. My DS will be 10. Did your DS9 go to Adventure Ocean? And if so, what are his/your thoughts?
     
  • starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    Unfortunately AO varies based on the class of ship you're sailing. Can you let us know which vessel you'll be on?
     

    starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    I've actually been on Allure 3 times. Probably my favourite ship in the Royal Fleet.

    I believe Allure's AO was going to be renovated to be more open concept like Oceaneers, but I think that got scrapped along with a few other upgrades. For now it would be divided by age group (your son would be in the oldest). They will have theme days and have a loose schedule that they adhere to. AO does try to encourage the kids to interact as a group (we'll see how that goes post-pandemic) so if your child is used to doing what they like in Oceaneers they might find this to be restrictive. If they like day camp (remember day camp? my kids did that 300 years ago, in 2019), they might like AO.
     

    mevelandry

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2013
    Thinking about vacations once COVID settles more and now more specifically, cruising. It'll be at least a year down the road but I want to start thinking ahead. Obviously love DCL but it's a hefty price. The more I keep looking at Royal, the more I become interested. So I'm going back and forth on if Disney is worth the price or if I should save the money and go on RCL. They would both be Bahamas/Caribbean trips so itineraries wouldn't be all that different. Would love some reasons for both!
    I would encourage you to try RCCL. I love both cruise lines but I have to say that what RCCL offers is an excellent value for the price (I love the quality and different variety of shows) and in my opinion, CocoCay, since Perfect Day, really beats Castaway Cay. It’s very different But so exciting!

    When it comes to specialty dining, I can say I love both but RCCL had the same quality and service for a better price.

    Staff was great on both.

    Entertainment and activities: I found there was more to do on RCCL ships.
     

    kevtlas

    Mouseketeer
    DVC Gold
    Joined
    Feb 17, 2009
    We've honestly enjoyed every cruise we've ever been on. Well, the last one not as much as cruising is different in Europe and we are used to US. We liked it, but there were a bunch of small things we felt were lacking compared to US itineraries. We've done DCL, Carnival and MSC so far, and are booked on our first RCL on the Brilliance in July 2021.

    I'd say if we had to pick a favorite, it would be Carnival because of the way the ships are situated and spread out.
     

    John VN

    DIS Cast Member
    Joined
    Aug 2, 2003
    We've honestly enjoyed every cruise we've ever been on. Well, the last one not as much as cruising is different in Europe and we are used to US. We liked it, but there were a bunch of small things we felt were lacking compared to US itineraries. We've done DCL, Carnival and MSC so far, and are booked on our first RCL on the Brilliance in July 2021.

    I'd say if we had to pick a favorite, it would be Carnival because of the way the ships are situated and spread out.
    We've done Disney Concierge, Royal both Concierge Sea and SKY and MSC Yacht Club. The order of preference is opposite the listed cruise line order.

    Why MSC ? Lower cost with Concierge + Butler + Private Dining Room + Private Lounge + Private Pool + Private Hot Tubs + Private Outside Deck area for chill'n + Private Outside Food Venue + Private Inside and Outside Bar + Drinks + Stocked in cabin fridge + other Priorities.
     

    Song of the South

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 28, 2011
    Our first cruise was in 2017 to Alaska with Holland America in a Neptune Suite. At the time it was Dh, myself, DD 6, DD 4, DS 2, and infant. It was amazing. I loved the nature and wildlife talks. We saw the world and got a bit of date time when Grandparents kept the 2 littles and the big kids went to whatever Holland's rather lame kid's club is called. They loved it and had a great time-I thought it was lame.

    Next cruise, after more thought and planning was with Royal. We've been on 3 Royal cruises for a total of 27 days! We have loved just about everything about our Royal adventures over the past 2 years. We've been to Canada on the Adventure of the Seas, Southern Caribbean on the Serenade, and then by the skin of our teeth a February/March 2020 on the Majesty (smallest ship in the world, I mean, smallest ship that Royal runs). The kids LOVE Adventure Ocean and beg to go and it's often a huge dilemma if we say, "AdventureOcean or swimming this afternoon?" It's awesome because then DH and I get to read, play cards, swim, sleep, and do things we enjoy knowing the kids are having "vacation" too. We actually chose Royal because of the high praise of their kids programming over Disney. Also, we tend to cruise when school is in session so the kids are 4 out of 27/43/68 respectively so the staff get to know them and vice versa.

    So we haven't been on a huge Royal ship yet (that's planned!) and my kids got a bit jealous being docked across from a Disney ship with the sea coaster when we were in the Bahamas. All it took was pointing out the long lines and that they were cruising for 3 or 4 days while we were cruising for 7 and my kids were like, "Bye bye Mickey!" They know value! My kids used to write cards to Royal that went "Dear Cruise Ship, I miss you. Can I see you again soon?" LOL.

    I'd love to give Disney a shot but more than that I like having two cruises for the price of one so we probably won't ever do a Disney cruise. We own DVC and love Disney but we don't require the brand to have a great time. We usually go to Disney in January but there is no longer a "low season" at WDW we decided to try a January cruise. Fingers crossed Royal is cruising again soon!
     

    Carolynleanne

    Canadian Disney mom
    Joined
    Mar 17, 2012
    Our first cruise was in 2017 to Alaska with Holland America in a Neptune Suite. At the time it was Dh, myself, DD 6, DD 4, DS 2, and infant. It was amazing. I loved the nature and wildlife talks. We saw the world and got a bit of date time when Grandparents kept the 2 littles and the big kids went to whatever Holland's rather lame kid's club is called. They loved it and had a great time-I thought it was lame.

    Next cruise, after more thought and planning was with Royal. We've been on 3 Royal cruises for a total of 27 days! We have loved just about everything about our Royal adventures over the past 2 years. We've been to Canada on the Adventure of the Seas, Southern Caribbean on the Serenade, and then by the skin of our teeth a February/March 2020 on the Majesty (smallest ship in the world, I mean, smallest ship that Royal runs). The kids LOVE Adventure Ocean and beg to go and it's often a huge dilemma if we say, "AdventureOcean or swimming this afternoon?" It's awesome because then DH and I get to read, play cards, swim, sleep, and do things we enjoy knowing the kids are having "vacation" too. We actually chose Royal because of the high praise of their kids programming over Disney. Also, we tend to cruise when school is in session so the kids are 4 out of 27/43/68 respectively so the staff get to know them and vice versa.

    So we haven't been on a huge Royal ship yet (that's planned!) and my kids got a bit jealous being docked across from a Disney ship with the sea coaster when we were in the Bahamas. All it took was pointing out the long lines and that they were cruising for 3 or 4 days while we were cruising for 7 and my kids were like, "Bye bye Mickey!" They know value! My kids used to write cards to Royal that went "Dear Cruise Ship, I miss you. Can I see you again soon?" LOL.

    I'd love to give Disney a shot but more than that I like having two cruises for the price of one so we probably won't ever do a Disney cruise. We own DVC and love Disney but we don't require the brand to have a great time. We usually go to Disney in January but there is no longer a "low season" at WDW we decided to try a January cruise. Fingers crossed Royal is cruising again soon!
    I have to agree with you here. We LOVE Disney... we're Disney freaks, but at a third of the price, we get a Junior Suite on Royal and longer itineraries. My kids are now past the 'character' things and we've seen a lot of those Disney stage shows already. As beautiful as the kids club is on Disney, I DONT love that my kids will spend the entire time playing nintendo and no one talks to them. Sure, its fun, but Id rather they interact with people and Royals kids club is way better about that.
     

    LSUfan4444

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 9, 2005
    Thinking about vacations once COVID settles more and now more specifically, cruising. It'll be at least a year down the road but I want to start thinking ahead. Obviously love DCL but it's a hefty price. The more I keep looking at Royal, the more I become interested. So I'm going back and forth on if Disney is worth the price or if I should save the money and go on RCL. They would both be Bahamas/Caribbean trips so itineraries wouldn't be all that different. Would love some reasons for both!
    We've done two DCL sailings when our daughter was a bit younger and they were great. Now that shes older she prefers more of what the Royal ships offer in terms of the pool deck, water slides, flowrider, etc.

    We may consider Disney at some point where the pool deck wouldn't be such a priority (Europe, Alaska, etc) but right now most of our sailings are Caribbean.
     

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